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Mike Modano, a Hall of Famer?

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Old
11-19-2010, 05:46 PM
  #101
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Nieuwendyk's Conn Smythe is far from undisputed.



Four of them were from the first six games of the playoffs. For someone who's so anti-stats, a statement like the above is heavily reliant on one dubious stat taken out of context.



Belfour was terrific, yes. He was a deserving winner. Certainly more than Nieuwendyk or Lehtinen, arguably more than Modano.

Lehtinen was clearly not offensively gifted enoughto truly be the league's best two-way player, but he could have been its best defensive player.

Let's all agree that Ken Hitchcock knows a lot more about winning hockey games than we do. And in the 1999 playoffs he turned to Mike Modano to win him hockey games, three and a half more minutes than any other forward (Lehtinen was 2nd) and six and a half more than Nieuwendyk (who was 4th). He was used immensely in all situations and although he was not the team's goal, or GWG leader, he did score the most points. Lehtinen had more goals, but everyone knows Modano was the catalyst for that. Your statement suggests an over-reliance on the finishing part of the game, but there is much more tothe game than finishing. Modano was easily an all-around better player than both of them.

A couple key context points to consider:

- Modano played more playoff icetime per game (24:40) than any top forward on a Stanley cup winner since icetime was tracked starting in 1999. The next highest was Brind'Amour's 23:52 in 2006.

- Modano's lead of 3:31 over the next-highest forward on his team was the highest since icetime has been tracked. The next biggest lead was Getzlaf's 2:18 in 2007.

- Nieuwendyk's ice time of in the 1999 playoffs (18:27) is easily the lowest by a conn smythe winning forward since icetime has been tracked. the next lowest was Malkin's 20:57 in 2009.

Modano was definitely Dallas' most important forward. Nieuwendyk was definitely not.
There wasn't much dispute about the Conn Smythe when it was announced in 1999. From the outset of the playoffs, Nieuwendyk was Dallas' best player. When the Stars won the Cup, everyone expected Nieuwendyk to win the MVP. And he did. It wasn't a contentious, controversial or disputed vote.

I'm not anti-stats. I'm just not a stats guy. They're part of how I make evaluations, but there's so much that goes into my evaluations. I evaluate based on the 5 "W's" and "how," and you usually don't how and why from stats.

I want to preface this by saying I have the utmost respect for Ken Hitchcock, and I do like the ice time stat. I think it's indicative of some things, but not everything, just like every other stat. I will say that I believe it's a better gage for defencemen than forwards. At the same time, if you look solely at ice time, then you might think that Francois Beauchemin was Anaheim's top defenceman in the 2007 playoffs, and you might think that Brendan Morrison was Vancouver's top forward in the 2002-03 season.

Modano should be Dallas' leader in ice time. My guess is that Lehtinen didn't see much power play time, and a lot of Modano's edge over Lehtinen would be because of PP time. As for Nieuwendyk, sometimes it is possible over a two-month span for the No. 2 centre to be better than the No. 1 centre, regardless of what the ice time says.

I think Conn Smythe voters will put a premium on goals over assists. If you have a player with 10 goals and 10 assists in the post-season, and another with five goals and 15 assists, they'll usually pick the guy with 10 goals, unless the guy with five goals brings a lot more to the table. (Claude Lemieux was fourth in New Jersey for points in 1995, but he had the most goals. I wouldn't have picked Claude, I would have gone with Scotty Stevens, but I don't fault voters who tabbed Lemieux).

The flip side is I don't think voters obsess over stats in the playoffs. In the regular season, a lot of voters make their decisions based on stats alone. A voter in New York might only see Anaheim or Vancouver five times a year. It's hard to make an evaluation. Playoffs are different. Just about every game is televised. You get a better chance to evaluate. My guess is that there are voters for the Conn Smythe who saw more of Dallas in either of the final two rounds of the playoffs (seven games against Colorado; six against Buffalo) than they did during the season. They're actually able to watch the players, and see who's the best.

Did it help Nieuwendyk that he had six GWG? Probably. (And that was a fantastic St. Louis team that Dallas beat; St. Louis probably beats anyone out of the East). But it's not the reason that he won. But the bottom line is that unlike the regular season, the voters aren't just reliant on stats. And that's the way it should be.

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11-19-2010, 05:58 PM
  #102
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I think some (many?) players absolutely play differently in the playoffs.

Take my favorite player of all time - Scott Stevens. You know what is so amazing about all of his famous hits? Every single one of them is in the playoffs. Stevens was always very good defensively and always intimidating in the regular season, but the freight train perfectly-timed hits tended to come in the playoffs. I don't think it was psychologically possible for a human being to play as intensely as Stevens did in the playoffs over an 82 game season.

Fedorov too. People criticize him for loafing in the regular season, but I think it was pretty obvious that after the Wings choked 3 straight seasons from 94-96, he decided to pace himself in the regular season, with obviously favorable team results.
Regarding Stevens, I'm not sure if beaning someone counts as the kind of clutch play we're talking about in the first place.

Fedorov might be a good counterpoint (and I'm sure there are other examples too) but you're basically admitting that he slacked in the regular season and picked it up in the playoffs. ie. he still wasn't doing anything he couldn't have been doing otherwise that required some special "clutch" ability.

He was just lazy and played on a stacked team so he could just choose to apply himself more in the playoffs.

It just seems to me that most of the players who end up with the label of being "clutch" are the ones who are in a position to have the opportunity in the first place. It is like a self reinforcing loop.

ie. Sakic is so clutch he scored or assisted on the winner/tie goal etc. Well who gets the most ice time in a situation like that? How much more likely does that make him part of the important goal?

Secondly.. how many times was he able to produce that goal compared to how many times he was out there in that situation and failed? I bet we'd be shocked if we had the stats to see how many times Sakic was in a tie or behind by a goal and failed to win it or tie it up compared to the ones he is lauded for and was able to accomplish.

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11-19-2010, 06:14 PM
  #103
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And that's the thing right there. At the time, Perreault was held to a higher standard than Modano ever was. Modano never had a season worthy of Perreault in 1975 or 1976 or even 1980. I agree that my eyes don't lie either. Perreault is still who I would pick.



Just by me looking at those numbers, I still think it's a clear edge offensively for Perreault. I'm also not sure if Modano ever had any "great" offensive seasons like you mentioned. We know Perreault did. Modano on the other hand was a model of consistency wh0 was a 75-85 point man. Like I said before, his peak left you wanting more.




Perreault was brilliant in those two games. Along with Henderson and Cournoyer he was the only ones who managed to skate - and even surpass - the Russians. Why in the world he was left out of the line up so often baffles me. If you saw the beautiful end to end goal he got in Game 4 and the pretty pass he did in Game 5 I don't think you'd be questioning anything.

Perreault was a stand out in international play. Modano never stood out in a tournament that I saw him in. Not even the 1996 World Cup when USA won. He wasn't a big factor.
Big Phil, I'm with you on this one. Seventieslord can slice & dice the stats to his heart's content but the eye test says Perreault was the better player. There is a reason that everyone who saw both picks Perreault over Modano.

Stats have their place but the eye test rules. I remember having a similiar discussion on Perreault with Seventieslord a while back. At that time he was trying to convince me that Sittler was better than Perreault.

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11-19-2010, 06:46 PM
  #104
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I think it needs to be pointed out that possibly the two players whose reputations most don't match up with their stats both "just happened" to play for Buffalo in the late 70s - I'm talking about Perreault and Craig Ramsay, obviously. And I think the fact that Buffalo played on a smaller ice surface than most teams really plays a part in holding back Perreault's offense and making Ramsay look like a defensive god statistically.

It's alreadly been shown that Perreault produced much higher numbers on the road than at home, unique among star players of the era.

So ranking his absolute numbers versus the rest of the league will of course underrate him. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you pro-rated his road numbers over the course of a season (which might still underrate him a little since most stars score slightly more at home than on the road), then ranked him among the other leaders.

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11-19-2010, 06:51 PM
  #105
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I think it needs to be pointed out that possibly the two players whose reputations most don't match up with their stats both "just happened" to play for Buffalo in the late 70s - I'm talking about Perreault and Craig Ramsay, obviously. And I think the fact that Buffalo played on a smaller ice surface than most teams really plays a part in holding back Perreault's offense and making Ramsay look like a defensive god statistically.

It's alreadly been shown that Perreault produced much higher numbers on the road than at home, unique among star players of the era.

So ranking his absolute numbers versus the rest of the league will of course underrate him. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you pro-rated his road numbers over the course of a season (which might still underrate him a little since most stars score slightly more at home than on the road), then ranked him among the other leaders.
That's a very good point actually.

I recently read another book on Bobby Orr and it made several references to how the smaller rink there (the Garden) also impacted play.

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11-19-2010, 09:32 PM
  #106
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Nieuwendyk's Conn Smythe is far from undisputed.

Four of them were from the first six games of the playoffs. For someone who's so anti-stats, a statement like the above is heavily reliant on one dubious stat taken out of context.

Belfour was terrific, yes. He was a deserving winner. Certainly more than Nieuwendyk or Lehtinen, arguably more than Modano.

Lehtinen was clearly not offensively gifted enough to truly be the league's best two-way player, but he could have been its best defensive player.

Let's all agree that Ken Hitchcock knows a lot more about winning hockey games than we do. And in the 1999 playoffs he turned to Mike Modano to win him hockey games, three and a half more minutes than any other forward (Lehtinen was 2nd) and six and a half more than Nieuwendyk (who was 4th). He was used immensely in all situations and although he was not the team's goal, or GWG leader, he did score the most points. Lehtinen had more goals, but everyone knows Modano was the catalyst for that. Your statement suggests an over-reliance on the finishing part of the game, but there is much more tothe game than finishing. Modano was easily an all-around better player than both of them.

A couple key context points to consider:

- Modano played more playoff icetime per game (24:40) than any top forward on a Stanley cup winner since icetime was tracked starting in 1999. The next highest was Brind'Amour's 23:52 in 2006.

- Modano's lead of 3:31 over the next-highest forward on his team was the highest since icetime has been tracked. The next biggest lead was Getzlaf's 2:18 in 2007.

- Nieuwendyk's ice time of in the 1999 playoffs (18:27) is easily the lowest by a conn smythe winning forward since icetime has been tracked. the next lowest was Malkin's 20:57 in 2009.

Modano was definitely Dallas' most important forward. Nieuwendyk was definitely not.
i am almost certain that modano was involved in more GWG, if assists and goals are counted, than nieuwendyk.

imo, unless defensive play is ignored, modano was more deserving.

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11-19-2010, 10:00 PM
  #107
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For the record, I'd rate Modano ahead of guys like Denis Savard and Jean Ratelle as well, and probably ahead of Dale Hawerchuk.
While Modano was the better defensive player, He doesn't hold a candle to Hawerchuk's goal-scoring and play-making abilities.

Little off topic, but I still shake my head over Joey Mullen getting into the Hall before Hawerchuk.

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11-19-2010, 10:34 PM
  #108
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Highest scoring American of all time, he will get in, certainly.

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11-20-2010, 01:36 AM
  #109
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Big Phil, I'm with you on this one. Seventieslord can slice & dice the stats to his heart's content but the eye test says Perreault was the better player. There is a reason that everyone who saw both picks Perreault over Modano.

Stats have their place but the eye test rules. I remember having a similiar discussion on Perreault with Seventieslord a while back. At that time he was trying to convince me that Sittler was better than Perreault.
Perreault, it can be argued, was better offensively than Modano but there is no way that he was the better player when we bring everything else into the equation and I saw both players play.

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11-20-2010, 01:37 AM
  #110
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Stats have their place but the eye test rules. I remember having a similiar discussion on Perreault with Seventieslord a while back. At that time he was trying to convince me that Sittler was better than Perreault.
I was absolutely not.

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11-20-2010, 03:06 AM
  #111
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Wow, lots of posts since I was here last.

On Perreault, I think he's the kind of player who generates nostalgia. Brilliant talent, one of the nicest players ever to watch, explosive offensively, and a one-team player on top of that.

But when you look at the actual results, he just wasn't as dominant as he might have seemed. Was only top-10 in scoring 3 times (something Federko did 5 times, for the record), and was a pretty crap defensive player for the bulk of his career.

If you adjust for era, Modano is the best player by a mile. Near-identical offensive stats while being a ridiculously better all-around player.

Even if you don't adjust for era, I'd still take Modano's 80 points and sterling two-way play over Perreault's 95 points and one-way play.

As seventieslord noted earlier, I guess it depends on the value you place on defensive play.

And I think a lot of people are still swayed by '100 point seasons!!!' from the 1975-1994 era.

_________

As for Nieuwendyk's Smythe, absolutely it was marginal.

He scored some clutch goals, no doubt. Outstanding performance for a 2nd line player.

But the engines on that team were Belfour (.930 save %), Zubov (+13, averaged over 30 minutes/game in the playoffs), Lehtinen, and Modano. Those were the guys doing the really heavy lifting, logging the hard minutes, dominating the opposition's top lines 5-on-5. The brilliant work that group did is what put Nieuwendyk in the position to be able to score clutch goals by outplaying 2nd/3rd line players.

Nieuwendyk's Smythe was a product of the GWG stat.

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11-20-2010, 11:03 AM
  #112
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Nieuwendyk's Smythe was a product of the GWG stat.
Would be interesting to look at all the points Modano and Nieuwendyk scored that spring and seeing who actually scored or assisted on more imporant goals. GWG can be a misleading statistic.

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11-20-2010, 11:20 AM
  #113
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While Modano was the better defensive player, He doesn't hold a candle to Hawerchuk's goal-scoring and play-making abilities.

Little off topic, but I still shake my head over Joey Mullen getting into the Hall before Hawerchuk.


Sorry, but are you honestly joking?

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11-20-2010, 11:27 AM
  #114
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I think it needs to be pointed out that possibly the two players whose reputations most don't match up with their stats both "just happened" to play for Buffalo in the late 70s - I'm talking about Perreault and Craig Ramsay, obviously. And I think the fact that Buffalo played on a smaller ice surface than most teams really plays a part in holding back Perreault's offense and making Ramsay look like a defensive god statistically.

It's alreadly been shown that Perreault produced much higher numbers on the road than at home, unique among star players of the era.

So ranking his absolute numbers versus the rest of the league will of course underrate him. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you pro-rated his road numbers over the course of a season (which might still underrate him a little since most stars score slightly more at home than on the road), then ranked him among the other leaders.
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That's a very good point actually.

I recently read another book on Bobby Orr and it made several references to how the smaller rink there (the Garden) also impacted play.
I was always under the impression that the smaller rinks helped increase scoring a bit for the home team, how did Orr score at home compared to away?

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11-20-2010, 11:45 AM
  #115
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Would be interesting to look at all the points Modano and Nieuwendyk scored that spring and seeing who actually scored or assisted on more imporant goals. GWG can be a misleading statistic.
The Contrarian Goaltender had a post on this exact topic recently. From the post:

Quote:
Let's drop game-winning goals and look at a different definition of clutch scoring that takes into account both of the above situations as well. Counting all points on goals scored in the third period or overtime that either tied the game, gave Dallas the lead, or gave Dallas a two-goal lead (empty-netters excluded) gives the following scoring totals in the '99 playoffs:

Modano: 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points
Nieuwendyk: 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points
Langenbrunner: 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points
Lehtinen: 5 goals, 1 assist, 6 points

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11-20-2010, 01:25 PM
  #116
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The Contrarian Goaltender had a post on this exact topic recently. From the post:
That is very interesting but I wonder how much of it gets affected by the "gave Dallas a two goal lead in the third period (but excluding EN)" criteria.

That seems like a strange definition of clutch to me. I wonder how much that affects these personal stats of the players.

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11-20-2010, 01:55 PM
  #117
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Mike Modano became a good two way forward and imporved his defensive play because he was not dominant offensively. When you compare Modano to Perreault one has to remember. That when Perreault had the puck the Sabres chances of scoring were alot higher then Dallas' when Modano had the puck. Perreault could create plays out of nothing. He could either feather a pass or score. He could deke out almost any player on the ice. When he had the puck you almost had to double team him. Whcih left someone open. With Modano every once in a whil eyou would get a glimps of his potential but mostly like others have posted he left you wanting more

When you have an offensive player like a Perreault. You don't harp on them to be better defensively. You give them the freedom to be creative and make plays. When he was on the ice for the most part he was the best player on the ice. All eyes were on him and what he would do. Not whether or not he was positioned defensively.

Modano was never the dominant offensive force in the NHL. So he did what he could. He became a better defensive player to compensate for his production. With the system that Hitchcok put in place it gave Modano the freedom to still be offensive but to play positional and to counter attack.

Modano at no time in his career was even close to Perreault offensively. Perreault when playing in the NHL was a top 10 center as far as offence went. Modano never was. He did get points that is for sure. But if I was wanting the top offensive centers in the league I never would have picked Modano.

A for the 1999 Conn Smyth. There was never any doubt at the time who was going to win the Conn Smyth. Nieuwendyk was the key guy for the Stars. Not just the goals he scored or the game winning goals he scored. It was what he brought to the team. The 3 best players for the Stars those playoffs were Nieuwendyk, Belfour and Zubov.

Today you might look at the stats and say wow Modano had the more ice time and the more points but it was what Nieuwendyk did against the Blues and Avalanche that pretty much had him the front runner for the Conn Smyth before playing against Buffalo. Against the Avalanche He had a point in every game except game 1. He was consistently getting the big goals for the Stars and even though in a way I was going for Zubov for the Conn Smyth it was hard to go against Nieuwendyk that year.

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11-20-2010, 02:13 PM
  #118
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He definately deserves it, and I can't see him being excluded.

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11-20-2010, 02:21 PM
  #119
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No question at all, Modano is a definite lock

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11-20-2010, 02:52 PM
  #120
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That is very interesting but I wonder how much of it gets affected by the "gave Dallas a two goal lead in the third period (but excluding EN)" criteria.

That seems like a strange definition of clutch to me. I wonder how much that affects these personal stats of the players.
Good point. Dallas of the era was a lot like NJ - if they had a 1 goal lead going into the third, there was something like a 95% chance they were going to win. So I'd hardly call the goal to make it a 2 goal lead "clutch" - in fact, it would almost definitely be less important than a GWG in a close game in an earlier period.

Hell, look at the winning percentage for teams leading going into the 3rd in the dead puck era in general - it was absurdly high, something like 90%, and it's the biggest reason the NHL tried to open up the game post-lockout.

Honestly, the fact that TCG apparently is unaware of this kind of supports my personal belief that he barely actually watches hockey.

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11-20-2010, 05:08 PM
  #121
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Good point. Dallas of the era was a lot like NJ - if they had a 1 goal lead going into the third, there was something like a 95% chance they were going to win. So I'd hardly call the goal to make it a 2 goal lead "clutch" - in fact, it would almost definitely be less important than a GWG in a close game in an earlier period.

Hell, look at the winning percentage for teams leading going into the 3rd in the dead puck era in general - it was absurdly high, something like 90%, and it's the biggest reason the NHL tried to open up the game post-lockout.

Honestly, the fact that TCG apparently is unaware of this kind of supports my personal belief that he barely actually watches hockey.
Yeah, honestly I wonder if he chose that to inflate Modano's "clutch" totals that he lists but I can't be bothered to go through the stuff to find out right now.

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11-20-2010, 05:14 PM
  #122
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The Contrarian Goaltender had a post on this exact topic recently. From the post:
Thanks for the link, overpass. I agree with TDMM's comment though - the definition of "clutch" that's used in the article is not meaningful.

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11-20-2010, 05:17 PM
  #123
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Good point. Dallas of the era was a lot like NJ - if they had a 1 goal lead going into the third, there was something like a 95% chance they were going to win. So I'd hardly call the goal to make it a 2 goal lead "clutch" - in fact, it would almost definitely be less important than a GWG in a close game in an earlier period.

Hell, look at the winning percentage for teams leading going into the 3rd in the dead puck era in general - it was absurdly high, something like 90%, and it's the biggest reason the NHL tried to open up the game post-lockout.

Honestly, the fact that TCG apparently is unaware of this kind of supports my personal belief that he barely actually watches hockey.
It seems to me that the fact that the team that entered the third period with the lead had a very high winning percentage during the dead puck era - while no doubt relevant to the discussion at hand - is the type of knowledge that one would obtain through perusing the stats pages at NHL.com., rather than through actually watching hockey.

(Unless, of course, the viewer watched an extremely large number of games during the relevant time period and took notes in relation to which team was leading at various stages of the game).

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11-20-2010, 06:02 PM
  #124
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Sometimes, when trailing 2-0 or 3-0, the first goal your team puts on the board is clutch. As is the one that puts you in striking distance, the tying goal is pretty huge too.

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11-20-2010, 06:14 PM
  #125
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Originally Posted by Master_Of_Districts View Post
It seems to me that the fact that the team that entered the third period with the lead had a very high winning percentage during the dead puck era - while no doubt relevant to the discussion at hand - is the type of knowledge that one would obtain through perusing the stats pages at NHL.com., rather than through actually watching hockey.

(Unless, of course, the viewer watched an extremely large number of games during the relevant time period and took notes in relation to which team was leading at various stages of the game).
Actually I know it from the "team x has blah record when down a goal going into the 3rd (usually something like 2-20-1) and "team y has blah record when up a goal going into the 3rd" (usually something like 20-1-2) blurbs that they always would show at the beginning of the third period during games.

Anyway, the point of my one-liner (other than to amuse myself) was that the incredibly poor definition of "clutch goals" in the study shows the sloppiness typical of some "advanced sports statisticians," where a lot of time is spent manipulating numbers and very little time is spent on actually thinking about what is actually being measured. If initial assumptions are poor, any number crunching based on them means very little.

Stats can be useful, but knowledge about the subject to which you are applying the stats is important. Some sports statisticians know a hell of a lot more about math than they do about the sport they are applying it to. It honestly gets tiring being lecturing about how "the numbers show this and they are objective because they are numbers, so what you and most people think is wrong."


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 11-20-2010 at 06:26 PM.
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