Analytics vs. the Rest of the Hockey world

Jason Strudwick
August 09 2014 01:52PM

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I have been out of the NHL for three full years now. As a player I never once heard of advanced stats inside our dressing room. A coach never brought it to our attention or discussed it with us individually or as a group. Since then the analytical part of the game has picked up momentum. It is gaining traction and respect throughout the hockey world.

So why does it seem that for many people it is one or the other? Analytics or traditional hockey thinking?

While I was playing in Edmonton, my buddies would send me emails with write ups of what people were writing about my team and my play. They loved seeing the ones that would criticize my play. Sometimes sending the real beauties to me repeatedly! David Staples from the Journal seemed to have the ones they loved the best.

When I played I couldn’t care less about what the mainstream or other types of media would say about me. As a player it is important to block out the noise, both the good and the bad. Mike Keenan once told me a great line: “When you are winning you don’t need the media, when you are losing they can’t help you.” That really stuck with me through my career. Lucky it did because I played through some dark years in Oilers history and the media opened up with both barrels!

Once I retired and got into the media I thought I would start taking a look at what was going on around these types of stats. I checked out different websites to try and understand what it could all mean for the game of hockey. My good buddy Lowetide took time to educate me.

I then heard a guest on his show one day that caught my ear. He was well spoken and made some interesting points about the Oilers. I didn’t agree with everything he said but I did appreciate his approach. Lowetide mentioned his name was Tyler Dellow. I had never heard of him before so I took a look at his website. I would check back every now and then to see what he was putting out there. Interesting stuff.

mchockey

I started to follow him on twitter. WOW. That is when I tuned him out. I never understood his very aggressive style on the twitter platform. What was the goal? I suppose it gets attention and bring him followers. Makes sense to draw people to your website but I was turned off by his us vs. them mentality. I became turned off from all advanced stats.

Last fall in Toronto I was introduced to him at the Oilers/Leafs morning skate. Seemed like a nice guy but he was very nervous. Maybe it was the first time he would meet with the Oilers hockey ops. I wish I would have talked to him more about his research but it didn’t happen. Maybe I would have changed my thoughts on him. Everyone is different in person then behind their computers. Lost opportunity, maybe for us both.

Back Again

Randy Carlyle

It just so happened at the same time I was about to become interested again in advanced stats. It took the team I always disliked as a player the most, the Leafs, to bring me back to them.

I was in Toronto for work most of the fall. I was watching this team nightly. They were doing well but I knew they couldn’t keep it up. There were major holes in their game. I had played against and for teams that were winning games they should be losing.

The analytics world was screaming from every mountain top that the Leafs would start to struggle. They felt looking at their advanced stats that the Leafs would falter. I saw, felt and said the same thing that the Stats groups did. The Leafs couldn’t keep winning games in the same manner all season. I thought they gave up too many very good chances and relied heavily on goaltending.

So here is the stat gang and me arriving at the same conclusion even though we came at it from different perspectives. They from the numbers and me from years of watching and playing the game. This was the moment I started to “trust” what the advanced stats were saying. It wasn’t a eureka moment, but it got me back into looking at these stats.

This all brings me to my point… so if we got to the same place and agreed on the outcome why do we have to argue about how we got there? Why does it have to be either analytics or traditional hockey thought for so many people? One or the other? In the Twitter world it seems like a war. Just doesn’t make sense to me. Why is there an argument about how we come to the same conclusion?

There will always be disagreements on players and teams. It doesn’t matter on the background of two people they can have opposite opinions after watching a game. The part I don’t understand is the hostility that goes back and forth between these two groups. Seems counterproductive.

Now I have been guilty of chirping from the safety of Twitter on occasion as well. I am not perfect here either in this debate, but there has got to be some middle ground.

I had Scott Cullen from TSN on my show a few months back. It was a great discussion! I asked him a lot about the advanced stats he follows closely. I challenged him on some and learnt on many others. I changed my position again on advanced stats after talking with him.

This season will be the first season I plan on looking on a game by game basis at advanced stats for the Oilers. After the game, though! I will do this for a few reasons:

  • 1. I don’t completely trust what the stats say. I want to be able to compile my thoughts on the game and compare.
  • 2. I want to see what the differences are between my notes and the advanced stats. I want to see what the stats and I are seeing differently and try to figure out why.
  • 3. I want to get a clearer idea of which advanced stats I think have legs and which ones are a waste of time.

At the end of the day, I get no enjoyment out of crunching numbers during a game. I do keep track of one stat every game though: Chances for and against. This to me is the most important team stat to track during the season. I have my way of doing it that as a player I used. Not every shot is a chance against and not every missed shot isn’t a chance for.

But by looking at the overall team game I do think individual player’s games can be overlooked. That is why I am circling back to the advanced stats. I have about two months to get right up to speed!

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Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#51 chuckcouples
August 10 2014, 09:03PM
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I am neither for nor against advanced stats as I use them to confirm what I see when I watch the games.

There are two big problems with advanced stats in hockey especially when compared to how they work in baseball. In baseball pretty much every part of every play is a simple one vs one. Whether it's a single pitch vs a single batter or a flyball vs a fielder's range, things like this are very easy to quantify. Hockey is a much more dynamic game where the only time there is a true one on one situation is on a penalty shot or on a shootout attempt. Ever other play involves a number of moving parts which makes it very difficult to quantify.

The other problem with advanced stats is that they only tell of what has happened. This does not necessary predict what will happen.

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#52 Jeffer
August 10 2014, 10:02PM
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chuckcouples wrote:

I am neither for nor against advanced stats as I use them to confirm what I see when I watch the games.

There are two big problems with advanced stats in hockey especially when compared to how they work in baseball. In baseball pretty much every part of every play is a simple one vs one. Whether it's a single pitch vs a single batter or a flyball vs a fielder's range, things like this are very easy to quantify. Hockey is a much more dynamic game where the only time there is a true one on one situation is on a penalty shot or on a shootout attempt. Ever other play involves a number of moving parts which makes it very difficult to quantify.

The other problem with advanced stats is that they only tell of what has happened. This does not necessary predict what will happen.

Well said. Now prepare for he backlash from all the stats lovers

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#53 TigerUnderGlass
August 11 2014, 12:04AM
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Honestly, I mostly just sit looking at my computer screen in shock while I read people repeatedly say things like:

1. I don't know what advanced stats convey or do but they are bad/useless.

2. I'd rather believe nonsensical narrative from the Simmons' of the world than read the writing of people trying to actual answers because narrative is more entertaining.

3. It's not at all rude to tell people I believe their work is useless because that's just, like, my opinion man.

4. I don't like what the stats say so they must be wrong.

I am amazed at how many people will rail against anyone wanting to analyze the game using numbers without even understanding that STATS are nothing more than a record of events that occurred. They are like watching with eyes that record everything they see.

Comments like, "hockey is too fluid and random for stats" don't make sense because stats are nothing more than specific occurrences that repeat regularly during games and are recorded. I know it sounds like the devil's work but people do it anyways.

I like to use every available alley to learn about the sports I like. If other people don't, they are free not to do so, but it is ignorance in the extreme to tell someone that you have no idea what it is they do but whatever it is it's useless because you say so.

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#54 Devolution
August 11 2014, 12:32AM
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It's not like anyone is suggesting the coach is replaced by a robot. All it is is giving the coach another tool to help him make decisions. Isn't it good if the coach has more tools?

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#55 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 01:42AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Honestly, I mostly just sit looking at my computer screen in shock while I read people repeatedly say things like:

1. I don't know what advanced stats convey or do but they are bad/useless.

2. I'd rather believe nonsensical narrative from the Simmons' of the world than read the writing of people trying to actual answers because narrative is more entertaining.

3. It's not at all rude to tell people I believe their work is useless because that's just, like, my opinion man.

4. I don't like what the stats say so they must be wrong.

I am amazed at how many people will rail against anyone wanting to analyze the game using numbers without even understanding that STATS are nothing more than a record of events that occurred. They are like watching with eyes that record everything they see.

Comments like, "hockey is too fluid and random for stats" don't make sense because stats are nothing more than specific occurrences that repeat regularly during games and are recorded. I know it sounds like the devil's work but people do it anyways.

I like to use every available alley to learn about the sports I like. If other people don't, they are free not to do so, but it is ignorance in the extreme to tell someone that you have no idea what it is they do but whatever it is it's useless because you say so.

Funny that your whole comment is basically doing exactly what you're complaining about but on the opposite side of the argument. It is ignorant to the extreme to tell people they don't understand something just because they don't see the same value in it that you do.

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#56 Thinker
August 11 2014, 03:51AM
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chuckcouples wrote:

I am neither for nor against advanced stats as I use them to confirm what I see when I watch the games.

There are two big problems with advanced stats in hockey especially when compared to how they work in baseball. In baseball pretty much every part of every play is a simple one vs one. Whether it's a single pitch vs a single batter or a flyball vs a fielder's range, things like this are very easy to quantify. Hockey is a much more dynamic game where the only time there is a true one on one situation is on a penalty shot or on a shootout attempt. Ever other play involves a number of moving parts which makes it very difficult to quantify.

The other problem with advanced stats is that they only tell of what has happened. This does not necessary predict what will happen.

I agree with you. Thanks for the meaningful feedback. All your points are valid. The stats are by no means perfect, but they do help make good overviews of players and teams. Baseball and football, and even basketball have a lot more events to keep track of, which makes them better for stats. Not that it's impossible in hockey, but basketball players can get a crazy amount of shots per game in comparison to 1 or 2 from hockey players. Football is very complicated with lots of moving pieces, but the fact that the game is broken into plays helps it get broken down. Baseball as you said is really easy. There are ways to quantify things in hockey, they are just sometimes less direct. For example, corsi doesn't directly measure possession, but it can be used to track it. That is my fear with stats as well, as they need to be tested and improved on so that they accurately depict what is happening. I liken it to economics, which can behave so much differently when you have 1million moving pieces vs the theoretical 1 or 2.

I don't know of anything yet that can predict the future, but stats are good at finding trends and projecting them. Much better than say guessing a player will do something. Educated guess>straight up guess.

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#57 Thinker
August 11 2014, 04:03AM
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Jeffer wrote:

Funny that your whole comment is basically doing exactly what you're complaining about but on the opposite side of the argument. It is ignorant to the extreme to tell people they don't understand something just because they don't see the same value in it that you do.

ig·no·rant ˈignərənt/Submit adjective lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated. "he was told constantly that he was ignorant and stupid" synonyms: uneducated, unknowledgeable, untaught, unschooled, untutored, untrained, illiterate, unlettered, unlearned, unread, uninformed, unenlightened, benighted; More antonyms: educated lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular. "they were ignorant of astronomy" synonyms: without knowledge of, unaware of, unconscious of, oblivious to, incognizant of, unfamiliar with, unacquainted with, uninformed about, ill-informed about, unenlightened about, unconversant with, inexperienced in/with, naive about, green about; More antonyms: knowledgeable informal discourteous or rude. "this ignorant, pin-brained receptionist"

I don't really think this qualifies as ignorant here. Sure it wasn't nice of him to say you don't understand, but it's pretty obvious from your comments that you don't. I don't think he was being rude when he said that. One of the biggest tells of a bad argument is when you start to pick on the other side. I'm doing it now because I've already made enough uncountered points, and I'm an @sshole.

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#58 TigerUnderGlass
August 11 2014, 08:15AM
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Jeffer wrote:

Funny that your whole comment is basically doing exactly what you're complaining about but on the opposite side of the argument. It is ignorant to the extreme to tell people they don't understand something just because they don't see the same value in it that you do.

I don't think "ignorant" means what you think it means.

My comment is related to various things said on here by commenters. Not all of it is you, if it were I would have addressed you.

I'm not saying you don't understand because you disagree, I'm saying you don't understand because you wilfully don't understand.

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#59 rubbertrout
August 11 2014, 08:23AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Honestly, I mostly just sit looking at my computer screen in shock while I read people repeatedly say things like:

1. I don't know what advanced stats convey or do but they are bad/useless.

2. I'd rather believe nonsensical narrative from the Simmons' of the world than read the writing of people trying to actual answers because narrative is more entertaining.

3. It's not at all rude to tell people I believe their work is useless because that's just, like, my opinion man.

4. I don't like what the stats say so they must be wrong.

I am amazed at how many people will rail against anyone wanting to analyze the game using numbers without even understanding that STATS are nothing more than a record of events that occurred. They are like watching with eyes that record everything they see.

Comments like, "hockey is too fluid and random for stats" don't make sense because stats are nothing more than specific occurrences that repeat regularly during games and are recorded. I know it sounds like the devil's work but people do it anyways.

I like to use every available alley to learn about the sports I like. If other people don't, they are free not to do so, but it is ignorance in the extreme to tell someone that you have no idea what it is they do but whatever it is it's useless because you say so.

Well said Tiger. Well said.

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#60 rubbertrout
August 11 2014, 08:25AM
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I'm actually a little surprised to hear Struds' opinion on this. I had figured him for a "saw him good" kind of guy. Obviously he still is but this is the kind of openness and dialogue that this "debate" has been missing.

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#61 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 11:24AM
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Thinker wrote:

ig·no·rant ˈignərənt/Submit adjective lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated. "he was told constantly that he was ignorant and stupid" synonyms: uneducated, unknowledgeable, untaught, unschooled, untutored, untrained, illiterate, unlettered, unlearned, unread, uninformed, unenlightened, benighted; More antonyms: educated lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular. "they were ignorant of astronomy" synonyms: without knowledge of, unaware of, unconscious of, oblivious to, incognizant of, unfamiliar with, unacquainted with, uninformed about, ill-informed about, unenlightened about, unconversant with, inexperienced in/with, naive about, green about; More antonyms: knowledgeable informal discourteous or rude. "this ignorant, pin-brained receptionist"

I don't really think this qualifies as ignorant here. Sure it wasn't nice of him to say you don't understand, but it's pretty obvious from your comments that you don't. I don't think he was being rude when he said that. One of the biggest tells of a bad argument is when you start to pick on the other side. I'm doing it now because I've already made enough uncountered points, and I'm an @sshole.

No, I understand exactly what ignorant means.

"Lacking knowledge and awareness". What he said lacks knowledge and awareness. He doesn't know what I know about advanced stats. Again, I understand them fine, I just don't believe in them. It's possible that some people don't see their value even if we understand them. You guys assume that because I don't see there value I can't possibly understand them...and that's not the case at all.

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#62 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 11:27AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I don't think "ignorant" means what you think it means.

My comment is related to various things said on here by commenters. Not all of it is you, if it were I would have addressed you.

I'm not saying you don't understand because you disagree, I'm saying you don't understand because you wilfully don't understand.

No, I understand exactly what ignorant means.

"Lacking knowledge and awareness". Your comment that I don't understand lacks knowledge and awareness. You don't know what I know or don't know about advanced stats. I understand them, I just don't value them. It's possible people don't see their value even if we understand them. You just assume that because I don't see the value I can't possibly understand them...seems like the definition of ignorant to me. If you're gonna call people ignorant then take a look in the mirror first.

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#63 Aitch
August 11 2014, 11:39AM
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Jeffer wrote:

I think if your pro scouts are capable of doing their job then its' not necessary. I realize I'll get bashed for this because I'm not offering stats to back up what I'm saying but I don't care. You asked for my opinion and I offered it. Also, for all the people telling me that I haven't had enough facts to back up my opinions...I haven't been shown any facts that back up the value of advance stats either. It's all opinion on both sides so far...

But that makes the assumption that your pro scouts are watching every single game. They don't.

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#64 Aitch
August 11 2014, 11:44AM
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Jeffer wrote:

Funny that your whole comment is basically doing exactly what you're complaining about but on the opposite side of the argument. It is ignorant to the extreme to tell people they don't understand something just because they don't see the same value in it that you do.

No, he's not. No one who has supported "advanced stats" has suggested getting rid of the human element at all. No one is saying that having a scout look at a player or opposing team is a bad idea. You're reading that argument into it all by yourself... just like how you watch the game... believing your own narrative even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (You're the type of student that caused me to give up teaching as a profession. I simply don't have the patience to keep teaching the same information over and over to those who refuse to accept it.)

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#65 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 12:04PM
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Aitch wrote:

No, he's not. No one who has supported "advanced stats" has suggested getting rid of the human element at all. No one is saying that having a scout look at a player or opposing team is a bad idea. You're reading that argument into it all by yourself... just like how you watch the game... believing your own narrative even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (You're the type of student that caused me to give up teaching as a profession. I simply don't have the patience to keep teaching the same information over and over to those who refuse to accept it.)

I never said they are trying to remove the human element. But they are trying to force advanced stats on people that don't see the value without having proven that they add value. What overwhelming evidence are you talking about?

Maybe it's good you have up teaching. I happen to be a teacher and we teach kids to inquire and to question things. We don't just shove information down their throats and tell them "this is the new way, believe it".

I have seen no evidence that advanced stats can help a hockey team. Show my the contrary instead of saying that I should believe it just because you said so.

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#66 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 12:06PM
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Aitch wrote:

But that makes the assumption that your pro scouts are watching every single game. They don't.

If you plan on acquiring a player then you should be watching that player play a lot, not going off advanced stats. If you aren't planning on acquiring him then who cares what his advanced stats are?

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#67 Derzie
August 11 2014, 01:06PM
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Ignoring information of any kind is never a good approach. Unless you KNOW it is flawed, ambiguous (e.g. the media, where you can find every conflicting opinion under the sun) or you don't comprehend it. My feeling is that the top naysayers are in the latter category: don't understand it or how it applies to them. Watching hockey, traditional stats, advanced stats. All are imperfect and worthwhile.

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#68 Thinker
August 11 2014, 01:40PM
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Jeffer wrote:

I never said they are trying to remove the human element. But they are trying to force advanced stats on people that don't see the value without having proven that they add value. What overwhelming evidence are you talking about?

Maybe it's good you have up teaching. I happen to be a teacher and we teach kids to inquire and to question things. We don't just shove information down their throats and tell them "this is the new way, believe it".

I have seen no evidence that advanced stats can help a hockey team. Show my the contrary instead of saying that I should believe it just because you said so.

Guess thats why your such an insufferable cont (hoping spelling keeps me from getting removed). Probably a social teacher is my bet. Either way I skipped half my classes in highschool-two more and i would have had to redo a year. Still i still had 90% in my worst class. So I guess that tells you about what I think about the level of material you teach. I killed it not giving two sh*ts.

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#69 Thinker
August 11 2014, 01:41PM
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Thinker wrote:

Guess thats why your such an insufferable cont (hoping spelling keeps me from getting removed). Probably a social teacher is my bet. Either way I skipped half my classes in highschool-two more and i would have had to redo a year. Still i still had 90% in my worst class. So I guess that tells you about what I think about the level of material you teach. I killed it not giving two sh*ts.

Oops, i was more thinking to myself there. I wasn't going to send it.

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#70 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 02:01PM
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Thinker wrote:

Guess thats why your such an insufferable cont (hoping spelling keeps me from getting removed). Probably a social teacher is my bet. Either way I skipped half my classes in highschool-two more and i would have had to redo a year. Still i still had 90% in my worst class. So I guess that tells you about what I think about the level of material you teach. I killed it not giving two sh*ts.

Awe I'm sorry...poor little guy is having a meltdown. Very classy response though. A personal attack coupled with bragging about how you nearly had to repeat a year in high school because you skipped so much and didn't care. You're making a great case. I'm sure you're a very valuable, contributing member of society.

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#71 BobbyCanuck
August 11 2014, 03:12PM
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A bit late to the party, but I would love to see stats about:

1) Does a player shoot the puck when he should have passed it, or vice versa

2)When a player loses the puck does he: a)Try to get it back? b)Pick up the closest open man c)Float around in the hopes his team will recover the puck and get it back to him.

Advanced stats are so new, it appears that they may only be limited by ones imagination.

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#72 mike
August 11 2014, 03:31PM
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@Jeffer

Jeffer, la kings, blackhawks use advanced stats for example, so does the red wings. They have a payroll for it and they are successful NHL teams, so obviously your comment about how you need proof that they help, was not well researched. Tell me something, do you like math and science or are you more or a guy who isnt into math? I bet that most advanced stat Supporters are math/ science type people. If you reply that you like math (and are good at it honestly) then I find it hard to understand your dislike for advanced stats. Most people that dislike them or don't see the value in them simply cant understand them and how they are used. Do you think that any insurance company would base thier rates on watching cars drive down a random street or by using data and stats to determine likely hood of a given driver to cause an acident based on their past? It' the same in NHL, the data accumulated helps gms and coaches better understand a player that they didnt have time to watch every single second of his play. The data gives different coaches/teams info to compare against that will not change and that alone is extremely valuable. .. do you think the oilers staff had time to watch fayne, nikitin, pouliot etc... play every single game? Of course not. So they go by word of mouth (yes valuable as well) and the stats that luckily is at their disposal and comlarable. That is the value you fail to see, it gives them data that otherwise they woulnd't have xue to time and staff. If life worked like how you like it, why even keep score (thats a stat by the way) why not just ask random people at the end of the game who they thought was the better team and award points that way?) Heck well just give out the cup to whomever bob mcenzie thinks deserves it Lol ... see where im going here?

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#73 mike
August 11 2014, 03:34PM
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@mike

Sorry few typos in last comment, using new cell phone to type! Arrggg

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#74 Mike
August 11 2014, 03:41PM
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@Jeffer

Jeffer, it's kinda hard to pick players you plan on acquiring without knowing their stats, how would you narrow down your choices without using stats in the first place? I bet you 95-100% of GM's (okay 100%) will look at players stats to help them decide who they plan on acquiring and then they go after the target and send their scouts out to watch them, that is how to be efficient, something that all GM's need to be. It is backwards to pick a bunch of players you heard may be good and then send out your army of scouts (which teams can't afford - hotels/flights/meals) for hundreds of scouts when you can use the power of stats to narrow down that list, and then send the scouts out....

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#75 TigerUnderGlass
August 11 2014, 05:16PM
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Jeffer wrote:

No, I understand exactly what ignorant means.

"Lacking knowledge and awareness". Your comment that I don't understand lacks knowledge and awareness. You don't know what I know or don't know about advanced stats. I understand them, I just don't value them. It's possible people don't see their value even if we understand them. You just assume that because I don't see the value I can't possibly understand them...seems like the definition of ignorant to me. If you're gonna call people ignorant then take a look in the mirror first.

That is not my assumption at all. I don't care if you value them. Your comments demonstrate a complete lack of understanding, and this is why I believe you don't understand.

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#76 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 05:46PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

That is not my assumption at all. I don't care if you value them. Your comments demonstrate a complete lack of understanding, and this is why I believe you don't understand.

My comments that I don't see their value? So you're saying that I don't understand them because I don't value them? Your comment doesn't make any sense. By your logic I'd have to assume that you don't understand the English language because your comment demonstrates a complete lack of understanding.

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#77 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 05:53PM
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mike wrote:

Jeffer, la kings, blackhawks use advanced stats for example, so does the red wings. They have a payroll for it and they are successful NHL teams, so obviously your comment about how you need proof that they help, was not well researched. Tell me something, do you like math and science or are you more or a guy who isnt into math? I bet that most advanced stat Supporters are math/ science type people. If you reply that you like math (and are good at it honestly) then I find it hard to understand your dislike for advanced stats. Most people that dislike them or don't see the value in them simply cant understand them and how they are used. Do you think that any insurance company would base thier rates on watching cars drive down a random street or by using data and stats to determine likely hood of a given driver to cause an acident based on their past? It' the same in NHL, the data accumulated helps gms and coaches better understand a player that they didnt have time to watch every single second of his play. The data gives different coaches/teams info to compare against that will not change and that alone is extremely valuable. .. do you think the oilers staff had time to watch fayne, nikitin, pouliot etc... play every single game? Of course not. So they go by word of mouth (yes valuable as well) and the stats that luckily is at their disposal and comlarable. That is the value you fail to see, it gives them data that otherwise they woulnd't have xue to time and staff. If life worked like how you like it, why even keep score (thats a stat by the way) why not just ask random people at the end of the game who they thought was the better team and award points that way?) Heck well just give out the cup to whomever bob mcenzie thinks deserves it Lol ... see where im going here?

But how can you say LA, Chi, Det etc...have been successful due to advanced stats? There is now way of knowing if that makes a difference. Maybe they have better scouting staffs, coaching, gm, etc.

I'd say I'm a Math guy but not a Science guy. And honestly, yes I am good at both...and I teach both. I'm not saying I don't believe in Math, I'm saying I don't believe in the application having value in this instance. I will take a good scout watching player over a stats package any day of the week.

I don't think the comparison between insurance and hockey is valid because it's apples and oranges. Even between sports there are vast differences. I am sure the Oilers weren't able to watch every single game for those players...though with video they do have access to a lot of games. But they should have been able to go see a good chunk of them...enough to formulate an opinion. I'll take a scout watching Fayne play 5-10 games over his stats on "quality of competition and dzone starts" every single time.

The stats guys are saying they can predict everything and don't need to keep score. I'm saying you can never predict everything and that's why the stats are less valuable...they don't measure intangibles and they don't account for the human element of unpredictability.

I do see where you're coming from but I think we are definitely looking at it from two very different sides. What I do respect is that you are open to dialogue and not making it a personal attack like a lot of others just because I don't agree with them. I find it quite funny when the stats supporters think they are going to bully everyone else into supporting their beliefs.

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#78 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 05:56PM
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Mike wrote:

Jeffer, it's kinda hard to pick players you plan on acquiring without knowing their stats, how would you narrow down your choices without using stats in the first place? I bet you 95-100% of GM's (okay 100%) will look at players stats to help them decide who they plan on acquiring and then they go after the target and send their scouts out to watch them, that is how to be efficient, something that all GM's need to be. It is backwards to pick a bunch of players you heard may be good and then send out your army of scouts (which teams can't afford - hotels/flights/meals) for hundreds of scouts when you can use the power of stats to narrow down that list, and then send the scouts out....

I agree about certain stats...but things like "dzone starts" for example are not as relevant.

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#79 mike
August 11 2014, 06:00PM
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@Jeffer

Jeffer, please take 5 minutes to read this:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/08/11/edmonton-oilers-reporter-goes-on-incredible-anti-stats-rant/

It explains everything so clearly Thanks

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#80 mike
August 11 2014, 06:08PM
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@mike

Jeffer, I too respect non childish back and forth, I feel that it gets in the way of useful discussion. I think the reason stat guys that get all crazy is due to thier frustration in people not seeing thier side, it goes both ways and the true answer is somewhere in the middle. I will say that stats get more useful when as the data collected grows, therefore in 5 years, stats will be so much more useful to nhl teams due to the trend in increase in teams hiring them. And as a math guy you know the bigger the sample size the more accurate the predictions, so I say, bring it on!

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#81 jeffer
August 11 2014, 06:30PM
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mike wrote:

Jeffer, I too respect non childish back and forth, I feel that it gets in the way of useful discussion. I think the reason stat guys that get all crazy is due to thier frustration in people not seeing thier side, it goes both ways and the true answer is somewhere in the middle. I will say that stats get more useful when as the data collected grows, therefore in 5 years, stats will be so much more useful to nhl teams due to the trend in increase in teams hiring them. And as a math guy you know the bigger the sample size the more accurate the predictions, so I say, bring it on!

Fair comment...as I've said, time will tell.

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#82 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 06:34PM
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mike wrote:

Jeffer, please take 5 minutes to read this:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/08/11/edmonton-oilers-reporter-goes-on-incredible-anti-stats-rant/

It explains everything so clearly Thanks

I read it...but it was clearly written by someone on the other side of the coin. I think Van Diest (however you spell it) made some good points and some bad ones...but I think the same of the article you had me read. What stood out for me of what VD said were two things:

"Bringing him in, it seems like they’re appeasing Dallas Eakins. The Oilers are saying, ‘okay, Dallas, you’re a head coach, you can have the ingredients, all the ingredients you want. Bring in the assistants, bring in your guys; you’re not going to have any excuses if thing doesn’t work out. We’re going to give you everything [we] can, everything you want, in your power, to be successful.’ I think that’s what the Oilers are saying. ‘You want this you, you want this guy, you got this guy, bring them in, be successful. But if you’re not successful, then you can’t turn around and say to us, ‘hey, well I wasn’t given the tools to succeed here, and it didn’t work out.’ I think the Oilers basically are covering all their bases and saying ‘we want to be successful, we want this guy to be successful, let’s give him all the tools that he needs so that if it doesn’t work out he can’t turn around and say ‘well, I was never given the opportunity.’’ Because right now you can see he’s been given the opportunity by bringing in all the people that he wants to bring in"

"But I think in reality, they’re going to look at these advanced stats and they’re going to show their scouts and they’re going to compare them to what their scouts have said. Like ‘Okay, the scout watched this guy play, and he tells us he’s a good player, and this advanced stat is just validating what the scouts do. Why do we need two sources that tell us the same thing?’ Who are you going to get rid of? You going to get rid of your scouts or you going get rid of your advanced stats guy? I think in a couple of years that’s going to happen"

I think a lot of this is due to wanting to give Eakins the tools that HE believes he needs. I'm very glad they didn't fire the coach again and start from scratch...but I also don't believe Eakins is the guy to lead us to the playoffs. I think he'll be gone after this year.

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#83 Mike
August 11 2014, 06:56PM
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Jeffer wrote:

I read it...but it was clearly written by someone on the other side of the coin. I think Van Diest (however you spell it) made some good points and some bad ones...but I think the same of the article you had me read. What stood out for me of what VD said were two things:

"Bringing him in, it seems like they’re appeasing Dallas Eakins. The Oilers are saying, ‘okay, Dallas, you’re a head coach, you can have the ingredients, all the ingredients you want. Bring in the assistants, bring in your guys; you’re not going to have any excuses if thing doesn’t work out. We’re going to give you everything [we] can, everything you want, in your power, to be successful.’ I think that’s what the Oilers are saying. ‘You want this you, you want this guy, you got this guy, bring them in, be successful. But if you’re not successful, then you can’t turn around and say to us, ‘hey, well I wasn’t given the tools to succeed here, and it didn’t work out.’ I think the Oilers basically are covering all their bases and saying ‘we want to be successful, we want this guy to be successful, let’s give him all the tools that he needs so that if it doesn’t work out he can’t turn around and say ‘well, I was never given the opportunity.’’ Because right now you can see he’s been given the opportunity by bringing in all the people that he wants to bring in"

"But I think in reality, they’re going to look at these advanced stats and they’re going to show their scouts and they’re going to compare them to what their scouts have said. Like ‘Okay, the scout watched this guy play, and he tells us he’s a good player, and this advanced stat is just validating what the scouts do. Why do we need two sources that tell us the same thing?’ Who are you going to get rid of? You going to get rid of your scouts or you going get rid of your advanced stats guy? I think in a couple of years that’s going to happen"

I think a lot of this is due to wanting to give Eakins the tools that HE believes he needs. I'm very glad they didn't fire the coach again and start from scratch...but I also don't believe Eakins is the guy to lead us to the playoffs. I think he'll be gone after this year.

Ok thanks for reading so we can discuss, First of all, I agree that Eakins will be gone by season end as well. I never liked the coaching turnover rate but I think where the Carosel wheel stopped spinning was on the wrong guy. The one thing that I have a hard time commenting on is how everyone seems to be talking like Eakins made the hire. I try to read many articles and listen to Oilers Now on Ched, and I don't remember anyone officially stating Eakins chose this guy or hired him etc.. For all we know, Mac T values Advanced stats (as hes mentioned publicly) and just hired Dellow all on his own possibly with Eakins input but I believe the Idea was more MacT's due to his belief that more info is better than less.

The second part about in a few years realizing that Stats are just confirming what guys know. There's many problems with this comment, but mainly If the stats do end up confirming more and more what the best in the league already know then that is one way to prove why they are so useful. Because then a team can have Ultra confidence that an outside acquisition will fit their needs. They can just trust the stats because they will be equal to what the best of the best already know, and how valuable is that info (because we now that not all scouts are the same and knowing what the better ones know is valuable). Of course stats will never get to that point exactly, but they are getting better and better every year. Also, Stats are something that we can all look at as individuals, and compare them against each other, they are concrete once calculated. Opinions on players will vary (obviously) therefore trying to have a fair debate about an opinion will end up in futility (same as us saying oilers are better than the leafs), leafs fans and oilers fans could argue that for ever. But if we asked, who has more cups per years of NHL existence then we all know the Oilers win :). This is a tangible undebatable fact (stat) we can use. So stats are different than opinions, and one will never replace the other but they both have value.

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#84 Mike
August 11 2014, 07:02PM
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@Mike

I just calculated oilers cups/years in league versus the leafs cups/years in league,

and we do come out ahead, but it was closer than I thought.... We better start winning soon ;)

Oilers, 35 years / 5 cups = .142857

Leafs, 95 years/ 13 cups = .136842

Come on OIL !! Pick It UP!!!

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#85 Mike
August 11 2014, 07:10PM
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@Mike

And If I dig a bit more advanced with that Stat, then it tips even more in the Oilers favour.

The odds of winning the cup becomes decreases (all other things being equal) as there are more teams in the NHL, and the Leafs had way less teams to compete against for a long time original six and all. Stats just go on and on, and you can have fum with them. So we still are WAYYYYY better then the leafs.

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#86 TigerUnderGlass
August 11 2014, 10:05PM
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Jeffer wrote:

My comments that I don't see their value? So you're saying that I don't understand them because I don't value them? Your comment doesn't make any sense. By your logic I'd have to assume that you don't understand the English language because your comment demonstrates a complete lack of understanding.

No. Comments like:

The stats guys are saying they can predict everything and don't need to keep score.

Complete nonsense.

Regarding another comment.

I find it quite funny when the stats supporters think they are going to bully everyone else into supporting their beliefs.

I find it funny when people defend their opinions and then are accused of bullying.

You don't seem to have an argument, you just have faith that scouts have better memories than video cameras. Just say "I have a belief that cannot be supported by any evidence but you'll never convince me otherwise" and leave it at that.

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#87 Jeffer
August 11 2014, 10:54PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

No. Comments like:

The stats guys are saying they can predict everything and don't need to keep score.

Complete nonsense.

Regarding another comment.

I find it quite funny when the stats supporters think they are going to bully everyone else into supporting their beliefs.

I find it funny when people defend their opinions and then are accused of bullying.

You don't seem to have an argument, you just have faith that scouts have better memories than video cameras. Just say "I have a belief that cannot be supported by any evidence but you'll never convince me otherwise" and leave it at that.

Says the guy with no evidence to back up his beliefs.

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#88 TigerUnderGlass
August 12 2014, 02:26PM
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Jeffer wrote:

Says the guy with no evidence to back up his beliefs.

Right. To counter your well conceived "I just don't believe in stats because 2 eyes at 3 games are as good as 100 at every game" argument all I have is a series of logically sound premises which lead to a sane conclusion.

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#89 Jeffer
August 12 2014, 03:48PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Right. To counter your well conceived "I just don't believe in stats because 2 eyes at 3 games are as good as 100 at every game" argument all I have is a series of logically sound premises which lead to a sane conclusion.

My argument has always been that the stats are unnecessary with proper scouting and knowledge of the game.

Your argument seems to be: stats are new and therefore must be good. They are better because there are more eyes on them. That's not a logically sound premise. You just get upset whenever someone disagrees so rather than try to prove a point you try to argue and bully everyone into agreeing with you.

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#90 TigerUnderGlass
August 12 2014, 10:51PM
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Jeffer wrote:

My argument has always been that the stats are unnecessary with proper scouting and knowledge of the game.

Your argument seems to be: stats are new and therefore must be good. They are better because there are more eyes on them. That's not a logically sound premise. You just get upset whenever someone disagrees so rather than try to prove a point you try to argue and bully everyone into agreeing with you.

Such an odd response. New? Eyes are on them? What? I sort of wish I knew what you think I've been saying because it sounds hilarious.

I don't get upset when people disagree. Quite the opposite. I hope you never agree with me.

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#91 David Staples
August 15 2014, 09:01AM
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Yes, I did write some critical things about your play. Sorry to hear that your friends sent them to you.

My advice to any player would be to never go on the Internet and never read what a blogger or columnist to say.

Why would you?

Nothing -- or almost nothing -- a columnist or blogger says can improve a player's performance.

One other thing -- there are dozens of different opinions on any player. analytics are all over the map in terms of what they say about players. That's why analytics are so controversial -- there's no wide agreement on best practice in many areas of rating players.

I'm not going to apologize for criticizing the play of players, because I work hard to get it right, analyzing a ton of video, been doing it for years, and I also strive to increase my hockey knowledge.

Finally, I also try to never say anything about the player's character or personality, just focus on his on-ice performance. That's what we see in public, that's what players get paid handsomely to perform, that's The Show, and The Show is a huge entertainment industry that is all about performance and winning, so it's fair comment to dig into that.

If I did comment on you as a person, and make some glib negative remark, I certainly apologize for that. You were nothing if not a hard-working, smart, tough hockey player, and I respect the way you played the game (even as I tried to fairly and accurately critique your performance).

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#92 James
August 15 2014, 10:30AM
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Jason Strudwick

This all brings me to my point… so if we got to the same place and agreed on the outcome why do we have to argue about how we got there? Why does it have to be either analytics or traditional hockey thought for so many people? One or the other? In the Twitter world it seems like a war. Just doesn't make sense to me. Why is there an argument about how we come to the same conclusion?

You're asking the wrong question. It's when your eyes/experience and the analytics don't get to the same place that it's most important to have both. Then you can begin to ask questions and find out what's really going on.

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#93 Andy
August 17 2014, 05:28PM
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Jeffer wrote:

My argument has always been that the stats are unnecessary with proper scouting and knowledge of the game.

Your argument seems to be: stats are new and therefore must be good. They are better because there are more eyes on them. That's not a logically sound premise. You just get upset whenever someone disagrees so rather than try to prove a point you try to argue and bully everyone into agreeing with you.

Is that seriously the only premise of your argument?

That stats tell you what people with years upon years of scouting and knowledge of the game should already be able to know?

The math equivalent of such a premise would be 2+2 =4, therefore 3+1 is unnecessary.

If you're arriving at the same conclusion, isn't it helpful to be able to examine what different parts are in play EVEN if you come to the right conclusion?

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