March 01 2015 10:01AM
(This article was originally published at The Score almost 5 years ago and has since been dustbinned. It is re-published here for posterity)
An enduring debate in hockey analysis circles currently centers around “observation” versus “stats”. Like most arguments that enter the public domain, the debate has become polarized to such a degree that the dichotomy presented is an utterly false one.
The truth is, rather than “observation versus stats”, the actual debate is over traditional analysis (a mix of observation, counting numbers and conventional perception about what wins hockey games) and co called “advanced” analysis (which foregrounds testing observation and perceptions with statistical methods).
September 03 2014 12:00PM
(In part 1 I discussed the current state of advanced stats in the NHL with a view to defining an "ideal state" for NHL clubs in their efforts to establish modern analytics departments. In part 2, we look at where this form of analysis came from and where it may be headed in the future)
“I’ve never said, never thought, that it was better to be an outsider than it was to be an insider, that my view of the game was better than anyone else’s. It’s different; better in some ways, worse in some ways. What I have said is, since we are outsiders…let us use our position as outsiders to what advantage we can. Let us back off from the trees, look at the forest as a whole, and see what we can learn from that.”
- Bill James
Having been an early adopter and advocate of possession-based analysis, perhaps the most common complaint I encountered over the years was how, if corsi was so valuable, it was not actively employed by those who make their living inside the game. If the virtues of this analysis are so clear, why didn't the experts come up with it? How could a bunch of no-name amateurs create something that could be of value to experienced, lifelong hockey men?
September 02 2014 12:00PM
I began writing about hockey in 2005. Through a combination of timing and proximity, I have had the fortune of a ringside view of the genesis, dissemination and popularization of hockey's so-called advanced stats. Over this two part series, I will share some of the insights engendered by this somewhat unique perspective. My focus will be on what's currently happening in the league now as teams flock to build analytic departments around possession theory, as well as why the movement grew outside of the league's front offices and where we may expect this sort of analysis to go in the future.
The off-season of 2014 may well be remembered as the summer of stats, although corsi numbers and their various accoutrements made their way into popular discourse earlier in the year when they began popping up in national broadcasts and game day discussions. No doubt the new numbers began to spread in part due to the spectacular failure of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a club that had been deemed as a bellwether for possession-based theory at the onset of the season. Their subsequent 84-point, 12th place finish in the face of expanded expectations and executive confidence was the metaphorical canary in the coal mine as it were.
December 27 2013 11:31AM
Although "new stats" are still considered the useless obsession of a small collection of dilettantes in some quarters, they are nevertheless growing in prominence and use across the game. Possession stats like corsi are the basis of this upheaval and I still get a lot of questions and requests for clarification when it comes to these sorts of metrics.
Instead of answer them individually via email I decided to put together a crash course of the most important measures. In this series, I'll discuss what the measures are, what they mean, why they are useful and how they can easily referenced.
We'll start with corsi.
December 25 2013 08:06AM
About this time last year we at the Nations were trying to figure out a way to make the seemingly endless lock-out interesting (and to keep the lights on as our advertisers fled in terror).
Flash forward 12 months and we're bigger than ever after adding Brian Sutherby, Daily Faceoff and getting JetsNation on its feet (with the help of some great new contributors). We have some big plans for the future and will likely be adding even more content, gear, features, contests and fantasy type games very soon.
Of course, none of this is possible without all of our readers. So thank you for sticking with us through the dark times and continuting to make writing and reading here interesting, challenging, fun and rewarding.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.