March 12 2013 12:09PM
Photo by Uwe Kils, via Wikimedia Commons
While the argument in Toronto has centered around shot rates and shooting percentage, there's another metric to keep your eye on in Toronto - penalty kill percentage.
March 10 2013 08:43AM
Photo by Michael Miller, via Wikimedia Commons
Half-way through the season and not much is changing in the predictive power rankings even though we're still adding to the model. One item of note is the race for 8th in the Western Conference. If Kari Lehtonen is healthy, Dallas is clear of the bottom portion of the conference for the last playoff spot. Minnesota, Calgary and Phoenix are clumped together behind the Stars as the 9th, 10th and 11th best teams in the West. Even though the Wild aren't better than last year's team, and Calgary is a mess in goal, they have an advantage over the Stars and Coyotes - they play each other and the awful Oilers and Avalanche a combined 7 times before the season is over.
These rankings aren't presented as a look at the current standings or last couple of weeks' worth of performances. Our goal is to build a predictive model that gives us a glimpse into the season-ending standings and first-round playoff matchups. Our rankings aren't based solely on the current NHL standings, though points earned are a significant portion of the model, they are based on a number of underlying metrics so the rankings are constantly in flux. This week we've added remaining opponents in the hopes of building a better model.
We're still tweaking that model, so we're not quite ready to unveil it, but consider this NHLNumbers' current best effort at predicting the standings and playoff pairings at the end of the season. One item of note - 38% of the game is luck, and we don't attempt to predict or model that 38%, and we don't plan to.
March 08 2013 03:52PM
Yesterday I discussed some of the entrenched misperceptions about statistical analysis in hockey and why they are misguided. Today, in a post called "Hockey's Counting Problem", Cam Charron looked at some of the significant obstacles standing in the way of effective, evidence-based analysis truly getting a foothold in the NHL's upper offices.
Two challenges he touches on that I want to discuss in greater depth are top-down vs bottom-up processes and the clash between long-term decision making and short-term incentives.
March 07 2013 01:10PM
A couple of things running through my head between Flames games today. The first topic has to do with hitting and winning versus shooting and winning. The second topic is on how advanced analysis in hockey is gaining prominence (but is still obviously misunderstood).