Older players and the grind of a long season

Eric T.
November 13 2012 02:31PM

I've often heard it suggested that players wear down over the course of a season.

When I wrote about whether players elevate their game in the playoffs, multiple people in the comments argued that players can and should conserve energy during the regular season. It's a particularly common suggestion for older players, who are presumed to be more prone to fatigue. Guys like Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne hate taking days off, but players and coaches are so convinced that they will wear out that they insist on it.

I'm not a physiology expert by any means, so I'm not qualified to make direct assessments of whether older players will suffer more cumulative fatigue than younger players would. However, I am capable of looking at whether such fatigue is born out in the stats.

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Chris Higgins Doesn't Get Mainstream Attention, But He Should

Dimitri Filipovic
November 13 2012 07:27AM

A past-his-prime Scott Gomez. Tom Pyatt. Michael Busto. An over-the-hill Olli Jokinen. Brandon Prust. Evan Oberg. A third round draft pick. Those are all of the assets that Chris Higgins was traded for over the span of two years, as he transitioned from being a former lottery pick to a journeyman who couldn't find a place to stick. 

As the story goes, the Canucks weren't even all that interested in Higgins in February of 2011, when they acquired him from the Panthers at the trade deadline. They had their sights set on another player, but wound up making a deal for Higgins - who was on the shelf with a hand injury at the time - in the final minutes before the deadline in an attempt to bolster themselves on the wing for a long playoff run. 

Once he arrived in Vancouver, Higgins was able to lay claim to something that not many others could: he had called five different cities "home" over the course of the previous 20 months. Since then, he has proven to be an exceptionally valuable commodity for the Canucks, and a darling of the advanced stats community. But still, I feel that there are far too many hockey fans out there who don't appreciate what he brings to the table, and it's time that we change that.

Read Past the Jump for More on Chris Higgins.

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Best of the Nation - 11.11.12

Jonathan Willis
November 11 2012 10:27AM

Photo: Hakan Dahlstrom/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0

It's Hockey Hall of Fame week, so we lead off with a question: should the Canucks retire Pavel Bure's jersey? From there, the conversation goes all over - NHL equivalencies, the impact of the lockout on AHL attendance, whether rebuilding actually works, the U.S. presidential election, how to win an Evander Kane autographed stick and jersey, NHL '13, puckhogs, the demise (or exaggerated demise?) of the Sedins and much more.

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Undervalued Player - Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Corey S.
November 09 2012 02:48PM

Ivanmakarov at en.wikipedia from Wikimedia Commons

Ever since the last lockout, the San Jose Sharks have always seemed to have a lot of big names in their defense corps. Over the last half-decade, the Sharks blue-line corps has seen players such as Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff, Brent Burns, Rob Blake and Brian Campbell play big minutes, and with a cast like that, there are bound to be some players who get overlooked. On the Sharks, that player is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This isn’t to say that Vlasic is completely overlooked because most hockey fans know that he is a solid player, but what might get overlooked is just how good he is.

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Putting error bars on NHL equivalencies

Eric T.
November 09 2012 07:40AM

After I posted the prospects wing of our reference library, I got a couple of interesting replies on Twitter:

I love what the #fancystats community have done, lots of useful stuff, but confidence in their goalie and prospect analysis a bit too high.

@steffeG @Sens_Army_ @NHLnumbers not in that library are any columns pointing to the limits of prospect analysis.

I asked both of them to explain further. (I also defended myself -- my Tweets announcing both of those articles made light of how iffy the stats are in those areas, so I think it was clear that I know there are limitations.) The essence of their feedback, as I understood it, was that by not actively discussing the uncertainty, we as a community have implied that we know more than we do.

This strikes me as a fair criticism, at least in part. It seems like half the articles in the goalie section talk about how unpredictable goalies seem to be, so I'm not sure I'd accept the critique there. But it's pretty rare for us to put actual error bars on our projections. For prospects in particular, there have been a lot of articles written where we give league translation factors to two decimal places; I am pretty certain that the authors did not mean to imply that we can project results to within 1%, but we haven't explicitly laid that out for people.

Can we actually estimate the uncertainty on those projections?

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