Stats are ruining hockey

Eric T.
October 29 2012 07:23AM

Sabermetrics! Fun!
"It's a triumph of number-crunching over the human spirit -- and it's about time."

It's something I think we've all heard, that stats are ruining the game. It always struck me as nonsense.

After all, a fan could easily watch every game on television, read his hometown newspaper every day, talk to the guys at the bar all the time, and never once encounter a non-traditional statistic. If you really hate hearing about non-traditional hockey stats, it seems like your strongest rational claim is that stats are ruining the arguments you like having in certain circles on Twitter and blog comment sections.

Surely they aren't actually hurting the product on the ice, right?

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Number Chains - October 28, 2012 Links

Josh L.
October 28 2012 05:26PM

This new, regular feature on NHLNumbers will share interesting stats-related posts from around the web almost every day.

Welcome to edition number two of the rebooted Number Chains. In this space you will be able to find the best analytical hockey writing from around the internet on a close-to-daily basis. Subject matter will include statistical evaluation, financial analysis, contractual issues, and (sometimes) closely-related tangential works. If you have something you would like to submit for a future edition (your writing or that of someone else) feel free to send it to me via Twitter @JoshL1220 or leave a comment.

Happy Sunday. We begin today with a piece Tom Tango posted at his site insidethebook.com. Tom explored the question as to whether or not the owners should be obligated to honor player contracts signed with terms that extended past the current CBA. Tom's main point is one that has been reported some in the media, but not nearly enough when discussing the issue:

It’s important to note that even under the old CBA, these “dollar” contracts were really “monopoly dollars”.  If these monopoly dollars totalled more than 57% of the revenues the league collected, the players would not be “made whole”.

So, why would the players necessarily be made whole under a new CBA where the players get 50%?  Just because they signed a contract that went years beyond the previous CBA?

At the same time, if the teams don’t honor those contracts outside the original CBA years, then those contracts should therefore be declared null and void.  That is, the teams have a choice: “make whole” on the contracts (out of their own pockets, not the players), or release the players from their contract altogether.  The player has the option to either accept being released from their contract, or accept that they won’t be made whole.

More lockout coverage than you can shake a stick at after the jump.

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Best of the Nation - 10.28.12

Jonathan Willis
October 28 2012 10:54AM

After the jump: a look at the best prospects for the 2013 Draft, discussing trade rumours, the lockout and solutions to it, following injuries around the league, and much more.

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Powerplay Time (Or Fantasy Lifeline)

Josh L.
October 27 2012 10:11AM

Image via MochaSwirl from WikiMedia Commons

Our goal in fantasy hockey is to read tea leaves to identify the players who will help us accumulate as many counting stats as possible. Checkers and grinders are undoubtedly vital to the NHL game, but those skills are worthless to us in fantasy. What we want are the guys lighting up the scoreboard.

Oddly enough, oftentimes the guys lighting up the scoreboard have done a lot of damage on the powerplay. Of the top 50 goal scorers from last season the average player netted 27% of his goals on the powerplay. It's easier to score on the powerplay given that there is one less defender so identifying players who proved to be good even strength scorers and should see a bump in powerplay time next year should yield some fantasy sleepers.

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It's All About Nathan MacKinnon In The Consensus Top 50

Derek Zona
October 26 2012 04:08PM

Halifax Mooseheads Logo

When we last checked in on the 2013 NHL Draft rankings, it was all about Nathan MacKinnon.  The October rankings...haven't changed at all.  He's still the number one player on the list and it's not close.  Copper & Blue writer Alan Hull got to view MacKinnon in person in early October and though he thought MacKinnon had an off game, he did see the skill:

"He certainly showed that he does have high-level skills, though I didn't see anything on this night that I would classify as elite. Among his biggest assets, he has the ability to be strong on the puck and hold off defenders with his strength and he has some explosive speed when he wanted to show it, which unfortunately was not often enough on this night."

Hull's biggest criticism?  A lack of attention to defense.  Something that is nearly universal in young scoring centers:

As a centre, he needed to be down below the face-off dot much more often engaging in the team's defensive zone coverage. Instead, I found him to be staying too high, and at the first appearance of an opportunity for the Mooseheads to gain possession, he was gone...out towards the blue line and frequently beyond it hoping to lead the rush.

MacKinnon is one of three Mooseheads in the top 24 in this month's Consensus Rankings.  The sources for the consensus list are Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, ISS, Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report.

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