# Embracing numbers or: Why I learned to watch the game AND use statistics

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Anyone that follows me on twitter or that has read any of my pieces here at MLHS knows that I enjoy using possession statistics alongside production statistics to examine and evaluate players. After recent events, like Lupul’s tweets and Alec’s interview with Greg Cronin, that have stirred up the tension between those that use these statistics and those that don’t, I thought I’d dig into why the use of statistics should be embraced.

A few common responses that I’m seeing to the use of statistics in general, but especially possession statistics, are “watch the game, statistics don’t tell you everything,” or “watching the game tells me everything I need to know” or even “statistics are basically magic.”

The first response isn’t incorrect. In fact, there are very few (if any) bloggers that would tell you statistics are all-encompassing measures of a player. Many bloggers (and fans) use a combination of video evidence and collected statistics to evaluate and compare players, teams and coaches. Disgraced journalist Jonah Lehrer wrote an article about the problems with sabermetrics in baseball (mainly that people are fixating on these numbers as the be-all and end-all) and Bill Petti wrote a critical response that has a great (and relevant) quote:

[pull_quote_center]… Lehrer’s main argument shouldn’t be that teams are assembling bad teams because of a narrow-minded focus on things they can quantify. The argument should be that teams that don’t think deeply about what are the right metrics and how much variance they account for in player achievement will fail just as much as those teams that used to generally ignore analytical approaches to the game. Data and statistics are not to blame for bad decisions–their misapplication is.[/pull_quote_center]

What I love about this quote is that it echoes something that I’ve said in response to Cronin’s interview with Alec: that just because an NHL team is using certain statistics to make decisions, doesn’t mean that method is the right way to proceed. In other words, I’m warning people about confusing what is and what should be.

The third response seems pretty silly to me and since there really aren’t that many people forwarding that view I’ll leave it at that.

The second response isn’t necessarily incorrect, but it’s highly unlikely and that’s really what I want to focus on in this piece.

Why is it highly unlikely that watching the game tells you everything you need to know? It’s a great question and there are multiple challenges.

Let’s start with the old adage “practice makes perfect,” and apply it to responses about how much hockey you’ve watched. Well, as it turns out, that adage should really go proper/perfect practice makes perfect.” The idea that I’m trying to convey here is that just watching the games isn’t enough to have you excel in understanding hockey. You’ll need to approach watching hockey in a systematic way that pushes you to your limits and that aims to improve your ability to understand hockey. This, in part, brings us back to the idea of needing know what we need to be focusing on and what events are important to understanding how to evaluate players, coaches and teams. Cue the next challenge.

Let’s say that you have a systematic approach to watching hockey and now you want to know what events you need to focus on. People are influenced by conspicuity (how eye catching something is), and so when deciding what to focus on, that’s likely where you’ll start. This is where you’ll run into the challenge of inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness occurs when you don’t notice an unexpected event in your field of vision because you’re focusing on another event.

Why does this matter when watching hockey? If you’re focusing on the conspicuous events (possibilities: goals, hits, big saves) then you’re less likely to notice less conspicuous events (possibilities: set plays, zone exits/entries, pre-shot positioning) and you’re more likely to see what you expect to see (perhaps why Cronin thought he saw Grabovski turn the puck over in game 7). Inattentional blindness shows that even if the event is conspicuous, like a player entering the attacking zone, if you don’t know to look for that event and you’re focused on something else, like a hit that just happened, you’d likely miss the zone entry. Good news though: once you know to look for certain things they become easier to spot. The problem is that you can’t focus on everything.

Now, let’s assume that you have a systematic approach to watching hockey and you know what you want to focus on. After a game, or a season, is over and you go to evaluate a player (or coach or team), you first have to recall everything you’ve seen and despite your system and focus, your mind will play tricks on you. Most people think the brain works like a video camera that stores your memories perfectly, but the reality is that your memory is malleable, stored in pieces and events reconstructed every time you call on it. When you listen to the commentators describe the game, the way you remember the events they are talking about is influenced by the terminology used. For example, stronger phrasing, like “bulldozed” over “hit”, can lead to altered memories to support the phrasing (meaning you’ll remember the hit as bigger than it was).

On top of that, negative memories are more accurate than positive memories and studies lead to the suggestion that “individuals in a negative mood process information in an analytical and detailed fashion, whereas people in a positive mood rely on broader schematic or thematic information and ignore the details.” (Note: This is probably an important piece of information to keep in mind for Leafs fans as we head into next season after making the playoffs for the first time since 2004.)

Despite your system and your focus, not only is your memory unreliable and malleable but your mind is also subject to cognitive biases and heuristics (mental short-cuts that make problem solving simpler) that impact your judgment and decision-making. There are many heuristics and cognitive biases but I’m going to narrow the focus to just a few big ones (though I strongly encourage you to look at as many as you can).

Let’s take a look at availability heuristic first. This heuristic occurs when you assign the probability of an event occurring based on the ease with which you can recall a similar event to mind. So, you see a player turn the puck over (and because that may be a negative even you may be more likely to remember it) during the season and it lead to a goal against. When you try to recall how this player is defensively and that image jumps into your head, you’re more likely think that it’s a frequent occurrence even though it may not be. It’s worth noting that the images called to mind don’t have to be memories, imagined scenarios work just as well.

Next on the list is representativeness heuristic. This heuristic states that when slotting objects into multiple classes, the probability with which an object belongs to a class is dependent upon the degree to which that object is representative of the stereotype of that class. Very wordy, but a simple example is the stereotype of defensive-defensemen being big, mean, crease-clearing machines and then asking you whether a 5’10 defenseman that looks honest and plays cleanly is a defensive defenseman.

Confirmation bias is a tendency to favour information that supports your preconceived notion, irrespective of the validity of that information. This leads to the selective use of memory and information gathering skills. For example, you are more likely to remember or notice giveaways by a player that you think (rightly or wrongly) is a turnover machine.

The halo effect is another bias that can have a large impact on decision-making. This bias occurs when the perception of an element of an object spills over into other elements of that object. This can result in the evaluation of a player that exhibits generally likeable aspect to their game like blocking shots (*cough* Tim Brent *cough*) or physical play being more favourable than otherwise would be the case. The opposite bias (less favourable evaluation due to spillovers from a negative aspect) is the horn effect.

So, even if you are observing the game properly and know what to look for, your observation and interpretation of the game and the results are inherently biased and your memory unreliable. Hopefully, you are beginning to see the potential interaction between some of these phenomena and why they complicate observation, recollection and evaluation.

What’s the good news? Using statistics can help overcome some of these challenges (though they also present some different ones) by attempting to provide objective accounts of transpired events that can act as fact checking measures on what we perceive, observe and remember.

I’ll leave this monstrosity of an article (though there is a lot unsaid and I wish I could have touched on Bayesian thinking) with a question: is it statistics that need to be confirmed by observation, or the other way around?

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• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

All perfectly valid points about error in human observation and memory.
Thank you for mentioning the flip side of the coin – the overapplication of or overreliance on imperfect statistics can also be erroneous. I hope this is a two parter so as to point out those in more detail.
With many of the advanced stats we are basically coming back to shots and pumping them into a formula. We’ve heard many convoluted ways of saying the Leafs were a poor team because they were outshot by 2.5 shots on average, or whatever it is.
On its own I don’t think this accurately encaptures how the team played last season. Their system fit the strengths and weaknesses of the roster. I don’t think Cronin said anything terribly controversial and was surprised to see the interview get the reaction it got. Of course the goal is to generate quality possessions of the puck and Cronin said he wants the team to get better at it.

• B_Leaf

@daveybolland
Cronin’s points were legit. The Leafs rarely gave up good scoring chances. Even when some teams hemmed them in they were only perimeter chances if any at all. The best chances team generated against us consistently were point shots, and generally they had to hope for a bounce or a deflection. This is an aspect we need to improve on. But offensively not only did we create great chances at the other end, not only did we win the dirty ice, we also showed tremendous finishing skills because we had good finishers like JVR, Lupul, Kadri, Kessel, Frattin, Grabovski, MacA, Bozak, Kulemin. This year we have replaced a few guys with Clarkson and Bolland. In addition Gardiner should add offense from the back end.
If we can score the same way, while taking away the points better, we should be good.

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

B_Leaf I had no idea it was so controversial to dispute the idea that all shots were created equal.

• NotInsane

@daveybolland B_Leaf
Agree Daveybolland, the reliance on normally distributed shot quality is as erroneous as believing stock returns are normally distributed random events.

• NotInsane

B_Leaf
the Leafs had some great finish; none more so than Bozak who was perhaps the most dangerous Leaf on breakaways.

• Doorman

Third!!!

• Burtonboy

Doorman Better then last lol

Doorman Old man take a look at yourself, I’m a lot like you.

• Doorman

Radar O’Rielly Doorman 24 and there is so much more!!!  lol

• wiski

Doorman Radar O’Rielly sounds like time for a beer run 😉

• Doorman

wiski Doorman Radar O’Rielly Im Good!!!  lol

• Komas Taberle

Alec have you applied for a press pass from Leaf media relations, if not you have now.

• wiski

Gunnarsson signing is money extraordinarily well spent.he eats up significant minutes.rreliable defensivelyq and solid on Special teams https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TML&src=hash

• Komas Taberle

wiski Bill is one of his moments of clarity before he gets his shit eating grin on and pisses all over his living room.

• Doorman

Komas Taberle wiski Lol.  Giving his dog some pointers!!!  lol

• Komas Taberle

Doorman Komas Taberle wiski lol

Doorman Komas Taberle wiski Or a bone….

• Burtonboy

• wiski

Burtonboy wiski I’ve been away for the weekend but glad he signed at a reasonable price

• SatsMundin

Burtonboy wiski many of the people who give Nonis a hard time for his bad moves have credited him for this signing.. The people at PPP get harped on for always being so negative, but nobody will remeber moments like this where they had a positive reaction to the signing. Credit where it’s due for Nonis.

• NotInsane

SatsMundin Burtonboy wiski
PPP should take down the banner “Fire Nonis”.  I have no respect for them at this time.

• NotInsane

If you want to discuss Bayesian metrics discuss Bayesian metrics.  Every statistics should be evaluated individually rather than collectively.   Bu that’s just common sense.  Of course, everyone on this site can watch the same event and draw different conclusions.
We all use statistics.  Save percentage, goals, assists, ATOI: these are statistics. I don’t understand where this article is going except to challenge the “straw man” argument we don’t need any statistics at all.

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

NotInsane Also a good point.
Those being painted as anti-statistics are basically just anti corsi/fenwick, not necessarily against using numbers.
Also we have to be willing to admit “advanced statistics” have brought useful things. Like measuring zone starts, that’s an interesting piece of information. Usage statistics are very handy.

• NotInsane

@daveybolland NotInsane
Yes!  I agree completely.  I think there are many great “advanced stats” that show you the role a player has been playing in.  These are very helpful in understanding how a player contributes (or has contributed in the past).
Using Corsi to evaluate a player’s ability relies on the correlation between shots for/against and goals for/against.  I haven’t seen any convincing evidence that shots are a good proxy for goals.

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

TheCanucksnaphook Some but not all.
Stephen Burtch strikes me as a bright guy who has tried to use his intelligent math brain to understand a game he has very little feel for. He wants their to be a number explaining everything that occurs on the ice and it’s just not a sport that lends itself to that.

• MaxwellHowe

@daveybolland TheCanucksnaphook Whilst I do not enjoy raising the spectre of game 7 once more, it does illustrate the weakness with stats.  Advanced stats do not explain how the Leafs could so thoroughly collapse and the Bruins could so thoroughly dominate in the closing minutes.  It was about momentum, experience, exhaustion and luck.  Stats do not measure these things.

• NotInsane

MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook
So much of sport comes down to a few seconds and a fraction of an inch.  Its hard to imagine a metric that could capture the final two minutes of game 7

• SteveBurtch

MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook But I thought you guys understood things like “random bounces”?
Strange that your “feel for the game” CAN explain something that has basically never happened before, but “random chance” doesn’t work for you?

• Dink

SteveBurtch MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook Mogilny  took a shot once, came up into stands and hit me in the crotch…thought that was kinna random.

• Doorman

Now there is a great handle name!!!  Mr. Rooter!!!  lol

• SatsMundin

TheCanucksnaphook ok, so let’s just throw out the idea of stats altogether then!! just because you (possibly incorrectly) believe a few people who use stats don’t know hockey well is no reason to disregard them completely.  As Taylor said, stats should not be the be all end all, and should be accompanied by analysis through watching the game, and vice versa.

• Leafbites

TheCanucksnaphook SatsMundin Simple as links golf.

• Doorman

TheCanucksnaphook Leafbites You got that wind mill hole figured out yet???  Lol

• Uncle Otis

Doorman
Nope,but he hits the clown’s mouth every time

• wiski

• wiski

TheCanucksnaphook wiski LOL

• dlb eh

wiski
oh God no

• dlb eh

TheCanucksnaphook wiski
keep posting.  move this down the page fast.  it’s awful

• Doorman

wiski Looks like the Royal Milkman was at it again!!!  lol

• Dink

wiski looks like Brad Marchant !!

• Uncle Otis

@Dink
Clearly got Grandpa Charles genes 😉

wiski Shudder!

• Komas Taberle

wiski It does look like a Windsor.

wiski Wake up Maggie, there’s no fucking way this is mine!!!

• http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

wiski Fake….ears aren’t nearly big enough #Dumbo

• mlclearwater

Here’s a stat. There is one boring article posted above.  Lots of good work and arguments but dear god man. at least put some boob shots in somewhere

• NotInsane

TheCanucksnaphook mlclearwater
Cam Charron is perhaps the worst writer I have ever willingly read.

• mlclearwater

NotInsane TheCanucksnaphook mlclearwater Ya i dont mean to be rude and i appreciate the work but holy shit, just give me breast, trade rumors, player bio’s or some other shit I can enjoy. Stats are stats

• Dink

mlclearwater hahaha

• Burtonboy

Different strokes for different folks I guess. For me hockey is entertainment and I love watching the game . Pretty sure I’ve garnered enough knowledge to understand what I need to know about the game by watching over a lot of years. Only the basic stats of of interest to me.. Not to trash the guys who are into advanced stats for one minute but for me its nothing but a chore trying to dig my way through this stuff and frankly its pretty dry mundane stuff for the most part. If advanced stats and spread sheets are your thing then by all means enjoy but I’ll stick to simply watching a game while I enjoy a beer or two.

• Aaron Chan

Burtonboy Whatever floats your boat BB

• Burtonboy

Aaron Chan Burtonboy I’m just a simple person who enjoys the game in my own way. Whatever turns your crank I always say

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

Burtonboy Aaron Chan and one of the most knowledgeable people on the game that post here, IMHO.

• Aaron Chan

Burtonboy Aaron Chan We’d all be better off if we live and let live. Then again, I’m not against learning new things if it can enrich my experience/understanding of the game.

• Aaron Chan

TheCanucksnaphook Aaron Chan Burtonboy I can’t stand that either and would never shove it in someone’s face. I guess it’s just like speaking another language so you can converse with a wider range of fans.

Aaron Chan Burtonboy These articles certainly create hits…..lots of em

• wiski

Burtonboy Or 3 😉

wiski Burtonboy True, depending on the timing of Dions pinches and Reimers glove hand

• Doorman

wiski Burtonboy 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,  Bedtime!!!  lol

• Dink

Burtonboy agree

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

Burtonboy Don’t you know, Burtonboy, that this Corsi stat gives these people not only a full understanding of the game and grasp of how games are won and lost, but the right to look down their nose at you as if superior?

• NotInsane

@daveybolland Burtonboy
The superior than thou attitude I can’t stand.  I work with stats everyday and to read these loudmouths trumping around when they know much less than they think is beyond absurd.  I never posted on these boards until PPP went crazy over Grabo

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

NotInsane Burtonboy Burtonboy may have been following the team game in game out for 50 years but they’ve been fans for 5 and they have their spreadsheet open.

• NotInsane

@daveybolland NotInsane Burtonboy
I wonder if these PPP guys are in the 17-22 crowd or where they come from.
The other side of the coin is the Mirtles and Charrons who are trying to parley themselves in MSM jobs.  Mirtle did and Charron wishes

• Burtonboy

NotInsane Burtonboy The advanced stats themselves don’t bother me one bit even though I don’t use them . What drive me bonkers is when certain groups twist and manipulate them to justify their argument . If these stats are so good let the numbers speak for themselves.  There is no need to try and use them to paint a completely different picture then what they are meant for in the first place.

• NotInsane

Burtonboy NotInsane
Great insight, BB.  This is where they are trying to gain advantage for themselves.  Members of the media are notorious for poor understanding of mathematics.  And many of these “advanced stats smarties” pervert the very metrics they employ.

• SteveBurtch

TheCanucksnaphook Burtonboy
“cannot understand random bounces of the puck”?
You realize that a large portion of the adv stats community actually articulates that luck had a huge role in the Leafs success last year right?

• NotInsane

SteveBurtch TheCanucksnaphook Burtonboy
I question the measurement error in these recorded “lucky bounces”. What a dick.

The 2nd Toronto hockey team will be called the Excel

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ daveybolland

Radar O’Rielly hahaha. Let the adv stats guys run it who call Nonis a worse GM than a potato.
I’d love to see a team run 100% according to advanced stats and see how it does.

• Uncle Otis

“Why I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”
#old school/best school

• Dink

Uncle Otis oldie but a goodie

• NotInsane

Uncle Otis
such a great movie

• Dink

I was gonna play my brother, the swine, in a game of table hockey but the corsi says I stink…so screw it.

• wiski

@Dink Center is a pussy never see him in the corners. 😉

• Dink

wiski hahahahaha

• NotInsane

@Dink
A great application of bayesian probabilities, Dink.  I salute you on evaluting the probabiilties of success and surrendering ex-ante

• Dink

NotInsane hahahaha

• playoff nut

@Dink LMFO   lol lol .goodone

-Keon- A clock is right, twice a day.

• Aaron Chan

Aaron Chan Radar O’Rielly -Keon- Screwed that up dint I 😉

• Dink

Say I am a coach and my stats tell me everything my team is doing wrong and what other teams are doing right. As a coach can I really do anything about it with the personnel I have?
doubtful, so play on

• Aaron Chan

Speaking of possession, I was playing FIFA the other day and had 63% possession throughout the game, still lost 4-2…

• Jmessih

LMFAO – Hero!!! Best comment in a while.
It’s all about meaningful possession lol

• wiski

Florida Panthers offering \$7/game season tickets with free parking, a free jersey, and four free concerts. https://twitter.com/search?q=%237DollarSeasonTickets&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Wow&src=hash

• Dink

wiski oh boy… no tickets to Marlins games?

• Doorman

wiski and still nobody will show!!!

wiski Sucks to be a fan of a team that has no place to put us

• MaxwellHowe

wiski To be a hockey fan in Miami.  They would sell more tickets if they didn’t threaten customers with that jersey.

• Dink

-Keon- and a beer

wiski George Zimmerman being the new PA announcer would bring in all the whites.

• Biltmore

wiski
Panthers are going to end up in Seattle.

• Jmessih

OMG – No one cares really.
If you like them you like them, if you don’t you don’t!
The reality is you can learn a lot about a player/team from watching them and you can learn some more by regarding their “advanced stats”.
Advanced Stats are not just CORSI – ALL teams keep internal stats on their players and players they are targeting that include some sort of positive and negative formula or just common sense check list. And they will value players based on that, and about 99% of the time if they are a high (positive player on those stats ) you can tell by watching them play that they are a valuable player.

• djamon

Jmessih Agreed. I love Stats…but they haven’t come up with any definitive ones in sports like hockey or basketball…where each player’s production is tied so closely to those on the ice/floor with him.

Have any of you been paying attention to the performance Jon Voight is giving in Ray Donavan.  I bet he will win the emmy.

-Keon- I don’t care, the man is a genius!

-Keon- I like the one about the half nelson, the full nelson and the daddy nelson.

• Aaron Chan

Guys, if you had to come up with your own stat, what would it be?

• Dink

Aaron Chan dunno, Dink just pawn in game of life

• Burtonboy

I sometimes wish there was a  way to measure heat and soul. That is something that only the eyeballs can tell you I guess

• Aaron Chan

Burtonboy Maybe they could measure the actual size of hearts during training camp 😉

• Uncle Otis

Aaron Chan
Ratio of stat crazy to non stat crazy bloggers 😉

• Doorman

Aaron Chan 60 down and 10 to go!!!  Get er done soon Leafs!!!  Please!!!!!!!!!!

• NotInsane

Aaron Chan
Average goal celebration length per goal scored.  I’ll use it as a metric to evaluate the intangibles like heart and tenacity

• Aaron Chan

NotInsane Aaron Chan That would actually be an interesting thing to measure. I’d call it the hubris-o-metre

• NotInsane

Aaron Chan
I was also thinking “celebration time after a goal before a teammate joins in the celebration”.  MacA used to celebrate alone for so long I always wondered what was up with that?

• Dink

Aaron Chan average spits on the ice

• Uncle Otis

@Dink
Are you talking oral spits or nostril rockets?

• Dink

Uncle Otis 2 different categories

• Savo43

Aaron Chan I’d come up with a stat that measures how many dumb stats there are, and on average how many of them should not be the basis of how effective a player is when he’s on the ice.

• wendelsfist

Aaron Chan How about something as novel as Wins and Losses?

• Aaron Chan

The NHL should measure the loudness/decibel levels in arenas when the home team scores.

• NotInsane

Aaron Chan
I think they did that and SJ was the loudest (but they amplify the sound with speakers according to Don Cherry)

• Aaron Chan

NotInsane Aaron Chan I guess HP has to do something with all of the speakers people aren’t buying.

• Aaron Chan

-Keon- ***Suggestion of the Day***

• Dink

-Keon- by twos

• GeorgeCastanza

Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting: The Theory of Evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive.” Maybe so, maybe so. But the Theory of Competition says “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked.” That’s right. See, what every long-shot, come-from-behind underdog will tell you is this: The other guy may in fact be the favorite; the odds may be stacked against you. Fair enough … But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows and the clock starts ticking, just remember: out here, the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “uncle”. And then suddenly, as the old saying goes, “We got ourselves a game.”

• Aaron Chan

GeorgeCastanza Where is this from? Sounds so familiar…

• Dink

Aaron Chan GeorgeCastanza think it was in Screw Magazine

• Alec Brownscombe

• Uncle Otis

Alec Brownscombe
Cool vid…still trying to figure out how deer hunting figured in lol

• Komas Taberle

Uncle Otis Alec Brownscombe Oh you didn’t notice the bullet ricochet of the deer’s antlers and into the hunters head eh.

• Uncle Otis

Komas Taberle
LOL…score one for the underdog

• Uncle Otis

I noticed on the sabremetric/baseball analogy applied in this blog.
Baseball is inherently more stat friendly..the focus is on the ball mostly and what happens as a result of it.
(strikeouts/hits/errors etc) and the stats garnered are mostly indisputable
Hockey is much more fluid with many players interacting away from the puck…their positioning/skating speed and decisions without the puck can be key to chances/turnovers/goals and the QUALITY of shots on goal.
Most importantly is the garbage out/garbage in problem in hockey.
We all know many rinks play loose/biased with many stats..from “hits” (very questionable),assists to even shots on goal.
I prefer to watch the game live as I can see the whole ice and understand the flow and resulting factors…TV provides a narrow window and skews perspective often times(overhead replays help,but they only show those on goals/occasional chances)
Anyway,my gut tells me a lot of corsi/stat crazy hockey guys bring their love of such from baseball,and while some stats are critical to certain analysis, going overboard and making blanket determinations as a result of is folly.
There is no substitute for simply knowing the game from years of playing ,coaching, being a fan and the resulting osmosis

• wendelsfist

Uncle Otis And also coaching system is important.  A team can’t employ a crazy defensive coverage in or novel offensive attack in baseball.  It is a hitter and pitcher and peopel standing in different area.

• Uncle Otis

wendelsfist
With little variance therin
Hey,a lefty…SHIFT!  lol

• Greg Fenton

Uncle Otis Both approachs are needed. The problem with “years of playing, coaching, being a fan” is that peoples perspectives aren’t always 100% correct or unbiased. How many times have people on here used argument “you should try watching the games” because someone else doesn’t agree with their opinion/take on something? I find it unlikely someone taking hte time to post on Leaf message board doesn’t watch hockey, its just htat everyones perspective and bias’s are different.
The other times stats are needed is when you want to look at something that most people simply don’t remember (without looking, how many GWG’s did Grabovski have last year? How many Leafs had 3 GWG’s?) or when wanting to look at something in the past to see how the present holds up or trends.
Stats aren’t “king” and shouldn’t be/aren’t be the end all, be all of sports knowledge, but they certainly have their place and shouldn’t be ignored either.

• Uncle Otis

Greg Fenton
No argument there…stats have there place undoubtedly.
And as to the other,well,it depends on the person…most born/bred hockey folks know their stuff.
Its more the argument that is lorded over us by the advanced stat peeps…it’s the attitude that’s wearing thin.
But if one were to view most of Kulemin’s stats of late he’d appear to be a relatively poor player…the intangibles aren’t as quantifiable…and I really like what my eyes show me of Kule.

• Greg Fenton

Uncle Otis Greg Fenton But you also can’t argue that Kulemin contributes offensively because the stats prove he has been a medicore offensive player as of late.
As I said, thats also when perception and bias comes in. Just to use your example, I don’t mind Kulemin but I certainly wouldn’t say “I really like” what I see from him. Nothing special about him or what he brings and if he was traded tomorrow……..meh, it wouldn’t be long before they had another player like him on the team.
This is were some people would tell me “I need to watch games more”, just because my take and perspective and bias on him is different. So who’s take is correct? What is “the truth”? LIke you said, both elements have their place.

• Uncle Otis

Greg Fenton
See,you just illustrated my point.
You immediately went to offensive numbers like they are the end all.
Fast,defensively responsible,large bodied forwards are critical to team success…especially in the playoffs.
Kulemin brings a first in forecheck,with force and turnovers and a hard backcheck…a quality often overlooked/diminished by “stats” guys.
As a coach,I will take a player like him over a player who floats/scores more/doesn’t look after his zones with presence and authority.

• Greg Fenton

Uncle Otis Greg Fenton And you’re proving my point about perspective and bias’s.
You like Kulemin so you over look his lack of offensive production, dismiss it, give it no weight, and claim how he is great player, generating a lot of offense regardless because he is a Leaf and because you like him.
Players Kulemin palyed with this year (namely Grabovski, but also Komarov and later on Frattin and MacArthur) didn’t produce much offense either. So if no one on that line is scoring, how much offense is Kulemin’s big body really generating? Logically, shouldn’t that line at least be producing offense, even if Kulemin isn’t, if you are going to claim that his “hard work’ produced offense?

• Uncle Otis

Greg Fenton
Greg,hockey isn’t all about offense…this is the critical point you are missing.
Strong defensive forwards are very valuable…and THAT is why I like Kule..intangibles that these seasoned hockey eyes recognize as critical…as does our coach.

• Greg Fenton

Uncle Otis Greg Fenton I never said it wasn’t, I just pointed out that you can’t claim Kulemin is producing offense when he only has 7 goals and 23 points.
You when responded with the “bias” of “I like Kulemin so stats be damned, he does generate offense” answer.

• NotInsane

Uncle Otis Greg Fenton
I agree with Uncle Otis, Kulemin is  good defensive player. But like Greg Fenton, I wouldn’t howl at the moon in despair if he was traded either.

• Uncle Otis

Greg Fenton
I have no idea what you are talking about now.
I never said “I like Kulemin so stats be damned,he does generate offense”

• playoff nut

hereas people in a positive mood rely on broader schematic or thematic information and ignore the details.
I nos my problem now ,Im to f in positive for my own good and Im positive that the Leafs r going to make the playoffs again  2014

• NotInsane

playoff nut
Yay!  That’s my favourite kind of Leafs comment: optimistic.  I don’t come on here to badmouth my boys.

• wendelsfist

“Data and statistics are not to blame for bad decisions–their misapplication is.”  This is the best line and reminds me of “guns don’t kill people but people kill people” as in stats are not evil but those who have no clue what they are doing with them are.
For example, if you don’t have a knowledge of the coaches system then the analytics can be misleading.  Sure they are representative on average across the league but they are not useful yet for isolating which player is a fit for the team and their system.  That is, what is important is more then looking at a player who has a high corsi as a good fit.

• DWCMLHS

Stats help keep one grounded and objective. I watch every Leafs’ game I possibly can, and I’m sure most – if not all – of the more hardcore stats guys do, as well. It is obvious that bias plays a huge part in fans’ evaluations of players and teams. Two fans can watch the same game, and assess them completely differently.
Fans will tend to be over-optimistic about their favorite teams. The other day, I wrote up projections for the 13/14 Leafs. When I finished, I counted the total goals-for. The number was over 240. The Leafs scored 231 goals in 11/12, and scored at a 224-goal pace last season. Clearly, my original projection was on the high side, especially considering the fact that the Leafs lost more offensive talent than they brought in this off-season. I had to adjust the numbers I had for individual players to get the team’s total to a more realistic number. This happens EVERY year.
It’s natural to be over-optimistic, letting bias raise your opinion of your favorite player(s) or team(s). Like I mentioned before, stats help people stay grounded. They are useful, especially as fact-checking tools.

• Cameron19

DWCMLHS Yea, but Bolland will likely score at a better rate than Grabovski in the same role.  We didn’t really lose anything by swapping those two and Grabovski wasn’t being used properly anyways.  It’s not like he scored at a 25G pace last year.  Clarkson/MacArthur is a wash offensively. I guess Frattin is a loss in that category, but he was injured most of the year.  I think it’s a good bet our offense will improve to somewhere between 230 and 240, so you’re not being insanely optimistic or anything.  Probably just not accounting for injuries.

• DWCMLHS

Mac would out-produce Clarkson in the same role. Maybe not in goals, but in points. He’s a better playmaker, so his linemates would have an easier time scoring goals. This isn’t to start a Mac vs. Clarkson argument, just saying.
I didn’t project injuries, because they are so unpredictable.

• Cameron19

DWCMLHS Yea, but on a better team, he’s not good enough to play that role. Kadri will be the playmaker on his line.  That, and it is clear that MacArthur is never going to be as good as he was his first year with the Leafs. We need to stop using that as a measuring stick for him.  He’s a 40-50 point winger, just like Clarkson.

• DWCMLHS

He can be a 50ish point 2nd-liner, IMO.
62 points in 10/11… 48-point pace in 11/12. Same role, pretty much same goals, shots and shooting percentage. Just way less finish from Kuli on the other wing, resulting in significantly decreased assist totals. He still scored at a 41-point pace this season, with less ice-time, and having to be bounced all over the lineup. In a definite 2nd-line scoring role, he averaged 55 points per 82 games. He likely won’t hit 60+ points again, but he shouldn’t be stuck with a 7-goal RW on his line again, either.

• Cameron19

DWCMLHS Stuck with?  Kulemin is by far the best player on that line, despite his rough year.  His assist rate didn’t change, either. Again though, the point is, Carlyle wasn’t going to use him in the top six anyways, so it’s a moot point. He wasn’t a 50 point player to us, even if he could be elsewhere.  Just like Grabo.

• DWCMLHS

Kulemin is not a better player than Grabo. He had a terrible year in 11/12, but he is way better overall than he played then. Clarkson and Bolland may match last season’s Mac and Grabo, in terms of production. I don’t see a guy like D’Amigo doing as much offensively as Frattin, though. I just don’t see the team scoring more goals than last season. Not much more, anyways. Can they maintain their high team shooting percentage and get enough more shots on goal to score at a significantly higher rate? I can see them maybe in the 225-230 range, which is why my 240+ original projection seemed quite high.

• B_Leaf

DWCMLHS
I think your point about goals dropping is a sound one based on a drop in depth. The only thing that I foresee helping us there is Jake Gardiner playing everyday and having a breakout season. But I expect less goals than last year by the slightest margin. 3 less goals give or take a couple…lol

• Cameron19

-Keon- Not really.  Goalies are still going to him to train, including Canada’s likely Olympic starter.

• Burtonboy

\$2 million in base salary on Jagr’s 1-year contract with Devils. Additional potential \$2 million in games played bonuses
.

• Burtonboy

Jaromir Jagr gets a \$250,000 bonus for every five games played from 10 to 45. That makes up \$2M in bonuses from https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NJDevils&src=hash
.

• Burtonboy

http://nhl.si.com/2013/07/23/alex-pietrangelo-deal-coming-but-one-st-louis-blues-fans-are-hoping-for/

http://nhl.si.com/2013/07/23/alex-pietrangelo-deal-coming-but-one-st-louis-blues-fans-are-hoping-for/

• Greg Fenton

Burtonboy I think the Leafs will be in the same position with Kessel this year or next (whenever they start to talk about resigning him), so see if the Blues will trade us Pieterangelo for Kessel.

• wendelsfist

Nothing kills this room like talk of advanced stats.  But can I ask the powers that be, why do you guys continue to take the high road here by presenting an objective and balanced view of stats when those for stats will never give those with reservations about advanced stats that opportunity for a healthy dialogue?   Why not sink to their level and mock and create caricatures of these stats folks like they do of those who have reservations of stats.  For their comments that those against stats don’t understand how to add and subtract shots, well they are a pocket protector nerds who fail to realize that hockey is played on the ice and not on their spreadsheets. This to me is a more diplomatic plan of action.

• wendelsfist

This take the high road, do the right thing and extending the olive branch to the pro-advanced stats community will fail I believe.  And not because of you and your raction but rather because some (and to be fair not all) of them hate the team Nonis has built.  They hate the coach, they hate Bozak, they hate grinders like Clarkson and Biggs and of course they hate the facepunchers.  Until they can deal with their deep seated hate for these parts of the leafs, they will never be able to look at advanced stats without those big words you use like “confirmation” bias and “anti-halo effect”.  We have done enough as a community.  And if they (and not all of them but some specifically) are not willing to take a deep hard look in the mirror and deal with their issues then there is really nothing more to talk about stats.
That is, stats are not and have never been the problem.  The problem is not stats, but with certain individuals twist and manipulate them to justify their argument .  This is at least my reservation with the stats community.

• Uncle Otis

wendelsfist
They loved Ronnie’s river boat hockey though…and where exactly did that get us?
Swam against the tide here that defended his philosophies for a long time,pining for more defensive responsible hockey and a tougher to play against line-up
From that standpoint,Carlyle has been cathartic.

• Alec Brownscombe

Uncle Otis wendelsfist Bang on

• Burtonboy

Uncle Otis wendelsfist I was concerned when Carlyle took over that we would do a complete reversal of what Wilson was doing . Boring trap hockey is not my thing at all . So far we haven’t seen that and I surely hope we don’t

• rustynail

Burtonboy Uncle Otis wendelsfist I remember that

• Burtonboy

rustynail Burtonboy Uncle Otis wendelsfist Looks to me like he’s headed towards a Chicago type of team . Big ,fast especially on the backend. That would be sweet

• Jmessih

I”ve loved to watch teh Carlye edition of the Leafs (mind you msot of it has to do with the players you have) but we still played with great speed, we just added agression which was a great add on.

• NotInsane

Jmessih
Leafs played great, entertaining hockey last year.  They were tough without being cheap (ie Habs, Sens)

• Jmessih

uhm……….i.e. Bruins……I’m still pissed at missed calls in that game 7!!!!

• NotInsane

Jmessih
Yeah I know.  But that’s why the Bruins are built the way they are.  they know in the playoffs sometimes the refs put the whistle away.  If the refs were calling penalties I think the Leafs win game 7… sounds like sour grapes I know.  Next time, with this experience, Leafs will be better preapred for the playoff refs

• Jmessih

But I honestly have to say they crossed the line there is regular season reffing, then playoff reffing then Boston Bruin/NHL/Jeremy Jacobs reffing. And ya it is crying over spilt milk but we would have won that game.
ok end of rant.

• wendelsfist

-Keon- sorry about that.  That’s 6 times too many in my books

• rustynail

I’ll buy Panthers seasons if they agree to throw all their games vs. Toronto. Other people will too. Think about it https://twitter.com/FlaPanthers.

• NotInsane

Grabo is the most talked about O.K. player in the history of the Maple Leafs.  He had a shitty year and did fuck all in the playoffs (even when Bozak was injured).  Was he overpaid at 5.5m?  Hell yeah.  Was he misused by Carlyle?  I don’t care.

• Greg Fenton

NotInsane Naw, there is always 1 or 2 of those guys on the roster. Grabovski isnt anymore talked about then any of the others, he is just the most recent.

• NotInsane

Greg Fenton NotInsane
I was hoping to rile people up but no bites.  Where’s Jonas Hoglund when we need him?

• rustynail

Statistically speaking its a good day to Kamado here.

• Burtonboy

rustynail Pouring rain here so its pan fried cod with new potatoes

• wiski

Burtonboy rustynailWant to hear a joke about pizza?
Never mind, it’s too cheesy.

• Jmessih

aww, I wanted to hear the joke

• playoff nut

wiski Burtonboy rustynail and I just finished the last piece , yea really lol

• Uncle Otis

playoff nut
The Pies that Bind 😉

• playoff nut

Uncle Otis playoff nut Lmao ,yea I know ,pies that bind LMaooo,make u go blind

• wendelsway1

Afternoon Gents…..happy to see Gunner signed to a good contract.  As for stats, the only stat I care about is games won.  All types of role players needed to be successful, IMO.  Hopefully this mixed bag of players we now have will find the chemistry needed to gel as a team and give us a great season of hockey to watch and enjoy…….I think they will.  Lots of character players that possess leadership qualities and many more coming up through the system…..starting to be a whole lot of fun to be a Leafer

• Komas Taberle

wendelsway1 Just need to trade Liles and get Kyle Clifford from LA and we are on our way to a good cup run!

• Komas Taberle

wendelsway1 or Matt Martin.

• wiski

Team USA hockey coach Dan Bylsma of the Penguins joining the Bryan Hayes show at 3:15  see if Gards plays for US

• Dink

wiski he is lucky to still have his job

• Jmessih

You know there is no hockey talk when you get stuck debating advanded statistics lol
So it is safe to say Jagr signed with the devils so he can play top 6 mins and get traded at the deadline lol gotta love the guy

• Uncle Otis

Jmessih
Something tells me we aren’t finished with advanced stats,even after the games start.
Have to tweak my selective hearing…lalalalala …to quote WW 😉

• Jmessih

Ya it is annoying to say the least what happened to good old hockey talk?
P.S. Can we blame Bettman for advance statistics too?

• Dink

Jmessih sure, put it on the list

• Jmessih

Bettman Blame List:
1. Pheniox
2. Florida
3. Tampa Bay
4. Dallas
5. many other american teams
6. Frist lockout (I really blame Fehr for this last one)

• Dink

Jmessih I’d like to add shootouts

• Jmessih

I actually don’t mind the shootouts and I’m sure you wouldn’t as well if we could ever win them. I think someone did the research on it not too long ago and since the shootout started the Leafs have been in worst in the shootout of all 30 NHL temas

• Dink

Jmessih no I hate them, period.

• playoff nut

Jmessih The teams eye doctor was just fired ,there problem solved finally ,we hope lol

• Jmessih

We also need a new massage therapist who can work on their hands

• wendelsway1

Uncle Otis Jmessih LOL…..Like Bboy said earlier, I just love the game and have been watching hockey for many years.  Certainly not saying that stats aren’t useful, just saying that although I love watching hockey and our Leafs, i have far more important things to do than spend hours looking at spreadsheets…..’cause at the end of the day, as long as the Leafs have won, that’s good enough for me.  Momentum switches back and forth during games, mistakes happen every game and all players make mistakes.  I can recognize this and overlook them if they manage to pull out a win.  Afterall, it is a team game and you don’t get additional points for it being pretty.

• Dink

wendelsway1 Uncle Otis Jmessih 10-4 good buddy

• Uncle Otis

wendelsway1
Anybody that can stay positive after her two fav boys get traded/let go is aces in my books…keep on keepin’ on WW

• wendelsway1

Uncle Otis wendelsway1 Am sorry to see them go but it’s all about our Leafs and they no longer represent……still have plenty of favs in our core group and I’m sure Bolland and Clarkson will soon be favs of mine as well.  Also looking forward to seeing Bernier handle the puck.

• wiski

The https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Bluejays&src=hash are having a players only meeting at the moment. It’s at that point now.

• Dink

wiski probably playing musical jockstraps

• Uncle Otis

wiski
Burn the bird feeders!

• Dink

Uncle Otis wiski Kill the Ump !!

• http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

Uncle Otis wiski Take down the nostalgia!

• Dink

ingy56 Uncle Otis wiski Bring back Gaston !!

• Uncle Otis

ingy56
Haha…especially the pic of George Bell’s purple starfish 😉

• B_Leaf

Uncle Otis ingy56
Isn’t that George Bell on dlb’s avatar?

• The_Polish_Cannon

First of all there’s nothing “advanced” about these stats. They track possession. It’s useful to use along with the observations made by someone with a hockey mind and should not be looked as the bible. I’m tired of these stats arguments

• Jmessih

Agreed, can we ask for no more post on them or would they jsut get mad and shut down the website? lol
Drunk with power

• NotInsane

Jmessih
But all the cool kids are using them.

• Jmessih

LOL damn! Ok I guess we need to as well.

• wendelsway1

NotInsane Jmessih Damn….guess that makes me old and uncool….lol

• Dan39

As Cronin pointed out, the ‘possession’ stats you guys track are not the relevant ones because the quality of possession is more important.
So, you need to start tracking the scoring chance metrics to conitnue to be relevant with the ‘advanced stats’.

• Jmessih

nothing is advanced in hockey, is there something “advanced” about blocking a shot? Is there something “advanced” about a hit? Is there something “advanced” about a goal? Is there Something “advanced” about a goal or a fantastic assist or a great backcheck that results from a great scoring change to a weak shot on goal?
NO – And those are why I (as a hockey fan) care about.

• Dan39

Yes, scoring chances matter – that’s what needs to be tracked.
The Cronin interview killed the advanced stat-ists.

• Jmessih

Yes, but it is not an “advanced statisitc” it is also very sujective to a perosn’s interpration of a “scoring chance”

• taylor_wright

Dan39 Scoring chance data very strongly correlates to Fenwick: http://nhlnumbers.com/2012/6/26/shot-quality-revisited-a-look-at-the-correlation-between-scoring-chances-and-shot-totals

• NotInsane

taylor_wright Dan39
I’d be more impressed if you had standard errors on your correlation coefficients

• taylor_wright

Dan39 I would also point out something that I mentioned in the article:
“just because an NHL team is using certain statistics to make decisions, doesn’t mean that method is the right way to proceed. In other words, I’m warning people about confusing what is and what should be.”

• taylor_wright

NotInsane taylor_wright Dan39 It’s not actually my work, but you’re more than welcome to tweet your comments to the author. I’m sure he’d love the constructive criticism.

• Jmessih

Scoring chances are a subjective stat yes. We can genrally all agree what is an isn’t but their will be differences and there is no basic way of defining it.
I don’t even hate “advanced stats” but clearly the readers here do, so I’m just letting you know it’s a hard sell and people here don’t like it.
That is all

• NotInsane

taylor_wright NotInsane Dan39
Also his interpretation of R-squared is incorrect.  and 0.04 impilies 96% of the variance is unexplained and has nothing to do with significance.
My problem with many of these articles is they author fails to be rigourous enough yet a quick review of the comments and I see a love-fest.  The last section shows have a poor number one year does not imply a bad year the next.  So why pay attention to this non-reproduceable stat in the first place?

• NotInsane

taylor_wright Dan39
Lastly is the measurement error.  We have no objective definition of a scoring chance so we almost certainly have measurement error.  Which would throw any statistical analysis right out the window.

• taylor_wright

NotInsane taylor_wright Dan39 The take away for me, is that there’s no reason to focus on scoring chances. It’s not reliable and correlates strongly with something that we do have an objective definition of and that is reliable and that does explain a sizeable portion of team success.
I’ll readily admit that I’m not a statistician (though it is an area that I’m in the process of improving) and so I’m most certainly not going to shut down discussion with those that have considerable knowledge in the subject.

• NotInsane

taylor_wright NotInsane Dan39
It’s an ongoing fight for the advanced stats people who are trying to find their niche.  Everything in your article about memory is true.  Many advanced stat users find numbers to back up their own biases or vindicate previous work.  What I can’t stand is how insulting and superior they’ve become..
As Mark Twain wrote “lies, damned lies and statistics”

• Dan39

Yes, scoring chances are reliable. That’s why the Leafs use them and I’m sure they have the same guy tallying them the same way all season.
And, of course, scoring chances will have a much higher correlation with winning than Fenwick.

• Jordan29

Did franson sign yet? No, ok bye

• Aaron Chan

SERIOUS QUESTIONS: Do you guys know if there is any site that allows me to make custom fantasy hockey leagues with 200+ players?

• Reimocerous

I read this and broke my brain. Kudos to those of you who all understand this.

• Jmessih

LMFAO!!
“broke mr brain” absolutely golen comment.
I just didn’t care to read it but the first paragraph had me falling asleep.

• NotInsane

Jmessih
It was a fantastic summary of PSY101

• Jordan29

I dont know if this is rude or not but I just have no interest reading stuff like this. Looks like you spent a lot of time on it and obviously lots of people enjoy it so well done

• B_Leaf

Jordan29
this

• Xxxxxnew

Orlando Solar Bears take down photos of past heros.

• Jmessih

LOL stop it

• Xxxxxnew

• Jmessih

And I knew it would be you lol

• http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

Xxxxxnew Even Allan Bester?

• NotInsane

ingy56 Xxxxxnew
Except Allan Bester

• Dangle_My_Berries

Xxxxxnew they took down the photos of Carlton?

• Xxxxxnew

• LeafsForLife

Good job Taylor! I can tell you worked hard on this. Personally because im an old guy and kind of set in my ways, i wont get into understanding then alone using advanced stats. Just like i wont stop drinking diet pepsi or stop watching and cheering for the Leafs. Im set in my ways. I honestly dont see past watching the game and analyzing for the fun and enjoyment of being able to talk about that. I love rumors though so if you have some math to figure out the accuracy of rumors, i would definitely be into that.
Thanks for the good work and awesome effort.

• Uncle Otis

LeafsForLife
Substitute whiskey and sugar for aspartame and you’ll live a lot longer…and be happier watching the games too 😉

• LeafsForLife

Uncle Otis LeafsForLife Lol i figure only the good die young so im ready to live a long long time.

• Uncle Otis

LeafsForLife Uncle Otis
See ya at the finish line then 😉

• B_Leaf

Where do you think our team stands going into this season? Are we contenders? Are we favorites to reach the final four? Are we a dark horse? How do you guys view this team?

• LeafsForLife

B_Leaf I think we need to wait till near the beginning of the season to really call that more accurately as there may still be trades etc. Not to mention we could have some real surprizes in camp that jump out at us. But i will say B_Leaf, the time is long overdue to take the bag off your head.

• B_Leaf

LeafsForLife B_Leaf
If you saw my face…
But yes I agree, it is really hard to know. I really thought we might come back with the same team add Clarkson minus MacA, Liles, and Komi.

• Jordan29

LeafsForLife B_Leaf 100% contenders. I made so many bets with people about it too I have so much confidence. Every year including last I expected nothing but this is it. Long playoff run Im hoping

• Mind Bomb

B_Leaf  Dude plan the parade, we are winning the Cup this year !

• B_Leaf

Mind Bomb B_Leaf
I hope you’re right bomber. I do feel like we have a chance, but I gotta see how we mesh first.

• Mind Bomb

B_Leaf Mind Bomb  I like our chances, My biggest concern bro, is depth and Defense, I would have liked to upgrade the D, but it looks like we wait for it to happen from with in which I believe in 2 to 3 years we will have one of the top D’s in the league.
Now our D as no Legit NHL depth, at least top 4, we have a plethora of 6D’s.  Our Second pairing has an RFA, and one that is still on an ELC. Everyone has already moved liles, well say Gunnar has a set back, or gets hurt a new ?
Having said all that, The potential is there for sure to win it all. IF we stay healthy, and build on last years performance, we can win it all.

• LeafsForLife

• wendelsway1

B_Leaf I think our additions make us a tougher team to play against and we will give any team a go on any given night.  I see us as a playoff team and once you’re in anything can happen.

• B_Leaf

wendelsway1 B_Leaf
That’s a good point. We do have more toughness and grit.

• wendelsway1

B_Leaf wendelsway1 Yep….like the mix of players we now have….oh hell, I’m with MB….we’re winning it all this season…..that’s my story and I’m sticking with it until proven otherwise….GO LEAFS GO!!!   Not a fanbase out there that is more deserving

• NotInsane

wendelsway1 B_Leaf
haha, Wooooo!!  Go Leafs!

• B_Leaf

wendelsway1 B_Leaf
I think we are a team on the rise…not sure how much…but I see no reason why we can’t compete with the best.

• Xxxxxnew

If everything falls into place I’d say final four isn’t unrealistic. So much goes into it besides geeing a decent team. Injuries. Goaltending. Conditioning. Breaks. Getting on a roll. Home ice.

• wendelsway1

Xxxxxnew Absolutely….far too many variables….but if we can stay healthy, we have a chance to make some noise and can/will give any team a go on any given night

• Xxxxxnew

Get to the playoffs and then it’s a game at a time.

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

I know it’s pretty polarizing with regards to fancy stats around here versus other sites, which are completely focused on them, but it’s a good idea to get your head around them now, because some of them will become common place and used frequently in telecasts, MSM reporting, etc.
I like most of them and can be tremendously useful, I don’t like some of the evangelists that are currently trying to use them to tout a superior knowledge of the game. They’re here to stay, they will get more in depth and more refined. Out of all the major sports, hockey is a laggard with statistics due to the dynamic nature, the speed, the infinite amount of variables and the difficulty in which it is to play the game being much, much harder than all other sports (IMHO).

• LeafsForLife

DeclanK Evangelists? I would add in Fanatics! Add fanatical to the list of reasons i wont try to grasp them.

• LeafsForLife

DeclanK err grasp the statistics rather than grasping the fanatics. Just to be clear!

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

LeafsForLife DeclanK Not all. Some do a fantastic job of not being patronizing and actually talking about the game rather than just talking about the numbers.

• LeafsForLife

Yes i can see what yours saying but i dont think im changing my mind. Its more fun to talk Leafs than it is to do so much math. Dont get me wrong, i still read what was written but i didnt try to grasp the concept. Dont care for it. Probably never will.

• NotInsane

LeafsForLife
and that’s fine.  You don’t need them to enjoy the game.  Baseball on the other hand has been swamped with stats.  It was always there but its become … overwhelming.

• Xxxxxnew

And that’s because the ball is in play an average of about 7 minutes in any baseball game and you really need something to fill in the other 2 1/2 hours during a game.

• LeafsForLife

Yes baseball i grew up checking for RBI’s, HR’s, etc etc but i wont get into talking or trying to understand all the stats stuff theyre doing now. Soon they will offer University courses for it.

• NotInsane

Xxxxxnew
Myself I prefer beer for the other 2 hours 23 minutes

• NotInsane

DeclanK
Depends on the stat, DeclanK.  Defensive zone faceoff start percentage is useful and enjoy using that to better understand how a player is utilized by his coach.  Corsi and Fenwick I dont see becoming all the rage.  they’re like offensive zone possession time.  You rarely see that outside of NHL13

• http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

NotInsane DeclanK Absolutely. I think some or only useful for navel gazing exercises. Others are fantastic.

• B_Leaf

DeclanK
Hockey leaves so much open to interpretation. Each person interprets a hit differently. And the value of a hit is different depending on several factors. Same can be said for scoring chances…a shot from 25 feet is a scoring chance but one of them the goalie has a clear look and is set, another has JVR parked in front.  So much with hockey is more art than science.

• Xxxxxnew

Also, a scoring chance from 40 feet is relevant to Kessel because he can actually score from there. A scoring chance from 40 feet by Kulie probably isn’t a scoring chance at all.

• Uncle Otis

DeclanK
And your last sentence explains why the hipster geek inspired movement to cram them down our throats is folly..
You wont see too many NHL coaches make line-up decisions based on them,but the stat geeks know better.
lalalalalala

• wendelsway1

Uncle Otis DeclanK LOL….you go Uncle O!!

• Xxxxxnew

I appreciate the hard work put in on these but for the most part, particularly because they take such long and
detailed explanation of how they are arrived at, they make me feel like I’m in a high school math class I’m sorry I signed up for. The level of dissection needed to get to the point would kill most broadcasts.

• Burtonboy