A little morning listening courtesy TSN1050‘s Blue Lunch — Hockey Abstract’s Rob Vollman joined the show to discuss the summer of analytics and the Leafs‘ recent hires. One of the field’s true pioneers, Vollman is a well spoken guy who does a great job breaking down the powers and limitations of the current state of hockey analytics in this segment. Take a listen:
- What would you as an analytics guy say to a coach like Randy Carlyle when trying to fix the “possession game?”
Vollman: I don’t often talk to coaches. It’s two very separate things, what they do and what I do. There’s not a lot of overlap between us. But if I am going to have a conversation with a coach, I’m probably going to sit down and take out a Player Usage Chart. It’s a simple mechanism that shows whether the players are being used in the offensive or the defensive zone, whether they are playing against the top lines or the depth lines, and how the team does possession wise in each of those situations. The two of us would look it over and we’d sort of look at how he’s using those players, and maybe if there’s a more effective deployment of those players. But even that is a little bit of a stretch. I really doubt that if I showed Randy Carlyle a player usage chart, that he’d really be shocked with anything he saw.
- Is there anything left to prove in terms of the value of Corsi and Fenwick and if they lead to actual results? Do we need to see more of a sample size before we see “proof?”
Vollman: I don’t think so, but I see where you’re going. You want to top short with saying something like possession is the ‘be all end all,’ that it’s the only thing that matters. There’s goaltending, there’s special teams, there’s shooting; there’s all sorts of other things. There is no one element of the game which is the magic bullet. But people have always known that possession is key. You don’t need a copy of Hockey Abstract to know that. I think what’s new is that we now have a way of recording possession or counting possession which is something we didn’t have 10 years ago. It’s more showing that our statistics and our numbers actually do match possession; improving possession will improve the numbers, and when the numbers go up it typically means possession has improved. In terms of establishing the value of possession, we’ve known that for a long time.
- How advantageous could this information be in terms of developing a game plan for opponents?
Vollman: I tend to look at hockey as sort of 6 subgames, and those subgames are — the ability to bring the puck out of the zone, the ability to enter the opponent’s zone, the ability to translate that possession into a shot, and then of course the ability to prevent those three things. Players excel in different ways, and in different combinations in those six subgames. I think the real value here is taking a look at how the players perform in each of those six subgames, and then using that information to map lines against the opponent and key in on the right players and in the right situations.
Lots of good stuff in that segment. Give it a listen.
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In 1979, Neilson was actually fired as head coach of the Maple Leafs by then-owner Harold Ballard. There was outrage throughout the players, media, and general public. Ballard then relented. Ballard wanted Neilson to enter the next game with a paper bag over his head (to be "the mystery coach") but Neilson refused and coached the next game as if nothing had happened.
@-Keon People under the age of 35 just can't imagine what it was like to have a guy like Ballard in charge of the Leafs. He was a BAD MAN, not just a bad GM or bad Owner. But a BAD MAN. He ran the Leafs like they were his personal toy, he tried to ruin anyone who went against him in any way. He was a brute to his own family and he allowed some terrible things to go unchecked in Maple Leaf Gardens. He was a criminal and a thug.
The difference between the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens as far as NHL legacy goes is literally the difference between Harold Ballard and Sam Pollock.
Early into the 1974–75 season, Ballard publicly blasted Keon, saying that the team was not getting good leadership from its captain and vowing never again to agree to a no-trade clause in a contract, as he had with Keon. When Keon's contract expired at the end of the season, Ballard made it clear that there was no place for him on the Leafs.
The Leafs believed they had some strong young prospects at centre who needed more ice time, and Keon was again asking for a contract with a no-trade clause.
The 35-year-old Keon was told he could make his own deal with another NHL team, but any club signing him would have been required to provide compensation to the Leafs.
Ballard set the compensation price so high that other teams shied away from signing him, even though the Leafs had no intention of keeping him. In effect, Ballard had blocked Keon from going to another NHL team.
Sittler's relationship with Ballard slowly deteriorated, particularly after Ballard hired Punch Imlach as general manager in July 1979. Imlach and Ballard both had strained relations with NHLPA executive director Alan Eagleson who, as a player agent, represented more than a dozen Leafs, including Sittler and his best friend and linemate, Lanny McDonald. Imlach believed Sittler had too much influence on the team and tried to undermine his authority with the players.
When Sittler and goaltender Mike Palmateer agreed to appear on the TV show Showdown, as negotiated by the NHLPA, Imlach went to court to try to get injunction to stop them.
When Imlach said that he was open to offers for Sittler from other teams, Eagleson said it would cost $500,000 to get Sittler to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. So, instead of trading Sittler, Imlach sent McDonald to the woeful Colorado Rockies on December 29, 1979.
In response, Sittler ripped the captan's C off his sweater, later commenting that a captain had to be the go-between with players and management, and he no longer had any communication with management. Ballard would liken Sittler's actions to burning the Canadian flag.
@Xxxxxnew Oh my God. Did this nonsense actually happen? You poor souls who lived to see this kind of circus act going on. Lieweke leaving after a year is nothing compared to this.
@-Keon I'm glad I wouldn't be born for another 6 years.
@-Keon Yea, I understand the fear is that a new guy is going to want to come in start with a blank slate, again, but I just find that highly unlikely. As big of a joke as the team can be, I don't think this is 1979 anymore. This 2B dollar enterprise isn't going to come down to childish whims of select board members.
Random mini-project for the night: Maple Leafs goal% and point% against teams that made the playoffs.(goals first, points second)
Forwards with more than 30 points:
JVR: 56.67%, 50.82%
Kessel: 40.54%, 50.00%
Bozak: 63.16%, 57.14%
Kadri: 65.00%, 46.00%
Lupul: 50.00%, 61.36%
Raymond: 57.89%, 53.33%
Defensemen with more than 25 points:(points only)
What does it all mean? I don't know.
@loomx It looks like they came to play against harder competition. It also looks like the team gets overconfident playing weaker competition. Been this way for years. Stomp the Penguins, lay an egg against the Panthers.
Brady from fan 590 mentioned this morning the possibility of Phaneuf being stripped of his captaincy by Shanny.
Would go against what Shanny's said in the past.
If you want Phaneuf to rebound from the way he ended last season you don't strip his captaincy. That's something you might not recover from in this market especially while starting your new $7 million contract.
need car buying advice. How much of a discount should i be asking for. the sticker price is about 42k. what should i be asking for? I've never bought a new car before.
@mike_84 Might depend on how much you're putting down
@Jay_Berg My ex-wife and I communicated just like Cam and Fenton. So no. No sexual tension
Some of you people are depressing. Tim is leaving, "BIG DEAL". Most of you cried foul when he was hired anyways. Shanny is here with new blood he's bringing in. They'll turn it around inspite of the ownership and board. The ship hasn't even gone on it's maiden voyage and you're all ready to sink it. Sad.
@deedrag It is a bit concerning that the CEO's leaving after just an year on the job. It's one thing for them to change upper management frequently, but at the board level there needs to be stability for long term success. If the Leafs were independent from the Raps and TFC, this move wouldn't matter at all. Unfortunately, we're stuck in this mess with them.
And people used to complain about all analytics talk....Lieweke/ownership drama talk is the fuckin worst.
Bring on real hockey. Fuck
Kelly: The future looks bleak for MLSE – and all its teams
@DeclanK Toronto teams have had a long history of rocky ownership and meddling. To win, the Leafs, Raptors, and FC need stability from ownership down to every staff cleaning and bringing in the fans. If not, new teams are looming on Toronto's horizon.
They better mend their differences internally. Someone send in the marriage counselor.
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan don't think shanny is going anywhere any time soon
@mike_84 Got a feeling Westhead is correct when he said someone like Scott O'Neil are the most likely candidates
@Yaknowwhat Burke did some good work while he was here and left before everything could go pear shaped. Let's congratulate him for his accomplishments while we remember he had a lot of shortcomings.
Poulin and Loiselle were his guys, as was Nonis, the guy everyone is currently suspicious of. Let us not revise history.