Thursday Morning Mashup: Fancy Stats to the Rescue


As most of you know, we usually have the Leafs Roundtable on Thursday morning and it’s something we plan, and hope, to continue with in the future. I love asking questions but sometimes the lull of the off-season, and the breadth of analysis in our blogging community, leaves you with a limited number of questions and in a state of psychosis (probably induced by my finals). Now, all this is going to change as the 2013 Entry Draft approaches and we’ve still got tons of Player Reviews and NHL Draft Profiles lined up for you guys, so stay tuned.

Today, I wanted to talk briefly about one of the links posted below regarding the Oilers Hackathon 2.0. To summarize, “the Hackathon 2.0 saw Oilers open up their vault of in-depth and historical data, welcoming contestants to submit their own analyses and present a compelling case to help the club win games.” In effect, the final analysis should yield insights that can help the team win. The contest’s winner, Michael Parkatti, used a combination of advanced stats (Corsi Rel QoC, QoT, and Zone Starts) to come up with a “Coaching Activity Index,” and will now join the Oilers’ Analytics Working Group on a full- or part-time basis.  For more details regarding his “winning” framework, check out the link below.

Let me start off by saying that I think this is a great way to engage the fan base. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another NHL team conduct a public competition such as this, although please correct me if I’m wrong.  Imagine, for a second, having access to MLSE’s vault of statistical data and to glean into all the statistical metrics they maintain on their players.  As a bit of a data junkie, it would be a dream come-true for me, and would probably be more exciting than watching a game from one of the ACC suites.

On the other hand, I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it slightly amusing, and not surprising, that a team like the Oilers is reaching out to fans for ideas on how to win.  Look, I’m all for capturing every competitive advantage and I believe advanced statistics has its place in the analytical toolbox.  Then again, this Analytics Working Group has been operational since the 2004-2005 lock-out and apart from their Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2006, the Oilers’ record has been laughable ever since. (As a Leafs fan, I know I’m not one to talk…but I seem to have misplaced the fucks I used to give.) This isn’t meant to discount Parkatti’s work in any way, and by all accounts it was an extremely thorough and creative model that he put together.  However, if an organization thinks that a fan might literally possess the winning formula they’re looking for, I think they’re delusional and should consider scrutinizing other parts of their organization.

Also, I just wanted to say how awesome I think the commenters are at MLHS. In the last couple of months, I’ve learned so much just from reading your insightful posts. With this new commenting system, it makes engaging in the thread a much more enjoyable experience and I look forward to talking with you guys. In that same vein, I want to hear what you guys think.

What would you think if MLSE organized a similar competition? Would you participate? Do you think it’s a worthwhile exercise?

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Morning Links

Oilers: Hackathon 2.0 Winner Announced –  Hackathon: can also be used to describe the Oilers’ season.

CBC: MLSE Inks Education Deal with U. of Windsor – If you go to U. of Windsor, I hate you.

Larry Brooks (NYP): Tortorella’s Act Wore Thin on Players – I bet somewhere deep inside, Brooks is going to miss Torts.

Vancouver Sun: Rielly Says Eakins Ready to Coach at Next Level – Not to be a dick, but I wonder what Rielly knows about the next level…certainly more than I do!

VLM: Leafs Should Learn from B. Richards Saga – A cautionary tale for Nonis & Co.

TLN: Leafs Have Good Value in Reimer and Scrivens – One word: Screimer.

PPP: Relationship Between Top-6 TOI and Shooting % – Fancy, fancy stats, so my kind of stats.