Compare and contrast (because I can’t leave well enough alone)

Jonathan Willis
January 21 2009 12:06PM

Let’s consider two players’ even-strength statistics together and separately. The two players are Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. (GFON/GAON – goals for/against while on the ice, SFON/SAON – shots for/against while on the ice SAFON/SAAON – shots attempted for and against while on the ice, SH% ON – shooting percentage while on the ice, SV% On – save percentage while on the ice)

Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis

  • GFON: 30
  • GAON: 19
  • +/- ON: +11
  • SAFON: 497
  • SAAON: 491
  • SFON: 288
  • SAON: 276
  • SH% ON: 10.4%
  • SV% ON: .931%

Collectively, these guys have been heavily outscoring their opposition. Since both of them are tremendous offensive talents, that’s unsurprising. What is surprising is that they really aren’t out-shooting their opponents by much, especially considering how many goals they’re scoring. The reason for this is that while they’re on the ice at even-strength, their opposition goaltender has a .896 SV%, while their goaltender has a .931 SV%.

Vic Ferrari pretty much conclusively proved awhile back that forwards have a major impact on the opposition goaltender’s SV%, but very nearly no impact on their own goaltender’s SV%. Thus, while Lecavalier and St. Louis are likely responsible for scoring so much, the fact that Mike Smith has been exceptional behind them is Mike Smith’s doing.

Right now, this duo is benefiting from great goal tending; otherwise, the number of goals against would be much greater.

Martin St. Louis without Vincent Lecavalier

  • GFON: 5
  • GAON: 4
  • +/- ON: +1
  • SAFON: 102
  • SAAON: 106
  • SFON: 46
  • SAON: 66
  • SH% ON: 10.8%
  • SV% ON: .939%

Aside from modest changes to shooting and save percentage, the numbers look very similar. The biggest difference is that a much higher percentage of shot attempts are getting through, something unlikely to be replicated in a bigger sample (i.e. shots for and against are generally closely related to shot attempts for and against).

Vincent Lecavalier without Martin St. Louis

  • GFON: 5
  • GAON: 6
  • +/- ON: -1
  • SAFON: 94
  • SAAON: 121
  • SFON: 54
  • SAON: 69
  • SH% ON: 9.3%
  • SV% ON: .913%

Fairly significant changes to save and shooting percentage (which can likely be dismissed due to sample size) are present in this sample. Still, the general trend that the Lightning are hardly the dominant team (from a shots or shots attempted perspective) with Lecavalier on the ice continues.

Conclusion

With or without Martin St. Louis, the Lightning are not dominating the play with Vincent Lecavalier on the ice. I don’t understand people who insist he’s a top-ten NHL player. He may be a top-ten offensive talent, but he doesn’t carry the play against tough opponents. In point of fact he never has; the last time Lecavalier’s line seriously out-shot their opposition, Martin St. Louis won the Hart Trophy and Brad Richards’ line was facing the heavies. That was the year where Lecavalier was fourth on his team in playoff scoring and Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe.

He scores lots, and he plays a physical game. The simple fact of the matter though, is that for as much offense as he generates five-on-five, he surrenders a lot of chances the opposite way.

He’s an exceptional talent, albeit one who's recorded more than a point per game only twice in ten seasons. He’s vastly overrated as a top-ten NHL player.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Chris
January 21 2009, 04:36PM
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Wow. So your saying opposing goaltenders have trouble saving a LeCavlier shot. This truly proves he is not a top NHL talent.

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#2 Jonathan Willis
January 21 2009, 05:07PM
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@ Chris:

I'm saying that if he's a top NHL talent, why doesn't he outshoot the opposition?

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#3 RobinB
January 21 2009, 05:19PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Chris: I’m saying that if he’s a top NHL talent, why doesn’t he outshoot the opposition?

Who says a top NHL talent has to outshoot the opposition? Does the quality of shot matter, or only the quantity? I'll take quality -- like the Russians refusal to shoot unless it was a Grade A chance in the 1970s -- over quantity anytime.

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#4 Chris
January 21 2009, 05:20PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: LeCavlier outscores the opposition period. Moreover, Tampa goalies are not famous for bailing anyone out. This save percentage thing is bunk... A consistantly high shooting percentage by LeCavlier indicates a high skill level. I haven't watched tonnes of tape on Lecavlier recently, but maybe his line keeps the opposition to the outside surrendering lots of shots but not a lot of quality scoring chances... To consistantly deningrate a player like LeCavlier while pumping up players like Horcoff makes you sound like a Homer.

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#5 Jonathan Willis
January 21 2009, 05:26PM
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RobinB wrote:

Who says a top NHL talent has to outshoot the opposition? Does the quality of shot matter, or only the quantity? I’ll take quality — like the Russians refusal to shoot unless it was a Grade A chance in the 1970s — over quantity anytime.

I'm not saying that quality doesn't matter, but it would seem to make sense that if Lecavalier's really a dominant player territorially, we'd see way more shots for than against.

Since they're pretty even, I'd suggest that Lecavalier's line breaks even against opposition teams top lines in territorial play.

The Red Wings top guys always kill at this, because they're a) a little shot happy and b) they play the most dominant territorial game in the league.

The fact that Lecavalier's at about the even mark playing top opponents suggests a) he's a damn good player and b) he isn't all that special among top line players.

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#6 Jonathan Willis
January 21 2009, 05:27PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: LeCavlier outscores the opposition period. Moreover, Tampa goalies are not famous for bailing anyone out. This save percentage thing is bunk… A consistantly high shooting percentage by LeCavlier indicates a high skill level. I haven’t watched tonnes of tape on Lecavlier recently, but maybe his line keeps the opposition to the outside surrendering lots of shots but not a lot of quality scoring chances… To consistantly deningrate a player like LeCavlier while pumping up players like Horcoff makes you sound like a Homer.

Lecavalier doesn't "outscore the opposition period". that +11 at 5-on-5 play is the best mark he's ever posted, post-lockout. Generally, he's about even.

Hell, look at his career +/- if you don't believe me.

I'm not arguing that he's a bad player; I'm arguing that he doesn't belong in the conversation with guys like Ovechkin, Malkin and Crosby (who all kill at this, btw).

Horcoff wouldn't belong in such a conversation either.

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#7 Jonathan Willis
January 21 2009, 05:31PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: A consistantly high shooting percentage by LeCavlier indicates a high skill level.

And here's what I wrote in the article:

He may be a top-ten offensive talent, but he doesn’t carry the play against tough opponents.

He's a tremendous offensive talent, but a top-ten NHL player should dominate territorially as well, in my opinion.

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#8 RobinB
January 21 2009, 05:39PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Chris wrote: @ Jonathan Willis: A consistantly high shooting percentage by LeCavlier indicates a high skill level. And here’s what I wrote in the article: He may be a top-ten offensive talent, but he doesn’t carry the play against tough opponents. He’s a tremendous offensive talent, but a top-ten NHL player should dominate territorially as well, in my opinion.

Who says he doesn't carry the play? A player can dominate territorially without shooting everything at the net. No?

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#9 Jonathan Willis
January 21 2009, 05:50PM
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@ RobinB:

Fair enough; it would be nice if the NHL recorded time spent in the offensive and defensive zones so that we could compare that to Corsi numbers.

I just re-ran the numbers a bit, and adjusting them for team strength and time on ice, they look a fair bit better.

Not elite, but quite a bit better than how they look here.

Still, even with those adjustments, given that Lecavalier's only topped the point-per-game mark twice while playing in the Southeast Division, I have trouble buying that he's a top-ten NHL talent. The drop-off from Ovechkin to him seems too remarkable.

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#10 Chris
January 21 2009, 06:06PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I guess the best way to settle this is to get LeCavlier in Oilers Silks and monitor his statistical performance in the competative northwest division. If LeCavlier looks weak against the Iginla's and Datsyuk's I swear I'll apologise.

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#11 RobinB
January 21 2009, 06:19PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Forgive me if this falls under the category of what you call "snarky," but if you're trying to tell me with a straight face Vincent Lecavalier isn't an elite player, then you really are lost in the numbers.

There isn't a hockey person I can think of who doesn't consider Lecavalier one of the best 10 forwards in the game today. Believe it or not, I see value in expanded stats, but I can't for the life of me see how somebody can get so caught up in the numbers that they'd take a stand as assinine as to suggest Lecavalier isn't an elite player.

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#12 Fiveandagame
January 21 2009, 06:40PM
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Lecavalier is an elite offensive player, but not an elite 2 way player. Zetterberg he is not. But Bure was considered top ten in his prime and he had massive defensive short comings, Jagr too.

Lots of Elite guys and "top ten" were/ are defensively lacking.

I would also argue Lecavalier has been on sub par teams for most of his career, that would effect the + -. If you have a sieve in the back end or your defense can't cover your mistakes your offensive risks can be exploited. With great goaltending and solid D His + - would greatly improve.

I agree with you about his slightly inflated offensive stats based on the division he is playing in, but he is still and elite player. there are no players not named Joe Thornton that can boast his size and offensive ability. And I would Argue that Lecavalier uses his size better by banging bodies as well as positioning.

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#13 dubya
January 21 2009, 07:48PM
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RobinB wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Forgive me if this falls under the category of what you call “snarky,” but if you’re trying to tell me with a straight face Vincent Lecavalier isn’t an elite player, then you really are lost in the numbers. There isn’t a hockey person I can think of who doesn’t consider Lecavalier one of the best 10 forwards in the game today. Believe it or not, I see value in expanded stats, but I can’t for the life of me see how somebody can get so caught up in the numbers that they’d take a stand as assinine as to suggest Lecavalier isn’t an elite player.

Just to play devil's advocate....if Lecavalier is among the top 10 forwards in the league, and assuming you agree that the SE is a weaker than average division, why aren't his PPG and +/- better? Certainly his teams haven't been good, but given that he plays with St. Louis wouldn't you expect and elite player to put up > 1PPG and be on the ice for significantly more goals for than against?

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#14 dubya
January 21 2009, 07:56PM
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WJonathan Willis wrote:

He’s an exceptional talent, albeit one who’s recorded more than a point per game only twice in ten seasons. He’s vastly overrated as a top-ten NHL player.

Well, it's kinda cherry picking if you don't note that those 2/10 are the last two seasons.

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#15 RobinB
January 21 2009, 09:25PM
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dubya wrote:

Just to play devil’s advocate….if Lecavalier is among the top 10 forwards in the league, and assuming you agree that the SE is a weaker than average division, why aren’t his PPG and +/- better? Certainly his teams haven’t been good, but given that he plays with St. Louis wouldn’t you expect and elite player to put up > 1PPG and be on the ice for significantly more goals for than against?

Certainly his teams haven't been good? There's an understatement. In Lecavlier's first five years in the NHL, the Lightning didn't win 40 games once. Twice they won less than 20 games. In his previous nine seasons, TB won more than 40 games three times -- a whopping 46, 43 and 44. You think playing with Martin St. Louis makes up for that?

So no, I wouldn't expect an elite player to necessarily put up 1 PPG and have a better plus/minus when he's played an mostly pitifully awful teams.

And as for this 1 PPG which seems to be the cut-off line for an "elite player" in the minds of some, do you know how many players active in the NHL right now have averaged 1 PPG in their career? Seven. That's seven out of, what, 700?

Active players who haven't averaged a point per game in their careers include Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Modano, Sergei Fedorov, Marian Hossa, Keith Tkachuk, Brendan Shanahan, Jarome Iginla and Brad Richards. Any of those guys any good?

Lecavalier's .855 PPG is better than Milan Hejduk, Scott Gomez, Saku Koivu and Markus Naslund, to name just four others. Were any of those guys any good?

Somewhere, somehow, somebody could come up with a set of numbers showing that Bobby Orr wasn't that great and Rocket Richard was overrated.

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#16 Drago
January 21 2009, 11:03PM
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RobinB

FINALLY!!! someone else who agrees that using just the numbers are sometimes overrated

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#17 Agrees with RB
January 21 2009, 11:06PM
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Sorry to say it, but Robin has you here Jonathon.

Isn't it possible that Lecavalier has been on the ice in a lot of situations where TB is way behind and needs a goal. He gets told to press and this creates an inordinate number of chances the other way. We all know that sometimes pressing for a goal works, but more often than not it creates chances and goals the other way. (This shows in how important the first goal is for wins on most teams.)

On a team with better lines 2-4, Lecavalier can sit back more, be more defensibly reliable. Maybe he misses a goal or two because of it, because his GA and shots against -if I'm right- would go way, way down.

Isn't this a plausible interpretation of your numbers given TB's crappy lines 2-4, defense, and goalies? And on my interpretation, there's no reason to deny Lecavalier elite status.

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#18 Agrees with RB
January 21 2009, 11:07PM
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That 'because' in paragraph 2 should be 'but'

Damned no edit button

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#19 James Gunner
January 22 2009, 04:34AM
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Lost in the numbers is correct. Shake your head man. Watch some tape and see the old fashioned way. Let the scorers score, let the plugs play D. Offense is the best defense, and so forth.

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#20 Darcy
January 22 2009, 07:47AM
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RobinB wrote:

dubya wrote: Active players who haven’t averaged a point per game in their careers include Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Modano, Sergei Fedorov, Marian Hossa, Keith Tkachuk, Brendan Shanahan, Jarome Iginla and Brad Richards. Any of those guys any good? Lecavalier’s .855 PPG is better than Milan Hejduk, Scott Gomez, Saku Koivu and Markus Naslund, to name just four others.

That's Jonothan's point. Vinnie belongs in the group of guys you mentioned above, not in the Crosby, Ovi, Malkin conversation.

Jonothan never said Vinnie wasn't "any good", just that he wasn't in the elite category.

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#21 RobinB
January 22 2009, 07:57AM
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@ Darcy: Well, he's wrong. Lecavalier is an elite player. Simple as that.

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#22 Ender the Dragon
January 22 2009, 08:34AM
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What JW actually contended was that Lecavlier wasn't a top-ten NHL player overall, not that he wasn't elite. To settle the argument, simply list 10 players in the game today who are better; that would put Lecavlier in 11th and settle the point. No one ever said he wasn't any good.

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#23 RobinB
January 22 2009, 08:48AM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

Settle "the argument?" Jeezuz H, calling Lecavalier "vastly overrated" as a top-10 player is laughable at best, especially when it's based on simply running a bunch of numbers.

If Ken Hitchcock or Ken Holland or Mike Babcock tells me Lecavalier isn't top-10, then we've got a debate. Or does Willis and his numbers trump them? Uh, no.

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#24 Chaz
January 22 2009, 08:59AM
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My 10 best off the top of my head, and in no particular order. (Sorry Vinnie)

1. Ovechkin 2. Crosby 3. Zetterberg 4. Datsyuk 5. Iginla 6. Thorton 7. Getzlaf 8. Lidstrom 9. Hossa 10. Nash

VL is still an elite player though. Watch him play for a period and its obvious.

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#25 RobinB
January 22 2009, 09:08AM
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@ Chaz: That's as good a list as any, although if I was starting a franchise today and had to pick players from your list, I'd leave Lidstrom off only because of his age.

It's conclusions like calling Lecavalier "vastly overrated" as a top-10 player I take issue with -- that and making the argument solely on numbers as opposed to "watching him play," as you suggest.

A hard and fast top-10 aside, let's not forget this -- with about 700 players in the league, rating anybody in the top 21 means they're in the top three per cent. If that's not elite, I don't know what is.

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#26 CurtisS
January 22 2009, 09:25AM
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Jonathon your really still on this kick hey.

Leave #'s aside. Buy center ice. Watch 40 or 82 games of Vinny.

Than come here next year and tell me he isnt a top 10 player in the world.

Hes a top 3 player in the world. Trust me. I take him over Crosby any day of the week.

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#27 Travis Dakin
January 22 2009, 09:27AM
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RobinB wrote:

A hard and fast top-10 aside, let’s not forget this — with about 700 players in the league, rating anybody in the top 21 means they’re in the top three per cent. If that’s not elite, I don’t know what is.

So Hemsky being in the top 21 in P/PG is elite! Screw the poll Hemsky is Elite.

@ Chaz:

Good list but I'd have a hard time putting Nash over Lecavalier, or Malkin.

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#28 Dropping Deuces
January 22 2009, 09:57AM
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@ Chaz:

I also take Vinny over Hossa and I'll take Hemsky over Nash.

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#29 Jonathan Willis
January 22 2009, 10:01AM
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Look, from what I've seen of Lecavalier (and I'll admit, it's probably under 25 games) he isn't all that great defensively.

He's been called out about it publicly by John Tortorella before, so I'm really not the only person who feels this way.

I'm willing to buy that the numbers this season don't tell the whole story because he's having a bad year, playing with a seperated shoulder.

I have never seen Lecavalier as being a top-10 NHL player. Certainly a top-50 NHL player, but I put him in that tier directly below the real game-changers; and to liken his game to that played by somebody like Ovechkin or Lidstrom (complete players) just isn't right.

He's dominant offensively, although how much of that comes from playing in the Southeast is open to debate. He's been called out on his defensive play in the past, and the numbers would indicate that again this season, although how much of that is a lousy team and his separated shoulder is certainly open to debate.

My comment that he's "vastly overrated" as a top-10 NHL player was wrong; I made the mistake of not adjusting his numbers for the weakness of his team, and it makes him look weaker than he is.

Still, compare him to Joe Thornton. Thornton's one year older than he is, and belongs in that top-10 category. Here are their points-per-game, season by season:

Age Thornton Lecavalier 18 0.13 0.34 19 0.51 0.84 20 0.74 0.75 21 0.99 0.49 22 1.03 0.98 23 1.31 0.81 24 0.95 LO 25 LO 0.94 26 1.54 1.32 27 1.39 1.14 28 1.17 0.94 29 1.22

During those lockout seasons, Thornton was busy ripping up the Swiss League, while Vincent Lecavalier was in Russia, where he ranked 10th on his own team in scoring, behind a bunch of Russians and Ruslan Salei.

I think it was Dean Lombardi who said there was a world of difference between being a good player on a good team, and being a good player on a bad team. When the Lightning were winning, Lecavalier wasn't the guy carrying the team. He's played most of his career on a lousy team, and his entire career playing a division-heavy schedule against the weakest teams in the league. Thornton, on the other hand, has his numbers despite playing on strong teams and in strong divisions.

I could go on, player by player, but I have neither the time or the inclination. From everything I've watched read and seen, there's a drop off between the top-tier elite players in the NHL, and the very good players in the NHL. Thornton's in one group, and Lecavalier is in the other.

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#30 MJ
January 22 2009, 10:01AM
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My goodness, hockey by numbers. It's like playing connect the dots back in elementary school. I'm with Robin on this one by far.

Somehow I'm betting the number of Tampa Bay games viewed by Jonathan this season wouldn't even take more than one hand to count. If scouting could be done without watching the games, all the scouts out there could be replaced with the numerous stats bloggers.

Stats are fun and all, but they can tell whatever story you want. I'd bet anything that Robin's premise: "Somewhere, somehow, somebody could come up with a set of numbers showing that Bobby Orr wasn’t that great and Rocket Richard was overrated." could be done.

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#31 voxel
January 22 2009, 10:05AM
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Tampa's defense is awful. They have difficulties gaining puck possession in their own zone and have poor puck movement out. I'd only compare Vinny's Corsi-stats to his other teammates as if they are all in the black and Vinny is negative then you can blame VL. To me, Corsi is very much like +/- ... only useful in ranking players on the same team (while using QoC numbers).

I'm glad we dodged the Brad Richards bullet last season. He was a terrible ES player on the Lightning and is still a terrible ES player on the Stars.

At least Lecavalier and St. Louis can stay afloat at ES even though they aren't necessarily outshooting their opponents.

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#32 Chaz
January 22 2009, 10:25AM
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@ Dropping Deuces: I like Hemsky, but over Nash?!? I don't necessarily disagree, but I didn't put Hemmer on there bc I thought it might be looked at as a Homer pick. No doubt in my mind though that Ales will be on most people's top 10 within a year or two. (Is that guy popular right now, or what?)

Doing a list like this is fun and a great waste of the workday, but it also reminded me of a couple of things:

Forwards are over-rated in this league. All teams that excel have amazing D men. Goalies are also under-rated. There are a lot of great players out there. You can't win a cup with 22 "Top 10" type players. You need the muckers, pluggers, checkers, and grinders as well. Did I already mention it's a great waste of the work day?

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#33 CurtisS
January 22 2009, 10:28AM
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Ok. At least you admit you have only watched 25 games of Vinnys 10 year career to come to a conclusion that he isnt good defensivly. Yet can score short handed goals. Must have a little defensive awarness.

I have watched alot of Vinny. Maybe a little biased here because he is my favorite player. He used to lite me up in bantam the same way he can lite dmen up in the NHL.

All i can say, is watch 40 games and watch him closely. I wouldnt be surprised if he becomes ur favorite player in that time Jonathon. He really is that good.

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#34 Dana @ AgileStyle
January 22 2009, 10:50AM
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Great article and defense of it in the comments, Johnathan. While the conclusion you've come to has come under fire, the way you run the numbers is refreshing and the arguments you present make sense.

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#35 Chris
January 22 2009, 11:52AM
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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Benjamin Disraeli.

"He's (LeCavlier) vastly overrated as a top-ten NHL player." -Johnathan Willis Jan 21, 2009. (Using statistical Analysis)

Statistical analysis is 100% reliable 0% of the time. This dialogue has been interesting, but very inconclusive. Hockey players are people not robots. Could advanced statistics have predicted or accounted for Marleau's turnaround this season? Do numbers account for girlfriends, nagging injuries, or team chemistry? Putting TOO much faith in numbers is a big mistake.

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#36 KristopherM
January 22 2009, 01:05PM
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While numbers do tend to show interesting trends, and data can be a useful TOOL, when it replaces all other measuring boards as the measure of choice, there are going to be real problems. Also for the "elite players to have to be great defensively" argument, im going to go out on a limb here and say that mario and gretzky were not exactly the first ones back blocking the shots. And if you try and say they were not elite, you may get strung up in a tree.

Another flaw in your argument and reasoning in not including a definition of "elite Player", you just gave examples (crosby, malkin, ovechkin). And if they are the only players you consider "elite" then just come right out and say it.

There is more to hockey that stats can tell (an echo of Chris's statement) and when flawed predictors are used, and the categories are ill defined, we run into major problems.

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#37 Jonny
January 22 2009, 01:49PM
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was vinny ever considered elite before the 06 07 season? Everyone knew he had offensive talent by the ton but he was considered inconsistent. Why does it mqtter that he was fourh in playoff scoring, he only had 60some points that year, what else would you expect. Although he put up good stats they were nothingto write home about. Very similar to hemsky actually, although he has good numbers just the other day Pierre mcguire labelled him inconsistent, and that won't change until he puts up the numbers to prove himself to the rest of the league. That season vinny put up over 100 points and he entered this'elite category. What has he done since then? 90 some points the year after and under a ppg this year. So you could easily come to the conclusion that his elite year was a fluke and that he doesn't deserve the label but the fact remains that he was on the worst team in the league last year and on a terrible team this year combined with injury problems. And as long as we know that, his stats over the past two years will always be taken with a grain of salt as the eye tells us that his 100 of year was no fluke. Due to the quality of his team, he hasn't even had a fair shake to put up the stats that you are looking for, and you can't use stats from earlier on in his career because you're right he probably wasn't elite then, but that's got nothing to do with if he's elite now

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#38 Dennis
January 22 2009, 03:02PM
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JW: the world is flat and the quicker you understand that, the less time you'll waste.

Do something more productive like finding out the PK kill-rates when it comes to killing off aggressive penalties!!

!!!

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#39 RobinB
January 22 2009, 03:50PM
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@ Dennis: Right. We just don't get it. We're not as smart as you. We're not as insightful as you. We're not willing to consider other ways of assessing players. We don't buy into every conclusion (some of them downright bizarre) you spit out based on numbers and that makes us (and people who have forgotten more about hockey than you'll ever know) ignorant. We think the world is flat. You arrogant jackass.

Lost in the numbers, alright.

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#40 King Mob
January 22 2009, 04:23PM
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holy eff, Im not a longstanding member of the community, so I might be missing out on some of the history here, but it really seems like you guys are giving jw an overly hard time here.

he made a claim, he supported it with statistics, and that's it. I'd give Lecav a little more credit than he does as well, but I certainly didn't find anything he posted offensive.

can't we just go back to taking our frustrations out on mactavish, and not each other? good lord.

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#41 Dennis
January 22 2009, 05:47PM
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RB: You are right. I don't have a clue because I don't get to kiss butt in the bowels of Rexall.

I am sorry.

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#42 RobinB
January 22 2009, 05:57PM
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@ Dennis: Yes, I am right. Willis does have a clue, even if I don't always agree with his conclusions. You, on the other hand, do not.

Pucker up.

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#43 Dennis
January 22 2009, 07:26PM
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RB: You have been assuming the position for years so your advice on this matter would be invaluable!

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#44 speeds
January 22 2009, 11:46PM
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RobinB wrote:

Somewhere, somehow, somebody could come up with a set of numbers showing that Bobby Orr wasn’t that great and Rocket Richard was overrated.

Orr was +597 over his 596 GP (all except his rookie year for which I can't find +/- numbers). If anything, the stats guys would like him more than the others given his gaudy +/- numbers.

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#45 RobinB
January 23 2009, 09:04AM
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@ speeds: Most would, yes. The point is, it's possible to make any argument you want with statistics alone.

I'll repeat my bottom line, in case you mistakenly think I have no use for advanced statistics.

Never checking the stats and relying only on what you see to assess a player is flawed and lacks context. Checking only stats and not watching a player perform over a reasonable length of time in making an assessment also lacks context. For me, stats are a tool, a secondary way to back-up or disprove what I've seen.

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#46 Mr DeBakey
January 23 2009, 10:18AM
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What a fun thread

Jonathan says “He’s vastly overrated as a top-ten NHL player.”

A couple of guys pile on, they respond: “This truly proves he is not a top NHL talent.”

“Who says a top NHL talent has to outshoot the opposition?”

Maybe you guys ought to respond to Jonathan's argument, not a different argument!

Maybe you could've asked "Who says a top NHL talent has to be a pervert?"

Its called reading, gentlemen.

but maybe his line keeps the opposition to the outside surrendering lots of shots but not a lot of quality scoring chances…

That one should be easy; is Mike Smith’s Save % better or worse when The Vinny is on the ice?

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#47 Dennis
January 23 2009, 04:24PM
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RB: Actually, I think you should give them close to equal weight but I'd fall back on stats when the money's on the table.

I appreciate the access you have so you get pin down a Lowe and ask him what the plans might be for Brule etc etc. But when the chips falls you look at the game one way: the same you've looked at it for the last 50 years.

Other guys grew up with that but now they're embracing stats as well. And when stats pass the sniff test, you know you're on to something.

Overall, you'll always have the adv because conceivably you could study up on your stats and then ask the people in charge about them. But until you do, you remain ignorant to the new big picture.

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#48 Doogie2K
January 23 2009, 09:06PM
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Shoot, I screwed up the first reply.

Statistical analysis is 100% reliable 0% of the time.

Be that as it may, are you saying that we should throw all of science out the window and go back to positing that medical problems are due to an imbalance of the humours? All the science we rely on today to keep us alive and using this here series of tubes is itself reliant on statistical analysis, which is usually only considered around 95% reliable.

I also love how people are all too willing to plug their ears when the numbers say something they don't want to hear, but are all ears when it says something they do want to hear. I'm sure you'd all have the time of day for the numbers if they told you that Rob Schremp was actually awesome and not one of a dozen washed-up junior scorers in the American League. What do people have invested in Lecavalier, anyway? He's not an Oiler, so why do you care if the numbers show that maybe he's not the all-around star that someone in the upper echelon, like Crosby et. al.? Is it your pride on the line? Come on, people, think for a second here.

Orr was +597 over his 596 GP (all except his rookie year for which I can’t find +/- numbers). If anything, the stats guys would like him more than the others given his gaudy +/- numbers.

Recently, Matt Fenwick linked to an adjusted +/- study over the first 40 years from expansion on HF. Orr came in #2 in the raw numbers, and given that he played less than half as many games as the leader, Ray Bourque, and given that his first couple of seasons came before +/- was even recorded, let's just say he's #1 with a bullet and carry on.

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