Ignorance, knowledge and shooting percentage

Jonathan Willis
December 19 2012 03:48PM

When looking at the impact of hockey blogs on discussion of the sport, shooting percentage is a decent example of how untrained amateurs have moved the puck forward.

For ages – and by ages I mean the dawn of hockey right down into the 2000’s – things like “really high shooting percentages are uncommon” were not obvious. Not to players, not to general managers, and really not to the guys hammering out reports for media publications or the fans reading them.

Fernando Pisani

This is something that should be painfully clear to anyone who has covered the Oilers at all since the last lockout. Consider, for example, Fernando Pisani’s 2006 playoff run, where he scored 14 goals in 24 games on 49 shots, good for a 28.6 shooting percentage.

The management of the Edmonton Oilers gave him a raise to $2.5 million per season against a salary cap of $44 million. The equivalent total against today’s $70.2 million cap is $4 million. Guys signed to that equivalent amount this off-season included Jiri Hudler (25 goals, 50 points), P-A Parenteau (18 goals, 67 points) and David Jones (20 goals, 37 points).

Optics may well have been involved; after all, the best word to describe the Oilers’ off-season that year was “exodus.” But Pisani was handed a four-year contract in the hopes that he would score enough to earn it. He started 2006-07 on the Oilers’ top line, with Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth. Smyth had scored 36 goals the year before; Horcoff was coming off a 73-point season. Both general manager Kevin Lowe and head coach Craig MacTavish talked about additional opportunities and additional minutes.

This is before we get into what the media and what the fans thought about Fernando Pisani. Suffice to say that optimism was widespread. The Hockey News said Pisani “should be good for 20-plus [goals]” and after mentioning him, Ales Hemsky and Joffrey Lupul proclaimed the Oilers “as skilled, young and dynamic as they’ve been in 20 years.” McKeen’s Hockey predicted 24 goals and 50 points. Pisani played 77 games, scoring 14 goals and failing to clear the 30-point plateau. It was his most productive season on that four-year contract.

The arguments in his favour at the time were pretty clear. He was going to shoot more. He was going to play more minutes, including on the power play. None of it happened, because as it turns out a 28.6 shooting percentage wasn’t sustainable. Pisani ultimately managed to score at just over one-third of that clip in his first year under the new deal.

Gilbert Brule

A more recent example is Gilbert Brule, a guy who jumped from being a sub-seven percent shooter with Columbus to a 14 percent plus shooter in Edmonton. I’m glossing over some other things, but suffice to say that when the argument was made that there were serious concerns, the guys who made it were laughed out of the building. Oilers management handed him a shiny new contract, to the approval of the majority of punditry and fandom alike.

Reasons for confidence were many and varied. Some argued that because Brule was a close range shooter his shooting percentage would be consistently high. Others argued his shot totals would increase because he was young and hadn’t been given enough time on top lines and the power play.

The bottom promptly fell out, for a number of reasons including health issues. Interestingly, even at the AHL level Brule failed to match his NHL shooting percentage from the previous year; in the majors he failed to crack double digits in shooting percentage.

The Point

In hindsight, the unsustainability of Pisani’s playoff goal-scoring seems painfully obvious. At the time, everybody – including the experienced hockey men making multi-million dollar decisions for the team – missed the boat. Much the same can be said about Brule. Neither was an isolated incident; hockey men around the league have made and continue to make those mistakes, whether it was Toronto signing Jason Blake in 2007 or Buffalo signing Ville Leino in 2011.

Between those four guys alone, NHL teams spent more than $60 million on contracts immediately following a shooting percentage bubble. The vast majority of that money was wasted.

I bring this stuff up because people wonder why the online hockey stats crowd continues to talk about shooting percentage and other items. An Oilers Nation piece pondered that very question as recently as this Monday. The answer is this: it matters, a lot, and it’s something that still has not been accepted by many.

The reason for that lack of acceptance is obvious. The presence of shooting percentage-based analysis in hockey media started online. It wasn’t something that NHL insiders were leaking to journalists; by their actions it’s clear that an alarming number of NHL insiders had no idea it mattered as recently as the last few years. It wasn’t something that was generated by the professional media, either, and propagated in a mainstream publication.

Instead, the importance of shooting percentage in analyzing goal scoring has only been emphasized publicly because of the work of a group of talented amateurs, guys writing on websites. It is those places where people like me have learned basic principles and contributed what we could in turn.

The value has been an increased understanding of the game, and not just by the diehards with the spreadsheets. And every time someone breaks out a project studying zone entries or analyzes translations from the AHL to NHL or evaluates how penalty-killing save percentage fluctuates from year to year, they’re furthering everyone’s knowledge.

That’s why they don’t “just sit back and enjoy” the show. The stats guys could just shut up and watch the games. But we’d all be less informed if they did.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Neil
December 19 2012, 04:22PM
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Jonathan,

I respect your opinion, but your constant need to say "I told you so" or needing to suggest stats guys are smarter reeks of insecurity.

It is easy to suggest Pisani was a one-hit wonder, most assumed that. Also it was understandable why the Oilers signed him. He was a hero in the city and Pronger and others had all decided not to stay.

Shooting % shows us what exactly? So Eberle drops from his 19% down to 15 but still scores 34 goals because he shoots more, which is likely because he'll get more icetime, is he any better or worse of a player? If you need to jump up and down

And suggesting you those who just "watch" the game are stupid is incredibly arrogant. I guess because I don't immerse myself in stats I'm an idiot.

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#2 RexLibris
December 19 2012, 04:36PM
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Regarding Eberle's shooting percentage, I have a theory that is entirely scientific and can be backed by any number of quantifiable factors: Eberle shook Stamkos' hand at the draft and some of his (Eberle's) mojo rubbed off, thereby endowing young Stamkos with a portion of young Jordan's scoring touch.

Case closed.

If voodoo isn't a science, I don't know what is.

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#4 K_Mart
December 20 2012, 12:31AM
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Jesse wrote:

The argument against drafting RNH in the above link is well supported based on the information available months before the entry draft. I'm curious as to what about this article you consider to be lacking in smarts, as you implied. The fact that you feel as though it's obvious who was the better draft choice so early in these players' careers seems silly, especially after there was so much debate around who was a more complete player in their rookie seasons between RNH and Landeskog.

First off, I believe Gregor's point was merely that even CORRECT statistical analysis can lead to the wrong decision. Secondly, hindsight shows us one MAJOR flaw in JW's article... accounting for how much PP time RNH might see should he don Oilers silks. He automatically reduces the value of RNH's PP points to zero based on the assumption he will see zero PP time. He should've at least dissected the odds that a first overall pick and power play specialist might get a good look on the PP of the thirtieth placed team. Just sayin'

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#5 Craiger
December 20 2012, 01:11PM
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willis…

first let me say that i am a huge fan of oilersnation, and indeed hockey in general. this is a great blog with some talented writers, and as die-hard fans like me scavenge the internets for any tidbits of hockey news that isn't lockout related, the nation has done a fantastic job of creating content in a situation in which there is often little to report.

i've been a fan of the nation since it opened its virtual doors, and have visited the site daily for many years. over that time i've come to find a great respect for some of the contributors, and less for others. sadly, i have to tell you that you have of late fallen into the latter pile.

the nation is a place to share opinions and talk hockey, and any sports fan knows that the passion of the game is not contained solely to the ice/field/court/diamond, but spills over into basements, bars and blogs. i respect that. presenting an opinion and using data or observations to back it up is what the whole thing is about - but when you start acting like a whiny, condescending brat and resorting to name-calling and insults to make your point, the words lose their effectiveness and instead the focus becomes the whiny, condescending brat behind the words.

the readers of the nation are not idiots. just because we don't all keep spreadsheets loaded full of data and run statistical analyses and regression models on left handed face-off winning percentages in third period neutral zone face-offs on the road on odd numbered days in january doesn't mean you are the only person here who understands the game. some of us played it, and can glean as much from watching a sequence as any mathematician can with all the statistics in the world. i appreciate the numbers approach, and appreciate the evidence used to back up your opinions… i just wish you would present those opinions as such rather than with the superfluous superior attitude and patronizing tone. it doesn't make you right. it just makes you a know-it-all asshat.

you're better than that. have some respect for your readers, we're not all the idiots you seem to think.

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#6 Wax Man Riley
December 20 2012, 05:02PM
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Craiger wrote:

willis…

first let me say that i am a huge fan of oilersnation, and indeed hockey in general. this is a great blog with some talented writers, and as die-hard fans like me scavenge the internets for any tidbits of hockey news that isn't lockout related, the nation has done a fantastic job of creating content in a situation in which there is often little to report.

i've been a fan of the nation since it opened its virtual doors, and have visited the site daily for many years. over that time i've come to find a great respect for some of the contributors, and less for others. sadly, i have to tell you that you have of late fallen into the latter pile.

the nation is a place to share opinions and talk hockey, and any sports fan knows that the passion of the game is not contained solely to the ice/field/court/diamond, but spills over into basements, bars and blogs. i respect that. presenting an opinion and using data or observations to back it up is what the whole thing is about - but when you start acting like a whiny, condescending brat and resorting to name-calling and insults to make your point, the words lose their effectiveness and instead the focus becomes the whiny, condescending brat behind the words.

the readers of the nation are not idiots. just because we don't all keep spreadsheets loaded full of data and run statistical analyses and regression models on left handed face-off winning percentages in third period neutral zone face-offs on the road on odd numbered days in january doesn't mean you are the only person here who understands the game. some of us played it, and can glean as much from watching a sequence as any mathematician can with all the statistics in the world. i appreciate the numbers approach, and appreciate the evidence used to back up your opinions… i just wish you would present those opinions as such rather than with the superfluous superior attitude and patronizing tone. it doesn't make you right. it just makes you a know-it-all asshat.

you're better than that. have some respect for your readers, we're not all the idiots you seem to think.

I have no idea how someone could take offense to this piece. I did not find it whiny or condescending at all.

Also, looks like someone learned to prop themselves....

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#7 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
December 19 2012, 03:59PM
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I'm FISTing at a staggering, and clearly unsustainable, 100% mark today. 2 for 2.

NOW SHOW ME THE MONEY!

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#8 David S
December 19 2012, 04:28PM
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Did the Oilers sign Pisani based on the expectation of a 28% SP? C'mon now.

It looked like Pisani had turned a corner during the 06 playoffs. I don't think anybody really took that 28% SP seriously, but it would have been reasonable to expect he'd hit for 20 during a full season, no? In that case, plus the "hometown guy not fleeing the ship" factor was worth $2.5M per.

The reality is he had an ongoing health issue (eventualy ending his career)which no doubt had something to do with his falloff. Would a healthy Pisani have been able to perform to the contract he got from the Oilers? That was the bet, and notwithstanding the concealed health issues, a good one.

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#11 The Soup Fascist
December 19 2012, 04:50PM
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At what point does an "anomaly" become a trend? I suspect that the Steven Stamkos and Thomas Holmstroms of the world will have high S.P. for the most productive parts of their careers - for two totally different reasons. One is a skilled sniper and the other bangs in pucks from within two feet of the goal crease.

The highest career shooting % over a career I could find - Craig Simpson 23.7%, who scored much like Holmstrom. Mike Bossy was a pure sniper who scored at over 21% - most of them beauties. A mid first rounder who was not necessarily a speedster nor could he "boom" a puck, but had a quick accurate release .... hmmm.

At what point along Bossy's 10 year career would the "shooting % propeller heads" of today say his numbers were warranted? Over nine years he produced an unbelievably consistent range of 20.2% to 24.7% before his final injury riddled year. Year 3? Year 9? Never? Different era but the point is the same.

Andrew Brunette has maintained a 17.7% pace. Alex Tanguay is at 18.6% for his career. Alex "Freaking" Tanguay! Why is Eberle maintaining an 18% SP so out of reach? IMO he is more talented than these guys and he clearly values not taking low % shots and constantly works on his release. He may drop a little, but I do not see this "shooting % cliff" being an absolute certainty. He is 27% plus in the AHL this year!

Clearly, Ebs has to do it more than one year, but I see him being a high % shooter given his talent, teammates and work ethic - for many years.

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#12 Archaeologuy
December 19 2012, 04:50PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

No matter how many stats you use-you will never be able to gather enough to make your opinion a fact.

Please let this morph into a debate on Evolution *crosses fingers*

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#13 stevezie
December 19 2012, 06:47PM
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I don't think most of the opponents actually disagree with Jonathan; there is just some of the most acrobatic dodging of the point I have ever seen.

No one is saying stats will enhance YOUR enjoyment of the game; what they're useful for is predicting the future. If you don't care about doing this than God-bless you. I'm sure no one will fault you for enjoying the element of surprise in sports- different people come to the game to see different things.
No one is saying that all players will shoot around the same percentage, just that even if a player spikes or drops you can count on him to return to what his individual shooting percentage is (unless age and injury are setting in). This is a fact. Mike Bossy and Craig Simpson do invalidate those predicting a drop-off for Eberle, they confirm the theory because both these players consistantly shot high-percentage.
Eberle might be a fantastically high-percentage scorer, but we need a few more seasons to say for sure. "Watching his release" is not as reliable as looking at his career numbers.
He sure is lighting up the A.

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#14 K_Mart
December 19 2012, 09:24PM
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I think you're bang on J.W. but you come off as arrogant when you finish your article by reaffirming your value to the analysis of the game. Let your work do the talking. No need to always tell us peasants how uninformed we'd be without you. I know those aren't your exact words, but that's how you sound to me.

Good article otherwise... as usual. I think you may even be a little generous by suggesting Ebs can sustain a 14%+ sht %. 12-14 is probably more accurate. A career avg between 55-75 pts a season with maybe one or two 85-90 pt seasons would be plenty good.

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#15 Time Travelling Sean
December 19 2012, 09:26PM
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You know DSF, it's really annoying when you compare players playing in the NHL, or have played, and done moderately well, to some guy, usually a year or two older, who hasn't even laced for his NHL team yet, and say he's the better prospect.

MPS is a good pick, he has had 2 years of NHL experience. He had 15 goals as a 19 year old, had a really rough year after that, and so now he is a dead beat, busted prospect and we should have taken Peter Holland? Who hasn't even played a game in the NHL yet. Oh, he's played in 4, he has a nice SH% too, what a pretty pick.

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#16 FastOil
December 19 2012, 11:09PM
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As I read through this, I wonder why is it so hard to understand the principle here? Being a great shooter is only known in hindsight, if it was different teams would draft predictably great shooters, right?

Eberle has had some success. The vast majority of good players don't sustain at the same level over time. The NHL site will tell you this if you look at seasons.

The team is lucky to have Eberle. Do you gamble? The numbers say he likely will regress to a closer to normal shooting percentage. All in? If he doesn't, all the better.

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#17 stevezie
December 20 2012, 12:10AM
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@DSF

You're telling a true story without telling the whole story. No one who wants to be taken seriously is arguing we were better off taking MPS than Kulikov. If we can go back in time the Russian is ours. That there wre better picks does not make MPS a bad one.

You are right that MPS had a bad Swedish shooting percentage, but he produced offence anyway because he was good at generating shots, which is at least an equal part of the equation.
The kid got picked because he had size, decent stats, a good attitude ("Canada will sh*t themselves..." is a great quote) and the single most important thing a hockey player needs: skating ability. Best wheels in the draft, they said.

No, he is not going to be a great scorer. He is in range for his draft position though. Call me an apologist but other than Kulikov I think it is too early to close the case on any of the 10-20 picks from his year. He'll never be a star, that doesn't make him a bust.

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#18 Sanaa Montana
December 20 2012, 12:15AM
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Jesse wrote:

Are people not entitle to enjoy and appreciate hockey in their own ways?

No! Hockey is only enjoyable if there is stats to prove so, otherwise its just a bunch of stupiders looking at a frozen sheet of water while a bunch of spoiled whinners carve it up back and forth.

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#19 @Oilanderp
December 20 2012, 12:57AM
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Statistics are a quantified history of the game. Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. Keep handing out those big fat stupid contracts, GMs!

No offense intended to those of us who are big fat and stupid or any combination thereof.

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#20 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 20 2012, 08:10AM
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I honestly don't know what the deal is with Brule and why he is brought up in this convo. He was young and had potential. It's not like he dropped for 4%. He dropped to a respectable 9.7%, which is a similar number to 30 goal scorer Phil Kessel or numerous 20 goal scorers. His problem was injuries, not his shooting percentage.

Why isn't Jones brought up here? Guys sure like to say I told you so with Brule, but where's Jones in his high shooting percentage and won't score 15+ goals again?

Even Pisani, Lowe had no choice but to sign him. How do you let Pisani go when everyone else is walking away from the team?

You might think that you can put a magically team together on paper Willis, but the fact remains there is a lot more to hockey than stats and trying to prove your point for the 100th time.

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#21 Eastern Oil
December 20 2012, 03:47PM
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@ Craiger

Although I respect the tone of your comment I think you have absolutely missed the boat on the article. At no point did Willis comment that he understood, appreciated or loved the game more because he is a stats guy, he only put forth the opinion that stats, as a whole, can further our understanding of the game.

Not our love of the game, how much we appreciate it, or how much value we give back to it. But stats can allow us to see a different picture.

If you just watch the game and read the sports page because you love the game, that's fantastic. But if you want to delve deeper then there are lot of great stats guys, as well as dedicated readers, out there with varying opinions and you can choose to agree or disagree.

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#22 David S
December 20 2012, 05:56PM
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*Props WMR just to screw up the data set*

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#23 OilLeak
December 20 2012, 06:34PM
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DSF wrote:

Shooting percentage is shooting percentage in any league.

In his final SEL season, he scored 12 goals in 49 games with a shooting percentage around 6%.

For comparison, Canucks prospect Niklas Jensen has already scored 12 goals in the SEL in 30 games and he is only 19.

I may be wrong on this one, maybe Willis can confirm this, but an adjustment to shooting percentage needs to be made when moved from league to league.

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#24 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 03:59PM
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F!$+

(7 seconds late)by Youssou N'Dour

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#25 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 03:59PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

I'm FISTing at a staggering, and clearly unsustainable, 100% mark today. 2 for 2.

NOW SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Fist you @$$hol.!..

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#26 Archaeologuy
December 19 2012, 04:00PM
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Well said, Mr. Willis.

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#27 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
December 19 2012, 04:06PM
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@Sanaa Montana

Your FISTing is WEEEEZZEEEAAAK, son!*

*TWSS

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#28 Hacienda
December 19 2012, 04:16PM
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So Willis, what's your opinion on Eberle's shooting percentage? Do you think it will be consistently high, or do you take the defensible position that it's still too early in his career to know?

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#29 They're $hittie
December 19 2012, 04:17PM
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wait for it... wait for it......

the paaravi terrible shooting percentage and bust comment is about to come.

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#31 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 04:23PM
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To say that we'd all be stupider if there was no stat guys is one of the stupidest things I have read on the site.

I watch hockey for the game of hockey. I don't sit there and count Khabi's saves, Eberle's shots or Horcoff's face-off wins.

Stats are irrelevant to the game during the game and hold no influence on it what so ever. Stats never stay the same and the numbers are constantly changing.

Stats give media something to talk about and track for the sake of news and updates and of course online knowitalls something to talk about and pull out when comparing penises.

Stats only matter if you believe they do. Stats to me are like slutty women-no one really cares about them and they are just something to talk about with your friends.

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#32 David S
December 19 2012, 04:29PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

To say that we'd all be stupider if there was no stat guys is one of the stupidest things I have read on the site.

I watch hockey for the game of hockey. I don't sit there and count Khabi's saves, Eberle's shots or Horcoff's face-off wins.

Stats are irrelevant to the game during the game and hold no influence on it what so ever. Stats never stay the same and the numbers are constantly changing.

Stats give media something to talk about and track for the sake of news and updates and of course online knowitalls something to talk about and pull out when comparing penises.

Stats only matter if you believe they do. Stats to me are like slutty women-no one really cares about them and they are just something to talk about with your friends.

Stats! STATS!!!

#Stats

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#33 reidharr35
December 19 2012, 04:31PM
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i know im just some guy but i have to say im almost positive that Eberle is the real deal. you never see him take a low percentage shot from the blue line in hopes of a rebound. he picks a corner in the slot and he puts it there.

I think Paajarvi will be a 3rd liner of size and speed. hopefully as he gets older and bigger he uses his size more.

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#34 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 04:32PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Are you serious? You need his WHL numbers? Really? What for?

Having his WHL numbers would only make you believe in your assumption more than you do now.?

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#37 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 04:38PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Where do I find this fact/stat that we'd all be stupider without Gabe and Vic?

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#39 Olivier
December 19 2012, 04:43PM
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Jonathan

I wonder if part of the shooting % thingy is that it wasn't always that way and still isn't. That is, true shooting % stars are a rarity *in the NHL nowadays*. But go back in time before the butterfly/fitness revolution of the 90's and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that not only shooting % talent was a repeatable skill, but that it was a skill at team level. That means back in the mean old, stacked-pad saves days, talent, a manifestation of puck skills and abilities was shooting %. Obviously, François Allaire, Patrick Roy and the rest took care of that in the NHL.

Dunno about the lower leagues tough.

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#40 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 04:46PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I've got a quote in a book where Don Cherry explains that video review is only useful to guys who believe in video review. The reason being that he catches everything behind the bench on his first go-around without any help.

Your argument is the direct descendant of that one, and it ain't any brighter than its old man.

Thanks for the insight.

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#41 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 04:47PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The thing about an evidence-based approach to forming conclusions is that additional evidence leads to better conclusions.

If we knew how high-percentage WHL shooters typically fared when they hit the NHL, and what Eberle's WHL numbers were, we'd have years more data on which to draw a conclusion. Instead we have two (contradictory) NHL seasons and half a year in a lockout-strengthened 'A'.

No matter how many stats you use-you will never be able to gather enough to make your opinion a fact.

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#43 Archaeologuy
December 19 2012, 04:49PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

Where do I find this fact/stat that we'd all be stupider without Gabe and Vic?

Perhaps wording is the issue with that one.

Personally, Ferrari and Desjardins havent made me any smarter. They have made me more informed, more knowledgeable, and provided new ways for me to look at hockey.

I would not be "Stupider" without them though.

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#44 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 04:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Maybe not you. But certainly the NHL teams that contract Desjardins specifically because he can tell them things they don't know. And everybody else who picked up on things like line matchups and defensive zone assignments from looking at QualComp and zonestarts.

What NHL team do work for? Who exactly were you thinking about when you wrote "we'd all be stupider"?

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#47 Will
December 19 2012, 05:01PM
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I've brought this up before and you said you had no interest arguing a point you don't believe in, which I feel demonstrates biased journalism and a manipulation of stats to back up what you want to show, instead of drawing conclusions from the stats themselves (I should caveat that point with the fact that I know the data suggests Eberle's shooting percentage is unsustainable); however I am more interested in talking about why Eberle or Pisani managed to have such good years, and how to duplicate those factors so they can continue to have good years.

It's one thing to say this is why Eberle will not be as good, but another to say Eberle was really good, why is that, and what does he have to do to duplicate?

Eberle did not get a ton of points because his shooting percentage was high, his shooting percentage was high because he converted on a lot of chances. Why is he able to convert on those chances, whereas Pijaarvi is not?

Answers like accuracy, not just throwing the puck on net, putting himself in high scoring positions, playing with people who allow him to be in high scoring positions are all answers, and that I think is what we should be discussing.

My problem with these shooting percentage arguments is they all boil down to one point: anyone with a high shooting percentage was just lucky. For a stats person, proving that someone was lucky through hard factual numbers seems like a contradiction. Whereas everyone who says this kind of reasoning is stupid and Eberle will continue to get points, is arguing he got points because of skill, and the skill around him.

If anything, I don't see a high shooting percentage proving someone was lucky, I think it proves someone has potential. Not potential to be lucky again, but potential to sustain their skilled performance. Thus in the case of Pisani, did he just become unlucky, or did something else factor into his skill dropping off?

Just like Gagner's 8 point night, was that luck? Can you look at any of those goals and say the only reason that went in was pure luck. Or do you look at it and say, that is an incredible feat and the fact he was capable of it demonstrates a potential for him to be a performer?

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#48 Will
December 19 2012, 05:03PM
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@Will

Sorry about the rant, and this is a well written article that was enjoyable to read.

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#49 The Soup Fascist
December 19 2012, 05:07PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Alex Tanguay is an *extremely* selective shooter - and prior to Stamkos the league's most accurate.

Sidney Crosby's a more talented guy than Tanguay (and Eberle, for that matter) but he's only a career 15% shooter despite the cerebral nature of his game and his high level of skill.

But you're right - what is an anomaly now will be a trend if it continues. But then again, at the same point in his career Andrew Cogliano had a better statistical argument for being a high percentage shooter than Eberle does.

Eberle's great year last year cannot be considered a trend under any circumstance, you are correct. I just see a lot of reasons for up arrows and Eberle maintaining 18% is not necessarily impossible.

"...you'd like to outlaw counting" is a VERY funny line, by the way.

~Who knew a "stats guy" could have a sense of humor?~

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#50 TigerUnderGlass
December 19 2012, 05:07PM
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@Will

You are confusing "luck" with "chance".

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