For most of my adult life, hockey stats consisted of what we now call boxcars: goals, assists, points. About 2000, I started reading some interesting stuff online about advanced statistics. My reaction? Bill James stuck with baseball stats, you should too. However, a funny thing happened along the way: I learned something.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION
The recent announcement on the Nations pages that NHL numbers has been transformed into something resembling an ongoing "Hockey Abstract" is welcome news. I’ll be the first to admit that the kind of work being done by the group gathered together at NHLN is going to be a challenge to comprehend at times, and fully admit that I’ll maintain my charming stubborn streak when it benefits me view.
But this is a wonderful chance to learn together. If you’re a hockey fan like me without the math savvy to figure these things out, there’s a wealth of talent available to field your questions. I’ve always wondered if it would benefit us to count "successful sorties out of the defensive zone" by pass or conveyance. I bet Pat Quinn would have benefited from miles of research on leaving Lubo the hell alone in this area and suspect there is something to be learned by simply tallying up successful missions per season per defenseman.
But it’s all out there in the ether, and this (to my knowledge) is the first chance we’ll have to address the "pro’s in the know" with items that have us curious about this wonderful game.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. If you’re open to new ideas, then these gentlemen should help us understand the modern game better so we can enjoy it to the fullest.
Now. What is the impact of a bad line change? How often does a baserunner go first to third on a single to left and what is its value? Kidding. There’s plenty of time for that. 🙂
This week’s episode is devoted to NHL Numbers and the new innovations. Your questions are welcome via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can leave comments below. Also, twitter works @lowetide_ Scheduled to appear:
- Derek Zona, managing editor of Copper and Blue who (these are the direct words of Wanye via his Manor) will be heading up the new initiative. If you’re on twitter, you must follow Derek for his avatar alone. Sam Gagner and I do.
- Kent Wilson from the Nations and the man who will work with Derek to make sure you and I can catch up with the fine reading and envelope pushing.
- Cam Charron, another big brain signed up for NHL numbers. Cam is young and funny, but has a strange attachment to Hootie and the Blowfish.
- Thomas Drance from Canucks Army. Thomas continues to run of big brains and is probably the one Canuck commentator who sees the team through the cold grey of dawn. Or something like that.
- Benjamin Massey writes for Copper and Blue and 86 forever. We had him on last week but the call was cut off when Benjamin’s RocknRolla lifestyle took over the moment.
- Corey Graham from the Edmonton Oil Kings will tee up G6 and what might be a championship evening.
Noon to 2 on Team 1260, archive within 24 hours. Hope you can join me.