Gaming Corsi on the Power Play

Jordan Eberle made an interesting comment today as to why
the PP is doing better under Nelson. As per Derek Van Diest, Eberle had this to
say: “I think maybe on the start of the year we were really focused on shooting
the puck and Corsi numbers. When that starts creeping in your head, you’re just
shooting the puck just to shoot it and you’re not trying to create the best
opportunity you can.”

That’s going to stir up the hornet’s nest quite a bit. As
someone who has been interested in the Power Play and the numbers it’s indeed a
very interesting comment. For the Anti-Stats people it will be something of a
rallying cry, I suppose. There are loads of people who haven’t trusted the
advanced stats crowd and here in Edmonton the conversation is extremely heated.

If we can take Eberle’s words at face value then there
really was a problem with the way Dallas Eakins’ team was generating shots. I
had written about the Power Play early in the year here and found that the Oilers really did have significantly improved numbers from
the year before and the Krueger year as well. They were creating more shot
attempts and unblocked shot attempts although it wasn’t translating into shots as
well. What’s worse is that their shooting percentage was actually 26th
in the league when I wrote that.

Over the Eakins portion of the 2014-2015 season the Oil were generating 96.6 Corsi Events per 60 minutes. That places them 18th
in the NHL. However, they were 25th in actual shots per 60 with just
47.1 during that time. When Eakins had finished the on-ice shooting percentage
for the PP was 8.1% which was actually 28th ranked. Quite poor indeed.

Bad luck, or a product of trying to game the system?

Shenanigans

Again, if we take Eberle’s words at face value then the
players were being told they needed to increase their shots per minute and that
got into their heads. If this is true then it represents a failure in coaching.
I say that even as I truly believe teams need to increase the number of shots
to be truly effective.

When I say that’s a failure of coaching what I mean is that
the coaching staff should be preaching methods and strategies about HOW to
create more opportunities, not simply demanding more shots. The coach knew that
his team was woefully behind in generating chances and he wanted to increase
that. Good. He apparently told his team that they just needed to shoot more.
Bad.

So when Nelson took over the Oilers just stopped all that
silly shot gaming and started taking more quality shots, right? I mean it
really is the idea of shot quality and creativity vs boring math and
spreadsheets at the heart of this, no?

Well, that’s the difference in the delivery of the message
and quality coaching. Argue until you’re blue in the face that Nelson got them
to focus on quality vs quantity all you want, but the facts are that Nelson
ALSO has this team generating more Corsi events and shots.

Over the course of the Nelson era the Oilers have had a
significant increase in the metrics as well as the overall efficiency of the Power
Play. Since Nelson took over as the solo Head Coach the Oilers have been
generating 108.7 shot attempts per 60 minutes. They are 7th in Corsi
For over that time. That’s no small thing. In terms of actual shots, the Oilers
are now taking 57.3 shots per 60 minutes on the PP which is 9th in
the NHL.

The shooting percentage has indeed gone up too. In fact, it has
actually doubled. The Oilers under Nelson are shooting 16.3% on the Power Play.
Does that mean they are taking more quality chances or are they just getting
the bounces? It doesn’t have to be an either/or, really. They can be taking
what they feel are better shots, getting more favourable bounces, and still
be performing well by the metrics.

But the Oilers are taking more shots and creating more Corsi
events now under Nelson, so does that mean he’s also preaching to up the Corsi?

I think this is all about messaging. The players themselves
aren’t particularly accustomed to talking about Corsi, and really they don’t
have to be. If Dallas Eakins was talking more about Corsi than he was about
breakouts, zone entries, and strategies to create chances then that was a
massive blunder. Spend more time with control of the puck in the attacking zone
and you should be generating more attempts. If those attempts are more than
gaming the clock by shooting even though the lane is closed then they should
start generating more actual shots as a result.

Players need to be taught how to do things in the language of
the sport. While the language is changing to include things like Corsi or Shot
Attempts, those aren’t the right concepts when it comes time to teaching. Those
are evaluative tools first and foremost and I think Eakins was maybe trying to
use it too much in the teaching aspect of his job. Jordan Eberle doesn’t need
to be told to shoot more from everywhere because the team needs a better Corsi.
He needs to be shown different ways to gain zone entry, to create open passing
lanes, and to adjust the play to what the penalty killers are doing. At the end
of the day the Corsi gets upped as a result.

A good PP that is based on more than just lucky bounces
should be good at creating both the quality and number of the chances. The
coaches should be preaching the strategies to get their players those looks
that eventually result in quality metrics. If Eakins was actually preaching to
increase the metrics rather than habits that result in good metrics then that
was a problem.

Messaging is important. Nelson and Eakins both wanted to get
their teams to shoot more and create more chances. Under Eakins it sounds like
the players struggled to understand or at very least feel comfortable because
the message didn’t make any sense to them. With Nelson it appears as if he’s
speaking their language. I doubt Eakins wanted to be gaming Corsi, but that’s
what Jordan Eberle ended up feeling like his coach wanted from the team because
the delivery of the game plan was poorly executed.

In the end, Nelson has the team generating more Corsi events
and shots in general but his message (and a healthy shooting percentage) has
them feeling comfortable and creative doing it.*

 

*Justin Schultz should still be shooting more 😉

  • srelio

    Agreed, players dont have time to worry about stats and as soon as they start to they will start making decisions based on improving their stats instead of improving their teams chances of winning.

  • srelio

    If Eakins solution to fix the PP was simply shoot more then it’s no surprise the PP struggled while he was here. A good Corsi or shot attempts comes from good execution of a game plan, not just shooting the puck even if there is somebody in the shooting lane.

    • DK0

      Did you read the article? They were (in their minds anyways) shooting the puck more, just for the sake of shooting the puck. Now they have 9th most shots per 60 of any team in the league. I don’t think becoming #1 in the league in this category is required. Maybe that effort could be better spent on something like not sucking hind banana 5on5.

  • 1979

    Excellent article! Puts it all in proper perspective! Advanced stats are a positive addition to the arsenal of management and coaches to indicate whether certain things like the powerplay, line combinations, your roster, etc.. are working well or need tweaking, but they should NEVER be a players focus!

    This whole issue brings to light something that is rarely talked about when looking at a player’s corsi etc… : The effect not only of his linemates and team, but of the coaching staff! When building a roster, it is simply not a good way to go about it by simply picking up players with good advanced stats. Good advanced stats are a positive indicator for a player and bad advanced stats a negative indicator, but good scouting and player acquisitions goes far beyond advanced stats!

    There, no more need to fight about advanced stats! They are positive, they are useful, but they are from the be all end all of building a team!!

  • This is an excellent article, a very good analysis and argument of what the message under Eakins might have been.

    In summary, you shouldn’t try to improve Corsi just by telling players to shoot more, you should change your game plan and strategy to create more shot opportunities for players – the resulting Corsi is a way to measure if that is working. It is possible to “trick” a measurement tool into giving a “better” value than it should – for instance putting a thermometer next to the furnace vent to measure room temperature will tell you the room is a lot warmer than it actually is. Under Eakins, it may have been that they were unconsciously tricking the stat into showing they were a good possession team.

  • Dallas Eakins seems confused. He doesn’t seems to understand that good corsi is symptom of a good hockey club not the cause.

    If Eakins was a Doctor and you went to visit him because you have the flu, rather than give you medication he would probably suggest you don’t cough or blow your nose, because healthy people don’t do those things.

    • ubermiguel

      Great metaphor. So instead of suggesting “stop coughing” Doctor Eakins needed to say “get some rest and eat chicken noodle soup (close gaps sooner, back check more and get in front of the net) and your flu (bad Corsi) symptoms will get better.”

      Corsi points to players and teams that are doing things better than average (or worse than average), you have to dig deeper to see what that something is.

  • vetinari

    So, as a sincere troglodyte trying to the learn the language of you hipster kids with your Corsi’s and Fenwick’s and all that, here is what I took away from the article:

    Corsi is a measure of possession based on shots and shot attempts. The more shot attempts typically yields higher scores and likely more wins.

    Eakins had decent numbers but it wasn’t translating into success. Nelson has better Corsi numbers on the PP indicating better results.

    My question is this: isn’t Corsi just 1/2 of the question of success? Doesn’t shooting % factor into this?

    • Yeah, shooting percentage matters a lot in terms of goals scored. The problem is that it varies wildly all the time. It isn’t a constant. Now maybe there are things that teams do that can lower their shooting percentage (as has been thought of about Daryl Sutter teams) and maybe there are things they can do to increase it, but nobody that I’ve seen has really been able to get a handle and explain it nicely. So the idea is that volume is a good way to overcome the up and down nature of shooting percentage.

    • Doctor Smashy

      Shooting percentage is relatively similar for players across the league. It does not have a tremendous impact on the scoring/corsi ratio.

      The other half that you’re talking about is quality of chances. Corsi is merely a way to track puck possession. There are many people working on good ways to track quality of shots based on shot origin. Those numbers indicate that there is a “slot” from which most goals originate. The math is just proving something that Hockey people have observed for decades.

      I am looking forward to updated technology that will yield a greater volume of data for these analytics people to work with. The best advanced stats are yet to come, or so I believe.

      • vetinari

        Thanks to you and Arch.

        It seems like Corsi is only part of the equation because it doesn’t assess the quality of chances or the success rate expressed by scoring percentage or whether it yielded follow up quality chances on rebounds.

        For example, a guy skates around for 45 seconds, gets pinched into the corner and fires a shot on net (which is saved) registers 45 seconds of possession, a shot on net and a positive result although the quality of the chance and the chance of success is very low.

        It seems like quantity is an easy event to measure but no two shots or possession events are the same.

  • Doctor Smashy

    Very interesting. I think your question “Bad luck, or a product of trying to game the system?” Captures the problem with the approach (or the thinking) nicely. People often have a problem understanding the difference between correlation and causation. Advanced stats is a great way of describing teams that are good (or bad – as the case may be). I have never been sold on the fact that more scoring will follow the advanced stats…it has to be the other way around. Good coaches will focus their strategies on scoring more goals and letting fewer in – and those strategies will be based on how the players read plays, set up plays etc. The advanced stats describe the outcome of those strategies – they correlate with the better results but they don’t cause them. Fair assessment? Shooting from a crappy area just to improve your corsi is like racing to get off the ice when the other team has a breakaway…it might help your plus/minus but doesn’t help the outcome of the game.

    • ubermiguel

      This is an perfect example of how correlation does not equal causation, and how it can be misused and have real life impacts. “I see rich people drive fancy cars, so if I buy a fancy car I’ll become rich.” “Healthy people like athletes drink Gatorade so it must be a healthy drink.”

    • ubermiguel

      If I were to ask you what you do win hockey games with, I wonder what your answer would be… I imagine it would involve concepts like “heart” “grit” “physical play” “scoring” “blocking shots” etc.

      If statistical analysis is too complicated for you then just listen while those people speak. When we get to the beer bong/goal light conversation you can jump in.

      • PutzStew

        Too Complicated to Understand???? Actually I would use the words “Heart” and”Hard Work” but I would also include would like “Team Systems”, “Experience”, “Skill” and “Atitude” as well.

        And I am sorry I do not know how to play beer pong but if you would like to have a conversation about the PLC for the Cryovac I was working on earlier today or the possible consciences the upcoming PC Budget I would love to hear your take.

        As far as YOUR knowledge of advance stats, well… Hey even the smartest people in the room (Mr. Eakins), still haven’t been able to figure out that advance stats, just like all stats, can provide a tool to analyze, but no matter how good they are they are still flawed and be used with a grain of salt. In Hockey, like most sports, the only stats that really determined success are Goals for are Goals against.

        The Oilers (again due to Mr. Eakins), clearly proved this point earlier this year. Their Improved Corsi and Fenwick numbers did not lead to more wins, due in part to bad systems, lack of experience and skill, as well as poor attitude. At the end of the season, the Stanley Cup isn’t determined by Corsi or Fenwick. It is determined by wins.

        Have a nice day.

        • Doctor Smashy

          I love this kind of symplistic perspective hedge all you anti-intellectual folks go to. Analitics are an attempt to better observe the game. They have demonstrated their validity on numerous occasions. The trend is towards more incorporation and further innovation. I am enjoying the process of improving advanced analytics. I also hope to see fewer spouters of symplistic, unilateral denial towards the evolution of this sport.

          Matt’s above article is all about the wrong-headed approach Eakins used. I’m sure it was too long and complicated for you. Hope your heart and attitude get that food sealer back into operation.

          “Sarcastic conclusion”

          • PutzStew

            Well you are right. A Cryovac is a mixture of a PLC’s (Programable Logic Controlers just so you don’t have to google it. They are little computers that control the machines), starters , sensors, motors/pumps and a whole lot more that make up a food sealer, and in this case I was working on a Commercial food sealer because I am a Maintenance Electrician for a commercial food processing plant. And yes that issue has been resolved although I would chalk it up to Experience, skill, team work and good attitude but not necessarily heart. Thank you very much for your concern.

            Now with that out of the way please feel free to tell us all why you think Trades folks are Anti-Intellectual??? Is it because we do not find the same joy in arguing about number in the same manner you do? Perhaps we prefer to go and simply enjoy watching game or maybe even going out and playing the actual sport.Since you are such an intellectual person and have such a good understanding of stats, perhaps you could indulge us with some stats about obviously anti-intellectual folks vs the number of Intellectual Advance Stats people.

            PS I also only have college education and recently gave up a very well paying oilfield job so that I could spend more time with my family. I hope that will give you some more bullets so that you may take more pot shots at me.

            PPS. The Evolution of the sport hasn’t changed since it’s inception. In the end the only stats that matter are win totals. Despite what the stats say, championships are not given to the team with the best Corsi but the stats will prove that most fans are OK with that.

            Have a nice day.

          • Strange Tamer

            Usually I would let this comment stream lie. At this point it is obvious that the other person is heavily “dug-in” to your hatred for analytics and your dismissal of those that use them.

            However, I was definitely touched by your inclusion of your personal life into a discussion about hockey. I’m not sure what I am supposed to do about your financial martyrdom. Liking or disliking hockey analytics is not indicative of what kind of human being one is.

            I originally responded to your unwarranted attack on analytics. Now I am disgusted by your need to justify your closed mindedness with your professional and personal situation. I don’t dislike trades-people, but I cannot abide these “working-class martyrs” like yourself. Hard work and sacrifice are just part of life. Nobody deserves an award for them.

            I don’t bear your family any ill-will. I hope to not talk to you again.

      • PutzStew

        Just like an advanced stats guy to call everyone stupid if they disagree with analytics. I understands Corsi,Fenwick etc. perfectly well and I understand the teams that are most heavily involved with them are also the worst teams in the NHL(TOR,EDM,NJ,BUF,CAR). Back to my cold one and ping pong ball…

        • PutzStew

          I don’t have a problem with people who disagree with analytics. My problem is with people who come to a hockey blog that regularly employs analytics, clicks on an article that is obviously about analytics, and leaves a comment that analytics are stupid. That person is stupid.

          I welcome actual challenges. I want to see the processes evolve further and become better.

          Your assertion that those are the teams that are most heavily involved is unfounded. Perhaps those are the teams that are most vocal about their use of analytics, and perhaps that is a sign that they don’t truly understand them.

          Tyler Dellow produced some interesting ideas when he was a blogger (he was hired by the Oilers if anyone didn’t know). I often disagreed with his conclusions. I don’t think he is a good person to be influencing hockey decisions.

          The teams that win the Stanley cup are regularly at or near the top of the Corsi rankings. The advanced stats are just a way to observe their performance and allow others to better emulate their playing style. You’d be fooling yourself if you didn’t think that championship teams were using analytics of their own.

          Bill Randford employs a “Head Trajectory” system for teaching his goalies. I would consider that a form of advanced analytics. It is certainly a new process in any case. The young man that we called up from the Oil Kings uses the same system. I look forward to his impact on the goaltending around here.

          Cheers to you! I hope you fix your gaskets… 😉

          Bring on all capable deniers!

          • PutzStew

            Since you seem to be the Smartest person in the room, lets break down this comment of yours and see what we can learn.

            Paragraph 1 – Although many people on this comment section, including myself, have praised this article because Matt’s correctly identifies that Stats are the results and not the cause of success and that analytics are a tool that can be used to analyze but should not be coached, you have insulted many individuals because they are not “Into” stats in the same manner as you.

            Correct this site does employ 3 individuals that are very much “into” advance stats and because you like stats we will use them in this situation as well. If you compare the comment sections of articles thetas advance stats vs ones that do not, you will find the majority of comments are made on the articles that have nothing to do with advance stats. This article was actually posted after the GDB but got moved below it after it was originally posted. That should tell you how high Analytics really do rank in compared to actual hockey on this site.

            Also as a side note, people that call other people stupid…well you are a smart guy. You should know how this ends.Whice brings us to…

            Paragraph 2 – If you want a challenge I highly recommend you challenger your self to be nicer to people whole have different out looks as you and you might want to quit calling this people stupid.

            Paragraph 3 – Perhaps you are correct but perhaps these teams also put more emphasis on team systems because they realize that with good team systems the stats will sway in their direction. Given the hiring of Dellows and the guy in Toronto and the success or lack there of of both Edmonton and TO, as well as revelations like the one in this article, seems my argument has a bit more merit then yours.

            Paragraph 4 – Wow. You the smartest person in the room disagrees with another smartest person in the room. Who would have seen that coming.

            Paragraph 5 – Again stats are the results of the teams systems, size, speed, talent, etc. that has been used to win Stanley cups over the years. Teams try to emulate these factors. They coach there players (well winning teams don’t) to just shoot more because higher Corsi means more wins.

            Paragraph 6 – http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=754075 Please read this. Head Trajectory is a method or system for goalies to track the puck using their head instead of just their eyes. It is not necessary new is much as it is being emphasized more because of the success of goal tenders that have used it. It is not a form of advance analytic as you claim just a method. Given the way this team is managed, the lack of systems and heartless play I wouldn’t hold your breath on to much advancement.

            I’m not sure there are any dinners hear but more a few people that don’t agree with you. Given your insults, assumptions and lack of personality, I would recommend not talking to much if you want to help advance stats grow. Just like Dellows, people like yourself may know a thing or two but not the majority of people are not gonna care what you say is your act like you are.

            Anyways I’m gonna enjoy the Flames game (In the Play off despite what the stats say), while playing hockey in the basement with my son. I know it isn’t all intellectual but the stats say the majority of people would prefer to do the then talk about fancy stats.

        • the teams that are most heavily involved with them are also the worst teams in the NHL(TOR,EDM,NJ,BUF,CAR).

          This is false, and I cannot even grasp where you would get the idea that these are the most heavily involved teams. They are some of the last teams to the party.

  • 24% body fat

    So use analytics to analyze; simple enough. Do not try to manipulate them to make yourselves look good or to implement a system. More shot attempts doesn’t equal more goals. Quality plays a factor.

    Don’t hire the analytics guy to work for the coach, hire him to help you ast. gm.

  • ubermiguel

    And i will bet my butt – the Oilers- Isles – Hawks= Kings – Bruins , and so on really relied on Corsi to win championships. Work hard , play smart , get your noses dirty. I will take that every day of the week vrs CORSI.

    Corsi sucks for the most part. Trade him with Nikitin. And toss is Ference.

    It has a place, but come on man !!

  • PutzStew

    Eakins doesn’t understand the difference between correlation and causation.

    Good power plays tend to have high shot rates. High shot rates don’t create a good power play.

    Players don’t have to know anything about advanced stats. Coaches and GM’s do. The job of the coach, as MattH suggests, it to translate the advanced stats into better on-ice situational decision making and tactics.

    Statistics are aggregated data. Hockey is played non-aggregated, as a sequence of decisions and actions. The player doesn’t have to know anything about the aggregated data. He has to know how to make better situational decisions.

    So Nelson improved the power play shot rate, even more than Eakines did, without mentioning the power play shot rate to the players. He developed systems and tactics to achieve the statistical result he wanted. Eakins told the players to shoot. Braindead coach. Nelson developed systems that make the players shoot more naturally.

    • Honestly, I’m not remotely convinced that what Eberle said is accurate.

      How can anyone really believe that Eakins was stupid enough to tell players to shoot on the PP because he wanted to game corsi, which is primarily used as an even strength tool? It doesn’t make any sense.

      Is it really so hard to see Van Diest Working up his questions in order to get Eberle to say something like that? It’s literally his dream quote and it happened to fall into his lap?

      • Kr55

        Did you hear Eakins’ interview back on Jan 31st on TSN Analytics? Here it is if you want to hear:

        http://www.tsn.ca/radio/dallas-eakins-on-tsn-hockey-analytics-1.196663

        He specifically says he was aiming to get shot attempts up to the gold standard of 120 per 60 mins that San Jose has done consistently. That was his main goal, more shot attempts, and he even comments on how much he improved our shot attempts per 60 before he was fired like it was something to be proud of.

        The guy was a terribly misguided coach, simple as that, he didn’t know how to properly use analytics. As other said he didn’t understand the difference between correlation and causation. He was taking a completely wrong approach. No team coaches for corsi’s, the corsi’s are a byproduct of the attempts to generate and prevent high quality scoring chances.
        Eakins was fixated on getting one result (more corsi’s) while ignoring everything else that needs to happen to score goals and win games.

        Eakins is not the first guy to go all in down a wrong path to try and make up for not having the smarts and ability to compete with his peers the traditional way. And I’m sure he won’t be the last with analytics taking off like they are (and of course coaches can do all kinds of dumb things that have nothing to do with analytics). Sometimes it’s a risk you have to take if you know you can’t hack it the tried and true way. Sometimes guys manage to innovate and strike gold, and sometimes you end up like Dallas Eakins 🙂 Eakins went all in this year on trying to generate Corsi’s after a year of miserable failure in 13/14. Unfortunately he got even worse results in 14/15.

        All that said, it’s still up to the GM to make sure guys that are going off the deep end in ways that rack up losses and make you lose entire years of player development are fired ASAP. MacT failed just as much as Eakins on this one. Eakins should have been one of those 1 month and done head coaches that no one speaks of again after he’s fired. Unfortunately, we got to see him be awful for 1.5 years because MacT couldn’t handle the blow to his ego until his hand was finally forced and he had no choice but to fire Eakins.

        • You don’t see the difference between a coach trying to get his team to create more shots and a coach telling his players “just shoot whenever so we can corsi”?

          Honestly, if this whole thing was true then we would have seen it in the scoring chance numbers, but the fact of the matter is that the Oilers did better under Eakins by scoring chances as well, so it quite obviously wasn’t just weak shots being thrown at the next to get in a few extra shots.

          Other than Eberle telling a guy exactly what he wanted most in the world to hear, there is ZERO evidence that this went on.

          There is no doubt that Eakins failed as the coach of the Oilers, but everyone trying to make this about him “gaming corsi” are not paying attention to reality.

          The most likely explanation for Eberle’s comments are that he wants an excuse for his poor performance earlier in the year so he gave Van Diest what he wanted.

  • 1979

    One shot that I like that I see Oilers doing under Nelson is shooting at the goalies pads. This creates way more rebounds and chaos. Shooting and missing the net and see the puck ring around and out of the zone is disheartening. We lose offensive zone time when this happens.

  • PutzStew

    I have a strong suspicion that all of those stats about Corsi being good all rely on the assumption that a team is playing a certain type of hockey. The Oilers evidently weren’t playing that type of hockey, and not in the cool Bruce Boudreau “We have a system that let’s us win lots even if we get outshot” way.

  • Kr55

    It wasn’t just the PP. Eakins was trying to game Corsi in all situations. He talked in an interview about how your playoff chances are >70% when you have a certain corsi % (5 on 5). That was his goal, to Corsi us into the playoffs. Unfortunately gaming Corsi comes at a cost, you kill your shot quality. Good teams get good corsi %’s because they’re just good teams and well coached. Those teams are all trying to create and prevent scoring chances and the good corsi % is a by-product of that. If you specifically coach to just get corsi’s, you’re doomed, and you’ll get exactly what we got this year while Eakins was coaching.

    I look forward to when analytics evolve to properly quantify shot quality (taking into account shot location AND other factors like puck movement before the shot which makes the goalie have to move before making the save, rather than already be set up waiting for the shot). If that existed now, what Eakins was trying to do would have been exposed as a terrible idea.

  • Advance stats, wake me when the stat is design by a mathmatician not a former goalie or veted by the statisticians.

    Up until than it is the equivalent of having a known hockey coach manage a soccer team to success…. i guess it does work some of the time.

  • Kr55

    Lots of the Dallas Eakins defenders have been bashing Ebs for talking about Corsi’s on the PP. But Eakins in an interview on TSN Analytics back in Jan said that he was trying to reproduce the gold standard in SJ of 120 Corsi’s per 60 mins on the PP. Eakins admitted himself already that he was Corsi-focused on the PP.

  • PutzStew

    @Matt

    Well I usually avoid reading anything you write I am glad I read this. I myself would rather go see a WHL Game or go play a game instead of read stat but I do agree that stats can be used grading tool. They are after all the results of the actions, not the cause the action.

    It is unfortunate that more sats guys can’t have this attitude as it would help them come off less like Eakins and more like…well…you in this article.

    Thanx for the read

  • Strange Tamer

    Its hilarious to hear the Eakins supporters and apologists try and defend this. Analytics when properly applied can be a useful tool, but they are but a small part coaching. I think the way analytics are gathered and calculated now they are more useful when applied to scouting individual players, both at the amature and pro level.

    The cold hard facts are that the Oilers had a top 5 power play under both Krueger and Renney. Then a bottom 5 power play under Eakins. Now they have the best PP in the league under Nelson. All with relatively the same personnel, and with a sample size of 4 seasons. Eakins already had the gold standard of powerplays, and turned it into crap. It takes talent to do that.

  • Dano

    Todd Nelson’s suits and hair are a visually better product now as well as the continued development of the the team and most importantly the core guys. What does this guy have to do to get hired permentaly if he is now checking off the boxes in the advanced stats categories and seems to have buy-in from everyone but the powers that be?

    I agree that the advanced stats serve a useful purpose in the game but not to the same degree as Football or Baseball. Hockey is too dynamic to try and force too many things. The sucess is primarily in the basic execution of what you are trying to do. Yak is a perfect example in where he was trying to overthink the game under Eakins

    Interesting to see how the PP gets adjusted once Hall is back

  • PutzStew

    I have been saying since the first 10 games of last season that Eakins was in over his head. Now I realize to what degree he was in over his head. In his egotistical attempt to reinvent hockey, he was actually targeting a corsi number?

    Listen to Bob Hartley – the game is not that complex. Introduce a bit of structure and then motivate the hell out of your players. It’s pretty simple.

    I can only imagine that playing under Eakins was the equivalent of trying to remember 16 swing thoughts every time you hit a golf ball.

    Good luck with that.

    It’s no wonder, the entire team looks much better under Nelson and they simply are not thinking nearly as much.

    The kicker was in Eakins press conference after MacT first addressed the media after their disastrous start.

    Question: Have you considered changing anything you are doing given the results thus far?

    Eakins: Huh? What do you mean?

    Idiot.