Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Sometimes the bounces go your way, sometimes they don't. I think that most people who read here probably feel that a stretch of outchancing the opposition is a much better sign for the near future than is a stretch of finding ways to win.

Anyhow, I like rolling averages, in hockey and elsewhere.

On the graph below is the Oilers ten-game rolling average for even strength Corsi Number. That's the pink line, and is a measure of how many shots you direct at net, less those that the opposition shoots towards your goal.

So, by way of example, at the Oilers 30th game of the year they had pretty much hit rock bottom. There had been some injuries and plenty of strange coaching decisions as well, a few rookies were drowning in the deep end. Stoll and Torres were healthy scratches, and the Oilers, as a team, had averaged a -14 Corsi over the previous ten games.

And by game 55, the Oilers had nearly clawed their way back up to average in this regard. Thanks to improved play for sure, and the softer schedule around there helped too. That was the game that Horcoff got injured I think.

So that's clear, no?

The blue line is Gagner. He got off to a hot start, but by game twenty he was responsible for a huge chunk of the badness. A ridiculous amount given his limited responsibilities and icetime.

By game thirty he was merely terrible. By game forty it wasn't reasonable to start pinning the blame on him. And since then he's done nothing but improve in this regard. And it's important, because this is a better indicator of improvement than the counting numbers. In the long haul, you'll never help a team win unless you can help the team create more chances than it surrenders. This player has a real chance to be a difference maker.


Another point is that the Oilers have been winning quite a few games lately, but they've been doing it with mirrors. This is still a bad hockey team. It doesn't matter to me one bit whether or not the fans who call talk radio or post on message boards realize this, but it does matter that Lowe has been paying attention.

I mean young players get better, and the guys that are especially young and talented are going to produce steeper learning curves than the guys that have already been climbing that same curve just out of our sight in the AHL. Still, without Horcoff, unless they are lucky with player health, and just lucky in general ... then this is likely a lottery pick team next season. And with him they are probably average, at least by the end of the season (granted with a tough schedule).

If you're one of these 'in for a penny, in for a pound' rebuild fans, like speeds and YKoil, then you're probably inclined to root for Lowe shifting out Horcoff and Torres for youth. And you're dreaming of Tavares.

If you, like me, have no stomach for rebuilds, then you're hoping like hell that Lowe hasn't convinced himself that this team, as is, can compete next season.


An aside: The yellow line on the chart is the 10 game rolling average of faceoff zones (off. zone draws minus defensive zone draws), doubled up in this case for presentation reasons. Time to play Spot-The-Pattern. There will be no prizes today.


Blogger speeds said...

(1) While I was a big fan of rebuilding in the old CBA, it's not true that I'm a fan of rebuilding in the new CBA. You don't get the drafted players for cheap enough, or long enough, for tanking to be a great strategy IMO. It still works well if in back to back years you select Malkin 2ndOV and Crosby 1stOV. But not nearly as well as the old CBA where the team would have had Crosby and Malkin until 31.

I also don't think it makes sense to spend time developing Matt Greene at 1.15 mil per year when you can sign Jan Hejda at 1.0 mil.

(2) RE: Corsi number - The last couple of times you've posted Corsi numbers, I've noticed that Lecavalier is generally not as strong by this measure as one might expect.

Question: How often are there players that generate less shots, but the shots are a far better scoring chance, on average? Is it possible that Lecavalier's lines shots have twice the chance of scoring as the line he's playing against? Either because the shooters are that much better, or because the average scoring chance is much higher quality?

3/05/2008 9:52 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Haha, I'll say it again: chip it on net from neutral ice and force the whistle!

Re: #2. You'd have to think that Hemsky is a good local example of a player whose contribution offensively is disproportionate to the amount of shots he causes while on the ice. Either that or we're just dazzled and he's not that useful.

3/05/2008 12:00 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Haha, I'll say it again: chip it on net from neutral ice and force the whistle!

I hear ya, Showerhead. There's a difference between outshooting your opposition and outchancing your opposition. It seems the Corsi number only tracks the former.

Re: #2. You'd have to think that Hemsky is a good local example of a player whose contribution offensively is disproportionate to the amount of shots he causes while on the ice. Either that or we're just dazzled and he's not that useful.

Barring GlenX, who presumably racked up most of his +6.5 rating with Columbus, Hemsky actually has the best Corsi number on the team at +2.0/60. (Penner +1.9, all other players minus) So it's not like Ales isn't generating shots, if anything his offensive results (as in "goals for") are disproportionately low. On a per 60 basis, other than Corsi number (-0.6) Robert Nilsson is outperforming Hemsky almost across the board -- (slightly) more points, more goals for, fewer goals against -- and it's hard to attribute that to Nilsson having better linemates. (It is however fair to say he's done it against softer opp.)

I wouldn't conclude that Hemsky isn't that useful, but yes I think we are dazzled to some extent and his net output isn't what it might be.

One odd thing about Ales' points distribution is his extreme ratio of primary assists to secondary assists (1.31/60 to 0.29), or 18:4 in terms of actual assists. Clearly Ales is excellent at making the telling pass to the finisher (6th in the league in primary assists/60 among NHLers with 40+ GP), but is he maybe a little less successful at, say, setting up the 2-on-1 down low where he relies on both of his linemates to finish the play?

Nilsson meanwhile also has an excellent ratio of 1.22 primary assists per 60 (8th in the NHL), but he also has a solid ratio of 0.71 secondary assists, suggesting he's considerably more successful at being the "tick" in the "tick-tack-toe".

Considering Nilsson's better defensive record despite playing much of the time with two rookie pros, and it adds up to a pretty impressive performance for Row-bear, at least 5v5. His PP production is less impressive, but that can be said about Oilers' second unit generally. Ales meanwhile racks up the points on the powerplay, but his 5v5 output leaves this Oiler fan wanting, and expecting, more.

3/05/2008 3:41 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

And to add, Nilsson does this all while being the go to man for defensive zone draws and being the first forward MacT throws over the boards when the opposition is headed toward the Oilers end of the rink. He's about two own zone draws ahead of Torres, and I don't want to hear any sniveling bullshit about Torres playing 26 less games. That would be picking hairs.

Has anyone watched Nilsson's ability to clear the pucks from the side boards in his own end? Brilliant stuff.

Not sheltered, even one bit.

3/05/2008 8:41 pm  
Blogger YKOil said...

I still like the full rebuild but, as I have said before, you have to go the steroids version nowadays.

No holding back.

The Oilers version of that would have been:

a) TO trade LA or Washington whatever they wanted, EXCEPT the #6 overall, Hemsky, Pisani or Horcoff, for their top-5 pick and take Voracek

-- if lucky this would have been Stoll and something and the 15th (thus allowing a Nash pick-up later)

b) TO sign Tarnstrom and Garon and make the Pitkanen trade

c) TO NOT sign Penner and Souray and thus NOT make the Rourke trade

d) TO play Roloson more down the stretch (four to nine more games)

e) TO trade Tarnstrom (done) at the deadline

With their pick the Oilers take Stamkos or Doughty (etc).

Rinse and repeat in year 2 of the full rebuild and take a good shot at Tavares. Even if you don't get Tavares you have now replenished your stock of elite talent and you can start to add veteran components on the way back up.

Barring a complete miss-pick (Bonsignore style) it really isn't that hard.

3/05/2008 10:08 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Hey Slipper, here we go again. No argument that Row-bear has been sheltered to some extent (see my comment about softer opp) but playing on a line with two rookie pros for games on end has its challenges too. Nilsson still has lots to learn -- you're bang on about issues along the boards in his own end -- but he's the leading plus player on the team, by a healthy margin over every other season-long Oiler. Sheltered or not, that's decent. As the season has worn along this observer has been more and more impressed with his passing skills; the fact that 5v5 he produces assists at a rate 20% higher per-minute than the elite playmaker Hemsky is very promising in my view.
I keep reading on the 'sphere about how we should just pump up Nilsson's value and then dump him as soon as he qualifies for serious money, but this fan is in no particular hurry to do that. He's made major strides in this, his first full NHL season, and currently ranks in the top 30 in the league in ESP/60. Whether he can continue to produce with a heavier workload is a question for next year, but he's certainly earned a longer look. Not to mention a little respect.

3/06/2008 12:22 am  
Blogger MikeP said...

Huh. I must have missed the parts where Nilsson was playing against the other teams' Regehrs and Phaneufs, being cheapshotted from behind and hammered down every time his head's not on a swivel, or the bits where he gets slashed on the wrists every time he's got the puck.

I really don't think Nilsson's that much better at avoiding checks either.

I'm not saying the guy sucks - I've been impressed with his game since he came back up from the minors - but the man is *not* playing against the same sort of oppo that Hemsky is.

3/06/2008 5:46 am  
Blogger Devin said...

Mike and slipper, I think the point Bruce is making is that every team has and needs guys in the sheltered role. Those guys need to produce in easy 5v5 minutes, and Nilsson has done that. Top 30 in the league in ESP/60? That says that he's making a lot more hay out of soft minutes than a lot of other wingers out there. That he's doing it and isn't giving more back should solidify the fact that he's a legit NHL player.

I think we can all get a little too excited about "tough minutes". The fact is there are different players in different roles, and maybe Nilsson will never be able to match up against Iginla, but really, who cares if he can beat up on the weaker ops? Is this why no one gives any credit to Marc Savard, who leads the league in assists and is on pace for 90+ pts (again)? I'm sure the Bruins are fine with PJ Ax taking on the tough minutes and letting Savard go to town.

ps. I realize Savard is #1 on his team for QUALCOMP this year at Desjardins... what happened?

3/06/2008 8:25 am  
Blogger Slipper said...

Actually Devin, it appears Savard might have turned a corner this season. Perhaps you can credit Julien. Why not? He and Savard are giving him the credit in the AP this morning.

Years previous to this one, I wouldn't be happy with a Marc Savard one bit. His 90+ points have helped poolies everywhere and ensured Marc a sweet little payday, but his -19 was ensuring that he needed good powerplay production to just to reach zero-sum in terms of contribution to winning.

Also, I'm sorry, but opposition and game situations are crucial. Our own boy Bobby N is a testament to that. It's far easier to put up a respectable GA when your coach rarely lets you cross your own blue-line and when it unfortunately happens, fortunately it's the Marty Reasoners of the NHL coming at you. Meaning, whenever Nilsson has failed to clear the zone he pays a far less signifigant price becasue it's not Jarome Iginla, it's Keith fucking Cairns.

Bruce, I saw you predicate your comparison between Nilsson and Hemsky by mentioning the softer opposition. It still comes across as purpsoely disingenuous when you makes these farcical comparison between players by placing their numbers against one another in a sentence or paragraph(see: Stoll vs. Stortini) but then afterward claim that you put careful consideration into the considerable gap between opposition, minutes played, injuries, linemates andn game situation.

Vic, great illustration on the correlation between Corsi and what side of the rink the play's ending in. Maybe a sidebar of what team/players dominate in this regard and their result goal differential would seal this debate. Somehow I seriously doubt it though.

3/06/2008 10:12 am  
Blogger Devin said...

Slipper, ok, I grant you that situational minutes are of critical importance. The point is, how to best manage your roster to take advantage of those minutes. Are you trying to tell me that the Oilers have a better option in the Nilsson minutes than Row-bear? Put Hemsky in there and I'm sure he'd thrive, but to the detriment of another line. Nilsson is one of about 4 guys upfront that can actually do something in the other team's end.

So I'm not so quick to say screw Nilsson because he builds counting numbers in easy situations. Nobody else besides Cogs and Gagner have come close to producing in those minutes, and those two are getting killed in their end of the rink. Nilsson's ESP/60 number is high enough (and has been for awhile) that I think we have to accept that it doesn't matter who he's playing against, he's an NHLer. He's accomplished far more this season than most of the other guys, and he's going in the right direction. Why cut bait now?

I'm wondering if Nilsson is a guy the Oilogosphere zones in on with a skeptical eye. Sure he gives it away too often inside his own blueline, but I saw Stortini and Brodziak do that about 3x on one shift the other night. Sanderson is far far worse in this respect too, and none of these guys bring the offense of Row-Bear. Nevermind the fact that the puck isn't going in the Oilers net much when 12 is out there, regardless of appearances. I guess I don't get why he's held to a harsh standard when the roster is riddled with dead weight like 19, 8, 16, and "projects" like 89, 13, 51, 46. What more do you want out of your "secondary scoring"?

3/06/2008 10:55 am  
Blogger Bruce said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/06/2008 10:57 am  
Blogger Bruce said...

Mike and slipper, I think the point Bruce is making is that every team has and needs guys in the sheltered role.

Thanks Devin, that is indeed what I mean.

Mike P.'s description of tough opposition sounds like a visit to IOF. :) (Head on swivel) I agree that tough minutes are important and I respect the PJ Axelssons and Sami Pahlssons of the world who prove among other things that not all Swedes are created equal, "different players for different roles". Our own Swede is coming along nicely; over the course of the season MacT has been shuttling him anywhere between the first line and the fourth, the PB, the AHL. It's tough love to be sure, MacT doesn't have a natural affinity for offensive-minded guys, especially ones who tend to disappear for games at a time as Nilsson admittedly has done. But when I look at the body of Nilsson's season to date, I give credit to both the young man himself and to his coach for a very solid developmental season.

I think we can all get a little too excited about "tough minutes".

This is the NHL; they're all tough minutes, just some are tougher than others. I agree that Hemsky plays much tougher opposition at evens than Nilsson, as befits a guy of three times the NHL experience and four times the salary. (and I'm appalled by the shitty job NHL officials do of protecting their star players, but that's a whole 'nother rant) He also plays with better linemates.

But fact is that Robert has been making more of his minutes than Ales of late. Since the All-Star break Nilsson has played 14 games and not posted a single minus night, with a net +5 over that time. In that same period, Hemsky has posted EIGHT minus games, with a net -9. That's a difference of a goal a game, and to blithely write it off to tougher minutes is oversimplifying. Nilsson has been successful in his role; without Horcoff, not to mention both of his wrists, Hemsky has been unsuccessful in his.

Sorry if I'm being irreverent.

3/06/2008 11:06 am  
Blogger Bruce said...

It still comes across as purpsoely disingenuous when you makes these farcical comparison between players by placing their numbers against one another in a sentence or paragraph(see: Stoll vs. Stortini)

Slipper: Despite my attempts to explain it in some detail, I think you missed the point entirely, which was that Stoll's even strength scoring was so bad it was even below Stortini. It was hardly meant as a compliment to Zack's offensive prowess, rather to demonstrate the depths to which Stoll had plummeted. I seem to recall also saying there is and should be no comparison between the two. If it was a farcical comparison it was because Jarret made it so with his brutal performance. I also listed a bunch of other plumbers and scrappers whose ESP/60 were comparable to Stoll's; the point wasn't to compare Stoll to Stortini specifically but simply to demonstrate how far he had fallen.

But since you brought it up ... I do recall at the time the relative numbers were 0.81 for Stortini to 0.80 ESP/60 for Stoll. This morning those numbers stand at 1.06 for Stortini while Stoll's has fallen further still to 0.66, despite having played the last number of games with Hemsky and Penner. The point -- which is obvious rather than disingenuous -- remains that Stoll is having a truly terrible season, especially at the offensive end of the ice. For the life of me I have no idea what he is doing on the first line.

3/06/2008 11:22 am  
Blogger Slipper said...

C'mon Bruce.

Come oooon. It was all about Zack, and little or nothing about Stoll. You've all but admitted your craft in presenting stats in a backdooring your greater point. There's no harm in trying to bolster Stortini by any means you can muster. Hell, you've nearly pulled me on board with your dissertations. It was only later, when pressed upon, that you clarified that there should be no comparisonmade between the two. AFTER you presented your argument in way of comparison. Which is basically what I stated above.

In general guys, when it comes to a philisophical approach to hockey, I fall from the Neilson/Nolan tree, in that I'd rather see four capable lines employed. Realistically, that might not be possible in the current NHL, but three lines may not be asking for too much. Make the other team shorten their bench and tire out their best players. I think three good lines could be employed to do the job in the top heavy modern NHL, but I don't think MacTavish has even come close to having that luxury this season.

I'm not saying that the 12/89/13/46/78/51's are all shit and forever will be shit. There certainly are positives to draw from their individual games, and good things to look forward to. Bobby's got some touch, but I think he'll forever be a bubble player until he learns to get the puck from his end and take it to the other end and create chances regularly. That's what the difference makers do, in my opinion.

I'm sold on the idea that the Corsi number, and other shit like where the play begins and ends on one's shift, are inidicative of the real difference makers in the league. Zetterberg, Thorton, Ovechkin, Crosby, Iginla, et al, dominate in these categories.

3/06/2008 12:02 pm  
Blogger Devin said...

Slipper - I think you want Nilsson to become Zetterberg or Alfredsson, while Bruce and I are saying that he'd do well to become Huselius or Gomez. How many guys can do what you described? Like 20 in the whole league?

Those other guys help their teams, too, it's just that they play on good teams. The Oilers only have a couple of legit "difference makers" so naturally rates are going to look funny across the board. I'd argue Nilsson is one of few Oiler forwards who has been playing a role commensurate with his abilities this year. Some observers call it "tough love" - I would call it smart coaching. The problem is, as you point out, MacT doesn't have the resources to give all these young guys the slow and steady treatment at once. I guess I don't see why you're so hard on Nilsson when apart from Horc and Hemsky, he's really the ONLY guy succeeding in his role this year.

Now, taking contracts into account, of course you want Zetts and Alfie over a loser like Gomez at 7mil ;)

3/06/2008 12:38 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

Devin, I just feel another player will always have to suffer if Bobby needs to be subbed off whenever the puck is head the other way. Tactically his gains may just be negated elsewhere on the roster. I'm not writing him off at all, as I've used the same stats Bruce has posted here as a defense to my argument that he should be tied to Hemmer and shown whether or not he can sink or swim sometime before the season ends. Even then, I'm not advocating writing him off. The Oilers can't anyways since he's the Ryan Smyth return.

I have no expectations of Bobby or Gagner becoming Zetterberg. I'm just realistic that they aren't going to be difference makers before the age of 25 or older. Most players just aren't.

Bruce, I've shat on Stoll's production all season, so just as with the Brodeur debate, you're preaching to the converted. I'm just more realistic about his defensive abiliites when his opposition and situational ice-time was figured into the equation. He's being fed to the lions so the 89's and 46's don't implode before our very eyes. That's the rebuild and that's my opinion.

3/06/2008 1:55 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

C'mon Bruce. Come oooon. It was all about Zack, and little or nothing about Stoll. You've all but admitted your craft in presenting stats in a backdooring your greater point.

Well I can't find the thread, or even remember whose blog it was on, all I can remember is my mindset of "Wow, Stoll must really suck, he's even worse than Zack and Zack isn't exactly a scoring machine" or some such. And yes I've written too much about Zack, for a while there it seemed like I was the only person in the 'sphere who had any use for him, while other so-called Oiler fans were shitting all over the kid, calling him an embarrassment and crap like that. He played on Stoll's line for awhile, so for awhile at least they were comparable (5v5), and when the line did OK for quite a few games that was supposedly because of 16 and 14 carrying 46, and when they got burned by Pittsburgh some people put it all on 46. (Except MacT, who benched 14 and 16 next game, but I digress.) Anyway, November turned into March and at least now there is some justification that MacT knew what he was doing, and I feel vindicated to some extent in defending the kid as a developing player with potential. BUT, all that said, that is not my "greater point" ... he's just one player who has been easy to root for and interesting to watch.

I'm sold on the idea that the Corsi number, and other shit like where the play begins and ends on one's shift, are inidicative of the real difference makers in the league.

OK, this definitely falls under "greater point". I too like the Corsi number to a degree, but I feel it has its limitations because it measures shots attempted at goal as opposed to real scoring opportunities. My greater point remains "not all shots on goal are created equal". Some players will, when they (quickly?) run out of options, simply shoot the puck towards the other net. It shows up as a positive stat for "Shots" and "Corsi number" and "Fenwick number" but sometimes it would be better listed under "Giveaway" cuz that's all it is. Or better yet, "inconsequential". For example, Brad Richards and Jonathan Toews both have 18 goals, but Toews has scored his on exactly half as many shots, 116 to 232. Richards is a far less efficient shooter, yet all of those shots* are going to reflect positively in his Corsi number. So what? (*- yes I know about BR playing point on the PP, this is just an example to illustrate my though process) Yes Corsi numbers also include shots by teammates minus shots by opposition, but a player's own shots will constitute ~10% (much more in many cases) of all shots taken while he's on the ice. So thanks all the same, I'll take the guy who can finish over the Stoll types who just keep firing away in hopes that something eventually has to go in thorugh sheer volume.

Call me a traditionalist, but while shots on goal are a decent though imperfect indicator of the flow of play, the ones that wind up on the board are "shots IN goal", so to me that is a logical starting point to establish the true difference makers. Yes, I agree that to really make sense of it all that needs to be put in context of variables like "opposition, minutes played, injuries, linemates andn game situation", but at the same time those factors add entire dimensions of complexity to the analysis which require an intellect far greater than mine to adequately resolve. Certainly it's interesting, I've learned a tremendous amount about hockey in the year or so I've frequented the 'sphere, but there's still a long way to go. For all of us to go ... the existing measurement systems are imperfect, frequently ambiguous, counterintuituve at worst, evolving at best. So my fallback position is to accept the scoreboard as the definitive measurement system and all other information (inc. Vic's faceoff stats which I am still getting my head around) as contributing factors and indicators which often but don't always make sense.

3/06/2008 4:04 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

I'm in a posing questions mood today in order to understand the logic of the person I'm debating with.

So here goes:

A player like Todd Marchant has a reputation of a guy who had alot of high quality chances, many breakaways, that he put right into the goaltender's crest. Certainly if an Ilya Kovalchuk had been given those same ammount chances he would have made alot more hay out of them.

My question is: do you believe if Kovalchuk had been on the ice in those situations that Marchant created all those chances, Kovalchuk would have replicated that same ammount of chances for?

Keep in mind alot of the time it was Todd's speed and pressure on the puck in his own zone that created these opportunites going the other way.

The second question: In your opinion, when Marchant took the puck with good defensive ability form the bad end of the ice to good end of the ice, isn't that in itself eliminating scoring opportunities against (by having the puck in the other end of the rink)? Even if the chance isn't converted, aren't the resulting rebound chances and face-off opportunities in the right end of the rink in themselves creating more opportunites for and limiting opportunities against?

A guy like Kovalchuk is super fun to watch and probably is a ticket booster in certain markets, but if he gives back as much or more than he creates, isn't that a zero-sum difference to winning? No matter the conversion rate?

As for low quality shots being turnovers, do you agree any shot over the attacking zone line has atleast a crapshoot chance of going in the net? Doesn't more shots directed at one net entail there more time and possession in that zone? Is a "turnover" created by a missed shot more like a dump in or a line change than a turnover in the other three quarters of the ice: neutral zone, own end, or getting stripped/intercepted pass with +/- 10 feet of the o-zone line?

There's no right answer, and I'm not playing logic games. I just want to know how the people I'm bullshitting with far too much see the game.

3/06/2008 5:13 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Good question, Slipper. Comparing Kovalchuk to Marchant is even more, uh, farcical than Stoll:Stortini. In fact it's hard to imagine two forwards more different. But what they hey, let's give it a shot. I think 5v5 is the only place we can even try. All numbers "per 60":

Kovalchuk: Corsi -12.2, 1.63 G, 2.63 P, 2.94 GF, 3.94 GA, -1.00

Marchant: Corsi -2.9, 0.46 G, 0.83 P, 1.47 GF, 1.75 GA, -0.28

I take that back ... there IS no comparison.

My own bias is I'll take Todd Marchant and $4 million, Alex. I have little use for the Kovalchuk/B.Richards/Briere/Marleau/Savard types, I look at those big minuses and those bigger salaries and shake my head. While +3/-4 might have entertainment value it's not winning you games. Yes those guys bring value to the PP, that's generally where they rack up a huge percentage of their points, but it takes a hell of a lot of powerplay goals to erase a -20 at evens. No doubt those guys can win you games, but they can lose you more. Sometimes they can mature into very useful players (Savard), but other times they can score the huge contract and put 'er in cruise control (Marleau, Richards, Briere?) It's probably not a fair analysis because the snipers have a lot more to do with the GF than they do the GA, but these guys have proven to be unreliable defensive players who are not outscorers. Many of those guys are on bad teams that would be getting outscored whether the stars are on the ice or not, but bottom line is it's less than a zero-sum game.

As for low quality shots being turnovers, do you agree any shot over the attacking zone line has atleast a crapshoot chance of going in the net?

Yup. Jarret Stoll is at 6.5%, not 0.0%.

Doesn't more shots directed at one net entail there more time and possession in that zone?

Not necessarily. Often the attempted shot will signal the end of a possession.

Is a "turnover" created by a missed shot more like a dump in or a line change than a turnover in the other three quarters of the ice: neutral zone, own end, or getting stripped/intercepted pass with +/- 10 feet of the o-zone line?

Other than my particular pet peeve, the wide shot that ricochets off the end boards and clears the zone and often as not creates an odd-man rush, mostly yes, it won't hurt you as much as a true Giveaway. But a dump-in or line change that shoots the puck on net instead of into the corner might show up as a positive in the Corsi number, but it ain't going in the net and may even give the opposition goalie a chance to turn it quickly the other way. So it's somewhere between "inconsequential" and "counterproductive", and to record it as a positive stat is misleading.

3/06/2008 6:28 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

You're right B, it would be a farcical comparison, had that been my intention. Has it been my intention I probably would have contrasted their statistics like you just did. My aim was to pose a theoretical about generating scoring chances, and I chose Todd because he's reknowned for creating lots but not cashing, and I chose Ilya because he has a high career shooting percentage and is reknowned as the coveted "one shot scorer".

My greater point, or belief as that term might be better suited, is that while player A may not provide the finish player B can, player B won't necessarily generate the same ammount of chances, and thus carry the play to the right end of the rink. I know, I play that phrase alot, but it illustrates my point the best, I think; you can't be scored on if the puck is in the attacking zone.

Marchant is such good example though, because in his prime he was one of the best at gaining puck control or forcing a turnover in his own end and taking the play to the other end. His hands were pretty rough, but at the very least it brought the play dead in the o-zone which gears your team for another opportunity and keeps the puck away from your goalie for those precious seconds.

I'm not sure that dumps are reflected on the shot attempt sheet on the NHL's play-by-play. I would agree with your last paragraph. I don't think coaches like players taking chances at the far posts at most points of the game (ecspecially without a forward on the far wall, and I don't think shots from bad angles are necessarily good, ecspecially if there's more of your forwards ahead of you than behind you, and even more so if it missed the net altogether.

Still, unless there's attack zone time on a player to player basis available online somewhere for real hockey games like it's available inbetween periods on my Xbox, than I can't think of a better option than Corsi to give you a rough idea of which end of the rink a player running around in.

Of course, there's a million hypothetical what-ifs for every single on of the expressions people throw out around here. "What if a player makes a bad a change and the next player on gets an undeserved minus... or what if a certain player retains possession until a better opportunity presents itself". Some peopel can get pretty fickle and that's their prerogative.

I just look to the examples available. I've watched a tonne of Detroit hockey, and specifically Zetterberg and Datstuk and Lidstrom. I know how hard on the puck they are, how they seem to freely retrieve it from their own end and how much time they spend in the right end of the rink.

Then I glance at their Corsi and Fenwick numbers:

3/06/2008 7:08 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

This just in: Detroit is good. Maybe not quite as good as their Corsi/Fenwick numbers, since they take a lot of low-percentage shots, but damn good.

Those three guys you singled out are beauty players -- what's not to like? -- and when they're all out together, which is frequently, they're even more dominant collectively than they are individually. You mention hard on the puck; how about Datsyuk's league-leading 120 takeaways, an astonishing 48 more than the guys in second place! That guy is the consummate two-way forward, as good as any in the game. I'll take him over Kovalchuk, Richards, Briere & Co. any day of the week.

Then check out the EV Sv% when Chelios and Lidstrom are on the ice. Maybe they're just lucky that the goalies "happen to be" hot when they're on the ice. Or maybe they're real good at limiting the opponents to even lower-percentage shots than the Wings themselves take.

3/06/2008 8:30 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

Ah, so you agree that it jives with what you see on the ice then, eh Bruce?

You don't have to come right out and say it, pal.

I completely understand how important our anonymous internet rep is;)

Try it with S.J, NJ, and OTT too. As I infer from your response "this just in so and so is good" is that good teams have good players, and their appears to be obvious correlation between these good players and strong Corsi and Fenwick numbers.

Thanks for coming around.

3/06/2008 8:50 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

You don't have to come right out and say it, pal.

Uh, I think I did.

I completely understand how important our anonymous internet rep is;)

At least I use my real name, "Slipper". I also try to maintain an attitude of courtesy and respect for my fellow commenters, even if I don't always agree with them.

But today I have to agree with the conclusions that good teams have good players, and collections of good players tend to outshoot and outscore inferior teams. This has truly been a learning experience!

3/06/2008 9:15 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

I'm courteous to anyone who doesn't say things like "so and so plays in effing Columbus!" and "Grebeshkov reminds me of a young Paul Coffey" and presents them as argument, and that's definitely no you, Bruce. So I have trouble gathering from where you took offence.

I don't even think it requires a Sponge Bob Leap Frog Brainy Briny math game to figure out that Sam Gagner isn't ahead of the Pisani's and Moreaus of the game, but simple common sense would suss that out. So when the white noise begins to drown out the smart voices on my fave-o-rite hockey blogs, I can get a little testy.

And don't blame me for my name Bruce, blame my hippy parents.

3/06/2008 9:37 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/06/2008 9:38 pm  
Blogger Devin said...

I think something is obviously missing here. Would Jason Spezza be a "positive difference maker" in the slipper mold if his (usual) linemates were not Heatley and Alfredsson? Would Kovalchuk be a positive difference maker if he was the RW with Datsyuk and Zetterberg, with Lidstrom/Rafalski behind him instead of Ken Klee? For a lot of guys out there it's hard to say.

To throw back to the Nilsson argument - we weren't even discussing a guy who produces but "gives it all back" since he certainly doesn't (yet). I fail to see how giving this guy easy minutes is a greater tactical failure for the Oilers than sending Marty Reasoner or Sanderson or Jarret Stoll over the boards in virtually any situation (save PK, and PP for 16). I guess that was my only argument -- I'm not saying 12 is a great player (to be) I'm just saying that he's practically the least of the Oilers problems at this time.

Oh, and just to stir it up a little let me ask: By what measure, exactly, is Steve Staios even remotely useful? (we already have a GA-machine in Smid who is younger and cheaper). Just for more fun - same question w/r/t Captain Corsi, er... Moreau, too. (here we have Glencross, who is cheaper, younger, and more effective, though in a limited role thus far).

3/06/2008 9:43 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

And don't blame me for my name Bruce, blame my hippy parents.

Sorry, no offence intended. I didn't quite get where you were coming from with the anonymity crack, and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

3/06/2008 9:47 pm  
Blogger dstaples said...

1. Slipper is your real name? If so, that is a truly great hockey name. Too bad Ales Hemsky wasn't Slipper Hemsky, then we could call him The Slippery One.

Like Bruce, I wish people would use their real names on the Oilogosphere, mainly out of selfish reasons, because that would make it easier for me to quote them on my blog. And I know this won't go down well with many of you, but it also adds credility to a comment if there's a real name attached to it, even if that comment is something like, "Grebeshkov reminds me of a young Paul Coffey."

2. I'm not so upset by shorthand comments like "Grebeshkov reminds me of a young Paul Coffey." This, of course, won't surprise any of you, as you know that I make such comments. It's the way we lunatics talk, rather than you morons, who stick to the numbers.

Yes, it's true that often such comments as "Grebeshkov=Coffey" are a stretch, even a huge stretch. But they're also a shorthand form of communication, an easy to understand methaphor. That said, I can understand that you don't like it Slipper, as it's imprecise. In a similar way, I'm not so crazy when people write posts about Corsi numbers without adequately explaining them and providing the necessary links so others can better grasp the arguments being made.

Vic, that is meant as a criticism, but it is also meant as a compliment. This post on Corsi numbers is one of the most interesting posts I've read all year on the Oilogosphere, but it left me wanting more.

What would you say, Vic, are the strengths and weaknesses of Corsi numbers?

What do they tell us? Just as importantly, what don't they tell us?

What is the history of Corsi numbers? I understand you've dealt with this stuff in other posts, but it would be fantastic if you provided links to such posts on a regular basis.

Where can others find all the raw data on Corsi numbers?

By way of example, in terms of understanding this stat, what would the Corsi +/- be for a good player? A good team? A bad player? A beat team?

I suppose I'm asking you for a F.A. Q. on the Corsi number. Now, I understand you do this for free, it's not your job, all that, but if you want to win over people with your argument, this is the kind of thing that will help.

I read frustrated comments all the time from people who develop and understand Corsi numbers and quality of competition, and all these others interesting hockey stats. Yet they feel frustration that others don't grasp these stats and use them in their appraisal of players. Well, the best way to change that is to do a better job educating people about them.

For instance, when I looked at the Corsi numbers chart yesterday, I couldn't tell how many games the numbers were based on. Were they new stats? Had they been update recently?

Who the heck puts these stats together anyway? How often are they update? And what is a Fenwick +-? I was busying saying Sam Ganger is the next Joe Sakic when that debate was being held :).

3. Bruce (McCurdy, by the way) makes an excellent point about which stats are the best to trust.
Right now, Bruce focuses on the goal, as I do. The goal decides games, not Corsi numbers, not quality of comp., not territorial play stats, not shooting percentage. Goals are the main event, and the only event that counts on the scoreboard. So to evaluate players, there's not much need to dig deeper than to look at who scores the goals and who doesn't, who creates them and who causes them. That's what it is all about, the goal.
So this is why people focus on point totals, and it's why I've been writing about the "error" this year, trying to develop a stat that is the shadow of the "point," a stat that tells us, as best as we can figure, which players most directly contribute to a goal being scored against.

All that said, I understand and respect what Slipper, Vic and others are trying to do by collecting wholistic stats, such as Corsi numbers, which tell us about many, many more events during a game, and use those numbers to evaluate players. I get it that you believe some luck is involved in a goal being scored, and a player might look like he's really helping the team, when in fact he is just on a lucky hot streak (as the entire Oiler team appears to be right now, if, in fact, Corsi numbers are a strong indicator).

My point? There's value in stats such as the point and the error which are tightly focused on the main event, "the goal," but there's also value in stats focusing on all the other events, and the real challenge here is to refine all these stats, understand them, and explain them, so they can become more useful for all of us in our discussions.

3/07/2008 9:50 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

Just a couple of things here.

- On the primary assist thing with 83, with him and 89 now working together, it leads me to believe our PP should be good for a few years. Of course we've all had that belief for awhile now;)

Anyway, the more 83 shoots and scores from the left circle, the more defenders he'll draw and that leaves a quick two-on-one down low for 89-27. They haven't been able to click on that play yet but I can't see that going on for much longer. Maybe something as simple as that

- I understand there are different roles for different players but there should also be, at least internally, different pay-scales depending on what a guy can do. Sometimes those lines get blurred a little, ie I thought Smyth was worth his asking price because he could earn his bones against the toughest of comp, but in looking at a guy like Nilsson, I would not pay him more than 2 mill a season.

And I'd probably want to see him do this for another year before I even offered him that.

For Nilsson to stay he has to either:

- put up numbers against tough comp
- eat the soft min
- sign a super affordable deal.

Vic: when it comes to what Lowe's seeing and what he believes will happen next season, I think he goes out of his way to make a splash next summer and failing that he deals off Horc and maybe Torres and goes for Tavaras. He's been on the rebuild top ever since he dealt Pronger and why stop now with Tavaras in the gunsights? That's not say I approve of what Lowe did, has done or will do, but there isn't a whole lot to overspend on this summer and not a whole of Marleau contracts that teams might move so I'd expect Horc to be dealt.

3/07/2008 1:57 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Dennis: I should point out that Hemsky's skewed primary-to-secondary assist ratio is at evens. On the PP BtN has his G : A1 : A2 ratio at a much more balanced 1.60 : 1.86 : 1.60. Suggesting that sometimes when he passes the puck around the perimeter somebody else makes a play and Oilers score. But at evens it doesn't ever seem to happen that 83 sends in, say, 10:27 to finish the job, he just passes to the goal scorer. And that seems limiting somehow. Of course now that he's stuck with 16 on his line he's limited further.

Make no mistake that the top playmakers will have more primary assists, for one thing there's lots of goals that only have one assist, but I'll bet that if such stats were available for 99 you wouldn't see a ratio of 4.5:1, he would use all of his teammates and if that meant more than one of them at a time, so be it. He would frequently draw and extra checker, set up the odd-man situation, and see what happens. I don't see that sort of thing much from 83, he will hold it and hold it 'til he sees the open man in scoring position. Or not.

3/07/2008 2:49 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

Holy Lord, I'm sorry boys.

I was joking when I wrote that my true name is Slipper, but Jesus, I really didn't think anyone would take that seriously. I admit to coming acrosss as a tad strident at times, but it's a fucking mystery to me how people (Bruce!)consistently take me so literally at every turn. Even when I was talking about internet cred, goddamit, I thought the statement in itself was blatantly farciacal.

David Staples Awards all around;)

The proprieters od these blogs have made good use of the term "sniff test". As in what we're talking about here, makes sense to the eye when watching a game, or jives with the other wealth of available number. For me most of it does, but if person decided to scour the archives, they'd find I've probably needled Vic, Rivers, Crutch, et al, as much as anyone whenver thye presneted a new stat or line of thinking.

Though I was never so detached that I created my own error stat, but that's another story.

Listen, the arguments against the type of shit posted here and at other sites, like MC79's, have been debated ad nauseum all across the Albertan hockey boards for the past five years. It's like a Christianity debate. The flock was driven here to escape the dreary and consistent meanderings of 14 year olds (and sometimes thirty+ year olds with 14 year old hockey player's pictures as their avatars...) on the hockey forums. Most of the people that used to tune in and contrubute were sold on this shit already, or atleast intrigued.

Someone from the sphere once warned a few people who run some of the sites on the Oilsphere that if they replied to the requests of certain member of the MSM, who was soliciting them in the response threads, that the end result would be that this side of the Oiler internet would turn into the regular Oilers forum websites. Maybe the stripe down my back as of late has been the realization that this prediction has come to fruition.

Bruce, Devin and such, are solid contributers, so it behooves me to atleast address a poster of their ilk if they think I'm being a dick. Even Staples, in his weird fucking way, contributes alot and atleast does the leg work to arrive at his own insane conclusions.

Burce, one tihngs I've noticed is that you don't accept that I can be appreciative and leary of a players at once. You'll see me using the same offenive stats over at Lowetides to advocate giving Nilsson a pure shot, but just because I question his ability as an all around player due to the faceoff and shift charts that show he sheltered extremely doesn't mean I am shitting all over him. Same with Marty. It's faor to say inthe same breath that a goalie has had soem recnt phenomenal seaosons, but also he's had his share of average ones too.

For anyone who thinks that some of the guys around here put too much faith in +/- to shit on the goal scorers in the negative, why do you think the posters around here have made faceoff locations and shift charts available? My guess would be to put more context into the equation. A dude who takes a greater share of own zone draws is more likely to draw a negative, etc. No long time contrivuter around here take EV +/- at straight face value. Just consider how Ferrari has been the biggest Richards booster on the whole internet over the past few weeks.

Anyways, I'm retiring. Good night and good luck.

3/08/2008 3:54 am  
Blogger Bruce said...

Thanks, "Slipper", and no hard feelings. I have already apologized for being a literalist, so won't again. I have not had the privilege of being on the boards for five years, I am intrigued, and to some extent am deliberately exploiting my naivete and literalism (some call it "child's mind") to ask fundamental questions in search of fundamental truths. If the new game theory is good it will pass such tests. Science is done the same way, theories are frequently being challenged but if they are good they survive to fight another day.

My guess would be to put more context into the equation.

Very much agree, but it is easy to lose sight of the individual trees in a forest of complexity. Sometimes information can be gleaned by examining the image taken through each colour filter before trying to combine them into a more holistic, full-spectrum view.

A dude who takes a greater share of own zone draws is more likely to draw a negative, etc. No long time contrivuter around here take EV +/- at straight face value. Just consider how Ferrari has been the biggest Richards booster on the whole internet over the past few weeks.

First statement makes sense to me. But when, for example, I pointed out that Chris Gratton had way better GF/GA numbers than Brad Richards despite a far greater percentage of own zone draws -- the very sort of new information you leading edge guys are trumpeting -- I got dead silence so was left to draw my own conclusions. Which in that case was that despite his huge rep even and perhaps especially in the blogosphere, Richards' performance doesn't add up as a positive difference-maker. That's not taking his EV +/- at face value, that's factoring in new methodology, and to my view he still comes up light. If nothing else such matters make for interesting discussions, and hopefully we all take something out of it.

I'm learning, I'm trying, and I'm sorry if I'm dragging some of you back over familiar ground. But through such challenges can the methods be proven or perhaps further refined and developed. Or thrown out if they're found wanting. It's all progress.

Good night and good luck.

Good movie.

3/08/2008 4:56 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

_Someone from the sphere once warned a few people who run some of the sites on the Oilsphere that if they replied to the requests of certain member of the MSM, who was soliciting them in the response threads, that the end result would be that this side of the Oiler internet would turn into the regular Oilers forum websites. Maybe the stripe down my back as of late has been the realization that this prediction has come to fruition_

Vic laid down that lone not too long ago and I agree with you and him on it's progression.

3/08/2008 11:48 pm  
Blogger dstaples said...

One thing is clear -- it's time to write SSMSMFP on your arms.

(Super Sonic Mainstream Media Flea Protection)

3/10/2008 10:21 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Oh, good grief.

I don't think Staples has a good take on the Oilers, but I'm not about to totally discourage people from trying to think about the game a little bit.

So far Staples has contributed three things:

1) Undying man-love for Kevin Lowe. He's hardly alone here. The Edmonton media is chock full of sycophants.

2) The whole "errors" endeavour is appropriately titled, but it's really not a big deal. When someone actually makes a reasonable argument as to the value of the stat, maybe I'll concern myself with it again, but for right now I'm content to ignore it.

It is a shame that resources are being wasted on this rather than on something valuable like tracking scoring chances.

3) Exposure. I haven't made my mind up on this yet. It probably doesn't matter either.

Anyway, I don't think it's a big deal. It's nice to have someone else on board that's looking at this stuff and trying to take it into consideration.

3/11/2008 10:02 am  
Blogger dstaples said...

RiversQ: Here is my best shot so far at explaining Project Error, which as you have noted, has something of a tongue-in-cheek name to it.


Now, back to Corsi numbers. My question is: What is the link between Corsi numbers and goal scoring? What is the link between shots missed and goal scoring?

Does the team that takes more shot at net win more games or score more goals?

Does the team that misses more shots on net win more games or score more goals?

Until these questions are answered, I can't decide whether or not Corsi numbers are worth thinking about. They certainly sound like they should be meaningful . . . But are they?

3/11/2008 10:26 am  
Blogger dstaples said...

RviersQ, as for counting scoring chances, that's not a bad idea, though, like assigning errors, figuring out what a "scoring chance" is is a subjective process, so it has that same apparent weakness.

That said, I think that with some work a scoring chance could be defined, and we could track who is on the ice and off the ice for these scoring chances.

I would participate in an effort to track scoring chances, but I can't take it on by myself.

3/11/2008 10:29 am  
Blogger dstaples said...

Slipper, Showerhead, Dennis, Speed, Rivers Q and Vic.

I need to contact you about a coming event, so could you folks please give me a shout at dstaples@thejournal.canwest.com or 780 498 5829.


3/13/2008 9:19 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

David: I did get your v-mail but I didn't call you back because long distance min on my cell are an absolute killer.

Suffice to say, thanks for the offer but I won't be in Edm at that time.

Speeds: nice to see you breaking out some claws:)

3/14/2008 11:37 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

showerhead said:

Haha, I'll say it again: chip it on net from neutral ice and force the whistle!

No, not at all. Though I fear that we'll see this if GMs start hiring ex-goalies as coaches.

To my eye having a lot more EV faceoffs the forward end of the rink is the consequence of having good players and owning the puck a lot. It is NOT the cause of it.

If you look at the ability of teams to outscore the bad guys at evens vs the end of the rink that their shifts end in, as a team ... it's a Pearson correlation of .833309 over the thirty teams.

So the odds of that happening by pure coincidence are 300,318,879 to 1.

Take away Glen Hanlon's stint in WSH and it's well north of 400 million to one for this season so far. Again, ex-goalies shouldn't be allowed to coach.

BTW: The odds are considerably higher if we account for shifts that end in penalties, and the zone that they happened in. But I'm pressed for time, and frankly we passed the OBVIOUS signpost miles ago, and it was just a stride off the start line. I don't think it's necessary to go further.

3/15/2008 2:06 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Devin said:

I think we can all get a little too excited about "tough minutes".

I think the opposite. Coaches can change the value of players in the eyes of fans in a heartbeat.

The fall from 'great!' to 'crap!' happens exactly as quickly as the role changes. And it happens on every team.

3/15/2008 2:11 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Bruce and slipper:

Jesus you guys use a lot of words, props for keeping it civil though. If either of you guys want to post your thoughts here just contact one of us. Because I doubt that most people who read here look at the comments, and that's a shame.

Admittedly on just a quick read through, slipper is right on all counts. I could build odds on his points, but it would range from the obscene (50,000ish to 1) to the ridiculous (billions to one).

Over the next five years, assuming no expansion, there will be 150 team-years of hockey. Of those 150 team years, likely 150 will have better home Corsi numbers than road Corsi numbers. But likely 124 or so will have better home records than road records. That's just the way that cookies crumble.

If the gel factor is indeed affecting the clutchosity ... it's doing it on the tiniest bit of real estate imaginable.

3/15/2008 2:45 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Sorry for not replying to your email, Just saw it last night, I don't check that email very often.

As for the 'Oilogosphere night out' thing, I can't make it on the 24th, and frankly it's not my cup of joe anyways. The other guys you've listed above are all from out of town except for slipper, who is indeed the legendary performer from defunct rock band 'Slipper Insider', btw.

3/15/2008 3:04 pm  
Blogger dstaples said...

No problem, Vic. Maybe next time.

Haven't heard from anyone, so I'm concluding you folks can't make it.

Cheers, David.

3/15/2008 11:08 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Had it been a playoff game I'm sure that there would have been a strong appeal, but Minny in late March ... that's a tougher sell.

3/17/2008 2:23 am  
Blogger Devin said...

think the opposite. Coaches can change the value of players in the eyes of fans in a heartbeat.

Vic, I agree with you. My point wasn't that matchups don't matter -- quite the opposite. My point was that there are proper players to be putting in tough matchups. For eg. if you feed Pisani Nilsson's minutes he's simply not going to score at 2.5 EVP/60 (or whatever). If you feed Nilsson Pisani's minutes he'd probably get killed. So everyone is in the right place, and my point is we don't have to completely write off Nilsson just because he can't outscore Zetterberg. Most guys can't, and most guys can't produce at Nilsson's level in the softest minutes, either. Don't get me wrong, I think Bobby should get 1.5M or so on his next contract, but he's certainly not a useless or easily replaceable player at the NHL level like some seem to imply.

3/17/2008 7:15 am  
Blogger Slipper said...


Is your timeonice.com/tshots page auto refreshed, or do you update that page yourself?

I also MattF over at BOA post a Corsi page for an individual game. Is that somehow available on your page?

3/17/2008 8:25 am  
Blogger dstaples said...


What are you saying, Vic!? Minny in March -- that's going to be the game the Oil finally move into a playoff spot ;)

P.S. I take your point, though, that the Oil is doing it with mirrors to a certain extent this year. This team has simply got to tighten up on defence, but that's something, perhaps, that tends to happen as younger squads age.

3/17/2008 10:07 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Most of the scripts there pull the data right off of the NHL.com website. Though any post with "team=" in it use that day's games until 2:00 AM mountain time.

There is some other stuff on there that I should list out at some point. If you can't wait for BofA's baseball-style standings the go to www.timeonice.com/standings.html

And you can look at just one chunk of the season for shots and goals numbers with something like www.timeonice.com/teamshots.php?team=EDM&first=20001&last=20450
Same goes for faceoffs and xfaceoffs. hshots.php?team=EDM gets you the Oilers home shots/goals info, use a 'v' instead of the 'h' to get the road games. Again, the same applies faceoffs.

www.timeonice.com/coincidence.html will convert a Pearson correlation [=correl() in Excel] into odds. It only works with positive correlations though. So looking at 'EVsave% while a player was on the ice' from the first half of the season to the second half ... there is no correlation at all, ever so slightly negative in the case of the Oilers if you remove the goalies from the correlation.

And of course the fundamentally simple aspects of a players game, essentially his ability to get the puck into the right end of the rink and keep it there, Fenwick, Corsi, where shifts end by faceoffs, etc ... on the whole that follows players around like puppy dogs. Which obviously you knew anyways.

There is PP and SH stuff on their too, it follows the same format.

Look at the important underlying numbers re home teams playing the second of a B2B (there just aren't enough games to use wins or even GF and GA). The oddsmakers have that wrong, and Kevin Lowe was actually right a couple of years ago.

3/17/2008 2:22 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Using NHL game 600 as the midpoint of the season, and looking at how the the Corsi numbers from the first half to the second half for the 751 players.

The correlation for Fenwick and Corsi for the individual players are overwhelming (.661). So the odds of that happening by pure coincidence:

4,503,599,627,370,490 to 1

There are big numbers and there are big numbers. This is a really big fucking number.

The ZoneNumber correlation will be similar, possibly even a touch bigger, though I haven't checked.


On the other hand, the correlation of "EVshooting% while a player was on the ice" is -.015 ... indicating that there is nothing there at all. In terms of odds:

About 3 to 1 of it being pure chance.

So the confidence interval is far too small for a reasonable person to draw any relationship from it at all. EVshooting% simply doesn't show repeatibility.

Now if you filter out the goalies (who obviously have no effect on EVshooting%) it will get quite a bit stronger I'm sure.

Still, the width of the gap between the two, in terms of repeatability, it should be measured in light years.

3/17/2008 3:10 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Vic: Stortini and Glencross have some crazy percentages and so does Cogliano. I've noticed you've been quiet about him in particular. Nothing nice to say? ;)

3/19/2008 12:22 am  
Blogger Doogie said...

There is some other stuff on there that I should list out at some point. If you can't wait for BofA's baseball-style standings the go to www.timeonice.com/standings.html

This is probably the easiest way to tell when a team's mathematically out of the playoffs: if they're more games back of 8th than they have GR, they're done. (Sorry for stating the breathtakingly obvious, here, but I've never worked with baseball standings prior to this year, so this is all novel to me, in a sense.) By that math, only LA is technically toast, and that seems rather odd, since I'd have thought more teams would be out of it by now. Atlanta is only a half-game away, and the Isles, Lightning, and Blues are all within three games of done.

3/19/2008 10:37 am  
Blogger PunjabiOil said...

David: I did get your v-mail but I didn't call you back because long distance min on my cell are an absolute killer.


Call a local number (or 1-800 number), and then only 3.5 cents per minute for a long distance call.

Free to set up, no hidden charges

3/19/2008 12:45 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

No I like Cogliano, he's going to be a good player i think. Just that Gagner is looking like the best of the rookies and he's so young, and getting better so fast, that he's the guy to watch I think.

How good will Gagner be when he's Cogliano's age? When he's Nilsson's age?

I know that young players ebb and flow while their developing, but how can any Oiler fan not be pumped about the guy?

Which Oilers are grabbing your attention, Rivers?

3/20/2008 5:09 pm  

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