September 03 2014 12:00PM
(In part 1 I discussed the current state of advanced stats in the NHL with a view to defining an "ideal state" for NHL clubs in their efforts to establish modern analytics departments. In part 2, we look at where this form of analysis came from and where it may be headed in the future)
“I’ve never said, never thought, that it was better to be an outsider than it was to be an insider, that my view of the game was better than anyone else’s. It’s different; better in some ways, worse in some ways. What I have said is, since we are outsiders…let us use our position as outsiders to what advantage we can. Let us back off from the trees, look at the forest as a whole, and see what we can learn from that.”
- Bill James
Having been an early adopter and advocate of possession-based analysis, perhaps the most common complaint I encountered over the years was how, if corsi was so valuable, it was not actively employed by those who make their living inside the game. If the virtues of this analysis are so clear, why didn't the experts come up with it? How could a bunch of no-name amateurs create something that could be of value to experienced, lifelong hockey men?
September 02 2014 12:00PM
I began writing about hockey in 2005. Through a combination of timing and proximity, I have had the fortune of a ringside view of the genesis, dissemination and popularization of hockey's so-called advanced stats. Over this two part series, I will share some of the insights engendered by this somewhat unique perspective. My focus will be on what's currently happening in the league now as teams flock to build analytic departments around possession theory, as well as why the movement grew outside of the league's front offices and where we may expect this sort of analysis to go in the future.
The off-season of 2014 may well be remembered as the summer of stats, although corsi numbers and their various accoutrements made their way into popular discourse earlier in the year when they began popping up in national broadcasts and game day discussions. No doubt the new numbers began to spread in part due to the spectacular failure of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a club that had been deemed as a bellwether for possession-based theory at the onset of the season. Their subsequent 84-point, 12th place finish in the face of expanded expectations and executive confidence was the metaphorical canary in the coal mine as it were.
August 23 2014 04:00PM
August 15 2014 08:30AM
The Flames last bit of business this summer is to get RFA Lance Bouma under contract. It's mildly surprising negotiations have dragged in this manner because from the outside it seems like an easy re-up: Bouma's well liked by the organization for his intangibles, but he doesn't have much leverage beyond that. He has less than 2 NHL seasons worth of hockey under his belt in the show and his counting stats reflect a player of his, uh, role (5 goals, 15 points total).
Usually guys of this ilk get a modest raise over their ELC since there isn't much to argue over. However, given the lack of a deal and the fact it's the middle of August, let's take a closer look at Bouma's results from last year to see what the Flames might have on their hands.
August 05 2014 08:30AM
It's time to start talking about a TJ Brodie extension. The longer the team waits, the more expensive he will become.
Last summer I argued that the Flames should sign then RFA TJ Brodie to a long-term deal rather than the bridge contract they settled on. The reasoning was that Brodie was trending up substantially and projected to be an important - and potentially expensive - part of the Flames future. The argument against this suggestion was that it was too risky to commit long-term dollars to a relatively untested commodity.