Random Thoughts – Poker and Lottery Tickets

random thoughts

It’s been a pendulum season for the Flames. At first, the club enjoyed some of the league’s best goaltending. When that cooled off, they start winning with the league’s best even strength shooting percentage. After a couple months of exceeding everyone’s expectations, they’ve finally run head first into a five game losing streak, despite the fact the team has been playing fundamentally better hockey in December. 

Which is why I feel like this is a good time to talk about luck a bit more in depth. 

– The role of luck and natural variance continues to be a sticking point for those congenitally allergic to “new stats”. Which is fair, because it’s grossly counter-intuitive for most people given it’s at odds with how our brains are wired. 

Here’s an analogy I hope will clarify things: 

Imagine watching a game of heads up Texas Hold’em poker, that is, a game between two opponents. Your friend is one of the players and you can see the cards of both people at the table. You naturally cheer for your buddy, but you notice he practices impractical, undisciplined poker – he chases flushes and straights, he telegraphs his hands and his bluffs are obvious. 

Nevertheless, your buddy starts off the night winning a lot because he’s getting the cards – pocket face cards, beneficial flops (first three cards on the table) and hand saving river cards (final card on the table). His bad bets are paying off because sometimes the cards just the right way. Anyone who has spent time at a poker table has spent time in either role – as the player who can’t lose as well as the player who suffers bad beat after bad beat for awhile.

Nevertheless, it’s obvious that your friend will eventually go bust if he continually tests fate by playing low percentage hands. You can’t dance with lady luck all night. 

The competing roles of skill and luck in poker is clearer than in hockey, but this is the primary insight new analytics has brought to the game – that, over the long run, teams who have good puck possession are playing good poker; they’re consistently tilting the odds in their favour. Which doesn’t mean they won’t lose a few hands, because sometimes the other guy makes his straight on the river, even if it was a long shot. 

– To further understand the role of randomness in hockey, it helps to think of every shot at the net as a lottery ticket and each ticket has a varying degree of probability of “winning” (ie; being a goal), depending on factors like position on the ice, if it was a rebound, etc. After counting scoring chances for several years, I’ve found that about 15% of them average out to goals over large enough samples. That is, even the best looks only end up in the net just three times out of every 20 shots or so. 

– The issue is, sometimes those winning lottery tickets will cluster together in strange, unpredictable patterns. Some clusters might feature 20 winners in 50 tickets (40%). In other clusters, it might be 3 out of 50 (6%). This is natural when it comes to probabilistic processes and small samples – though the average probability of an event may be X, it’s possible that it will occur to much greater or lesser degrees randomly in short bursts. 

– Here’s the thing about that sort of randomness – the human mind doesn’t believe it. Even when we observe processes which we know intellectually to be completely random (like flipping a coin), we will start to create explanations and narratives to explain seemingly unexplainable patterns in these processes. This is one of the reasons why gambling is so seductive and debilitating an addiction. 

In fact, human brains are so bad at understanding randomness that we can’t even fake it.

Here’s a party trick. Get two friends. One will flip a coin 30 times and write down the sequence of heads and tails. The other will imagine flipping a coin 30 times and also write the sequence of results. They do this in secret, so you don’t know who has flipped the real coin and who has flipped the imaginary one. The ‘wow’ moment comes when you’re presented with the two lists of heads and tails and it’s usually instantly obvious which is which.

You can tell the difference because humans are very, very bad at faking randomness. We just can’t do it. 

There are different ways to tell the fake and real randomness apart, but the most obvious is to look for runs of straight heads, or straight tails. If one of the lists has a run of five heads or tails in a row, you can be pretty sure that’s the real coin. In a list of 30 coin flips you’re reasonably likely to get a run of five.

As humans, when we come across random clusters we naturally superimpose a pattern. We instinctively project an order on the chaos. It’s part of our psychological make-up.

– I go to great pains to point all of this out because I’ve heard more than once recently that the appeal to “luck” in new stats is a cheat or “fudge factor” that analytics people use to make their projections “never wrong”. This is inaccurate. The talk of luck is a recognition of the influence of randomness in the proceedings. We have begun to understand the influence of chance in the NHL (it’s much greater than what we thought previously and what is intuitive) and we have created measures that help understand the bounds of variance in the league. 

– Which doesn’t mean anyone can reliably and precisely predict the future. It just means we know what is more likely over time. The work that is being done at the bleeding edge now is either discovering what skills and strategies influence puck possession and the degree to which we can truly tease apart skill from randomness.

– Let’s get back to hockey talk. As mentioned, the Flames have actually been better recently in terms of controlling play. Here’s a graph from war-on-ice charting their corsi according to a 5-game rolling average this year: 

FlamesrollingAV

 Since December 1, Calgary has been pushing the play north more reliably than earlier in the year. This is reminiscent of last season, when the Flames improved after New Years en route to a much better second half of the season. 

We can likely expect further improvement, assuming the club ever gets fully healthy. Calgary’s best two-way forward was Mikael Backlund last year and the Flames puck possession looked like the Kings or Bruins when he was on the ice with Brodie and Giordano. He’s the club’s best tough match-ups forward option and his loss is a huge one for the club’s 5on5 play, so it’s encouraging to see an uptick before he even gets back on the ice.

– Related – the recent game against the Blackhawks is an exception to the Flames recent improvement. Calgary hung tough on the scoreboard, but got run over to the tune of 34.3% corsi on the night. That’s not an indictment of Flames, it’s just something that can happen when you play an elite team on home ice at the peak of their powers. 

Still, clashing with the big boys can be an instructive pressure test – it can show you some of the more non-obvious leaks. It’s games like that shows Sean Monahan’s current assignment isn’t entirely fair to the kid. Going head-to-head with the likes of Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa with Curtis Glencross and David Jones on your flanks is a tall order for anyone, nevermind a 20-year old sophomore.

Recently I’ve noticed the kid sinking under the weight of his circumstances, not in terms of quality of play, more just in the fact that he’s speeding a lot more time in the defensive end than he was previously in the year. As a result. his relative fen wick rate has fallen to from top three on the team to 12th amongst skaters with over 100 minutes of ice this year. 

– While Monahan is begin buried, Johnny Gaudreau is getting slightly better circumstances and he’s taking full advantage. He’s now second on the team in relative possession and by eye is probably the club’s most persistently dangerous forward on any given night. It’s clear already Gaudreau is a special talent and it won’t be long before he’s facing the other team’s best players every shift, if only because opposition coaches will start targeting him. 

– To that end, I’ve begun to wonder when and if Hartley will move Monahan onto a line with Hudler and Gaudreau. While that feels very much like putting all of the Flames eggs in a single basket, it may be the only way Monahan can reasonably be expected to survive his current match-ups given the make up of this roster. Glencross and Jones are capable enough NHLers, but they are far better suited to a third line role. 

Hartley’s options will change when Backlund comes back, but for now it would be interesting to see a Sean and Johnny combo at even strength for a few games. 

  • Burnward

    Monahan played 20:48 up against, arguably, the best line in hockey and came out even.

    When Johnny is able to handle a line like that, he can play with him.

    Monahan has his big boy pants on and is killing it for a young man his age.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I still think Stajan should be the guy who gets buried hardest. Monahan has made great improvements since last season, but I don’t think leaving him in the deep end constantly is necessarily the best thing for him.

      And to add to the article: another reason people have such trouble with randomness in sports is because it’s people against other people. Cards are easy, because you have a set of items over which there is no control (unless you have a crooked dealer) and the opponents are each completely separate from the initial source that will greatly impact their ability to win a hand.

      Sports, on the other hand, involve a bunch of people actively and consciously (or instinctively via extremely dedicated practice) attempting various actions against the other person or team. So no longer is it “you are dealt cards and play with what you’re dealt”; it’s now “you take an action that has some indeterminate probability of failure”. And people don’t really take well to the idea that every action taken technically has a probability of failure attached to it, however small that probability may be.

      • piscera.infada

        I agree, but it’s kind of difficult to justify not giving your most skilled centre the first line ice-time over Stajan. I mean, I understand it makes sense. I’m just skeptical that it would happen in practice. Monahan is the de facto #1 centre until Backlund comes back.

        • RealMcHockeyReturns

          Yes, I agree it’s best to have Backlund as #1 Centre but only to help free up Monahan to get easier assignments (play against 2nd liners or lower)

      • Burnward

        But he’s still hanging tough. That’s the thing that is so crazy. He’s doing it.

        He seems to thrive on the fight and wants that challenge. He takes so much pressure off the rest of the team by doing it. It’s remarkable and kind of underrated if you ask me.

  • jdthor

    “I go to great pains to point all of this out because I’ve heard more than once recently that the appeal to “luck” in new stats is a cheat or “fudge factor” that analytics people use to make their projections “never wrong”. This is inaccurate. The talk of luck is a recognition of the influence of randomness in the proceedings.”

    This is only partly true.

    Randomness does exist, yes. However, you can only attribute randomness when you’ve attributed every other factor.

    Is that what’s happened? Of course not.

    It seems pretty obvious, yes?

    This is why the problem is complex and needs to be worked on a lot more than it already has.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      I’m no statistician by any means (failed it in Uni even), but doesn’t randomness partly include the inability to ever account for every other factor?

      Also, your final sentence makes it seem like you’re suggesting that people have stopped working on the “problem”, and I’m quite certain that isn’t the case.

      Anyway, thanks Kent. I appreciate the analogies to help explain what we’re all talking about.

      • Burnward

        Considering some of the hideously bad R2 values I’ve seen bandied about on some predictors, we’re a long way from sussing out factors.

        I realize that people are still working on it.

      • prendrefeu

        and
        @kittensandcookies

        “I’m no statistician by any means (failed it in Uni even), but doesn’t randomness partly include the inability to ever account for every other factor?

        Also, your final sentence makes it seem like you’re suggesting that people have stopped working on the “problem”, and I’m quite certain that isn’t the case.”

        I too hope that they haven’t stopped figuring out the problem, but I keep seeing situations where a field, for better or worse, has stopped because they’ve reached a point where the scientific method ends, and instead of going further (and opening up to the possibility that their relied upon method is not the ‘be all and end all’ solution… which would then bring into account a lot of unknown variables.)

        I’ll give an example from Neurosciences: the phenomena of “deja vu”. We’ve all had it, at one time or another. When this issue came up during my undergraduate studies in one of the Neuroscience courses I was taking, I asked a question which didn’t have an answer. It went something like this:

        Professor: “So the phenomena of deja-vu is simply a dual firing of neurons from the visual and memory, and we somehow mix that up to thinking we’ve seen this before”

        Me: “Why are they firing near-simultaneously?”

        Prof: “We don’t know, we’re assuming it’s an accident”

        Me: “How do you know it’s an accident? Is it not possible that memory is being triggered intentionally by the visual neuron?”

        Prof: “That is possible, but everyone has pretty much stopped testing. There is no reliable way of testing that because it happens for some unknown reason and it does not follow a pattern, so it is assumed it’s just an accident”

        Me: “So we don’t know if it’s intentional or not, we’re just going to assume it’s an accident that happens often for some reason or another and that’s it.”

        Prof: “Yes, it’s an accident that happens for some unknown reason and we’re moving on”

        • TheCalgaryJames

          I believe it’s fairly naive to assume that the advancement of ‘advanced’ stats has plateaued. There are a lot of people looking into the numbers and trying to see what they mean.

          Challenges to the status quo will always be met with skepticism but the community, by and large, seems to respond well to actual evidence of one’s position.

          It’s not enough to simply say: “I have an opinion that the conclusions you are drawing from these numbers are incorrect.” Cool. What is your evidence to the contrary?

          That’s how the discourse and the mathematics will evolve; With evidence to speak for the contrarians.

          • prendrefeu

            Hi,

            I don’t believe it has plateaued. In my comment I stated that I hope it’s still going (that was at the beginning): “I too hope that they haven’t stopped figuring out the problem”

            I then used an example in another field which has stopped at a problem with no interest in pursuing it further, which was and remains to be disappointing from a learning experience.

            Sorry if that was confusing. Thanks.

  • jdthor

    Great article Kent. You pointed out a while back that this dip was likely coming and if it happened at the same time as players getting healthy the two would be unrelated. It’s funny to hear all the questions about Stajan, Colborne and Raymond messing up the chemistry. They most likely are a big part of why the Flames possession numbers have been improving.

    • prendrefeu

      Actually, the Flames possession numbers started improving before any of those players returned. Stajan first played again against the Avs on the 6th; Raymond versus the leaves on the 9th; and Colborne against the Sabres on the 11th. Compare that to the chart.

      What is fair to say is that none of these vets ruined the possession numbers that were already improving.

  • Toofun

    The Flames have been great to watch this year and are easy to cheer for. They need to play just slightly better than “league average” for the rest of the year to make the payoffs. It looks like about 93 points would do the trick and they still have a pretty good chance to get there, despite the last 5 game pull-back.

    I’m looking forward to another great tilt tonight. Win or lose though, at least we know the effort will be there…

  • TheCalgaryJames

    Excellent piece, Kent!

    I totally agree with you about putting Gaudreau and Mono together on a line. I wonder, if Backlund wasn’t injured if this wouldn’t be exactly what we see happening.

    It’s amazing that when we talk about a guy like Monahan we’re talking about the youngest player on the team. The guy is playing the toughest minutes of any centre on the team and the fact that at 20 years old he’s even treading water is astonishing.

    It’s also amazing to see how much Gaudreau improves the players around him. I think it was Pike a few days back who posted the WOWY results and it’s amazing to see his effect on his teammates.

    I’m extremely excited about the young core of this team going forward… and we haven’t even had a chance to see how good Bennett is.

  • everton fc

    I, too, like the foundation for the future that seems to be developing in the organization. It’s good to see Poirier, Arnold, Hanowski, Van Brabant and Wolf putting up #’s on the farm. Culkin and Wotherspoon seem to be progressing, as well, though Wotherspoon is -6, while Culkin’s +1. We all know what Ferland brings, and Ortio’s certainly on a roll. All good things.

    I think Treliving unloading some vets at some stage. I’d like to see Monahan w/Gaudreau and Hudler. Why not? And a third line featuring Glencross and Jones looks good “on paper”. Stajan on the middle makes sense. As would Byron. And Colborne, perhaps.

  • RedMan

    I think many of us have been waiting to see Monahan and Gaudreau together, not sure why it is taking so long.

    Bottom line – this is a development year, and the fact that a trace cent of ‘playoffs’ has wafted through the room should not move anyone off of the development course.

    If we measure this year from a development standpoint, it can be seen as nothing but a raging success.

    If we start to measure it from a playoff standpoint, we can easily miss the tremendous steps made and consider the year average or even a fail.

    Stick to the plan, enjoy the growth, and plan for the playoffs in 2 years – the 16/17 season.

    • piscera.infada

      If we start to measure it from a playoff standpoint, we can easily miss the tremendous steps made and consider the year average or even a fail.

      That’s what seriously harshed my mellow with all the regression talk. It had nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t believe regression was likely, but moreso the fact that it put a damper on the numerous positives that we’re already seeing.

      The development of the young core has been visible this season, and the early success (sustainable or not) only helped fuel that. I truly hope it continues, but like you, I won’t hold my breath for a playoff spot. I just want the organization to build on the positive development.

      • Toofun

        Although I admittedly haven’t properly considered the implications of a Gaudreau – Bennett tandem, I must say that this past year in Penticton, there were moments with those two on the ice together that simply made me very excited to be a Flames fan.

  • Parallex

    Another great articule Kent!

    I concur about Gaudreau-Monahan… even if you want to ignore any data driven anaylsis in terms of observable behaviour Gaudreau is really good at finding the guy in open ice and Monahan is good at finding open ice.

    Since your here anyways I’m curious about your thoughts on Tango’s wSTD (weighted Shots Taken Differential)? Any thoughts?

  • everton fc

    Our cap situation gives us an opportunity to perhaps poach a young, slightly over-paid player or two who could help us now, and down the road. If I were Treliving, I’d be looking at the possibilities.

    I’m sure he is. Who wouldn’t?

  • Burnward

    When Backlund is back and up to speed, Hartley has the option of putting them together.

    Right now might not be the best time.

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Hudler as PP1 though, I’d be down.

  • Burnward

    Just one more thought on Johnny.

    He has great stats, yes. But he’s being put in a position to succeed. No sense in throwing him in over his head if they don’t have to.

    Let’s learn the lessons of Edmonton.

  • Reidja

    A MAGICIAN NEVER REVEALS HIS SECRETS KENT!…

    kidding 🙂

    While I don’t think that anyone would confuse a binary coin flip with a multivariate hockey-play, the metaphor is useful and the poker analogy interesting. At the risk of taking that analogy too far, I liken the Flames to a “beginners luck” scenario at the start of the season… They were surprising teams with their effort – I assume some took them lightly, and while they continue to learn, it was luck after all. The part I think we can all agree on is how fun their learning process has been to watch.

    IMO the dogmatic perspective of the stats junkies is what annoys your above-average hockey-IQ fan (~100% of folks who read here regularly). For example, the “character”, “leadership”, “grit” attributes of players and teams being dismissed as meaningless “narratives”.

    There are numerous ways to measure “intangibles”: Effort outside of the game, metrics for conditioning, personality tests and thereby gain quantifiable insight into team chemistry, hell, days hungover at practice or game. Obviously not available to the common Joe stats junkie but existent nonetheless. These are only intangibles because we are all necessarily on the other side of the glass.

  • Derzie

    Luck implies a norm. With cards and coins, it’s pretty clear as their are limited outcomes anchored on the number of cards (52) or the number of coin sides (2). That’s not so with hockey. There are historic numbers that suggest what the norms are but they are based on the variables being somewhat understood. Not enough is understood to know if a variance is luck or if it is due to an explainable variance. There is a whole lot more work to do in the analytics game before luck can enter into the conversation in a meaningful way. Anyone serious about hockey analysis who refers to luck is basically giving up and throwing their hands in the air. Luck is of course part of the results just that more work is required to understand the variables first. A discipline in its infancy.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Some of the luck comments I have been reading the past while by jaded Flames fans have had the ‘ol eyes rolling in my head.

    To dismiss luck in the game of hockey, or seek to lessen it’s impact comes off as a bit naïve to me. I think in hockey it is more evident than many other sports because of the low-scoring and fluid nature of the game.

    Take some examples:
    – Post and out vs. post and in. If Olli Jokinen had scored on half his shots that hit the post, we might not be rebuilding right now! How can that not be bad luck?

    – The leaky five hole. How many shots that didn’t trickle through into the net were impeded by mere millimeters? How many that went in were millimeters from being stopped?

    – Shootouts. The biggest coin toss in the league. Sure some guys have more shootout ability and goalies also – but how many misses/goals were luck driven?

    This list could go on and on. To come out and say advanced stats don’t prove anything because variances are easily attributed to luck ignores how evident luck is in the sport of hockey.

    Doesn’t mean you don’t keep challenging norms and looking for greater answers, just recognize how finicky luck can be.

    • Kevin R

      I read this post & chuckled as I am a big poker player & play lots on line & live events. As you say, luck is in everything. But, luck can also be mathematically calculated, especially in the game of Poker. It’s one thing to chase straights & flushes, but one can calculate the probability of luck happening. Use the math right & what may seem very lucky is just a superior player calculating the math to help make the best decisions. There is skill in luck if that makes sense. & that is why the stats community in hockey need to take the next step if they want to make statements like a team is going to regress because they have been lucky. Put a little science to the puck luck & the perception of the readers will change significantly.

      Either way, I love my Flames.

  • mattyc

    Think of how many games end up one or two goal difference. Now think of how often during the game a puck bounce allows a goal or saves one. Just one or TA bounces every game can be and often is the difference between a win and loss.

    When people think of luck I think people may be thinking more in terms of coin flips, and perhaps would benefit from a more formalized definition. What the legit stats guys are calling ‘luck’ is just plays that aren’t repeatable ‘skill’ plays. Some goals happen whether it’s josh jooris or pat Kane

  • beloch

    Gaudreau has already been targeted to a certain extent. He’s facing tougher competition on average than he did at the start of the season and opposing players (e.g. Phaneuf) are starting to take dirty cheap shots at him when the refs aren’t looking. Gaudreau has overtaken Taylor Hall in point generation, which is pretty darned spiffy, but the amazing thing is he still looks a bit tentative with the puck at times. As good as Gaudreau is now, I think he still has some pretty major steps to take.

    What’s even more amazing is that Gaudreau is leading the league in rookie assists with Jooris as a linemate. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing what Jooris has done this season. From out of nowhere he’s established himself as a bonafide NHL’er. However, he’s simply not as good as his scoring stats indicate. He and Hudler are tied for the highest sh% on the team, at 21.4% each. Even Hudler is bound to regress from that, but Jooris? It’s puck luck and “Hudreau” effect that has him flying so high. Put a guy with some finishing talent, like Monahan, with Jiri and Johnny and you have one scary line. Once Backlund returns Hartley will be able to do just that without sacrificing the team’s performance against their opponent’s best. He could even try it out a bit now that Stajan has returned, but I don’t think Stajan can handle top competition as well as Monahan can. That fact alone should have everyone’s jaws on the floor.

    • Burnward

      “He could even try it out a bit now that Stajan has returned, but I don’t think Stajan can handle top competition as well as Monahan can. That fact alone should have everyone’s jaws on the floor.”

      Exactly.

  • Burnward

    I’ve never doubted the effectiveness of puck possession. My own dad has been saying for decades, “he who has the puck, wins.” It’s obvious, really. I’ve alo stated numerous times that I believed the team would regress, as per the numbers.

    However, what I want to know is, what pushes luck one way or the other? Surely the Flames speed and work ethic play a role in pushing luck in their favor that falls outside of the possession numbers? In other words, is there any way to measure the quality of possession time? So, if team X has the puck 51% of the time, is it really the same as team Y having the puck 51% of the time? What are they doing with the puck during that time? Can a team dominate possession, but still be rushed into making lesser quality plays due to the other team’s work ethic? Or does it all just come out together in the wash?

    I feel like I’m not explaining myself very well, but the gist is for stats to try and start ‘explaining’ the luck. When, where, how, why. After all, a dynamic, fluid, team sport is not the same as dealing shuffled cards or coin flips. There are truly lucky events in hockey, but enough to account for five + win/loss streaks? Is the competition that level that even?

    • TheCalgaryJames

      What about measuring only the shots taken within the ‘danger zone’ or the ‘home plate’ in the offensive zone? We use this zone to typically note scoring chances so it makes sense to track all shots (wide shots, blocked shots, hit posts) coming from within this area as a measure of a team’s ability to actually drive ‘offensive possession’… does that make sense?

      I’m not sure if anyone is already tracking this but it would certainly cut through some of the ambiguities of standard possession stats.

      I also wonder if measuring the amount of time spent in the offensive zone might help with this. Since we’re studying zone entrances and exits I’m sure measuring the amount of time or the result of a particular zone entry (i.e.: shot,scoring chance etc.) would be beneficial in identifying key players who help maintain offensive possession and what they do with it.

      This all seems too simple and perhaps the information is already out there but I’d be curious to see.

      Kent? Pike?

    • TheCalgaryJames

      After re-reading Chris Boyle’s “Shot Quality Project’ articles I wonder if breaking shots into categories isn’t the way to go.

      http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/introducing-the-shot-quality-project/

      If we track ‘transition shots’ (shots that force the goalie to change or alter their positioning), rebounds, and tip or redirected shots we can use this as a measure of how well a team creates ‘quality scoring chances.’ This way we’d be able to pair that with standard possession stats to paint a far better picture of how the team is doing offensively.

      My guess would be that this would show us where teams with high possession stats but poor winning/scoring percentages are truly lacking. This would allow us to see the difference between teams with similar possession but opposing results.

      For instance: (per Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com)
      EDM 5v5 — PDO: 96.7 (30th)
      50.9 CF% (15th) — 49.6 FF% (20th)

      We see here that the Oiler’s are basically a middle of the road possession team. Not great, not terrible, certainly not last in the league. The PDO suggests they have been ‘unlucky’ but what does that mean exactly? Anyone who has watched the oilers this season will tell you, by the eye test, this team seems listless and never really looks dangerous. Basically their possession stats don’t tell the whole story. They play like a last place team and I would suggest are not as much ‘unlucky’ as they are simply… not very good.

      If we were to extrapolate the data down and account for how many ‘transition shots,’ rebounds and tips/redirections Edmonton produces vs how much they allow my suggestion would be that we’d see that, while Edmonton may possess the puck at a middling rate, they are in fact easily defended against. Their forwards are easily controlled, kept to the outside, allowed mostly ‘clean shots’ (shots the goalie can track and see easily) and in their own zone they allow high percentage shots that, without a Vezina goalie back there more often result in a GA.

      All this would explain away their PDO as not so much unlucky but simply a symptom of the team being without an efficient game plane in either zone.

  • Toofun

    It seems to me that we are we still in the early stages of hockey analytics. When I hear that the collection of data requires individuals to sit through hours upon hours of hockey footage and manually collect the data, it is no wonder the analysis is still so limited.

    Without any profound knowledge, one can easily see how puck possession could be further broken down to provide more meaningful results. All that is lacking is the data. When that arrives, stats analysis will grow significantly. Technology that computes this quickly and efficiently could really help streamline the process and test theories at a ridiculously faster rate.

  • Toofun

    Playing Ramo is like playing a high stakes poker game…50% chance your going to win big – 50% chance your going to lose big time….glad he is a UFA and let’s get this guy on his way!!

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Sooooo, what happened to all the chatter about firing/boycotting/stabbing Lambert? It’s quieted down a bunch since the Flames did exactly what he said they would do.