Monday, March 24, 2008

David Staples is making an error

I want to start this off by saying that I have nothing but respect for David Staples: I think he does fine work over at The Cult of Hockey, and his willingness to both engage with internet communities like the Oilogosphere (who are basically little more than a collection of concerned fans) and question conventional hockey logic sets him ahead of most of his mainstream peers, and make him a valuable member of our little imaginary community. I bring up these points only because I genuinely think his natural inquisitiveness and willingness to look beyond standard logic is a valuable asset that is currently being somewhat squandered.

(People who are not interested in stats: this is going to be a long one. Luckily, I've interspersed all the boring talk with various YouTube videos of cats doing funny things. The pinnacle is really the last one, which has added sound effects and is soundtracked by "Man in Motion.")

Most of you have probably at least come across his error stat in passing, either on Cult of Hockey or out in the internet, as it has gained some currency with a few posters. It's an attempt at defining defensive prowess (or lack thereof): basically, you attribute errors to players who somehow contribute to a goal against (the full description is here). It's a neat idea, and though Staples gets a bit right, for the most part it's a deeply flawed stat, one that doesn't really tell us anything important about the player. It seems sort of obvious to me that this is the case, but it seems less than obvious to a lot of people, so I'm going to attempt to explain why—forgive me if this comes across as chasing a fly with a hammer.



Now, first of all, there is one thing he has unequivocally right: plus-minus is a bad stat (not a horrifically bad stat, but a bad one). Looking into why that is will help us understand why the error also is, so buckle up and prepare for some cask-strength logic nerdery.

Staples points out one of the reasons it's terrible on his original error post, so we'll start there: often (perhaps arguably not in the majority of cases, but the point still stands), a player is not directly responsible for a plus or a minus. The standard example is a guy hopping over the bench as somebody scores, but there are more damning examples, such as the forward who can't help but watch as the defenceman leaves a guy open in front of the net, or the defenceman who skates leisurely up ice as his winger undresses four people and roofs it. This is a tangible problem, albeit one that is endemic to a lot of hockey stats, good or bad: unlike baseball, in which virtually every situation can eventually be reduced to the actions of a single player (no one helps a hitter hit, or a third baseman field a ground ball, for instance), hockey is played with multiple players on each team, and so certain things have the potential to be functions of someone's teammates and/or opponents. One could argue that, over the course of a season, with the inevitable shifting of linemates and roles and such, these things will come out in the wash, and that would be true to some degree, but still, this is a serious flaw. Another serious flaw in plus/minus is that it's basically entirely useless for comparing players, unless they happen to be on the same team (i.e. even crappy players on Detroit have pluses, even great players on LA have minuses).

The biggest flaw associated with plus/minus, though, is that, ultimately, it's entirely dependent on the goalies. Even if we were to assume, for instance, that every skater on the ice was equally responsible for goals for and against, those goals for and against are ultimately entirely dependent on the goalies: a team could do, intangibly speaking, everything right in the offensive end and still get stymied by a hot goalie, just as they can do absolutely everything wrong defensively and get bailed out by the wall behind them (and, of course, vice versa).

To illustrate why this is the biggest flaw, I'm going to refer to baseball again, mostly just because stats in that sport have gotten to the point where you don't even really need to watch games to know what's happened in them. One of the stats that's gained a lot of currency of late for judging offensive prowess in baseball is on-base percentage (OBP). Though there are a few reasons for that (the most important is really that it measures a person's ability not to get an out, which turns out to be really important in baseball, but I'm trying to remain somewhat on point here), one of the major ones is that, as a stat, it's basically entirely dependent (or pretty much as close as it could possibly be) on one player: the hitter in question. Stats like RBI or Runs are decent indicators that a player may be superior offensively, but they depend on the players in front of and behind the player: OBP tells you exactly what the hitter is capable of doing, regardless of his teammates. Plus/minus, in this case, is like runs or RBI: an indicator, perhaps, but too dependent on other players (specifically the goalie), to tell us what kind of a player we're really dealing with.



Which brings me to the error. Now, before I go into the dependence thing, I should point out that there is another major flaw in the error, one even its proponents admit: that is, the assigning is entirely subjective. Forgive my language in what's intended as a fairly civil post, but any "stat" that relies on subjective judgment is pretty much completely fucking useless. Yes, you can set up guidelines, and get a general degree of agreement to what meets those, but that doesn't change the fact that anything dependent on someone's judgment call is going to be entirely useless as a means of a comparison unless you have one person, and only person, deciding everything—and actually, even then it's still pretty useless, because even individual judgment tends to change from moment to moment. (Also, this goes for pretty much any stat that isn't objectively defined, including stuff like hits and giveaways/takeaways.) The whole purpose of statistics is to try and provide some sort of objective measure on which to judge things, so anything that throws subjectivity into the mix should just be a gigantic, flashing red sign bellowing "Stop. Turn around. Leave this place. Have you checked out Behind the Net?" Say what you will about plus/minus, at least there's no debate about what constitutes a plus or a minus.

Now, having said that, even if we could define some sort of objective criteria, errors are still at best only an indicator (and not even an especially good one), rather than anything definitive, because, again, they're a dependent stat. True, they've removed the player bit, but that doesn't change the fact they're still largely dependent on the goalie. In this case the negative example is the more important: players can screw up left and right, but so long as they've got a solid goalie behind them, it's not going to show up. Though Staples has eliminated, to a degree, the opposite problem—players who don't screw up don't get penalized—the dependency of the stat still leaves it as, at best, a rough indicator, and considering it's subjectively judged, not even a particularly good one.

This would be more excusable if there weren't already stats out there that are trying to solve the same problems as Staples, but generally doing it better. Eric Desjardins' Advanced Plus/Minus (available at Behind the Net, above) does a really good job of neutralizing the effect other players (including, to a degree, goalies) have on plus/minus. Corsi and Fenwick numbers, popularized in these parts by Vic Ferrari at IOF, are also valuable little tools, basically eliminating goaltenders from the equation by only counting shots, showing which players tend to get outshot and which ones do the outshooting (they're the numbers, for instance, that would have told us not to bother with Joffrey Lupul in the first place, if only we'd been paying attention). The latter are particularly interesting precisely because they take away the biggest and most obvious dependency from a skater's stats, the goalie.

Though hockey statistics are still in relatively nascent stages, the above examples are sign posts worth following because not only do they represent objective research, they attempt to reduce how dependent stats are on players other than the one they're specifically referring to. If our goal is better understanding the game, these are the types of stats that are going to help us—not ones that dress up old problems in new clothes.

Sorry, Staples, but the error needs to go.

90 comments:

sacamano said...

1) Who is DMFB? Are you from Wisconsin?

2) More cat videos, less mathemagic

3) Unless the mathemagic demonstrates that Dvorak and Reasoner deserve the Hart.

3) GOIL

Jesse said...

Points well taken, but I don't think you can criticize hockey stats for being too dependant on goalies, and then ignore the effect a given pitcher has on a stat like OBP in baseball.

Tyler said...

Sure you can. Are you facing the same pitcher in 90% of your at-bats?

wuzzles said...

I don't think you can criticize hockey stats for being too dependant on goalies, and then ignore the effect a given pitcher has on a stat like OBP in baseball.

You can also consider crowd noise, air humidity, pitch count, and bowel movements, but it doesn't take away the individuality of baseball that is a statistician's dream.

Of course different pitchers will have different effects on a batter's OBP, but baseball still has objective and statistical ways of dealing with this, such as a batter's OBP vs. LHPs and RHPs, or with different base runners in different base positions, or home or away, or even verses that exact same pitcher in the past. There's no judgments calls or estimated guessing in these stats - and that's why they're so useful.

You can either make the OBP stat all about the pitcher, or you can remove the pitcher almost completely by reducing the pitcher to another statistic. I think the point is that it's not as easy to do this with an NHL netminder. I can get a lot of more stats in front of me when Chase Utley bats against John Smoltz than I can when Joe Thornton takes a shot against Dwayne Roloson.

Just because a hockey player has a poor +/- it doesn't mean he's a bad defensive (or offensive) player. If a baseball player has a bad OBP, he's a bad offensive player.

McLea said...

In this case the negative example is the more important: players can screw up left and right, but so long as they've got a solid goalie behind them, it's not going to show up.

Exactly. Great post.

McLea said...

You could get rid of the goalie bias by focusing the stat on scoring chances rather than goals, but then you’d still have issues with the subjectivity in determining what is or isn't a scoring chance, the magnitude of the scoring chance, and who actually committed the error.

Jesse said...

Of course different pitchers will have different effects on a batter's OBP, but baseball still has objective and statistical ways of dealing with this

Fair enough, but I think my point still stands. You say that it's not as easy to factor out a goalie as it is to factor out a pitcher, but is that true? Or is it just that the work has already been done with baseball stats whereas for hockey, it's still a work in progress?

Tyler said...

You say that it's not as easy to factor out a goalie as it is to factor out a pitcher, but is that true?

You're missing the glaringly obvious Jesse: ask yourself how many pitchers a guy sees in a year. Ask yourself how many goalies a guy plays in front of.

DMFB said...

You could get rid of the goalie bias by focusing the stat on scoring chances rather than goals, but then you’d still have issues with the subjectivity in determining what is or isn't a scoring chance, the magnitude of the scoring chance, and who actually committed the error.

Which, again, is why shots for and against (including or not including missed and blocked shots) is a better measure, as it eliminates the goalie bias and remains objective.

mike w said...

I concur.

And how about those kittens, eh? They are God's little monkeys.

PJ said...

ask yourself how many pitchers a guy sees in a year. Ask yourself how many goalies a guy plays in front of.

I don't get the point you're trying to make. Fernando Pisani could face around 40 goalies in a season. Barry Bonds might face 150 different pitchers. Fernando Pisani plays against 150 different defencemen. Barry Bonds plays against 28 center fielders. What is the big difference?

PJ said...

... Other than the fact that the defensive attributes of baseball players or more easily quantifiable...

DMFB said...

I don't get the point you're trying to make. Fernando Pisani could face around 40 goalies in a season.

The goalies Fernando faces are irrelevant, it's the goalie he plays in front of that counts for plus/minus and (especially) errors, and there' probably only one or two of those.

Tyler's point is that, in baseball, hitters face enough different pitchers that most of their hitting stats are pretty much pitcher-independent; in the case of errors or plus/minus in hockey, though, there's one person that drives a lot of those results.

PJ said...

If you're looking at the +/- as a defensive stat, then why are we comparing it to OBP, which is an offensive stat? I guess I'm not following why we're talking about the pitchers batters are facing vs. goaltenders playing behind us. Not comparing apples to apples. Not that baseball and hockey stats could ever be compared like this.

Jesse said...

I think this conversation is getting a bit off track. I agree with the overall premise of the original post, I just don't think OBP is the best example to use for a comparison. A stat like OBP measures only offensive ability, whereas +/-, corsi, etc. try to measure offensive contributions net of defensive liability. All I'm saying is that if you want to make comparisons between the two stats, you should look at what they have in common (i.e. offensive output). When you do that, the effect of the opposing goalie would have about the same effect as that of the opposing pitcher, I would think.

If baseball stats guys (of witch I am definitely not) combine OBP with other stats to factor out other variables and to get a clear picture of a player's overall value, why can't the same be done for hockey?

Paulus said...

Great post. Internet Pulitzer, anyone?

Since the error's inception, I've noticed Staples and Bruce pushing it uphill like Sisyphus's rock. I guess that post may be the rock tumblin' down the hill. I, for one, await rebuttal.

garnet said...

By the by, Edmonton's arena committee has just released their findings. No points for guessing what they are.

DMFB said...

Internet Pulitzer, anyone?

This has been quite the week for fake awards.

1) Who is DMFB? Are you from Wisconsin?

2) More cat videos, less mathemagic


1) I'm sure I don't get this.

2) Technically, it's logimagic.

dstaples said...

Basically, your critiques comes down to two points.

a) The error is subjective, it's not mechanical.
b) Great goalies can cover up for many errors.

I agree with both points, though on the first one I would say on the first one that subjectivity can also be a strength on a stat. For instance, players screen goalies all the time, making great plays that directly lead to goals being scored, and they are not awarded an assit if they haven't touched the puck. So their major contribution goes unrewarded in the stats column.

The error doesn't have this problem, though it certainly does have the problem of trying to figure out who are the main culprits on a goal against. To deal with this, I've tried to come up with some criteria to help figure out who those people are, and who deserves an error, so there is consistency on who gets an error and who does not.

This consistency is important, of course, because over time it allows us to see who is and who isn't making the same kinds of mistakes that lead to goals against.

This brings me to your second issue with the error, that many errors are made in a game, but only certain ones get hammered with an "error" by me, as they are the ones that directly contribute to a goal against. Of course, this is true. Nothing could be more true. This is precisely how this stat was designed to work.

It's meant to be the opposite of the "point." In a game, many, many excellent plays are made as well, but they are not rewarded with "points" because a goal isn't scored, because, for instance, a great save is made.

Nonetheless, over the course of a season we see a player with 35 goals and we compare him with a player with 25 goals and we figured the 35 goal scorer very probably is a better offensive player (all other things being equal, such as ice time, quality of opposition).

In the same way, we see two defenceman, one with 35 errors, the other with 25, and we can probably conclude that everything else being equal the one with 35 errors has made more blunders that directly contributed to goals against.

Let me ask you, do you have a problem with the "point"? With the "assist"? With the "goal"?

Because a large part of your critique relates just as much to them as it does to the "error."

Yet the "assist" and the "goal" have proven to be pretty useful and durable stats over time, I would argue. If someone were to invent them today would you be against them on the ground that a hot goalie can keep a strong player from getting all the credit -- statwise -- that he deserves.

I would not because I think luck evens out over time when it comes to goals, assists, points, primaries, secondaries, errors.

The main problem with the error, as I see it, is not that it's subjective. With proper training, I'm convinced that NHL statisticians could, in fact, generally assign the same errors on the same goals. The results could be replicated, which would make the error an "objective" stat.

The main problem is that hockey games over are fast, people want their stats RIGHT NOW, and it takes time to properly assign errors. If you have a game with 8 or 9 even strength goals, you might not be able to properly assign errors until after the game is over, which is problematic, I suspect, for the NHL, for sportswriters, for fans. We're all quite impatient, you see.

Cheers,
David.

P.S. And now I'm off to assign errors for the Minny game last night. I publish my reasoning for each error there. If you think I'm screwing up on my assignments, please feel free to drop me a line at The Cult of Hockey, as other folks have. My goal is to assign the "errors" correctly, and I haven't always done so correctly, but have needed some encouragement now and then.

dstaples said...

Oh, and a pet peeve . . . Comparing hockey to baseball. It's often done, especially by stats lovers.

But it's hard to think of two sports that have less in common.

Baseball is essentially an individual test, pitcher vs. batter, not much dependent on anyone else.

It as more in common with darts, tennis, bowling, golf, which is why great big fat men can excel at baseball now and then.

Hockey is a team sport much more akin to soccer or basketball than it is to baseball. So I don't ojbect at all when those two sports are drawn into hockey discussions.

But baseball? It's not working for me, at least.

sacamano said...



1) Who is DMFB? Are you from Wisconsin?

2) More cat videos, less mathemagic

1) I'm sure I don't get this.

2) Technically, it's logimagic.


(1) I don't get it either. That's why I asked. Seriously -- was I away when a CinO got a new contributor, or is this chris! by another name. I like to put an imaginary face to my internet pseudonyms, and right now you are just a big blob. When I googled DMFB to see if I was missing an inside joke, I got this

(2) Logimagic, mathemagic, algebramagic. It's all voodoo to me.

sacamano said...

Wait a sec. Is that you Lumley?

McLea said...

Oh, and a pet peeve . . . Comparing hockey to baseball. It's often done, especially by stats lovers.

You're my new favourite person.


After reading your response, I'm willing to change sides on this. Look, if your goal is to create a new defensive stat that is similar to other inherently flawed measures of performance like goals and assists, then I think you've done a good job. Given how hard it is to quantify any action in hockey, I'm willing to accept that this stat would be a valuable contribution to the knowledge pool as long as everyone is fully aware of its limitations and inherent biases.

DMFB said...

Let me ask you, do you have a problem with the "point"? With the "assist"? With the "goal"?

Yes. Like this, they are at best indicators, because they're dependent on goalies.

Having said that, I think comparing the error to a point is disingenuous, because the goalie someone faces changes regularly—or in any case, a whole lot more often than the one someone is playing in front of—which arguably makes it more independent of goalies than an error. It's still not enough to make it anything more than an indicator, but it's way, way more independent than an error will ever be.

Basically what I'm saying here is that I think the error replicates every problem of plus/minus except its dependence on someone's teammates, and even that advantage is basically negated by the fact it's a subjective judgment. (And seriously, that's a huge, huge deal: here's a really good article on why, if you seriously think you could honestly approach something objective.)

The fact that it also takes you forever to assign them is just one more thing. Drop this stat, please: there are much better ways to spend your time.

DMFB said...

Comparing hockey to baseball. It's often done, especially by stats lovers.

But it's hard to think of two sports that have less in common.


I don't necessarily disagree with you, but just so we don't get caught up in another round of pedantry, I want to explicitly spell out that I made the comparison to show the difference between stats that have obvious dependencies and stats that don't, not because I think there is anything in common between the two sports.

This is a post about logic and stats, not sports, so let's try not to get bogged down, shall we?

PJ said...

DB - I know you want to get away from this part of the debate, but since you brought it up, OBP still has dependencies. A player's OBP can be inflated if they always hit into a fielder's choice, or if there is an IBB to get to the next batter.

Vic Ferrari said...

Nice post, Pleasure Motors.

I think the hardest thing with stuff is trying to avoid the temptation to divorce offense from defense.

Look at a guy like Glencross, the bad guys are less likely to shoot the puck when he's out there than any other Oiler. Is that because he's great defensively? Or is it because he's a dog on the forecheck?

Would he be doing as well if he were playing more against the other team's best, and being played in critical defensive situations?

I mean if you look at any team, generally the players are all going to have similar rates of shots, missed shots, and blocked shots when they are on the ice ... just that for some players a bigger share of those shots will be headed north. The puck has to be somewhere.

I like the scoring chance thing that David mentions in his blog today. I think that pretty much every NHL team keeps a hard count of these.

When Jeff Ward was the Oilers development coach, he told Jason Gregor that the Oilers valued scoring chance +/- when evaluating their prospects. It makes sense that carries over to the big club too. And over any one period or game, or few games even ... it may not be fair. But there are enough of them that the noise will fade in short order.

If we were doing that, and I think that a lot of people around here subconsciously, or out of old habit, keep a loose count running in their heads anyways. Well then most of the decisions that the coaching staff and management makes would probably make more sense to us.

Of course a lot have coaches have been doing that since we were all wearing short pants. Neilson used to have these recorded as the games happened so he could print out scorecards for the players right after a game (how anal is that?, I's rather play for Ron Low I think)

I think that a sensible challenge is to find a way to objectively count scoring chances. I mean you can get coaching pads that have areas drawn on them, so you can record where the shots came from and sum up the totals, hopefully remove the bias. Just like the age old thing of counting shots from the triangle, only a more sophisticated way of going about it.

Buffalo has apparently been using interns to watch a tonne of video of minor and junior league games and tally scoring chances, and maybe other non-recorded stats as well, I dunno. If so, then surely they've found a way to objectively count the things in a way they think will work out in the long run. I can't imagine that their scouts are best pleased though.

dstaples said...

Yes, I agree, all the "error" is is an indicator. That's it. Nothing more. I make no other claims. So McLea, if I ever overstate the value of the error (as I sometimes do), please remind me of its limitations.

The "error" tells us which players tend to make the most egregious defensive blunders that directly contribute to goals against the Oilers, and that's all it tells us.

But I'm not agreeing with anyone who argues that it is an indicator with far less value than the "point."

Let me make a suggestion, DMFB. If you want to making a convincing critique the error, tape the games for the rest of the season, go over each goal 15-20 times, and assign your own errors. Try to use the criteria I have set out in my F.A.Q. on the error. See if your result replicate mine.

I now publish my results and my thinking for each goal against and all my error assignments on my blog. I'm doing this so people can make useful critiques of the error stat, and each error assignment, and I welcome that kind of scrutiny.

I must admit that these more theoretical critiques of the error aren't convincing me, they are simply repeating problems -- some real, some imaginery -- with the stat that are already well known.

I accept this isn't a perfect stat. It was never meant to be. It was meant to be, as much as possible, a shadow stat for the "point."

It's just a signifer, a sign post, a metaphor, a symbol, and I suspect most other Oilers fans who care about this kind of statistical anaylyses already know this.

So I don't think I'm doing any harm here, except perhaps wasting my own time. But I find the project gives me pleasure, so with all due respect, I'll be sticking with it.

Mr DeBakey said...

Are you from Wisconsin?
I’m guessing the artist formerly known as Pleasure Motors

I don’t get the point you’re trying to make. Fernando Pisani could face around 40 goalies in a season. Barry Bonds might face 150 different pitchers. Fernando Pisani plays against 150 different defencemen. Barry Bonds plays against 28 center fielders. What is the big difference?

What an interesting response. It recalled to mind this entry from that extremely droll website
“Overheard in New York”:

We Should Not Have Smoked Weed before Math Class
Guy: Do you think Jim’s cute?
Girl: He looks like a baby.
Guy: Like an isosceles baby.
Girl: His head is made of polygons.

Black Dog said...

sacamano - dmfb=pleasure motors

Great post and terrific thread.

I'd agree with the author although I admire Staples' idea. Its just flawed.

Really if you want to determine who drives the bus I tend to agree with Vic. Put it this way, if you have Smyth, Horc and Hemsky together, as the Oilers did in a game I saw here in Toronto last season, then where is most of the play going to be? In the opposition end. It was in the game I saw and in that road trip before Smyth was traded it was the same in every game. The ice was tilted when they were out there even though they were facing who the opposition wanted out there.

Now there were times they were dinged with minuses and times they would have been assigned errors but there was no doubt who was driving that team.

Hey if you're coaching minor hockey or playing in a beer league its all the same. There are guys who make you cringe when they are out there and guys who make you feel that you can go grab a beer and relax.

Besides any stat that tells me that Sheldon Souray is a better Dman then Joni Pitkanen isn't worth its salt. Sorry David ;)

Black Dog said...

David - also that is more then fair enough, btw. While I am critical of it I still don't dismiss the idea entirely. Good for you for taking a different tact.

Black Dog said...

Also, cats are funny.

And I also feel St. Elmo's Fire burning in me.

Or I have the clap.

dstaples said...

I'm not saying Sheldon Souray is a better overall player than Pitkanen.

But he was a far, far superior defensive defenceman than Pitkanen when Souray was healthy and playing. Not even close.

Souray made fewer defensive blunders that directly contribute to goals against the Oilers than Pitkanen, who has been a holy terror in this regard.

According to Desjaridns, Souray also played the toughest minutes on the Oil defence when he was healthy, which indicates MacTavish thought he was a better defender than Pitkanen, too.

Pitkanen is having a fine run as a rover on the Oilers. But a defensive defenceman he is not.

As for Corsi numbers, I like them, but I'm needing a F.A.Q. on that stat which explains the strengths and weaknesses of that stat.

Do teams with more missed shots really score more and win more games? Where is the raw data?

Vic, I also like the idea of counting scoring chances and NEXT YEAR would agree to participate in an effort to do this. Of course, as you point out, counting scoring chances is also a subjective process (similar in that regard to assigning "errors." But I would be fun to give it a go (to be part of team that helps out, say scoring one in five games, but not take it all on myself).

Tyler said...

A player's OBP can be inflated if they always hit into a fielder's choice, or if there is an IBB to get to the next batter.

Fielder's choice doesn't count in your favour for OBP. While I would concede that IBB's can be a problem, you really have to ask yourself how significant it is.

PJ said...

Fielder's choice doesn't count in your favour for OBP.

Thanks for the info. Regarding the IBBs, I'm pretty sure Barry Bonds would not have been at 60.9% in 2004 if he were followed in the order by a Barry Bonds clone instead of JT Snow.

Black Dog said...

Hmm, MacT also played Smid ahead of Bergeron and Hejda last year. I would say that given his contract Souray was going to given big minutes anyway. Did he do better then expected? Sure. Would I want him in my top 4? Nope.

Banging it off the glass and out might lend itself to fewer errors as does having the mobility of my kitchen, I would also argue. Tom Gilbert is going to make more errors then Matt Greene because he can also give and receive passes, jump into the rush and carry the puck. Now this might not equal the definition of a defensive defenceman but a guy who can move the puck at speed in every zone is a far greater asset then a guy who cannot carry the puck or make a five foot pass.

I would say that the fact that when Joni is on the ice the puck is more likely to be in the other end of the rink then in his own would seem to say that he is the better defender. After all its pretty hard, though not impossible, to score from 180 feet away.

James Mirtle said...

Wait, why the name change?

And here I thought the new guy hit one out of the park on this post... great stuff.

Vic Ferrari said...

david:

You've missed my point on scoring chances: The only reason to count scoring chances subjectively would be in the short term, to see how it compares to an objective measure.

You've also missed my point on Corsi number: There is no special magic associated with shots, missed shots or blocked shots. What they do tell us, most importantly, is that the puck was probably in the offensive of the rink when your team registered these.

And having the majority of the game played in the bad guys end of the rink, that matters. A lot.

Same goes for faceoffs. We're not talking about who won the faceoff, but where it was. For the same reason.

And teams that are good at this at evens are invariably good teams at evens.

That doesn't mean that they are the only thing that matters. Just that it's important. That's why they are such strong predictors of future results, and so repeatable. You still need to puck the puck in the net, and luck will have it's say too. A big say.

No mystery, David. Just simple reasoning.

And links to where you can find this data have been posted everywhere around the Oilogosphere.

dstaples said...

Sorry Vic, as I see it, you've never completely made your point with Corsi numbers.

Where is the chart that shows team X has X Corsi numbers and X wins and X goals, while Team Y has Y wins and Y goals, so we can see the relationship between winning, scoring and Corsi numbers?

What is the relationship between missed shots and winning hockey games?

dstaples said...

"hit one out of the park"

More baseball stuff. :)

And more like a single in my mind ;)

Chris! said...

"Seriously -- was I away when a CinO got a new contributor, or is this chris! by another name."

Oh, like I would ever write something this well considered.

DMFB said...

Wait, why the name change?

It's a work thing, for anyone who's curious and didn't see it the first time. They're my initials.

Anyway, back to the baseball metaphors!

LittleFury said...

It's a work thing, for anyone who's curious and didn't see it the first time. They're my initials.


Your middle name is "Motherfucker?"

I want to shake your parents' hands.

speeds said...

David: Why is the subjective error designed to shadow the point?

Earlier, you wrote "For instance, players screen goalies all the time, making great plays that directly lead to goals being scored, and they are not awarded an assist if they haven't touched the puck. So their major contribution goes unrewarded in the stats column."

Couldn't/shouldn't this be something you are correcting in your stat, if you are netting errors against points? Why not subjectively assign an "assist" to Penner for screening the goalie instead of Smid who made a no pressure outlet pass to Hemsky, who skates through the team and passes the puck to Horcoff who scores on a shot that only scores because Penner is screening the goalie?

Black Dog said...

David - missed shots are just another indication of where the puck is; a team that is outplaying another team is going to have a lot more chances then another team as a matter of course. Some of these will hit the net, some will not.

They count shots at the goal in the Premier League - its a fairly accurate indicator of the flow of play.

Paulus said...

See, Mr. Staples, the stat you need is something objective and simple, a number, positive or negative, that'll tell us exactly who was on the ice each and every time the puck goes into either net. Feel free to name it after me.

Vic Ferrari said...

Where is the chart that shows team X has X Corsi numbers and X wins and X goals, while Team Y has Y wins and Y goals, so we can see the relationship between winning, scoring and Corsi numbers?

On a post at IOF yesterday. In simple and explicit fashion.

There probably is a hockey stat with more predictive ability, we just haven't found it yet.

Of course we're talking about even strength hockey with this particular stuff, and that's what we're looking at with results as well.

I think that Pleasure Motors has made some terrific points in his post, but each to their own. And I suspect that the error program won't be very effective at generating traffic to your blog anyways. I think you were on the right track with the HFboarder quoting though. JMO.

Oilman said...

David, you know what's funny about the error stat....you've named it after the most subjective stat in baseball;o)

but any "stat" that relies on subjective judgment is pretty much completely fucking useless

What are your feelings on Olympic Ice Dancing?:o)

DMFB said...

Vic, you sure know how to lay on the charm. You're like the Richard Dawkins of the Oilogosphere. Don't ever change.

Seriously, though, more stringent comments aside, I don't think any of the stats above are perfect (a reliable, objective scoring chance one would be pretty damn close, though). Having said that, to me things like Corsi numbers and advanced plus/minus are moving in the right direction, whereas the error is treading water.

dstaples said...

The error in baseball.

The assist in basketball.

The assist in soccer (football).

Many sports have subjective stats, so perhaps it's time to organize an argumentative letter writer campaign, with just the right amount of profanity, to get rid of them all. ;)Count me out.

dstaples said...

Speeds, in regards to your point about correcting the subjectivity of the "point."

I agree, this would be an interesting idea to track. And, please, if you have the time, feel free to do it. I'm already catching hell for the amount of time I spend on this stuff :)

Oilman said...

I wasn't giving you a hard time David.....just change the name to "the mistake", "the Goof", or to be more in tune with your audience "the fuck up", and you'll get less comparisons to baseball.

dstaples said...

Sorry Oilman if I came off a bit defensive and sarcastic there. . .

I've got the flu, feeling a bit under the weather, got a tight deadline, so having to fight yet another fire over the error stat has made me somewhat testy.

So all you I.O.F. guys and I.O.F.-niks, go pick on someone else for a few days. I should be recovered by then.

Slipper said...

Hey Staples, why does your boyfriend Sam Gagner get a free pass on the Schultz goal, huh? He is the center, so letting the forward get behind him on the dump in wasn't a good thing, or am I missing something? I thought I was then dink of the Oilogosphere, but even I felt that it was a pretty innocuous play that led to that goal. I mean there was only, maybe, three or four defelctions involved in the play.

If ever there were a play that everyone earned their minus...

dstaples said...

Let me agree with you here Slipper.

You were right in the first place.

You are the dink of the Oilogosphere.

As to your critique, happy to review the replay, see if there's any real merit to your point of view.

Slipper said...

On the Hill goal, I'm wondering if errors can only occur on one side of the rink? The Oilers have a face off waaaay at the other end, but somehow two Oilers defenseman take the heat for the puck traveling the whole distance of the ice? What about Gagner coughing the puck up after the draw, Cogliano poor coverage after a sloppy face-off and Nillson's lackadaisical effort on the ofrecheck that allowed the Wild to execute a seamless transition play inot the neutral zone. Did the ref have contact with the puck on the clearing effort?

Does all that shit not count because it's outside of some 10 seconds window where errors are counted?

dstaples said...

Are you really interested in a discussion here Slipper?

Or just being argumentative?

Your mind is made up, right? You are certain your belief that there is no validity in the error.

If I'm wrong about your mindset, and if you really are interested in a discussion, go to my blog, read the F.A.Q. on the error, and it will tell you how errors are assigned, and that will answer your question, I'm sure.

If you disagree with how the errors are assigned, based on criteria set out in the F.A.Q., we can talk about that.

As for anyone else actually interested in the error stat and how it works, there are countless errors during a game, and I'm not counting all of those mistakes (if all those mistakes could be counted up, that would be a fascinating tally, but that would be impossible to do).

I'm only counting those errors that contribute directly to a goal against. The clock starts ticking when the Oilers makes a turnover, don't recover the puck, and a goal is scored. On that play, the key turnover isn't Gagner's (does he even have possession of the puck, highly debatable), as the Oil regain possession after that. The key turnover is in the Oilers' zone, and I describe the sequence today on my own blog. So feel free to comment there if you think I got it wrong.

I would say, if you're fair minded, that Nilsson, Gagner and Cogliano do not deserve errors on that play, in that their mistakes -- if they really did make mistakes as Slipper believes -- are too far removed from the scoring play. In the same way, someone who makes a nice pass early in a sequence where a goal is scored doesn't get an assist.

Is this fair? Perhaps not, but it's how assists and goals are handed out, and I've modeled the error on that notion.

Slipper said...

On the third Wild goal, since two Oilers decide to follow Fedoruk behind the goal-line and leave Pouliot uncontested on the sideboards, shouldn't someone be penalized for poor coverage? Alot of blind passes occur from behind the net, but ususally there atleast a winger covering that play. Did the Oilers' winger just over pursue Fedoruk behind the goal-line?

Why does the Pouliot to Hill to Skoula passing play from the sidewall unfold as if it were a Wild powerplay? Who's that winger hauling ass to close the distance between himself and Sean Hill, as though there was a coverage breakdown?

How is all that Steve Staios' fault?

Your system seems to penalize players involved in the play and reward those who aren't.

There might be a flaw in that line of thinking.

dstaples said...

The odd thing is, it doesn't penalize anyone involved in the play who doesn't make a mistake that directly contributes to a goal against.


Which is all it does, which is all it's designed to do.

dstaples said...

Good questions on the Fedoruk goal, Slipper. I'll look at the goal, see if there's any validity to the points you're raising.

Slipper said...

>>I would say, if you're fair minded, that Nilsson, Gagner and Cogliano do not deserve errors on that play, in that their mistakes -- if they really did make mistakes as Slipper believes -- are too far removed from the scoring play.<<

Then I guess it's not fair minded to expect that the events across the entire playing field should be attributed to the resulting goal? What the hell? There's a mere 15 seconds seperating the faceoff from the goal against, with two (you could argue all three) Oilers forwards getting caught behind the play, through over pursuit. A poor read. Nilsson should have never began moving toward the wild D with that much distance to cover and Samwise should have read the play better and began shuttling toward his end as soon as he turned the puck over.

That's not being unrealistic or argumentative, it's seeing the whole play.

>>In the same way, someone who makes a nice pass early in a sequence where a goal is scored doesn't get an assist.<<

Well, they would get a well deserved plus, as their play is as relevant to the end result as the 2 or 3 plays that proceed it.

>>Is this fair? Perhaps not, but it's how assists and goals are handed out, and I've modeled the error on that notion.<<

So you've mirrored your error stat on the counting stats model, which you readily admit is flawed. What the hell?

mike w said...

SO...who here likes pizza?

dstaples said...

I don't make up criteria as I go along. The clock starts ticking when the major turnover happens, or when the Oilers last have control of the play, for example, the Wild in possession of the puck, but there's no threat of a goal being scored. This seems like a fair approach to me if you're looking for a stat that is the mirror of th point, which awards only as many as three players invovled in the scoring play.

As I said, I'm not counting mistakes before that. Feel free to do so yourself.

Perhaps you will also want to count all the excellent plays before a goal is scored that don't get counted as an assist or a goal as well.

That will keep you busy.

You have a major philsophical problem with counting stats, it seems to me.

But I like the goal, the assist, the point. And I like the error. I think they help us identify those players most involved in the major event in hockey, and the only event that really matters, the goal.

dstaples said...

Thanks Mike W :)

I like Tony's Pizza in Edmonton. Best in the city, right Slipper?

Slipper said...

>>The odd thing is, it doesn't penalize anyone involved in the play who doesn't make a mistake that directly contributes to a goal against.<<

I think we have two very different definitions of what "being involved in a play" and what "contributes to a goal against" constitutes.

If a player on the ice is in the correct position, or properly reads a play, their intervention can nullify the scoring event. If Fedoruk doesn't draw double coverage, and an Oiler stays on Pouliot, then the right play is made. I don't think you need to have been an NHL defender to realize you don't have the luxury of having your head on a swivel when playing the puck behind the net. You try left, the puck is blocked and there's no supporting player, so you go right...

If I was playing the error game, I'd say Pisani and Pitkanen played some sloppy coverage. On the other hand, the replay I'm looking at only begin with Pouliot carrying the puck over the Oilers blueline. Other Oilers may have fucked up in the neutral zone or Wild end of the rink, where had they not, the whole resulting play would have never occured.

To me that's just as important and equally as relevant.

dstaples said...

Just on a deadline, but when I get a chance, I'll look at the replay, and check out what you're saying.

Slipper said...

When a pass can cover the length of the ice in a matter of seconds, every play counts.

Poor neutral zone coverage counts.

Over pursuit in the attacking zone counts.

Allowing a player behind you on the rush or a dump-in matters.

Not allowing goals count just as much as goals.

Hockey isn't just a game of tag, or better yet, who touched the puck last.

The players who don't touch the puck should count.

House arrest doesn't allow me to get out to pizza joints, so I'll have to get back to you when my bit is up.

dstaples said...

The only thing that really counts is the final score.

What we count other than that is up to us.

So you count what you want, I'll count what I want.

We count everything with our eyes watching the game. That's how we get our basic impressions.

But some other things are worth counting more precisely, such as those events which are most closely tied to a goal being scored.

That's what I count. If you want to count other things, that's great.

Slipper said...

The final score doesn't always necessarily indicate which team outplayed the other. I can't believe how many goals people can watch bouncing off of two sticks and some hockey pants then inot the net a not realize how much good fortune factors inot a finla score.

>>"What we count other than that is up to us... I'll count what I want."<<

Precisely the argument I'd expect from someone inventing a stat that's at worst is irrelelvant and at best is grossly subjective. Moreso, than goals and assists, which to it's credit is only attributed to whose sticks the puck last touched. Atleast with advanced plus/minus, Corsi, etc, the number are tabulated by computers, and not human bias. The context and meaning extracted from the number is subjective, but the raw data isn't.

>>"But some other things are worth counting more precisely, such as those events which are most closely tied to a goal being scored."<<

It's not that precise if you've subjectively concluded that theevent most closely tied to a goal can only occur a cough and a nut tug from the goal being scored.


Anyways, some people have deadlines to make while others are interested in seeing if hot tubbing can really result in one slipping out of his ankle monitoring bracelet. To everyone: have a productive day!

dstaples said...

Press Releae: March 27, 2008.
From: Irrelevant Oiler Fans

In a bid to bring justice and rationality to the NHL, Irrelevant Oiler Fans declares that in the future the Stanley Cup should be awarded to the team with the best Corsi numbers in the Finals.

:)

I acutally think Corsi numbers likely are relevant stats, though I've yet tgo see any proof that they're actually related to winning games (and read one article that said by some stats guy who said there is no relationship). As for the "error," all it does is indicate who is most involved in a goal against. I find it useful, and, based on the response, I'm not entirely alone, though there certainly is a dedicated group opposed to the notion, I'll give you that.

Happy tubbing.

Vic Ferrari said...

Pleasure Motors:

It's at the point now where the number of bruises left on the dead horse is purely at your discretion. Still, the point that was made assertively in your original post, regarding subjective vs objective stats, has triggered my memory.

Some time ago I was emailed an academic article entitled "Predictors of performance in the National Hockey League", the authors were Voyer and Wright. They were looking at predicting the future of junior aged players using junior league stats (how Lowetide!)

Turns out that I kept it, and for what they were doing the math is completely rational.

Outside of some obvious stuff that should have been ignored (drafting talented Russians in later rounds just before the iron curtain fell was indeed smart, just not repeatable for common sense reasons). The really wild disparation comes in predicting junior points in general, and junior assists in particular, to future NHL regular season goalscoring.

WHL,OHL and QMJHL assists are tallied more objectively ... if you are one of two touches before the goal is scored you get an assist. Full stop.

In European leagues the scorer subjectively decides whether or not a player deserves an assist. In our beautiful Canada, birthplace of Roger Neilson, Slipper and Matt Fenwick, you get an assist even if it bounced of of your head.

As a consequence the separation in predictability from Europe to Canada falls to rat shit.

In trying to predict, LT style, the number of points per regular season game in the NHL in the future ... and I quote:

"Canadian: ... the number
of points per regular season game in junior, F(1,486) = 269.99, p < .01"

In the land of subjective assists, the correlation of goals to future success is just as strong, but the correlation of points to future points in the NHL is inconsequential.

In fact the only league where there was any correlation at all was the Russian league: F(1,40) = 7.86, p < .01.

There seems to be a lot of debate at MC79hockey today as to whether or not 93 is, indeed, a larger number than 94. But I think we can all agree that 269 is bigger than 8. And the rest of the Euro leagues were lower.

Now in a game with as much luck involved as hockey, sample size is king, and the Canadian teams play more games than the folks across the pond. Still, it's a staggering swing by anyone's count.

I don't know what sort of grant Voyer and Wright had, but they could have purchased the EV+ and EV- stats for those European leagues. And the EV+ vs "future points per game in the NHL" would have kicked the ass of the Canadian junior league prediction abilities.

As an side: Is hockey the only sport where you actually have to purchase fundamental stats?

Slipper said...

>>"As for the "error," all it does is indicate who is most involved in a goal against."<<

Yet, you've all but admitted that it excludes a player's mistake within a time frame as short as 10-15 seconds from a goal, because it doesn't occur close enough to the net. You exclude half the ice and limit the time frame leading up to a goal, yet according to you The David Staples Error Awarding System (DSEAS) plainly provides a clear statistical expression of who's "most invovled in a goal against". Without the burden of proof you, yourself, have expressed is lacking from the other statistical tools. This is beginning to sound more like a short jury census than it is a statistical tool.

Atleast advanced Plus/Minus relies only on the puck crossing the goalmouth to award +'s and -'s, removing the subjectivity, and basing itself purely on a goal being scored (which you've refered to as the most important consideration when analysing the game). It also takes the entire ice surface into account and isn't baffled by the idea that retaining possession in one end nullifies events at the other end.

In other news, the warm jaccuzi water does make the ankle band more pliable, but not as flexible as I was lead to believe. I'm going to try shampoo, and I'll keep you updated.

dstaples said...

http://hockeynumbers.blogspot.com/2007/11/corsi-numbers.html

Slipper, Andrew:

Here's the article on Corsi numbers that had me wondering about their worth . . . By Chris Boersma.

Corsi numbers have popped up a few times in the last week. Due to the fact no one else was seeing if these numbers were relevant, I though I'd give it a go:

Corsi Number
Corsi number is the number of shots directed towards the net while the player is on the ice. The number can be broken down into whose net the shots are directed towards (their own net (-) and their opponent's net (+)) similar to the plus minus statistic. The hope of course is that the Corsi plus minus would correlate well with the regular plus minus, but because the numbers will be 16x larger than plus minus numbers they'll be about 4x more accurate than the plus minus numbers.

Team Regression:
If this statistic is really useful in predicting offense (or winning) it should correlate well with scoring, whether it be on a team by team basis or player by player. So I first look at the team using last season's results: Goals = 0.09*shots + 0.02*missed (where 0.02 is +/- 0.04, aka completely insignificant). First off, even if missed shots were significant, one missed shot is still only worth about 1/5 of an actual goal, so it would take 50 missed shots to make 1 goal.

Individual level:
The first question: are missed shots with regular shots a better predictor of offense than just regular shots? A. this is a resounding no, while missed shots don't seem to hurt the results too significantly they don't seem to add anything, except more variability to the model.

Are missed shots significant?
Again a regression with shots and missed shots, at this point in the season, are not a significant variable in the model. What was interesting is that missed shots were more important in a model that used "expected goals" as opposed to just shots.

The problem with Missed Shots:
The simplest most basic problem with the Corsi index is the fact that missed shots are by definition worse than a shot on goal. The only hope Corsi has, is that players who miss the net a lot are likely hitting the net a lot, and in the absence of a decent sample size this is a useful method as a missed shot is better than no shot at all.

Missed shot percentage (missed shots/(missed shots + regular shots)
The higher a player's missed shot percentage is the worse the player is (if a player is only hitting the net 10% of the time, they'll be sent back to the AHL or worse).

The problem is, that in a model where missed shots are included the missed shot percentage becomes a significant liability. That is to say that unless the missed shots are accompanied with actual shots they're worthless (this makes sense).

Missed Shots
Missed shots are a complicated variable that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. A team that chooses to shoot more shots haphazardly will likely struggle to score compare to a team that focuses on getting the puck on target. Missed shots can have any range depending on the score sheet recording a shot that missed by a few inches is quite different from one that misses by 3 feet.

Blocked Shots
Blocked shots are even more complicated than missed shots and similarly do not help predict offense better than regular shots on their own.

Conclusion:
I'll stick with expected goals. That being said, I've posted the Corsi index on my statistic site for those who think it is useful.

DMFB said...

Vic,

Great stuff, thanks for the post.

Slipper said...

Who is this Andrew you're talking to?

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/basic_5_on_5.php?sort=9&mingp=30&mintoi=10&team=

The above is the behindthenet Advanced 5on5 sorted by Corsi and tweaked for a minimum of 30 GP and 10 MIN/60.

Of course it gets dicey as you head toward the +/- 3 Corsi territory, as shit can swing pretty heavily in the NHL. I saw a Flames vs Yotes game that Fenwick posted on BOA where either Morris or Ballard posted a -30 over a single game. At the extreme the evidence appears pretty incontovertible.

The bottom twenty players, posting a Corsi of -10/60 or less, have a collective minus 238 and an average +/- of -12.

The top twenty players, posting a Corsi of 12.7/60 or greater, have a collective +/- of 324, with an average of plus 16.

Of big minutes players, averaging 15 minutes of icetime per 60 played, only 6 of the top thirty in Corsi have negative +/-. Three of those register -16,-18 and -23 (the only three below single digits in the negative); anyone care to guess what these three players have in common?

Am I the only guy who sees obvious trends between Corsi and +/-, aswell as Corsi and ESP/60? Maybe I am.

Vic Ferrari said...

I like Boersma, seriously. And I wish with every shred of my existence that he was both wealthy and a betting man.

Chris is the same author that also brought us "I just proved that who you play against in the NHL is inconsequential!" and "I just proved that which zone the faceoff happens in is inconsequential!".

Now, as a respected journalist, I'm sure you wouldn't post anything without understanding it yourself.

Explain to me why this is right, David. I know you've taken a bit of a bitch slapping today, but you have to back up what you say. Talk shit and you'll be called. This isn't HFboards, where you get treated like a rock star (That HFboards sure is swell, isn't it Dave?).

Slipper said...

Regarding the article you posted Staples, I guess I'm on the other side of the fence of the author in terms of missed shots. Many shots that are counted as on net, or a shot on goal, are errant shots the goalie gets in front of. Players intentionally misdirect shots for strategic purposes. NHL players would have a hard time hitting beer bottles off of a fence from 15 feet given all the time and space in the world. Every shot that misses by a handful of feet or less are still being aimed at the open spaces between the edges of the goaltender and post.

You know, a shot that doesn't get directly on net can still make hay. Just watch the GlenX-Stortini-Brodziak highlight package for more evidence.

Vic Ferrari said...

Time to state the obvious:

David Staples is a likable fool. He is trying to generate traffic to his blog, probably on a mandate. And not unreasonably, having seen how reality TV blogs are absolutely dominating the mainstream media in terms of traffic.

He doesn't give two shits about this community, and doesn't understand it, and doesn't care to. At the time he claimed to be a 'big fan' it was obvious that he had only read back two days. his questionnaire to bloggers drove that point home with a pointy hammer.

The 'Look Ma, I'm in the paper!' moment has passed. It was fun then, but not any more, not to me, is it to you?

It seems like Slipper will continue to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight (glove tap to Bruce Cockburn). And if he doesn't, I have no doubt that someone else will take up the cause in the name of cold reason.

It will never get better, David. Never. Just won't.

Vic Ferrari said...

David,

Just read more of what you have said. Wow, that's bitchy? Some questions:

1.) Can you substantiate any of it, even a shred?

2.) Have you the balls to wager on any of your assertions (Boersma also endorsed Selanne as a Selke candidate and Jovanowski as one of the NHL's great defensive defensemen, why don't you run with that)

3.) If I told you that I would pretend to respect you if you licked my cock, would you do it? (Actually, don't answer that one, we both know the answer anyways)

dstaples said...

Thank you Slipper, for some concrete stuff backing up the Corsi numbers.

Now that is -- finally -- good stuff, and the kind of thing that's been lacking in other discussions of Corsi numbers.

As for you, Vic, I'm not sure what to say.

Let's see a guy named Andrew who calls himself Vic who argues like he is part W.W.F. part M.I.T.

I like your cool nickname somewhat, but your tough guy posing is, well, bizarre.

I mean "bitch-slapping?"
What's next? Gonna put a "cap in my ass, homey?"

Hey, if you really do go around calling the women in your life "bitches" and slapping them and others around, maybe I'm way off base. Maybe you walk that ass-kicking talk.

As for your opinion that I've taken a kicking here, that's like the cops agreeing with the prosecutor that the culprit is guilty.

The original post here was a fair comment, so I responded. Much of what Slipper has to say is valid, so I've also responded.

But you folks tend to be all of the same mind, always agreeing with one another, patting each other on the back, serenading one another's brilliance, so little wonder I've been attacked, and little wonder all of you hate the concept of the "error."

Such is the orthodoxy of your group, it makes me wonder what might have been said if Vic had put forward the "error" concept.

"Great stuff!"

"Oh, Vic, you outdid yourself this time!"

"You are a rockstar!"

So the fact that you've found a place to pile on doesn't bother me.

I'm just a visitor here, trying to explain my ideas to an extremely hostile crowd.

This is your turf. Or, I mean, "your hood," eh Vic.

P.S. I know that Vic would never be so stupid and lame-brained as to put something so simple as the "error" concept, so I'm jumping all over myself in advance on that one. Stapes, you big dummy!

dstaples said...

Vic Ferrari = the Wizard of Oz.

Slipper said...

I've always thought of myself as being in the minority. I might have a library of contrarian posts, but only in the face of the volume of post that oppose my point of view. I do feel I have the right to defend my side of the argument, and I don't consider myself as hostile or straying much from the matter at hand.

Anyways, I feel a statment like this to be considerably unfounded:
>> "But you folks tend to be all of the same mind, always agreeing with one another, patting each other on the back, serenading one another's brilliance, so little wonder I've been attacked, and little wonder all of you hate the concept of the 'error'."

On the ankle monitoring bracelet front, I nearly had half my heel out of the fucker before I gave up, and as it's drying it seems to be shrinking. I might be updating later on what shades of blue my toes are turning.

Vic Ferrari said...

PM said:

You're like the Richard Dawkins of the Oilogosphere.


Strangely enough I was thinking that this was like an evolution vs creationism argument before I read this. Granted I didn't know who Dawkins was until I googled his name.

Dawkins seems like he's out looking for trouble though, he goes searching for creationists as an excuse to hammer them on the internet.

Me, I'm just looking for peace. Smart hockey talk on the internet in a fucktard-free zone.

And while I agree with everything that I've read Dawkins say (every so briefly). I send my daughter to Catholic school and took time off of work today to watch her in the Easter play. She was as cute as a duck in a hat when they pulled back the rock from the front of the cave and Jesus' body was gone.

Plus I'm neither as intelligent nor as vicious as that Dawkins cat.

As an aside: I saw a documentary on PBS a while ago, chronicling the legal battle in rural Pennsylvania following the the school board's decision to teach 'intelligent design'. Terrific stuff, I recommend it. I also recommend 'Basic Black' from PBS. And I caught a documentary on there a while ago called 'The Farmer's Wife' which was absolutely gripping, for no good reason. Watch it if you see it on the guide, you'll like it.

Vic Ferrari said...

Wow David, I don't think I've read a journalist state such openly racist remarks since the seventies. Though I've suspected many of thinking this way.

I'm put aback a bit, but oddly I respect your candour, as shocking as it will be to many.

I would recommend that you delete that post though. But do as you will.

Vic Ferrari said...

David:

What does my race have to do with any of my opinions? I can see how my remark about 'bloggers bitch slapping the mainstream media reality TV writers' would be a sensitive issue to you. But your reaction is completely over the top, in my humble opinion.

My name on the tahlgdfu at gmail dot com address is Andrew Johnston. It is not my real name. Yet when I told you, a professional journalist, that I was not interested in answering your questionnaire or being interviewed by you ... did that give you the right to reveal what you presumed was my name on an internet site?

I know nothing of journalism ethics, this is an open question.

Signed

Alarmed in Edmonton

Slipper said...

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/5_on_5_shots.php?sort=6&mingp=40&mintoi=10&team=

The above is the behind the net's even strength goal leaders.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/5_on_5_shots.php?sort=7&mingp=40&mintoi=10&team=

This is BHN's even strength shots on goal leaders. Take note of the high number of missed shots tabulated in the column to the right. 3 for or less in many cases. Keep in mind atleast a percentage of SOG would have missed the net, but shots that missed the net are just that.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/basic_5_on_5.php?sort=9&mingp=40&mintoi=10&team=ALL

Corsi leaders, tweaked for 40 GP minimum and 10min/60 avg min.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/basic_5_on_5.php?sort=18&mingp=40&mintoi=10&team=ALL

Plus/Minus leaders tweaked at 40GP min and 10min/60 avg min.

I'm sure people can spot the trends on their own.

Overall, it's pretty simple. Ilya Kovalchuk appears to be more accurate than Ovechkin, but for some reason Ovi gets more goals and keep the puck out of his end/net at a rate that contributes more strikingly towards winning. Players with a high even strength shooting percentage are going to be amongst the leaders in goals from season to season, that's what I think performanceoil's point was. But the ammount of players over the 10% mark are in the minority, and of those players, the ammount that can repeat this feat consistently from season to season is an even more miniscule number.

There's an obvious relationship between individual player's goal differential and Corsi. Thus far, over the course of this season, a players Corsi has remained much more static than the save and shooting percentage evident when they are on the ice. That's the greater point I gather from Vic's most recent posts over on IOF.

As an example, the smart money is on Brad Richards himself posting greater than a 3.7& shooting percentage over the rest of his career, and have better goaltending than the sub .890 that's been behind him this season. His ability to take the puck from the wrong end of the rink to the right end, as evidenced by his positive Corsi despite leading his team in own end face-off by a country mile this season. Those are his more repeatable abilities.

I'm gonna try to work on this fucking bracelet some more, because I need a giant drink.

Slipper said...

By the way, great stuff Ferrari!

Just effing fantastic!

Chris! said...

Alright, dudes. Shut it down.

Anonymous said...

DavidStaples, don't let that loser vic ferrari to get to you. He has acted like a true asshole in this thread and then had a problem when you defend yourself. Ignore him that's my advice.

Alex

Chris! said...

Okay, although there's apparently no way to turn off comments on a particular post, consider this thread officially deceased.

All further comments here will be deleted. Thanks.