Analytics be damned!!

Discussion in 'Toronto Maple Leafs' started by MoreGore, Oct 3, 2013.

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  1. MoreGore

    MoreGore Registered User

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    As most fans know the Buds over performed according to analytics...... the question is has Toronto managed to build a team that, through it's players and/or style, can win despite poor puck possession?

    Everybody says a 48 game season is not enough and the mean would eventually be achieved. I happen to think 48 games is not a insignificant sample size, so I wonder if the makeup of the team flips analytics on it's head.

    As Zeke pointed out a good number of Leafs have high shooting%'s. There is also the fact that defensemen are the ones that generate a lot of low%'s. So if a team does not generate shots from the defense, but has highly capable forwards, could the analytics get swung in an unanticipated direction.

    Being a Sens fan, Ottawa had a horrible shooting% last year, but they did try to generate shots (edict of the Walrus I suspect). That may simply mean that guys were taking more low% shots and hoping for garbage goals. Perhaps the opposite is true for Toronto. They score more effectively off the rush, slightly lowering puck possession in the offensive zone. As in enter zone, score or turn it over as opposed to enter zone, hold the puck generate a couple of weak shots then score or exit.

    This will be the great experiment in Toronto. Will they push the analytics guys to seek modifications to their numbers as they prove you can win without posession, or will the regress to the mean like they suggest.
     
  2. Vexed

    Vexed Magic Marner

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    It should be obvious to most that analytics play a role but if you try and hang your hat on them as an absolute truth then you're only fooling yourselves.

    The art of properly analysing stats takes years of University and then years of experience before you can even hope to be correct more than half of the time.

    The truth about numbers is that they can be presented in such a way that proves a point but also in another way that disproves the same point. They are complimentary at the very best.

    In terms of possession stats:

    Possession is a key stat in all sports, but all sports also have a strategy, often called the counter-attack, that is built on NOT having possession and taking advantage of odd man situations created when the possession team is caught overloading (to keep the puck its necessary). This will always be effective against possession strategies. When these two strategies come head-to-head it will always be decided by execution.

    Speedy teams are built to counter attack otherwise you aren't really taking advantage of your strengths. Of course this doesn't mean the goal is to concede possession at every chance like we tend to do. High shooting % come from the odd-man rushes that the counter-attack creates. The Leafs problem is that we may not have the defence to sustain this strategy over 82.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  3. pooleboy

    pooleboy Registered User

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    getting high quality scoring chances> perimeter shots.

    people who say 48 games isn't enough sample size are just trying to pull a negative spin on the leafs, i havn't look at the numbers but Anaheim didn't have great possession numbers. (if james mirtle wasn't tweeting about how bad the leafs possession numbers are everyday no one would even notice.... he has gone way downhill imo)
     
  4. Christ

    Christ Registered User

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    I do believe that the only stats that truly matter are wins and losses. Stats can be twisted to "prove" anything with a little creativity...in the end you can argue a million ways why your team deserved to win a game that they did not win but this will not change the fact that your team lost the game.
     
  5. SprDaVE

    SprDaVE Registered User

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    So how are the Leafs doing so far in these PDO and whatever else stats?

    And I don't mean this in a condescending way, it's a genuine question. Just wondering if they have improved as opposed to last year (for now).
     
  6. LeafOfBread

    LeafOfBread Registered User

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    I'm interested to see what happens myself. A member of our board (7even) mentioned that studies are coming out that specific teams tend to have higher PDOs and high percentage shooters over a sustained period of time. Whether the Leafs are one of those is yet to be seen.

    Though in terms of shot numbers the Leafs have actually been okay so far. Against the Habs, who are one of the better possession teams, we were about even in shots, and last night we outshot the Flyers at even strength but Philly had 7 power plays which caused a big disparity in the shot count.
     
  7. SprDaVE

    SprDaVE Registered User

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    I was amazed how a lot of people brought up the fact that Montreal outshot us on even strength 30 to 21 (IIRC), but not a single peep from the same people about the Leafs outshooting the Flyers at even strength last night.

    It's almost like they are being selective with the stats to prove something that isn't there.
     
  8. Duke Silver

    Duke Silver Truce?

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    Stat-heads are very invested in the Leafs' failure this season. Their credibility was hurt by the Leafs' success last season.
     
  9. Hockeylaw

    Hockeylaw Registered User

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    Well said.


    I'm sure I'm not the only one who can recall a time when the Leafs would consistently outshoot their opponents, and lose to them with equal consistency. We would have the puck for long stretches in the game, pepper the opposing team's goalie with low-percentage perimeter shots without creating traffic or driving the net, and nothing would come of it. Possession isn't everything.

    Yes, some of the stats are disconcerting. But I believe we saw a different style of play from the Leafs last season. Carlyle's defensive system reduces the threat posed by yielding possession of the puck to the opposing team, and offensively more emphasis has been placed on getting in close, establishing net presence, cashing in on fortuitous rebounds, crashing the net, etc. You don't need to maintain possession once net presence has been established... it would be a waste of time.
     
  10. Grant

    Grant LL Genius

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    Recognize this?

    [​IMG]

    This graph is used to describe almost all sampling it seems like. As you can tell, the majority are at the mean, but there are also outliers. The leafs were to the right end of this graph.

    Now you may say that because they were to the far right last year it's more likely that they are at the mean this year, I would respond by saying what if this graph is used to show peoples IQs or heights. The outliers of smart people on the far right stay to the right, they aren't smart one year only to be average the next. Same goes with height, they don't get shorter all of a sudden.

    Time will tell if the leafs stay to the right or not, but to say they will certainly regress is just silly, because as with everything, there are outliers and outliers are completely normal.
     
  11. RealisticLeaf55

    RealisticLeaf55 Hurt a Smurf

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    Corsi is great but it does not take into account special teams as well as the quality of each shot. The Leafs have high scoring chances because when we are in the attacking zone we create openings through our passing and create scoring chances through crashing the net. Like Bolland's goals last night. We make the most of our opportunities through turnovers and odd-man rushes.

    It is easy to to look at the shot count and say "Oh the Leafs got outplayed again" yet if you watch, Phaneuf and Franson kept the shooters to the outside circle and Phillie's defensemen did not get a strong opportunity from the point because our forwards forced them to make instant decisions (MMcClement in the second and third period PK against Mezaros). These things are something that Corsi does not take into account and it shows that although the Leafs were outplayed, it is not nearly as bad as fans of other teams would think (jets/habs)
     
  12. Grapes03

    Grapes03 Registered User

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    We are actually a top ten team according to VUKOTA. Don't ask me to explain what that is. All the stats guys who have us pegged as losers are the ones who lean heavily on CORSI. The Leafs are more or less an experiment to see which stat holds more water.
     
  13. weems

    weems Registered User

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    Stat heads and analytics pushers have agendas like no other.

    My problem with most of them is that they speak of these #'s like there all that matters when the best thing to do is use them in unisen with what your eyes tell you. So many little intangible things (puck battles, defensive positioning, backpressure, clearing zone of puck etc) never show up on a stat sheet. Advanced stats can certainly help but hockey isnt like baseball where the game is basically station to station. They definitely have a place in the sport going forward but a experianced and talented scouts eye will always be more effective.

    We have a team thats very dynamic off the rush and strikes very quicky. We arent a team whos going to cycle the puck and hem teams in there own zone for prolonged stretchs and rack up the shot totals. We seem to get ALOT of high quality scoring chances in prime area's due to our forwards speed and gamebreaking ability (Kessel, Kadri, Lupol and JVR). Thats one thing that these advanced stats cant really do, is determine the individual quality of each shot. Not every shot and not every scoring chance is the exact same.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  14. Grapes03

    Grapes03 Registered User

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    This is all true. Most importantly, unlike baseball, advanced hockey stats are still in their infancy. They absolutely need improvement. And all the stats guys are losing their minds over the Leafs... this will continue all year, should be entertaining.
     
  15. Michael Gary Scott

    Michael Gary Scott Toronto Maple Tron's

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    Heres a statistic thats easy to understand. We're giving up way too many shots. Theres no way our goaltending can hold up if we keep giving up 35+ shots a night.
     
  16. Cor

    Cor Most Likes Received By HFW Poster - 2018

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    Yeah, and there is no way we can continue to score at our pace right?
     
  17. If Kessel chops down a tree in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does advanced stats prove it makes a sound?
     
  18. HarrisonFord

    HarrisonFord Mindawakebodyasleep

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    We are the Toronto Maple Outliers
     
  19. Palmateer

    Palmateer Routine kick save

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    I find advanced stats the epitome of tedium. Talk about taking the soul out of hockey.

    You can take anything in life and dissect it to the nth-degree, and for something like cancer research, okay, but that degree of analytics isn't a fit for a free-flowing, emotional, game like hockey. It robs it of its passion and mystery and magic -- the very reasons we watch it.

    There are some things we don't need to know. In fact, not knowing them allows us to enjoy life more. If I'm enjoying watching two distant birds soaring amongst the clouds at sunset I don't need to know their exact speed, their relative resistance to gravity, or the unfulfilled potential of their wingspan. I will just enjoy the moment, live in the moment, and move on, fulfilled. And it's the same when it comes to watching hockey.

    One final example: Beethoven.

    You lose something, the soul of something, when you eviscerate and analyze it too much. Imagine going to a live Beethoven concert in his time, or to Furtwangler conducting a Beethoven symphony. One person sits back, closes their eyes, and allows the music to transport them into the ineffable realms of the composer's mind when he wrote it. Pure magic!

    Then there's the person beside him -- probably an art critic -- who is frantically and furiously jotting down all the C's, and C-sharps, and key changes, and tempo changes, and attempts to formalize it.

    No thank you.

    Why would you want to deprive yourself of the magical experience of enjoying your favorite team in a life and death battle of athleticism, passion, tradition and emotion with thoughts like, "Oh, that will probably drop his relative-Corsi by half a percentage point"?

    I am going to remain happily content with my goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, plus-minus, and face-off percentage... and, as always, focus on the only statistic that truly matters to me: did the team with the maple leaf on their sweater win or lose? Simple.

    If someone else wants to devour the soul of hockey, chew it up and spit it out, fine. But I want no part of such folly.
     
  20. Anth93

    Anth93 Registered User

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  21. Smif

    Smif Registered User

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    Stats are for losers.
     
  22. Cor

    Cor Most Likes Received By HFW Poster - 2018

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    Seriously, if you can't watch a game, and see if a team/player is playing well, and you need to do math to see if he is making a positive or negative effect.... then just stop watching.
     
  23. Anth93

    Anth93 Registered User

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    Economists everywhere disagree with Smif.
     
  24. htpwn

    htpwn Registered User

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    I hope not, because it would mean we're still giving up too many shots. That much the stat geeks have right, even if most of what if they preach is flawed in one way or another.

    Besides, I think most of these individuals would be just as angry at us if we make the playoffs regardless of whether we defy their statistics or not.:laugh:

    My personal opinion on advanced stats is they are just that, stats.

    When it was announced that the Red Wings were moving East, everybody said Datsyuk and Zetterberg would rack up more goals, assists, and points as a result.

    Yet the very same "situational" changes seem to be ignored when discussing CORSI or Fenwick. The Leafs have added new players, how does that effect the team? The Leafs have subtracted players, how does that effect the team? The Leafs are a new Conference, playing new teams, how does that effect the team? There's a new schedule, how does that effect the team?

    How exactly can one use advanced stats to predict something when so many variables have changed? It is like measuring Toronto's average temperature over a year, without taking into consideration where the jet stream and El Nino are in that particular year.

    The notion of "Luck" is also brought up frequently, yet it is fundamentally incompatible with statistics. If you flip a coin, land on heads, then it flip it again, what is the chance you land on heads? 50%. You have a 50% chance. The odds don't decease because it landed on heads the first time around (gamblers, take note).

    That isn't to say advanced stats are useless. It just the way many use them, as the definitive predictor rather than just one of many tools, that seems to me to be just wrong.

    The Leafs have a playoff team. Those who have actually watched the team play know this.

    Whether they make it or not, it will not be because "their luck ran out" or "the stats caught up with them," it will be because certain players get injured or certain players don't pull their weight. That fact certainly won't change the opinions of those looking to say "I told you so!" though.
     
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