Bobby Orr's icetime during his prime

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by BraveCanadian, Mar 10, 2011.

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  1. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    With regards to Orr's attempted comeback with the Hawks after 20 months off trying to recoup:

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.asia/vault/article/magazine/MAG1094168/2/index.htm#ixzz1GG7AuAfC

    I knew that the real oldtimers played entire games.

    And I knew that pre-expansion guys played very long shifts and a lot of minutes (even star forwards did) compared to today.

    I was a bit interested in Orr's icetime because as a defenseman that could skate as he could, and with him being such a physical specimen for his time, I felt he was most likely capable of playing an awful lot even in the 70s.

    I have brought this up before a couple of times and got the "around 30 minutes a game using estimates" dismissal.. but I have seen a few references to Orr averaging 40 minutes a night as I have been researching for the ATD.

    Curious what you guys think about this because obviously it will affect a lot of the analysis that is done.

    Has anyone come across any stated icetimes for other clear #1 defensemen of the time such as Park in their reading?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  2. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    - If you had to bet whether they were overestimating or underestimating in this article, what would you guess?

    - The results from the estimates had something like a 94% correlation with actual observed results. Orr played further back in the period and he was the outlier of outliers, so yes, anything is possible, but you have to accept that those numbers are very good.

    - Orr made goals happen when he was on the ice. His estimated ES ice time is based on his ESGF and ESGA - but since he had so many more ESGF than ESGA, it's mostly driven by ESGF. Obviously from watching Orr, he made his team much more likely to score goals, and more goals happened while he was on the ice. These numbers are therefore more likely to overestimate his icetime than underestimate it.

    (for example, say Orr had 200 total ESGF and ESGA in 80 games. Another guy had 100 total in 80 games. The model, as I understand it, would estimate Orr's icetime as double the other guy. say, 30 and 15. But that means that goals happened at the same rate with Orr as the other guy, and we know that isn't true. His actual on-ice goals rate would be higher than the other guy, so his real ice time would be have to be lower than estimated for that to be true.)

    I'm not an expert with this stuff, let's get a real numbers guy in here to make better sense of what I'm saying.
     
  3. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    In game 7 of the 1979 Bos-Mtl series, I believe they said that Lafleur played close to 40 minutes. I don't think he was near that amount at all. Perhaps Savard or Robinson was, but I haven't tried to legitimize my assumptions. But I would agree that the article was overestimating Orr's TOI.
     
  4. In a recent classic game I watched from 1974 Boston vs. Philly it seemed like he was out there 2/3's of the time which would be about 40 minutes.
     
  5. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    I still have that game saved on my PVR. I could attempt to track Orr's icetime, although this would be based just on the parts of the game that were shown and not the whole game.

    actually, it's probably not worth it since there are a couple of problems with this:

    - Orr probably played more than usual because this was a very important game.

    - Some clips are cut out so that the show fits in two hours. How much do you want to bet they cut out less of Orr than other players? ;)

    - Without a clock on the screen it is tough to say when they have cut from one part to another and whether I should credit Orr for that time or not.

    It's funny though, because watching this game a week ago I was disappointed at how much of Orr I saw. I wanted more, and expected him to be on the ice more than he was.
     
  6. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    The reason I brought it up is that I have seen the 40 minute referred to in more than one place now. Honestly based on how the game was played then it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility at all.

    94% correlation with what actual results? I'm guessing against the actual toi post-1995?

    Ice time management is completely different now compared to Orr's day and he is also an outlier within his day.. so if that is what they have been matched against I'm going to have to say that isn't too reassuring.
     
  7. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    in his episode of pioneers, red kelly said he once played 55 minutes. seems like he meant in '54.

    i have read in contemporary sources that hull and mikita often played 40 minutes. i have seen similar about howe.
     
  8. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Even in the Canada Cup 1987 Gretzky played a good 25 minutes, although if it were closer to 30 I wouldn't be shocked. This is with NHL stars playing shoulder to shoulder. I'm pretty sure Gretzky himself played about 30 minutes a game at times in Edmonton just by a guess. His last NHL season is when they started tracking a player's time on ice and he played 21:04.

    So to suggest Lafleur played close to 40 minutes in Game 7 in 1979 would be accurate I think. He was being double shifted and let's not forget there was about 10 minutes of overtime played as well. The Habs had nothing to lose keeping Lafleur on the ice until his hands bled, so I would have done the same. It worked didn't it?
     
  9. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    post-1998, yes.

    apparently the formula was used and the results compared to actual icetime. I realize it could have been different back then, but it's hard to imagine GF and GA being a significantly different indicator of TOI then, compared to now.

    Point still stands that there was no "Orr adjustment" made, and for him to have had more ice time he'd have to have had less GF per minute on the ice. Based on what we know about him, that's not the way it went.

    Also, I bet he did play 40 minutes, quite a few times. Bourque, Lidstrom and Potvin probably did too, maybe not as often. But those are high marks and not averages. I believe in Orr's average of about 30 minutes.
     
  10. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Here's a couple of articles describing formulas for estimating icetime:

    http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20041211002655/http://members.shaw.ca/hbtn/player_study/ice_time.htm
    http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20050315084118/http://www.puckerings.com/research/icetime.html

    Both systems do use an adjustment to normalize the results, because just using strictly the percentage of GF+GA as the percentage of icetime will shortchange checkers while throwing the numbers of top scorers completely out of whack.


    Exactly. While Orr may have been routinely playing 40 minutes against Montreal, Chicago or the Rangers, it would be a lot less in blowout games against Oakland, Vancouver or Minnesota.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  11. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    - Montreal Gazette March 25, 1971.

    - The Morning Record Dec 2, 1975.

    - Lewiston Evening Journal Feb 17, 1973.

    - Derek Sanderson in SI April 26, 1971.

    - LA Times Dec 1, 1974.



    Here is one about Esposito too (there are more):

    - Sarasota Herald Tribune Dec 24, 1974


    Also many references to Gretzky, Park and many others (mostly defensemen) playing "35-40 minutes a night on average". In the one article I saw Park does admit he was getting tired by that end of the 40 though. But he loved it. ;)

    And many more references to Orr playing ~40 minutes a night on pay per view as well.
     
  12. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    yep, we completely agree he sometimes played 40 minutes.
     
  13. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Head meet sand.
     
  14. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    How much did the bottom pairing guys end up playing on the Bruins?

    How big was the game roster then in say 1970 or 75? When did it become 20 players? I should know this but I can't remember.
     
  15. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Apparently on the old TV show "Greatest Sports Legends" there is a reference to Orr averaging 37 minutes a game during his third season.

    I'm seeing if I can find a better source.
     
  16. BamBamCam*

    BamBamCam* Guest

    In 1970 the Bruins had 5 defenseman on the bench for games. D Smith R Smith D Awrey with Doak and Speer combining for 71 games in a 76 game season. So, I can't see then having their ice time affected that greatly. My memory is not that good but I don't remember pairings for defenceman like we do now in the 70s. On the PP and PK you would see the same D players but not during 5 on 5. They just rolled them.

    In 1975 it looks like they had 6 d-man riding the pine for about 40 games and ran 5 the rest of the time.
     
  17. greatgazoo

    greatgazoo Registered User

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    Everyone had longer shifts back then but keep in mind that the speed of the game was much, much slower. Phil Esposito was often on the ice for 2-3 minutes at a time! Over the course of the past 30 years the game has evolved to the current 40-second shift with the speed of the game improving dramatically.
     
  18. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Here's why the average of 40 minutes a game doesn't make sense. I'll use 70-71 as an example since Orr played in every game that year.

    The Bruins had 289 powerplays and scored on 80 of them. So if we count 2 minutes for each PP and subtract a minute for every one they scored on, then divide that by the number of minutes in the season, it works out to about 6 minutes a game. For penalty killing, the same thing works out to about 8 minutes a game.

    So the average for Boston that year per game by situation was:

    Power Play: 6 minutes
    Shorthanded: 8 minutes
    Even Strength: 46 minutes

    The Bruins had 5 defencemen that year. Their goals for/against numbers were:


    Orr was on for almost all of Boston's PP goals, so if he played every Bruin PP that would be 6 minutes of icetime. (The other defencemen hardly have any PGF numbers because Fred Stanfield was usually on the other point).

    Boston gave up 53 PP goals that year. Orr was on the ice for 30 of them, so saying that he usually played 5 minutes of Boston's 8 PK minutes seems fair.

    So that's 6 PP minutes and 5 PK minutes a game. For Orr to have averaged 40 minutes a game, he would need 29 even strength minutes. This is where the numbers don't make sense.

    We can subtract the PGF from each players TGF to get their evenstrength total, but there's still shorthanded goals that have to be deducted. Boston had 25 SH goals that season. If we use the same proportion of the players PGA compared to the teams PGA for shorthanded goals for, it would be estimated that Orr was on the ice for 14 of them. Doing that for each defenceman, here's their evenstrength goals for:

    Orr 165
    Green 118
    Awrey 108
    D. Smith 137
    R. Smith 56

    For Orr to have played 29 minutes at evenstrength per game, with his being on the ice for 165 goals for, Boston would averaged 4.38 goals/60 minutes with Orr on the ice.

    If Boston is playing 46 minutes per game at evenstrength, with two D on the ice that 92 minutes for their defencemen. Minus Orr's 29 that leaves 63 for the other defencemen. That's 4914 minutes for the season. They combined for 419 GF, so that works out to an average of 5.12 goals/60 minutes for the other blueliners.

    That means that for Orr to have averaged 40 minutes a game, that Boston would have scored 15% more often with the other defencemen than with Orr. Highly unlikely.

    Nobody is arguing that he didn't play that much on occasion, just that he didn't average it over the course of the whole season. I don't know how many of those references listed earlier in the thread are from actually timing how much he played in every game.

    If anybody has any full complete Bruin games from that era on tape, it would be interesting to see if his time could be recorded from watching those games and tracking when he was on the ice. The only Orr games I have are the Canada Cup ones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  19. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    head, meet sand. :laugh:
     
  20. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    You had me up to here where you added up the other blueliners goals for - when they play in pairs at even strength.

    Not to mention you have to subtract Orr's 165 goals from their "total" because obviously he played with someone at even strength as well.
     
  21. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    You might want to read it thoroughly before you believe there is fire behind the statistical smoke. ;)
     
  22. BamBamCam*

    BamBamCam* Guest

    Yeah, I kind of scratched my head at that number crunching myself. The reality is we can't just make stuff up and call it a fact. We would need to sit down and record the amount of minutes ourselves by watching a game.

    If we have and or had d-men playing 25-30 minutes a game now, than it is very plausible Orr skated 40bac then when they stayed on the ice for long shifts and only carried 5 d-men on the roster.
     
  23. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Yes, that is why I brought this up initially.

    Based on Orr's skating ability and physical condition, plus the era of long shifts and slower overall pace.. it just makes sense to me and the "Orr played ~30 minutes a game on average" never sat right.

    The 37-40 minutes average apparently quoted on that TV show and the various quotes I have dug up seems more likely to me.
     
  24. Noldo

    Noldo Registered User

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    Taking into account that fact that someone was playing with Bobby, the numbers would look as follows:

    Goals for as Orr was on ice at even strenght: 165 (using reckoning's numbers).

    The sum of goals for for all defencement was 584, meaning that Boston scored in total 292 goals on even strength. Removing goals scored while Orr was on ice (165) and we have 127 goals scored on ES while Orr was not on ice.

    Using reckoning's estimation, Orr's even strength ice time would have been 29 minutes for him to reach 40 minutes on average. As noted, this leads to average of 4.38 goals / 60 minutes while Orr is on ice.

    Assuming the 46 minutes of ES play reckoning used in his estimations, 17 minutes of ES ice time would need to be distributed among the defencement while Orr is not on ice and that time would need to result in 127 goals. This would mean scoring pace of 5.75 goals / 60 minutes, considerably higher than while Orr was on ice.

    Please note that if we assume Orr playing approximately 35 minutes a game on average and the time he plays on PP and SH remains the same, the respective scoring paces are 5.29 with Orr and 4.44 without, which start to look reasonable. But the calcualtions would indicate that anything over 37 minutes / game on average would be highly questionable becouse at that point Boston would be scoring at same or better pace on ES while Orr is not on ice as with Bobby.
     
  25. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Good stuff.

    Its very possible the number was 35-37 on average and people just called it "40" because at times he did hit or exceed that in important games. I just find 30 to be too far the other way.

    I agree that if the scoring rate between Orr and his off ice counterparts gets too out of whack it is pretty unlikely.. but we also have to keep in mind that Bobby was most likely matched up against the tougher ES competition as compared to his off ice counterparts. So looking at scoring rates / 60min in a vacuum isn't as definitive as it might look at face value.

    I could accept the rest of the team marginally "outperforming" Bobby over short periods of time against choice competition. In fact they wouldn't be, but the numbers would say they were.

    Its also worth noting that the 70-71 was a sort of crazy outlier season where Boston actually had a ton of scoring depth. (top 4 scorers in the league and 7 out of the top 10 if I recall)

    As you noted, in 70-71 Orr was on for ~165 out of ~294 ES goals or around 56% of the teams ES goals.

    If we look at 74-75 as another example (his 2nd best season) Orr was on for ~157 / 245 ES goals by Boston. Or 64%.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011

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