Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Matthew Tate on 09/01/11 at 03:42 PM ET
This is a stat based blog. I realize that many readers get easily bored with stat blogs, as I am one of them. While I am not stat-crazy, I do see a purpose in them and will discuss them in varying levels of detail. If a post is overly obsessed with stats, I will do my best to warn you in some way.
In 1968, in an effort to quantify defensive proficiency, the National Hockey League decided to officially begin recording +/- as an official stat. What was intended to simply be a way of determining a player’s ability to play sound, defensive hockey has become one of the most argued over stats in use today. The fact that Nicklas Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy, while tied for 177th in +/- with a -2, this past year and Jeff Scultz was not even on the ballot last year, despite a league leading +50, should show that this stat seems to come up short.
This upcoming season I will be tracking a new “stat” to track defensive efficiency, the Onus Rating. The goal of this is to actually place blame on players when a goal is scored. While +/- simply awards a plus or minus to all players on the ice, the O.R. will only award minuses to those whose errors lead to the goal being scored against. On the other side of things, it will only award plusses to those who directly help in a goal being scored for. This means that in some, rare instances a goal can be scored and a no minuses can be awarded. This also means that players can receive a plus or a minus while shorthanded. It is important to note that this stat is entirely subjective. There is no formula or chart that I will be using, but simply my own judgment. Below are some basic scenarios and how I would assign plusses or minuses.
The Washington Capitals have on the ice Green, Schultz, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Knuble. They have control of the puck in the opposing team’s zone. Green receives a the puck at the point and attempts a slap shot, only to see the opposing winger poke check it to center ice. This leads to a break-away goal scored against the Capitals. Provided the pass to Green was a good pass only Green would received a minus.
The same group as before is on the ice in the Capitals’ defensive zone. Schultz passes the puck to Green behind the net. Green sees Ovechkin streaking and throws him a saucer pass that leads to a break-way Ovechkin goal. In this situation only Green and Ovechkin would receive a plus.
I realize this stat might seem borderline insane to some but I do believe it will give a better idea of which players do excel on defense. It will help prevent those who simply skate with high goal scorers from receiving an inflated +/- as well as those who skate with poor linemates from having an undeservingly low +/-. After every game I will announce who receives plusses and minuses on each goal as well as keep an updated list of current O.R. for all Capitals.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org