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How Is Brendan Morrison Doing?

One sabermetric issue that I am watching this season is how well is Brendan Morrison of the Calgary Flames doing.  Brendan Morrison is a test case on the Corsi theory.  The idea behind Corsi theory is that counting attempted shots both for and against is a very strong gage of puck possession.  This is more useful that looking at goals scored based analysis because goals are strongly dependent upon shooting percentages and saves percentages of all the twelve players on the ice.  This is something individual players have little control over in general. I have written about this here.

David Johnson of the Hockey Analysis website is a proponent of the contrary position.  He has chosen Brendan Morrison of the Calgary Flames as a test case to make his argument.  Before this season, Morrison looked good by Johnson’s goals based analysis and looked like a poor signing by conventional Corsi analysis.

Morrison is the kind of case that will have to be chosen to attempt to support Johnson’s method.  Morrison is a player who has had a high PDO.  This is the sum of the shooting percentage and saves percentage while a player is on the ice at even strength.  This number by definition will have an average value of one for any player in the NHL.  In general, players who have PDO values well above 1 have been lucky and players with PDO values well below 1 have been unlucky.  This luck does not last.  Johnson is forced to pick players who have been lucky in the past in order to find candidates to show how his system is better than Corsi.  Morrison is an example of this.

So how is Brendan Morrison doing so far this year?

Morrison has suffered some injury problems and has only played in 26 games so far this season.  He is currently out with an upper body injury.  During the games Morrison has played, he has four goals and seven assists for 11 points.  This isn’t particularly impressive.  Morrison, who is a UFA this summer, looks likely to retire as no team is likely to offer him a new deal.  This is the player David Johnson chose to be the example of how his system beats the conventional Corsi analysis.  It is an example of how his system has failed.  Corsi is far superior to the goal based analysis.  Brendan Morrison is a good example to show this point.

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Comments

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The idea behind Corsi theory is that counting attempted shots both for and against is a very strong gage of puck possession.

I have never disagreed with that.

This is more useful that looking at goals scored based analysis because goals are strongly dependent upon shooting percentages and saves percentages of all the twelve players on the ice.

Corsi is based on the puck possession ability of all 12 players on the ice.

This is something individual players have little control over in general.

This is not true.  See http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2012/1/13/2704148/range-of-finishing-talent-between-1st-and-4th-line-forwards or http://puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1228 or http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=625

Here are some quotes, one from each of those articles.

So that’s an imperceptible difference in everyone’s favorite shot quality statistic, but a very large difference in actual shooting percentage. First-line forwards are 6% better than second-line forwards at finishing, 13% better than third-liners and 23% better than fourth-liners

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However, this does mean that there is significant true talent in finishing ability, and if we look over a long enough window we can see it.

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The unmistakable conclusions from this table? Outshooting, out-qualitying and out-finishing all contribute to why Good Players dominate their opponents. Shot Quality only represents a small fraction of this advantage; outshooting and outfinishing are the largest contributors to good players +/-. This means that judging players uniquely by Corsi or Delta will be flawed: some good players are good puck controllers but poor finishers (Ryan Clowe, Scott Gomez), while others are good finishers but poor puck controllers (Ilya Kovalchuk, Nathan Horton). Needless to say, some will excel at both (Alexander Ovechkin, Daniel Sedin, Corey Perry). This is not to bash Corsi and Delta: puck possession remains a fundamental skill for winning hockey games. It’s just not the only skill.

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Morrison has suffered some injury problems and has only played in 26 games so far this season.  He is currently out with an upper body injury.

Too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions, especially with a player not at 100%.

During the games Morrison has played, he has four goals and seven assists for 11 points.  This isn’t particularly impressive.

You are comparing apples to oranges.  I didn’t draw any conclusions or make and statements about Morrison based on his individual offensive numbers.  My discussion of him revolved around a comparison between his goals for % and his corsi for %.  Your use of individual offense only numbers either shows how desperate you are to defend corsi or how little you truly understand the arguments I have been making.

Posted by HockeyAnalysis on 01/19/12 at 03:25 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

David

You have returned to your dishonest quote mining.  As we have discussed in the past, your argument is equivalent to saying that trees moving cause wind and the Corsi people argue that wind causes trees to move.  The Corsi people go further to show that trees can cause wind breaks and wind tunnels, so wind is effected on some level by trees but it misses the major point.  You quote people who study the point of trees affecting the wind as though it supports you.  The people you quote have told you in no uncertain terms that you are incorrect, but that doesn’t stop you from quoting them as though they agree with you.  Its a lie.  It is dishonest.

If Brendan Morrison is a good signing then he would have to score more than four goals by mid-January in his one year deal.  You are on record saying he was a good signing despite Corsi correctly saying he wasn’t.  You hide behind his number claiming it is too small a sample size.  When the season ends and Morrison fails to get a new contract and retires you will still claim it is too small a sample size - unless somehow Morrison scores 20 goals in the remainder of the season or something - then you would claim the sample size is good enough.

You have a wonderful test to your theories.  A test that you chose in Brendan Morrison.  Morrison is showing you are wrong.  You are too dishonest to look at reality.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/19/12 at 04:32 PM ET

Avatar

Did you not read the quotes from Tom Awad?

This means that judging players uniquely by Corsi or Delta will be flawed

and

However, this does mean that there is significant true talent in finishing ability

Both of which are exactly what I have been basing my analysis on for years.  Judging players by corsi alone will be flawed and finishing ability is a significant true talent.  Are you calling Tom Awad wrong and misguided?

Posted by HockeyAnalysis on 01/19/12 at 04:49 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I have yet to say anything about Tom Awad.

I am saying you are misguided and though you use his quotes to try to support you, he would clearly say that you are wrong (so now I have said something about Awad).

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/19/12 at 04:54 PM ET

Avatar

But he is saying the exact same thing as me.

Posted by HockeyAnalysis on 01/19/12 at 05:39 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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