When I listed the players with the worst 20 Corsi Numbers last season, the list included a lot of defencemen who play on bad teams against top competition and usually start their shifts in the defensive zone. This of course is a contributing factor to their poor Corsi numbers. Copper N Blue notices this and points it out. He criticizes me for listing the players with the worst Corsi Numbers, suggesting that it will provide ammunition to the “anti-numbers” crowd. There are people who do not want to believe that statistics and math can be used to understand hockey and would just like it all to go away. It is obvious that statistical analysis has made significant in roads to hockey, so it isn’t going away. It also isn’t clear that hockey can ever be solved on the level of baseball, but that is a goal - even if it is unattainable. This aspect of the game has little effect upon your viewing of a game, unless you want it to. There is no reason you have to know anything about statistics to view a game.
Because of their financial situation, the NHL is running the Phoenix Coyotes. This creates a situation where any Phoenix move can be interpreted in two different ways. It can be interpreted as having been done to suit Phoenix interests and it can be interpreted as trying to suit NHL interests. It is impossible to know for sure how important NHL interests are in Phoenix moves (but conspiracy theorists will maintain that they are quite large). As a case in point, we can look at Phoenix’s recent trade for Radim Vrbata. This trade was made with the Tampa Bay Lightning and cost the Coyotes Todd Fedoruk and David Hale. Vrbata is a player who had success in Phoenix. In 2007/08 he scored 56 points with the Coyotes. This prompted Tampa Bay to offer him a three year contract worth a total of $9 million. Vrbata was not given much of a chance in Tampa before the Lightning gave up on him. They got out of his contract by letting him go to the Czech League to play with Mlada Boleslav BK.
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number as an alternative to +/- ratings. Today, I am going to list the top 20 adjusted Corsi ratings. In this case I have adjusted them as a counting stat in the same manner that was developed in the Hockey Compendium by Jeff Klein and Carl-Eric Reif. I discuss this adjustment method here. In this method, a team adjustment is calculated from team Corsi Numbers. Since five players are on the ice, team Corsi Numbers are divided by five to give a baseline team value that is treated as “zero” for that team. All individual player Corsi Numbers have the team adjustment subtracted off.
Here are the top 20 adjusted Corsi Numbers in the 2008/09 season among players who played at least 50 games and with only one team:
The NHLPA is making news in the hockey world by suggesting that players skip the on ice portion of the Olympic orientation camps that will be held by the Canadian, American, Russian and German Ice Hockey Federations. Their public reason is that it is not clear that the players have insurance coverage should they be hurt during the camp. I think the private reason is because these camps are essentially useless. The Olympics will occur in February 2010. The camps occur six months early in August 2009. They are far too short and far too far in advance to teach players a new system (assuming that is a smart move with the best players in the world) or get different players used to playing together. They are not needed to get players in shape for the Olympics. NHL hockey players will be in shape and anything they do six months in advance has little impact. They have developed out of the administrative desire to do something, even if it is useless, to try to gain an advantage in the Olympics. In theory orientation camps may sound like a good idea, but because of the NHL season, they must be held six months in advance, which is too early to be useful. That doesn’t stop them from happening. They are an administrative way to cover the hockey federation. If a country fails to live up to expectation in the Olympics, they cannot be blamed for not doing enough to orientate players.
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number as an alternative to +/- ratings. Its appeal is that it includes a lot more events than +/- (as it is the difference between shots directed at the goal for and against when a player is on the ice in 5 on 5 situations). The drawback is that it includes missed shots and blocked shots as being equivalent to goals. Any systematic reason why a player or team might take or allow an excessive number of shots that miss that net (or some other anomaly like that) would skew the ratings. Yesterday, I gave the team Corsi Numbers from last season and it led to a very good discussion. Some teams have Corsi Numbers that do not correlate well with their regular season success. For the most part this can be explained (the comments to that post contain some of this discussion). For example, Boston has the 13th best team Corsi Number at +49 despite finishing first overall
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number as an alternative to +/-. Corsi Numbers are the difference between shots directed at the goal (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) for and against when a player is on the ice in five on five situations. The benefit is that they encompass a lot more events than +/- does. However, whether or not it is a better or comparable series of events is somewhat of an open question.
I have calculated the Corsi Numbers for all 30 teams in the NHL. These can be compared to team +/- ratings.
The baseball All Star break is ending. It happened without the current American League MVP, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia was voted by the fans to be the starter at second base. He skipped the All Star Game because his wife is having complications in her pregnancy. Though he missed a couple games earlier in the season to be with his wife, he did not miss the game directly prior to the All Star break and he will not miss the game directly after it. He was not at the All Star Game to mingle with the press. This would not have been tolerated in the Gary Bettman NHL. In the NHL when Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk missed the All Star Game to rehab injuries, they were effectively suspended for the game following the break. Sidney Crosby was also planning to miss the game due to injury, but chose at the last minute to attend in a non-playing role and this was considered to be OK.
Stan Bowman has been seen as a future NHL GM for a couple years now. He has served various roles with the Chicago Blackhawks in his eight years with the team (special assistant to the GM, director of hockey operations and assistant GM). The question was where would he become a general manager and when. If it was to be in Chicago, something would have to happen to Dale Tallon, who was their current GM. In Chicago he has his father, Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman working as the senior advisor of hockey operations. The Bowmans had a lot of power behind the scenes and were pressuring Chicago team president John McDonough to give Stan the GM job. What was needed was a strong excuse to show that Tallon was not competent and this had been hard to produce given the Blackhawks rise in the standings. However, Tallon made his mistake with the qualifying offers of several of the Blackhawks restricted free agents. The offers were not properly tendered, but it didn’t cause too much problem as all the players in question have resigned and not for significantly more than they probably would have without the mistake (Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker probably got a bit more money but nothing significant). This was the mistake used to push for Tallon’s replacement.
While I think it was a mistake for the New Jersey Devils to wait this long before hiring a coach, they got out of that situation in the best possible way by hiring Jacques Lemaire as coach. Jacques Lemaire is my pick as best coach in the NHL. Lemaire has had successful stints as coach of the Devils in the 1990’s and the Minnesota Wild. He won coach of the year in both stops and won the Stanley Cup in his New Jersey stint. He is one of the few coaches in the NHL who can consistently get results out of his team that are better than their talent level.
New Jersey has not been an organization that is friendly to coaches under Lou Lamoriello’s management. They cycle through a coach every year or two. The Devils coach is treated like a disposable part. On two occasions the coach has been fired at the end of the season, when things appear to be going well, in order to try to shock the team into a big playoff run. It last happened unsuccessfully when current coach of the year Claude Julien was fired in 2007.
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have looked at the Corsi Number as an alternative to +/- ratings. Because Corsi Numbers include far more events (all shots directed at the goal) they may be more accurate than +/- which only includes goals scored, as long as the events included are meaningful (are blocked shots and missed shots meaningful?). The best source for Corsi Numbers online is behind the net. It treats Corsi Numbers as a rate stat (per unit of time). I think a more reasonable place to start in analysis is with the raw counting numbers. I have already listed the top 20 players by Corsi Number. Here are the worst 20 Corsi Numbers in the 2008/09 regular season.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
Why are you reading it? ???