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Norris Trophy Leader

In late October I picked Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Norris Trophy leader.  Letang has done a wonderful job of having a breakout season that makes him a Norris Trophy candidate, but he has been caught.  He has been caught by Lubomir Visnovsky of the Anaheim Ducks.  Visnovsky would be a much bigger name player if he had played in the East Conference.  He is a very talented defenceman who has spent his career in markets that don’t play until the eastern sportswriters go to bed. 

This season he is tied for the league lead in scoring among defencemen.  He has the second best +/- rating on his team, while playing against a high level of competition.  He leads Anaheim in ice time and has been hugely important to the Ducks puck control.  I think he has been the best defenceman so far this year, in a rather tight race with several participants.

The Norris Trophy race doesn’t have a clear leader.  I would expect that given that situation, the award will likely be decided using past seasons and reputation as a tie breaker.  This probably gives Nicklas Lidstrom the edge, despite his dropoff in even strength success and puck possession numbers because he is a six time Norris Trophy winner.  Visnovsky doesn’t have the same past track record.  In fact he has only appeared in one career NHL All Star Game, though he has been overlooked several times (most recently this season).  I think that Visnovsky is the defenceman who most deserves the Norris Trophy right now, but given the selection methods it is likely he won’t be the actual winner.

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Comments

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

The dude has a helluva mean streak too him as well…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 03/13/11 at 01:59 AM ET

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I like Visnovsky too, but it’s hard to tell how good he really is when he’s partnered with Tony Lydman and plays mostly with the RPG line up front. For that reason I’d give Letang the benefit of the doubt (Orpik isn’t as good in possession as Lydman, and Letang doesn’t have any RPG equivalent).

Here’s a comparison at 5on5
http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=8&f1=2010&f3=KRISTOPHERLETANG LUBOMIRVISNOVSKY KEITHYANDLE NICKLASLIDSTROM SHEAWEBER ZDENOCHARA DUSTINBYFUGLIEN&c=1+3+7+8+13+15+17+20+23+24+25+10+29+32+33+34+63+67

Posted by Ralph on 03/13/11 at 07:38 AM ET

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Lubomir Visnovsky is a very good player who would make a very fine and deserving Norris candidate this season. But I would still go with either Lidstrom or Letang.

I do find it interesting that, after repeatedly making the argument that the Norris Trophy should go to the defenseman who gives his team the best overall value (he need not, for example, be an exemplary defensive defenseman if his outstanding offensive skills more than make up for it), you also nag on Lidstrom for for his reduced “even strength success.” This seems to be logically inconsistent.

Lidstrom and Visnovsky have the same amount of points. Visnovsky is scoring at a higher rate at even strength (a point every 40:19 of even strength ice time, compared to a point every 57:27 for Lidstrom), but Lidstrom’s extraordinary powerplay performance has picked up the slack (a point every 8:41, compared to Visnovsky’s 12:28).

In fact, if you disregard short-handed situations, Lidstrom (54 ES + PP points, 1444:07 ES + PP ice time; 26:45 per point) is scoring at a slightly higher rate than Visnovsky (55 ESP + PP points, 1604:53 ES + PP ice time; 29:11 per point).

Again, PSH, it is YOU, not me, who has consistently made the claim that the Norris should not discriminate on the basis of whether an defenseman is offensive or defensive. YOU are the one who has claimed that a huge offensive year from a player like Mike Green can be Norris-worthy, even if he isn’t a great defensive player.

So I don’t understand why you would rag on Lidstrom simply because he gets a greater share of his points on the powerplay. Why does it matter what situation he’s in when he scores the points? Why is Visnovsky praised for being a more efficient scorer at even strength (where he plays a greater bulk of offensive minutes than Lidstrom, who is used in more shutdown situations—Behind the Net has Lidstrom ranked first among defensemen at even strength quality of competition among defensemen with at least 20 GP, while Visnovsky was 30th), while Lidstrom’s more efficient powerplay scoring is swept under the rug, almost used AGAINST him as a Norris criterion.

The way I see it, the two are about equally valuable on offense this season. Visnovsky scores a little more overall (same amount of points in two fewer games), but Lidstrom scores at a slightly higher rate over even strength and powerplay situations.

And Lidstrom, who plays 2:46 per night on the PK versus a measly 24 seconds for Visnovsky, and plays against stronger competition while at even strength, is far more valuable defensively.

So really, I don’t see how you can choose Visnovsky over Lidstrom, unless 1) you put a WHOLE lot of stock in plus-minus (enough to basically cancel out the fact that Visnovsky doesn’t play on the penalty kill), or 2) you are on a (possibly subconscious) mission to prove that Lidstrom does not deserve another Norris Trophy, so you are putting a great deal of stock in a few statistics that already fit your preconceptions and are not allowing a wider view of the data to truly inform your opinion or change your mind.

My ballot would look like this:

1. Lidstrom
2. Letang
3. Yandle
4. Visnovsky
5. Weber

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/13/11 at 12:19 PM ET

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I read the line in the post more as saying “No one could touch Lidstrom before, so don’t be fooled by his offensive numbers—he’s not three notches above anyone else like in previous years” which basically means consider others.

Posted by Ralph on 03/13/11 at 01:23 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Sven

I find it tiring to constantly have to explain why the Detroit Red Wing candidate is not the top candidate.  Nevertheless here goes.  Lidstrom has spent 18% of his ice time at power play and slightly over 70% at even strength.  Visnovsky’s numbers are tilted even more toward even strength play.  17% of his ice time on the power play and 82% at even strength (as he has an insignificant amount of penalty kill time).

So obviously even strength play is far more important than power play time as there is a lot more of it.  At even strength, Visnovsky has far better puck possession (Corsi and +/-) numbers than Lidstrom - when team adjusted the result tilts even more strongly in Visnovsky’s favor.  It is alarming how far Lidstrom’s numbers have dropped in these regions of his game and are (thus far) kept up by his power play time.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/13/11 at 02:01 PM ET

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What do you mean by team adjusted? Corsi rel qot is quality of teammates based on relative corsi, as opposed to raw corsi on in corsi qot

Posted by Ral on 03/13/11 at 02:51 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

This is the simplest team adjustment method for +/- or Corsi ratings.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/13/11 at 02:58 PM ET

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Posted by Ralph on 03/13/11 at 12:23 PM ET

If that is what the line intended to say, then I more or less agree. The race is much tighter this year than in many previous years. Lidstrom IS getting older, and the talent pool of good defensemen is getting deeper.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/13/11 at 01:01 PM ET

I think the biggest difference between you and I, often, is how much stock we put in Corsi/plus-minus/“possession” stats. I think they’re overrated. You value them highly, at least in certain contexts. In that sense, I don’t think we’ll ever agree about certain players should be best measured, but I do appreciate hearing someone coming from your perspective. Seriously.

By the way, Lidstrom is the only Red Wing I would give an individual trophy to this season. I think Datsyuk is worthy of consideration as a Selke and Lady Byng nominee, but there are other players who would make better winners. For what it’s worth.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/13/11 at 03:22 PM ET

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So the adjustment is to team as a whole? I think the most important point here is that it still doesn’t account for guys the player is on ice with. Rafalski is a strong Corsi partner; Stuart is not (pretty sure Lidstrom plays with Stuart now). Visnovsky normally gets Lydman, Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan, the last three making an outstanding power versus power line. Granted, Lidstrom gets Zetterberg, but not even he can really compete with RPG. Maybe with Datsyuk as well, but Z and Dats aren’t locked at the hip like in previous seasons.

Posted by Ral on 03/13/11 at 04:22 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Visnovsky would be a much bigger name player if he had played in the East Conference.  He is a very talented defenceman who has spent his career in markets that don’t play until the eastern sportswriters go to bed. 

this is an interesting point that has been echoed by players in the league.  I’ve read them saying that playing out west they sometimes feel like they’re ignored by the league and the media.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/14/11 at 09:28 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I find it tiring to constantly have to explain why the Detroit Red Wing candidate is not the top candidate.

In this context, how do you, the self-professed “contrarian” make proper register of your own biases when it comes to “objectively” deciding which stats are and are not important in making the numbers help you come to the conclusions you have?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/14/11 at 09:56 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I find it tiring to constantly have to explain why the Detroit Red Wing candidate is not the top candidate.

when the Wings stop being the top team in the past two decades, stop developing talent other teams miss, and stop pumping out players that excel at their position and are considered by many to be among the top players in the world…then maybe you won’t have to explain this any more.

wink

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/14/11 at 11:04 AM ET

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I find it tiring to constantly have to explain why the Detroit Red Wing candidate is not the top candidate.

Well that’s not really my issue. It is rather the way to use statistics somewhat randomly and occasionally contradictory to sustain your bias. Now there is nothing wrong with that per say its irritating when you suggest NL’s only advantage over your preferred candidates is reputation and that is not honest in my opinion.

So the Norris trophy with its general award criteria does invite one to try and measure all aspects of what a defenseman might do for a team. And in this case I’ll look at only the candidates you have noted here or before.

Now on offensive:

Now you say Visnovsky caught Letang. I don’t get that in Letang has been clearly passed in a substantial way by 3 different Defensemen, all of whom play in the on average a stronger defensive conference (GF/GA for the non playoff teams W: -138 E:-203). So if you weighing offense it seems to me Letang’s status has taken a hit and at least two other defensemen aside from Visnovsky have caught Letang (as you say).

Now you argue NL is to be penalized by a bias in his points – 5 on 5 power play. But you seem to have failed to consider history here.  On balance just considering the post lock out period the percentage of Lidstrom’s power play points to his overall points has been very variable, not something you can characterize as a fall off…  In only two seasons did he earn the majority of his points 5 on 5 and in one (2005/6 his percentage of Power Play points (of his total) exceeded his current performance).
It’s true that other 3 candidates all have lower percentages this year , but for example in his Award winning season Chara scored more points on the power play than not.

So now puck possession of course I‘m sure you can find some corsi adjusted stat here. And find maybe they are reasonable accurate.  I really don’t have any desire to engage in any vast stats argument but count me as someone who has grave doubts the ability to adjust ones way to some firm ground out of a non-discreet-event game like Hockey. My background is econometrics and a career in programming biostats and I have seen to many stats and co workers flounder on adjustments and attempts s to look for too much certainly in messy data…  In any case I let this one go so NL loses to the other in some supposed measure that represents of puck possession of the candidates.

But you also sight +/-, now that’s odd. Sure NL has orbited around zero but neither Visnovsky nor Letang are exactly wowing anyone right now. Letang in fact has fallen steady and dramatically from when you cited him as the leader in this race; does that mean his puck possession skills have dropped by more than half?
In all honestly if the Wings have a good week and the Ducks and Penguins don’t the +/- of all three could easily be more or less equal in 7 days. In reality only Chara has maintained a steady and high +/-. If anyone deserves consideration on that front it is him.

So that’s Offense and ‘puck possession’ (ignoring QOC) but what about the defensive side of defense – where you stopped your arguments.

Who has the clear and away best quality of competition? Who plays the most minutes shorthanded? What interesting is Lidstrom easy best all the others even though he plays on by far the least penalized team of any other of your candidates. In fact of all your candidates only ZC and NL show up in the top 60 for shorthanded TOI/60.  As you claim in other posts argument a sure indication of defensive value right?

Visnovsky is clearly the last person his coach trusts to kill penalties and Letang’s numbers are what good for what #109.

On balance than Chara and Lidstrom remain key defensive defenseman unlike Letang and Visnovsky they play a large number of SH minutes and face a better QofC.

Posted by paulklos on 03/14/11 at 04:36 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Paul Klos

The major problem with your essay is that you want to throw away the most important data we have because you are somehow uneasy about it. 

If we argue that all hockey is (on the team level) is Corsi and goaltending (saves percentage), we can do a wonderful job of reproducing the standings.  This would create a model that is successfully predictive as well (i.e. Colorado was not as good as they looked last year and couldn’t sustain things).  Statistically this is one of the deepst understandings of hockey.  Even if you don’t want to accept the stats, it is obvious from watching hockey.  Possessing the puck lis good hockey.  As a proxy for puck possession, the difference in shots attempted between a team and their opponent is very good.

You want to throw up you arms and say that these numbers prove nothing.  It may be due to a lack of understanding of hockey or it may be more sinister in that you don’t aceept them because they don’t favor the Red Wing player.

If you throw out the most important number we have, as you are doing, of course the result is unclear.  It is only with the most important number that it is more obvious who the best defenceman in the league this year is.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/14/11 at 05:40 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So obviously even strength play is far more important than power play time as there is a lot more of it.  At even strength, Visnovsky has far better puck possession (Corsi and +/-) numbers than Lidstrom

You’re talking about throwing out 30% of Lidstrom’s ice time and 28% of Visnovsky’s TOTAL ice time in order to do your numerical calculations.

I’m not going to argue that even strength is somehow unimportant, but don’t preach on about throwing out nearly 1/3rd of a player’s total time on ice for statistical comparison and then chide somebody else because they don’t feel comfortable with a stat.  Seems to me that there’s a certain comfort level with factoring power play and penalty kill time with which you’re struggling.

Especially since the Norris voting should take into account how well any defenseman does in the role he plays.  Lidstrom is better on the power play and significantly better at penalty killing.  Seems that with what Sven said above, as far as scoring goes, he’s better at that even-strength as well.

I would counter your argument that Visnovsky will not get proper Norris consideration because of his lack of history with a counter-point that you refuse to give Lidstrom his proper Norris consideration because of your affinity towards contrarianism.  For you, Lidstrom’s history should somehow be forced to work against him while Visnovsky, as the less-considered pick is more attractive to a contrarian.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/14/11 at 06:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

then chide somebody else because they don’t feel comfortable with a stat.

Sorry, Paul.  Didn’t mean for that to sound like a shot at you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/14/11 at 06:10 PM ET

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No THPSH you misunderstand my point.

I was simply trying acknowledge that due to my background I am deeply cautious of overly complex and corrected statistics as they ably to a complex game like hockey that has few discreet events and many subjective vectors in all of its stats and flow of game.

That being said I accepted your argument that based on whatever individual cors or some such number you want want NL not a front runner in your selection to the extent said number may be some kind of stand in for puck control and to the extent that is deemed a key area to judge Defensemen.

My point was you stopped at that point with just Puck Control and Offense (and your Offense argument was flawed):

In +/- the case is comparatively much more weak (It not Corsi some such but you brought it up). In offense Letang has fallen well out of the top and NL’s relative level of PP points in not as far as I can tell and indication of a decline in skill but within the range of his career over the last 5 or so years.

You omitted entirely any look at other things like short handed play - which you argue elsewhere is the gold standard of defensive ability. In this case Letang and Visnovsky simply do not compare to Chara and NL who face a much higher level of QoC and play far more time Short Handed.

or it may be more sinister in that you don’t aceept them because they don’t favor the Red Wing player.

Sinister??? We are talking about a game not geopolitics…What I question is that you fail to consider one of your own favored metrics for defensive play for Defensemen.

Posted by paulklos on 03/14/11 at 07:09 PM ET

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Honestly if I was planning on sinister I spend more effort to correct my grammar errors…

Posted by paulklos on 03/14/11 at 07:11 PM ET

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You also want to penalize Lidstrom for his skew toward PP points but as I said this is within is range for the last 5 full years.

Also in just raw numbers PP points vs PP/TOI Lidstrom sources a point at far more prolific rate than Visnovsky or Letang. Which kinda gives Lidstrom the edge in the QB the Power play view…

Posted by paulklos on 03/14/11 at 07:28 PM ET

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It also useful to not on rep its not Visnovsky was ever a close 4th for the Norris or ignored, he did play for the Ducks before and put up no great numbers. He has not in the past been viable contender.

Posted by paulklos on 03/14/11 at 07:40 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I am not penalizing anyone for power play work.  I am merely noting that the majority of ice time is played at even strength, so the majority of the rankings of players should be at even strength.

The Norris Trophy should be based on play this season and this season alone.  Nobody should care what the players did last year or any other year, but for the record Visnovsky could have easily been a Norris Trophy nominee in the past when he played in Los Angeles.  I think he would have been nominated then had he been in the eastern time zone.  Nobody should care that Lidstrom has won the Norris Trophy several times in the past.  That has nothing to do with this season.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/14/11 at 09:11 PM ET

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I normally limit myself to one debate entry per PSH thread, but I’ll make an exception in this case.

I agree that Corsi, on a TEAM level, is just about the best metric we have to measure the balance of puck possession. I also agree that TEAM Corsi is a good indicator of how good a team really is, and a good predictor of a team’s future success.

Individual Corsi numbers, though? I don’t have much use for them. You call it “the most important number we have.” But I say any statistic that places Stuart and Lidstrom as the the Red Wings’ two worst defensemen, with Rafalski, Kronwall and Ericsson as their three best, has obvious drawbacks when being used to measure how talented any individual player is, or how valuable his contribution.

The idea of an overall team Corsi makes sense because, on a macro level, a team that can spend more time controlling the puck and attempt more shots than their opponents will likely win a lot of games.

But each player plays a role within that overall framework, and not every player is there to simply pump a ton of shots on net. Players who play in a high number of defensive situations—take away scoring chances, force low-percentage shots, dump or clear the puck than go for a line change—will have a lower individual Corsi. Players who are used offensively will have a higher Corsi, even if they are prone to mistakes that give up high-percentage chances.

Just like plus-minus, individual Corsi numbers need CONTEXT. Lubomir Visnovsky plays as an offense-first defender, usually in combination with the team’s best forwards—just like Lidstrom used to when he played with Schneider and Rafalski (and, not surprisingly, was an excellent Corsi player). Lidstrom, in 2010-11, is playing in a much more defensive role at even strength, with a defense-first partner (Stuart) and not necessarily with the team’s top forwards.

Among all NHL defensemen with at least 20 games played, Lidstrom ranks No. 1 in quality of competition as ranked by plus-minus, and No. 2 in quality of competition as ranked by relative Corsi.

Among all NHL defensemen with at least 20 games played, Visnovsky ranks No. 1 in quality of TEAMMATES as ranked by plus-minus, and No. 5 in quality of teammates as ranked by relative Corsi. (His regular partner, Toni Lydman, leads that list).

On average, the relative plus-minus and Corsi of Visnovsky’s on-ice teammates greatly exceeds that of his competition. The opposite is true for Lidstrom.

OF COURSE VISNOVSKY’S CORSI WILL BE HIGHER. MUCH HIGHER. This is not because he is a better player, or because he’s having a better season. It’s because Lidstrom and Visnovsky ARE DIFFERENT PLAYERS WITH DIFFERENT ROLES, and Visnovsky’s role is much more suited to good Corsi numbers than Lidstrom’s.

And yet, despite Lidstrom’s Corsi disadvantage, he is STILL near-equal in points with Visnovsky because, when Lidstrom does get the opportunity to play in offensive situations, he dominates—as evidenced by the fact that he is STILL the best powerplay quarterback in the NHL (his 34 PP points are still six clear of the nearest competitor).

I have already demonstrated that Lidstrom’s overall offensive numbers are essentially equal (and in fact slightly better) than Visnovsky’s when even-strength and powerplay scoring and minutes are combined.

I have already demonstrated that Lidstrom is the the more trusted defensive player, as evidenced by his high quality of competition ratings and his extensive use as a penalty killer.

Yet you are arguing that Visnovsky is the better defensemen this season, and the centerpiece of your argument is that the Ducks command a greater percentage of attempted shots at even strength when Visnovsky is on the ice than the Red Wings do when Lidstrom is on the ice.

I’m sorry, but that’s a weak argument. You cannot make those types of comparisons using individual Corsi alone. It just doesn’t work that way.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/14/11 at 11:32 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Yet you are arguing that Visnovsky is the better defensemen this season, and the centerpiece of your argument is that the Ducks command a greater percentage of attempted shots at even strength when Visnovsky is on the ice than the Red Wings do when Lidstrom is on the ice.

This statement is false.  There are several ways that we can put the Corsi number into context.  I think the most meaningful is to compare to other players on his own team - this can quickly be done as an on/off ice comparison as behind the net does.  This makes Visnovsky look far better than Lidstrom.

The Lidstrom argument is that he plays against a high quality of opposition.  That shows who he plays against and not his success doing so.  It certainly helps to explain a poor number from Lidstrom, but not so much when the second best quality of competition among defencemen is Brent Seabrook who has a much better team adjusted Corsi.  Lidstrom is approximately equal to Jay Bouwmeester here by team adjusted Corsi.  That suggests Lidstrom is about as good in a puck possession game as Bouwmeester - Lidstrom gets the advantage from his tougher quality of competition - but they are pretty similar.  There is nothing in this quality of competition to make up for the difference between Visnovsky and Lidstrom.

I don’t expect anything other than special pleading for Detroit Red Wing players here.  Anytime I suggest that any player who is not on Detroit should win an award I get attacked as long as any Red Wing is vaguely a candidate.  The argument often goes from assuming that of course the Red wing should win and all evidence to the contrary is dismissed and analyzed to the nth degree, while anything that supports a Red Wing is immediately accepted as a strong argument.

Nicklas Lidstrom is a good defenceman.  He has been a great defenceman.  He no longer is able to play an even strength puck possession game and that represents a significant decline.  Without that decline, Lidstrom would be the Norris Trophy winner by a large margin, but with it he isn’t a clear front-runner.  He is at best one of several candidates.  He is the one held onto by people who vote based on reputation (probably enough to give him the award) but not based on what they actually saw on the ice in 2010/11 and of course Detroit fans who vote based on laundry if the Red Wing candidate is at all plausible.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/14/11 at 11:58 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t expect anything other than special pleading for Detroit Red Wing players here.  Anytime I suggest that any player who is not on Detroit should win an award I get attacked as long as any Red Wing is vaguely a candidate.  The argument often goes from assuming that of course the Red wing should win and all evidence to the contrary is dismissed and analyzed to the nth degree, while anything that supports a Red Wing is immediately accepted as a strong argument.

That’s right, Red Wings fans are completely incapable of objective thought.  Only YOU are capable of objective thought.

As I said above, the nature of your writing suggests about you the complete opposite of the quote I laid above:

I don’t expect anything other than special pleading against Detroit Red Wings players here.  Anytime somebody suggests that any player who is on Detroit should win an award, they get attacked as long as any non Red Wing is vaguely a candidate.  The argument often goes from assuming that, of course, the Red Wings should never win and all evidence to the contrary is dismissed and analyzed to the nth degree, while anything that supports a non-Red Wing is immediately accepted as a strong argument.

Sounds about right, I’d say…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/15/11 at 12:26 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Based on the factI have frequently supported Red Wings for awards, even when they are not media frontrunners.  For example I pick Mike babcock as the runaway coach of the year.  Ckearlly that is the beahviour of somebody who you claim will special plead against any Red Wing candidate.

I think the problem here is groupthink.  You Red Wing fans have a great community here, but you are too fast to shout down anything that vaguely goes against the idea that the Red wings are the best team and their players are all the best.  It is easy to accept those ideas when any evidence to the contrary is drowned out.  Anyone who attempts to be objective and picks other teams sometimes s attacked.  It creates an echo chamber where you are rarely looking at a wide range of the facts. 

JJ, you are one of the ones more immune from this environment, but you can often get caught up in it.  Many others are far far worse.  There are people who have admitted in my comments that they are here to shout down anyone who says anything they perceive as a slight to the Red Wings regardless of facts.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/15/11 at 12:34 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

JJ, you are one of the ones more immune from this environment, but you can often get caught up in it.  Many others are far far worse.  There are people who have admitted in my comments that they are here to shout down anyone who says anything they perceive as a slight to the Red Wings regardless of facts.

Well thank you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/15/11 at 12:42 AM ET

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PSH: make sure you consider quality of teammates, too.

I hope Vic Ferrari updates the playershot scripts soon. We really need to know how much of Lidstrom’s shutdown ESTOI is with Zetterberg on ice, too. If it’s a large part, then the difference between their Corsis reflects pretty poorly on Lidstrom.

Above, regarding Visnovsky—The Ducks literally cannot trust anyone but their top pairing of Visnovsky-Lydman against top lines. Yes, they also put out RPG or Selanne, and then Visnovsky’s Corsi Rel is really, really high.

There is no simply, reliable Corsi adjustment for quality of competition/teammates at this point. Hockey Analytics had something about a regression-based adjustment for plus-minus which I haven’t read, but right now you’re probably best off just estimating.

Lidstrom. Notice the steep decline in quality of teammates. Brad Stuart hasn’t been all that good, either. Nonetheless, isn’t Lidstrom’s decline in TOI indicative that perhaps he’s taken a step back? And with that in mind, Visnovsky this season looks awfully comparable to Lidstrom 2009-2010.

While looking up Visnovsky, well, Zdeno Chara is comparable. Lower Corsi with lower quality of teammates. And, although he shouldn’t be in the discussion, John Carlson’s underlying numbers are very strong, and he’s only 20. Future Norris winner? If he can quarterback PP1, I think.

Posted by Ralph on 03/15/11 at 12:43 AM ET

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Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/14/11 at 11:34 PM ET

Not to nitpick, but I agreed with your choice of Jonathan Toews for Selke, even over my beloved Datsyuk. And I actually disagree with you about Babcock for the Adams (PSH argues for the Red Wing while Red Wings fan argues for a non-Wing! Blasphemy!) So while I understand that you would feel defensive about the crap you take from a number of Wings fans here—I would too—I also think it’s unfair to sort all of this in the “special pleading” bin.

I’m sorry if you feel attacked by me. I have always tried to respect your intelligence as an analyst and address the content of your posts, and avoid personal accusations or attacks. If that doesn’t come across, sorry.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/15/11 at 12:54 AM ET

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I don’t expect anything other than special pleading for Detroit Red Wing players here.

You however consider any contrary evidence as special pleading.

In this case we have three defenesmen in the discussion, I don’t see the special pleading to not that Visnovsky is just about the last defenesman ANA trusts to be on the PK. While Letang plays some minutes his is also likely sheltered by two or three or defensmen who log far more SH/TOI on his team. Lidstrom plays more SH time than either and is the second choice on his team after Stuart.

You argued before that SH/TOI is valuable measure of a player’s defensive role. In this case I would agree it equivocal between Lindstrom and Letang, but it seem a reasonable and valid point to say Visnovsky is not considered a very skilled defensive defensman by his team and is not allowed to play on the PK.

Posted by paulklos on 03/15/11 at 11:57 AM ET

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Without mentioning any names, this is a partial list of why I’m uncomfortable with using Corsi or relative Corsi to measure individual player value:

1. Corsi discriminates against players who play more of a defensive role at even strength. An offensive-minded forward or defensemen will usually have a higher Corsi ranking than a player who plays a more defensive game. Corsi does not factor in the role that players play, even within a single team.

2. Just like plus-minus, Corsi assigns equal credit or blame to all five players on the ice whenever a shot is taken, regardless of whether or not each individual player had a role in the play. Just because the sample size increases does not mean it’s any more accurate on an individual level. Furthermore, it’s incredibly difficult to separate consistent linemates via Corsi, even if those linemates are contributing unevenly to shots and shots against.

3. Relative Corsi (adjusted by team) discriminates against teams with depth by overcorrecting for team strength. I said no names, but take Detroit for example. The Red Wings have somewhere between two and three good scoring lines and four to five pretty good defensemen. The remaining bottom six forwards are fast skaters and hard workers who can cycle and control the play, if not actually score a whole lot. As a result, the average Corsi level on the team is very high, and a guy like Datsyuk (sorry, a name—no more after this) can only earn a relative Corsi of about 10 or 11, even though he absolutely dominates possession while he’s on the ice.

Compare this to a team like, say, Anaheim, which has a lot of below-average forwards with bad Corsi ratings playing regular shifts on the bottom two lines. These poor Corsi performers drag down the off-ice Corsi for Anaheim’s core offensive players, and makes their relative Corsi look much more talented by comparison.

I will propose the following: We rewind to the beginning of the season. Anaheim trades Winchester, McMillan, Sexton, Parros and Marchant straight up for Eaves, Helm, Miller, Draper and Abdelkader.

How much you want to bet that that trade does wonders for Datsyuk’s relative Corsi, and pretty good damage to Visnovsky’s—even though neither Datsyuk nor Visnovsky would skate a regular shift with any of them. (Sorry, two more names. I’m done now.)

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/15/11 at 12:31 PM ET

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Regarding #2…two things.

Vic Ferrari has a script that allows you to see a guy’s Corsi with and without such-and-such player. Like here’s all the Caps last year while on ice with Ovechkin.

http://timeonice.com/playershots0910.php?team=WSH&first=20001&last=21230&shawn=8

You can filter by home/road, score, game, and a few other things.

Second, Winging it in Motown does CSSI (I’m not sure if you know or not), and that’s like subjective plus-minus. The ratings pass the sniff test for me, though they don’t consider zone starts. Tracking chart

Posted by Ralph on 03/15/11 at 01:11 PM ET

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Posted by Ralph on 03/15/11 at 12:11 PM ET

Thanks for the links.

CSSI is a revelation. Obviously, the methodology is highly subjective, but the figures (especially the adjusted plus-minus) seem to present a view of player value and contribution more in line with what I might expect from watching the games (e.g., Lidstrom is much higher up the chain than Rafalski, whereas the objective stats claim the reverse).

Thanks for maintaining that system, J.J. Obviously I need to read more Wings blogs.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/15/11 at 02:00 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Thanks for maintaining that system, J.J. Obviously I need to read more Wings blogs.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/15/11 at 01:00 PM ET

I’m glad you like it.  It’s been pretty rewarding this season to keep it up.  I’ll admit that there’s a lot of subjectivity that goes into the ratings, but I haven’t tried to avoid that; I’ve just tried to remain consistent with it and I think that, with the help of the commenters, we’ve been able to put together a good tracking system.

Unfortunately, as it pertains to discussing the Norris, it can’t be used to compare because I have no idea where Visnovsky’s CSSI-adjusted rating would be.  I do think it’s telling that Lidstrom’s rating is the highest among Red Wings’ defensemen by far though.  The intangibles that the regular numbers don’t pick up stil show that he’s far ahead of his competition at least among his teammates and likely among the entire league.  There’s something to be said for having a defenseman on your team that, when you see he’s the last guy back on a 2-on-1 rush, you relax a little bit.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/15/11 at 02:54 PM ET

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