by PuckStopsHere on 05/13/14 at 12:36 AM ET
In his column this Sunday Steve Simmons wrote:
A quick Rick Nash update: He leads the Stanley Cup playoffs with 49 shots on goal and is last in the playoffs with no goals scored. In 24 career playoff games for the Rangers, he has 91 shots, one goal. And last I checked, he was third in the playoffs in Corsi. The Corsi leader was Nick Leddy in Chicago, who was made a healthy scratch the other day by coach Joel Quenneville
This is not the first time that Simmons has said negative but incorrect things about Corsi, but this is the most incorrect he has been so far. In the past he has bashed Corsi because Tyler Seguin had a good Corsi rating and that somehow disproved the whole idea of Corsi. As stupid as that logic is, Seguin's 2013/14 season showed that his puck possession as measured by his Corsi was a good sign that he was soon to establish himself as a star. He followed that up by arguing that the Leafs penalty killing led by Jay McClement disproved the Corsi concept. Penalty killing is not included in Corsi ratings at all and Jay McClement after adjustment for his zone starts had an above average Corsi. These attempts to bash Corsi were at best misguided and at worst outright stupidity.
Corsi ratings are the difference between shots attempted by a team when a player is on the ice in even strength situations and the shot attempts they allow. It is a strong measure of puck possession. It is a number that is often affected by context. If you play on a bad team or in tough defensive situations you will have a low Corsi and that in no way makes you a bad player. It is possible to make adjustments to the numbers based on context to learn a lot about the quality of your play be it good or bad.
When I look at Simmons recent comment i am perplexed about where and when he looked up Corsi numbers. He definitely didn't do it recently and using the actual NHL numbers. The top five players by raw counting Corsi numbers in the playoffs this year before the start of today's games are: 1. Sidney Crosby 2. Evgeni Malkin 3. Paul Martin 4. Riley Smith 5. Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kunitz tied. Nick Leddy ranks 31st. Rick Nash ranks 39th. Obviously that isn't what he is talking about with his comment. Maybe he is looking at rate stats where players are ranked by Corsi per minute. This can be problematic because players with hardly any ice time can by fluke have a high rating. It is the same as a player leading the NHL in goals per game by scoring one goal in his only game. That is hardly a sign that he is a top player in the NHL. However that cannot be it. Leddy ranks 39th and Nash 79th as a rate stat.
My only response to Simmons comment is that it is wrong. His Corsi stats that he quotes are wrong. Thus his comment based on the garbage he put in is garbage out. Does he not have fact checking? Is the fact that he coached his comment as last he checked an admission that he checked several games ago (if he checked at all)? I cannot find any time period where Leddy or Nash rise to the top in playoff Corsi ratings.
What do we learn from this? Because there is no easy source of Corsi numbers in the mainstream hockey sites it is easy to mislead people about who the Corsi leaders are. The best source for online Corsi numbers is behindthenet.ca. I recommend you look for them there if you quickly want to see some stats.
The only comment I can truly make about Simmons recent comment is it is wrong. It is wrong on a level that should be embarrassing to anyone who is a paid media member who publishes in a major newspaper. His claiming Rick Nash and Nick Leddy are Corsi leaders in the playoffs is as correct as if I claimed Martin St Louis and Erik Haula are the playoff goal leaders and using that to bash the statistic of goals. In both cases it would be horribly wrong. It begs the question as to whether or not anyone fact checks Steve Simmons. If they do how could such a crazy statement that is easily shown to be factually false in his column? To give him the benefit of the doubt maybe he checked the playoff Corsi ratings many games ago (although I tried and failed to find any time when the stats where similar to what he claims) and he is dishonestly using out of date numbers. At any rate this comment is wrong. It may have confused some because they have no easy access to actual numbers to see how off base Simmons is.
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