Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

The Analytics Process

11/19/2021 at 11:10am EST

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Jeff Blashill receives a report the morning after each Detroit Red Wings game. The information ranges from raw data to sophisticated statistics, and what the coach cares about most is scoring chances, a metric that is more complex than it might seem.

The first place his eyes go is the total scoring chances for each team. If he's looking at players, the first place his eyes go is the even-strength plus-minus in terms of scoring chances for each individual. Digging deeper, he can see breakdowns of scoring chances by situation (such as 5-on-5, power play and penalty kill), type (such as forecheck, rush and face-off) and grade (A or B).

"It is the No. 1 thing I go back and look at," Blashill said. "Did we out-chance them, or did they out-chance us? Did a certain player create chances or give up chances, and to what degree? Ultimately, that's really what the game is about."

Put aside the result. How was the process?

"The emotion of wins and losses cloud your judgment, and they cloud how you feel about how the game went," Blashill said. "I've used scoring chances lots to tell our team, 'Listen, we lost last night, but here's what the scoring chances were. If we do that [in the future], you're winning for sure,' and vice versa, 'Hey, we're winning right now, but we're getting out-chanced. If we keep doing this, we're not going to keep winning.'

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