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Analytics Talk

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

What is this, Fight Club?

Is the first rule of analytics that NHL teams cannot talk about analytics? Ask too many questions on the topic and employees begin to get dodgy. They speak in code or use vague descriptions, running out the clock as if talking longer creates the illusion of a complete answer. They say things like:

“I can’t think of an easy way to do it without getting into things that I probably shouldn’t get into.”

“We probably can’t be that specific.”

“Getting into specifics of an example or two would be a little challenging for me.”

Every NHL team today has an analytics department, and each team protects its statistical secrets as though they belong in the giant warehouse where Steven Spielberg stashed the Ark of the Covenant. That advanced hockey statistics are held in such high regard is quite the coup for the “spreadsheet” community. Ten to 15 years ago, before terms like Corsi, Fenwick, possession, WAR and expected goals went mainstream, advanced stats were a niche for nerds. Hockey’s gatekeepers – the old-guard establishment comprised mostly of former players who’d ascended to roles as scouts, coaches and GMs – brushed them aside.


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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