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How success kills good teams (and why S. Gionta needs benching)


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#141 SterioDesign

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:58 AM

I have said a huge number of times on here that 'advanced stats' (which I've mostly stopped calling them - I like microstats better) are as simple as can be.  If it were easier to count them, and if the NHL had been counting them on its own, people would be talking about them a lot more.  So everyone gets that aspect, I'm sure.  I agree that not everyone can think stochastically, which you have to be able to do to understand how microstats work. You have to think goals are in essence random events that come from shots.  A lot of people don't believe that, and that's where the difference is.  They understand how the stat is generated, but they don't believe its meaning.  And a lot of times, it doesn't seem like a goal is a random event, so that's why people deny it - if a player at all points of a particular play has agency, let's say at one point he picks up the puck at his own blueline, pushes it past a defender, comes in alone on the goalie, dekes him, and scores, how can that be random?  I guess I'll leave it to you to explain to me why I would think that at some level that's 'random'.

 

squishyx can point out 100 different examples that he thinks disprove my argument, but I'm not going to sit here and deny all of them.  Either come up with several examples that form a larger pattern, or at least be intellectually honest.  He's done neither thing.

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately we don't have the results of Monday's game, but Stephen Gionta + teammates have a 16.67% shooting percentage while on the ice and that is before scoring on Monday - we know he at the very least maintained that percentage, but it probably went up.  That's unsustainable.  I just showed you that from 2007 to 2012, the highest shooting percentage was Sidney Crosby's at 11.something.  It's great that he and his linemates are scoring, but it cannot last like this.  Either his and his linemates shooting rate will have to increase, or the goals they score will decrease.  It's inevitable.  You can deny it, but it's going to happen.  It's great that Gionta has contributed so much so far, but expecting him to continue to contribute anything close is denying reality.

 

My point is that an hockey game is so random and can go in so many different way that every game has its own story.

 

What are you talking about we don't have the results? WE SAW THE GAME! he SCORED and got a few good chances with a good forecheck and doing what they asked him to do. Finished 2 to 1 for Ottawa, why do you need your Shooting % numbers to make any kind of statement to justify anything?


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#142 Triumph

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:49 AM

My point is that an hockey game is so random and can go in so many different way that every game has its own story.

 

Sure.  I agree.  Like I said, I don't place a high value in single-game Corsi.  'He had a bad Corsi therefore he had a bad game' is a dumb argument.  But it's when you start adding games together that a larger story emerges.

 

 

 

What are you talking about we don't have the results? WE SAW THE GAME! he SCORED and got a few good chances with a good forecheck and doing what they asked him to do. Finished 2 to 1 for Ottawa, why do you need your Shooting % numbers to make any kind of statement to justify anything?

 

I wanted the numbers I was about to use to be precise.  'We saw the game' is not much of an argument.   I also doubt they got a few good chances, which is why 'We saw the game' isn't a very good argument - sometimes people see a different game.  That's where the numbers come in.  Over enough games, the numbers don't lie (much).


Edited by Triumph, 20 February 2013 - 10:51 AM.

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#143 NLinfante

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:08 AM

Tri,
I know we dont perfectly see eye to eye on this, but we agree much more than you and a lot of other members do. I dont think that Corsi is a substitute for watching the game, but I also think it is absolutely a valid tool for gathering long term data.

With that being said, if you were paid to be a scout at any level, there's no way you would base your decisions on players based on their Corsi...even over an entire season. Again, I'm not saying it's "BS", useless, etc, but I do believe that it's foolish to judge a player's "overall effectiveness" on a stat. I've played hockey most of my 26 year life, and I've been a coach since graduating college. I would never attempt to explain to you who my best players are by their +/-, corsi, fenwick, etc. That's just the way it is.

But mostly, I'm confused why so many people on this board think assessing players has to be one way or the other. If we can agree that neither stats nor watching the game can tell a player's story in its entirety, why not adopt both as valid?
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#144 EdgeControl

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

Why is Carters and Gios 5 vs 5 corsi's so different?  I havent noticed a large shifting difference


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#145 Colorado Rockies 1976

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

Tri,
I know we dont perfectly see eye to eye on this, but we agree much more than you and a lot of other members do. I dont think that Corsi is a substitute for watching the game, but I also think it is absolutely a valid tool for gathering long term data.

With that being said, if you were paid to be a scout at any level, there's no way you would base your decisions on players based on their Corsi...even over an entire season. Again, I'm not saying it's "BS", useless, etc, but I do believe that it's foolish to judge a player's "overall effectiveness" on a stat. I've played hockey most of my 26 year life, and I've been a coach since graduating college. I would never attempt to explain to you who my best players are by their +/-, corsi, fenwick, etc. That's just the way it is.

But mostly, I'm confused why so many people on this board think assessing players has to be one way or the other. If we can agree that neither stats nor watching the game can tell a player's story in its entirety, why not adopt both as valid?

 

Re:  the last line of your post, I would agree...I think it takes a little bit of everything to get a true picture.  And even then, as we've seen, there will still be many differing opinions on a player's performance.   

 

Tri always brings some interesting stat angles to the table, especially since most hockey fans still aren't that aware of them.  Tri's problem has always been bedside manners when it comes to presentation...he can be arrogant, condescending, and almost robotic at times, and it has a way of getting under some people's skin (admittedly Tri has ticked me off more than once).  I think his demeanor has turned off some fans' to the Fenwicks and Corsis and other microstats he brings to the board.  But I've also defended his viewpoints when I've agreed with them, and I don't think he's far off on Gio to this point...yeah, the numbers for him look pretty good, but beyond the obvious numbers, there's solid reasons to wonder if he can possibly keep this up.


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#146 RangersSuck23

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:31 PM

I think we are overreacting a bit here. The CGBG line is playing against the top line of the other team, and then our 1st and 2nd lines are playing against weaker lines. In this case, i wold expect them to get more point production, which in kovy's, clarkson's and elias's case is working, but for Zajac and frankly Henrique the past few games it isn't.  They need to pick up their play


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#147 Triumph

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

With that being said, if you were paid to be a scout at any level, there's no way you would base your decisions on players based on their Corsi...even over an entire season.

 

You're absolutely right, I wouldn't.  And the lower in levels one goes, the less relevance I think Corsi and its ilk have.  But I've never said that Corsi is the end-all anyway, even in the NHL.  Here's how I evaluate players, in general:

 

Hopefully, I've seen the player and remember something about him - his general style of play.  I'll go to behindthenet and get his 'player card' - this will tell me his Corsi, Zone Start, Quality of Competition, and Quality of Teammates.  I have undefined benchmarks for these things, but basically to try to judge if a player's keeping his head above water, I'll see if he's starting more often in the defensive or offensive zone, who he's playing with, who he's playing against, and where his Corsi ends up, both absolutely and relative to his teammates.  Then I'll pop on over to hockeyanalysis to see WoWYs - that's with or without you - to see - do players do better with him or without him?  Now there's a lot of issues that come in with this measure - for an example, Petr Sykora looks better than people like Elias and Zubrus, but that's in part because Sykora was pulled off late in games last year when the Devils had a lead.  This will make his Fenwick/Corsi look better by comparison because teams are ahead tend to be outshot.  

 

 

Again, I'm not saying it's "BS", useless, etc, but I do believe that it's foolish to judge a player's "overall effectiveness" on a stat.

 

Again, I wouldn't do that either - I do not say 'Player A has a better Corsi/Fenwick than Player B, therefore he is better'.  Also these things leave out special teams, which can be awfully important (and the stats community really hasn't figured out how to measure special teams at the individual level).  But I will definitely think if a player is being driven backwards significantly, and isn't being started a ton in the defensive zone, isn't playing with overly rotten teammates, and isn't being sent out against the other team's best a huge amount, that it's unlikely he's a good NHLer or a guy I'd want to have on my team.

 

 

I've played hockey most of my 26 year life, and I've been a coach since graduating college. I would never attempt to explain to you who my best players are by their +/-, corsi, fenwick, etc. That's just the way it is.

 

I wouldn't do that either - as I said above, the lower level you go, the less Fenwick matters, and here's why:

 

A) The effectiveness of Fenwick as a measure depends on the idea that 'shot quality' doesn't exist at the NHL level - that is to say that NHL defenses are so good that basically how many shots you give up is what counts.  No one's found an argument for shot quality existing in a significant way at the NHL level.   But at lower levels, I imagine it exists more and more - as more defensive errors result in odd-man rushes and breakaways and so forth, shot quality becomes a bigger deal.

 

B) The effectiveness of this stat also to a degree assumes that all goalies are equal, something which is less likely to be the case as the gap between talent widens, as it would in lower leagues.

 

C) We know score effects - that teams who lead tend to be outshot, whereas teams who trail tend to outshoot - exist in the NHL, but that's because NHL teams are bunched together tightly in terms of competition.  But in lower levels, where the gaps tend to be wider, we can't assume score effects still hold true.  Plus as talent gaps widen, scores widen, and it's hard to generate anything meaningful territorial stat wise in blowouts.  They just don't happen often in the NHL.

 

The Rangers just told the media they use 'Nielson Numbers' - that's where a player gets a plus for a positive play and a negative for a negative play - I imagine if I coached, I'd try to use something like this to guide me somewhat, but the eyes tell a lot more at lower level hockey.   This would just be a way of codifying what the eyes are seeing.

 

and if I coached hockey, you would never hear me talk about Fenwick or Corsi to a player.  There are tools for evaluating players which have no relevance in the actual on-field/ice production.  WAR in baseball measures how many wins a particular player contributes over a 'replacement player' - it's way better at evaluating MLB players than any scout could possibly be.  It's not perfect, but it beats humans.  Still, it would be absurd for a manager to talk about increasing a player's WAR - WAR is made up of many things, hitting, fielding, baserunning, etc. - he should be trying to improve at these individual elements.  So too with Fenwick/Corsi - a player shouldn't be looking to, absent other forces, direct more pucks at the opponent's net and have fewer directed at their own net.  They should be better at back-checking, at stick-checking, at staying in position, at breaking the puck out of the zone, at passing the puck prudently versus shooting it, and so forth.  Fenwick and Corsi just take all of this into account, because what matters in the end is having the puck and putting it on the opponent's net - my argument in here has been that Stephen Gionta hasn't been doing that enough.

 

But mostly, I'm confused why so many people on this board think assessing players has to be one way or the other. If we can agree that neither stats nor watching the game can tell a player's story in its entirety, why not adopt both as valid?

 

I don't think it has to be one way or another.  I don't reject the eyes completely.  But I let my eyes inform the stats and the stats inform my eyes.  If I see a guy's struggling numbers-wise, I try to look for why.  Ditto if I think a guy is sucking but the numbers are telling me he isn't.


Edited by Triumph, 20 February 2013 - 12:39 PM.

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#148 NLinfante

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:49 PM

Imagine that, you've responded intelligently to many of the points I've made without being "arrogant" or "robotic". There can be peace in the Forum again.

(BTW, that's me defending Triumph for the record)


But since I'm a pot stirrer...

Again, I wouldn't do that either - I do not say 'Player A has a better Corsi/Fenwick than Player B, therefore he is better'.  Also these things leave out special teams, which can be awfully important (and the stats community really hasn't figured out how to measure special teams at the individual level).  But I will definitely think if a player is being driven backwards significantly, and isn't being started a ton in the defensive zone, isn't playing with overly rotten teammates, and isn't being sent out against the other team's best a huge amount, that it's unlikely he's a good NHLer or a guy I'd want to have on my team.

Just for the record, your point in your first post was to educate everyone on how badly Gio has been by looking at team shot % @ even strength. Even though you admit it has been against good competition, you've stated your preference that he be benched because of how bad the numbers are. No real mention of "all the other things he does"...if there are any in your opinion.

Edited by NLinfante, 20 February 2013 - 12:50 PM.

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#149 SterioDesign

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

with all of that being said can we all agree now that singling out ONE GUY of a bottom line playing near 10 minutes a game is KILLING the team not based on his production or what he brings but based on his projected shooting %  long term is pretty foolish? especially when he has been matched to the top line really often

 

i'd like to get a vote on that.


Edited by SterioDesign, 20 February 2013 - 12:52 PM.

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#150 NLinfante

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

with all of that being said can we all agree now that singling out ONE GUY of a bottom line playing near 10 minutes a game is KILLING the team not based on his production or what he brings but based on his projected shooting %  long term is pretty foolish?
 
i'd like to get a vote on that.

I will go half way with you. If there is a problem with the Devils, I don't believe it falls solely on the shoulders of Gio. I dont believe he is "KILLING" us at all. However, I do believe that his shooting % will decrease over time because he is not a premier NHL player. If I'm wrong, that's great because any scoring of his helps the team I root for passionately.
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#151 Devils731

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

Why is Carters and Gios 5 vs 5 corsi's so different?  I havent noticed a large shifting difference

 

I haven't either, but I'm guessing it's a combination of when they're shifting on and off, a winger is more likely to stay on a little longer to be the forechecker during a line change(when positive Corsi events happen) and a center is more likely to stay on a little longer during long shifts in the defensive zone(when negative Corsi events happen) the way the Devils are running things, and Bernier being on the PP and Gionta on the PK messes up who they shift with after the PP and PK end for a minute or two. 


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#152 SterioDesign

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:02 PM

I will go half way with you. If there is a problem with the Devils, I don't believe it falls solely on the shoulders of Gio. I dont believe he is "KILLING" us at all. However, I do believe that his shooting % will decrease over time because he is not a premier NHL player. If I'm wrong, that's great because any scoring of his helps the team I root for passionately.

 

the problem now with the Devils is that they have a 4th line playing 3rd line and all those guys are playing too much for what they should bring to an NHL team, a solid 3rd line should make a huge difference but with Zubrus out it's complicated


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#153 Devil Dan 56

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:04 PM

I will go half way with you. If there is a problem with the Devils, I don't believe it falls solely on the shoulders of Gio. I dont believe he is "KILLING" us at all. However, I do believe that his shooting % will decrease over time because he is not a premier NHL player. If I'm wrong, that's great because any scoring of his helps the team I root for passionately.

 

I think most of us can agree there. I think the argument is why bench him now? If he is effective, why are we using microstats to say he should be benched when, for the moment, he's contributing? He can always be benched when his luck runs out.


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#154 Devils731

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:09 PM

I think most of us can agree there. I think the argument is why bench him now? If he is effective, why are we using microstats to say he should be benched when, for the moment, he's contributing? He can always be benched when his luck runs out.

 

The problem is if you bench a guy after his luck runs out, you've used him for a bunch of games where he wasn't good and he paid the price for it.  You'll never know his luck has run out ahead of time, because luck is random.  That's one reason to use microstats to verify what you see on the ice, it can let you be more confident and quick in your decision making about who is or isn't performing.

 

It'd be like if we were flipping coins for money, and you won every time we flipped heads and I won every time we flipped tails.  If you won 8 times out of the first 10 flips, and you wanted to leave a winner, would your best bet be to keep playing and try to win bigger or to take your lucky money and walk away?


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#155 Triumph

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

the problem now with the Devils is that they have a 4th line playing 3rd line and all those guys are playing too much for what they should bring to an NHL team, a solid 3rd line should make a huge difference but with Zubrus out it's complicated

 

I guess the Devils did get Ponikarovsky since Zubrus went out, but I don't see why Zubrus's injury has anything to do with it.  They've been using the Gionta line the same way all year.


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#156 Devil Dan 56

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

The problem is if you bench a guy after his luck runs out, you've used him for a bunch of games where he wasn't good and he paid the price for it.  You'll never know his luck has run out ahead of time, because luck is random.  That's one reason to use microstats to verify what you see on the ice, it can let you be more confident and quick in your decision making about who is or isn't performing.

 

It'd be like if we were flipping coins for money, and you won every time we flipped heads and I won every time we flipped tails.  If you won 8 times out of the first 10 flips, and you wanted to leave a winner, would your best bet be to keep playing and try to win bigger or to take your lucky money and walk away?

 

Understandable reasoning there. But at this moment, how would it be justified benching him when he is still contributing? How could it be said that he is 'killing the team' and 'contributing zero'? I feel he's (currently) balancing out poor microstats by producing goals, assists, chances, etc (at the moment, of course). I don't think anyone feels he will be top 5 in the team in scoring all year. If he is, we are in serious trouble.


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#157 SterioDesign

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

Gionta is bringing energy and thats wearing off on other players and you will never find a way to put that in stats, we're missing Zach who was that energy guy and thats why im noticing Gionta so much cause he's always hustling and forechecking you dont see that effort from all of our guys


Edited by SterioDesign, 20 February 2013 - 01:34 PM.

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#158 Triumph

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:43 PM

Gionta is bringing energy and thats wearing off on other players and you will never find a way to put that in stats, we're missing Zach who was that energy guy and thats why im noticing Gionta so much cause he's always hustling and forechecking you dont see that effort from all of our guys

 

It has to be possible to find a guy who brings similar energy and is a better overall hockey player.

 

 

Imagine that, you've responded intelligently to many of the points I've made without being "arrogant" or "robotic". There can be peace in the Forum again.

 

I'd like to think that if someone responds intelligently to me that I return the courtesy, but I know I'm not batting 1.000 in this regard.

But since I'm a pot stirrer...Just for the record, your point in your first post was to educate everyone on how badly Gio has been by looking at team shot % @ even strength. Even though you admit it has been against good competition, you've stated your preference that he be benched because of how bad the numbers are. No real mention of "all the other things he does"...if there are any in your opinion.

 

Which there aren't many.  Sterio brings up intangibles, but my thinking is that intangibles are cheap.  Most players at the NHL margins are going to work real hard.  Most players at the NHL margins know not to be a jerk in the locker room.  And the numbers are pretty darn bad - hard to justify it on that alone.


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#159 SterioDesign

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

i think you're underestimating intangibles Tri, i suspect you never played high caliber sports and mostly just sat there watching them analyzing them as much as you could.

 

i could be totally wrong but anyone who played in good teams knows damn well that to be successful as a team you don't need simply skills, you need lot's of intangibles and chemistry and stuff that stats can't show, other than maybe those 2 guys have a higher shooting % when they play together than those 2.


Edited by SterioDesign, 20 February 2013 - 02:06 PM.

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#160 devlman

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

Re:  the last line of your post, I would agree...I think it takes a little bit of everything to get a true picture.  And even then, as we've seen, there will still be many differing opinions on a player's performance.   

 

Tri always brings some interesting stat angles to the table, especially since most hockey fans still aren't that aware of them.  Tri's problem has always been bedside manners when it comes to presentation...he can be arrogant, condescending, and almost robotic at times, and it has a way of getting under some people's skin (admittedly Tri has ticked me off more than once).  I think his demeanor has turned off some fans' to the Fenwicks and Corsis and other microstats he brings to the board.  But I've also defended his viewpoints when I've agreed with them, and I don't think he's far off on Gio to this point...yeah, the numbers for him look pretty good, but beyond the obvious numbers, there's solid reasons to wonder if he can possibly keep this up.

 

Im sure if the original post was presented like it is in bold, instead of the hyperbolic 'gionta is killing the team' or that his line 'isnt even a good fourth line', or that Gionta is 'far from an NHL player' and 'never will be', then more people would not tune out the corsi and other stats presented. You cant expect people to take the objective stats when its poorly interpreted by the presenter.


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