FanPost

Why Advanced Stat Guys give Advanced Stats a bad name...

I am growing increasingly disappointed in much of the advanced stat reporting re: the Leafs.

I'm not anti-advanced stat guy. In fact, I am a strong advocate. I wrote the Toronto Blue Jays section in the first Baseball Prospectus (which has since grown up to be an advanced stat dream book). I was reading Bill James at 12 years old, and figuring out the percentages of Strat-O-Matic cards at 13.

Unfortunately, many bloggers seem to be on a witch hunt for Randy Carlyle because he seemingly doesn't want to use advanced stats like the bloggers do.

Take this example from Jeffler. I don't want to pick on him - he does alot of good stuff, he's passionate and I wish him the best in his journalistic endeavors. He's certainly not the only one that is making these kind of statements...

Jay McClement said: "coaches tracked advanced stats on everything from turnover-to-takeaway differential"

to which Jeffler responded:

"Giving away the puck a lot requires two things: lots of ice time, and lots of time with the puck. You need to have lots of time to posess what you're going to give away, leading to that event being an inevitability in good players. I used 2006/07 as my year to really dig into McCabe, but looking at the leaders in giveaways that year, you had the likes of Zdeno Chara, Sergei Zubov, Dan Boyle, Andrei Markov, Rob Blake, Sheldon Souray, Nicklas Lidstrom, Dion Phaneuf, Brian Rafalski, and Brian Campbell in the top 15."

Jeffler is making two assumptions which may or may not be true. He assumes that 1) The Leafs are using the NHL turnover-to-takeaway "definition", which yes, ignores the issues he mentions. 2) The Leafs are using the stat without putting it in context (e.g. where the turnover was made and what the score of the game was at the time). A more sensible assumption might be something like: "Leafs define turnovers as defined by being stripped of the puck via a pass or stickhandling when in a certain area of the ice when tied or defending a lead". The Leafs could be monitoring this as a team, to try and keep them under "x" turnovers a game. The Leafs may also be looking at this individually, but recognizing the differences between Frazer McLaren (who should never ever have these turnovers and plays 5 minutes a game) vs. Kessel (who needs to take chances at appropriate time to create offence).

..."But if the above is an indication of what the Leafs are focusing on when breaking down what happens on the ice, they seem to be focusing effort into the wrong spaces."

Agreed. But we don't really know what the Leafs are tracking and how they are using the data, so why are so many people so critical?

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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