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Wednesday’s FTB: PPP’s dark past

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Who we used to be, and who we are now.

Dallas Eakins

First, you need to catch up on PPP’s recent past with anything you might have missed.

We have some details on Joseph Woll’s contract courtesy of Cap Friendly:

Seldo has your update on the North American prospects:

Later today, I’ll have the pipeline list updated and out, which is very much a work in progress at the pace Kyle Dubas is signing deals.

Species has a Marlies recap which focuses on Calle Rosen’s return:

I took a cynical look at the NHL Awards ahead of the end of the regular season:

And on Monday, Arvind looked at Nylander’s overall play this year and in his career, and he points out a flaw that hasn’t yet gone away:


PPP has been around for a long time, a lot longer than I’ve been around PPP. I discovered the site one day by typing “What the hell is corsi?” into Google. Seriously. The first story I read here was one of Stephen Burtch’s stats pieces, and I quickly read some more.

In searching for something else to do this post, I found one his articles from 2010 about various types of stats nerdery. Nine years old. Some of our commenters have kids that aren’t that old. So PPP has a long, dark history of shining a light on the math and science of hockey.

Here’s a tour:

Corsi - Intro To Advanced Hockey Statistics - Corsi - Burtch

This article from 2012 gives simple, clear definitions of the forms of Corsi used at the time, and also still in use now.

Fenwick - Intro To Advanced Hockey Statistics - Fenwick - Burtch

This article from 2012 carries on from the Corsi article to explain Fenwick. Fenwick has largely fallen out of use these days, but is showing up again in things like Fenwick Save Percentage and as the base stat for Expected Goals.

PDO - Intro To Advanced Statistics - PDO - Burtch

This 2012 article covers the basics of PDO

Delta - Delta SOT - Yet Another Advanced Stat To Chew On (For Forwards) - Burtch

This article from 2010 is a fascinating look into the history of trying to make a weighted Corsi stat, what is now widely called Expected Goals.

RGI - Advanced Stats Take On Grit - RGI - Burtch

This 2013 article is what happens when nerds take jokes seriously. The result is a valuable-ish way of looking at the style of play for players and how that might get them ice time. The same idea had been humorously added to Hockeystats charts as an option before they sadly closed up shop.

Overview - What Statistics Are Meaningful In A Given Season? - Burtch

A very interesting dig into the component parts of Corsi as it was understood at the time. There’s been more advanced work on this since, but this is a great historical overview of what matters and what doesn’t.

Opinion - Hockey Analytics Needs More Theory, Not Just More Data - Draglikepull

A more recent piece on where the concepts needed to go at that time.

xG - What to expect when you’re expecting (goals) - Arvind

This recent article by Arvind is much more than a funny headline. He delves into the ideas behind expected goals, and helps you get up to speed on all these x stats that keep showing up.

GAR - Advanced Stats 102 - What is GAR? - Arvind

Welcome to the second edition of Advanced Stats 102, where we go beyond CorsiRel and discuss some of the more sophisticated metrics that people are using to analyze players, along with their strengths, weaknesses, and where to find them.

Most of the above was compiled by nafio, so say thanks to her.


You’ll notice right away that there is a big jump in years from Burtch’s articles and Arvind’s more recent explainers on expected goals and GAR (WAR). There’s a good reason for that. As the basic concept of looking at shots (all shots, not shots on goal) was more widely understood, the need to write up a post explaining this very simple concept was gone. What PPP moved into doing, like most blogs, was using the stats to analyze their own players. Blogs rarely do innovative work in analytics anymore. One that does, and one you should keep an eye on, is Hockey Graphs.

But analytics is now a tool people use all the time, and there are a lot of resources that use much more sophisticated models than the things PPP was talking about in the old days. Think of sites like Moneypuck, Hockeyviz and lots of other work done on a host of other sites.

Some of what’s out there is manual tracking projects, and when the NHL’s electronic tracking comes online, there will be a glut of information (perhaps) and there might be more of a renaissance of hobby analysts.

Now, as for me, I refuse outright to say that I “do analytics”, in part because I hate that name. I look at numbers, and sometimes make charts, usually not with orange backgrounds, and I think about what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and I try to make that into a coherent story.

Arvind does things like that, but his training and education is so advanced beyond my own, and then there’s just his talent to consider. I am Zach Hyman to his Mitch Marner. Okay, no, I’m likely some guy not making it off an AHL contract no one has ever heard of.

Anyway, within some of his articles, like the Nylander one above, he discusses some newer ways of measuring hockey like that one from Evolving Hockey. Usually these day, our stats nerdery is baked into everything.

It’s not all we are! We do other math too!

And sometimes we do total eye-test enthusiastic fanning of the players we love or hate or feel a bit meh about. Sometimes we talk about history of the team of the game. Sometimes we talk about social issues around hockey, and because the world is full of all kinds of ways to look at the sport, sometimes we talk about fashion or how worried we are about the Bruins or how we aren’t worried or how dumb the NHL awards are.

But at the heart of PPP will always be the kinds of people who don’t want to re-fight the Corsi wars of 2013. Or 2008. We’ve moved on into fighting about GAR.

Later on today, we will have Women’s Hockey Wednesday, which is another thing we do. And at some point we’ll have a preview of the Flyers game tonight.

Six more games. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.