Friday, January 25, 2008

We Got One.

A reader, that is. The peerless Sir Douglas Schneider, he of the Canuckle fanhood and Wiki-esque (but, alas, more accurate) knowledge of the As and Ns HL, has blessed the Reverend with an insightful email response, furthering the now-burgeoning discussion re: Hockey Metrics (snappier name yet to be conceived).

Sir Douglas writes:

Rev. Z,

Well, that’s one way to sucker people into reading the blog. Thanks for the shout-out, I think. I’ll try to be more insightful in the future.

Re: Sabermetrics … there’s probably an “effectiveness” stat to be conjured up using TOI (the one not pronounced “TWAH”), points and/or plus-minus, but you’re right that ours is a much harder sport to measure individual performance than is baseball. I mean, is there a hockey equivalent of defence-independent pitching stats?

The key is probably to calculate the league average value – likely oh-ffense only – of five “replacement players,” and then to develop a way to measure how much better they perform when you sub in your guy with the four generics. One real challenge will be equalizing value of blueliners vs. forwards. In beisbol, everyone gets to go mano-a-mano with the pitcher, and gets roughly the same number of hitting chances each plate appearance (a minimum of three, except in rare cases where he gets drilled), but how do you level the ice sheet so that -- Alert! Reference to obscure Midwestern franchise upcoming! -- Stan Mikita and Pierre Pilote end up close to the same place? You need Crosby and Nicky Lindstrom to end up close to the same place. And it’s not as simple as TOI = at bats. Guys who play more minutes need to get credit for that.

And it’s probably damn near impossible to compare the value of a goaltender to that of a skater.

Aren’t you glad you brought it up?


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