Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.


Non Stat(us) Quo

First of all, I want to thank Chris Young over at JABS for picking up on a passing comment I made about Wellwood's ability to draw penalties, and expanding on that thought. Leave it to a pro to show a novice how it's done. Following up on this, I tracked the game on Saturday (as did ESPN apparently. I really have to give ESPN another chance since I wrote them off for dropping the NHL), but the numbers weren't too telling; both Poni and Tucker drew two calls.

I think some interesting names will fill out the top of the penalties drawn leader board on the Leafs and the League. As Tom Benjamin notes, perhaps the League doesn't want these stats made public. Tom also wants to know whether the ensuing powerplay results in a goal. This would fill in the picture of the infractor; quantifying the concept of 'costly penalties'.

Along the same lines, an article in the Denver Post suggests new Wild director of hockey operations, and luckiest young sports fan in the world Chris Snow, intends to track ten new statistics to determine their value. In particular, he is interested in tracking first and second assists.
Maybe there is a player who, say, has 85 points, but 50 of them were second assists, and vice versa," Snow said. "Did that player really have much impact with the goal that scored, or did he just touch the puck and the guy with the first assist did all the work?
GM Risebrough somehow wants to apply quality to the hits stat.
That's one stat, for example, I've been frustrated by," Risebrough said. "I don't think that stat has been very accurate. You'll see some guy credited with a lot of hits, who you know isn't a very physical player. So maybe the question should be: What kind of a hit was it? Did it have a big impact at a particular time of the game? Those are the kinds of things, in hockey, that are harder to quantify but maybe with more analysis, we can gain something from it.
I'm curious to see what other stats Snow will be tracking, and if penalties drawn is one of them. For my money, that definitely illustrates an individual's value to the team.


UPDATE - Eric McErlain's first effort at NBCSports.com picks up on this idea of stats that can reveal individual player value beyond the status quo.

UPDATE 2 - I know I'm not the first person to realize the value of penalties drawn, but it felt pretty good to be at the root of posts from three of my favorite bloggers.

And I wanted to brag on the Leafs for their Shots Per Game average leading the League so far this season with 38.8%.


  • At 6:30 PM, Anonymous cy said…

    What all this points to is the concept of an "official scorer" brought to hockey.
    Years ago, the saying went that Bobby Orr got an assist for being in the building. Now Orr was great, but you get the idea.
    Bring in an official scorer, and you get a subjective (though impartial, in a perfect world - I know it isn't that way, but work with me) interpretation of what an assist is -- someone who set up the play. You take out the second assist if it wasn't really germane to the play.
    Besides, you create a new position where, a la baseball, cranky old sportswriters fill a niche.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    I see your point about the non-contributory assist, but I sort of like the idea of the last two teammates to touch the puck to get an assist. Sometimes it is the second assist that really creates the play, but recording that could be a little too subjective. Indicating 1st or 2nd assist on the official score sheet would be a great innovation, though.

  • At 12:58 PM, Blogger reality check said…

    All assists and goal are reviewed by the league. Often I have seen points awarded during the game and failed to se them show up in the Tuesday league published updates. Usually the assist disappears exactly for that reason - it has been reviewed.

  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger Wardo said…

    I like the idea of quanitifying hit stats, drawn penalties, all that stuff. Anything to break down a player's worth is fun to read.

    But the idea of an "official scorer" is terrible. First of all - what happens to the record books if all of a sudden second assists can be taken away? You effectively draw a line between everything that happened before that rule was introduced (at least, back until assists were kept track of).

    Second - everybody knows officials in baseball are always more favourable to the home side (sorry - I can't work with you on that at all). I have no interest in seeing players lose stats because of a snarky official scorer. And even if they are as impartial as they can be, you're still applying a subjective standard, "was it germane, or not?" to an objective stat: the 2nd-last player touched the puck. All the scorers would rate plays differently, like it or not.

    It would never happen anyway - the union would explode.

    New position created: nice try, but find something else to be cranky at.



Post a Comment

<< Home