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The Great Stat Discussion


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The problem with the eye test is that humans suck at the eye test. At the end of every game there's half of the posters think a certain player had an awesome game, and half the posters think they suck and should be traded. There's tons of inherent biases and the biggest one is confirmation bias. People have a preconceived idea of what a player can do and they notice when the game matches their expectations. Just look at how many people come out of the wood work when Price or Desharnais have a bad game.

That's the beauty of it though, to me anyway. In the end, the only stat that counts in each individual game is the team's goal for vs goal against , then the teams standings after 82 go punch your tickets to the 'after party' where the real only stat that counts is 16 wins. Everything else and in between is entertainment. I get that some get their fun playing armchair GMs/coaches and obviously, stats are important to put a value on a player in that role. However, there's nothing wrong with thinking this or that player had a great game even if advanced stats don't support it. If the player(s) impressed you with some plays and you didn't notice some mistakes, or if the enjoyment of watching those good plays brings you more thrill than the mistakes bring you disappointment or anger, you can still discuss the 'great game' that player had. In this case the discussion is not to convince others that the player had a better game than the other player, the discussion is to talk about what you think the guy did well and less well while others will have noticed other things you may have missed. I find that emotion plays a great part of being a sports fan and while stats can be fun too, they're certainly not the be all end all of hockey discussions. There are many ways we can pick our personal 3 stars at the end of a game :)

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That's the beauty of it though, to me anyway. In the end, the only stat that counts in each individual game is the team's goal for vs goal against , then the teams standings after 82 go punch your tickets to the 'after party' where the real only stat that counts is 16 wins. Everything else and in between is entertainment. I get that some get their fun playing armchair GMs/coaches and obviously, stats are important to put a value on a player in that role. However, there's nothing wrong with thinking this or that player had a great game even if advanced stats don't support it. If the player(s) impressed you with some plays and you didn't notice some mistakes, or if the enjoyment of watching those good plays brings you more thrill than the mistakes bring you disappointment or anger, you can still discuss the 'great game' that player had. In this case the discussion is not to convince others that the player had a better game than the other player, the discussion is to talk about what you think the guy did well and less well while others will have noticed other things you may have missed. I find that emotion plays a great part of being a sports fan and while stats can be fun too, they're certainly not the be all end all of hockey discussions. There are many ways we can pick our personal 3 stars at the end of a game :)

Well for sure, I just like to pretend that some day I'll be an NHL GM and that teams will be fighting eachother for my brilliance! ;)

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  • 1 month later...

With the Canadiens enjoying an off-day Wednesday after posting back-to-back victories over the Rangers Monday night in New York and the Dallas Stars Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, The Gazette’s Pat Hickey noted that the secret to the Habs’ success can be found in the statistics.


Hickey writes that the goaltending has been outstanding, but as Carey Price and Peter Budaj will tell you they get a lot of help from their teammates.


The Canadiens have been outshot by an average margin of 32-30 and rank 22nd in the National Hockey League in shots allowed. But the Canadiens are No. 1 in blocking shots, with 243 blocks this season, and three players are among the top 30 in that category. Josh Gorges has blocked 39 shots, second to the New York Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, who has 42. Andrei Markov ranks ninth with 32 blocked shots and Raphael Diaz is 27th with 25.


“They make our job easier,” said Price, who noted the Canadiens have had more blocked shots than saves in each of their two wins this week.


Price and Budaj have a combined 1.77 goals-against average, which ranks fourth in the NHL.


With back-to-back road games slated for Friday in Minnesota (8 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690) and Saturday in Colorado (10 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690), Hickey reports that coach Michel Therrien will use both goaltenders. Look for Budaj to get the call in Colorado. He played six seasons there, from 2005 to 2011, and was the Avalanche’s No. 1 goalie for three of those seasons.


The Canadiens will practise at 10:30 Thursday morning in Brossard before hitting the road.


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That's the beauty of it though, to me anyway. In the end, the only stat that counts in each individual game is the team's goal for vs goal against , then the teams standings after 82 go punch your tickets to the 'after party' where the real only stat that counts is 16 wins. Everything else and in between is entertainment. I get that some get their fun playing armchair GMs/coaches and obviously, stats are important to put a value on a player in that role. However, there's nothing wrong with thinking this or that player had a great game even if advanced stats don't support it. If the player(s) impressed you with some plays and you didn't notice some mistakes, or if the enjoyment of watching those good plays brings you more thrill than the mistakes bring you disappointment or anger, you can still discuss the 'great game' that player had. In this case the discussion is not to convince others that the player had a better game than the other player, the discussion is to talk about what you think the guy did well and less well while others will have noticed other things you may have missed. I find that emotion plays a great part of being a sports fan and while stats can be fun too, they're certainly not the be all end all of hockey discussions. There are many ways we can pick our personal 3 stars at the end of a game :)

I don't think it's about playing armchair GM for most people, it's about understanding what drives good teams and what should be valued in an NHL player. It maybe a different level or type of fandom. For some people ignorance is bliss, so to speak, even if there is a better way of play assessment, they don't want to know. It's cool. I think the greatest fallacy people who don't know advanced stats tend to have is that people who are into stats think stats are the be all, end all when the reality is they're just a piece of the puzzle and also, there's not one go-to stat. I mean Corsi gets a lot of buzz right now but when you use Corsi on individual players, it requires a lot of context (quality of linemates, quality of competition, zone starts, ESTOI/sample size). It's not a one stop shop.

The interesting thing to me is the microscope metrics are held up to. It's almost like if this metric isn't perfect, it's garbage. Yet those people don't downgrade +/- for it's flaws. The goal isn't to find any one, be all end all stat, it's to improve upon what we had/have. If they came out with a new SV% tomorrow that was more reliable and predictable than the existing stats we use, it would still be flawed, just better than what we have.

I think what we've learned in basically all sports is that the eye test can be VERY deceiving. It's an important part of evaluation but like stats, it's just a piece of the puzzle. Although I disagree with the premise that a good argument or debate about why my opinion is X and yours is Y is a bad thing. It helps keep forums like this in business, lol.

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I think the greatest fallacy people who don't know advanced stats tend to have is that people who are into stats think stats are the be all, end all when the reality is they're just a piece of the puzzle and also, there's not one go-to stat. I mean Corsi gets a lot of buzz right now but when you use Corsi on individual players, it requires a lot of context (quality of linemates, quality of competition, zone starts, ESTOI/sample size). It's not a one stop shop.

http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2013/8/27/4659926/advanced-stats-users-dont-watch-hockey

What are you talking about? The guys at Habs Eyes on the Prize have already admitted they don't watch the games ;)

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Roy brings up a good point... Although stats are important in giving value to players,track their performance/teams performance and fun for the fans who follow stats, I always take them with a grain of salt.

For instance, you take a game (I'm just going to throw out 2 teams for arguments sake, not talking about any game in particular) between Rangers and habs. At the end of the game, Rangers have 36 shots to the Habs 24.

On the surface it looks like the rags controlled the offensive game. But stats don't take into account how many of those shots were genuine scoring chances. The rags shots could've all come from bad angles and been weak shots from the blueline.

If our dmen are doing their jobs and forcing offensive players to the outside and all they can get off is a weak shot, just above the FO dot from the 1/2 boards that price or boots can handle easily, I don't care if they give up 50 shots from those areas. I do care about the ones that we give up from the slot (high or low) or from the point (if our opponents have an Off dman with a great shot).

I'm no different than anyone. When we acquire a new player or if one becomes available, I do take a look at their stats. Unfortunately stats only tell 1/2 the story, a lot of things can happen during a game to influence stats.

So just to wrap it up, I don't care if we give up bad angle shots, if we're outshot 35-20, as long as our 20 shots came from prime scoring areas and the opponents shots came from the perimeters.

And this type of thinking can be applied to anything that is followed by stats... We out hit the other team 3 to 1, but how come we lost the game?

Were we more concentrated on hits and less about defending/offense?

How many of those hits actually helped us(created turnovers and slowed down their offensive weapons) and how many put us out of position and created a scoring chance for the opposing team?

As Roy pointed out, stats are not the tell all be all. They can help us get an understanding of a certain team or player, but we should look past the stats to see if they're actually telling us the whole story

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Roy brings up a good point... Although stats are important in giving value to players,track their performance/teams performance and fun for the fans who follow stats, I always take them with a grain of salt.

For instance, you take a game (I'm just going to throw out 2 teams for arguments sake, not talking about any game in particular) between Rangers and habs. At the end of the game, Rangers have 36 shots to the Habs 24.

On the surface it looks like the rags controlled the offensive game. But stats don't take into account how many of those shots were genuine scoring chances. The rags shots could've all come from bad angles and been weak shots from the blueline.

If our dmen are doing their jobs and forcing offensive players to the outside and all they can get off is a weak shot, just above the FO dot from the 1/2 boards that price or boots can handle easily, I don't care if they give up 50 shots from those areas. I do care about the ones that we give up from the slot (high or low) or from the point (if our opponents have an Off dman with a great shot).

I'm no different than anyone. When we acquire a new player or if one becomes available, I do take a look at their stats. Unfortunately stats only tell 1/2 the story, a lot of things can happen during a game to influence stats.

So just to wrap it up, I don't care if we give up bad angle shots, if we're outshot 35-20, as long as our 20 shots came from prime scoring areas and the opponents shots came from the perimeters.

And this type of thinking can be applied to anything that is followed by stats... We out hit the other team 3 to 1, but how come we lost the game?

Were we more concentrated on hits and less about defending/offense?

How many of those hits actually helped us(created turnovers and slowed down their offensive weapons) and how many put us out of position and created a scoring chance for the opposing team?

As Roy pointed out, stats are not the tell all be all. They can help us get an understanding of a certain team or player, but we should look past the stats to see if they're actually telling us the whole story

I do care if we're giving up 35 shots versus 20 because it usually means we have the puck less than the other team and aren't putting ourselves in position to score more than them. Now, I can watch a specific game (I'll use your example of the NY game) and not let it worry me, perhaps for the same reasons you noted (ie: alot of shots to the outside, not a lot of scoring chances, and maybe there were more shots coming once we had our two goal lead).

A big factor with stats is sample size. One game, no problelm, there could be certain circumstances that explain why it's deceiving. Over the course of a season though, if we're getting outshot 35-20 on average, it's probably worth being concerned.

Anyway, stats work best when they're used together with other stats to get a clearer picture.

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Found an interesting article on physical play (sort of) and its effects on winning games and a few other things. Really fascinating, though its not terribly official and seems a little arbitrary. Gets the point across though.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2013/10/29/5043984/qualgrit-proof-that-team-toughness-wins-cups-and-stops-the

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I do care if we're giving up 35 shots versus 20 because it usually means we have the puck less than the other team and aren't putting ourselves in position to score more than them. Now, I can watch a specific game (I'll use your example of the NY game) and not let it worry me, perhaps for the same reasons you noted (ie: alot of shots to the outside, not a lot of scoring chances, and maybe there were more shots coming once we had our two goal lead).

A big factor with stats is sample size. One game, no problelm, there could be certain circumstances that explain why it's deceiving. Over the course of a season though, if we're getting outshot 35-20 on average, it's probably worth being concerned.

Anyway, stats work best when they're used together with other stats to get a clearer picture.

That's not necessarily the case. They could have more shots simply due to the fact of putting it on net once they get into the ozone. If Price or Boots catch the puck, they can quickly turn it over to the dmen and we're back up the ice.

35 shots to 20 shots does not determine puck possession. We may only have 20 shots because we cycle the puck waiting for a scoring chance to develop, rather than simply throwing it on net and hoping for the best. And when you simply throw it on net without any structure, the chance of the defending team regaining control of the puck rises. If you're cycling and taking shots, your players are well positioned in the ozone to regain control and cycle again. Just shooting on net from any angle has little to no structure and risks that the defending team will regain possession.

9 times out of 10 if you're simply putting the puck on net, the defending team should be able to retain the puck (if the dmen are well positioned).

Low shot count doesn't necessarily mean low puck possession time. If you're flying into the ozone and letting shots off, the play often comes back the other way, making your time in the ozone a total of 5 seconds. The team that cycles the puck in the ozone trying to create a scoring chance may have a lower shot count at the end of the game, but they're puck possession and time on attack will be much higher than the team that simply takes shots from anywhere.

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That's not necessarily the case. They could have more shots simply due to the fact of putting it on net once they get into the ozone. If Price or Boots catch the puck, they can quickly turn it over to the dmen and we're back up the ice.

35 shots to 20 shots does not determine puck possession. We may only have 20 shots because we cycle the puck waiting for a scoring chance to develop, rather than simply throwing it on net and hoping for the best. And when you simply throw it on net without any structure, the chance of the defending team regaining control of the puck rises. If you're cycling and taking shots, your players are well positioned in the ozone to regain control and cycle again. Just shooting on net from any angle has little to no structure and risks that the defending team will regain possession.

9 times out of 10 if you're simply putting the puck on net, the defending team should be able to retain the puck (if the dmen are well positioned).

Low shot count doesn't necessarily mean low puck possession time. If you're flying into the ozone and letting shots off, the play often comes back the other way, making your time in the ozone a total of 5 seconds. The team that cycles the puck in the ozone trying to create a scoring chance may have a lower shot count at the end of the game, but they're puck possession and time on attack will be much higher than the team that simply takes shots from anywhere.

I don't disagree with anything specific your saying, and I agree you could watch a game where one team takes bad shots from the outside while the other team has there way with them and cycles in the zone all day. Generally though, shots are used as a metric for possession in the form of something like Fenwick because you have to have the puck to attempt a shot. If you're getting off a low quality shot and the other team takes it back right away then goes and cycles the puck forever in your end as in the scenario described above, it's going to be tough to wrack up too many total shots.

Now I mentioned Fenwick because it records all shots directed towards the net that make it through (including those that miss or hit a post). I think you'd agree a narrow miss of the net (or especially a post) can be just as good or better of a chance than a shot on net, especially if it's an easy shot that hits the goalie square.

It's not a perfect/infallible way of measuring possession but over a large sample size it's pretty decent. It's been shown to be a pretty good predictor of future success. If you look at the best Fenwick teams halfway through the season, the best ones usually make the playoffs. It's why some of the advanced stats guys were able to predict LA would be such a force the year they won the cup and that Minnesota would have their collapse.

Honestly, the best stat would probably be scoring chances for/against, but it's such a subjective stat. A guy at Eyes on the Prize counts them every game and basically counts any shot from a certain area in front of the net (kind of a baseball diamond shape sprouting out from the net). It's not perfect but at least it's a methodology that can be followed consistently without bias.

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I don't disagree with anything specific your saying, and I agree you could watch a game where one team takes bad shots from the outside while the other team has there way with them and cycles in the zone all day. Generally though, shots are used as a metric for possession in the form of something like Fenwick because you have to have the puck to attempt a shot. If you're getting off a low quality shot and the other team takes it back right away then goes and cycles the puck forever in your end as in the scenario described above, it's going to be tough to wrack up too many total shots.

Now I mentioned Fenwick because it records all shots directed towards the net that make it through (including those that miss or hit a post). I think you'd agree a narrow miss of the net (or especially a post) can be just as good or better of a chance than a shot on net, especially if it's an easy shot that hits the goalie square.

It's not a perfect/infallible way of measuring possession but over a large sample size it's pretty decent. It's been shown to be a pretty good predictor of future success. If you look at the best Fenwick teams halfway through the season, the best ones usually make the playoffs. It's why some of the advanced stats guys were able to predict LA would be such a force the year they won the cup and that Minnesota would have their collapse.

Honestly, the best stat would probably be scoring chances for/against, but it's such a subjective stat. A guy at Eyes on the Prize counts them every game and basically counts any shot from a certain area in front of the net (kind of a baseball diamond shape sprouting out from the net). It's not perfect but at least it's a methodology that can be followed consistently without bias.

It's interesting that we're debating this. During last seasons cup finals between the b's and hawks, I found that the hawks were taking the b's lightly. While the hawks were using their speed to gain the b's zone, they simply let shots go from the outside of the FO circle which rask handled easily. The play would go back the other way, but b's had a different approach, cycle the puck and try to create chances.

Most were surprised by the shots from the hawks, but I was concerned. Although the hawks had many shots, maybe 5% were from real good scoring areas. Whereas the b's, who had less shots, had way better chances.

By the 3rd game the hawks seemed to have woken up and started buzzing around the b's net and making life hard on Rask.

They ultimately won the series, but could've easily lost it had they not adjusted their game and gone to the dirty areas. Rask was not fazed at all by these weak shots from bad angles.

For me, if we're looking at stats to determine a game, I'd much rather look at puck possession and time on attack then SOG.

Fenwick is obviously a much better way of determining shot count imo. The way the league tracks shots(tenders perspective), they only track those that make it to the net and don;t count shots off posts or blocked shots. Those obviously tell a bigger story, but still not the whole story.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm really into the whole fancy stats stuff, but I can't find the best place to get them. Anybody have good sources worth sharing?

Also, the only thing I don't understand is the advantage Fenwick (not counting blocked shots) offers over Corsi (counting all attempts). Why aren't the blocked shots counted?

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Behind the Net is probably the best one, they have a wide variety of stats that you can sort and their data goes back 5 or 6 seasons. Lots of other options to sort things and lots of stats expressed as a rate per 60 minutes of ice time which is a good way to wrap your head around some of the concepts. As far as individual games go, my favourite is Extra Skater. There's just a ton of data they give you and it's interesting to look into single games and how the team/players performed.

As for the difference between Fenwick and Corsi, Corsi was originally developed by a Buffalo goalie coach named Jim Corsi. If you've ever played goal you know that even if a shot goes wide of the net or gets blocked, you still have to give it the same amount of physical effort and attention as a shot on net. The stat was developed as a proxy to see which goalies were working harder, and the use of it as a performance metric stemmed from that point; it makes sense that players who make the other team's goalie work harder are better players. It later became used as a proxy for puck possession which is where it's currently used today. The idea is that a blocked shot still has a chance to go in and is still indicative of puck possession.

Fenwick is named after a blogger who thought that removing blocked shots from Corsi would give you a more meaningful sample, and it's used more as a proxy for scoring chances. The biggest reason they're removed is because it is in some way a skill (although it is largely an overrated skill), and counting a blocked shot as a minus is something that can make a stay at home D look worse than they are. On the other end of the ice, the idea is that it rewards players who can find ways to get the puck through block attempts as that's also something that can be reasonably considered a skill. That, and a lot of shots from out close to the blue line are blocked, and they're quite low percentage plays, so removing them gives you a more meaningful sample in that shots from in close are harder to block and are better chances. Granted, using our team as an example some have used Murray's shot blocking to explain his low Corsi numbers, which falls apart when you look at his Corsi for % being 35% (which is hilariously awful), and his Fenwick for % is 36%.

Personally I prefer Fenwick on the team level for those reasons, and its a very good predictor of team success. Corsi and Fenwick are pretty well interchangeable on an individual level as the sample sizes aren't big enough that using one over the other is a big thing.

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  • 2 months later...

Devils are looking for a fancystats expert (link) that will report directly to Lou. It's awesome, IMO, to see these stats really gaining traction. Not to mention NJ's underlying statistics are already pretty good (8th in Fenwick Close, problem is they're tied for last in PDO), so if this means they get better at possession and get a finisher or two, look out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

For the argument of shots from far off, there are actually stats for shot quality and scoring chances. It proves that a lot of the shots Price faces are better quality than a guy like Rask. Harder to find, but some people will probably prefer those over Fenwick or Corsi.

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For the argument of shots from far off, there are actually stats for shot quality and scoring chances. It proves that a lot of the shots Price faces are better quality than a guy like Rask. Harder to find, but some people will probably prefer those over Fenwick or Corsi.

Of all that I have seen though, it's not so much shot quality as shot distance. There's a pretty significant difference. Most close shots are better, but there are also screens, lateral movement, etc that go into shot quality as well, which aren't really captured. It's closer, but I don't think it's quite what people have in mind when you say shot quality.

Unless, of course, you have a source that I don't (if you do, please share! :D ).

And while I'm in this thread, does anyone know if there's a website keeping track of fancy stats for the Olympics?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know we're veering a bit away from 'State of the Habs' here, but we haven't had a game in a few days and this is an interesting discussion :P.

I remember reading a few years ago about an analysis someone did on pulling your goalie. (Edit: found it :)http://people.stat.sfu.ca/~tim/papers/goalie.pdf ) They looked at how often teams scored when they didn't pull the goalie vs. how often they scored when they did pull the goalie (also factoring in how often the other team scored on the empty net as well as things like penalties, etc.)

Of all of the strategies that they looked at, the most common one in use today (pull the goalie with about a minute left) was found to be pretty much the worst. They estimated that simply by changing things up and pulling the goalie with 3 minutes left or less, most teams would end up with an extra 1 point in the standings over an 82 game season. What's more, they found that 6-on-4 scoring was close to even between the offsensive and defensive teams - meaning that if you're down by a goal you should pretty much always pull your goalie as soon as you get a power play, no matter how much time is left.

So that's what the stats say. Does that mean that I expect coaches to start making every PP a 6-on-4? Not a chance. In fact, even if I was a coach I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do it myself. :P It just goes to show how hard it is to apply statistics to such a fluid game, and maybe why there is so much resistance to the idea.

I figured I would go ahead and try and nudge this discussion into the stats thread :)

I really like the example of pulling the goalie. I never understood pulling it so late, but I haven't ever seen any analysis done on it. The message I got was a little different though. To me, it only talks about if you are down in the third, in which you pull your goalie only under these circumstances:

1. Down to about 3 minutes left or less

2. On a powerplay

Which makes sense. I actually was at a local ECHL game a few years ago, and the trailing team was down 4 midway through the second. After a messy scrum, the trailing team had an upcoming 2 minute 5-on-3. After they scored on it about 30 seconds in, they pulled their goalie for the 5-on-4, and while they didn't score, I thought it was a really interesting strategy, and one I hadn't seen before. What did they have to lose?

Going back to stats in general, an issue that could be holding back their widespread acceptance could also be just everybody having different interpretations. I just interpreted the same article (granted I just skimmed it) in a different way. But are either one of us wrong? I don't know.

Take, for example, our very own MN thread. I read it for the first time last year, and it was used as a sort of meter for where we are without worrying about every team playing a different amount of games and other differences. I thought it was neat, and so do other people, but my gut interpretation was that it could be used to predict the future. So I did it. Now I am beginning to use other stats of predictive value, which people have always used just qualitatively, to try and quantify the future. So far as I know, I am the only one to try this. Does this make me special or someone else wrong? Of course not. FL doesn't take the MN stuff as far as I do, but I still have tremendous respect and gratitude for what he does day in and day out. I simply had a different interpretation.

That's what's really drawn me to fancy (or advanced, or whatever) stats in the past year or so, and what makes me want to "spread the gospel", so to speak. There are so many interpretations and possibilities, and it seems everybody has slightly different interpretations and ideas, and there are so many bright hockey fans that shine a new light on the sport. I'm obviously a huge nerd, but it says a lot that my study breaks are occupied by about a dozen Excel spreadsheets with new ideas for statistical analysis and hours of data entry, just because I enjoy talking with people like those of you here on the forum.

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Guest habs1952

I really like the example of pulling the goalie. I never understood pulling it so late, but I haven't ever seen any analysis done on it. The message I got was a little different though. To me, it only talks about if you are down in the third, in which you pull your goalie only under these circumstances:

1. Down to about 3 minutes left or less

2. On a powerplay

1969-70

Entering their last games of the regular season, the badly slumping New York Rangers were two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final playoff spot. A New York victory and a Montreal loss would have left them tied in points, and the first tiebreaker - number of wins - was also tied. The second tiebreaker was goals scored, and the Canadiens had a five-goal advantage in the "goals for" category. This led to unusual tactics from both teams.

In their second-last game, the Detroit Red Wings had clinched a playoff spot, after having missed the postseason for the past three years. Many of their players were jubilant and were wildly celebrating this accomplishment, despite the fact that they were scheduled to face New York the next afternoon to finish the season. Several Detroit players still had hangovers from last night's party just hours before they took to the ice against the Rangers.[1] The desperate Rangers managed 65 shots on Detroit goalie Roger Crozier to amass a 9-3 lead early in the third period. Looking for even more goals, Coach Emile Francis repeatedly pulled goalie Ed Giacomin for the extra attacker though this failed to add to the Rangers' tally; in fact this let the Red Wings hit the empty net twice for a 9-5 final score. Nonetheless, however, New York was now equal on points with Montreal and had four more goals for the season.[1]

That night, the Canadiens played against the notably stingy Chicago Black Hawks in what was both teams' final regular season game. Unlike the Red Wings, who had nothing else to accomplish in their final game, the Black Hawks were playing for first place in their division. With nearly nine minutes left in the third period and down 5-2 to the Hawks, the Canadiens knew scoring overcoming this 5-2 deficit in 9 minutes was highly unlikely, but they could still make the playoffs if they could score three more goals regardless of the game's outcome. So Coach Claude Ruel pulled his goaltender for the extra attacker. But the strategy backfired as Montreal failed to score while Chicago scored five times into the empty Montreal net, to win 10–2. This is believed to be the longest length of time any team had played without a goalie. The Canadiens, ending the season with two goals behind the Rangers, were out of the playoffs. Angry Habs fans have accused Detroit, having already secured a postseason berth and with nowhere to move in the standings, of purposely throwing the game to let the Rangers make the playoffs.[1]

As a result, the NHL added additional tiebreakers (such as goals allowed, goal differential, and head to head record) to avoid this situation from ever happening again.

I remember listening to this game on the radio.

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1969-70

Entering their last games of the regular season, the badly slumping New York Rangers were two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final playoff spot. A New York victory and a Montreal loss would have left them tied in points, and the first tiebreaker - number of wins - was also tied. The second tiebreaker was goals scored, and the Canadiens had a five-goal advantage in the "goals for" category. This led to unusual tactics from both teams.

In their second-last game, the Detroit Red Wings had clinched a playoff spot, after having missed the postseason for the past three years. Many of their players were jubilant and were wildly celebrating this accomplishment, despite the fact that they were scheduled to face New York the next afternoon to finish the season. Several Detroit players still had hangovers from last night's party just hours before they took to the ice against the Rangers.[1] The desperate Rangers managed 65 shots on Detroit goalie Roger Crozier to amass a 9-3 lead early in the third period. Looking for even more goals, Coach Emile Francis repeatedly pulled goalie Ed Giacomin for the extra attacker though this failed to add to the Rangers' tally; in fact this let the Red Wings hit the empty net twice for a 9-5 final score. Nonetheless, however, New York was now equal on points with Montreal and had four more goals for the season.[1]

That night, the Canadiens played against the notably stingy Chicago Black Hawks in what was both teams' final regular season game. Unlike the Red Wings, who had nothing else to accomplish in their final game, the Black Hawks were playing for first place in their division. With nearly nine minutes left in the third period and down 5-2 to the Hawks, the Canadiens knew scoring overcoming this 5-2 deficit in 9 minutes was highly unlikely, but they could still make the playoffs if they could score three more goals regardless of the game's outcome. So Coach Claude Ruel pulled his goaltender for the extra attacker. But the strategy backfired as Montreal failed to score while Chicago scored five times into the empty Montreal net, to win 10–2. This is believed to be the longest length of time any team had played without a goalie. The Canadiens, ending the season with two goals behind the Rangers, were out of the playoffs. Angry Habs fans have accused Detroit, having already secured a postseason berth and with nowhere to move in the standings, of purposely throwing the game to let the Rangers make the playoffs.[1]

As a result, the NHL added additional tiebreakers (such as goals allowed, goal differential, and head to head record) to avoid this situation from ever happening again.

I remember listening to this game on the radio.

That is hilarious !!! made my day! ROFL!

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1969-70

Entering their last games of the regular season, the badly slumping New York Rangers were two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final playoff spot. A New York victory and a Montreal loss would have left them tied in points, and the first tiebreaker - number of wins - was also tied. The second tiebreaker was goals scored, and the Canadiens had a five-goal advantage in the "goals for" category. This led to unusual tactics from both teams.

In their second-last game, the Detroit Red Wings had clinched a playoff spot, after having missed the postseason for the past three years. Many of their players were jubilant and were wildly celebrating this accomplishment, despite the fact that they were scheduled to face New York the next afternoon to finish the season. Several Detroit players still had hangovers from last night's party just hours before they took to the ice against the Rangers.[1] The desperate Rangers managed 65 shots on Detroit goalie Roger Crozier to amass a 9-3 lead early in the third period. Looking for even more goals, Coach Emile Francis repeatedly pulled goalie Ed Giacomin for the extra attacker though this failed to add to the Rangers' tally; in fact this let the Red Wings hit the empty net twice for a 9-5 final score. Nonetheless, however, New York was now equal on points with Montreal and had four more goals for the season.[1]

That night, the Canadiens played against the notably stingy Chicago Black Hawks in what was both teams' final regular season game. Unlike the Red Wings, who had nothing else to accomplish in their final game, the Black Hawks were playing for first place in their division. With nearly nine minutes left in the third period and down 5-2 to the Hawks, the Canadiens knew scoring overcoming this 5-2 deficit in 9 minutes was highly unlikely, but they could still make the playoffs if they could score three more goals regardless of the game's outcome. So Coach Claude Ruel pulled his goaltender for the extra attacker. But the strategy backfired as Montreal failed to score while Chicago scored five times into the empty Montreal net, to win 10–2. This is believed to be the longest length of time any team had played without a goalie. The Canadiens, ending the season with two goals behind the Rangers, were out of the playoffs. Angry Habs fans have accused Detroit, having already secured a postseason berth and with nowhere to move in the standings, of purposely throwing the game to let the Rangers make the playoffs.[1]

As a result, the NHL added additional tiebreakers (such as goals allowed, goal differential, and head to head record) to avoid this situation from ever happening again.

I remember listening to this game on the radio.

I watched it,,,and will never forget the look on Cournoyers' face, as the clock ticked down. I thought he was going to cry, I know I was about to.

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Ya, I usually use extra skater. Warning: prepare to be depressed when you look up our team. We're 26th in the league in both Corsi and Fenwick.

Where can I find more info on this Corsi and Fenwick you speak of?

Sounds like a commercial during Judge Judy..

"Are you prone to slip and fall in department stores"-call the law offices of Corsi and Fenwick, we're on you side.

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