After a discussion with Kent Wilson of NHLNumbers.com on the psychology of choosing your fourth line forwards went pretty well, we figured it might be a decent idea to have the occasional back-and-forth in hopes of digging up a few interesting observations. Kent is more of a numbers guy, and my experience comes from playing, so there’s some healthy contrast here.
Perhaps we could discuss this from your latest “Thoughts on Thoughts” piece:
“Guys who lose a lot of puck battles end up with poor Corsis, and with the (slight) rise in the prevalence of that stat, I think those guys are going to be more exposed than ever.”
Is this something you intuited or is it something that’s been studied? I, personally, assume there could be a relationship there and in fact have thought it would be great if we could track puck battles to see if they correlate with possession (like the way Eric did with zone entries).
That said, I’m not totally convinced this is necessarily true, particularly if the player has other well developed skills that may compensate for poor puck battling abilities (on the flip side, I think it’s possible to have a lousy corsi even if you’re strong in the trenches due to poor skating, puck play etc.). Read the rest of this entry »