Archive for the ‘Fancy Stats’ Category

PDO explained

Advanced statistics, fancy stats, underlying numbers—whatever you want to call them, the ones you can find on behindthenet.ca—are becoming more and more prominent. CBC’s first intermission panel for Saturday’s game between Anaheim and Vancouver had a discussion about offensive zone start deployment. TSN’s graphic guys showed a puck possession tracker at times last year with “shots for and against” as measurements. Sportsnet, is, uh, well, their Canucks broadcast team selected Zack Kassian as the first star of their Sunday night tilt against the Oilers after everybody else watched Ales Hemsky skate circles around everybody through the third period and scored a late tying goal and the clincher in the shootout.

Point being, there’s a lot more interest for analytics now than there was two years ago or so when I first started really getting into blogging. So much so that there are a lot of misconceptions about the way these statistics work or what they’re good for. For determining whether a player would be a good fantasy hockey pickup, his Corsi Relative number would be about as useful as his height and weight, yet I get questions all the time like that.

Forget Corsi Relative for now, though. The most important advanced statistic, or the most critical to understand, is the PDO number. I’ve been asked to write about it this morning.

Frequently Asked Question No. 1 – What does PDO stand for?

You’ll have to ask it’s creator, an Edmontonian who commented at old Oilers blogs under the Internet handle “PDO”. A lot of problems people have in understanding the new hockey statistics is that they don’t stand for anything. In baseball you have OBP, ISO and WAR, which stand for on-base percentage, isolated power and wins above replacement. In the same field of hockey, you have Corsi, PDO, and Fenwick, which are all named after the people who are generally credited with inventing the modern concept.

How is it pronounced? Well, whenever I’ve mentioned it in conversation (which is more often than you might imagine) I spell it out. “Pee” “Dee” “Oh”. It’s not pronounced “pedo” or “pidoo”.

Frequently Asked Question No. 2 – What does PDO count?

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I mention Frans Nielsen in this post, so, y'know, any excuse to run this great picture.

Finally. Finally it exists.

@BSH_EricT (I’d love to use his name, but he doesn’t, so….we’ll stick with the Twitter handle) has unveiled an advanced stat that should work for both the fancy stat crowd, and the “watch the game” crowd. I know, it’s incredible.

I’ll try to explain the easiest way to understand it below, but in sum, the goal is to quantify who plays against the toughest competition, as a way of assessing value.

The best players in the league get the most ice time, with the odd exception of say, guys on the Washington Capitals last season. Everyone, both camps, are nodding their heads. We know this to be true. Coaches know the value of their guys, and try to ice their best team as much as possible. This point in non-negotiable. Read the rest of this entry »