For the advanced stat community, this post is entirely entry-level thinking, but outside of that annoying niche group of hockey fans (ugh, they’re just the WORST, those guys), there’s a large misconception about how to best understand the simplest numbers we pile up over the course of a hockey game. And, there’s no reason to feel ashamed about that. I’ve played for some pretty decent coaches who weren’t exactly up to speed on things either, but times are changing, so maybe your thinking should too.
Below, I’ll take a look at a few categories of in-game statistics, and try to lay out where many of us have been misusing them.
The first thing we all need to agree upon before moving forward is that having the puck is a really neat-o thing, correct? Most rational thinking humans would agree that having the puck, rather than not, gives you a better chance to score goals. I think we’re on the same page so far. That “having” of the puck is simply known as possession. You know this. I’m not trying to be patronizing, just making sure we’re on the same page. In general, the team who maintains possession more over the course of the game will have the best chance to win. No chart, no graph, that just makes logical sense.
Let’s continue down the yellow stat road. Read the rest of this entry »