The so-called “Summer of Fancy Stats” is real, and The Hockey Writers have been every bit as present in its berth as other websites. From both sides of the ledger, my colleagues have been putting out content on the topic du-jour all summer. Some agree, others don’t. Every opinion is valid. What is most important is that this website continues its role as a forum for open conversation, where everyone’s voice is welcome.
By large, it has been just that. But this conversation is multiplex, and more vast in it’s scope than any one website or group of writers can hope to do justice. Jen, of SecondCityHockey.com, tried to break the barriers presented by readership bias, offering a comprehensive list of analytically inclined follows on Twitter. It’s every bit as relevant now as it was on the day of its inception. What I hope to do, is expand upon that list and also offer sources of information for those new to this topic. It can seem like an awful lot of information to digest, but believe me when I say it’s not as difficult as it seems.
I graduated with Essential of Mathematics 11 and still comprehend the concepts behind these #fancystats. My hope is that by offering a list of Twitter handles and articles that can enlighten people on this topic, others can too.
If you have ever referenced Corsi in a discussion, blog or elsewhere, a debt of gratitude is owed to the OGs of the stats movement. The late Tore Purdy – known by followers of his blog as, JLikens – began this movement. There are others like him, but from what I’ve read, nobody made bigger leaps for the community. His presence will be missed. But JLikens isn’t alone in this regard.
Between the three of these blogs, two members of NHL front offices have been produced. That’s a sizable chunk of the Summer of Fancy Stats summed up right there. Unfortunately, all of these websites have either been decommissioned or stopped producing new content. Still, if you sift through some of the old blog posts on these sites – save for MC79Hockey.com, which has been shut down – you are sure to find top-notch material that is still relevant.
The First Wave
As I mentioned in my stats oriented article from earlier this week, the SBNation blogs and Nations Networks were the first large platform blogs – that I know of, anyways – to accept and use analytics on a widespread basis. These websites have produced more big-shot writers than they have NHL executives, but even they can lay a (shared) claim to Cam Charron, now a member of the Leafs front office. It would be a lengthy process, listing off every site from either of these two networked websites. Instead, I’ve posted links and twitter handles to the best and most data friendly ones.
- Pension Plan Puppets – @MLSE
- Fear The Fin – @FearTheFin
- Eyes On The Prize – @HabsEOTP
- Second City Hockey – @2ndcityhockey
- Jewels From the Crown – @JFTC_Kings
- Arctic Ice Hockey - @ArcticIceHockey
The Nations Network
- Canucks Army – @CanucksArmy
- Oilers Nation – @OilersNation
- Flames Nation – @FlamesNation
- Jets Nation – @NHLJetsNation
- Leafs Nation – @TLNdc
Long before this summer, there were members of the mainstream media that referenced analytics in their articles and commentary. They were a lot fewer and farther between than they are now, but they were there all the same. The idea of a mainstream writer is open to interpretation, but I feel the list I’ve provided below does as good a job as any in capturing which big-wigs are talking about this kind of stuff.
- James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail – @mirtle
- Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post – @NGreenberg
- Freelancer – @AGretz
- Freelancer – @JonathanWillis
- Scott Cullen of TSN – @TSNScottCullen
This group probably makes up the most sizable chunk of analytically inclined writers and commentators. It includes several writers from this very websites, and several of writers elsewhere. Some of these writers might even be contributors on already mentioned websites. This is where you will find people on both sides of the debate.
The Hockey Writers
- Andrew Wilson – @TheHockeyRant
- Sheng Peng – @Sheng_Peng
- Toni McIntyre – @ToniMacAttack
- Cam Kerry – @CamKerryPRS
- James Tanner – @JamesTanner123
- Andrew Bensch – @ViewFromBensch
- Prasanth Iyer – @Iyer_Prasanth
- Yours Truly, J.D. Burke – @JDylanBurke
- Todd Cordell – @ToddCordell
- Travis Yost – @TravisHeHateMe
- Ryan Wilson – @GunnerStaal
- Jen LC – @RegressedPDO
- Patrick O’Dell – @DucksAllDay
- Kent Wilson – @Kent_Wilson
- Corey Sznajder – @ShutdownLine
- Nick Biss – @NickJBiss
- Paige Lewis – @PaigeLewisFL
- Robert Paredes – @RobertJFTC
- Eric Tulsky – @BSH_EricT
- Stephen Burtch – @StephenBurtch
- JP Nikota – @JPNikota
- Rhys J – @Thats_Offside
- Garret Hohl – @GarretHohl
- Thomas Drance – @ThomasDrance
- Dimitri Filipovic – @DimFilipovic
- Josh Weissbock – @JoshWeissbock
- Rob Vollman – @RobVollmanNHL
- Greg Sinclair – @TheNinjaGreg
Resources on Statistical Initiation
As easy as the concepts and numbers behind most NHL statistics are for me to interpret now, it wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t understand any of it. Which, in reality, makes a ton of sense because a lot of what we’re exploring is relatively new stuff. As long as you are patient and open-minded, all of this stuff is easy enough to learn; there is no shortage of resources out there to help you out in this regard. Here’s a list of a few that should help you along the way.
- Underlying Metrics Are Stupid… Stupid Easy
- Limits of Corsi
- Further to the Big Mistake
- Does Luck Exist and How Do You Factor It?
- The Importance and Misconception of Advanced Hockey Analytics
- How Corsi and Fenwick Encourage a Completely Backwards View of Hockey (and are still useful)
- Introduction to Advanced Hockey Statistics
- Corsi is an Overrated Statistic
- Corsi, PDO and Fenwick: Three Hockey Stats You Need to Know
- PDO Explained
- FAQ: Zone Starts
- Using Zone Entry Data to Separate Offensive, Neutral and Defensive Zone Performance
- Zone Entries: Introduction to a Unique Tracking Project
I don’t expect everybody to acquiesce to analytic driven analysis. Nobody should expect that. It is, however, how I choose to conduct a lot of the work I do. As was mentioned in an article I published last week, I feel like the debate on the efficacy of statistical analysis in the NHL is over and done with. In creating this article, I hoped to maybe make my writing and the work of others considerably more accessible to the masses. I can only hope that some of these great voices and projects are looked at in full, before judgement.