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LHC in Numbers

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As talked about in the first Part, the point of MySports’ analysis was to justify part of the difference in offensive production between Pius Suter and Tanner Richard with their respective ZSR. Yesterday, I presented my own analysis of “Suter vs. Richard”, using the publicly available data from the SIHF.

By @spz19    (Photo: PHOTOPRESS / Gabriele Putzu)

My aim was to show if it was possible to understand MySports’ numbers with this data and some assumptions and arguments. As it turned out, the proxies calculated from the SIHF data and used for both players are far from MySports’ ZSR and need important adjustments, especially for DZS.

There are two possibilities here: 

1. My hypotheses and arguments are plain wrong because using and reading only SIHF data makes them quite useless as compared to MySports’ work. There’s not enough material to better understand the game of hockey in Switzerland. 
2.

Consider the presented ZSR numbers as suspicious. 

In yesterday's part, I noted that MySports didn’t correctly compare offensive production to the ZSR: they did not use similar perimeters. They used:

- 5v5 for ZSR and;
-

every in-game situation (5v5, 4v4, 3v3, PP, BP) for points per game.

So, can we be sure the perimeter used in the ZSR is coherent? Here, we, as fans, have to accept those numbers and rely on them for our understanding as we do not have the same access to data.

Furthermore, it would have been interesting to dig further in the analysis: 

- What can we conclude from the article? Is the comparison between the statistics of two players enough to make it a generality?
- As such, what is the average impact for a player on its offensive production for an additional 1% start in OZ as compared to DZ?
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How do players’ ZSR compare with their team’s or teammates’?

Even if it doesn’t go too much into details, the use of “Advanced Stats” by MySports is still very interesting for Swiss hockey fans for the following reasons:

- The metrics presented in the videos are generally not available on the  SIHF website and cannot be computed without further game details;
- There’s finally another way to talk about hockey with other statistics than points, goals, assists, plus/minus or blocked shots;
-

After RSI, there’s finally another media outlet using them regularly in their broadcasts and displaying them in articles and/or tutorials, making them available for everyone. 

In terms of TV product, as compared to Teleclub, MySports has taken more risks in terms of broadcasting contents with “Advanced stats”. As far as I know, Teleclub never talked about them. This is positive for the Swiss hockey community and MySports can now sell themselves as Swiss hockey experts: they have and present information no one else has. But they also have access to information no one else has.

Now, are these tutorials on “Advanced stats” enough to educate the viewer and for him to completely understand all the underlying concepts behind each presented metric? Are these tutorials enough team-oriented for fans? In my opinion, no and for several reasons: 

- MySports can only offer a first introduction into some areas. They don’t have enough time or place to talk about it. The duration of tutorials is between two and five minutes and they approximately only have one per week. There are lots of subjects that will never be approached.
- MySports has to offer analysis that are mainly League-wide related. Yet, fans want their team to be the focus and understand why they are successful or not. Again, MySports doesn’t have enough time or place to talk about it.
-

In my opinion, MySports considers that the computation of some of these presented metrics are too complex to be explained. For example, the Major League Soccer (MLS) or Opta have made a great job trying to explain concepts like expected goals.

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Last but not least, this is not MySports’ fault or responsibility.

As already stated, in North America, “Advanced Stats” are more and more frequently used in mainstream media. Yet, the subject had been covered before for years by amateurs through blogs, videos and databases. The data availability, for at least 15 (!) years now, and its mainly free coverage helped educate hockey fans. Every team in the NHL has its fans and/or journalists who cover their team with a more statistical approach, because they know that there is demand.

In Switzerland, for the moment, it’s the other way around. Two mainstream media outlets are using it, RSI and MySports (and only the Swiss German channel). Mind-boggling, eh? Nearly no one else can talk as precisely about it as we lack the necessary data. Yet, as a hockey community, we shouldn’t have to think have that this is something exclusive (or is it?) to one or two channels.

By delaying the data release, the League will also delay its use by other journalists. As stated by Paul Yerly (BoumaToews on Twitter) about its potential use by journalists: “Articles cannot be too complicated and must be accessible to be read”.

Now, we know that this is not a question of data availability. The League now has all the needed data, as they are collected by every club. They have shift charts and they have play-by-play data. This can also not be a question of financial means, as our League is one of the wealthiest in Europe.

As shared last week on Twitter (for the full thread go here):

The answer by the Federation is somewhat positive. Yet, the only difference in statistics between this season and the last one: the inclusion of the number of faceoffs won and lost by individual players. This is good, but not fast enough. Of course, having a Corsica like website would be the best but with play-by-play data and shift charts, it would be a first step in the right direction. It would enable any journalist or fan to work with them to share their analyses in mainstream media or through other channels to improve “Advanced stats” visibility to finally help to improve our understanding of the game. 

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About the Blog

LHC in Numbers

A different way of looking at Lausanne HC's performance by tracking already available as well as personally collected statistics.

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