This piece from Trey Causey is absolutely spot on. If you’re involved in an organization in any sport, you need to give this to your President/GM/Owner. This is how analytics will help your team win, and luckily, you have a major first mover advantage – especially in something like hockey – because while teams are now using analytics, nobody is using it quite like this yet.
One point I’ll expand on quickly when it comes to hockey is the idea of time horizons. Coaches tend to worry more about immediate payoffs than GMs, because their jobs are more likely to be in immediate jeopardy if the wins don’t come. But that isn’t the way it should be. Coaches need to understand and employ analytics, but they also need to be given assurances that they will be judged based on process, rather than results. At least in the near term. All parts of the organization need to be moving in the same direction, and only then can output be optimized. If a GM isn’t willing to take that approach with a certain coach, then hire a coach with whom you’re comfortable enough to do so.
Craig Custance has a great (unfortunately insider only) piece on coaching salaries in the NHL, and Mike Babcock’s stand for his fellow coach. It’s a very interesting read.
The biggest reason why hockey is so in need of a catch-all stat isn’t for basic analysis, because combining different metrics isn’t so hard, but it’s so that there’s a baseline for salaries. Being able to say that Bryan Bickell adds 2.4 wins per season above replacement but Joel Quenneville adds 3 would be huge, and would affect salaries in a big way, equivalent to what has happened at the GM level in baseball.
Considering that a large part of what I use twitter for is finding great things to read, and then to tweet them out to my followers, I’ve decided to streamline this process a little bit. Considering that some of my analytics work (but don’t worry, not all) will be transferring to Hockey Prospectus, I’ve decided to pick a piece of writing, every day (okay probably not every day) that I believe to be truly great. This could be a work of analytics, something conceptual, it doesn’t even necessarily have to relate to sports, although it most often will. Instead of posting said piece on twitter, I will post in hear under the headline “AP Hockey Story of the Day” and, time-willing, will offer some brief thoughts on the piece.
So long story short, if you like reading the types of articles I tend to tweet out, make sure you either visit the blog frequently, or at the very least keep tuned to my twitter account as I tweet out links to these pages each day.