Advanced Quantitative Analysis For Hockey Fans

Everybody agrees that hockey statistics are serious business indeed. Everybody also agrees that hockey statistics are  vastly undeveloped compared to statistics in other sports such as baseball and basketball.

To all you armchair GMs, I'd like to help you hone and clarify your understanding of what's happening on the ice during each Avalanche game by offering a number of advanced statistical criteria for your intellectual stimulation. I'll use the two most recent games (both against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct 20 and Oct 22) as the bases for my calculations.


My first analytical masterpiece is what I call SPC, or Shots Per Center. The center on each line plays in the middle of the ice, so any shots by the center are obviously the best shots, right? The wingers take these weird shots from the corners so their chance of scoring is way lower, obviously. So the Avs should try to maximize their SPC if they want to have better scoring opportunities and win more games.

During the October 20 game at home, the Avs had six players on the ice listed as centers. That's good because the more centers you have, the more shots you'll get from centers, which is a great way to win. Those six players took a total of 12 shots, which means the team SPC was 2.00. The Blackhawks had three players listed as centers, and they took 7 shots. Their SPC was 2.33. Since the Blackhawks won the game, you see how important a higher SPC can be.


The next quantitative touch of genius I've developed is called TOILOI, or Time On Ice per Luck Of the Irish. It's unquestionable that Irish people are lucky by nature. Therefore, teams should maximize the ice time enjoyed by players with blatantly Irish names in order to win.

On October 22, the Avs had three players with blatantly Irish names: Ryan O'Reilly, Ryan O'Byrne, and Shane O'Brian. Those three players played a total of 59:14, the average (TOILOI) of which is 19:44. By comparison, the 'Hawks iced only one player with a blatantly Irish name, Sean O'Donnell. And before you try to say "what about Jon Toews?", his last name is Welsh, not Irish. So Chicago's TOILOI was just 14:34, clearly much lower than Colorado's and a big reason why the Avs won that game.

EDIT: You may be asking yourself, "what about Jay McClement and Cody McLeod? Aren't their names also Irish?" And of course, the answer is yes, but their names aren't BLATANTLY Irish. Their names are only VERY Irish, which is totally different.


The final type of statistic all hockey fans should be sure to note is GSBS, or the Good Stuff to Bad Stuff ratio. Taking a shot on goal is a good thing. Blocking an opposing team's shot is also a good thing. Taking a shot but having it blocked by the opposing team is a bad thing, as is taking a shot and missing the goal entirely. So, add the good things and then divide them by the sum of the bad things. The higher the ratio, the better your team, obviously.

(Shots on goal + opposing shots blocked) / (Shots blocked by opponent + missed shots) = GSBS

On October 20, the Avs took 32 shots, blocked 16, had 20 of their own shots blocked by the 'Hawks and missed the net 8 times. So their GSBS was 1.71. The 'Hawks GSBS was 1.85. Chicago won that game.

On October 22, the Avs' GSBS was 1.68, while Chicago's was 2.58. That seems odd since the Avalanche ended up winning in overtime, but no statistic is a perfect indicator of on-ice success. Still, there's no denying that doing more good stuff than bad stuff is a good way to win over the long term.


Hopefully these new quantitative tools will help to make you a more knowledgeable hockey fan. Be sure to cite them constantly and base all your opinions about team quality and success on them, too.

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