• Shawn Horcoff: Within You Without You

    by  • April 23, 2010 • Uncategorized • 22 Comments


    There was a thread on Lowetide’s site the other day in which how players performed with and without Shawn Horcoff came up. With the help of Vic Ferrari’s excellent timeonice.com, I was able to take a quick look how players did Corsi-wise, with and without him.

    I’m not going to say all that much – people can read – but if you’re hoping that the Oilers get some value out of Horcoff, it’s promising that most players saw their Corsi get better with him than it was when he wasn’t on the ice, particularly if you make the assumption that most players probably saw more of the other team’s best players.


    22 Responses to Shawn Horcoff: Within You Without You

    1. DSF
      April 23, 2010 at

      Corsi is like trying to assess the value of a home by how many saw cuts it took to build it.

      Others may find value in quality finishing.

    2. Tyler Dellow
      April 23, 2010 at

      Some of you fellows ought to back that up DSF. It’s all fine and well to go on about Ovechkin like you do, but there just aren’t that many Ovechkins available.

      Your lot seems to believe that on-ice shooting percentage and such can actually be predicted beyond a very broad range. It seems to me that this virtually begs for some sort of a challenge or test.

    3. April 23, 2010 at

      DSF: are you suggesting that playing with Shawn Horcoff causes a line to concede fewer shots on goal and attain more shots on goal, but the quality of those shots are better/worse so more pucks go in for the bad guys?

    4. April 23, 2010 at

      Horcoff, by the way, shot 10.6% this season, which ain’t anything to write home about but ain’t bad, so it’s not like he’s just floating wristers from his own blue line to pad the Corsi numbers.

    5. DSF
      April 23, 2010 at

      It’s all about results (finish) Lord Bob.

      How many even strength points did “Corsi King Horcoff” produce while leading the team in Corsi?

      The issue here is comparing Horcoff to a a team comprised of third rate NHL players and more than a handful of AHL scrubs.

      Is that relevant in some way?

    6. Tyler Dellow
      April 23, 2010 at

      Who said Horcoff led the team in Corsi this year?

    7. DSF
      April 23, 2010 at

      Tyler, you’re far too smart to use that Ovechkin/Horcoff comparison as the basis for a sound argument.

      While it has been used to point to the fact that an Ovechkin shot is worth far more than a Horcoff muffin, to then fall back on “how many Ovechkins are available”? is just pushing the limits.

      Obviously the Oilers are not going to find an Ovechkin anytime soon (and neither is anyone else) but exactly how does that make Horcoff a player?

      Huge logical disconnect ther.

    8. Quain
      April 23, 2010 at

      Horcoff had a horrible Corsi this year, do we really need to get into ‘he has a poor shot, hur hur hur’ territory to denigrate him?

    9. Tyler Dellow
      April 23, 2010 at

      I’m not the one who goes on about how a Horcoff “muffin” is different than an Ovechkin “laser” DSF – that’s you. This is your basis for why Corsi sucks. Quite honestly, it is a stupid rationale.

      To start with, at 5v5 since 2007-08, Horcoff has shot 13.3% and Ovechkin has shot 14.1%. The typical Ovechkin shot, in that time, has had a 6% better chance of going in. An Ovechkin shot is not worth that much more than a Horcoff shot. The reason that Ovechkin is such a goddamn valuable hockey player at ES relative to Shawn Horcoff is NOT as you and your colleagues believe, that he’s such a great finisher but that he takes 230% more shots at 5v5 over the past 3 years.

      That, of course, is reflected in Corsi. It literally captures the big difference between them while missing the miniscule one that you’re so caught up on.

      Of the Corsis of Horcoff and Ovechkin, of course, their own shots make up a small percentage – off the top of my head, I’d guess 25%ish – probably higher for Ovechkin than Horcoff because he probably takes more of his team’s shots when he’s on the ice. The effect of the shooting percetnage is washed out even more.

    10. DSF
      April 23, 2010 at

      I guess I wonder why you are starting the clock at 07/08 when Horcoff shot 18.23% and followed it up with 9.6 and 10.6?

      Ovechkin, over the same time frame has shot 14.6, 10.6 and and 13.6.

      And, yes, I agree he takes a much larger number of shots but the point of your post, if I’m not mistaken, must have been that Horcoff is a valuable player because his team mates (generally) fare better when he’s on the ice than when he is not.

      No argument from me there but I wonder about the motivation of the post when the actual results are there for everyone to see.

      What do you think the results would be if, say, Henrik Sedin, was inserted in the Horcoff role?

      Better, worse, indifferent?

      Or is there value in continuing to assess members of the worst team in the league in a vacuum?

    11. PDO
      April 23, 2010 at

      Henrik Sedin played a VERY different role than Horcoff played this year.

      Not that DSF would let facts get in the way of his arguments.

    12. April 23, 2010 at

      “No argument from me there but I wonder about the motivation of the post when the actual results are there for everyone to see.”

      I kind of figured “the motivation of the post” was to look at the future of a hockey player by separating the noisy parts of his performance from the signal. But maybe that’s just me.

    13. PDO
      April 23, 2010 at


      Donno if you’re familiar with DSF, but he thinks there is a group of people looking for obscure stats to prove that Horcoff is a good player, and constantly changing the stats to ensure that the stats that best represent Horcoff are brought up.

    14. Vic Ferrari
      April 23, 2010 at

      Terrific stuff Tyler. The season was not as bad as it seemed, linemates considered. He was dragging around some terrible left wingers for most of the year. I’m sure that a few fumbled scoring chances near the end of the year are sticking in the heads of talk radio callers as well.

      Still an off year for him. His faceoff percentage took a kicking as well, and that matters because he takes a lot more of the ones that actually matter (on the PK and in the defensive zone against good opposition). I’m sure injuries are a large part of it.

      They need him to be better, I would imagine that he will be next year.

      Further to our recent conversation, you can add &shawn=10 to the timeonice.com scripts to get the with-Horcoff EV stats. Or &shawn=22 to get the same for JF Jacques, etc. Brace yourself for that one, by the way. Poor Jean-Francois, Quinn just kept feeding him to the wolves. What a freaking nightmare.

    15. April 24, 2010 at

      Interesting to note that Horcoff’s four most frequent linemates were four of the worst six forwards on the team by Corsi.

    16. Tyler Dellow
      April 24, 2010 at

      As a preliminary point – S% is not interchangeable with ESS% or PPS%. You’re citing Horcoff’s S%, which includes PP, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

      I’m starting the clock at 07-08 to expand the sample and because that’s as far back as Gabe’s data goes. I don’t have my stuff handy but running it back further wouldn’t necessarily hope Ovechkin – I know from memory he didn’t have a great 2006-07 ESS% .

      Horcoff is a valuable player because his team mates (generally) fare better when he’s on the ice than when he is not.

      My point is that his dropoff isn’t as precipitous as it appears because the composition of the guys he played with changed dramatically. It’s noteworthy, I think, that, generally speaking, people did better with him than without, despite generally playing tougher minutes with him, I would think. I believe him to be a valuable player, although I don’t think that this necessarily says that one way or the other.

      No argument from me there but I wonder about the motivation of the post when the actual results are there for everyone to see.

      Joe Biden had a great line about making assumptions about the motivations of others and how it’s a dumb thing to do. In my case, one of the things I’m interested in is teasing out the impact of one player from another, separating the value of player contributions, for example. WOWY is a useful way to look at this. You’ll see Vic’s comment below about being able to crank this stuff out for other players – my motivations are pretty clean.

      As far of the motivations of yourself and your followers when it comes to Corsi, I genuinely think that a bunch of you can’t be bothered to understand it (hence the going on about shooting percentages when a) Ovi doesn’t shoot that much better than Horc at ES and b) Ovi’s big strength (tons of shots) is reflected in Corsi). It irritates me that you guys continuously criticize something that you don’t quite understand.

      What do you think the results would be if, say, Henrik Sedin, was inserted in the Horcoff role?

      I think the results would be better, although I’m not sure by how much. There’s a huge falloff from playing with Daniel and Alex, one of whom is a legit star and the other a legit NHLer, to the mishmash of guys Horc played with this year. There’s a huge difference in the quality of minutes they got in terms of who they played against (Kesler played the toughs). There’s a huge difference in terms of whether they take their faceoffs – the Sedins started out in the offensive zone a lot more.

      Is Henrik better at ES? Undoubtedly. Is the gap as big as it appears from the surface numbers? I’m virtually certain it isn’t.

    17. David Staples
      April 24, 2010 at

      So the underlying numbers tell us that Ethan Moreau propped up Shawn Horcoff?

      Just as Ethan himself always suspected. Just ask him. . .

    18. DSF
      April 24, 2010 at

      So, you’re saying if Horcoff played with Daniel and Burrows he might not win the the Art Ross but he would be close?


      BTW Tyler, any cherubic grade six student could understand Corsi.

      But many of them might “entertain the idea while not accepting it”.

      Of course, that’s all Greek to me.

    19. PDO
      April 25, 2010 at

      I love how DSF asks what would Henrik Sedin do in Horcoff’s position then talks about what Horcoff would do between Burrows and Daniel Sedin.

      You’re a fucking blowjob buddy.

    20. Julian
      April 25, 2010 at

      DSF, I’ve seen plenty of people on HF who STILL don’t comprehend the point of measuring Corsi, including someone who was demanding peer-reviewed academic studies that prove corsi is a valuable and logically sound tool. And he then went and gave one of his serious criticisms of it that it counted blocked shots as a bad thing. And why would blocking shots ever be a bad thing eh?

      I thought of that when watching G3 of the Sharks-Avs, and while the Sharks outshot the Avs 21-3 or something in each of the last two regulation periods, the broadcasters mentioned the blocked shots lead that the Avs had going on. To which my girlfriend yelled “that’s cause they never have the fucking puck” at the TV. Which in the end, is the point of corsi numbers, measuring who has the puck.

      But yeah, there are still lots of people who don’t get that.

    21. Tyler Dellow
      April 25, 2010 at

      So, you’re saying if Horcoff played with Daniel and Burrows he might not win the the Art Ross but he would be close?

      No, although if you could play the season a million times, you might have outcomes here and there where Horcoff was close to the scoring title if he played with Daniel and Burrows. I don’t think that this single season is really a fair representation of Henrik’s abilities.

      Here are Henrik and Horcoff’s SF/60 over the past three years. Before you accuse me of having a dishonest motivation, I’m using Gabe’s data and don’t have anything else handy:

      Henrik: 27.5, 29.1, 29.2
      Horcoff: 24.5, 27.6, 24.9

      5v5 S%:

      Henrik: 9.2, 10.5, 13.6
      Horcoff: 11.4, 9.3, 6.8

      Percentage of goals they got points on:

      Henrik: 77%, 82%, 85%
      Horcoff: 83%, 56%, 75%

      A caveat – I’m concerned that, to a certain extent, Horcoff’s too banged up physically to be where he was from 05-06 to 07-08. That will reduce what we can expect from him.

      Other than that though, I see it as a question of “what’s the true talent” of the player. Henrik had some of the indicia spike through the roof this year. I don’t think you expect Henrik to repeat his season next year – in effect, I don’t think that you think tht Henrik will do this again over 82 games. If I’m wrong, by all means let me know.

      BTW Tyler, any cherubic grade six student could understand Corsi.

      Yeah, I completely agree. I’m baffled that you and others – people who are obviously not stupid – throw out criticisms of it that make it seem like you don’t understand it.

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