• Staples Responds

    by Tyler Dellow • July 6, 2012 • Hockey • 36 Comments

    David Staples has responded to the criticism of his work contained in “Uh, about Neilson Numbers…” Given that it’s buried in the comments in a post that’s a few days old, I figured I’d give it some prominence and rebut.

    I will give you one thing, Tyler: you make a damn fine prosecutor.

    Nonetheless, I don’t see you as a credible critique of my work. You’re so quick to judge, you miss out on necessary investigation and deliberation.

    For example, the other night, in a lengthy debate on Twitter, I mentioned that I used the official NHL methodology for reporting plus-minus in my own work.

    This evidently struck you as a very bad idea — given this post you just wrote — but before launching your attack you didn’t think it wise to ask a few basic questions, starting with:, “OK, you use the NHL methodology, which I think is crap, but why do you do that?”

    Of course, tthe answer is that from the start of my own work in this area, my primary focus has to been to examine whether or not the NHL’s official plus-minus system is fair, and if it’s not fair, to ascertain just how unfair it is.

    Emphasis added.

    David Staples, December 4, 2011:

    In 2007, not knowing about Neilson’s approach, but with the goal of coming up with a better way to rate the two-way players of hockey, I started to do this same work on all goals for and against the Edmonton Oilers.

    In 2010, I realized that it was best to also study scoring chances for and against if I wanted to get create a better of map of each player’s two-way play. I started to use the Neilson method to study scoring chances as well.

    “…A better way to rate the two-way players of hockey.” “…A better map of each player’s two-way play.”

    Look, I’m all for academic investigation and such and lord knows that I do enough diddling with numbers myself but I would submit that “my primary focus has been to examine whether or not the NHL’s official plus-minus system is fair” is not synonymous with “I wanted to create a better map of each player’s two play.” Both are laudable goals but they aren’t necessarily the same thing. For instance, in one, you might use the NHL’s plus/minus methodology. In the other, you might conclude that that’s an asinine thing to do because you’re going to prevent yourself from being able to make inter-player comparisons.

    In any event, what David says he is trying to do now is not what he has previously claimed to be doing. It’s not the way in which he’s presented his findings. Take this, for example, from October 7, 2011:

    At the same time, Corsi focuses on shots at net but doesn’t zero in on the more important event in a hockey game, the scoring chance. There’s little doubt that if you looked at Crosby based on his real contribution to scoring chances for and against his team, you would find he created more chances than anyone else, while more than holding his own in his own zone.

    Certainly when we look at Whitney and Vandermeer’s contribution to scoring chances for and against, that’s what we see. Whitney helped create far more chances for the Oilers per 60 minutes of play than did Vandermeer, and Whitney made mistakes on far fewer chances against than Vandermeer.

    I would suggest that, if one’s intent was to make some sort of forensic analysis of the fallibility of the plus/minus stat, one wouldn’t be using his research like this. My understanding has always been that he was trying to find a better way to rate the two-way play of players. I took this from actually reading the words that he wrote.

    I have written about this extensively for years, and often mentioned that to compare apples to apples, I was using the NHL’s methodology on reporting plus-minus. This wasn’t some deep dark secret of my work. It was the essence of my work, to make this offiical plus-minus to Neilson plus-minus comparison.

    The December 4, 2011 article that I’m quoting from there is called “Frequently Asked Questions on Neilson Numbers.” Actual piece of that FAQ:

    Do you assign errors to players killing off a penalty?

    Yes. The player who takes the penalty and is off the ice when the power play goal against is scored will be assigned a primary error, as he is the one who created the uneven man situation. Penalty killers who make mistakes on the goal-against play will be assigned secondaries. But these errors aren’t included in the true plus/minus calculation, as they’re not committed at even strength.

    Emphasis added.

    What does David say in his review of the Oilers’ defencemen this year?

    The Edmonton Oilers defencemen can be broken into three groups based on their even strength play in 2011-12…By this plus/minus system, here are the rankings of the Oilers defencemen in 2011-12 on their even strength play.

    What does he say in the review of the Oilers’ centres?

    By this plus/minus system, here are the rankings of the Oilers centres in 2011-12 on their even strength play.

    If there was a review of wingers, I can’t find it. In any event, whatever the Neilson project started out as (I’m inclined to accept what David was saying before I called attention to this, but to each his own), David’s clearly become all about using it to rate two way play at some point.

    In the end, after four years, I can report that the NHL’s official plus-minus gives false positive and negatives 35 per cent of the time (I’ve reason to believe the false positive and negative percentage is higher on scoring chances and higher yet on shots on net, but that’s a different debate).

    This conclusion doesn’t make sense, even if that is the question one is trying to answer. My review of his results suggests that it will depend on the specific player at issue. Some, like Andy Sutton, are being wildly overrated by traditional plus/minus according to him, while others are getting blamed unfairly.

    Moreover, if the intent of this project is to examine the NHL’s traditional plus/minus system, shouldn’t the analysis be limited to goals for and against only? Nobody’s getting pluses or minuses on scoring chances that don’t turn into goals. It seems that he’s done a ton of extra work that doesn’t have any thing to do with the purpose he’s now identified: examining whether the NHL’s system of plus/minus is fair.

    Or, in the alternative, that I perfectly understood what he was trying to do and his objection is nonsense.

    In your article, you report that GASP! I use this methodology and GASP! it’s a dumb, dumb methodology and GASP! I didn’t mention it in my F.A.Q. on Neilson numbers. The implication is “Dave’s not so bright and he’s also shady.”

    Sheesh!

    Now, I might well have mentioned it in the F.A.Q. (and will do so now to avoid further accusation and confusion), but I can’t say this was a frequently asked question about my work. I repeatedly stated at the outset what I was doing it and have made no effort to hide it.

    Why would I?

    Perhaps Dave should change the part of the FAQ where he explicitly says the opposite? Yes, that should probably be changed. Also, if he’s making no effort to hide it, he might not want to say even-strength play when you mean something else when you report your results.

    Now, if you had asked that first question, instead of donning the old prosecutorial robes, you might have found out more about my work that you don’t now, such as any data supporting my contention that there’s 35 per cent false positives and negatives on goals.

    I…I’m not entirely sure what this sentence means. I’m not surprised that there are false positives and negatives on goals; I’ve always taken it is a given. I don’t criticize anyone for looking to prove that; it’s good to challenge assumptions, but I don’t think that’s close to the biggest problem with traditional plus/minus. A much bigger problem is that it’s not a stat that can be directly compared amongst players because some players play on the PP and others play on the PK and some do both and some do neither and all of those components count. Some guys, who are out on the ice with the goalie pulled, get tagged with minuses on empty net goals while others get pluses that don’t really represent hockey in the real sense. Sometimes guys leap over the boards as a puck goes in. In addition, there are the PDO issues. So yeah, +/- has a lot of problems.

    Like I say, there’s nothing wrong with developing evidence to confirm something but I’m not sure what I’ve ever said to make it appear that I think the NHL’s traditional +/- scheme is a good one. Indeed, I’m laughing at the silliness of using it as the basis of a system for comparison precisely because I think it’s so bad.

    I get it that many bloggers don’t want to accept that 35 per cent number, that it is a problematic number for all who push team-plus minus numbers as a useful tool in rating individual players.

    No. David is imagining an objection that doesn’t exist. Most serious stats people accept that any team based system is going to result in a player getting credited or blamed for events for which he deserves no credit or blame. Truthfully, I can’t think of any who don’t – I’m saying “most” to be cautious. I don’t have a firm opinion on what the specific number is – I suspect it’d vary from player to player but nobody disagrees with that. This is why people do things like WOWYs and such, to try and suss out who the difference makers, good and bad, are. People do stuff like this because they recognize the limitation of the stat.

    Of course, one of the strengths of a +/- system like Corsi is that it can help you identify guys who do things that keep the puck headed the right direction that doesn’t show up in scoring chances or Nielson numbers. There is stuff that happens between the scoring chances that matters. Nielson analysis doesn’t catch this.

    But to be a credible critic of my conclusion, I’d suggest you maybe look at least one game yourself, track and break down the goals and scoring chances, see who is involved and isn’t. Better yet, do the work for five or 10 games.

    You may question the import of my work at that point, you may still think that two different raters won’t come up with the same plus and minus marks for individual players on individual goals or chances.

    That’s fine.

    But I’m confident you’ll accept one thing, that there’s a boat load of false negatives and positives on average on goals and chances. If you do the work long enough, you’ll find that false positive/negative marks on goals is at least one third of all marks handed out.

    He’s flailing about here, arguing points that aren’t in dispute. To start with, I’m reasonably convinced that most people who’ve watched a lot of hockey will come up with pretty similar chance counts when they count chances in a hockey game. Most of the scoring chance counters are working off similar definitions and most of you have watched a lot of hockey. I’ve seen the discussions in the comments here and on Twitter when two teams with people counting chances are playing. They generally have similar results. This isn’t a critique that I have. I’ll even go so far as to say I expect that two people would come up with reasonably similar assessments of credit/blame on goals and chances.

    I don’t know what would have prompted David to raise this as an issue. It’s like he doesn’t read the criticism of the past two posts, or he has some sort of rote response to any perceived criticism.

    Now a hockey can can extrapolate – and I have — to make an apples to slightly-different-kind-of-apples comparison, putting up Neilson against Corsi or King numbers. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to do so, given that they are all plus-minus systems, purporting to be of value in rating individual players.

    I’m also confident if you do that, you’ll find the Neilsons plus-minus gives the best inidcator, the best starting point, to rate individuals, because it helps negate Quality of Teammate, something that is inextricably woven into Corsi and King numbers, to their detriment.

    This is baffling. For one, you can’t do any sort of a test or investigation to substantiate because of the way in which he collects his data. Nobody can put together a complete list of chances and the Neilsons awarded and look to see whether Nielson numbers negate Quality of Teammate or not. This is purely an argument of reason and poor reasoning at that.

    On the one hand, I can see the rationale. By crediting/blaming those involved, you’re theoretically helping to minimize the extent to which guys get credited/blamed for stuff that they don’t have any involvement with. I get it. I hope that whenever David is tempted to say I don’t understand the rationale, he comes back and reads this paragraph.

    On the other hand, I fundamentally disagree with the implicit statement there about how NHL hockey works. He is essentially saying that scoring chances are just something that happen based on the skill or lack thereof at making/preventing scoring chances of the individuals on the ice. Taylor Hall’s on the ice, he’s good at scoring chances so scoring chances will happen.

    I disagree with this. I think if other guys on the ice are good at getting the puck going the right way, Taylor Hall’s scoring chance numbers will be better than if they weren’t. Even things that aren’t scoring chances, like breaking the cycle in your own end and getting the puck heading the right direction, or keeping a puck in at the blueline, or consistently winning battles…even if these things don’t lead directly to scoring chances, they create a climate in which scoring chances are more likely to happen. Drop Taylor Hall in my league, fine, he’s creating scoring chances on his own. I don’t think he is in the NHL. His Neilson numbers are built on a platform created by the five guys on the ice as a whole.

    Of course, my rationale is as much a matter of logic as Dave’s. Except that Dave sees cases where Nielson numbers diverge significantly from other indicators (Corsi and scoring chances) and declares that his case is proven. Whereas I (and a lot of other people) would like to see some explanation for why, if guys like Jones and Sutton are so good and bad respectively, the team level stats don’t seem to show it, even once you make some efforts to account for quality of teammates and competition. This is (quite literally) the million dollar question.

    David assumes that because guys like Jones and Sutton have good/bad Nielson numbers, it shows that Corsi and scoring chance data is incorrect. If he’s right, there has to be some explanation for why that disconnect exists. In effect, it means that the other players on the ice become worse/better respectively when those guys are out, because the problems Nielsons identify don’t show up in their team level numbers. That doesn’t seem a particularly satisfactory explanation to me.

    Most of this other stuff is just stuff that Staples is pretending is my objection, because it’s easier turf to fight on. Well, except in the case of the asinine manner in which he’s adopted the Roth/Irvin stuff and pretended that it’s even strength and is now saying that this project is about something entirely different than he said on Cult of Hockey. I’ve no idea why he’d choose to fight on that turf because it just provides his critics with many, many hilarious examples for easy laughs in putting together a lengthy post about what is otherwise some dry stuff but I won’t tell him how to argue his case.

    That said, there isn’t a person who takes stats seriously who wouldn’t love to have some sort of a system that accurately meted out individual contribution. It is exactly what you want to find if you’re interested in poking around with this stuff. Personally, I’d love it if Nielson numbers were the silver bullet that identified the guys who are really driving things. For the reasons laid out above, it seems irrational to think they are and, in any case, Staples certainly hasn’t tried to explain the tough cases.

    If Staples really cares about what he’s doing though, he might eventually to try to back up the claim that they have some value in terms of predicting future success, rather than simply asserting over and over that this is how Roger Neilson did it. Right it now, it sure looks like he’s a guy who’s trying to carve out a niche for himself and doesn’t particularly care if the work has any merit, just like the PowerMax guys and guys with formulas to figure out which is the best goalie based on dividing wins by shutouts and multiplying by shootout save percentage or something. Exact same thing. There’s good money in snake oil, I guess.

    About Tyler Dellow

    36 Responses to Staples Responds

    1. July 6, 2012 at

      There’s a long chunk near the end of this piece that basically summarizes the primary reason why I think shot metrics are a better measure of ability than something like Neilson Numbers:

      I fundamentally disagree with the implicit statement there about how NHL hockey works. He is essentially saying that scoring chances are just something that happen based on the skill or lack thereof at making/preventing scoring chances of the individuals on the ice. Taylor Hall’s on the ice, he’s good at scoring chances so scoring chances will happen. I disagree with this. I think if other guys on the ice are good at getting the puck going the right way, Taylor Hall’s scoring chance numbers will be better than if they weren’t. Even things that aren’t scoring chances, like breaking the cycle in your own end and getting the puck heading the right direction, or keeping a puck in at the blueline, or consistently winning battles…even if these things don’t lead directly to scoring chances, they create a climate in which scoring chances are more likely to happen. Drop Taylor Hall in my league, fine, he’s creating scoring chances on his own. I don’t think he is in the NHL. His Neilson numbers are built on a platform created by the five guys on the ice as a whole.

      There are other things – the sample size of the shot data, as one example, beats the tar out of any other metric out there, though scoring chances are still worlds better than goals – but this is the primary objection. Any assignment of Neilson Numbers involves what, in my view, is an arbitrary cut-off between where the scoring play started and where the scoring play ended.

      That’s not to say that I see NN’s as useless – I don’t. I just don’t think the case has been made that when NN/Corsi differ, NN should be deferred to. Based on my current knowledge, I don’t think such a case will ultimately be supportable.

      • Coach Pb
        July 6, 2012 at

        “Any assignment of Neilson Numbers involves what, in my view, is an arbitrary cut-off between where the scoring play started and where the scoring play ended. ”

        And three completely different game states.

        • July 6, 2012 at

          Yes, but that’s an error in execution, not in theory.

      • July 6, 2012 at

        Hell yeah. That’s exactly the bottom line. Any system that does this sort of thing (Staples’ Neilson Numbers, the CSSI project at Winging It In Motown, etc.) runs into this issue. The defenseman who stopped the cycle in his own zone, moved it up, and got off the ice and let someone else on was a positive contributor to the scoring chance that happened 15 seconds later. Yet, these little things are often missed, because otherwise the project would become pretty much impossible. Yet, these are precisely the situations that matter most, from the standpoint of trying to create a catch-all statistic. Anyone can look at Sidney Crosby and say “Oh, this guy is a positive contributor to his team!”. The real questions to be answered are in differentiating between a 4D and a 5D, or a 4LW and a 5LW.

    2. MiltTheStilt
      July 6, 2012 at

      these posts seem pretty neurotic.

    3. Lee
      July 6, 2012 at

      Pistols at dawn?

      • Doogie2K
        July 6, 2012 at

        Rented barn, obviously.

    4. Lee
      July 6, 2012 at

      The interesting thing about this pursuit of the ‘silver bullet’ is I suspect if this indisputable metric was ever achieved, it would ultimately make hockey a more boring sport to watch.

      Baseball has these unassailable stats, so much of the joy that baseball fans derive from watching the sport is knowing what the percentage plays are and thus being able to ‘situationally’ second guess the manager throughout the game. Not a lot of effort is expended debating how great a player Albert Pujols is because a myriad of iron clad stats render that discussion moot.

      Hockey on the other hand is a sport with such a plethora of split second decisions (both team and individual), that the pursuit of these ‘silver bullets,’ while laudable and contributing to a healthy debate, seems ultimately doomed to failure.

      As a result, literally reams of debate is applied to such trivial concerns as whether Tom Gilbert is actually a good hockey player or not. The fact that we can enjoy that debate is in no small part due to the fact that the available data and statistical models continue to leave so much room for contextual conjecture.

      I for one think that’s a good thing. Baseball and bean counting is a perfect blend. Hockey is more like jazz.

      • RiversQ
        July 6, 2012 at

        I quantified jazz once. The answer I got was zero.

        • Pete
          July 7, 2012 at

          You must have done something wrong – you should have generated an infinite series. Maybe you forgot to account for diminished 11ths.

      • Dog
        July 7, 2012 at

        Good points that you may well be right on – I can’t say if that’s true on the jazz part though

    5. tsimpson76
      July 6, 2012 at

      Wow, you really picked apart everything Staples has ever said. As much as some of his stuff contradicts itself sometimes and he makes some obvious mistakes, I don’t see how you managed to work up the will to write that much on it. I think as an independent blogger you should at least have some respect for MSM guys like him that actually take the time to interact with you and take you somewhat seriously. He does, after all, have a much wider influence than you do. Posts like this all make me less interested I your blog, I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same.

      • The Rage
        July 6, 2012 at

        I agree, this post was lame.

      • July 6, 2012 at

        Haha. Yes…Tyler is the lightweight in this discussion. How dare he question his betters! The impudence!

        Please go sit at the kids table. The adults are trying to speak.

        • tsimpson76
          July 7, 2012 at

          Hah, I guess you can’t tell the difference between “How dare he question him” with what I wrote. All I’m saying is that 2500+ words to discredit a blogger who is responsible for a large chunk of your own publicity is uninteresting and distasteful IMO.

          • July 7, 2012 at

            a blogger who is responsible for a large chunk of your own publicity

            I could be wrong, maybe Google Analytics would show that Cult of Hockey is actually a huge force driving traffic to MC79hockey… but I really highly doubt it. Really, really, highly doubt it. Even with my eyes closed and my nose plugged, that doesn’t pass the smell test.

      • TheOtherJohn
        July 6, 2012 at

        Don’t let the door hit you on the ass as you leave this site for the last time.

        I encourage you to continue to read the Cult of Hockey at the Edm Journal as they have a couple of excellent and insightful writers on that blog.

        Myself I am eagerly awaiting the 25th article/post of 2012 from D Staples on why YEG really needs to expend even more of my tax money ($400 million so far with a $100m shortfall to fund) on building Katz a new arena

        • tsimpson76
          July 7, 2012 at

          I didn’t say I’ll never read the blog again, nor do I claim filter out what I read on Cult of Hockey any less than I do on this site.

      • Jesse
        July 6, 2012 at

        So Tyler is supposed to respect David for the sole reason that he works for a newspaper and has a lot of influence? Respect must be earned, not just freely given because someone holds a particular job. There are many people out there with influence who are completely illogical and do very little to merit respect, and apparently you’re saying that if they stoop to interact with other people who are just like them they should be unconditionally respected?

        • tsimpson76
          July 7, 2012 at

          That’s not what I said. Quote: “you should at least have some respect for MSM guys like him that actually take the time to interact with you and take you somewhat seriously.” Staples is probably a pretty big reason this blog gets any attention, because he tweets with Tyler quite a bit. You’d think Tyler would give it a bit of a rest because of that.

          • Colby Cosh
            July 7, 2012 at

            You don’t know what you’re talking about. And, unfortunately, I’m an overwhelmingly credentialed member of the mainstream media, so you’ve kind of painted yourself into a corner here.

            • tsimpson76
              July 7, 2012 at

              What? I said “MSM guys like him (Staples), not “all MSM guys”. I don’t doubt he has allies/friends in the media.

              Anyway, how is my case not logical? How many Oiler fans follow mc79 when they first create a Twitter account, before following Staples? I’d wager not many.

            • Doogie2K
              July 8, 2012 at

              Logical isn’t relevant. As yourself, is it true? There are ways to find this out; investigate them.

              Besides, Dellow’s been at this for a while, and got a lot of other avenues of influence besides Staples. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Colin Campbell emails?

      • July 6, 2012 at

        Clearly not a reader of The Hockey News.

      • P-Ow
        July 7, 2012 at

        More influence? THIS IS THE 99TH MOST INFLUENTIAL MAN IN HOCKEY!

    6. July 6, 2012 at

      The implication is “Dave’s not so bright and he’s also shady.”

      Following this whole thing, I’ve seen nothing to dispel this notion, Staples. Again, as I said before, props to you for showing up instead of just hitting the “block” button and putting your head in the sand like many others. But otherwise, you’ve done nothing to actually address the points that have been made regarding the weaknesses of your Neilson Numbers themselves, the issues with how you have presented your data, nor the sweeping declarations that you make. You’ve mostly done a lot of “Well you’re misunderstanding or unaware of (x)” even though these claims are not in line with your previous claims or presentations. The fact that you are unable to support your work in a coherent or factual manner against these critiques just proves the implication – you are either not understanding the problems, or you are simply ignoring them and trying to handwave it all away.

      If you don’t like that implication, that’s a simple thing to fix. But at this point, the only thing you’ve really demonstrated has been that the implication is actually fact.

    7. Dog
      July 7, 2012 at

      Lee made a good point above – how likely is it that the ‘silver bullet’ could ever be found – there are obvious flaws in everything – scoring chances, Corsi, NN whatever – you make your choice, and there can be dispute.
      Thats nice in so much that you can then have a nice debate about the relevant results that each produce – I must admit the results end up being judged on your opinion – is Jones a good player or not – there are different results – the right result may end up being the one that matches your opinion.
      Now David is being paid (I presume !) so the effort he puts into doing the NN could be considered part of his job, but the trouble he, and Dennis and all the others go to should be applauded.
      I can see that some of his arguments are confused and I wouldn’t use.the pp against or pk for but it’s another means of evaluation.
      But I think he does have a point that he mentioned right first off – that of going through a prosecution (from an expert) – but unless you get your kicks from that, then I”m not sure it was the right tone – its not quite a debate
      I believe he has taken on some points, I think that’s what might be considered sufficient at this point ….

    8. Colby Cosh
      July 7, 2012 at

      Trying to settle the (entirely empirical) question of Dellow’s influence by appealing to “logic”, instead of informing oneself, is actually kind of similar to Staples’ case for Staples Numbers.

    9. Pajamah
      July 8, 2012 at

      This is what seperates MSM from bloggers…internet pissing matches.

      Who cares who does what?

      The reason I read ON and Lowetide moreso than CoH or mc79 is because Wanye and Allan themselves talk about hockey, the Oilers, and don’t try to discredit the rest of their ilk.

      Tyler, if there is anything I have taken away from your writing, is that you do it atop a very high horse.

      • Doogie2K
        July 8, 2012 at

        Because no MSM members have ever engaged in pissing matches, with each other or with bloggers.

        You’ll be stunned to learn that many MSMers are actually thin-skinned twits who can’t handle reasoned criticism with any degree of grace. See: Damian Cox, Adrian Dater, Steve Simmons, Bruce Garrioch, most of the Edmonton sports media…

      • Doogie2K
        July 8, 2012 at

        Actually, in that regard, Staples is one of the better ones, because at least he keeps his cool and tries to engage in debate. He may be wrong, but he’ll at least have a dialogue with his critics, instead of slamming the Block button and living in an echo chamber.

    10. art vandelay
      July 8, 2012 at

      … I am eagerly awaiting the 25th article/post of 2012 from D Staples on why YEG really needs to expend even more of my tax money ($400 million so far with a $100m shortfall to fund) on building Katz a new arena….”

      ^this

      Also: why give Staples more space here? He gets 5 x 1500 words of advertorial space a week for his fact-free drivel. Based on my zero hours of watching game tape, I can tell he’s full of sh!t about hockey and a complete fkn liar about the alleged benefits of a taxpayer-funded arena.
      The guy isn’t a journalist, he’s a propagandist. I thought the whole point of the Algores was to cut ourselves loose from the entrenched media and give space to fresh viewpoints.
      There’s nothing fresh about a statist who won’t divulge his interests, yet persists in trying to convince readers that it’s somehow economically feasible and morally defensible for a working person to subsidize a private business, one that just coincidentally happens to have employees that work in colorful laundry 41 nights a year.

      • ANON
        July 17, 2012 at

        Poop 2

    11. Mr DeBakey
      July 9, 2012 at

      “David assumes that because guys like Jones and Sutton have good/bad Nielson numbers, it shows that Corsi and scoring chance data is incorrect.”

      For those worrying about poor David, and the meanies here, this is the line that matters.
      Staples knows when he is right – always
      And who is wrong – those who disagree with him.
      And will argue happily and for a very long time about those two topics.

      When he created the “Error Stat” it was indeed focused on “whether or not the NHL’s official plus-minus system is fair.”
      It broke down goals only, thus correcting the hated +/- stat.
      Naturally, the new data was used to quantify the player’s on-ice abilities.
      Many argued, and argued, by using goals only he wasn’t getting a complete picture of the players and their contribution.

      If I remember correctly, it was out of these discussions the King Ferrari Scoring Chance number was spawned – and a fine number it is.
      Seeing its fineness, Staples broadened his Error Stat to encompass the KSFC and named it after the inventor of the Jersey Milk bar.
      Cuz it was soooo sweet, I suppose.

      I don’t read Staples’ stuff these days. Like others mentioned, his fine work on the new Ice Palace turned me off for good. I’m careful to give his webpage zero hits.
      But when I did read him, I appreciated reading someone who was using something other than psychobabble and cherryisms to describe the game. Even though I had misgivings as noted above.

    12. slipper
      July 9, 2012 at

      Does anyone remember Staples’ first foray into “advanced statistics”?

      Defensive Points.

      You see, you add Hits and Blocked Shots together, and then maybe you divide that sum by ice time..? But in reality, who cares?

      It’s always been a big thwack of nonsense multiplied by heaps of appeals to authority. MC79 knows this, too. But every once in a while he needs to write a dear John letter to David Staples. It’s like a cleansing ritual. I mean, just look at all those words up there.

      • ANON
        July 17, 2012 at

        Poop

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *