The NHL is changing in many ways, and the way people analyze the world’s fastest game is changing, too. Advanced stats such as Corsi and Fenwick have become popular methods to analyze the NHL’s best and worst teams, as well as the players on the ice. They may be the future for fans and coaches, but the NHL’s players should not have to worry about such advanced statistics.
Since the mid-2000s, both Corsi, Fenwick, and other metrics have quickly gained traction as viable ways to measure players in bigger and better ways. Suddenly, goals, assists, and plus-minus are making way for quality of competition, line matching, and zone deployment.
Personally, this season was the first I really started using and understanding such stats. They have opened my spectrum on many players, and have caused me to notice the smallest details about a team as a whole, or a certain player. In the WFP article, Jets’ General Manager, Kevin Chevaldayoff, spoke about an example of his interpretation of such statistics:
“A guy like Mark Stuart… he’s not the most prolific puck mover or distributor, but Corsi and Fenwick don’t talk about the hits he has every night or the blocked shots. There’s value in all those statistical analyses, but there is also an arbitrary nature to it. It’s like plus-minus… plus-minus tells you a part of the story, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story.”
I was mildly surprised when on CBC this week, Corsi numbers were used not only once, but twice. It was also added that both coaches in the game (Ken Hitchcock and Joel Quenneville) receive Corsi stats in-game, during the intermission.
CBC using Corsi: pic.twitter.com/glC6H1plnI
— Dale Lamontagne (@Dale_Lamontagne) April 22, 2014
These numbers may be helpful for coaching staff, management, and fans, but for players, it should be the last thing on their minds.
At the Jets’ year end media availability, forward Blake Wheeler was asked about Corsi. His response:
Although that answer may not be heard again from many of his NHL peers, it doesn’t mean the players have to pay attention to them.
At the end of the day, the only stat the players should care about is the “Points” column beside their respective team. Go ahead, shake your fist. It was the way hockey was played for nearly a century, and it shouldn’t change now. Players aren’t the ones that are supposed to micro-manage themselves; that’s up to management. If Mark Stuart doesn’t play well against Taylor Hall, it’s coach Paul Maurice’s job to have a different defenseman on the ice at that time, and/or work with Stuart, fixing what he needs to fix to be ready to stop the Oilers forward
For some players, it certainly won’t be followed. A select few keep track of such individual stats, but for the majority of the NHL’s players, they only need to change when directed to from a coach, not because some numbers said so. And in my humble opinion, that’s the way it should stay.
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You can interact with Skylar on Twitter @Millly17.