Sometimes I get jealous of the blogging community and not just because 'Lowetide' draws visitors like Disneyland or 'Oilers Nation' reminds me daily that I have zero Photoshop skills. I get jealous of the intelligence of the various QWERTY mashers out there, specifically those in the "Oilogosphere". I'm impressed by the guys who have the ability to navigate the fine print of the NHL CBA and those who have mastered the art of stats analysis for use in their blog posts.
Speaking strictly for me, I understand that there is value, probably great value, in all the stats work that's done but it doesn't hold my attention at all. I'm not trying to say that David Staples' "error stat" isn't worth the time he spends with it but just that between that new stat and "Corsi numbers" and "Qual Comps" and whatever else is out there... I quickly get headaches.
So like Calvin, I'm declaring myself to be a math atheist.
I also don't like tomatoes, mayonnaise, or sushi but most people I know love all of the above. Mom would always make me try something before she'd let me declare that I didn't like it and that makes sense. I've tried all three of those items as an adult and thanks but I stand by my childhood opinion - I don't like them.
When it comes to stats and math, or the advanced math that gets tossed around so eloquently in the "Oilogosphere", part of me is intrigued even though another side has already decided - I don't like math. I've tried to wrap my head around the theories but for the most part, they put me to sleep. Again, that's my flaw and not a comment on the value of stats.
By now you're wondering what the hell I'm rambling on about. Last night (or early this morning) I noticed a small entry over at The Copper & Blue - (those guys do a ton of great work BTW).
My first reaction was to wonder if Taylor Chorney has become the new whipping boy for the stats-based bloggers. Last night I heard TEAM 1260's Corey Graham and Wil Frazier talking about Chorney's poor play in the game against Ottawa and without having seen the game myself (I was on the air at the time) I have no reason to doubt their opinions as anything less than accurate.
So I re-read Jonathan's snippet on Chorney's struggles at the AHL level. Something didn't feel right about it aside from how ugly that -51 looks on paper. I think it's the way that J.W. projected the numbers to a full 82-game schedule. I'm not a stats guy so I don't know but... is that fair to do? To assume that what a guy did in 32 games is what he would have done in 82? Like mayo, that doesn't work for me.
Using that example, is it then fair to suggest that if Devan Dubnyk played 40, 50 or hell, all 82 games this year... he would still have zero victories? Ales Hemsky had 22 points in 22 games when his season ended, should we believe that he would have been a 82-point man if he'd played the entire year?
Maybe I'm being simplistic or naive but that seems flawed to me so, like a tuna fish sandwich... I passed on it.
One of the things Corey and Wil (and a caller) were discussing was how bad Chorney's plus/minus has been everywhere he goes. It's doesn't matter if it was last year or this year, Edmonton or Springfield, Chorney's rating reads like a thermometer in January; -20, -11, -29. But was it always like that?
I checked his stats from North Dakota where he played for 3 years before turning pro. In 2005-06 he ended the year with a +21. He followed that up with a +2 and had a +8 as a junior. Three consecutive seasons with the Fighting Sioux where he was a combined +31.
But in fairness, was that a fair way to assess him? I mean, he was playing on a pretty darn good team those years, especially in 2005-06 where UND was good enough to contend for the national title.
But maybe that's the point. On a good team he was a plus player but on the worst team in the AHL (for two years now) and the last place team in the NHL his plus/minus has been at the opposite end of the spectrum. Should I have expected anything other than that? Is it too simple to say that Chorney's numbers as a pro are in large part a reflection of how dreadfully awful the three teams he's played for have been?
I'm probably missing something and if so, this is an open invite for someone to educate me. Just make sure you dumb it down for me using small, mono-syllabic words.
And hold the mayo.
Jonathan does a superb job with his blog at The Score so if you're not a regular reader like we are, do yourself a favor and check it out.
(Photos: Springfield Falcons and Kory Wallen/FightingSioux.com)
Guy Flaming is one of the hosts of The Pipeline Show heard live every Tuesday evening from 7-9pm (MST) 9-11pm (EST) at www.thepipelineshow.com and the TEAM 1260. Flaming has covered prospects for the last decade and has contributed written projects to The Hockey News, Hockey's Future and Future Considerations among others. Guy's broadcast experience includes colour commentary for the Edmonton Oil Kings, University of Alberta Golden Bears as well as the 2004 and 2006 Viking Cup tournaments.