Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

May 14, 2014

Why Hasn’t the Stat Revolution Come to Hockey Yet?

Filed under: Hockey — Tags: , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am

Funny SignIs it just me, or does it seem like sports trend of using and studying more statistics (especially newly tracked numbers) to improve your team not really affecting hockey all that much. There’s been a trend toward Finnish goaltenders who are great at not giving up rebounds and forcing the puck to the corner, but I don’t think that was due to any study of the actual numbers, just people realizing that the goaltenders coming from Finland are awesome.

Something else I’ve never understood is the whole dump and chase style of play. It just looks like a way of giving up the puck to the other team. And the people behind the delightfully nerdy named NHLNumbers.com are tracking this data on their own and coming to the obvious conclusion:

Carrying the puck in is way better than dumping it in, more than twice as good — and it’s not because of odd-man rushes or player skill or any other external factor; it’s just because having the puck in the opponent’s zone headed towards the goal is a lot better than trying to outrace the opponent to try to get the puck in the corner.

Most people don’t recognize just how big the difference is, and the data suggests that teams should be trying harder than they are to carry the puck in. If coaches are telling their third line to dump the puck, they are probably giving away scoring chances. If coaches are telling the players to dump the puck in borderline situations where they think carrying it might lead to a turnover, they are probably giving away scoring chances. Even regrouping and trying again might be better than dumping the puck in, especially when the team has their top line on the ice.

Of course this all needs to be taken with a grain of skepticism, as the dataset is very small and who knows what a larger amount of data will say about these preliminary conclusions.

March 29, 2012

The Bruins Bear

Filed under: Hockey — Tags: , — Willis @ 5:00 am

There’s about 1 week left of the hockey (NHL) regular season and the BruinsĀ bear has started to make his appearance. Here’s his new show:

And in completely unrelated news, Amazon has a book calledĀ Even You Can Learn Statistics: A Guide for Everyone Who Has Ever Been Afraid of Statistics on sale for the Kindle for a whopping $0.00. So go download it and ignore it.

April 22, 2008

The Blood of Patriots

Filed under: Baseball,Hockey — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 8:02 am

Here’s some Boston-related sports news:

First, some kind of marathon. The ESPN coverage hints at but doesn’t really spell out how close the final half-mile was between the Russian, Alevtina Biktimirova, and the Final Fantasy VII villain Dire Tune. Tune and Biktimirova covered that last eight blocks in a dead-out sprint. They wove in and out of each other’s paths. People screamed. It was epic.

On the men’s side, the race belonged to four-time winner Cheruiyot from at least Newton on. He led a small knot of about four runners for a good stretch, then just broke away from them a second at a time. After that, nobody could even touch him for the remaining miles. He pumped his fist after crossing the finish line and counted out one-two-three-four, thus proving he’s no stranger to Boston post-victory culture. Bill Belichick’s got his eye on him.

Not all was joy in Mudville, however: the Canadiens trapped, shot and skinned the Bruins last night, knocking them out of the championship contention. Montreal rookie goalie Andrei Kostitsyn had the game of his life, not letting a single one of Boston’s 25 shots on goal get by. Thus another Bruins’ season ends in disappointment, which isn’t really “news” in the traditional sense. Think of a workplace safety board being updated – “X Days Without an Incident”; that’s the kind of story this is.

Finally, undaunted by their stunt’s unexpected success last year, Jordan’s Furniture is once again offering free furniture. This time, though, the Sox can’t just win the World Series – they have to sweep the first four games. They paid for this with an “insurance policy” last year, which I have to imagine is secret code for “gigantic sports book” as I can’t picture Citigroup writing off baseball-related furniture losses.

Can this stunt pay off?

The MLB.REDSOX contract is going for 14.00 on Tradesports. There’s no “REDSOX.SWEEP” contract posted, but let’s assume, for the sake of blogging, that the odds are similar. A contract on Tradesports pays $100 $10 if the conditions it describes come true. So to “insure” one million dollars worth of furniture, Jordan’s Furniture would need to buy 10,000100,000 shares of MLB.REDSOX. If they bought today, that’d cost them $140,000. (Edit: fixed some math)

I don’t know much about inventory and wholesaling, but I say that’s not a bad bet.

(If there’s any interest, I’ll talk more about Tradesports and other “idea futures” in another post)

November 7, 2007

Catching Up With The Home Teams – Boston Edition

The Zakim BridgeI titled this post as “Boston edition,” but it’s not like there’s going to be another edition. I live in Boston and root for Boston teams. Then again, there is always the hope that someone else here will be a fan of another team and write a competing entry.

New England Patriots
Hey, the team is still undefeated. And peoples around the blogosahedron are waiting to watch the Patriots again when they are 16-0 (Deadspin, Bleacher Report, Blown Coverage, You Been Blinded, ArmchairGM). Now we can add Nerds on Sports to that list becaus: New England Patriots: 16-0 (18-0 if you count postseason).

So, it looks like the Patriots-Colts Pumped Soundgate Noisegate The Skipping Crowd Conspiracies Speakergate was just an issue with the broadcast. But, as a Patriots fan, I can’t believe that this is the truth until I get a bit more closure on the situation. I want a team of investigative reporters to sneak into the RCA Dome and set up some noise meters (like you would find at a terrible talent show to measure who the winner is) and record during games. If that doesn’t work, perhaps some sort of non-football competition between Manning and Brady. Maybe something involving being sexy and making shitloads of commercials. My money is on Manning – Brady may out sexy him, but Peyton’s commercial making prowess is impressive. (more…)

July 17, 2007

The Mild World of Sports

Filed under: Baseball,Football,Hockey,MMA — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 11:00 am

Here is a list of Popular Sports and their Improvised Indoor Equivalents:

Sport: Football

Equivalent: Paper Field Goals

Paper FootballSetup: Fold a piece of 8.5 x 11 paper in half so it’s long and skinny. Fold it in half again the same way. Now triangle it up like you’re folding an American flag. The resulting wad should be a very compact little triangle. If you don’t know how to fold an American flag, join the Boy Scouts and suffer like the rest of us did.

Rules: One guy holds his hands up, palms out, and touches the tips of his thumbs together. The other guy tries to flick the paper football through the open space in his hands, like a field goal kick.

Accuracy: This game omits every aspect of traditional football – running, passing, blocking, tackling, play-calling – except kicking field goals. As such, it’s a remarkably faithful imitation of a Ravens / Colts game, but otherwise not very close.

# # #

Sport: Basketball

Equivalent: Trashcan Basketball

Setup: You need a trashcan and anything that can be held in one hand. This can be a crumpled up piece of paper, a crushed soda can, a ball of rubber bands, a stress ball, anything.

Not strictly necessaryRules: One player attempts to throw the projectile into the trashcan. The other player plays defense. If played in an office, the players may confine themselves to wheeled office chairs for an added challenge.

Accuracy: Remarkably close. What the game loses in scoring and fouls, it more than makes up for in the volume of trash-talking.

# # #

Sport: Hockey

Equivalent: Coin Hockey

Setup: Three coins of equal denomination and a long smooth surface, like a conference table.

Rules: Put the three coins together like a triangle. Tap the coin closest to you very firmly. The force will be transferred to the other two coins, causing them to scatter.

Real hockeyYou then work this trio of coins up the table by sliding one of them between the other two. The moving coin can’t touch either of the stationary coins and it can’t fall off the table, or play changes hands.

If the coins get to the end of the table, shoot them through a goal made by the other player’s hands.

Accuracy: Notional. There’s a goal and you slide a flat object through it. It barely has any correspondence with the game of the same name. I mean, come on. It’s like people don’t even watch hockey anymore.

# # #

Sport: Baseball

Equivalent: Home Run Derby

Setup: A small object (same size as Trashcan Basketball) and a long, flat object. A binder full of procedures, a cafeteria tray or a textbook will work just fine.

Rules: One player throws the object. The other player swings his “bat” at the object and sends it as far as he can. He then imitates his favorite announcer’s method of describing a home run.

Accuracy: Most people don’t even keep score.

# # #

Sport: Mixed Martial Arts

Equivalent: You Wanna Go?

Setup: Two guys in a hallway, conference room or classroom.

He wants to goRules: After a mock insult is exchanged between the players, they bump chests, throw their arms up into the air, and taunt each other with some variety of, “You wanna go? You wanna throw down, cupcake? You gonna back up that tough talk? What? What you looking at? What?” This continues until one or both players back down, saying some equivalent of “That’s what I thought” or “Yeah, you just wait.”

Accuracy: Close enough.

May 29, 2007

[Business Day One] In Memoriam

Filed under: Business Day One,Hockey — Tags: , — Serpico @ 11:34 am

Technically speaking, readers, today (Tuesday) is Business Day One of the workweek. So though I didn’t post on Monday, I don’t think I’m entirely in default for my weekly commitment. Thank the good lord for sweet technicalities – they’re the only thing that keeps me going. Anyway, let’s do this.

NHL LogoI logged on to ESPN this morning and was legitimately stunned that the front-page article up was about Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. I was half-expecting news about Roger Clemens’ minor league start or something about the Spurs-Jazz series. But no. There was an honest to goodness hockey article up there. There is in-depth analysis around this now-marginalized sport on one of America’s most frequented websites, and it is putting me in a very odd place, sportsmotionally. (more…)

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