Analytics aren't perfect and they certainly aren't for everyone, but something I could never understand is how polarizing they are, mainly "possession" stats like Corsi and Fenwick. Mention these two words to any hockey mind and they'll likely respond by telling you that these stats are meaningless and how hockey is a game that can't be quantified. I can understand why these stats are a little off-putting at first, their names are kind of stupid, but when you break it down, all they look at is how many shots one team has directed at the net compared to how much they give up. In other words, it measures how much one team is controlling the play and how much time they are spending in the opposing team's zone. That's it.
You'll hear a lot of coaches talk about how they need to do a better job of "tilting the ice in their favor," "get shots on net" or "spend more time in their zone" during games, so I never understood the aversion to these stats because they aren't exactly introducing anything new into the world of hockey. All they do is capture what is happening on the ice and give us a better idea of which teams and players are controlling territorial play, which is more reliable than the human memory or boxcar stats, which can be very misleading because they are based off so few events.
Again, if stats aren't your thing then that's fine but there is value to them and I don't think they should be completely dismissed. "Possession" stats like Corsi and Fenwick are probably the most debated in the hockey community right now and while they do have their flaws, they have mattered for the Hurricanes this year. I've mentioned a few times that the Canes have been a bad possession team during five-on-five play this year but in the rare occurrences where they have outshot their opponents this year, they've been able to get results.
|Outshoot (All Sit.)||9||4||1||64.3%||67.9%|
|Outshot (All Sit.)||4||10||6||20.0%||35.0%|
There are obviously sample size issues here with us looking at only 34 games, but the Canes have had a better chance of winning whenever they either outshoot their opponents or win the possession battle at five-on-five. Some teams have been able to overcome getting outshot badly at events (see the Leafs last year), but this hasn't been the case for the Hurricanes, as they are a better team when they control the play at even strength. So, what's the solution to this? Some might say that they just need to "shoot the puck more" but it's not that simple.
In order to do that, you have to be a team that controls the territorial play and create sustained zone time. The Hurricanes have been poor in both of these areas this year and part of this stems from their play in the neutral zone. Far too often, the Canes have resorted to making safe plays when entering the zone and it's limited how much offense they've been able to create on the rush.no comments