Analytics crowd’s response to Stan Fischler tweet is predictable and laughable
Last night, Stan Fischler put out a tweet that I knew would automatically be taken as a slight against advanced stats. Here it is…
I wonder what — if any — role analytics has played in #Penguins surge. I doubt that it’s anything more than speedy skating, forechecking.
— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) June 1, 2016
I quickly quoted and retweeted it with the comment “Release the Hounds!”
As expected, the analytics crowd mauled Mr. Fischler like a pack of hyenas. Here are some of the better/intelligent ones.
— Jim (@PandaPSU) June 1, 2016
They hired one of the War On Ice founders, so I’m guessing the role is greater than zero https://t.co/AdazJAIFGE
— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) June 1, 2016
— Bill West (@BWest_Trib) June 1, 2016
Now there were others that aren’t fit for print so I’m keeping it PG.
Now as I read the tweet, is Stan taking a shot at analytics or is he crediting the Penguins and Mike Sullivan for committing to a system, executing it and turning it around? I take it as the latter.
Here’s the problem with the analytics crowd…they immediately get so bent out of shape with anything they feel diminishes their beliefs or work. They never seem to have tolerance for another’s opinion that might contradict or support their own. Sounds a lot like the political climate these days.
Here’s the truth and what people need to deal with, the Penguins good advanced stats are a byproduct of their play in the late months than anything else. In other words, they got “hot” and lucky that Matt Murray has excelled in Marc-Andre Fleury’s absence. I’m sure that last sentence just sent the analytics crowd into a frenzy…just like when you use terms like “heart” and “grit”. Of course, if it doesn’t fit in a spreadsheet it doesn’t exist.
Furthermore, when you argue that the reason the Penguins are in the Finals because they hired one of the founders of War-On-Ice back in July is also laughable. Here’s why without going into a lengthy debate:
At the end of February the Penguins were 15th in the NHL, 8th in the East and 4th in the Metro. Thanks to a 16-5 run to end the regular season they finished 6th, 2nd and 2nd respectively.
This is also a team that played Tom Sestito for 4 games during that stretch. TOM SESTITO! This is also a team that made NO MAJOR MOVES at the NHL TRADE DEADLINE. This is also a team that boasts the likes of the best player in the NHL in Sidney Crosby. This is also a team that has Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang on it. Credit them for acquiring Trevor Daley and Carl Hagelin, but they weren’t instant winners because of it.
Did analytics make the Penguins hire Mike Johnston? A coach with zero NHL experience to come in and lead Sidney Crosby and his cast of malcontents? Possibly, but it doesn’t help pro-analytics folks! And there’s no way analytics pointed to bringing in a hard nosed coach with a Tortorella stigma to get this team in check and start playing better defense. It was based on decisions made by what upper management felt they needed to get this team going forward in December. Hell, it took almost 3 months for it to work! Or is there a new stat coming out like Coach Adjusted Corsi?
You see, the numbers eventually played into the favor of the analytics crowd here so they are going to use it to their advantage. Had it not fallen in line like the L.A. Kings of last year and this year, they would simply call it a dismissible statistical anomaly.
I wonder how many will step back, digest this and realize just how on point this post is? Or will they simply go into attack mode? I’m going with the latter on this one too.