May 09 2012 03:04PM
A little over a year and a half ago the Nation Network added NHLnumbers.com - a leading salary reference site online - into the fold. Since then the team has been hard at work rebuilding the site, retooling the machinery that powers things behind the scenes and are now ready to go forward with the second stage of the plan.
It's slow going to be sure - but we are gradually making headway in what we consider to be one of the most important jobs in building the Nation Network: contributing to the community of stats folks and giving them new tools and new resources to continue building an important part of following the NHL in the year 2012.
BACKSTORY RE: STATS
One of the big debates on all of the Nation Network sites surrounds the importance of statistics in the NHL analysis. Some folks think that insight provided by number crunchers is of little value in the coverage of the good ol' hockey game.
"People who put a lot of faith in statistics haven't played the game" the thinking goes. "I ain't never seen no statistics that can quantify the value of a hard nosed player, or a guy that is good in the room."
Others will tell you that stats - and in particular the new and emerging advanced analytics - provide a whole new level of insight. They will say that the NHL is more of a science than an art and science requires better data if it is to move forward and that better data leads to better results.
Personally we believe that advanced stats are a very important part of the analysis of the game. Don't get us wrong, they aren't everyone's cup of tea to be sure. But the fact that there are a whole new mess of ways to conclusively prove that Jordan Eberle is an emerging superstar in the NHL warms us to our very core.
The problem with many advanced analytics in their early days is that there has been little interest by the MSM to raise the bar in this field. No real large scale commercial effort has gone into making an improvement in how advanced stats are collected, explained, displayed and interpreted to us average joes.
No real resources have gone into consistently producing high quality writing on the topic, no resources have been put into better data collection or put into a site that can raise the bar for advanced analytics in the NHL.
This is what we plan on NHLnumbers.com becoming through a series of painful but constant steps in the right direction.
BRAVE NEW WORLD
If the movie Moneyball has taught us anything it is that Jonah Hill is more than capable of taking on dramatic roles early in his stellar career. If it taught us anything else it's that Brad Pitt is aging like a fine wine and that he runs no risk of losing his Sexiest Man Ever title anytime soon.
If it taught us any other thing it's that people in baseball used to look at stats besmirkingly then the Athletics brought out long division and went on to win 15 World Series titles in a row* We don't want to be one of those old scouting dudes sitting around the table waiting for Brad Pitt to tell Jonah Hill to speak.
No, we want the Nation Network to be on the cutting edge of helping advanced stats wherever it can - pushing it from the shadowy corners of the internet where all the smart kids hang out into the light of day where the rest of us peasants can gain some further insight into the game we love.
And so we begin the summer of adding writers to NHLnumbers.com to compliment our current "numbers folk" type-contributors who are doing great work already. And we are pleased to announce that Derek Zona from the Copper n Blue will be heading up the new initiative.
Zona and Nation Overlord Kent Wilson have been hard at work building bridges and will be revealing more than 10 other high profile contributors that will be joining the fold over the summer.
When we saw the list of folks willing to come write about "stats" we nearly went through the "roof." The group of people coming together to work on this site speaks volumes about the state of the blogosphere going into the 2012-13 NHL season.
Things are starting to take shape and a constant stream of analysis will now flow forth from NHLnumbers.com. From there we have additional plans to continue development over the summer and fall and we will see where things go from here.
Until then have a read. Unless you are like us and don't believe in math. Then don't.
* Or something. We were busy texting in the theatre when the movie started to get all "mathy" on us.