Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I question the relevance of your statistics

I suppose, geographically speaking, I should probably be a Sharks fan. As my home for the last two years, the Bay Area's only hockey team should really get more of my attention. There's a lot to like about the Sharks, too -- two goalies who've shown some good stuff, some great players, and they showed some heart in surging to get into the playoffs in a very convincing fashion.

And yet here I am cheering for the Oilers, despite the Oilers having actually personally inconvenienced me in the past (I contacted them numerous times about possibly using a parody of their logo as the Math Club's T-shirt design, and they never returned any e-mails, calls, or letters. Losers). There's a lot to like about the Oil, too. So I was cheering in the pub on Friday when Vesa Toskala coughed up the puck to Sergei Samsonov and gave up a gimme goal. My first thought was "Toskala blows", even though I don't actually think he blows. But then he gave up two more goals and I thought, "Looks like Toskala's pulled a Cloutier". 18 shots and 6 goals later, I wonder if he has, in fact, pulled a Cloutier.

To look further into this, I took a look at this article on CBC Sports Online. At the bottom, the last paragraph says "Toskala sports a 6-4 record in the playoffs (only three goalies have more victories) with a 2.48 goals-against average (eighth in the NHL) and one shutout."

I'd just like to point out that "only three goalies have more victories" is a pretty lame statistic to use when trying to make a goalie look good. One would expect about three goalies to have more wins than you when you're down 3-2 in the second round. Like, say, the ones that advanced to the next round, and the one who's beating you. Fun fact: by the end of the playoffs, it is highly probable that one goalie will have won 16 games!

Secondly, being 8th in the NHL in GAA is not particularly good either, considering that only about 20 goalies saw any significant action in the playoffs.

For shame, CBC, for shame.

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Anonymous said...

Toskala stopped 7 oiler breakaways in game 6. Not to mention he stood on his head in game 3. So what if his defense left him hanging in games 4 and 5. Cut
the guy some slack!

7 breakaways!!

Dickolas Wang said...

Some of those goals in game 4 were definitely weak and I didn't see game 5. I am glad though that he played well in game 6, it's really a shame to watch a goalie pull a Cloutier.