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Those that prefer to eschew the propensity for all Oiler followers to adopt a Kim Jong – Un haircut in response to the not so gentle orthodoxy being promulgated by what has now become the mainstream Oiler blogging community will understand that, like all rushes to conformity, it is obligatory to demonize those individuals who hold a dissenting opinion.

Subtly, and without any easily perceived malice, the overlords of the Oilogosphere beckon their acolytes to cast their ostraka to silence those who pose a threat to the runaway train of conventional wisdom, in essence conducting a trial where there is no charge levelled against the accused and, thus, no defense can be mounted.

Given that the “sphere” grew out of a a small band of individuals with radical ideas themselves it is tremendously ironic that their followers have adopted many of the same attitudes held by the MSM types that they continue to vilify as being old fashioned and rigid.

It was ever thus.

Now that the radical ideas of a decade ago, Corsi, Fenwick, et al have been embraced by mainstream hockey, there is a certain smug “I told you so” faction although that information is hardly any revelation as stats that have been available for many, many years tell an almost identical story.

For example, the teams in the 2013/14 NHL season that had the best shot differential, without blocked and missed shots, are as follows:

SJS +7

CHI +5.9

LAK +5.4

NYR +4.8

STL +2.9

BOS +2.8

ANA +2.6

VCR +2.4 *

NJD +1.3 **

PIT +1.1

To those top 10, we should also include a few teams that made the playoffs despite being outshot:

PHA -0.2

TB -0.3

MIN -1.1

CLB -1.2

MON -2.6

COL -3.2

No surprise that 4 of those teams were in the weaker EC.

* the John Tortorella effect

** NJD went to a shootout 13 times and won ZERO.

Now, let’s take a peek at the best Corsi F% teams in the NHL last season:

LAK 56.8

CHI 55.5

NJD 54.4 *

BOS 53.9

SJS 53.7

STL 53.1

NYR 52.4

OTT 52.4 **

DET 51.5

VCR 51.3 ***

TBL 51.0

FLA 51.0

PHX 50.5 ****

DAL 50.5 *****

CAR 50.3 ******

WIN 50.1 *******

Of note here is that fully 7 of the teams with a positive CF% failed to make the playoffs while several teams with a negative CF in fact competed in the post season.








So, that’s 7 misses and, when combined with the 7 positive CF teams that missed the playoffs, that makes errors predicting performance of almost half the teams in the league.

Even a cursory glance by the untrained eye would tell you that ACTUAL shot differential is a much better predictor of performance than Corsi or its bastard sibling Fenwick.

It would seem Corsi, in particular, just adds a lot of noise to an axiom that any thinking hockey fan has know for decades…”the team that outshoots the opponent wins more than it loses”.

Jeebus…who knew?

But now that Corsi and Fenwick have become deeply imbedded in the hive mind, it’s interesting that some of the real thinkers in the analytics crowd have moved on trying to understand WHY one team outshoots another rather than counting like Rainmen.

Before being co-opted by the Oilers Tyler Dellow was doing some interesting work (his analysis of Taylor Hall’s struggles was brilliant although it also exposed why Corsi is a very crude tool to measure anything of substance) and there is apparently a major project underway that is tracking all zone entires and exits in the league last season.

That might actually tell us something we didn’t already know.

It will be interesting to watch how long it takes for the “gang” to abandon their toys for the latest shiny one.


In the meantime, an interesting update on the the evolution of the debate from the Hockey News


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