Is The Plus/Minus Statistic Here To Stay?

Plus/Minus and the Advanced Stat Crowd  

I find it fascinating that on any give day where there is hockey talk on twitter or other forms of media that a debate can easily be started based on a certain player or a certain team’s advanced statistics.

I don’t get why the hockey fans that don’t like or believe in the advanced stats need find the need to go on about how Corsi or Fenwick are a bunch of bunk …. AND …. I don’t understand why the people or fans that are into advanced stats let the nay-sayers bother them.

The advanced stat community has found a way of enjoying hockey and evaluating teams and players differently.  Some hockey fans don’t accept this so who cares?  I understand when the advanced stat crowd has to retaliate to unprovoked attacks on their love of numbers but you are never going to get the non-believers or the casual fans to change.

If you are wondering where I stand on this subject all you have to do is read this from  September, 2013.  I wrote that after reading a heated twitter debate from opposing factions that had nothing better to do.  It was actually quite amusing.

For me, as an ex-scout, ex-coach and a fan, any information or tool that is out there that can help me understand or make the game more interesting is welcomed.  IF ….. I choose to use it.  There in lies the problem.  Advanced stat peeps can’t understand why everybody doesn’t use it and see things their way.

I am a very stubborn, strong willed person but I’ve learned over the years that some people are just not into change and that’s why at times I can sympathize with the advanced stats” community.  They are trying to get the word out and educate hockey fans.  Some hockey fans don’t want anymore information and some fans don’t want to be preached to.   When the game is over they’re done.  AND that is their prerogative.

The big disadvantage that the Corsi and Fenwick advocates have going against them is that the “Plus/Minus” is an official NHL statistic.  Even though shots and shot attempts will give you a better indication of attack time and possession the bottom line is that the two points in the standings aren’t awarded by the number of shot attempts or shots on goal but the the number of shots IN the goal.

I like the new stats from the point of view that it’s another way to try and make sense of a very fast, high paced game that can sometimes even fool the most polished viewer.  I think advanced stats are probably too complicated for the average fan.

We have some very knowledgeable advanced stat contributors in the blogging world and if I have a question, I’ll certainly ask.  But when I get these charts and graphs thrown at me I feel like I’m in school again and I tend to shut her down.  I was a smart guy in school but had the attention span of a sand flee.

So whether you like or loathe the “Plus/Minus” it probably isn’t going anywhere for the time being.  For better or for worse it’s just another statistic or tool at your disposal. 


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