CHICAGO - MAY 27: Head coach Peter Laviolette of the Philadelphia Flyers listens as General Manager Paul Holmgren answers a question during Stanley Cup media day at the United Center on May 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
We use advanced stats quite a bit around here. We don't believe it to be gospel, but then again, nothing is gospel. (Except for what Claude Giroux says. That's gospel.)
Everything from save percentage to PDO to scoring chances to goal differential to watching Giroux rip apart an opposing defenseman helps us form our collective knowledge about a game or a player or a team or a season. Our general philosophy is to include all the information we possibly can when trying to frame the full picture.
Corsi and Fenwick numbers -- plus/minus-style stats that track shot differential -- are included in that, because it's proven that they correlate strongly with puck possession, which is obviously good. And over the course of a season, the numbers correlate strongly with scoring chances and goals. And hey, winning!
Most NHL teams don't dabble in these things just yet, and they're really only analyzed consistently in certain corners of the Internet, Broad Street Hockey and several other SB Nation blogs included. But we know that several NHL teams do analyze these things too, or that they contract consultants to do so for them. Fear The Fin interviewed San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson last year, who basically admitted that the Sharks study this stuff without actually saying as much. Other teams dabble, too.
What about the Flyers? Are they ahead of the curve, too? Doesn't seem like it.
Here's Peter Laviolette speaking to Sporting News reporter Jesse Spector in a media scrum this morning at the morning skate at Nassau Coliseum about this very subject. Audio via Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times.
SPECTOR: *inaudible* ... stats at all, that might be indicators of what plus/minus is supposed to do, but might do it a little, you know---
LAVI: Do I look at what?
SPECTOR: At other stats? At some of the more advanced stats? Are you into that at all?
LAVI: What are they?
SPECTOR: Stuff like Corsi and Fenwick that tell you about how many shots--
SPECTOR: Corsi and Fenwick? Nevermind then.
SPECTOR: I got my answer.
LAVI: I'm unfamiliar with the Corsi and Fenwick statistical powers.