You never played the game

Ryan Hobart
July 15 2016 07:00AM

The last few years have seen NHL teams make many analytics hires. Tyler Dellow, Eric Tulsky, and Darryl Metcalf to name a few. A couple days ago, the Montreal Canadiens went backwards and made an analytics firing, letting go of their recently hired analyst Matt Pfeffer

Pfeffer released a statement regarding what happened, so I won't make any speculation further than that.

Regarding the incident, NHL television analyst and former professional goaltender Corey Hirsch had this to say:

Here we get to see a sharp distinction between the thought process of players-turned-analysts and analysts who were more... organically grown. In the latter, I'm referring to those who are more statistics-inspired hockey people. Surely, you've heard the argument "you've never played the game, you don't know what you're talking about" or something of the like. Maybe you've even made that argument. Well, Matt Pfeffer never played the game, and yet the Canadiens, at one time, believed he did know what he was talking about.

Nevertheless, I want to point out that Hirsch clearly has a different point of view than the analytical people would. I'm not here to make fun of him for that, or call him ignorant. I think what he's saying makes sense.

It's wrong, but it makes sense.

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
July 15 2016 05:00AM

ROUND-UP

Leaf fans losing confidence in Lou, "Mandela incident" was beginning of the end for Jonathan Bernier, how do things look for Flames headed into camp, a look at Adam Larsson in Edmonton, the NHL isn't fun, finding elite talent late in the draft, how likely are goalies to "make it" and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by Violent Gentlemen.

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For the sake of the rivalry, Montreal, learn from our past

Matthviews
July 14 2016 10:54AM

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There's something weird about rivalries. On one side of the room, you have a foe that you just can't stand. Nothing about them is likable. You want nothing more than to see them fail. But at the same time, you strangely want that blood on your hands. It doesn't feel right when others do the job for you. It feels worse when they're doing it to themselves.

So that's why I'm calling you today, Marc Bergevin. We need to save you from yourself, so we can get back to the business of hatred.

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A Statistical Look At Matt Martin

DragLikePull
July 14 2016 07:17AM

Matt Martin's contract with the Leafs seems to be one of the most divisive additions the team has made in the post-Nonis era.  Many fans are excited about a player Mike Babcock described as "a real good skater, real good forechecker."  Babcock added that he sees Martin as a player who will "keep the flies off our team and give us a presence out there."  The Leafs Nation's own Jess Pincente reflected the other side when she described the signing as "questionable" and "somewhat hard to justify."

Whatever the case, the Leafs have Martin on a 4-year contract now, so it's worth trying to figure out what exactly they can expect to get for $2.5 million per season.  Some people, like Babcock, see Martin as bringing qualities in terms of his personality and style of play that will help the Leafs' younger players adjust to and excel in the National Hockey League.  I'll leave that kind of analysis to others.  What I'm going to take a look at here is how Matt Martin stacks up statistically.  In particular, I'll look at him from three angles: offensive production, puck possession, and neutral zone play.

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The Leafs have a logjam of waiver-eligible roster players

Jeff Veillette
July 13 2016 08:49AM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Many suspect that barring several quantity-for-quality or pure dumping trades, the Toronto Maple Leafs' training camp is going to be an absolute dogfight for the various available positions. Simply put, while the Leafs might be presently lacking the top-end talent necessary to be a threat in the Eastern Conference, they have more B-Level depth than just about everyone else through a combination of taking on contracts and playing well on the draft podium.

But there's a problem here, and it's that the team might have no choice but to part ways with some players if a couple of the kids impress in September.

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