How goalies age, and the survivorship bias problem

Eric T.
December 06 2012 02:10PM

Brodeur
Older goalies can still get the job done, but sometimes they need to sit down and rest for a bit.
Photo by rubyswoon via Flickr

This morning, Steve Burtch published a study arguing that goalies do not show any appreciable decline with age. The key plot was this one, in which the x-axis is the goalie's age and the y-axis is how many standard deviations above or below league average he was (for goalies with at least 30 games played):

Goalie vs age

It's clearly true that the observed performance of old goalies isn't appreciably worse than the observed performance of young goalies. The problem is that word "observed" -- we don't get to observe the performance of all goalies at all ages. JaredL previously looked at this issue and showed how few goalies continue to play heavy minutes into their late 30's. This creates what is called a survivorship bias.

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KHL: Kovy eats babies, Malkin is a monster, Grabo, Kulemin, and Komarov score, and more

Steve Dangle
December 06 2012 12:13PM

Ilya Kovalchuk will eat your children.

While the NHL and its players continue talking about playing, here's some action from a very busy day in the KHL, featuring players like Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk, Graobski, Kulemin, and more. A note for Oilers fans who are only interested in Nail Yakupov: We didn't do the Neftekhimik game because he didn't get any points. He recieved 25 minutes in penalties for an elbow, but when we checked the footage it was no where to be found.

With or without Nail - enjoy!

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Freaky Frattin

Gus Katsaros
December 06 2012 09:45AM

It’s not difficult to get caught up in the hype surrounding the young Matt Frattin. After all, all he does at the AHL level is score goals.

During the regular season all he did was score.

During the playoffs all he did was score.

Then the injury ended his playoffs prematurely.

Even after a difficult summer of rehab and getting his knee back to strength, what did Frattin do upon return?

He scored. Then he did it again. And again. Then again and again.

Dude can score.

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Should the NHL worry about the "casual fan"?

Ryan Fancey
December 05 2012 11:11AM

It seems like every time a discussion starts up about the damage the NHL (as a whole) has done to itself during the lockout, both financially and in the public eye, it always comes down to the same statement.

"The die-hards will be back, but it's the casual fan leaving that should worry the NHL"

I've probably agreed with this in the past, or simply didn't think about it enough. But now I'm not so sure the NHL should bother worrying about the casual fan, at least not at this point.

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It’s nice to be wrong

Jonathan Willis
December 04 2012 10:59PM

An NHL lockout is a cynical business, with two extremely rich parties fighting for a wicked pile of cash. The most recent edition has been particularly galling, with two sides seemingly able to agree on a myriad of issues but unwilling to bridge the small gap between them.

Given that, naturally I was cynical about the December 4 meeting between players and owners – without the presence of league commissioner Gary Bettman or NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. I thought it likely to be an empty ploy without hope of succeeding. And to be clear: it hasn’t succeeded yet. But for the first time in quite a while, things are looking up.

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