What EXACTLY did the guy say?

This is Mike Comrie with Souray and Chara. It’s one of maybe 10 actual hockey photos of Bill Comrie’s kid on the internet. The others are of Hilary Duff and Comrie is “also in photo.”

Steve Tambellini plays his cards a little closer to the vest than did Kevin Lowe, so we’re still not certain of the Oilers interest in MC hammer tonight. However, there are signs and I think we’re smart enough to read between the lines of what was said by Tambi this afternoon. My wife calls this game “what exactly did the guy say” because I apparently embellish, overuse hyperbole and am paranoid.

Whatever. Here’s the game. I post a Tambellini quote from today and decipher it in my way. Then you get to give it a thumbs up or down based on the BS factor. Good? Here goes.

  1. “I think it’s pretty normal for agents and teams to talk about some of the free agents that are out there.” Which means: We’ve talked to Mike and Ritch Winter but can’t decide if they’re setting us up or interested. And my hockey people can’t make up their damn minds and Kevin Lowe is running all over the office saying “you’ll be sorry!” and frankly I can’t hear myself think. I’m leaning towards letting Pat Quinn decide, he’s the only sane one in the office this week.
  2. “Mike’s a good player but no decision has been made to add any player on our roster at this time.” Which means: If we bring him in and he doesn’t play as well as Cogliano, etc then he’s a 4th line guy who can’t do much for us. He was hurt last season but he was also awful last season. Plus we really don’t have enough cap room to make a mistake here.
  3. “We’ve got a long ways to go as far as looking at our team through training camp. If we feel like we need to add, we will.” Which means: Borrowing from Kevin Lowe, I woke up one day and said ‘wow, we have a lot of holes!’ What if Pisani comes to camp and we find an injury, or Moreau has lost a step? Man we could use a warrior or two, in fact I told Sillinger today he better rest that hip because we might need him. So, I don’t know. Do we add an offensive piece when we might need a checker or faceoff specialist? I’m going to ask Pat again after his nap.
  4. “We’ve got a full roster and we’ve got salary cap issues.” I have said this out loud in front of the media all summer and no one has called me on it so let’s keep on trucking. Although there is room because the bonuses don’t count toward the cap this year, I figure it’ll make us look extra smart when we “find room” at the last minute.

So? Close? Far?

Bottom line: I think something’s up, but I’ve expected them to do something for ages. Not this something, but one expects a signed Comrie means a traded Cogliano and then we’ll see from there.

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71 Responses to "What EXACTLY did the guy say?"

  1. shanetrain says:

    "… a signed Comrie means a traded Cogliano .. "?

    I just threw up in my mouth a bit.


  2. uni says:

    You're trying to make us all cringe with that Comrie in Cogliano out line right? Like a horror/gore movie, you're trying for shock effect here right LT?


  3. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Hahaha! This is just Hilarious! Great Interpretation, i must admit, LT, this is your most lovely post!

    Thumbs Up!

    I Imagine Lowe running around trying to convince people by offering them cookies.

    ''If you vote VS Comrie, you'l get a cookie… Yes it got Smarties in it!

  4. mjsh says:

    In the office were I work, we are paged by numbers that we choose. There is a 94, a 99, a 17 and I am 13. If Cogs goes, do I have to change my number?

    IF one of Cogs or Gagner have to go, it has to be Cogs. Why not O'Sullivan, Penner and Staois for Heatley after they sign Comrie.

  5. Hockey Noob says:

    [Sorry LT--trying to respond to PDO from earlier thread.]

    @PDO in response to his ESTR question in earlier thread today:

    I passed your feedback onto Timo and he's replied in his blog.

    Nilsson vs Horcoff

  6. raventalon40 says:

    I'd think Nilsson is the one to go.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I suspect there's a flaw in their math. Do they give Horcoff points for where he started each shift in terms of faceoffs? What is their criteria for tough v. soft (remember we saw Gabriel Desjardins show everything in a very open way and has refined his formula through the years).

    A basic sniff test tells us Horcoff is more valuable than Nilsson based on basic things like the coach using one player more and in more important roles. So the proof must be overwhelming and I haven't seen that from him.

  8. Baroque says:

    Your wife is a smart lady. I think it's in the nature of sports fans to be paranoid, though. Mental derangement is an occupational hazard. You can tell a fan there is a silver lining in that cloud, and they will be positive that it means they will be struck in the head by a bolt of lightning.

    And Comrie looks shorter than I am in that picture (and I'm 5' 2")!

  9. doritogrande says:

    a signed Comrie means a traded Cogliano

    I am not listening. I am NOT listening!

    Baroque: judging from the other two in the picture (Souray, 6'4 and Chara, 6'9) anyone would look 5'2.

  10. quain says:

    Any post that ends with "And by our metrics, the average GF and GA for Nilsson were under slightly more difficult circumstances than for Horcoff" isn't worth reading.

  11. Baroque says:

    Rule number one for short people in pictures with tall people: vary the perspective so you don't look that short, by sitting on a desk while others are standing, or standing on a step higher than others, or carrying a stack of phone books around, or begging them to kneel so they don't tower over you if your are really, really desperate. Clearly Comrie is a slow learner in that regard. :)

    I am not listening. I am NOT listening!

    Yeah. That would be close to tragic. :(

  12. Hockey Noob says:


    Jonathan Willis has posted a response over on Timo's blog. I agree that transparency would be beneficial in terms of how this metric is calculated.

  13. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Opposition is subjective, Soft opposition, can be a lethal scoring line, seconded by a shitty ass Defense (Tampa Bay…) and they will turn out soft, with theyr minus -10's.

    But i won't go as far as saying Nilsson faced opposition, i know it's not true, and even if i believed it, i can see the shitstorm coming miles away.

  14. doritogrande says:

    Yeah. That would be close to tragic. :(

    I'm 22, 5'10" and put his number on the back of my brand new Oilers white jersey.

    "Tragic" doesn't accurately describe what losing Cogliano on this team would do for me.

  15. Traktor says:

    I think Tambellini just wants to have some options in case Heatley decides to come to Edmonton at the last minute.

    Tambellini: Would you be interested in coming to Edmonton if a roster spot opened up?

    Comrie: Yes.

    Tambellini: Would you consider signing for around 1.5 million?

    Comrie: Yes.

    Tambellini: Will see what happens.

    The bigger tell here is that Tambellini is still big game hunting and Cogliano might still be the bait.

  16. kris says:

    Not sure what his guy Timo's ESTR is supposed to measure or how it's calculated. But according to "Timo", Gagner has an ESTR that's twice as high as Hemsky's, which suggests ESTR doesn't measure quality of ES play.

  17. Tyler says:

    I haven't said a ton about PPro, but Seppa's one of their guys and the hallmark of their work at BP is that they're cagey about how they do things. This metric looks like a bit of an abomination to me. It's like Bill James said – 90% of the time, if it confirms what know, you're probably on the right track. If it tells you everything you know is wrong, it's probably not worth a damn.

  18. PDO says:

    Huge logistical fallacy still Noob:

    He's prorating Nilsson to Horcoff ice time.

    While assuming Nilsson gets the soft minutes, and Horcoff gets his tough minutes.

    … see the problem?

    There are only so many times you can throw someone over the boards against the other teams 4th line.

    It's a huge handicap on Horcoff and a huge plus to a guy playing limited minutes (which explains why guys like Ryan and Nilsson are so highly ranked).

    I came home after 12 beers and figured this out…

  19. Kent W. says:

    I suspect there's a flaw in their math.

    I find a lot of the new metrics being concocted by Puck Prospectus to be rather flawed. They almost never take circumstances into account (like zone start, quality of competition) and they don't account for chance at all (on-ice SH% and SV%).

  20. Lowetide says:

    The problem with math is that for most of us it's a blur and we need to either:

    1. count on the correctness of strangers or
    2. get off our ass and figure it out

    The beauty of Vic's stuff (and Tyler's and Corsi and PDO) is that they've long since had these conversations. I remember when they all agreed that 5×5 was the metric and that 4×4, EN goals and other square pegs would be cast away.

    And as Tyler says, Bill James did just this thing. Whenn he was figuring out minors-to-majors conversions he didn't trust some of the Double A numbers but eventually had to because places like New Britian were massive ballparks compared to John Ducey.

    So Bagwell could have a major leaguq equivalency that might lead the league in batting and all of the Angels prospects had a lot of air let out of their tires.

  21. bookie says:

    I wonder if the Oilers and Ottawa make the same deal if at the last minute Heatley says "Ok, I'll go to Edmonton".

    I wonder if the GM's involved are still hoping for that?

    I hope not, we don't need that kind of attitude even if it comes with 40 goals.

  22. Lowetide says:

    I think that's exactly it. My belief is that the Oilers will sign Comrie as a stepping stone to a second deal and Heatley might be it.

  23. Coach pb9617 says:

    Thanks for shitting all over my upcoming three day weekend LT.

  24. DBO says:

    On a different note Derrick brassard from columbus just signed a 4 year $13 million deal. Might a good indicator about what Gagner will seek next year, as well as Cogs. brassard had a better per game season last year, but also had a major injury. Columbus has the cap space, but looks like a good comp for our two young centres. So we need to find $6 million for those two guys.

  25. SK Oiler Fan says:

    The key words were "at this time".

    This is from the "NHL Management for Dummies" handbook.

    Translation: We're waiting for a bigger fish, but if we don't get it, this is plan B.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Coach: I'm not that powerful. :-)

  27. Coach pb9617 says:

    On a different note Derrick brassard from columbus just signed a 4 year $13 million deal. Might a good indicator about what Gagner will seek next year, as well as Cogs. brassard had a better per game season last year, but also had a major injury. Columbus has the cap space, but looks like a good comp for our two young centres. So we need to find $6 million for those two guys.

    No UFA years and he's still an RFA at the end of that deal.

  28. hunter1909 says:

    I'm in with Shanetrain 100 per fucking cent.

    Seriously. Comrie an Oiler and I'm officially resigning my Oiler fanclub(virtual) membership. Hell, I don't even live in Edmonton anymore, so it really won't be much of a stretch(sorry to you poor bastards stuck with the Oilers or else you shovel snow all day instead).

    And imagine trading Cogliano(a player with more talent than that fat little furniture store born on 9/11 prick could ever dream of, even with Hilary Duff blowing him).

    Don't worry though, Katz. I'll jump back on the train just as soon as your corporation finds those drugs to give the players to make them play like they used to back when I was growing up. And they're back in the finals.

    If I live that long.

  29. Mr DeBakey says:

    This whole Comrie thing smells very much like a
    R Winter Production

    From R Winter to B Stauffer to D Tencer
    through the intertubes directly to your home

    Make sure you scrap it off yer boots afore ya walk on the carpet

  30. bookie says:

    If a Heatley deal is still in the works, it had better be at a lower price than the last one – replacing cogs with Staois is the type of change I would require to be happy with it.

  31. DBO says:

    Remembering that Quinn mentioned when he first came on board that he doesn't like matching lines, but would instead move a guy around to make that line a "checking" line in game, makes me wonder if he plans on running 4 lines and wants an upgrade. Assuming they do go ahead with the Comrie signing and do not make any more moves (other then sending brule down). Would these lines make sense for balance?


    A 2 way player on each line (Horcoff, Pisani, O'Sullivan, Moreau), a bit of size on each line, and skill on the top 3 lines. i'm not against this lineup. yeah they are small overall, but if those are the cards dealt to Quinn, i wonder if he goes this route. And it's not a great %, but in 07 Comrie was 46% on the dot in 1200 attempts. not great, but much better then cogliano.

  32. hunter1909 says:

    I get it. Sign petulant crappy rich kid who's already been run out of town to palookaville on a brass rail once, to "maybe" be able to sign ex con and NHL leading diva Dany Heatley.

    And you guys think I'm crazy to think Pocklington(who gave Edmonton an astonishing 5 cups) isn't a 100% bad man.

  33. Fake Craig McTavish says:


    Do they have anger management classes where you live?

  34. hunter1909 says:


    Only when the judge forces you.

  35. Greg MC says:

    Peter Pocklington – 99.99% douchebag!

  36. Travis Dakin says:

    via twitter from @dantencer "Comrie spoke today and confirmed talks with Oilers"

    Jim Matheson, uh…. I thought you said….. nevermind.

  37. bookie says:

    Greg – is it the 0.01% of non-douchbagness that made him push hard to keep the team in this city because if I were him and in his situation, I would have worked as hard as I could to sell the team to someone somewhere else.

    People forget that Pocklington could have easily sold the team elsewhere. He actually worked to keep the team here, though frequently threatened to move them to try and get better rink deals. Despite his crookedness as a businessman, we have him to thank for NHL hockey in this city.

  38. ian says:

    I need someone to explain what the significance of signing Comrie is?
    Is he here on an Anson Carter type try out?
    Do we really think that the Oilers are making a move in anticipation of signing a guy who has consistently turned them down [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5jNnDMfxA]
    Wouldn't they look at a better fit than Mike Comrie

  39. bookie says:

    I am pretty sure I am going to be hated now…

    While I am at it.

    I understand why Comrie asked for a trade – hard to play in your home city.

    I also am sympathetic to Pronger who actually liked it here and was a great contributor, but lets face it, sometimes we have to do things to keep our spouses happy.

    I think Ryan Smith played hardball and was a bit of a crybaby when he lost.

    I also think that Mother Theresa was just in it for the fame.

  40. Coach pb9617 says:

    via twitter from @dantencer "Comrie spoke today and confirmed talks with Oilers"

    Jim Matheson, uh…. I thought you said….. nevermind.

    Best of luck to Mike Comrie and Ritch Winter in their negotiations.

  41. uni says:

    Bookie: Agreed on all points. Especially that Mother Theresa bit, woman was evil and did much more harm than good. Anyone ever wonder where all that money donated to her organization went? That's right sitting in a bank account rotting away…follow the money people.

  42. Hockey Noob says:

    @PDO, Jonathan, LT, Tyler, Kris and others who have provided input/feedback on the ESTR…

    Thank you all for providing feedback and input on the ESTR metric by Timo Seppa, the Puck Prospectus writer. Many of us share an interest in a metric with the potential of evaluating the level of play of hockey players at even strength in a single number.

    I agree with Tyler that it currently doesn't quite jive with our 'gut test' of how players should be stratified. Perhaps with some additional fine-tuning of how various parameters are weighted, it could more closely approximate our intuitive ideal.

  43. hunter1909 says:

    Without Peter Pocklington, Oilers would never have got Gretzky.

    Oilers would have ended up like the Hartford Whalers, another shit expansion team going nowhere forever.

  44. kris says:

    Many of us share an interest in a metric with the potential of evaluating the level of play of hockey players at even strength in a single number.

    Serious question: Why?

    Why not just go with the three numbers we know measure a player's contributions on ice? Why try to reduce the three to one? (Doing so is going to cover up more than it reveals.)

    The way I see it the three numbers we have do tell us about players' ES contributions. That is, for any given player, you look at even strength goal differential/60. QualComp.-QualTeam, and Vic.s ZoneStart and ZoneShift numbers at timeonice. Each number tells you something about the player.

    Granted, it's sometimes hard to know who's performing "better" when you're using these three numbers to compare players who, for example, face very different quality of composition, say Gagner and Hemsky. But that's really how it ought to be, no? The fact that Gagner and Hemsky face such different competition makes comparing their games like comparing apples and oranges. (You can try to come up with a formula that gave point equivalents for playing against tough comp and week comp. in the way that Gabe has a formula for converting, say, AHL point production to NHL point production. But I think those numbers are a bit shaky to start with and using them to relative Goal Differential/60 to quality of opposition is just going to result in equally shaky, or even more shaky, numbers.

    There's certainly no need to try to jam these numbers together into some arbitrary formula just because you want one number instead of three.

    Perhaps with some additional fine-tuning of how various parameters are weighted, it could more closely approximate our intuitive ideal.

    Yikes. I hope you're just overstating your point here. The one thing you don't want to do is just try to come up with a formula that results in a number that confirms all of our biases about players. (Imagine if scientists did this. Indeed, the distinction between science and pseudoscience like Astrology rests on the fact that pseudoscience can't be discomfirmed because it is vague enough and can always be altered to fit whatever evidence arises.)

    What you want is a metric that doesn't grossly violate what we know to be true with certainty via common sense, i.e. that Hemsy is better than Gagner. We do want a metric that suggests surprising things like, say, that Phaneuf is better than we skeptics think or that O'Sullivan was better than Cogliano. Etc.

    The great thing about Tyler, Vic, and Gabe's work is that it sometimes yields unexpected results. These surprising results then yield surprising predictions which we can then test. (For example, I can predict that if Horcoff's Off.Faceoff-Def.faceoff number becomes less oppressive, that Horcoff's point totals will go up signifgantly.) If the predictions are successful, the theory behind them, i.e. the metrics, is thus confirmed.

    Okay, now I've babbled too long.

  45. dawgbone says:

    LT, going by the list it really seems ESTR bumps up the guys who face easier comp with good teammates.

    The one thing I was curious about was whether when they averaged it out, they did it with the team or across the league.

    We all know that a qualcomp of +0.4 on one team is different from another team (simply based on schedule), but how is it being applied here?

  46. hunter1909 says:

    It's a pretty fair commentary of the soft, lounging existence the West now leads, that the biggest bastard anyone can think about is a two bit meat packing plant owner, instead of 3 million nazi soldiers showing up to rape and pillage mother Russia for the next 3.7 years.

  47. kris says:

    I should've added Corsi as a 4th number.

  48. digger says:

    And in other news, the Oilers signed Rob Schremp today (1yr 2 way deal, 715k NHL/75k AHL).

    *Scampers out of thread, slams door and books it out to the waiting getaway car*

  49. kris says:

    Sorry, one last thing:

    My point is this:

    Having one number that is formulated out of goal differential, qual comp., etc., results in a coarse grain description that is less useful to hockey fans than the comparatively fine grain descriptions we have in goal differential, corsi, etc.

    It's a little like rating the taste of a meal on a scale of 1-5, the nutritional content of the meal on a scale of 1-5, and the presentation of the meal on the same scale again.

    You could combine those ratings, maybe weighting taste higher than the other two, in a formula that resulted in a gestalt, 'how good was the meal' number. That might be nice for the passing foodie, but a lot of people who think they're getting a good meal, who really care about one of the 3 factors, say nutrtion, more than the other two, shouldn't rely on the coarse grain number alone. They're better off looking at the more fine grained scores for taste, presentation, and nutrition. And after all we're only talking about looking at three or four numbers; how lazy are people that they need two less numbers?

    That's how it is for the new hockey numbers too. Average fans might find a cumulative rating of players ES contributions fun or convenient, but it's going to confuse them and create a lot of false expectations. That is, player X might get a great rating playing the softs, but maybe he can't play well against tough comp. while starting in his own end. When X arives in town and gets killed by the toughs, fans will wonder why he had such a high rating.

  50. hunter1909 says:

    "The Oilers have such a rich history, there's so much pride in this organization". Mike Comrie

  51. Schitzo says:

    I just wrote a thesis about why Qualcomp and Qualteam doesn't work – I'll repost here because I am a vain, vain man.


    Imagine a league where the Oilers and Flames are the only two teams, and they play each other 82 games per year.

    Each team has four lines of forwards that always play together as a group of three and only change on whistles. Every game has 60 minutes of 5v5 time.

    Scenario 1: The coaches match lines. First line always plays first line, fourth line always plays fourth line. The teams are equally good, so every line breaks even.

    Using the behindthenet.ca methodology, we must consider the difference between the +/- of the first line (zero, they broke even) and the +/- when that line isn’t on the ice (zero, the other lines also broke even).

    Because the difference is zero for any player, Qualcomp and Qualteam will also be zero for every player (since you’re simply adding up and averaging a bunch of zeros).

    So if Horcoff and Stortini both have a Qualcomp of zero, does that mean that Iginla and Prust are equally difficult to play against? Of course not.

    Scenario 2: Coaches match second and fourth lines, but each first line matches against the other team’s 3rd line. Each first line outscores the third line by 2 goals per game.

    Now the difference is massive – +2 in 15 minutes is +8/60. -2 in the remaining 45 minutes is -2.67/60. So each first liner is +10.67/60 and each third liner is -10.67/60.

    So Glencross plays against the first line, and his Qualcomp is +10.67. Horc’s Qualteam is +10.67. Same deal if you flip it and talk about Iginla versus Pisani.

    But the players haven’t changed – why does Iginla get a Qualcomp of 0 playing against Horcoff but Glencross gets a Qualcomp of +10.67? It’s not because Horcoff has magically gotten better. The stat tells you nothing about how good Horcoff is, or how good Glencross is.

    All it tells you is that there is a chasm of skill between them. Do we applaud Horcoff and Iginla, and boo Pisani and Glencross? Or do we blame the coaches for matching this way?

    And what if we sort by Qualcomp?
    Pisani = +10.67
    2 line = 0.0
    4 line = 0.0
    Horcoff = -10.67

    Does that tell us that Zach Stortini, playing against Prust, faced better hockey players than Horcoff, playing against Glencross?

    Of course not. All it tells us is that Stortini versus Prust isn’t nearly a mismatch like the other lines.

    And I haven’t even addressed the biggest flaw with Qualteam, which is that in my above example, anybody playing with Pisani would have a massively negative Qualteam, because you have to average in his -10.67/60.

    Which makes it much too easy to skim the stats and say “well this Stortini seems like a good teammate, but good god it must suck to have to drag this Pisani fellow around like a boat anchor”.

    When we all know that everybody should want to play with Fernando. All the time.

    Bottom line is that QualComp and Qualteam are relative to the player. They don’t measure how good the players are that you line up against, they attempt to measure how much better or worse the players are against you.

    In that sense, it’s entirely possible for Nilsson to face “tougher” competition than Horcoff, because Nilsson isn’t as good of a hockey player. It’s easier for him to be overmatched. But if you’re using it to value a player, you’re using it wrong, unless “gets overmatched a lot” is a skill you value.

    It’s more properly used to evaluate how a coach is matching his players – if a fourth liner has a break-even qualcomp it’s because he was playing fourth liners. If Zach Stortini has a Qualcomp of +0.50 it’s not because he’s a shut-down centre, it’s because Quinn couldn’t be bothered to protect him from the Sedins or Iginla.

  52. Hockey Noob says:


    I agree with your recent point about the apparent bias towards players that have good linemates and play softer opposition. In fact, I think that this presents a big challenge for any type of metric such as ESTR. If a player's coach slopes the ice the right way for him, this will have a beneficial effect on his GF/GA differential, Corsi, and +/-. Clearly, this would have to be adequately offset by other factors such as Qualcomp/team, and Zonestart/shift.

    Obviously this endeavor to create a single number which closely reflects the value of a player at even strength is not an easy task.

  53. Greg MC says:

    Bookie – I believe that Pocklington worked hard for the best deal for Peter Pocklington. I agree with you on your list except for the Mother Theresa thing! ;)

    Hunter – True dat, Everyone plays their part in life. This is a hockey blog, not a political forum, but obviously there is little to compare between Pocklington and the Nazi's.

  54. commonfan13 says:

    Oilers would have ended up like the Hartford Whalers, another shit expansion team going nowhere forever.

    hunter1909, I'd have liked that post a lot more if that shit expansion team hadn't beaten us for the Cup 3 years ago…

  55. Hockey Noob says:

    @Kris, you've got a lengthy comment which I will reply to shortly. Let's start with some common ground here Kris. I'm just a hockey fan and an avid reader of Lowetide–that's it. I brought the ESTR topic of discussion up here at LT because I realize that there's some very savvy hockey minds including yourself that comment on LT's blog. I have absolutely nothing to do with Puck Prospectus or the ESTR metric. I merely found it to be an interesting topic of discussion for what I had hoped would be both amicable and productive.

  56. R O says:


    The key elements of your hypothetical NHL seems to be:
    - Line matching is perfect
    - Lines break even, which seems to suggest that all players within a given line category (e.g. the "1st-liners") are equal in strength.

    Then it would be true that you couldn't discern between the quality of a first and fourth liner. What you'd really want to do is discern each player's strength relative to the median (how you find that is another matter entirely) but since line matching is perfect then you will never measure that.


    I would argue that in such a contrived scenario, that the relative value of an Iginla to a Prust (or Horcoff to Nilsson) is equal. It's ridiculously counterintuitive but the hypothetical demands that line matching is perfect so every player is forced to stay within their role. In a sense, Iginla is facing the same competition as Prust because Iginla only ever gets to see first liners of equal strength as himself, and Prust fourth liners of equal strength as himself. So their "medians" are different, and their relative values to those medians are identical.

    Now in the real NHL you neither have perfect line-matching nor equality within player groups so you will see separation. I think it was Vic who observed something along the lines of "all it takes is one missed shift for havoc to be wreaked". And of course even if you can get as close as possible to matching your 1-2-3 against his 1-2-3, the players are not equally strong and over the long run it'll show up in the results.

  57. rickibear says:

    How to label players: Desjardins Style: with zone shift influence.

    Establish 5 areas of production:
    EV offensive zone:
    Ev Nuetral zone:
    Ev Defensive zone:
    PP zone(starts in Offensive):
    Pk Zone (starts in Defensive):

    Create standard S curves for strength of competion (offensive capability) for each zone.

    Do it over a 5 year average. looking at current scoring rate for that year to reposition the curve.

    You compare the player to the value on the curve based on comp. Not the league mean.

    Then you review:

    For the first three zones you ask if the player exceeds the Competion value both Offensively and Defensively

    You end up with 8 Mean Variables
    Each of the variables are weighted based on TOI. and Scoring influence on the game as a % of scoring total in each aspect of the game.

    4 Min of PP against X Strength of comp on the curve should get X goals. Buddy gave up X versus that point on the curve.

    The 8 categories get a 100% value.
    The valuation is versus the league mean. From this you can get a players true influence.

    A player with lots of points as a result of premium offensive zone and PP time against weak opposition may actually be below all the strength of comp means and has no positive influence.

    Ex. See Mike Richards who has tough zone shifts but great results at even and One of the best PK guys in the league. Not sure if he is above the league average on the PP.

    You know pretty fast how good a player was that year. And how much they affect the game.

    Just Saying!

  58. rickibear says:

    in reality a player could end up with values greater than 100%.

  59. Hockey Noob says:


    Your first question towards me speaks to the question of, 'why?' I think among the several possible answers to this particular question, you've answered one reason yourself, "average fans may find cumulative ES ratings convenient."

    I am not going to presume that average fans have never heard of Qualcomp, Zonestart, or other related metrics, but I could reasonably argue that they might find trying to interpret these metrics individually to get a gestalt of a player's overall even strength value would be equally or more confusing for them.

    Without engaging in a debate over the validity of arguing by analogy, I would suggest that if you are going to make an argument by analogy that there are more relevant choices than food. Hmm, let's start with something that's a sport perhaps… let's go with baseball.

    In the '80s, a metric called Total player rating (TPR) was developed for measuring the value of players. To be certain, there's a number of flaws for the TPR metric that have been exposed over the years. However, the TPR metric has also been fine-tuned and greatly improved upon over the years.

  60. Schitzo says:

    R O:

    I think it was Vic who observed something along the lines of "all it takes is one missed shift for havoc to be wreaked"

    Right, but if Qualcomp doesn't work under ideal conditions, is it actually telling us anything?

    [Of course, I think your comments on my hypothetical suggest that you find it anything but ideal].

    In my mind, the problem is a simple one: Line matching seems like a good thing. Teams try to do it. But the better the line matching, the closer to zero everyone's Qualcomp will trend. And then we're right back to simply eyeballing players.

  61. hunter1909 says:

    commonfan: Yes, but since the WHA Whalers usually beat the WHA Oilers, you could almost say it was a sensation of cosmically induced justice that came over that Mike Comrie sized Oilers defenceman, just as he leaped over the boards to save Roloson from that Canes player.

  62. commonfan13 says:

    Call me crazy, but I think a pretty good way to tell the difference between Iginla and Prust is still to compare 89 points to 3 points.

    Metrics are nice, but Billy Beane and Daryl Morey are still title-less.

  63. kris says:


    It's an interesting hypothetical world you point out. I think RO has you on the substance though.

    I think what you really want to argue is that we can never be entirely sure that any given player, Nilson for example, hasn't spent most of his time in a real world scenario that, for all intents and purposes, is identical to your hypothetical world.

    This wouldn't mean that qual.comp and qual.team are useless, but it would mean that some players, especially in the short run, may have misleading qual.comp numbers.

    But I think you have to admit, given how coaches use their lines in the real world, in the long run, truth will out, as they say, and the ability of guys like Hemsky to destroy weak opposition and do well against the Iginla's of the world will shine through in the numbers.

  64. commonfan13 says:

    Does anyone else think MAB just saved us from watching further evidence that Roloson's run in the zone was over?

    That was a brutal 2 2/3 periods he played in choking away that 3-0 lead.

  65. Schitzo says:

    Kris, R O:

    I think you're both right in the sense that the real world probably gives "close enough" results.

    But I spent four years learning that if you can come up with an example that breaks your model, it's not the greatest model :)

  66. flamingpavelbure says:

    CommonFan: Yes seriously, everyone was laughing theyr damn asses off, watching Roloson get all those games, while JDD and Dubby were dying on the bench and in the minors.

  67. bookie says:

    Bookie – I believe that Pocklington worked hard for the best deal for Peter Pocklington.

    Having followed the whole thing as it was happening with a bit of an objective business sense (according to me), I truly think that Pocklington could have got a better deal selling elsewhere.

    Now, he may have passed up those oppertunities because he still thought he could keep the team for himself and still be an NHL owner. Regardless, the byproduct of those decisions were that the team stayed in Edmonton.

    He could have sold elsewhere earlier for more money and in those days, the league was fine with it.

  68. flamingpavelbure says:

    Bookie: It's still is now too, unless your named Jim Balsillie, and you want to move the team north of it's actual position. I mean, it's okay if we have owners who fraud, and have financial problems. But moving a team north, nah!

  69. R O says:


    You have a good point, the better the line matching the more meaningless QC/QT becomes. The big problem being, no player will ever face competition that is equivalent to the mean.

    I would probably argue that the closer we get to perfect line matching, the less we would need a metric like QC. Just because everyone is forced to stay within their role of playing against compeititon at the same level of strength as themselves. There would be no need to compare between levels of strength as they never mix.

    Of course, we'll never know how close we are to your hypothetical, because to confirm that we need a player quality metric! So it's a bit of a circular argument I'm putting forth here.

    On a last note, I know that Desjardins said that you could compute QC/QT more rigorously by running the algorithm iteratively. I'm not convinced this will work, it seems like the iterations might not always converge.

  70. NBOilerFan says:

    "… but one expects a signed Comrie means a traded Cogliano and then we'll see from there."

    You are paranoid, LT.

    I believe the only way Cogs is dealt at this point is for Heatley, and I only give that a 10% chance at happening now at best.

    But I wouldn't be surprised if we do see another deal in conjunction with a Comrie signing. Perhaps its even a deal involving POS and bigger winger or just as a salary dump and another UFA signing such as Malholtra or Moore.

  71. somehick says:

    I know I'll get flamed here with a big-ass blow torch, but I honestly don't get the inflated value that Horcoff seems to get. His stats are not that impressive no matter which way you slice it. He won't hit anyone and has the worst eye hand coordination of any player I've ever seen. How can anybody miss that many open nets?

    IMHO, Horcoff's in the same pile as Nilsson, MAP, Reddox,..etc. Put Hemsky with any one of those 3 and you have 3 more Horcoff's.

    I'm all for Comrie at 1.5. Would like to see a Coglino/Comrie/Hemsky line.

    And say NO to Heatley please. We don't need another drama Queen. Trading Cogliano for Healtley has KLowe written all over it.

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