SAIL ON, TYLER DELLOW

by Lowetide

Years and years ago, I resigned from a job and in doing so angered my employer. He asked me to step into a quiet room, and then proceeded to tell me his view of losing me. He said that losing an employee is like a single raindrop falling into a bucket full of water: An immediate disturbance, followed by a ripple, and then a return to calm. I have always remembered that, because no matter how close you feel to your co-workers, no matter how valuable you feel your work is for the overall effort, there is someone in the building circling your salary with a big red pen and asking again what you do to help the company. I thank that man for those words, they have kept me humble (or more humble) over the years.

I have no idea if Tyler Dellow resigned or was not renewed, but in the end it does not matter. In the offices of power, it is disturbance, ripple, calm. That may be a mistake—I think this is a bad move by the Oilers—but we won’t know for some time, for many years, really. My personal takeaway as an outsider: Dellow’s advice was probably ignored for the most part—that is not fact, but the anecdotal evidence shines like a beacon.

Tough to make this case on first blush, but the value of guys in this job comes in the ability to read the numbers and make good recommendations. Edmonton lost those good recommendations today. Get good people, keep good people.

If I were to guess, Dellow ends up in media—he is good at it. He has a unique view and despite working in a young industry, has gained a reputation for being a gem at reading those tea leaves. I believe that is what gets him hired again—by an NHL team, or a media outlet—and what will bring him his next opportunity.

My one regret about writing this is that Dellow’s successes are not clear to me at this time. Can I give him some credit for the astute signing of Andrej Sekera? Can I give him some credit for helping the improved drafting? I can personally, but the nature of his job does not allow us to trumpet those things today. Perhaps that happens down the line.

With each day that passes from this one, silence from Tyler Dellow will confirm his career path. He is a hot commodity for the media today, tomorrow and for the immediate future. If he does not make public statements and does not respond to questions, we will know he is either heading to another NHL team or about to tell his new media employer about his experiences, offering his insight.

Sail on, Tyler Dellow. I have your back, and wish you well.

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Bag of Pucks

Professor Q:
Interesting article from a year and a half ago that most might have seen, but lots fall through the cracks (no idea if it was mentioned already or not, sorry…):

http://www.coppernblue.com/2015/2/1/7959905/there-was-a-bit-of-dislike-for-tyler-eakins-interview-with-tsn-hockey

Very interesting article and if I’m an analytics guy, not encouraging for the future of analytics with this org.

Clearly, Dellow was embedded in Eakins’ staff with opportunity for tons of input, the coach was happy with the progress vs key analytics on numerous fronts, and it didn’t mean a damn thing to the on ice results. In fact, they were dreadful.

In an industry where wins are truly the only KPI that matters to some, that lack of impact on the key KPI gives more ammunition to the critics than it does the advocates of analytics in hockey.

Unfortunate. Dellow was likely the right hire, but Eakin was not.

Oilspill

Woogie63:
Data is an interesting thing, I work in a very data intense industry.Six year ago the data took a quantum leap and became extremely granular and very rich for those with the resources to mine and action what the numbers said.Local, national, international teams were formed and new hires came and taught us lots in the early days and we changed rapidly.

Today those number are getting “old” the ROI never quite delivered what we thought it would and now it is really hard to see a ROI.New teachers come regularly to take us to the next level.

I wonder if the early ‘fancy’ teachers will evolve with the organizations?

Stats must become more meaningful that quantify EACH players individual play. There will always be a divide until generalities like corsi (+- shots), fenwick (+- shot attempts), or plus/minus (goals) are the baseline of measurement.

square_wheels

G Money,

Story of my life these days, hurt doing something benign vs the actual dangerous things I do like race mountain bikes or climb tree stands to hunt. Besides, if I was going to spend 10K on a new transportation method I would just buy another bike.

Yes, 10K is my offer.

RedNed

I hope it works out for Mr Dellow. I came to MC79 before Lowetide, taught me the nuts and bolts of understanding the game as I rediscovered my oilers roots while learning to play the game. Loved the writing.

As for the non-renewal of the contract, best to see the whole thing as being no more and no less than just that, a non renewal. In the long run, all the rest is tea leaves.

Doesn’t detract from observation of the ‘professionalisation’ of the field of knowledge, the change of discourse to one more acceptant and it becoming ‘operationalised’, a field of competition in itself. A potent mix for human relations management in the hyperworld I imagine professional sporting organisations to be.

Revolved

G Money:
blainer,

The one thing that really stands out about Larsson though is he does much worse at home than on the road.You’d think that would be a matchup issue (where he plays tougher comp at home), but of course remember that these comparisons are already based specifically on comparing the same calibre of players.

So why so much worse at home?An interesting question to explore (but you’d have to do it by scouting, so if anyone is watching his games to get a bead on him, maybe see if you can unravel that one).

I noticed the same thing with Yakupov when looking at your numbers. He’s much worse at home, when you would expect him to be getting the desired match ups. A wild guess: the sample is skewed by too much Letestu?

Professor Q

Interesting article from a year and a half ago that most might have seen, but lots fall through the cracks (no idea if it was mentioned already or not, sorry…):

http://www.coppernblue.com/2015/2/1/7959905/there-was-a-bit-of-dislike-for-tyler-eakins-interview-with-tsn-hockey

Bruce McCurdy

Excellent post, LT, and solid comments following it. A sad day in many respects. Was cool to have an early champion of the Oilogosphere contributing to the team.

If you’re reading, Tyler, best wishes to you. I know you done yer best.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

PunjabiOil,

Link?

PunjabiOil

Delllow was moved from advising coaches to advising GM last summer from reports.

I don’t doubt the Oilers will continue to use analytics – I just think they have to more heavily invest in them for making decisions.

Could see it being a cost factor too. Though my line of work, aware of finances of non-management employees of the Oilers. The team will readily bury millions of dollars in the minors, but become petty in other payroll areas. Believe Dellow voiced/complained about not having center ice (despite being a team employee) in Toronto, and data usage limit on his mobile device issues. Don’t want to speculate too much – but maybe finances played a role (for both parties).

Kitchener

It must have been interesting being the first ‘advanced stats guy’ for this hockey team. Presumably Mr. Dellow was able to contribute to a few good decisions and wishes his advice was followed on others. If he starts telling the stories in 20 years, I for one would read them.

All the best in the future, TD.

G Money

Atc-Nate,

It’s a silver 98 targa, so it’s the newer engine, but the front end has the old pop-up style hood lamps. Even so, you might be out of luck as I do have a couple of friends with standing offers to buy (a buddy of mine who’s a prominent ortho surgeon in Edmonton, and the guy who owns the company where my wife works).

And yes, she is pristine: http://i.imgur.com/xbWnbV3.jpg

Serial #1 for Canada for 98 too (seriously).

G Money

blainer,

Hi Blainer, sorry I missed this earlier. Yes, with our new metrics, in addition to splitting out the three levels of competition, we further split each level into East/West, and also Home/Away (but not both at the same time, as you start to get down into ludicrously small sample size buckets even with players who played a ton the whole season).

Interesting fact: Larsson does about as well against the West as he does against the East. I say ‘about’ because he actually does a bit better against the West Corsi-wise, but a little worse against the West DFF-wise. So call it a wash for the most part. And that’s good!

The one thing that really stands out about Larsson though is he does much worse at home than on the road. You’d think that would be a matchup issue (where he plays tougher comp at home), but of course remember that these comparisons are already based specifically on comparing the same calibre of players.

So why so much worse at home? An interesting question to explore (but you’d have to do it by scouting, so if anyone is watching his games to get a bead on him, maybe see if you can unravel that one).

Atc-Nate

G: what year is your NSX? My dad had a ’91 and a ’96 I think, both red. I’d love one, but an ’03 or newer. If you decide to sell, lemme know.

spoiler

Some Sail on music for MC79…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jezqNxQ8mb0

spoiler

Sad day for us, but hopefully it turns out to be a good day for Tyler.

dustrock

mujidog:
I think it’s unwise and unproductive to ASSUME Tyler’s role (or lack thereof) in the moves the Oilers have made during his stint.

Maybe he pushed for Adam Larsson (even at the expense of Hall). Maybe he pushed for Gustavsson. Maybe he wasn’t crazy about Talbot. Maybe he recommended Letestu as an ideal 3C. Maybe he didn’t care for Sekera. Maybe he wasn’t asked for an opinion by Chia and Todd at all (remember that Eakins brought him in).

We don’t know. The only thing we can hope for, as interested Oilers geeks, is that some of his time with the Oilers is shared with us. Probably won’t happen though; I reckon the Oilers made him sign tight NDAs.

Agreed. I basically said the same thing. Might be telling that Spector was allowed to “break” the story, but we don’t know any of the last 2 years with the team. It’s very convenient and an easy narrative for those pro-Dellow and anti-Oilers management people to posit that this is another example of OBC jocks not listening to the genius analytics guy.

Could be true, or maybe the Oilers have a different analytics person and after 2 years, Dellow was redundant.

This just reminds me of people talking about the locker rom and the reputation of certain players.

Pure Spector-lation.

Bag of Pucks

I always thought it was bizarre that Dellow was hired by the coach as opposed to the GM as it seems given the current state of hockey analytics, that there’s much more opportunity to positively impact the org in the areas of drafting, procurement, and cap management. Hence why the first truly impactful analytics hire is a GM with Chayka.

Eakins was new to the league and team, and couldn’t even be bothered to watch video of them. So, one could see him inviting input on individual players, deployment, etc. Doubt McLellan felt the same way. For instance, Dellow spent a lot of time video analyzing the Sharks’ breakouts and obviously that type of thing would not be news to TMac.

And likely that’s the issue? At the end of the day, he was an Eakins/Coaching hire.

Possibly they’re satisfied with Dark Horse for the GM data output?

it wouldn’t surprise me if the next big demand for analytics is in-game analysis to help the HC with deployment/matchup assessments and tactical adjustment. And quite likely they’ll lean on a hockey guy first with an analysis flair as opposed to the other way around.

G Money

Hey everyone! Thanks for the continuing kind words. No, Dean, you CANNOT have my NSX!

Half the time I hurt a knee or achilles or something getting into the damn thing, but its the last remnant of my fading youth.

Now that Tyler is not with the Oilers, I’ll let you in on a little secret (hope he doesn’t mind):

– he reads this blog regularly
– he’s also still on Twitter, but as per earlier comments, post-Bell it’s very low profile
– when we had particularly interesting things to discuss here or on Twitter (e.g. handedness, WoodMoney), he would hit me up (among others no doubt) discreetly on the Twitter machine to discuss them
– he’s (still) sharp as a razor
– it also means the Oilers (through him) are *very* aware of what’s going on in the blogosphere. I hope they were at least paying attention to him
– I assume he has a steep NDA that will prevent him from giving us the goods on what really happened
– hope a team that I don’t hate snaps him up quickly, though I worry about the ‘Oiler stigma’

square_wheels

Barcs,

I would certainly miss Kypreos with a stick that has no tape and is 7ft long showing Hrudey how he would undress him and Kelly is wearing his Poison headband while throwing out a kick-save and tearing his skinny suit in half.

Seriously, Rogers is only going to change things up by making Ron host again ? Yawn.

Barcs

Klima’s_Bucket:
Could you imagine if TSN hired Dellow and gave him his own show like That’s Hockey?

They’d call it Stats Hockey.

The show could break down (with video):
Zone Entries, Zone Exits, Pressuring off won/lost face-offs in the O-zone/D-zone.
Looking deep into players possession numbers, Zone Starts, WOWY’s, Ricki’s Box Protection, and the like.

A show with smart, numbers backed, statistical analysis.

That would be a show worth watching.

Or we could just stick with the sonorous banalities of Spector & Kypreos…

I wouldn’t miss a single episode.

square_wheels

Klima’s_Bucket,

Fuck TSN. Put that on your own YouTube channel. It’s 2016, no need to let them or Rogers near that.

Klima's_Bucket

Could you imagine if TSN hired Dellow and gave him his own show like That’s Hockey?

They’d call it Stats Hockey.

The show could break down (with video):
Zone Entries, Zone Exits, Pressuring off won/lost face-offs in the O-zone/D-zone.
Looking deep into players possession numbers, Zone Starts, WOWY’s, Ricki’s Box Protection, and the like.

A show with smart, numbers backed, statistical analysis.

That would be a show worth watching.

Or we could just stick with the sonorous banalities of Spector & Kypreos…

wheatnoil

Sail on Dellow. I hope he finds meaningful work in whatever form it presents itself but also selfishly hope it’s in media… because that would mean his work would be available to the rest of us.

Gayfish

How it probably went down.
Chia: “Tyler, I need you to give me some statistics I can use to justify the Hall trade”
Tyler after several weeks of diligent work: “I got nothing”

Frank the dog

Taylor and Tyler: We know their strengths; We know a little about their weaknesses, some by observation, most on hearsay. We can talk about what we know. What we don’t know may or may not exist. Specifically what made them redundant to the organization in spite of their significant skill set.
So let’s not say we are better – or worse – off until this time next year when the new season is fully played out, rather, let’s set a line in the sand that will be the measure of whether next season’s is/was better than the previous team.
I choose to believe that this is a better, more balanced roster than last year. I believe this team will better represent Chia and TMac and will score more points than last year’s team. How much?
I’d suggest at least 15% more.
Edit: I also choose to believe that this year’s team will be more cohesive, and will suffer less injuries to key players.

Water Fire

Ryan:
Of all the guys in analytics, some of whom had greater technical prowess in scraping data and building databases, few shared Tyler’s ability to simply ask the right questions.

In the fine tradition of Andy Warhol’s as to whether or not life imitates blog comments or do blog comments imitate life, I used to openly opine (at this very blog) that the Oilers should hire a smart but arrogant prick like Tyler Dellow (meant with utmost respect to Dellow).Then they actually did. Unfortunately, my mistake was not opining that they would also actually listen to him or keep him employed.

Get good people keep good people. Today’s news is a loss for our team.

All the best Tyler. I miss the blog because of the video analysis which is my favourite alternative hockey blog type of analysis. I miss Bourne as well for that too.

Edit: What made the early bloggers that did the mathy side was also having a deep understanding of the game. I think as the area develops and data increases it begins to enter the realm of pros on the numbers side.

I’m not sure there is room for guys like Tyler as teams work as far as I can see. They have pro statisticians, coaches galor from the hockey side, retired players, all of whom can do the job well if they aren’t blind.

Coaches I’m sure at the NHL level already have stats of some kind they have developed over time and watch, and know how to collect them, and the pro stats guys can crunch that. I see a lot of bull headed types who want to do things their way. Probably how they got to where they did.

I also think guys like Chayka that purport to be all statsy and have limited hockey and business experience are a flash in the pan. A misguided stats fetish from people that don’t understand and buy into the stereotype of ‘kids know everything about that’ and are somehow better at it or have some deeper knowledge despite lacking experience for that level.

We’ll see.

kinger_OIL

– Picking up on Cash’s first post on this, to me Dellow was impressive becasue here’s a guy that starts asking questions on his blog and uses stats to answer them, and no doubt brushes up on his own stat understanding, and he actually gets noticed enough so that he gets hired.

– Dude was a lawyer in Toronto, with no formal stats background. Used rudimentary stats tools (I mean that as a compliment), and gets involved, asks and answers qestions: lives the dream.

– His contribution is specualation but he wasn’t part of the A-team once Dallas got fired.

– I was a dissenter of Dallas from Day 1, but give him credit for providing Dellow an opportunity

square_wheels

littleenglish,

That’s right, he did. Think we discussed that last summer when he was hired. Oh well, I’m looking forward to whatever Dellow has up his sleeve next, as I suspect it could be a gig that puts him into a broader media format with better exposure.

square_wheels

Ryan,

Pristine NSX. It’s old so he’s getting low balled.

rickithebear

Woodguy:
The team I cheer for is not as good today as it was yesterday.

Sail on Tyler.

Thanks for trying.

Ah perspective.

The team I cheer for is way better than yesterday.

Thank you
Tambo :
Mact
PC

Close but no Ciger

To add to the above, while with the Bruins, Chiarielli promoted a regular joe to the Director of Hockey Operations and Analytics – Ryan Nadeau

Ryan

square_wheels:
Ryan,

I call dibs on low-balling the shit out of that car of his ! No way he could move it from Cgy to Edmonchuk without a rock chip so it’s got to stay here.

But in all seriousness, I’m with Godot, this is an opportunity to take analytics in a direction few consider.I think building an online platform where NHL games are discussed intelligently, without all the whiz bang nonsense of HNIC is the future. If I have to spend another year of Rogers on Mute I might switch back to just the old CHED audio feed synced up to the HD feed.

The stupid fucking lazer pucks were just the start……

I am missing something. What type of car does he own?

Gayfish

Surprised Dellow was there as long as he was. Not exactly a yes man, and we know how the oilers feel about differing opinions. Back to the echo chamber.

square_wheels

Ryan,

I call dibs on low-balling the shit out of that car of his ! No way he could move it from Cgy to Edmonchuk without a rock chip so it’s got to stay here.

But in all seriousness, I’m with Godot, this is an opportunity to take analytics in a direction few consider. I think building an online platform where NHL games are discussed intelligently, without all the whiz bang nonsense of HNIC is the future. If I have to spend another year of Rogers on Mute I might switch back to just the old CHED audio feed synced up to the HD feed.

The stupid fucking lazer pucks were just the start……

Mantis

A new blog – McD97?

Good luck Mr. Dellow.

admiralmark

John Chambers:
When MacT / Eakins hired Dellow it made sense. Here is a new young coach open to exploring new ideas, and a GM who wants to exploit every competitive advantage possible to turn the team North. Dellow’s arguments on Mc79 were well presented and rational. Stands to reason they would want to bring his skills in house to offer insights to the new coach and management.

In comes Chiarelli and McLellan. Whenever you get a new boss who hasn’t hired you, you effectively have to re-interview for the position you currently hold. Suffice it to say Chiarelli already had a strong handle on statistical analysis, whilst McLellan has a handle on successful coaching systems.

In conclusion – I doubt Dellow’s insights were as valuable to our veteran coach and GM as they were to the rookie coach and GM.

And yet Chiarelli feels the insights of Howson and MacT still hold some value to him. I can accept Dellows wasnt his guy as long as there is “a” guy that’s versed in this area replacing his advice. I’m going to assume they are not going to be ignoring all analytics.

What I cant accept is Howson and MacT continuing to skirt any of this so called new scrutiny by Nicholson and Chiarelli. I’m not seein it. In fact the visual evidence is that they are firmly entrenched in nearly all the decision making. Its really difficult to remain positive when you see this team continuing down the same path of reliance on the advice of those that have failed epically in this very regard.

Centre of attention

Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 11m11 minutes ago
Further to @SportsnetSpec on Tyler Dellow. Any suggestion that Peter Chiarelli doesn’t value Analytics is off base. The Boston Bruins had…

Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 8m8 minutes ago
…one of the biggest analytics groups in the League, when Chiarelli was their GM. He spoke at the Sloan Conference and also had an MIT…

Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 4m4 minutes ago
…Prof on staff. My “guess” is that Analytics will also continue to be an area of importance in Edmonton as well.

John Chambers

Ryan:

Get good people keep good people. Today’s news is a loss for our team.

It’s not always that simple. Sometimes personalities don’t mesh and sometimes certain folks don’t thrive as subordinates. It’s not a strike against either, but “All Star” teams are often less than the sum of their parts.

Centre of attention

Ryan: Gmoney?

I selfishly hope G stays public. I love his work, if he were to land an NHL job we would no longer be able to have unfettered access to his analysis.

Ryan

Centre of attention:
Stauffer dropping bombs on twitter, apparently Chiarelli really does value analytics. Spoke at Sloan conference.

I fully expect the hire someone else discretely.

Gmoney?

Centre of attention

Stauffer dropping bombs on twitter, apparently Chiarelli really does value analytics. Spoke at Sloan conference.

I fully expect they hire someone else discretely.

Ryan

Of all the guys in analytics, some of whom had greater technical prowess in scraping data and building databases, few shared Tyler’s ability to simply ask the right questions.

In the fine tradition of Andy Warhol’s as to whether or not life imitates blog comments or do blog comments imitate life, I used to openly opine (at this very blog) that the Oilers should hire a smart but arrogant prick like Tyler Dellow (meant with utmost respect to Dellow). Then they actually did. Unfortunately, my mistake was not opining that they would also actually listen to him or keep him employed.

Get good people keep good people. Today’s news is a loss for our team.

Little Johnny Frostbite

John Chambers,

Thanks very much. I couldn’t agree more. I’m sure that there’s an NDA pending, but man, I’d love to hear Dellow’s point of view…could be incredibly interesting. For the record, I was pretty positive about his hiring.

Woodguy

LadiesloveSmid,

Woodguy, did Stauff ever tell you the higher up who had taken a look at your guys’ work recently? Confidential? Awesome stuff

Bob’s just probably blowing smoke and making me feel good.

Woodguy

Thanks to everyone from this AM”s thread and the PM thread for the kind words.

Hockey Stats is fun!

John Chambers

PigeonCamera,

Everyone possesses unique but valuable skill sets. Some people love the drama and artfulness of the game, some people love the box scores and player stats.

Doesn’t make anyone more of a fan than the other. As you’ve stated, I think we can all appreciate the game and respect each other’s passion for it, via whatever lens that floats our boat.

Thanks for posting

Woodguy

The team I cheer for is not as good today as it was yesterday.

Sail on Tyler.

Thanks for trying.

John Chambers

When MacT / Eakins hired Dellow it made sense. Here is a new young coach open to exploring new ideas, and a GM who wants to exploit every competitive advantage possible to turn the team North. Dellow’s arguments on Mc79 were well presented and rational. Stands to reason they would want to bring his skills in house to offer insights to the new coach and management.

In comes Chiarelli and McLellan. Whenever you get a new boss who hasn’t hired you, you effectively have to re-interview for the position you currently hold. Suffice it to say Chiarelli already had a strong handle on statistical analysis, whilst McLellan has a handle on successful coaching systems.

In conclusion – I doubt Dellow’s insights were as valuable to our veteran coach and GM as they were to the rookie coach and GM.