Monday, July 26, 2010

The Summit Series Project

With the dog days of summer upon us and nothing really happening with the Oilers at all I've stumbled upon a new project. As with a lot of what happens in this corner of the web, the two guys who deserve a lot of the credit, at least for tweaking my curiousity, if not more than that, are Vic Ferrari and Bruce McCurdy. Their musings on the 72 Series in a thread at Lowetide's were the impetus behind some work that longtime Oilogosphere members Julian and Colin, as well as Julian's girlfriend Ellen, the brilliant writer of Theory of Ice, and myself are going to take on.

Some more recent work by Vic shows that the idea of Corsi was being used even forty years ago to track what was happening and we are going to try and track that metric game by game as well as scoring chances, another useful tool that has been tracked by Dennis King and Scott Reynolds, amongst others, over the past two years. Unfamiliarity with some of the Russians as well as poor video quality may hinder us a bit but hopefully by the end of this exercise we will have an interesting snapshot of the most famous hockey series of all time.

It should give us some cool results. A few things that I will be looking for - how my boyhood idol, Stan Mikita, who only got in two games, fared. How Gilbert Perrault, who I recently read a description of as being dominant, yet only got into two games, did. How Canada did once the series shifted to Russia, where a lot of of players claimed simple improved fitness made a difference. And also a look at the goaltending. Looking at the numbers it would appear to me that Esposito was the better goaltender. Should be interesting to see if there are underlying numbers that prove that this is true, untrue or perhaps really just a wash.

Stay tuned and if you have any suggestions lay them on me. Yo.


andy grabia said...


Black Dog said...


By the way I put your latest project on the list at right. Great stuff. As always.

andy grabia said...

Thank you, Sir Dork.



Baroque said...

Hee hee.

Dorks and nerds are the best people around, anyway. :)

Scott Reynolds said...

I'm really excited about seeing all of the stuff you guys come up with. It'll be fun to see how the 70s differs from the kind of stuff we see today.

And since you're asking for more work... If you're tracking scoring chances, one thing a lot of folks have asked me to do (which I'll likely start doing next year) is noting what the chance is (i.e. "rebound" or "two-on-one" or whatever). Once we gather some modern data, it will be interesting to compare the kinds of chances available in 1972 (when two good teams were playing) to what's available today. The other thing that may be difficult with respect to scoring chances is that you may need to tweak it a bit since the goaltending was quite a bit worse at that time; top of the circle and between the dots may be too narrow an area.

Black Dog said...

Scott - well its hectic here but I watched period 1 of game 1 and will probably complete that game over the next night or two. Video quality is pretty poor and its a bit if guesswork but we'll have the jist of it I think.

First impression and its nothing earthshattering I think - its pretty neat to see how wide open the game is. Even with the Soviets' vaunted 'system' the Canadians were getting five bell chances all over the place. We're talking guys walking in from the slot with nobody near them. The Canadians play very much as individuals, constantly trying to beat guys one on one. Maybe that changes later on although I remember watching the last game a couple of years back and watching Esposito (I'm sure it was him) trying to stickhandle out of his own zone three times in the dying minutes and losing the puck each time.

The hockey is terribly sloppy and extraordinary in its entertainment value.

Julian said...

Just finished doing G3, the 4-4 tie played out the same way on the Corsi side and the SC side as well, nearly exactly even. Pat, I'll email you the exact numbers later.

I'm going to do G6 later tonight or tomorrow maybe.