Change. The answer is change. Change is almost always the answer when it comes to something new being criticized. The same stands for hockey analytics.
A lot of old-time hockey fans have heavily criticized analytics because it “rips the heart” out of teams. The Florida Panthers tried a shift in analytics. They suffered a lot of injuries this year and have been heavily bashed some of it is disgusting and unruly after one loss even from their own fans. They call the analytic fans “p******” who are just sucking up to management. It’s all stupid.
Look, analytics have a lot of positives but the classic examples of Corsi and Fenwick have one HUGE problem which I have mentioned several times. They don’t take into account goal-scoring. However, here is a counter-argument to the Gudbranson/Kulikov moves. They had a combined 39 goals with the Cats in a combined 12 seasons. That’s 3.25 goals combined from both players a year. That is a major problem coming from two of your top 4 defenseman.
A lot of fans fell in love with Kulikov/Gudbranson because they were both here forever and they both had big hits and Gudbranson a few good fights. While hits are entertaining to watch as well as fights, they aren’t going to win games and management wants to win games. Gudbranson has done nothing for Vancouver. He is a -14 and has one of the worst GA/60 min in the league. Yet fans want him. Jason Demers has been a suitable replacement. Both players throw down players on the ice when they go after the goalies but Demers has 8 goals this year!
While Jared McCann (the return for Gudbranson), hasn’t been anything special this year, he is only 20 years old! He can’t even go into a bar and order an alcoholic beverage in America yet much less be a superstar hockey player yet at his age! We also got a pick we traded to go back a few picks and got Adam Mascherin and the other pick was used to get Jonathan Ang, both prospects are projected to have high potentials.
Dmitry Kulikov was a stay at home defender known for his hip-check which on one occasion earned him a 4 game suspension and status as Dallas’s most hated athlete for his clipping/knee on knee hit with Tyler Seguin. Kulikov has done nothing but occupy a spot on the injured reserve in Buffalo. He has 1 point in 20 games! Mark Pysyk (the return) has become the Panthers best defensive defenseman and one of the commanders on one of the league’s most improved Penalty kills. He also has 7 points in 43 games! Not only that, we got Adam Mascherin who has been lighting up the OHL as a draft pick.
Change is an issue. A lot of older fans think hockey has gone all calculators and they grew up long ago where they had brawls every night. Hockey is changing. With all of the concussion concerns and additions of more skilled and faster players, as well as the retirement of several enforcers, fighting has slowly died out. John Scott was one of the last enforcers and he is gone. Sure, cheapshots are unacceptable and fighting is a way to police the game but I think that will start to ease out starting with the retirement of notable head hunter Raffi Torres. Change can be a good thing. I mean, a lot of bloggers such as myself work our asses off sometimes on an article for hours on end and we get mocked. How would those fans like it if us bloggers called them lazy?
The whole analytics debate is bullcrap. Get over it. It is the future of hockey. You may not like it but it’s not your call. Management will make their own decisions and they don’t need input from unqualified sources such as these tweeters. If you want to manage a team and trade Barkov for some enforcers go play NHL 17 or something. And quit tweeting crap to Doug Cifu! It won’t bother him because he ignores you but some of the criticism is sickening. He wants to win and he is probably 3 times more pissed off than all of us Panther fans combined. But he has faith in this team and we should too. You are always going to lose one game. That’s all we did in the first decade of the 2000s. No team has ever gone 82-0-0 and these are human beings playing hockey and human beings making these decisions, not some robot computer that calls other GMs for trades. If the Panthers don’t make the playoffs season, the upcoming offseason will make last offseason look like we didn’t do anything. It is change that people bash and eventually analytics will be a hockey stronghold. I’m not saying embrace the change but just don’t be kicking it in the sensitive areas. I mean we may miss the playoffs this year due to all of the injuries and win the cup next year. These guys are starting to gell and once we get all of our stars back they will gell and next year we will be great. Just keep an open mind.