The Canucks don’t use our scoring chance numbers

Every now and then at Canucks Army, we get big heads. It started when Alain Vigneault began to use Alex Edler more regularly as one of his first two shooters in the shootout, much like I suggested in this post last month. ‘Maybe,’ we thought, ‘one of hockey’s smartest organizations every now and then uses data provided for free by a few dapper kids running a website,’ which doesn’t seem too ridiculous to me, especially with our vast experience working in the hockey industry.

Because that would have been pretty cool. And while the Vancouver Canucks may, in fact, solicit shootout advice from this humble blog, I don’t think that they really care much for the scoring chances that we count each and every game. Our friends over at Pass it to Bulis had the scoop on this one.

Anyway, Alain Vigneault said this:

Chris, in the last couple of games, when we analyse the game and do the scoring chances, he’s been a plus-5 in the last two. He hasn’t found the back of the net, but he’s been part of a lot of offensive scoring chances and they’ve been real responsible defensively, so I like the way that looks.

And then my friend Daniel Wagner wrote this in response:

Our friends over at Canucks Army, Cam Charron and Thomas Drance, diligently record scoring chance data for every single Canucks game. It’s a thankless task that we at PITB will never, ever do, so we are very grateful for their dedication. Whoops, I guess it’s not a thankless task any more.

In any case, Vigneault’s numbers for Chris Higgins do not come even close to lining up with the scoring chance numbers at Canucks Army for the last two games against the Sabres and Blues. Cam tallied the scoring chances for both those games. Against the Sabres, Higgins was on the ice for 2 scoring chances for and 1 against at even-strength, as well as 1 scoring chance for the Canucks on the powerplay, putting him at a plus-2 total. Against the Blues, he wasn’t quite as good, being on the ice for 2 scoring chances for and 2 against, making him even on the night.

Our other friend (you make a lot of friends in the Canucks blogosphere) Justin Morrissette has noted in the past that the Canucks do record their own scoring chance totals, and they seem to deviate from the rules set forth for the scoring chance project, outlined here at Copper n Blue.

There’s a roughly defined area that’s generally given a bit of leniency, that involves a diagonal from the goal-mouth to the circles, vertical up the ice to the top of the circle. Actually, I really like this “scoring area” ever since I snuck a peek at the clipboards provided to a healthy scratch of the Vancouver Giants who was charting scoring chances for legendary coach Don Hay, who uses the same rink layout that we tend to for tracking quality shots.

Obviously, however, the Canucks have a broader definition for scoring chances. If Higgins was a +5, well, he was only a +5 Fenwick and a +6 Corsi overall in those games (you can find the numbers here and here) so this could mean an expanded scoring area, or where they, unlike us, count plays that don’t result in shots at the net (which would explain Mason Raymond’s continued ice-time).

I would really like to know the criteria the Canucks use for scoring chances, and unfortunately in working for this humble blog – I do not have the access to Alain Vigneault or his coaching staff, or their spreadsheets. As best we can tell, however, they don’t lift the totals that we count and use them for their own player evaluations.

Darn it all.

  • My first thought is that maybe the ‘+’ aspect involves more than just generating chances, but preventing them as well. Ie. adding to a player’s “score” when they prevent a chance, providing a ‘+’ weight to certain defensive plays. But then I guess minuses would have to come from the same mysterious non-events.

  • If you are tracking scoring chances for sake of offensive strength or defensive weakness than it makes sense to count missed shots
    the idea if a great play is made to set up a two on one and the puck bounces (bad luck) and the player shoots wide is still a chance created
    and mistake made If you dont then you are reinforcing the luck factor