We’ve covered the Carolina Hurricanes’ unlikely Stanley Cup Playoff run with the last two Monday Regroups, and if the team has anything to say about it, we’re not done yet.
Although, it begs the question – who classified their run as unlikely? It sure looks as though rookie head coach Rod Brind’Amour has believed the team was destined to knock off the defending champion Washington Capitals and then breeze through the New York Islanders in four straight games. Here’s two points about the Hurricanes with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
What Do The Stats Say?
Maybe more would have predicted the Hurricanes’ spot in the eastern conference championship if they’d taken a closer look at their analytics over the course of the regular season. All numbers 5on5 and from NaturalStatTrick.
Fenwick For (unblocked shot attempts for vs unblocked shot attempts against) 1st overall, 54.78%
Corsi For (shot attempts for vs shot attempts against) 2nd overall, 54.80%
Scoring Chances For Percentage: 3rd overall 54.20%
Here’s the thing though, these are cherry-picked stats. For instance, the Hurricanes shooting percentage in the regular season was 28th overall at 7.17%. The Capitals, the team they beat in the first round, had the best shooting percentage in the league at 10.09% and a weak fenwick score of 48.96%, good for 18th overall in the league.
So, what do the stats mean?
What Do the Intangibles Say?
For the Carolina Hurricanes, the stats are informed by the intangibles. Analytics and intangibles aren’t mutually exclusive. The Hurricanes are all-in this playoff season. They’re committed to the old-school values of their coach – blocking shots, checking, sacrificing for one another, and buying in to a game-plan.
And because of that heart, that grit, their advanced analytics have improved.
So the next time a talking head on TV or a general manager tells you that stats don’t matter, or the next time a reporter who’s dedicated his or her work to the value of analytics tells you that character in the room doesn’t matter, you can tell both they’re wrong.
Because they both matter. Analytics is information informed by skill. Skill is informed by talent and effort. Effort is informed by character.
The Carolina Hurricanes are living proof that a progressive analytic approach married to old fashioned hard work can catch a gust of wind at the right time and prove a deadly recipe for success.
From last week, in case you missed it…