The Calgary Flames introduced Brad Treliving as the new general manager Monday afternoon. Here's one of the more interesting exchanges from the presser, including president of hockey operations Brian Burke, discussing the hot topic of hockey analytics.
Question: Do you subscribe to any advanced stats or any possession metrics, anything that might have given you an edge with smaller budgets?
Treliving: "Well, if I say yes Burke might punch me, right?
"... What I believe in is information. That's our capital in this game. You're always trying to find information. Players' history, background, you know, all these types of things. So, the more information I think you can collect, it helps you making decisions.
"We did some things in Phoenix. You know, I know 'analytics' is sort of the catch phrase here. I guess it would be an analytical approach in some respects. But to me, it gives you something to look at. It gives you another little piece. And I don't like sharing. Quite frankly I don't like sharing that information. I know we all like to keep it close to the vest here. So there's some things that we're going to bring here as well.
"Ultimately, I believe you have to go see players. You have to watch games and you have to have a belief in the type of game you want to play and the type of players you want to have play for you.
"But yeah, we'll be leading the league in digging for information and we will have all the information we need on all the players we need."
Burke: "Let's get the record straight on that too. The first analytics systems I see that'll help us win, I'll buy it. I'll pay cash so that no one else can use it. I'm not a dinosaur on that.
"What I think's happened is this one quote from the MIT conference has been broadcast all over, where I said 'statistics are like a lamppost to a drunk; Useful for support, but not for illumination.'
"I also think that people confuse statistics and arithmetic and mathematics with analytics. Analytics to me are, 'can you take data and do some predictive work that'll help me draft and trade better.' I haven't seen the system that comes close to doing that. Statistical analysis about faceoffs and where guys play - we use that all the time. We've been using that for 20 years. That to me is not analytics.
"First guy - anyone here who's got a system that's worth buying, we pay cash."