Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Genesis of Hockey Historysis

I've been publishing hockey analysis on the interwebs since 2001, long before it was the hip thing to do. The site is still there (now called Hockeythink), though nothing new's been published there in many years. I've been a writer at Hockey Prospectus since that site started in 2009, mostly writing about projecting the careers of junior-aged players with the Projectinator, and predicting who will be going into the Hall of Fame with the Inductinator.

But I've always said that I'm equal parts analyst and historian. The history of the game has always been fascinating to me, and as a young teen beginning to question the usefulness of the plus-minus stat, I was also reading all I could about the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, the Kenora Thistles and the Montreal Victorias, stuff you didn't see or hear much about. In December of 2010, I started a column called Pucks from the Past at Hockey Prospectus, discussing a variety of historical issues from an analytic perspective; links to some of these are provided below.

So if I already write about hockey history with an analytic bent, what's the point of this blog? First of all, I can use Canadian spelling here, which I think is the best spelling to use when discussing hockey. But really, I envision Hockey Historysis to be a repository of historysis items that are not meaty enough for a full-blown article. You'll see that with the first real post, which has to do with the 1929-30 Bruins, and couldn't possibly be stretched out any further, without a mass of filler text, and The Hockey News already does filler text just fine. I don't really know where the blog will go. We'll just have to wait and see.

To get you started, you can check out some Pucks from the Past articles:

The Changing Role of the Rover, which examines when the rover switched from being an offence-first position to a defensive one.

The End of Iron-Man Hockey, which looks at when substitutes became a regular part of the game.

Hobey and the Hall, which discusses whether Hobey Baker earned his place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Pittsburgh's Winter Classics, which reviews Pittsburgh's role in the early development of organized hockey.

The Birth of Line Changes (Part One and Part Two), which studies the development of line changes, as opposed to starter-and-substitute strategies.

Winnipeg Vs. Toronto in the Case of Early Hockey (Part One and Part Two) ponders why hockey in Winnipeg developed so quickly while the game in Toronto took so long to catch on.

Finally, Doing the Double (Parts One, Two and Three) questions why we put so much emphasis on post-season championships and so little on the regular season.

I've also done two book reviews, both of volumes written by George and Darril Fosty. The first is The Credulous Fosty Boys (Parts One, Two and Three), which reviews their book Splendid is the Sun. The second is A Review of Black Ice (Parts One and Two). Short versions: the first book is garbage, the second is worthwhile but still terribly frustrating and often misleading.

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