Hockey Needs Data, With Steve Valiquette

Gotta love Connecticut hockey had the chance to sit down with Steve Valiquette former New York Rangers goalie and now owner of hockey stats company clear-site analytics Steve shared with us how data analytics can change how coaches and players approach the game of hockey how is that feeling for you when you finally made it to the NHL and you.

Made your first boy save when you make a big save in a hockey game and it’s at a big moment you can hear.

The crowd you really feel like a different sensation go up your spine and sort of exit your head and then it comes back in and then you get a buzz in your body so really what I want to talk to you today is about your career after your pro days so you work specifically at hockey analytics right now so take me through a little bit three years ago you started looking at NHL goals what drew you.

To it and why I was a backup goaltender in.

The NHL I don’t think there was anybody in the building more focused than me watching the game because I can get thrown in at any moment a lot of my focus at that time was on shot selection.

Shot quality offense scoring chances what our goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was seeing you know these curiosities that I had as a player has really driven me to the project that we’re on right.

Now which is solving shot quality everything on the project started in that it.

Started with the goalie it’s actually the position in our sport – nobody understands and I think that’s where this project really serves a really good platform for coaches the information that we do have is.

One season of new 16 two years at Quinnipiac for their full data set we also have last year’s NHL set which is 80,000 shots and then we’re already at into where we are at this season the more data that we’re able to get the more information we can help coaches with with practice planning I’m a coach I want to know where my players should be shooting from in practice and it’s gonna happen most often in games everybody’s just in the middle of and what.

I know about that is that a shot from the middle of the ice where a player comes over the blue line unimpeded nobody around takes a clearer shot.

On the goalie it only happens once every two games but 65% of the shots happen in the frontal.

The side and off the wing so if the.

Shooting drills aren’t being liked and if the play.

After the shot where you allowed the going to play the rebound play the sequence though is not there and we don’t understand why it needs to be there then your players aren’t getting developed either they’re not shooting against an engaged goaltender specifically what.
You really looking at and breaking down to.

Help these youth players to help the NHL to help parents coaches understand better what their players can.

Game fundamentally in hockey nobody because nobody’s ever gone through all the shots watch them every shot in our database has video attached to it so we know what happened before the shot meaning the past that happens before the shot is taken so.

We have that location identified the shot itself where it goes on the goaltender and then where it goes after words does it go to the corner does it go over the glass is the puck frozen is there a leave then that goes to the strong side of the ice.

For the weak side of the ice is there a shot that comes off that rebound all these data points now give us a big picture which is shot quality and we know what all these scoring chances.

Now what I want to come out of it if it was a dream setup would be that starting from my position that I love we replace save percentage with a goalie rating and that was my focus initially one step further the shots on goal.

Clock should really tell a different story than just total shots on goal I would like it to say 40 shots against with little along go and this money at the top or high percentage shots this many of the medium and miss men even though because most nights managed on a 40 shot now you’re going to have about 25 30 low percentage shot again for coaches when you understand that you will absolutely know what a bad boys yes.

You have clear expectations for your goalie the player development I know that a pass from one side of the ice to the other goes in 183 times you set up a drill for your developing goalie who shooters how they defend if you’re giving up more than one other three we’ve got a tail to drill back a little bit and let’s start that progression a little.

Players get that magic number again to the sweet spot where the athletes are when you.

16 the NHL level even a youth level what are you finding from your house it’s amazing how consistent with all of the numbers that I have in the NHL is same thing at.

Team level breakaway is going one over four times and then I had to sit back and look at it because the numbers.

Were the same at college and they were also the same in the age they’re also saying and I said why is it break legal in one of these four times and what we’re doing is really identifying all of these.
Is going off once given fundamental.

Value for everybody in the game to understand it better I think a big takeaway for youth hockey coaches is going to be this very significant line that I’m about to draw on the dry erase board here it is the most important line.

On the ice it divides the ice in two parts and it runs across the top of the circle this line right here is called the slot line it’s significant first of all from the defensive side of the puck where a defenseman will know that the mindset has to be on any odd.

Man rush of course at five on five the player carrying the puck cannot cross this line and shoot a player cannot come across this area right here in pass to another player across the line and shoot because the shot now will be a high percentage play.

Stay away from that we want to allow our goaltender to see the puck off of the shot which would be player coming in on an odd-man rush goaltender being able to stay out on angle and the shot now that the goalie.

For more than half of a second before the puck comes off the shooter stick is what we qualify as a clear sighted shot now overall the sample sizes we’ve used from youth hockey college to pro a clear.