Last season, then-contributor to Motown Wings Chris Hollis came up with a brilliant idea. Hollis' plan was to track the Red Wings' players game-by-game through the use of a scoring index that corrected for the random, unfair stats that can show in a player's line, in order to create a more perfect system where a player's value to the team could be more accurately judged. Hollis has since moved on to a writing gig at The Production Line and has stated that, even though he watched all the games, tracking the CSSI was vey difficult.
Well, not being the type of guy to listen to reason and, with Chris' blessing, I've decided to resurrect the concept of the Common Sense Scoring Index [CSSI] and will be tracking these numbers all season. My method differs slightly from Chris', but the logic remains the same. I might be a hopeless Red Wings homer who's incapable of sound, rational, and objective judgment when it comes to my team but, since I'm only comparing members of my team between one another, the CSSI should come out fairly free from the subjectivity poison that plagues stat-mongers everywhere.
Follow through the jump for a breakdown/explanation of how the CSSI ratings will differ from the official NHL stats.
For skaters, I'll keep track of goals, assists, points, and plus/minus, both as an official NHL.com tracking stat and for my adjusted CSSI-stat categories. I expect that by season's end, my adjusted point totals and plus/minus ratings will differ very severely from NHL.com's. The main main change between the official league stats and the CSSI-adjusted stats is that both points and plus/minus ratings can be halved and they will be awarded or taken away based on context. Here are some examples:
- The CSSI scoring system will not arbitrarily limit the number of assists on a goal to two. There will be times when a third assist is warranted and possibly in rare instances a fourth or even a fifth assist will be awarded.
- A player will not have to have touched the puck to earn an assist. Screening a goalie or lifting a stick so your teammate can take the puck from an opposing player do just as much to earn an assist as a shot on net that turns into a rebound.
- In the same vein, just because a player touched the puck doesn't automatically grant him an assist. I may take helpers away from people who get lucky while making a stupid play.
- If a player deflects a puck that did not need to be deflected or pushes a puck over the goal line that otherwise would have crossed on its own, the player who would be credited with the goal by NHL standards may end up with a goal, a half-goal, half-assist, an assist, or no points on the play. I predict that Holmstrom will see a slight drop in his goal totals, but a large increase in his assist totals as a result of these rules. To assuage the worry, I will absolutely differentiate between a puck that didn't need to be tipped and one of Holmstrom's masterful redirections. I'm not looking to take credit away from the best net-front presence in the league
- A player who takes a bad penalty will be given a minus-one if the opposition scores on the powerplay resulting from his being in the box. This will ONLY count for bad penalties, as I'm not interested in penalizing guys for being in the box following a referee's mistake. I also will not punish whomever Mike Babcock chooses to send to the box on a too-many-men call or the guy who has to serve Jimmy Howard's penalties for roughing up Sidney Crosby this year.
- Alternately, earning a power play where the Wings score will get a guy a plus-one. Grinders who work hard to get the Circus line on the ice for a power play goal should be rewarded on the stat sheet. [Update as of 11/03: October's numbers for this system showed a flaw in this methodology that randomly rewarded or punished players. Instead of tracking it this way, pluses and minuses will be awarded for every good penalty earned or bad penalty taken. I will take care to discern between what Mickey Redmond might call "chintzy" calls and the ones that really showcase either a particularly good or bad decision.]
- The rule of thumb will be to keep a plus or a minus for each player as the official stat-keeper will award them, but they will be taken away individual review. Going off on a bad line change will tend to punish the guy who initiated the line change that aided the subsequent goal, rather than punishing the hapless oncoming defender.
- The most subjective change to plus/minus will be awarding what could be called "Phantom Ratings" (but what I am going to call Bonus Ratings, because it sounds better). A player who works incredibly hard over the course of the game, but is not rewarded on the official scoresheet can and will be rewarded with additional plus ratings for his outstanding play. Likewise a player who makes many mistakes but is bailed out time and again by his teammates will find extra minuses hampering his rating.
Finally, the CSSI will keep track of a few goalie-related items. First off, I will track shootout losses. If a player doesn't deserve a game-winning goal for winning a skills competition, a goalie does't deserve a full loss hanging over his head for failing to stop a guy. Also, the CSSI will track what I'm referring to as a goalie plus/minus rating. I will keep track of big saves made (trying very hard to differentiate between a truly great save and a goalie recovering from a bad misake) and will keep track of soft goals. The goalie's plus/minus will be calculated as the difference between big saves made and bad goals allowed.
Keep an eye out for the first CSSI post this Friday night after the Ducks/Wings game. I'll be tracking them in a post here all season long.