2013-14 Detroit Red Wings CSSI: Changes to the Index

Your Red Wings CSSI leader for this season is probably in this picture. - Vincent Pugliese

After two and a half seasons (with playoffs) of running the Common Sense Scoring Index, I was able to take a look at what we had created and make some changes that will take effect this year. Much of the old system remains, but we're filtering out a lot of info which can be gleaned elsewhere.

For those of you who are new to the site or unfamiliar with the system, welcome to the Common Sense Scoring Index (CSSI). Now entering its fourth season on WIIM, the CSSI has a simple purpose: to credit people effectively with their contributions on the ice in ways that other means generally can't.

Traditionally, the CSSI has been split between offensive production (points), defensive contributions (plus/minus) and goaltending. This summer, we took a look at the system and discovered that the points system isn't bringing much in terms of added clarity, seeing as how adjusted points pretty closely mirrored official points. The look at the plus/minus adjustments found some trouble with how to effectively quantify defense and with comparing players of different positions, but I do still think that it's a useful tool.

With this perspective in mind, there are going to be changes to the system this year in terms of how many items are counted, but the posts will generally work the same way. I found in the comments of the two above-linked articles that the true strength of the CSSI is in doing the analysis itself. Each post will talk a little about how the game went and a little about how the myriad little things in a hockey game can drive the end results in unusual ways; then the goals, penalties, and additional plays will be broken down to discuss how they happened.

I like this system because it allows for a dialogue on the differences between a player truly drawing a penalty and a player being the victim of his opponent committing one or the differences between a player missing his assignment and being forced to choose from a selection of bad options by a mistake from his teammate. Traditional and advanced stats can point at trends which help indicate these things, but we'll have an additional resource to those to delve into specifics and help stir some of the context of situations back into the discussion.

As with every year, the system will be for the Red Wings only. I don't have the time, energy, or interest to do this for other teams. We won't be able to use this information to compare Red Wings players to any players outside of Detroit (and in many cases will have to explore the intricacies of positions played when comparing Red Wings to Red Wings). It's not hard to assume that other similar teams might have other similar CSSI numbers if somebody were doing the counting for them, but that's not really important.

Essentially, I want to be able to discuss exactly how poorly a player is doing when somebody says he sucks or just how well he's doing when somebody calls him great.

Here's how the scoring system will work in the 2013-14 season. it's going to be the same system, but with a very large change in which events are actually counted.

Here's how it breaks out:

Points Adjustments:

Screener’s Assist Given to a player whose body position prevented a goaltender from seeing a puck to make a save.

That's right, there's only going to be one points adjustment going forward. The Screener's Assist was the lone holdover from the old system which really captured a skill that didn't seem to fall in line with the rest of the traditional goal-scoring methods. Players who are good at third assists are generally rewarded when they create points more directly and even guys who did well with non-touch assists (pulling D-men out of shooting lanes, establishing a position and screening a defender from getting to a puck, etc) generally get rewarded at the same pace as official points go. However, the true net-front contribution isn't one which carries over as well, so it's worth counting.

Plus/Minus Adjustments:

Goal-Scored Plus These are plus ratings awarded to a player when it was deemed that a defensive contribution he made on the ice (whether by starting or preventing transition) helped lead directly to a goal.
Coverage Minus Given to a player who made a mistake in defensive coverage that was determined to have led directly to an opponent scoring.
Turnover Minus Given to a player who was judged to be directly or indirectly at fault for a turnover that the opposition used to score a goal against his team.
Overall Plus Given to a player whose overall play during the game was ascertained to have positively impacted puck possession for his team in a way that he was not properly credited for in the official stats.
Overall Minus Given to a player whose overall play during the game was ascertained to have negatively impacted puck possession for his team in a way that he was not properly credited for in the official stats.
Penalty Plus Given to a player who worked to force the opposition to take a penalty.
Penalty Minus Given to a player who either committed a bad penalty of his own or made a mistake which forced his teammate to take a bad penalty.
Shift Change Plus Created to allow for correction of official plus/minus stats to either give or take away credit on a play when a goal is scored during or after a line change in which a more deserving player was not on the ice during the scoring play.
Shift Change Minus Created to allow for correction of official plus/minus stats to either give or take away credit on a play when a goal is scored during or after a line change in which a more deserving player was not on the ice during the scoring play.
Power Play Plus Lost Designed as a minus category to clear undeserved plus ratings from players who were on the ice when a goal was scored between the time a power play ended and the penalized player was able to get back in the play.
Penalty Kill Minus Cleared Designed as a plus category to clear undeserved minus ratings from players who were on the ice when a goal was scored between the time a power play ended and the penalized player was able to get back in the play.
Goal Against Minus Cleared Given to a player who was deemed to have been in position and not-at-fault for a goal scored. These are also given to players on the ice for a bad goal against. A player may have minuses added on for specific faults, but he will have his official minus cleared to track goaltender fault.
Goal Saved Plus Given to a player who does anything that prevents what should be considered a surefire goal. Lifting the stick of a player preparing to receive a pass on a wide-open backdoor and outright making a save on a shot are both examples of this.

Adjustments can be made by half-points or whole and players are not limited to a maximum of one on a plus or a minus. If a play is good enough, a player can find himself with more than one adjustment. If a turnover is bad enough, he can find himself with multiple minuses on the same goal. Large adjustments are uncommon, but are used when called for.

There will not be goalie adjustments done this year. Multiple experiments in getting a workable goalie ratings system with which I was comfortable didn't work and it doesn't appear as though "clutch" is really something that's quantifiable for goalies.

- - -

This is the system we'll use this season. CSSI posts will generally go up the morning after a game. I'll try to keep delays in those postings to a minimum because one of the strengths of the CSSI system is in the feedback from the comments. If you have any questions or any feedback, please let me know.

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