St. Louis Blues 2012-13 Game Event Tracker

Dilip Vishwanat

For your summer amusement we created an interactive game tracker based on NHL play-by-play data.

I confess.  Ever since I've seen Greg Sinclair's (@theninjagreg) Super Shot Search I've been jealous of it.  He has been able to design a very useful tool for shot tracking that allows you to perform some useful and interesting analysis.  In fact, I was able to use it for my post about the St. Louis Blues goalie situation I wrote earlier this summer.

The NHL's Quirky Data

I've been looking for a source of play-by-play data that includes the necessary x,y coordinates that would allow you to create an interactive event tracker.  I stumbled across someone's conversation on Twitter that pointed me in the right direction, but it is the NHL play-by-play data which, unfortunately, is lacking.  They do not track every shot, only the shots that NHL tracks.  So it isn't good for any type of #fancystats types of analysis.  As you will see, there are also problems with the x,y coordinates themselves.  You'll see that some events happen outside of the ice rink.  I think this is a combination of bad tracking and the image of the rink I used for the mapping.  Finally, for whatever reason, you will see that there are a handful of games missing.  The NHL site just doesn't have the data for those games.  So yes, the Blues did play the Ducks and Stars more than once, the NHL just didn't have the other games available on their site.

How to Use This Interactive Event Tracker

First, you can simply click through each of the games, or use the slide to move quickly to a point in the season.  Or you can move the slider completely to the left and choose "All" games.  Then you can pick an opponent and view all the game events from all games against that specific opponent.  Hovering over a team's name in the bar chart will highlight that team's events on the rink or you can click on their name in the shape legend in the lower right.  Hovering over a player's name will highlight just that player's events.  Just be patient with the hovering.  Sometimes it takes a moment to load.  Clicking on a team name or a player name filters the rink to show just that team's or that player's events.  If you want to highlight a specific event, you can hover your mouse over that column heading.  That also causes the sort button to appear so you can sort that event to see who had the most shots, or the most hits.  Play around with it, because there are infinite combinations of ways that you can look at the events.  The share link below let's you share what you find with others.  It creates a link that you can embed in an email, tweet, or in a comment on Game Time.  Or if you are a blogger, feel free to use the embed code for your site.  Just please remember to cite where you found it.  You'll notice that the scoreboard is kind of wonky when you select all games and all teams.  Sorry about that.  Given more time I probably could have fixed it but I've been working on this on and off all summer and couldn't wait any longer to publish this.  And if you end up clicking and hovering and the whole thing looks like a big mess, just reset the view by clicking on the arrow that looks like a circle at the very bottom of the visualization.

Because of some of the limitations with the data and with the design this probably won't be useful to some of the more serious hockey stat analysts.  But for those of you who are missing Blues hockey you might have fun playing around with this.  If for any reason, you can map out all the penalties that David Perron was called for last season.  Ah yes...good times indeed.

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