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Tracking the Blues at the World Cup of Hockey

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Jori Lehtera

The good people over at HockeyData Inc have offered us stat-heads access to the tracking data they are collecting during the World Cup of Hockey this fall. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to get a look at this data. While some of you might scoff at the World Cup of Hockey, the fact that someone like myself has access to this type of data is a rare and unique opportunity. (That being said, yes there are passing and entry/exit projects that are currently being undertaken by volunteers, but data generated within 24 hours of a game, collected by a professional organization, is not something someone like me normally gets access to.)

They are providing stats about time on ice, passes, and zone entries and exits by player. I took this data and isolated the Blues players who have played games so far and grouped everyone else into an “Everyone Else” category for comparative purposes. I put together a quick dataviz below to show you what we have available right now. You can see the amount of ice time Blues players are getting per game (versus everyone else) as well as their passing rates. The scatterplot at the bottom shows two stats: Zone Entry Controlled % and Zone Exit Controlled %. These stats are calculated based on the number of entries (or exits) that are controlled (successful passes, skated out/in) divided by the total number of entries/exits. As you can see, in his one game, Jori Lehtera has had 100% success at both entries and exits. Of course he only had 5 attempts total in one game.

This also gives me a chance to try out the new version of Tableau. This newer version should allow me greater control in how you view and interact with the visualizations that I embed in my articles. In the past, visualizations might not have been fully visible if you were viewing the article on a phone or a tablet. Of course, the downside (or the upside depending on your point of view) is that I will probably have to simplify what I create in order to be able to fit everything into that tiny phone screen. I sized this particular dataviz to fit within a generic phone size. For those of you on iPhone 5, it probably won’t look very good. But for most everyone else on Android and later versions of iPhone, it should appear within your screen and you should be able to interact with it through your phone. Let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below.