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Tag: Puck Tracking

Will New Playoff Pucks Effect Vegas’ Run?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Major League Baseball began its 2019 postseason, there were rumors that the league introduced new baseballs. Not just out of the box new, but a new “non-juiced” ball. However, MLB claimed the balls were the same as the balls used in the regular season. Well, the National Hockey League decided they won’t be hiding anything from the public, and admitted that the pucks used in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs will be different.

The new playoff pucks are made from the same material as the puck used today in NHL arenas. The only difference is the new rubber biscuits will have six sensors built-in to begin the future of player/puck tracking.

Our partners have been trying to make sure that this thing looks and feels and performs as close to the real thing we have today as possible… Key players have been playing with it during practices and the feedback has been minimal. -Steve McArdle, NHL’s vice-president of digital media and strategic planning

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun was in Boca Raton, FL for the GM meetings and attended the league’s presentation about their plan to launch the new tracking puck in the first round of the playoffs. LeBrun reported the NHL is highly confident that the puck will not impact the postseason, and it’s possible the players won’t even notice.

They’ve done a ton of testing. The league is extremely confident that the puck they’ve tested there will be no difference. In fact it’s been used and Bettman said today that 24 games this year without teams even knowing. There was no feedback.- Pierre LeBrun

TSN’s Frank Seravalli questioned the league’s decision to christen the hi-tech puck in the postseason. After all, it is the playoffs and there’s a lot on the line.

With that comes a fear for the new puck’s integrity that will probably keep NHL executives awake at night.

Imagine a scenario in which the new puck explodes into three pieces after ricocheting off the crossbar on a scoring play in the Stanley Cup Final.


-Frank Seravalli, TSN

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Do NHL Players Resent Analytics?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Newly signed Canadien Ben Chiarot was forced to defend himself this offseason, as some analysts in Montreal weren’t impressed by the acquisition. Enhanced analytics have exposed some of the limitations to Chiarot’s game. Some expressed their opinions and it didn’t sit well with the former Winnipeg Jet.

“A lot of those analytics guys sometimes I wonder if they played a game of hockey. There’s more to it than what the analytics show with a lot of players. It doesn’t always give you the full picture. That’s something new that’s kind of come up over the last couple of years is the whole analytics. And then you get all of these new hockey experts that come up when they get all of these numbers. That’s just one part of the game and one to evaluate a player.”-Ben Chiarot, Canadiens Defenseman, TSN Montreal

Colleague and friend of the site, Sheng Peng from Fear of the Fin, views the game differently than most. He’s heavily influenced by deep statistics that predict or highlight a player’s ability to create, or limit time and space. Peng never played the game but understands it well, sometimes that isn’t enough. He’s had a few confrontations with coaches and players when asking analytically focused questions. Defensive pushback can make it difficult to get the responses Peng would like.

“The challenge is figuring out which players are open to the subject. There are players who are completely resistant, players that need it framed the right way, and players who are open.”-Sheng Peng, Fear of the Fin

Former three-time Stanley Cup winner Aaron Ward is involved with the next generation of NHL analysis, advanced player tracking. Ward genuinely believes player tracking will accurately evaluate strengths and weaknesses.

“Active players get lost in what the analytics say about them. You’re trying to dissect certain circumstances and understand how they react in that situation. It’s based on tendencies. As the science evolves… you’ll find new ways to break down players that maybe a benefit or a relevance for players in that role.”-Aaron Ward, TSN 690 Montreal

As much as Ward sees future improvement with chip tracking, he understands why players are sensitive to negative statistics of any kind. It’s tough for a professional athlete to recognize their inabilities.

“I think what happens is a player will come out and get an idea of how they played. When the numbers don’t fit it, and they don’t match the way you play, they immediately dismiss it.”-Aaron Ward

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