Ken Hitchcock used to ignore advanced stats, now embraces them


The topic of advanced statistics has dominated the hockey scene this summer. Several bloggers were hired by various hockey teams and several prominent figures around the league came out and announced their support for advanced, or fancy stats. Still, despite all of the support, other coaches and NHL figures have bashed advanced stats. So, where does Ken Hitchcock stand on the topic?

To summarize, Hitchcock used to ignore advanced stats because he placed a larger emphasis on the visual side of the game. He admits he was also pretty stubborn. However, he soon found out that the advanced stats were right and painted an accurate picture so he as now embraced fancy stats.

Here are Hitchcock’s comments from STLToday:

“It took me a year and a half to get past being offended by somebody telling me to look past the visual. I was (angry) about analytics coming in, but now it’s changed. I see how useful it is, but I had to get past, ‘You’re telling me …’ I found it offensive when I first started. Now I use it for what it is and it’s good, but I had to get past the mental block of that. I take pride in being able to watch a game and understand exactly what happened, and this was information that was not making sense to me because my feel and what I wrote down on my paper wasn’t being projected. After I got my stubbornness out of the way, I looked at it and he was right, so I bought in.

We’ve won a lot of close matchups because he’s helped me make adjustments. Adjustments that I wouldn’t have made until I watched the tape and thought about it the next day. This has just sped up everything.”

Speed in making decisions may be a benefit of advanced stats that most people may not think of when weighing the benefits. Instead of having to sit through the tape to find out how Player X did in his own zone, advanced stats can tell you almost immediately. Of course, there’s still room for watching tape in the game, but advanced stats have a lot of it covered.

As Hitchcock correctly states, he is a stubborn man. For him to convert, you know advanced statistics will have a permanent place in this game.

Arrow to top