On Corsi & Fenwick

I don’t believe in Fahrenheit and Celsius. They’re stupid, they don’t make sense. I don’t see how they apply.

Take a moment and read that sentence. Now substitute “Fenwick and Corsi” in for Fahrenheit and Celsius. Both make roughly the same amount of sense. I’m serious. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD IN THE WORLD, STOP SAYING YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN FENWICK AND CORSI. THEY ARE NOT INTANGIBLES YOU CAN BELIEVE IN, THEY ARE ACTUAL MEASUREMENTS.

What you don’t “believe” in, is their application. Or you don’t see how they can be analyzed to better the game. I’ll give you that. Sure. That’s fine.

But Corsi and Fenwick are simply ways of counting different types of shots. Blocked shots, missed shots, and shots on goal added all up equal Corsi. Shots on goal plus missed shots are Fenwick. Do you not believe in shots? Because that may be a problem, but okay. Sure. You don’t need to shoot the puck to score goals, nope. They magically go in.

Corsi and Fenwick – and other “fancy stats” – don’t tell the whole story, especially in a game by game analysis. They don’t tell you that player X is playing injured, that player Y is going through emotional turmoil and can’t “get his head in the game”. But taken game by game, they’re entries in an encyclopedia. The more of them that you “read”, the more information you have available to you.

Don’t want to use the stats to apply them to your team? Fine, great, don’t. You don’t have to use them to examine the opposing team either. Or to look at the whole picture of a season and notice things like “if leading by a goal in the third period, team x continues to press while team y sits back”. (Because yes. Stats can tell you that.)

But stop saying you don’t believe in them. It’s like saying that I don’t believe that my car has a certain amount of miles on it. Whether or not I believe it, the fact still exists that it does. And just like the oil leak, whether or not you believe in Corsi and Fenwick, the shots still exist.

There use to be a show called “Numb3rs”. It’s given me some of my favorite quotes regarding math and their application. “Everything is numbers.” “Numbers don’t lie.” “We all use math every day: to predict weather, to tell time, to handle money. Math is more than formulas or equations; it’s logic, it’s rationality, it’s using your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we know.”

Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.


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