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44Re: [hockey-databank] 2/1/07 database release

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  • Ralph Slate
    Feb 1, 2007
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      dsreyn wrote:

      > Substantial revisions for 1917-18 through 1925-26 (and some others
      > through about 1940), mainly in line with Total Hockey II.

      This one is a pet peeve of mine. I'm not sure if people are aware of the
      issues surrounding this, but I'll try and highlight them.

      From what I understand, no one bothered to compile NHL statistics in
      1917-18 for the 1917-18 season. They were compiled years later by
      someone in the NHL. There were no gamesheets, so he presumably used
      newspaper accounts. Games played were not compiled; they were largely
      researched by Charles Coleman in the 1960's.

      Those NHL stats were in effect from perhaps the 30's or 40's until when
      TH2 came out.

      Someone -- Bob Duff, perhaps -- went back and re-compiled the stats from
      the NHL's first season from newspaper accounts. Over 80% of the numbers
      now do not match what had been previously accepted as the correct
      numbers. I'm not sure if the details of this research have ever been
      made public, or if we just have to "trust" whoever recompiled them. I
      believe they even "added" assists, even though the NHL did not compile
      them for that season. They did this by making judgment calls by reading
      the newspaper accounts. I think that's preposterous because it uses
      today's standards to revise history.

      I have had disagreements with Morey Holzman on this issue a number of
      times. He feels that since there is no way to know how the original
      stats were compiled, and since we have no way to prove or disprove any
      errors made while compiling them, and since they were presumably done
      from newspaper articles, that it is OK to create a new set of stats in
      this way. I have heard that the NHL has hired Duff to do this for all
      early NHL seasons, even those which were compiled from actual game
      sheets, now long-gone. I think that's also preposterous because it takes
      the de facto stance that whoever compiled the stats originally was an
      idiot who didn't know what he was doing, and that newspaper writers are
      far more accurate. I find that ridiculous.

      I believe that it is OK to use newspaper reports to fill in information
      that has never been compiled before (such as pre-1942 NHL GP), but using
      the accounts to revise established stats shouldn't be done lightly. At
      the very least, the person undertaking this significant endeavor should
      publish all details behind it, including methodologies and detailed game
      data, and that should be vetted among other researchers.

      Until that is done, I won't accept the clandestine revisions to the
      1917-18 NHL stats, I accept the version published by the NHL augmented
      by the Coleman games played data.

      Ralph
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