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

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  • Ralph Slate
    ... 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,
    Message 1 of 11 , 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
    • Stu McMurray
      ... Hi Guys: Bob Duff recompiled the NHL stats at the request of the league for the 1917-18 through 1925-26 seasons. There are no gamesheets for these seasons.
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 2, 2007
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        Ralph Slate wrote:

        > 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.

        Hi Guys:

        Bob Duff recompiled the NHL stats at the request of the league for the
        1917-18 through 1925-26 seasons. There are no gamesheets for these
        seasons. I have seen first-hand at the NHL office in Toronto that they
        have nothing for those first few years. In fact, there are a few sheets
        missing here and there for all seasons up until the early 1950's.

        The NHL commissioned and accepts Duff's work as official so who are we
        to say otherwise?

        There is no detailed methodology published because this was an inhouse
        project of the NHL and not private "publish or perish" research.

        My personal pet peeve has always been seeing Mike Neville show up in
        the 1917-18 stats. An early researcher made a mistake from a newspaper
        account of a game and the error wasn't corrected for years. Even the
        NHL guide used to include him in their retired player roster, showing
        his first NHL season as 1917-18. The error was corrected based mainly
        on Bob Duff's research.(not to mention the fact that Neville would have
        only been 13 years old at the start of the 1917-18 season!)

        I have talked to Duff a number of times on this interesting subject. He
        has shared his research with me and I provided the stats for the
        1917-18 season to this project because one of the goals here is
        accuracy. What could be more accurate than stats that are deemed
        official by the league in question?

        I would love for Bob to write a paper in the SIHR Journal outlining his
        trials and tribulations in re-compiling the early stats of the NHL. It
        would go a long way to answering many researchers questions.

        Stu




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      • Ralph Slate
        ... That s my peeve -- if score sheets once existed, they were presumably more accurate than newspaper accounts. I can _maybe_ see it for the 1917-18 season,
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 2, 2007
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          Stu McMurray wrote:
          > Bob Duff recompiled the NHL stats at the request of the league for the
          > 1917-18 through 1925-26 seasons. There are no gamesheets for these
          > seasons. I have seen first-hand at the NHL office in Toronto that they
          > have nothing for those first few years. In fact, there are a few sheets
          > missing here and there for all seasons up until the early 1950's.

          That's my peeve -- if score sheets once existed, they were presumably
          more accurate than newspaper accounts. I can _maybe_ see it for the
          1917-18 season, although I think that recreating assists is wrong,
          because they weren't awarded/compiled that season, and since they are
          subjective, this is revisionism.

          The Hockey Summary Project should tell you this. Look at what Pete Anson
          did with boxscores from the Hockey News -- he can't match the official
          stats.

          I would like to see Duff do his thing on a season where gamesheets are
          available -- using the exact same methodology, and then see what he
          comes up with. If there is more than a 1% difference, then I say the
          methodology is simply revisionism based on flawed accounts.

          Ralph
        • Stu McMurray
          Ralph wrote-- That s my peeve -- if score sheets once existed, they were presumably more accurate than newspaper accounts. I can _maybe_ see it for the
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 3, 2007
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            Ralph wrote-->
            That's my peeve -- if score sheets once existed, they were presumably
            more accurate than newspaper accounts. I can _maybe_ see it for the
            1917-18 season, although I think that recreating assists is wrong,
            because they weren't awarded/compiled that season, and since they are
            subjective, this is revisionism.

            Stu writes-->
            There were no score sheets until 1926-27. The NHL relied on newspaper
            accounts. There was no radio coverage back then either. The newspaper
            accounts were the only written record of the games. I am sure they had
            errors but they would be the most accurate account of the games simply
            by default wouldn't they?

            On a side note I found that the majority of the missing sheets for the
            years 1927 to 1952 were from the Chicago home games played on Sundays.
            For some reason these game sheets had a hard time making it to the NHL
            office in Montreal. At the bottom of each sheet it stated that "This
            report should be checked, signed and dispatched to National Hockey
            League, 922 Sun Life Building, by the quickest means possible."
            Apparently the pony express out of the mid-west wasn't reliable when it
            came to delivering hockey reports. <g>

            ===

            Ralph wrote-->
            The Hockey Summary Project should tell you this. Look at what Pete
            Anson did with boxscores from the Hockey News -- he can't match the
            official stats.

            Stu writes-->
            Agreed, but we knew going in that the numbers would be off because THN
            was well known for typos. We used THN as a starting point for our data
            entry because that is what I had access to on a wide basis. I think we
            found that it could be off by 20% or more per year from the official
            stats <gasp> and the penalty totals were always hopelessly way off.

            ===

            Ralph wrote-->
            I would like to see Duff do his thing on a season where gamesheets are
            available -- using the exact same methodology, and then see what he
            comes up with. If there is more than a 1% difference, then I say the
            methodology is simply revisionism based on flawed accounts.

            Stu writes-->
            I have no doubt that the difference would be more than 1%. My
            experience with the HSP and working with THN summaries tells me so.
            Don't get me wrong, I hear you and agree with what you say except as it
            relates to those first 9 years of the NHL where the league itself
            relied on the newspaper accounts. That's the rub, in my view. The
            newspaper accounts were all there ever was back then. There couldn't
            possibly be anything more accurate (or flawed) because nothing else
            existed.

            Stu



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          • Karkoski James
            ... Hi Stu, the problem with this is that, as you have noted below, until recently the NHL has been more than happy to sanction stats that weren t correct for
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
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              On 2007.2.3, at 12:28 PM, Stu McMurray wrote:


              > The NHL commissioned and accepts Duff's work as official so who are we
              > to say otherwise?


              Hi Stu, the problem with this is that, as you have noted below, until
              recently the NHL has been more than happy to sanction stats that
              weren't correct for decades, so I don't think that we are in a position
              yet to just simply accept what they offer as "officially correct."


              >
              > There is no detailed methodology published because this was an inhouse
              > project of the NHL and not private "publish or perish" research.


              I'm kind of bothered about the NHL simply sitting on these old
              scoresheets and making you go into their office to check your
              information against them. Why don't they just release them? Or compile
              them themselves and release it? I really don't understand this "must be
              locked away in a file" attitude towards this old information. Unless,
              the NHL historical stats are a "pile of garbage", as Morey Holzman dubs
              it. And if it is garbage, then why wouldn't the NHL want to clean it
              up??


              >
              > My personal pet peeve has always been seeing Mike Neville show up in
              > the 1917-18 stats. An early researcher made a mistake from a newspaper
              > account of a game and the error wasn't corrected for years. Even the
              > NHL guide used to include him in their retired player roster, showing
              > his first NHL season as 1917-18. The error was corrected based mainly
              > on Bob Duff's research.(not to mention the fact that Neville would have
              > only been 13 years old at the start of the 1917-18 season!)
              >


              In fairness, the NHL only published the last name Neville and awarded
              him one goal. Someone somewhere added the first name "Mike".
              I agree with you about there being no Neville, and I think I told you
              about my theory on it, that given the way information was orally passed
              on by telephone to the wire press services, the name "Noble" was heard
              to be "Neville" by the person in the wire office and so it was printed
              in newspapers across the nation.
              >


              >
              > I would love for Bob to write a paper in the SIHR Journal outlining his
              > trials and tribulations in re-compiling the early stats of the NHL. It
              > would go a long way to answering many researchers questions.
              >

              I agree, he should. It should have been done a long time ago.


              On 2007.2.4, at 01:08 AM, Stu McMurray wrote:

              > Stu writes-->
              > There were no score sheets until 1926-27. The NHL relied on newspaper
              > accounts. There was no radio coverage back then either. The newspaper
              > accounts were the only written record of the games. I am sure they had
              > errors but they would be the most accurate account of the games simply
              > by default wouldn't they?



              Yes and No on the accuracy. Yes because they are all there is. No,
              because it is a problem we have been down the road with the GP because
              the NHL didn't start compiling games GP until 42-43. The different
              books who compiled them have a lot of different numbers on them. I
              think it is save to argue that as soon as we start researching G, A &
              PIM, there is going to a deluge of different numbers from different
              people on these numbers because the newspapers will provide different
              numbers. The question is, do we want to go down this road?? Again, the
              NHL can avoid this in the years after 26-27 by releasing the summaries.


              James
            • slater@alum.rpi.edu
              ... I tend to agree with this sentiment. ... The larger question in my mind is, which seasons never had game sheets vs. which seasons have the game sheets been
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 5, 2007
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                >Hi Stu, the problem with this is that, as you have noted below, until
                >recently the NHL has been more than happy to sanction stats that
                >weren't correct for decades, so I don't think that we are in a position
                >yet to just simply accept what they offer as "officially correct."

                I tend to agree with this sentiment.

                >I'm kind of bothered about the NHL simply sitting on these old
                >scoresheets and making you go into their office to check your
                >information against them. Why don't they just release them? Or compile
                >them themselves and release it? I really don't understand this "must be
                >locked away in a file" attitude towards this old information. Unless,
                >the NHL historical stats are a "pile of garbage", as Morey Holzman dubs
                >it. And if it is garbage, then why wouldn't the NHL want to clean it
                >up??

                The larger question in my mind is, which seasons never had game sheets vs. which seasons have the game sheets been lost or discarded? My impression is that game sheets existed for some of the seasons currently being revisited.

                If game sheets once existed, and the NHL compiled official statistics from them, then I think the bulk of the stats for those seasons is closed, with the exception of items not tabulated (such as games played or player splits).

                If no game sheets ever existed for the first season, for example, then I think that it's OK for that season to be revisited, provided that the research is sound. By sound, I mean that multiple sources should be used, and the results should be documented so that they can be re-checked and validated by others.

                >In fairness, the NHL only published the last name Neville and awarded
                >him one goal. Someone somewhere added the first name "Mike".
                >I agree with you about there being no Neville, and I think I told you
                >about my theory on it, that given the way information was orally passed
                >on by telephone to the wire press services, the name "Noble" was heard
                >to be "Neville" by the person in the wire office and so it was printed
                >in newspapers across the nation.

                Thanks for clearing this up; I am comfortable awarding this goal to Mike Noble. This is similar to the AHL inclusion of a goalie named "Jardine" in 1936-37, with Philadelphia, when their regular goalie was "Gardiner". If you just think about it, it's a clear typo.

                >>
                >> I would love for Bob to write a paper in the SIHR Journal outlining his
                >> trials and tribulations in re-compiling the early stats of the NHL. It
                >> would go a long way to answering many researchers questions.
                >>
                >
                >I agree, he should. It should have been done a long time ago.

                Same here. Even if this is "work for hire" if the NHL and Duff want to be taken seriously, they need to tell people what they're doing instead of just saying "trust us...".

                Ralph Slate
                http://www.hockeydb.com
              • Stu McMurray
                ... How would you have the NHL release the gamesheets?? I mean, it s not going to be a commercial venture that will generate profit, right? So what benefit
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 17, 2007
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                  James Karkoski wrote:

                  > I'm kind of bothered about the NHL simply sitting on these old
                  > scoresheets and making you go into their office to check your
                  > information against them. Why don't they just release them? Or
                  > compile them themselves and release it? I really don't understand
                  > this "must be locked away in a file" attitude towards this old
                  > information.

                  How would you have the NHL release the gamesheets?? I mean, it's not
                  going to be a commercial venture that will generate profit, right? So
                  what benefit does it serve them to go to the trouble to compile and
                  publish their sheets?? Let's face it, there are only a handful of us
                  that are really interested in this type of thing. (my wife calls it my
                  "affliction" and tells me in mock anger to "get a life" on a regular
                  basis <g>)

                  Nothing is "locked away". Benny has always been helpful to me when I
                  have gone to the Toronto office. He lets me work alone in the records
                  room to do my research and I have been allowed to photocopy sheets and
                  take them with me. On the way out I stop by his office and we talk shop
                  for awhile. My experience with the NHL, specifically in the Toronto
                  office, has always been a positive one. Way better than what Ralph has
                  reported with his discussions with Frank Polnaszek.

                  Stu




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                • Tangotiger
                  ... I used to work in the same building as the NHL, when they were in Montreal. And for a few years, I would ask for the end-of-year full stats (including
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 18, 2007
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                    --- Stu McMurray <stumcmurray@...> wrote:
                    > Nothing is "locked away". Benny has always been
                    > helpful to me when I
                    > have gone to the Toronto office. He lets me work
                    > alone in the records
                    > room to do my research and I have been allowed to
                    > photocopy sheets and
                    > take them with me. On the way out I stop by his
                    > office and we talk shop
                    > for awhile. My experience with the NHL, specifically
                    > in the Toronto
                    > office, has always been a positive one. Way better
                    > than what Ralph has
                    > reported with his discussions with Frank Polnaszek.

                    I used to work in the same building as the NHL, when
                    they were in Montreal. And for a few years, I would
                    ask for the end-of-year full stats (including full
                    plus/minus: TGF, PGF, TGA, PGA). Ercolani didn't know
                    me from a hole in the wall, but he went out of his way
                    to produce it for me, and have it ready for me for
                    pickup.

                    Allowing Stu to make copies of the scoresheets is more
                    than enough. If someone wants to volunteer to digitize
                    them, by scanning them, that might be the next step.

                    Tom


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                  • flyershistory
                    I just found out about this group and see my name mentioned :) I can give results from my Quaker exercise using actual NHL game sheets. There are a number of
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 2, 2007
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                      I just found out about this group and see my name mentioned :)

                      I can give results from my Quaker "exercise" using actual NHL game
                      sheets. There are a number of discepancies between NHL official game
                      sheet compilations and official stats.

                      I'm a little under the weather right now, so it will be a few days, but
                      it will further show how "off" the early official stats probably are.
                      There were 2 or 3 games where the official game sheets for the Quakers
                      were missing.

                      Any suggestions on how you'd like to see these stats ? In a CSV file ?

                      Peter
                    • dsreyn
                      CSV sounds good to me. Thanks, Doug
                      Message 10 of 11 , Apr 4, 2007
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                        CSV sounds good to me.

                        Thanks,
                        Doug

                        --- In hockey-databank@yahoogroups.com, "flyershistory"
                        <flyershistory@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I just found out about this group and see my name mentioned :)
                        >
                        > I can give results from my Quaker "exercise" using actual NHL game
                        > sheets. There are a number of discepancies between NHL official game
                        > sheet compilations and official stats.
                        >
                        > I'm a little under the weather right now, so it will be a few days, but
                        > it will further show how "off" the early official stats probably are.
                        > There were 2 or 3 games where the official game sheets for the Quakers
                        > were missing.
                        >
                        > Any suggestions on how you'd like to see these stats ? In a CSV file ?
                        >
                        > Peter
                        >
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