Brian Burke

Burke on advanced stats: “I don’t feel they add any value at all”


Tuesday at a sports conference in Toronto, Leafs GM Brian Burke reiterated his stance on the use of advanced hockey stats for evaluating players.

“I don’t feel they add any value at all,” said Burke, as per the Toronto Star.

Instead of numbers, he places “great value” on character, explaining that “a lot of great athletes never make it in a team sport. To me, over time, I think character is the ingredient of the stew that is championship teams.”

Burke has shared his views on advanced stats before.

“There has not been a statistical breakthrough that I’ve seen in hockey,” he said in March at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

“Everybody is looking for these Moneyball breakthroughs…I have yet to see anything that has value in terms of an alternative way of evaluating players.”

At the very least, Burke’s presence at a conference for advanced stats suggests he’s willing to listen (though some are arguing he should listen a little harder.)

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.