St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock gets an analytics breakdown between each period to help him get a sense for which matchups are working and which aren’t. That information has helped him make adjustments that have been the difference in close games, but when advanced statistics were first pushed on the veteran bench boss, his reaction was completely different.
“It took me a year and a half to get past being offended by somebody telling me to look past the visual,” Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “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.”
Hitchcock took pride in being able to analyze the game based on what he saw, but he now believes analytics can help him come to conclusions quicker. It’s allowed him to make changes during a game that he might not have thought about until he had a chance to review the tape. He also cited an example of a time when he broke up a line that appeared to be working based on what he saw, but looked ugly statistically.
“The analytical information was right on the mark,” Hitchcock added. “And it was stuff, I guarantee if I mention the names, you’d say that’s a great line. It should work. We’ve seen it before and (the line) was a nightmare.”
Advanced statistics are moving into the mainstream, although one of the St. Louis Blues’ division rivals, the Colorado Avalanche, are a noteworthy exception.