I have a confession to make: I'm old school.
I'm so old school that I sometimes think I was on the work crew that helped Don Cherry build the old school.
I mean, I still call a chalk board a black board. To me, the word "hip" means something other than one of my many body parts that requires replacing. I don't listen to music unless it includes a turntable, a needle and a thin slab of round vinyl. I'm still having difficulty with the notion that the Cubs play night games, that the 1970s are over and that Hedberg and Nilsson left Winnipeg for Gotham.
That doesn't mean I live in the past. Nor does the past live in me. It isn't that I'm anti-progress or anti-change (lord knows I fully embrace change). It's just that I'm a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to new-fangled thingamajigs.
So you'll have to excuse me if I'm having difficulty with these Corsi and Fenwick dudes.
For the longest time, I was quite curious about Corsi and Fenwick. It was a curiosity that bordered on fascination. I'd never seen them. I just kept reading and hearing about them. All...the...time.
I figured Corsi and Fenwick were finalists for the Hart Trophy and every other significant National Hockey League award. After all, they'd been mentioned in every shinny story written in the past half dozen years. I kept waiting for them to arrive on the red carpet at the NHL awards gala last month in Vegas, but they were no-shows. I was quite disappointed because I wanted to see what their dates were wearing.
That was quite presumptuous of me, though. Why would I assume that they had dates? Female dates. For all I knew, Corsi and Fenwick were a couple of gay dudes. Perhaps partners.
Naw. Couldn't be that. We all know there aren't any gay dudes in hockey (even though we all know there are gay dudes in hockey).
So, who were Corsi and Fenwick? Did they have first names? Or were they like Brazilian soccer players and Madonna?
Hockey people and media types have long been in constant debate about Corsi and Fenwick. Take Steve Simmons of Sun Media (please, take him). He scoffs at, and heaps scorn upon, anyone who suggests Corsi and Fenwick are what hockey is all about today. My friends at Arctic Ice Hockey, on the other hand, are convinced that Corsi and Fenwick are the be-all, end all. Corsi and Fenwick do it all.
I figure if Corsi and Fenwick are that bloody good, the Winnipeg Jets should make a play for them. Give me Corsi, Fenwick and a first-round draft pick and I'll give you Evander Kane. I'll even toss in a player to be named later, as long as that player's name is Ondrej Pavelec.
Well, we can't make that trade because it turns out that Corsi and Fenwick aren't hockey players. They don't even have a pulse. (You know, much like Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.)
Corsi and Fenwick are fancy numbers. They are advanced stats. They are analytics. I'm supposed to look at Corsi and Fenwick and they'll tell me everything from how often Jacob Trouba has the puck to how often and when Dustin Byfuglien takes a lunch break.
When I look at Corsi and Fenwick, though, it's all Greek to me. It looks like something out of the Wall Street Journal, not The Hockey News.
Seriously. QoC eTOI% and QoT TOI% F rel are supposed to mean something to me? An old school girl who was weaned on plus/minus numbers?
I suppose QoC ETOI% and QoT TOI%F rel would make sense if I followed the stock markets.
"QoC eTOI% shares were up .25 at closing, but QoT TOI% F rel dipped .50 and is in free fall. Meanwhile, NZShr, DZS% and TMSh% made significant gains on both the TSE and on Wall Street."
Quite frankly, I liked it a whole lot better when I thought Corsi and Fenwick were hockey players.
But that doesn't mean I pooh-pooh fancy stats and the people who endorse and use them. I salute the numbers nerds who devised the stats, and I'm quite certain they have merit.
Let's put it this way: All I need to know about fancy stats is that Steve Simmons thinks they're stupid. That convinces me they're brilliant.