Colorado Avalanche: Why Patrick Roy Is Right about Corsi


Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy has something against Corsi, but in yesterday’s press conference he at least acknowledged it. And even what he said against it made total sense.

It’s not a secret that Patrick Roy doesn’t like advanced stats. The Colorado Avalanche’s coach has said it for the… I think I lost count… Well, he’s said it many times. In yesterday’s press conference, however, he said something very wrong and ridiculous, yet very true about Corsi and Fenwick — or “Fenway” as he calls it.

"“The part I don’t like about Corsi is you could shoot from the red line or […] from a terrible angle and your Corsi will look good.” — Patrick Roy"

Of course, Roy is technically right here. Players could shoot from anywhere, get up their Corsi and Fenwick numbers and then say “look at our advanced stats, they’re great but we’re still losing.” I have to ask, though: Mr. Roy, have you ever seen a team shoot from literally anywhere, especially the red line, and then argue they played well? Probably not. So, how is Roy saying a very true and relevant thing here?

Well, he acknowledged that Colorado’s Corsi and Fenway, er, Fenwick numbers “aren’t very good”. That’s a good first step. Now, he basically said that good Corsi numbers shouldn’t be a team’s primary goal. Instead, quality scoring chances should be. A team could shoot from anywhere, simply to get the Corsi numbers up, but still lose games because the majority of shots doesn’t come from good scoring chances.

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For goaltenders, the analytics website has introduced a way to differentiate between high and low-quality shots. They split the ice into different zones with each zone having a different probability of shots going in. When taking that into account, you get the so-called adjusted save percentage where saves on high-probability shots are worth more than those on medium or low-probability attempts. That data should also be used to determine the quality of a team’s scoring chances, differentiating between high-probability shots and those “shots from the red line” as Roy put it. Because in both Corsi and Fenwick, every shot from any given position is counted as a shot and counts for the exact same.

Therefore, all Roy is saying is that the Colorado Avalanche should focus on finding a way to generate high-quality scoring chances or high-probability shots, rather than skate into the offensive zone and shoot just to get up the Corsi numbers.

That said, Roy might as well just admit that advanced stats make sense. He says Corsi doesn’t make sense, but the team should reduce shots against and put more shots at their opponent’s net — which is literally what Corsi describes.

Still, even though Roy doesn’t quite want to commit to advanced stats, he seems to acknowledge them and he also acknowledges that simply putting pucks on net wouldn’t be the right solution. As he said in the press conference, he wants his team to play less complicated and reduce offensive-zone turnovers, resulting in more quality scoring chances and less time spent in the defensive zone.

Now it’s on you, Mr. Roy. Make this happen!

Next: Why Patrick Roy Is a Hockey Expert

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