Norris Trophy Win, Plus-Minus Solution
If there ever was any doubt, erase that from your minds. Nicklas Lidstrom wins the Norris Trophy again.
There isn't a doubt that this guy is the best defenceman in the game today, even at the age of 41. If you've ever seen him play the game you know that he does everything right, which has made some call him "The Perfect Human."
Even though Lidstrom won the Norris this year, some people say he didn't deserve it. It's funny though, I don't think there is a human on this earth that wouldn't take him on their team if they could. All of this negativity surrounding Lidstrom's win had to do with two things. First, the players he was up against. Shea Weber, while having a terrific year, just doesn't play the game as smart and efficient as Lidstrom. People think that Zdeno Chara should have won the trophy again. But that makes me question their hockey knowledge. Obviously they based their assumption on statistics. If going by that, you can't really challenge Lidstrom on goals, assists or points. Penalties don't have anything to do with it. So therefore people are going by the most overused stat out there: plus-minus.
Lidstrom was a minus-2 this year. That in itself tells you it's no big deal. Other than that, who really cares? When you think about a stat, it should be individual, like the individual awards. Not a team stat. That's what the William Jennings is for.
This is from Wikipedia; the definition of plus-minus:
Plus–minus (+/−) is an ice hockey statistic that measures a player's goal differential. With the exclusion of penalty shot goals, when an even-strength or shorthanded goal is scored, the plus–minus statistic is increased by one ("plus") for those players on the ice for the team scoring the goal; the plus–minus statistic is decreased by one ("minus") for those players on the ice for the team allowing the goal. The plus–minus statistic is not affected by power play goals. Also, whether or not the net is empty does not matter for purposes of plus–minus.
The statistic is sometimes called the plus–minus ratio even though it is a difference, not a ratio. It is also sometimes referred to as plus–minus rating although this is inaccurate as well. For example, a skilled player could be placed on a line with other, less skilled players which may cause his/her plus–minus to be lower than usual even though the player's individual performance may be just as good as before (or perhaps even better).
A player's plus–minus statistic can be calculated for a single game or for the season as a whole. For instance, if a player enters a game with a season total plus–minus of −8, then accumulates a statistic of +3 for a single game, the season total will change to a −5.
Plus–minus is mainly used to measure defenders and forwards who play a defensive role since offensive forwards are better measured by scoring statistics such as goals and assists. It is directly affected by team performance, thus accurate comparisons can only be made by taking into consideration both the offensive and defensive performance of the team as a whole.
That says it all right there. The plus-minus stat focuses on team play alone. Why is it Lidstrom's fault if Jonathan Ericsson decides to pinch for the 11-hundredth time? The best line in the definition is, "a skilled player could be placed on a line with other, less skilled players which may cause his/her plus–minus to be lower than usual even though the player's individual performance may be just as good as before (or perhaps even better)." It's all too true with Lidstrom, as his regular partner was in fact Jonathan Ericsson. Adam McQuaid was a +30. He is therefore better than Lidstrom? Doesn't fit.
As I am fed up with this plus-minus stat, I made up a new one. It's called plus-minus. That's right, the same rule. But this time we're going to do this right, dammit!
So here's how it works. You want an individual stat, right? One that can tell if you're good defensively, right? Well here's an Einstein way to do it. Get ready, it's complicated:
COMPARE GIVEAWAYS AND TAKEAWAYS!
Is it really that hard? Now you have a stat that is much more reliable and tells you exactly how a player is.
So going on that stat, we find that:
Zdeno Chara: 62 giveaways and 32 takeaways = -30
Shea Weber: 51 giveaways, 62 takeaways = +11
Nicklas Lidstrom: 33 giveaways, 33 takeaways = 0
Factor in points production and you have a pretty good case for Lidstrom. Even though he isn't the most physical player, he gets the job done and he does it extremely well. So if you think Chara should have won, he couldn't have with this stat; he's a minus for crying out loud! And Weber had 51 giveaways compared to Lidstrom miniscule 33 (that's like one every 2.5 games).
Lidstrom had 62 points, good for 2nd in the league for defensive scoring, while Weber and Chara lagged behind with 48 and 44, respectively. They also all played over 81 games, so that isn't a valid argument either. Plus he's 40 years old and outplaying kids that are half his age. Most players are retired by now.
All in all, this stat needs to be changed or just thrown in the trash. Takeaways are used for the Selke Trophy, so why not the Norris? Hopefully the NHL can see this and stop this plus-minus garbage.
Nicklas Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy. For the seventh time. Deal with it.