The Prime Time Sports Management Conference was held at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto Monday, presenting an opportunity to hear NHL executives discuss their business. New Orleans Saints Store . Increasingly, when that happens, there are more questions related to analytics and how they apply in todays National Hockey League. Maple Leafs Assistant General Manager Kyle Dubas, who is somewhat a face of the analytics movement, a young up-and-comer who incorporates the use of analytics in making personnel decisions, got things going on the right foot by expressing an understanding of the central point of Moneyball; that is, that it is about finding inefficiencies in the marketplace, not evaluating all players by on-base percentage. This is one area where analytics in hockey can get derailed. If everything is about Corsi, for example, that wont be the aspect that is undervalued. Were not at that stage yet, but understanding that its about market inefficiencies means that should the day come when puck possession stats are overvalued metrics, teams can find a new edge with whatever is the inefficiency of that particular time. In trying to bring a more analytical approach in Toronto, Dubas emphasized that its not about replacing anyone or making people obsolete, rather Its to add layers to our evaluation process and add greater context. Thats the smart way for an NHL front office to use numbers. Dubas, when asked about the next frontier of analytics thought about digging deeper into current metrics to see if there are more secrets to be unlocked, as well as the inevitable tracking of players movement on the field of play. Many teams added front office personnel this summer to address the use of analytics. The Maple Leafs, most notably, hired Dubas, then added three more members of an analytics team. The Calgary Flames already had Chris Snow working in that role, but have quietly added support staff. Flames GM Brad Treliving said that the Flames have added people with a math background, and without a public profile, which does make it harder for outsiders to evaluate the quality of talent they have added to the front office. Treliving acknowledged that there is an advantage to hiring someone (eg. bloggers) whose work has been done in public and that is that they have a body of work to measure and judge. Tim Barnes (Capitals), Cam Charron (Maple Leafs), Tyler Dellow (Oilers), Brian Macdonald (Panthers), Sunny Mehta (Devils) and Eric Tulsky (secret team) are among those that NHL teams added in the offseason after they had been providing analysis in the blogosphere and analysis that can withstand rigorous public scrutiny tends to from pretty sharp minds. Its evident that analytics are growing in importance around the NHL, but lets not mistake that for universal acceptance either. TSNs Gord Miller moderated a panel with Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke and, while analytics werent roundly dismissed as they might have been a few years ago, its not like the Flames or Canadiens go straight to the analytics when making decisions. When asked if analytics play a role in player evaluation and acquisition, Bergevin responded, Its all about balance, while asserting that he prefers to see a player in person. As for Burke, Its more important for amateur than pro, he said. Even though (analytics) should be used, its down the list. Earlier in the day, while moderating the analytics panel, Burke said that the Flames Have the leagues best analytics guy (Snow), and they clearly have a role, yet also said that analytics are grossly overrated. Oh, to be the leagues best in a grossly overrated field. Believe it or not, though, there is real value to using analytics in addition to the eye test and while Burke questions the predictive value of hockey analytics, that is where real value is found. For example, when the discussion veered towards Flames defenceman Mark Giordano - an analytics All-Star - Burke said that you can tell how good he is by watching. Sure, thats true enough, now. In January, 2013, however, Dellow had an article on his website talking about Giordano as being better than highly sought-after trade commodity Jay Bouwmeester and that was far from a universally-accepted opinion at the time. Sometimes, using analytics can steer decisions and evaluations in the right direction before its obvious and thats where an edge is gained. Having an opinion or evaluation that is obvious provides no competitive advantage. But, if Burke is genuine about using analytics as part of a checklist when evaluating players, saying that if numbers dont match their opinions, they double back on their viewings to see if there is something they are missing, then that is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, Burke also referred to players Doppler scores (weather analytics?) in this example, so there wasnt a concrete example of how they might handle a difference in analytics and eye-test evaluation. While Bergevin said that he has full confidence in his knowledge of his own team, because hes there every day, he sees more value in analytics to complement scouts opinions of players on other teams. Both Burke and Bergevin noted that smart decisions require complete information and outsiders often dont have that full information available to them. Bergevin commented that there was a player who had great analytics last season, but no team signed him this year, suggesting that all 30 teams had some reason for bypassing the player. (Incidentally, Andrei Loktionov did have a 55.0% Corsi last season with Carolina, yet no NHL job this season.) DRAFT Miller asked an interesting question about what either would do as a GM if their eye test didnt agree with their Director of Scoutings opinion of a player, and whether they would use, for example, the seventh pick in the draft on a player that they didnt like. Both Burke and Bergevin admitted they would have a hard time agreeing to use a high pick like that. Burke said it would be easier to go with scouts opinion on the 17th pick, but not so easily with a top pick. Bergevin talked about how he liked Ryan Murray and Morgan Rielly - the former NHL blueliner has an affinity for defencemen - but didnt get to see a lot of Rielly and Alex Galchenyuk during their draft years, since both were injured for most of the season, so Bergevin was more inclined to lean on head scout Trevor Timmins. Its an interesting question because the public sees the end result on draft day, which players a team picks, but doesnt necessarily know the process of who is calling the shots and on what basis those potentially franchise-altering decisions are made. When discussing draft decisions, it does sound as though Burke could appreciate analytics as a tool for self-evaluation. He said they start every years scouting meetings discussing mistakes that they have made. The specific example he cited was Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, who wasnt drafted until the fifth round of his final draft-eligible season, yet has played an important role for the Blackhawks over the past couple seasons. Burke said what stood out in their evaluation was that Shaw was too small, with the problem being that, He doesnt realize hes too small. DEVELOPMENT Miller also asked about player development, and whether teams should send teens back to junior for further development. Im convinced some teams keep kids as a marketing tool, Burke said. I told Sean Monahan he was going back to junior, but he forced us to keep him. Bergevin added, The players make the decision, but the road to Montreal goes through Hamilton. Bergevin comes to this decision with perspective, having played in the NHL as a 19-year-old himself. I played in the NHL at 19, and what happens is that, because you want to stay in the league, you change your game, and maybe not for the best in terms of overall development. Ultimately, both Burke and Bergevin recognized the value of getting contributions from players on entry-level contracts. Burke said, You have to have players on entry level deals, so that you can afford to pay a salary like $9-million to Subban. Burke continued, It costs teams a lot of money to keep an 18-year-old. Based on a study they did when he was in the Leafs front office, they calculated that keeping an 18-year-old would cost $8-10-million more over the course of a players career, due to earlier arbitration and free agency. These are such high-stakes decisions in a multi-million dollar business, it would only make sense to use as much information as possible when making those decisions. QUOTABLE Burke: If you file for arbitration, were going to arbitration. I told Brendan Morrison, You wont like it, but you started this, so you cant complain about getting kicked in the groin. The hardest position to find? Bergevin: Goaltenders. Even if you find one, its so hard evaluating them. I sleep well at night knowing that we have a good one. Public pressure in decision making? Burke: I dont pay attention to anything anyone says in media. If someone in media makes a suggestion and you havent thought of it, then you should resign. Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Custom New Orleans Saints Jerseys .C. -- When Michael Jordan speaks, people still listen. Saints Jerseys 2020 . That further limits the options of Australia coach Ewen McKenzie, who on Monday suspended six players who were involved in a night out in Dublin ahead of the Saturdays 32-15 win over the Irish. The Wallabies play Scotland on Saturday before facing Wales on Nov.CHICAGO -- Jeff Carter scored three of Los Angeles six straight goals, and the Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 on Wednesday night to leave the Western Conference final tied at one game apiece. Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin also scored in Los Angeles five-goal third period as the Kings became the first visiting team to win in Chicago this post-season. The Blackhawks won their first seven home playoff games this year, but the Kings skated right by Chicago after the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead in the second period. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night in Los Angeles. Nick Leddy and Ben Smith scored for Chicago, which won 3-1 in Game 1 on Sunday. The Blackhawks were in position for their fourth consecutive win before Carter redirected Drew Doughtys slap shot by Corey Crawford to tie it at 2 just 1:37 into the third. Muzzin then had another power-play score at 4:04 that gave Los Angeles the lead. Once the Kings got going, they appeared to get almost anything they wanted against the sagging Blackhawks. Tanner Pearson set up goals by Toffoli at 8:59 and Carter at 14:44, and Carter added an empty-netter for his seventh of the playoffs. Carter also had an assist in his first career four-point playoff game. It was his second playoff hat trick. It was the most goals allowed by the Blackhawks in a playoff game since a 6-1 loss to Detroit on May 24, 2009. Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings, including a big stop on Brent Seabrook with Chicago trying for a 3-0 lead in the second. The Blackhawks got off to a strong start, using their speed to draw four penalties in the first period alone. Brandon Saad was responsible for two of the calls, making a pair of nice moves that ended with Matt Greene in the boxx for hooking and Doughty sent off for holding. Stitched Saints Jerseys. Los Angeles defenceman Willie Mitchell had to cross check Peter Regin into the net to prevent a goal with about seven minutes left in the period, but Chicago made the most of the man advantage. The Blackhawks turned away a short-handed rush by the Kings, and Duncan Keith made a nice pass ahead to a streaking Leddy coming up the right side. The defenceman, who was a healthy scratch for Game 3 of Chicagos second-round series against Minnesota, then sent a backhander over Quicks left shoulder at 14:16. It was Leddys second career playoff goal. He also scored on April 21, 2012, at Phoenix. Chicago struck again in the second, with Smith jumping off the bench and beating Quick on a line change to make 2-0 at 1:40 of the period. The Blackhawks had another prime scoring chance when Kris Versteeg made a nice pass to Seabrook on a 2-on-1, but Quick got over to make a nice stop on the defencemans shot. Quicks play on Seabrook provided more time for the Kings to get back in the game, and they took advantage when Mike Richards pass to the crease went off Justin Williams right skate and past Crawford with 1:46 left in the second. Williams sixth goal of the playoffs cut Chicagos lead to 2-1 after two, and the Kings carried the momentum over to their big third period. Crawford made 25 saves. NOTES: Carter also scored three times in a 4-0 playoff win at Phoenix on May 15, 2012. ... Kings D Matt Greene was active for the first time in series. He replaced Jeff Schultz, who was scratched after he played 17 minutes in Game 1. ... Quick improved to 8-17-1 in 26 career games against the Blackhawks. ... The Blackhawks played without F Andrew Shaw, who is out with a lower-body injury, but could return in Game 3. ' ' '