Tidbits relevant to the Oilers:
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers' Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish attended for the first time this year.
"It was thought-provoking," MacTavish said.
"If you rely solely [on analytics], you do it at your own peril," says MacTavish, who played 1,093 NHL games. "Nobody's figured out a fail-safe method, not in baseball, football, hockey or soccer. But you're foolish not to be [looking at them], either."
The Oilers, for example, meet monthly with a volunteer "analytics advice group." It's led by Dan Haight, COO of Darkhorse Analytics and managing director for the University of Alberta's School of Business.
"It is amazing, the passion these people have for hockey and the Oilers," MacTavish said. "It's definitely led to philosophical conversations about what we should be doing. A bunch of people talking about different ways of doing things leads to innovation. It's good to surround ourselves with people who are rarely thinking like we are."
"I thought our guys would be at the top echelon of presenters [at the Sloan Conference]."
Edmonton runs a contest on the team website -- "Last Fan Standing." Basically, you choose a game on the schedule and answer five questions about it. The questions are pretty detailed:
"Will there be a penalty call for hooking?" "Will both teams combine to score six or more goals?" "Will the final goal be scored in the third period?"
The more correct answers, the more opportunity to enter prize draws. But is there something extra to this contest?
"You're always looking to flush out some brainpower," MacTavish says.