A scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots (nicknamed the Home Plate, detailed at the right), though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score.
If you've read any of our work on scoring chances, you've no doubt read that definition before. You've also likely run into explanations like the one below:
So how do scoring chances relate to everyone's favorite advanced stat, Corsi? Corsi approximates puck possession; if you have a high Corsi that means you are attempting more shots than your opponent, which means you have the puck more often and in an attacking position. Scoring chances measure how well a player is utilizing that puck possession and if they are getting off quality shots. I find that it complements Corsi quite well and helps paint a much clearer picture of how a player performed.
The significance of the the Scoring Chance Project is that it allows fans to get closer to the data that teams are currently tracking:
The scoring chances project is significant in that it closes the loop on the data currently being used to analyze the game. The math behind the data has been validated, though NHL teams have known that for at least thirty years, possibly more. The conversation now must progress beyond defending the veracity of these statistics from the "saw him good" crowd and other critics to finding the next great innovation in statistics and analysis.
As of this writing, the Scoring Chance Project has encompassed 7 teams, 10 Western Conference playoff series and 2 Stanley Cup finals. The interest in the project has grown and for the 2011-12 season, writers from the following sites have joined the Scoring Chance Project by committing to track chances for their favorite team.
Maple Leafs http://sd24leafsblog.blogspot.com/
Blue Jackets http://www.jacketscannon.com/
Red Wings Site TBD
And now we're looking for volunteers to fill the void. If you'd like to drill deeper into the game and track your favorite team and players, or if you're statistically inclined and would like to better understand the underlying stats that have existed for at least 30 years, or if you're a writer or site owner that would like to publish content that no one else has access to, let us know.
What is required of someone who wants to record chances? First off, you're going to need access to broadcasts of all 82 games for your team and a DVR (the back 3 seconds button will become your best friend) or a subscription to NHL Gamecenter. Next, you'll need to record each scoring chance based on the criteria above and record them at http://timeonice.com, though the input page is not currently set up for the 2011-12 season. You'll need to record the period, time, and team that had the chance and possibly extra information in a 'notes' field.
After entering and submitting all of the information at Time On Ice, the site will present you with a number of reports. Simply copy the reports into your website to publish. Your reports will look like these, presented by In Lou We Trust's new scoring change guru.
Hockeymetrics are about 20 years behind Sabremetrics, but projects like these will close the gap. A volunteer army unearthing the numbers that NHL coaches count on to put their lineups together will help to revolutionize the way we analyze hockey and push "Scoring Chances" and the analysis thereof into the everyday hockey parlance.