Ted Nolan doesn't use many advanced numbers. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ted Nolan not sold on analytics, still believes in judging talent with eyes

BUFFALO – The analytics explosion hitting the NHL hasn’t been felt around the Sabres. Their coach, Ted Nolan, is an old-school guy. He doesn’t need advance stats to evaluate a player.

“The information I use is with my eyes and my soul and my heart,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “If I see someone who’s competing and I know he’s competing, that’s good enough for me. I don’t need a machine telling me how hard he worked. I can see it myself.

“There’s some of that data you can use for how many calories they burn and so forth. But my No. 1 analytic is you score one more goal than the opposition you win.”

Nolan believes talent is still the true way of building a team.

“If you have a (Sidney) Crosby on your team, obviously you’re going to have a little bit more zone time,” he said. “If you have a (Anze) Kopitar on your team, you’re going to have a little bit more zone time. If you look at all the teams that make the playoffs, they make them for a reason, they’re better teams.

“What we want to do is become a better team, and doing that we get better players. It hasn’t changed since the 50s or 60s.”

6 thoughts on “Sabres’ Ted Nolan not sold on analytics, still believes in judging talent with eyes”

  1. yeah jonesy, or by using the eyes he used to get into the game. you analytic geeks seem to be forgetting that some people had a hockey background and understand the game better than you already.

  2. This is where the argument over the relevance of stats falls on its face. Ted, advanced stats are not telling you to stop watching the game. They are simply there to be used as another tool to evaluate a player. Believe it or not Ted you can’t see everything going on 100% of the time on the ice. The tools are there to aid in helping you either a.) confirm what you thought you already knew about a player or b.) make you realize something you possibly hadn’t noticed about a player so you can take a closer look at him in the future. Totally disregarding something only there to help you is extremely short sighted. Glad Mr. Hextall knows his way around the numbers.

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