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Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract Paperback – July 24, 2013

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Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract + Hockey Prospectus 2013-14 + National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2014 (National Hockey League Official Guide an)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1490493034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1490493039
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Best known for Player Usage Charts and his record-breaking ESPN Insider contributions, founding Hockey Prospectus writer Rob Vollman was first published in the Fall 2001 issue of the Hockey Research Journal, and has since co-authored three books, Hockey Prospectus 2010-11, Hockey Prospectus 2011-12 and Hockey Prospectus 2012-13. While modern advanced statistical hockey analysis stands on a mountain of complexity, Rob Vollman's work is best known for being expressed in clear, focused and applicable terms, and often presented in a humourous and entertaining way. Whether you're arguing about the worst trades in history or which team improved most in the off-season, Vollman's objective approach will add clear, cold facts to the discussion in a style that is undeniably engaging --- and convincing! Vollman's most popular innovations include Player Usage Charts to see how players are being used, Quality Starts for goaltenders, Goals Versus Salary (GVS) to measure a player's cap value, his history-based projection systems (code named Snepsts67), his new Passes statistics, and advances in the field of NHL Translations and League Equivalencies to understand how well players coming from other leagues will perform. Rob Vollman's analysis can be found regularly at Hockey Prospectus and ESPN Insider, occasionally on the Nations Network and Arctic Ice Hockey, and featured on radio stations including Hockey Night in Canada on SiriusXM, Nashville 102.5 The Game and Edmonton AM 1260's Lowetide at High Noon.

Customer Reviews

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It is well written and interesting throughout.
Lastly, if you've been aware of all of this online, then you may not learn much that is new; but the book does work as a refresher.
John Fischer
By titling his book Hockey Abstract, Vollman invites comparisons to Bill James's classic baseball sabermetrics annuals.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By draglikepull on August 14, 2013
[originally published at Pension Plan Puppets [...]

If you're a regular reader of hockey blogs then you're probably familiar with Rob Vollman, or at least with some of his work. His most well-known contribution, I am duty-bound to tell you, is the excellent player usage charts that first appeared a couple of years ago. He was also one of original writers for the Hockey Prospectus web site, which over the years has played host to important articles by some of hockey's best statistical analysts such as Tom Awad and Gabriel Desjardins, in addition to everybody's favourite amateur scout, Corey Pronman. Rob has recently released a book which attempts to provide a summary of much of the current understanding of statistics in hockey, called Hockey Abstract.

The book is openly modelled after Bill James' Baseball Abstract, though as a long-lapsed baseball fan I can't tell you, faithful reader, whether or not it lives up to that billing. What I can tell you is that the book is divided largely into two parts. The first half of the book presents and attempts to answer 10 fun questions about the state of the game such as "Who is the best playmaker?" and "Who will finish first next year?" The second half of the book is something of an introduction to hockey analytics and provides an overview of important concepts like player usage (quality of competition and zone starts) and league equivalencies (translating stats from alternate leagues to the NHL). While Vollman cites the work of many other hockey writers in helping to explain his concepts (including, full disclosure, myself), the bulk of the book is original work by Rob, especially in the first half.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Wagner on August 5, 2013
The man behind and the Player Usage Charts, Rob Vollman also contributes to Hockey Prospectus and His goal is to help make stats and mathematical analysis as much a part of hockey as it is baseball or basketball, and he's doing a great job alongside guys like Cam Charron and Gabriel Desjardins.

Now, as we get ready for the 2013-2014 season, Vollman has come up with a book that's meant to be a primer, of sorts, into the world of hockey stats.

Unlike the Prospectus,this is not meant as a breakdown of every team and player in the NHL. Instead, Vollman asks questions, and walks us through the stats that he (and others) use to try to help find an answer.

Who, for example, is the best overall player in the NHL? Vollman takes a look not just at goal scoring or shooting percentages, but CORSI, usage stats, GVT, and other metrics, then presents the results and shows you his conclusions.

The book also discusses some historical events, like trying to find the most lopsided trades in NHL history based on the performance of players on their new clubs, and even trying to determine who is really the best coach in the NHL, both in terms of active bench bosses and through the league's history.

Overall, this is a great resource if you're a fan of stats or just want to get into some of the interesting history and mechanics of the game. I'd happily recommend this book to anyone. If nothing else, it's a wonderful way to start a few discussions - or perhaps settle a bar bet or two.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt Horner on August 15, 2013
[Originally published on Five Minutes for]

The statistical revolution is coming to hockey whether you like it or not, and the Bible has been published.

Rob Vollman, tired of waiting for someone else to write hockey's version of The Bill James Baseball Abstract, the seminal work that ushered in baseball's sabermetrics revolution, has published Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract.

Hockey Abstract is a must-read guide for anyone interested in learning more about statistical analysis in hockey. But instead of reading like a dry textbook, Hockey Abstract is a fun-to-read, page-turner that reads like a book (there are even moustache jokes). Vollman has the rare ability to write about stats in a conversational tone, yet still provides enough detail to make the concepts understandable.

To do so, Vollman goes about answering 10 questions--most of which you've probably argued about at the bar--including who is the best player, goalie, and coach. In another chapter, GVT, the hockey equivalent to baseball's all-encompassing WAR statistic, is used to rank the most lopsided trades in NHL history (spoiler: Mike Milbury makes multiple appearances). Then, Vollman puts his prognosticating powers to the test and predicts how next season's standings will look.

Vollman is quick to point out that his answers are not meant to be definitive, and writes, "I love hockey arguments―I want to refuel the conversations, not end them!"

In fact, throughout the book Vollman attempts to explain the limitations of many of the statistics he describes--because, like any other sport, there is no infallible metric that explains everything.
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