Sweeney: Analytics, sight test valuable together

Sweeney: Analytics, sight test valuable together
March 16, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney admits that hockey may have some catching up to do when it comes to the world of analytics.

"Maybe a little," he said. "I think it's emerging."

Sweeney joined Comcast SportsNet's Bob Neumeier to discuss the role analytics plays in developing a hockey team. Though hockey front offices are crunching numbers, Sweeney said nothing will ever surpass the importance of the "sight test."

"I think there's value in certainly blending the two together," Sweeney said. "It'll never replace the sight test. You've got things you need to evaluate and learn about players, whether it's courage, maturity and things. Once that player gets put in those situations, hows he going to react?"

Sweeney said one player who -- even though his numbers are very good -- his play goes them: Patrice Bergeron.

"There's a reason Patrice Bergeron shows up in everyone's matrixes," Sweeney said. "Whether it's a possession stat or whatever. He's a valuable player to our team. Is he as valuable to other teams? Maybe not because he's doesn't score at the same rate as someone else. But the value he brings to our team is, there's a tangible, measurable component to it. What that is and how you factor it, I'm not sure. We know it exists for sure. I think there are certain players that elevate other players around them. I think Patrice is one of those players."

To see more interviews from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, click here.