Introducing Bolt Statistics (Part 1)

Welcome, reader, to the latest addition to the network of blogs devoted to covering the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bolt Statistics, though, is notably unique in that you won’t find conventional team news, game recaps or player features here. Ever. There’s a number of other outlets and writers doing a fine job at that already. What you will find instead is primarily data accumulation and reporting as well as player and team commentary firmly grounded in the various metrics (endearingly or pejoratively called “fancy stats”) of the growing hockey analytics movement.

Those already very familiar with hockey’s “advanced stats” have a good idea of what lies ahead but this site is also for those of you who have little to no experience with these concepts. Further to this point, a thorough glossary for the field’s jargon, with links to more detailed primers, is planned for those who want to brush up on certain topics.

Bolt Statistics is an outgrowth of my ever-increasing interest in the field, as I expressed while laying out my perspective for why data-driven hockey analysis was so useful shortly after leaving behind my short-lived blog to join the team over at Bolt Prospects last summer. The initial plan was to try adding this component to my coverage there–which I did last season through both BP’s or my own Twitter account (@mikegallimore) and also with a few pieces (see here and here)–but I eventually found myself convinced a different niche destination seemed appropriate, especially so when covering a fairly progressive franchise that, at least as recently as three months ago, is believed to be one of only a handful of NHL teams with their own statistical analyst and to have representation at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference hosted at MIT in March.

So here we are, ready to to begin serving up a new breed of Lightning-centric coverage as well as function as a repository of easily-accessible rolling (game-by-game) and aggregate data for the team and players which I, assisted by several others willing to volunteer time, have been compiling as part of a collaborative project and the site will soon begin featuring.

It’s a tall order but, fortunately, I won’t be slogging it alone. Joining me in this endeavor is Kyle Abney (@KAlexanderSM101), who runs TBLightning101 and who, over the course of last season, I increasingly noticed shared a similar interest in hockey analytics. Once I got the notion of creating this site in my head, I knew he would make a great teammate if it came to fruition. I couldn’t be more excited to have Kyle, who began tracking scoring chances late last season and plans on re-watching games he doesn’t already have data for (!) and publishing all of the info in a series of posts throughout the off-season, on board. Kyle will contribute features when inspiration strikes and will also help manage the site’s social media presence.

A few acknowledgements are in order. First, we owe a huge thank you to the godfathers (Chad, Pete and Tim) over at Bolt Prospects for encouraging this project and allowing us to, essentially, create an extension of a brand they have worked hard to build over the years. Furthermore, we’ve been heavily influenced by a number of sites and writers but this is especially true of Cory Sznajder and his Carolina Hurricanes blog, Shutdown Line. We’re also obviously very much indebted to those (Gabriel Desjardins, Vic Ferrari, Eric Tulsky and Rob Vollman, in particular, come to mind) who have done and continue to do research, advance ideas and create tools for so many others following in their wake to utilize. A mighty stick tap to you all.

And you, too, reader. Again, welcome to Bolt Statistics.

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