For decades, the manner in which Bruins molded their rosters and built upon the foundation of its club didn’t differ all too much.
The “Big Bad Bruins” might have bullied their way to a pair of Stanley Cups in the 1970s, but an emphasis of size and snarl remained perhaps the defining characteristic of Bruins teams for the next 30 years — with skaters like Cam Neely and Milan Lucic carrying on the bruising tradition that Terry O’Reilly, Stan Jonathan and others established out on the ice.
But in 2019, with the influence of analytics, innovation and advanced statistics continuing to take root within the game, no NHL team can simply rely on size and strength along anymore to chart a road to success — for as much the hockey purists might bemoan such a development.
“You know, there’s a funny quote that Yogi Berra used to say,” Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said Tuesday. “It’s like, ‘There’s lies, there are damn lies and then there’s statistics.’ I find it funny because there’s some times where maybe we get caught up in the wrong information and perhaps fall into some type of rabbit holes that may not bear any fruit.
“But if it’s all out there on the table we can determine just exactly what we feel is important for us as management, team owners, and the fans themselves can maybe look at their own data and determine what they feel is important.”
The Bruins have made major strides when it comes to incorporating analytics and other evaluating tools beyond simple statistics and the basic “eye test”.
Bench boss Bruce Cassidy has harped on the way that the efforts of Boston’s analytics department and his assistant coaches to contextualize such data has given the team “an unbiased opinion” when it comes to weighing roster moves, tinkering with special-teams play and other day-to-day adjustments over the course of a year.
That access to advanced data is set to expand across multiple fronts in 2019-20, with puck and player tracking technology set to become incorporated into every game and venue for the upcoming year.
This new technology, which was tested during the 2019 All-Star Game festivities back in January, will feature: