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Bill Peters: Analytics ‘provoke thought and conversation’

01 MAR 2016: Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters during the first period of the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes played at the Prudential Center in Newark,NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

On several occasions recently, Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters has shed some insight into his relationship with the team’s analytics department.

On the July 28 edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski, Peters was asked specifically by Jeff Marek about what sort of barriers there might be between information getting to him from Eric Tulsky. On some teams, Marek posited, the information can take awhile to get there because it goes from the assistant general manager to the assistant coaches and then to the head coach.

So how does the dynamic work between the analytics department and the head coach in Carolina?

“Well, it’s real easy. I think his extension is 3614,” deadpanned Peters, to laughter from Marek. “I call him and I ask him to come down into the war room. Then when it’s time to get back to work and I’m done with him, I kick him out because he’d stay down there all day. So I kick him out and I say, ‘We’ve got to go to work. We practice here at 11, so you’ve got to leave.’

“… I give him projects, but he kind of scoffs at them because they’re so simple-minded. He likes the big, long elaborate ones. But I like the information, and he gives us real good information.”

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During an appearance on SiriusXMNHL a few weeks ago, Peters offered a further understanding into the time frame of his work with the team’s analytics side, as well as where he fits in general with the methodology.

“I’m a little bit old school, but I’m not a dinosaur to the fact that I know analytics are important,” said Peters. “It’s not on a day-to-day. It’s not on a game-to-game basis. It’s more on a segment basis, whether it’s a 10-game segment or what have you.

“But they’ll bring things to me – line combinations, who worked together. And what I think analytics do for me, as a coach, they provoke thought and they initiate good conversation.

“To be 100 percent honest with you, I think analytics are more a management tool, but it’s useful for a coach. But it’s not the way I coach. I coach by being right there. On the day-to-day, I’m with them. I’m having an interaction with the player. I know what’s going on between shifts. I know how the guys are when they come off the ice. I know who’s got their ‘A’ game. I know who’s struggling. And analytics can’t tell you that.

“So I coach by being there. By feeling it out. By talking to Roddie and Smithie. And then the analytics support either what we see, or they provoke thought and conversation.”

Source: Marek vs. Wyshynki, SiriusXMNHL/ Transcript: Nichols

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