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Are Giveaways and Takeaways Accurate Statistics?

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By now I think you have noticed that we are committed to bringing you more Buffalo Sabres statistical analysis than we have in the past.  It's just another thing that is made possible because of the great tools that SB Nation gives us as well as the quality hockey blogs that are part of the SB Nation family helping us out.  We will give you as much statistical information as we can but if you are a stat geek like I am, make sure to visit Behind the Net for your fix.

One of the NHL stats that I have been wondering about lately is the giveaway/takeaway stats.  Many of you already know that we nicknamed Toni Lydman "Toni Turnover" (original huh?) last season.  The funny thing is that the raw numbers don't really back that up the way I thought they would.  Sure he was third on the team with turnovers but I would have thought he averaged more than one per game.

In actuality, these stats are very difficult to track because they vary from rink to rink.  Unlike goals and assists, giveaways and takeaways are not a clear cut stat.  Unfortunately different people will see things differently and therefore the numbers won't be accurate.

The first thing we need to do when determining a giveaway or a takeaway, is to know what we are looking for.  Surely the NHL must have a definition of what is a giveaway and a takeaway.
  • Takeaway -  By definition a takeaway occurs when pressure from the defending team results in a defending player gaining possession of the puck. 
  • Giveaway - A giveaway is when a players own actions result in a loss of possession to the opposing team.

Now that we know the definition of a giveaway and takeaway we can take a loo at the Sabres stats through four games.  Keep in mind the Sabres have played three games at home and one game on the road so far.

 

Opponent Takeaways Giveaways
vs Montreal 9 9
vs Phoenix 2 7
@ Nashville 10 5
vs Detroit 4 13

 

It's only been four games so it's difficult to find a trend developing but isn't it odd that the Sabres have more giveaways than takeaways in two out of their three home games?  As the numbers show the Sabres have 34 giveaways and 25 takeaways through four games.  At home it is 29 giveaways to 15 takeaways.  I have no idea if these numbers are anywhere near accurate and I'm guessing you don't either.  I would definitely like to know.

For argument sake I have added the individual stats for giveaways and takeaways...

 

 

# Player Pos Giveaway Takeaway
4 Steve Montador D 2 0
5 Toni Lydman D 1 0
9 Derek Roy C 2 1
10 Henrik Tallinder D 1 1
13 Tim Kennedy C 0 3
19 Tim Connolly C 3 2
21 Drew Stafford RW 1 2
25 Mike Grier RW 0 1
26 Thomas Vanek LW 2 2
28 Paul Gaustad C 1 0
29 Jason Pominville RW 2 2
34 Chris Butler D 3 0
36 Patrick Kaleta RW 2 0
37 Matt Ellis C 2 0
41 Clarke MacArthur LW 0 3
44 Andrej Sekera D 4 2
52 Craig Rivet D 1 2
55 Jochen Hecht LW 1 4
57 Tyler Myers D 5 0

 

Once again, I have no idea if these are accurate stats but they are what is listed as official by the NHL.  I may be the only one that is curious but I want to know how accurate these statistics really are.  If you are as interested as I am, I could use your help.  I need you to count giveaways and takeaways in the next coming games and I will do the same.  I will post our findings and compare those numbers to the NHL official statistics and see how things work out.