SAP-NHL Coaching Insights app impacts version 3.0
Take Connor mcdavid, the NHL’s top scorer with 84 points (28 goals, 56 assists) in 47 games. Edmonton Oilers coach Dave Tippett wants to play center as much as possible, but has to manage his ice time to keep him cool.
Tippett no longer has to guess on the bench or wait for numbers between periods.
“I’m just going to say, ‘Where’s Connor?’ “Tippett said.
An assistant can tap their iPad Pro and give Tippett instant, accurate data from the app, such as how much McDavid played during the game or how much he rested in real time from that second.
When the Oilers played for the Winnipeg Jets on April 17, McDavid skated 8:55 in the first period, a significant sum. But Tippett didn’t feel he was overworking him, as he managed his shifts around TV downtime and could follow everything.
âI knew exactly where he was,â Tippett said.
McDavid had an assist in the second period and another in the third in a 3-0 victory. Total ice time: 24:38.
He leads the NHL forwards in average ice time (22:39) and all NHL skaters in points by 60 minutes 5 to 5 (3.36) among players playing 10 or more games.
“Useful information is available faster so it can have more impact,” Tippett said.
The NHL has been exploring, developing and incorporating innovative technology to improve the game for years, working with leading companies like SAP and Apple.
The League put the iPad Pro on the bench at the start of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, offering in-game video. It launched the SAP-NHL Coaching Insights app for iPad in early 2019, offering more than 140 real-time statistics that teams could filter and customize.
When the 2019-20 season was cut short due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, the NHL held a video conference with each of the 31 coaching staff.
âGetting feedback from coaches is always a top priority for us,â said Chris Foster, senior director of digital business development for the NHL. “â¦ We want them to use [the app]. We want it to be an added value. “
Each workshop consisted of five to seven team members and lasted at least one hour. Some lasted two hours.
Some of the biggest names in the game were involved, including Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville, who had 957 regular season wins, second behind Scotty Bowman (1,244); 119 Stanley Cup playoff wins, third behind Bowman (223) and Al Arbor (123); and three Stanley Cup Championships.
âHe asked some great questions,â said Brant Berglund, senior director of coaching and applications for the NHL. “He made sure he was basically aware of what was in the app because he was going to delegate responsibility for it.” Hey, it’s really good here. It would be nice if we could stay on top of that to follow up on this. ‘ “
The feedback has led to a variety of new features in version 3.0 of the app this season.
Previously, each team had access to two iPad Pros in the arena on match day. But the game day was so hectic that the coaches didn’t have enough time to explore all the layers of the app, and they wanted to use it between matches in preparation. Now each team has unlimited access to two iPad Pros and match-day access to two more.
Oilers video coach Jeremy Coupal said unrestricted access was the No.1 change. If the coaches want to dig something, they have more time to do it. The application also allows them to review all the matches of the season and filter the statistics in an additional way.
âI like to play with it,â Coupal said. “The data changes, doesn’t it? So you read a new book every time, from game to game.”
Previously, the app contained detailed faceoff information: wins, losses, and percentages that coaches could filter based on individual matchups, hand, situation, and location. But the coaches wanted it all on one page.
âWe really just listened to the need and then we tried to make the experience wrap around the need,â Berglund said. ââ¦ You can really hit anything in here, and in less than 10 seconds you could figure out, ‘This cross is coming out, and we want the face-off to be on the left side of the ice.’ “
The information can be particularly useful late in the game, when there is a large enough sample size of that game to draw from, and during a delay before a key face-off, when coaches have a few extra seconds. to digest the information.
âI can recover this data,â Tippett said. “‘OK I have [left-handed center Leon] Draisaitl on the left. Where is he with the right-hander on the right? â¦ You must have an idea of ââwhat is going on. It is not at all an event every time. But there may be situations where it becomes critical, say, whether I use a left-handed or a right-handed person on the face-off. “
The app now features “Game Pulse,” a timeline chart that shows momentum fluctuations in a game by plotting customizable team fire data.
For example, coaches can define the “home plate” based on what they consider to be the high risk area in front of the net, typically the shape of the home plate in baseball. They can see each team’s shot attempt percentages in these areas as they move up and down during the match.
Tippett watches “Game Pulse” after games.
âSometimes it’s crazy,â he says. âYou think, ‘Well, we were playing badly’, then you look at this, and you think, ‘You know, I think it’s all right.’ Other times you think you’re playing well, and all of a sudden you look at this and say, âWe weren’t as good as I thought we were. “
The NHL has installed Puck and Player Tracking in each of its 31 arenas this season.
The NHL detected a manufacturing issue on the outer layer of the follow-up puck during opening week and removed it. The puck is being tested and the NHL is hoping it will return this season. When puck tracking is fully operational, the app displays the puck zone time and âVirtual Replay,â a dynamic whiteboard that displays the puck and players as animated graphics.
Player tracking has been fully operational all season, with players wearing sensors in their jerseys. It provided coaches with player speed including distance traveled, 5v5 average speed, and 5v5 maximum speed, but they still understand what the data means. For example, is distance skating a better indicator of workload than ice time?
âIt’s a whole new world,â Foster said. âThese are metrics that clubs haven’t used, and we’re only scratching the surface here. And so, from a League point of view, it’s, ‘Let’s bring this information to the clubs, let’s do it in a way that’s easy to digest. We’ll get the record. ‘ But how are they going to use it? That’s when it gets really interesting, and how we’re going to build on that. “
This is only version 3.0. Just wait for version 4.0 and beyond.