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Cap Friendly and data source alternatives


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Hey folks,

I don't know if you've heard, but apparently the Washington Capitals have bought Cap Friendly, and it is to be made inaccessible to the public in early July this year. https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/capitals-reach-agreement-to-purchase-capfriendly-website/

Last year I was heavily reliant Cap Friendly, for up-to-date Team Rosters, Player Numbers, and Player Positions that indicate the full range of positions a player plays, such as LD/RD, LW/C, etc. I also used it as my backup data source for Player Weights. The site is easily scrapable with a browser plugin, so I could download up-to-date accurate data quickly.
 

I need to find an alternative, or a combination of alternatives. Here is what I need:

  1. Comprehensive Player Positions, indicating all the positions a player plays, including which side(s) they play on defence.
     
  2. Up-to-date Player Numbers.
     
  3. Up-to-date Rosters. (lots of places have this, so while it is critical, it is likely that a source that provides either #1 or #2 will include this.)

And I need it in a table format that I can either download, or scrape.

 

Here is what I am currently using for data.

 

Does anyone have any URL(s) that they can recommend that I can use to replace my CapFriendly usage? I've not been able to get puckpedia to work for me, but perhaps I'm doing it wrong. Any and all suggestions appreciated.

cheers,

-Adam

Edited by AdamCatalyst
clarifications
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2 hours ago, jer_33 said:

I've used hockeyreference.com for jersey numbers (historic too).

Thanks! I checked it out. They seem comprehensive enough, but the format leaves a lot to be desired. https://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_2024_numbers.html

Do you know of any way to access this data as a more traditional table? I can't figure out how to scrape or format the data in a useful manner.

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I've been more of an eliteprospects kind of guy, but then they tend to be better than any of those other sites at having non-NHL player data. Although admittedly, they aren't a one-stop-shop as some of their data is not always as complete as one would like.

Also, if pardon may be begged, this isn't really my wheelhouse, but this was the first thing that came to my mind today.

The Caps bought Cap Friendly and are putting it behind a paywall? Seems those Caps... aren't being very friendly.
yeah-csi-miami.gif

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, von Ozbourne said:

The Caps bought Cap Friendly and are putting it behind a paywall? Seems those Caps... aren't being very friendly.

Your post has been declared a crime-scene, on suspicion of punning in the lowest degree.

I can't seem to find an EliteProspects table with Defenseman's preferred sides and Jersey Numbers. If you know of one, please do share it. If you are found guilty of a crime, I have no doubt that this might endear leniency from the judge during sentencing.

Edited by AdamCatalyst
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Regarding the jersey numbers on Hockey Reference, I don't think it would be difficult to parse the HTML to produce a proper table of player names, teams, and jersey numbers for a given season.

I'm sure that rosters can be found in a bunch of locations, as you said, so it would be down to which source seems like the best one, and then scraping that. NHL.com appears to use Javascript to download the rosters after the page is loaded, so not sure if that can be scraped easily. If the roster data on Hockey Reference for each team is suitable, then I would just go with that because it's in a nice, clean format, and they offer CSV downloads (or a script could just grab all of the rosters at once.) Those rosters list all forwards as F, so I guess you would have to scrape the Scoring table below in order to grab C/LW/RW for each player shown in the roster. I don't see anything about LD or RD anywhere, though.

How frequently would you be looking to scrape data?

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13 hours ago, AdamCatalyst said:

EliteProspects table with Defenseman's preferred sides and Jersey Numbers.

Jersey numbers? <quick check> Ah. yes, they defaulted to 2024/25 already. I set it to 2023/24 and the player numbers were listed. The thing with that site is that you have to select each team individually and they don't always have complete data on everything. On the data side, they format it weird, so basically I have to copy the table and paste it into a spreadsheet with html formatting, then convert it to default formatting and delete the team icons. And un-merge the joined cells.  ...Yeah the site used to be formatted more usefully until a couple years ago.
The lack of right or left defence is a drawback though.

Supposedly leftwinglock.com is good for getting line combos and game sheet type stuff, but it requires you to register to use the site. No idea if this registration is also a paywall thing though because I just couldn't be asked to do it.

I hope this information is good enough to satisfy a plea bargain. Although I am curious if I should be let off with a warning as clearly by whipping out a 20 year old reference, I have illustrated that I am simply out of touch and not a threat to society or myself.

Edited by von Ozbourne
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Posted (edited)
On 6/12/2024 at 1:38 PM, Tickenest said:

Regarding the jersey numbers on Hockey Reference, I don't think it would be difficult to parse the HTML to produce a proper table of player names, teams, and jersey numbers for a given season.

I'm sure that rosters can be found in a bunch of locations, as you said, so it would be down to which source seems like the best one, and then scraping that. NHL.com appears to use Javascript to download the rosters after the page is loaded, so not sure if that can be scraped easily. If the roster data on Hockey Reference for each team is suitable, then I would just go with that because it's in a nice, clean format, and they offer CSV downloads (or a script could just grab all of the rosters at once.) Those rosters list all forwards as F, so I guess you would have to scrape the Scoring table below in order to grab C/LW/RW for each player shown in the roster. I don't see anything about LD or RD anywhere, though.

How frequently would you be looking to scrape data?

EDIT: I'm sure it is trivially easy for some, but I'm not the most tech savvy guy I'll see if I can figure it out. I was looking at the jersey # only page! Very easy to scrape from the individual rosters.

I do know how to scrape NHL.com, but last season they kept their rosters to only include players currently playing with the main club. I need to go deeper down the depth chart, including potential call-ups.

Hockey Reference looks good! Assuming they keep it as up-to-date as I imagine, using them for rosters and numbers will be trivially easy. Thanks!

To answer your question, in previous years I've needed to scrape data once a month for updates, and a bunch of times around the start of the season and the trade deadline.

It looks like finding the more advanced data on position / side is the most vexing thing right now.

Edited by AdamCatalyst
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17 hours ago, von Ozbourne said:

I hope this information is good enough to satisfy a plea bargain. Although I am curious if I should be let off with a warning as clearly by whipping out a 20 year old reference, I have illustrated that I am simply out of touch and not a threat to society or myself.

I must be doing something wrong. No jersey numbers for me. Can you send me a link to a page with jersey numbers, so I can rule out that I am looking at the wrong URL?

Yeah, leftwinglock is great for line combos!

As far as visual formatting, I don't really care, I just want it to scrape well with browser tools. Right now this is my absolute favourite: https://www.georgemike.com/tablecapture/ For me personally, it is worth the $10 a year alone for it to be able to scrape the NHL.com player stats, one dynamic loading page at a time, and then hand me a perfectly merged spreadsheet.

As for the aforementioned legal matter, I don't see how that would provide the court any assurance that you would not inflict such a low-brow pun again. But considering this is Canada, you will probably wait an inordinate amount of time in administrative limbo, then abruptly find out that the charges have been dismissed. I wouldn't pay it another thought.

 

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7 hours ago, AdamCatalyst said:

I must be doing something wrong. No jersey numbers for me. Can you send me a link to a page with jersey numbers, so I can rule out that I am looking at the wrong URL?

https://www.eliteprospects.com/team/9966/winnipeg-jets/2023-2024

Default 2024/25 year does not have all player numbers listed yet, but last year[?] does. I guess maybe you need to check all the tabs?
The Roster tab has just the bio info. Number, name, age home town, height, weight, handedness.
Stats tab only has the name and stats.
There is a Depth Chart tab and an In The System tab for minor leaguers, but you basically have to check each player individually to get any of their info.
Lines tab just links to a popup of Daily Faceoff, which I guess is better than nothing.

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Thanks @von Ozbourne. Yes, I wasn't adjusting the season. I appreciate you clarifying. So I've got Rosters and Player Numbers covered a couple different ways. If anyone knows a site that provides player positions mentioning all the positions a player plays, as well as the sides that they play on, such as Max Domi (C/RW), TJ Brodie (LD/RD), Morgan Reilly (LD), please let me know!

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I would second Left Wing Lock for positional data although not sure how scrapable it is. Also a good source for info on who players are most often on ice with. I'm pretty sure that I'm not paying for a subscription and my login still works after all these years.

Running through my bookmarks I noticed another old gem is gone if you ever used pick224.com. It was a great resource for COMPLETE stats from European, NCAA and junior leagues all the way back to 2008. Going to miss that one.

@AdamCatalyst wish they would have had that tool earlier. I spent countless hours manually transcribing numbers from Edge...

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11 hours ago, Jkline3 said:

I would second Left Wing Lock for positional data although not sure how scrapable it is.

Many of us reference the same sites, but I wonder, am I looking at the same pages as you? Is there another way of using it? I should ask everyone, please share a specific URL. 

I found that the EA HUT Card data does indicate defencemen side, so I could use that for defence at least, although I'd prefer a more authoritative source. https://nhlhutbuilder.com/player-stats.php

I'm going to write a post on how I scrape data, etc., with the hope that it saves someone some time. I just don't know when I'll have time to write that post right now.

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OH! I see it now. That's the most useful position stat I've ever seen. I just wish it were in a single table, or otherwise scrapable. Still, this is useful, thanks!

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49 minutes ago, AdamCatalyst said:

OH! I see it now. That's the most useful position stat I've ever seen. I just wish it were in a single table, or otherwise scrapable. Still, this is useful, thanks!

I use a site for more of the historical nature, and its called SIHR. Im acquiring all the details from every season and every players stats, jersey numbers, etc. I can share this if you like.

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Oh interesting! Never heard of that one before, just took a look around. If you were willing to share, I'd love a peak at their data offering. I have no problem paying them if it solves issues for me, I just want to see what is offered first.

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I'm also a SIHR member. Annual dues are $30 give or take. If your focus is on the NHL you likely won't find anything that you can't get elsewhere.

If you're looking for stuff like the 1910 Northern Saskatchewan Hockey League you'll find things that are not publicly available anywhere else. Definitely geared towards the more obscure but lots of interesting resources there.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I recall hearing several people mentioning that the Capitals could just keep it going as a pay-per-view website, I actually didn't really use the site so I didn't think about this until the Hockey Guy pointed out that the site used what could be considered "proprietary information" about the other 31 teams, so selling access to peasants could get the Caps into a lot of trouble.

I also recently heard an interview with Craig Conroy on the matter where he basically admitted that they used it for some features, but they had already been developing an internal tool that wasn't publicly accessible as well. Didn't mention specifics, but he did say that they had some features that they liked better with CapFriendly and were looking to import them into their internal tool.

Back to Hockey Guy though, he pointed out how this is kind of part of the NHL's current attempt to pull the wizard's curtain closed again. Fans know too much about the business. We should just stop worrying and learn to love the game. Like ignorant kids who don't question how the league made a few billion in profit, but I should still be prepared to follow the three month's salary guideline for buying season tickets. And then make a few prop bets while downing my beer and popcorn at an 800% markup.

Oh well.

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PuckPedia.com seems to have taken over as the replacement for Cap Friendly. They've massively upgraded the site since the news broke and have even brought on several former CF people, including the guy in charge of maintaining rosters/depth charts.

Still a bit of a work in process, IMO, but what they've done in the past month or so is pretty impressive.

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10 hours ago, von Ozbourne said:

I recall hearing several people mentioning that the Capitals could just keep it going as a pay-per-view website…

With all due respect to those people, in my experience that makes little sense. When a company buys a website like that (highly successful with limited appeal & limited monetization potential), it is usually because they (a) need to protect themselves from a potential IP infringement, (b) want to aquire new IP, (c) want to acquire back-end infrastructure, (d) want to acquire skilled staff, or some combination thereof. They did the math, and this was quicker and cheaper than their internal infrastructure plans. The front-end of the CapFriendly website was almost certainly worth very little compared to the back-end. I'd wager money that (d) was seriously important to them.

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13 hours ago, AdamCatalyst said:

The front-end of the CapFriendly website was almost certainly worth very little compared to the back-end.

Oh yeah. Going by the Conroy statement, I'd say (c) was their motivation. To be honest, I'm not ever sure that the previous owners/administrators would be kept on for much longer than the time required to give an internal guy the design doc on how the systems worked.

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8 hours ago, von Ozbourne said:

Oh yeah. Going by the Conroy statement, I'd say (c) was their motivation. To be honest, I'm not ever sure that the previous owners/administrators would be kept on for much longer than the time required to give an internal guy the design doc on how the systems worked.

I'd bet money that at least one person, if not more, will be working for the Caps for awhile. Systems will be adapted and redeveloped to be less of a looking glass, and more of a strategic analytic tool. They don't need the design doc on how the systems worked as much as they need the system to be constantly re-worked for them and give them a competitive advantage. And my guess is that some key parts of the system were never fully automated, and relied on some human intelligence.

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13 hours ago, AdamCatalyst said:

I'd bet money that at least one person, if not more, will be working for the Caps for awhile.

Rather than going on cynical conjecture, [there is a big story out of Edmonton about how AI integration is going to enable the termination of about 1500 jobs with Turbo Tax which may have influenced my assumption], I decided to actually read up on this [crazy!] and apparently you are correct. The three Davis [brothers?] are going to be brought on to help run their platform. Beyond that the public information was slim, but good for them.

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