Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Game theory?

In the 2005/06 season the home team won slightly more shootouts than the road team (75-70, 51.7%). By rule, when they alternated shooters, the home team always went last.

This season the rule was changed so that the home team could elect to shoot first. It appears that most teams do indeed elect to do so (3 of 4 last night, for example). The home team's record this season is 43-49 (46.7%).

Both numbers are close enough to 50% that the difference is probably just random, but clearly there is nothing from either season that would suggest, let alone prove, that it's an advantage to shoot first. Questions:
  1. Why do so many home teams choose to go first?
  2. Why did the NHL change the rule, anyway? Is there a story (or person) behind it?


You'd think individual teams would break down their own stats in these categories and determine the optimum strategy pretty quickly. Its one the few variables that coaching could have an impact on.

Why do so many home teams choose to go first?

Easier to win on a save than on a goal? Got me, otherwise.

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