Monday, April 17, 2006

 

Yet another angle

Most of us hockey fans--especially those of us who might me interested in making small, legal wagers--take a look at not only the Standings as a whole, but some of the breakdowns, too. Home/Road, GF/GA, Last 10, Last 20, Record Against Playoff Teams, etc.: we all have our little prejudices about what's most important and what's less so.

I share Mirtle's uneasiness at picking teams who are in the doldrums as the season ends, but not enough to dismiss those teams. Most of all, momentum (or confidence, if you prefer) is terribly fleeting.

Take the Nashville v. San Jose series (please!). With the Sharks on fire and Vokoun hurt, everyone and their dog will be taking the Sharks to destroy the Preds. But consider this crazy, one-in-a-million possible event: Chris Mason plays well and Nashville wins Game 1. At that point, how much is San Jose's momentum worth? Yeah, you might well still favour them to win the series. But at that point in time, Nashville is up 1-0, knows they can win, and is heading into Game 2 at home. Are you willing then to stake much on the fact that San Jose's momentum will carry them to victory? I'm sure not.

What I am willing to do is throw out the first 20 games of the season. I think they're worth nothing besides the points earned. Most NHL teams are in a different dynamic now than they were in November, not to mention the roster turnover. Here's the NHL standings for games 21 thru 80 for each team.


I'm not saying this is worth a whole lot, if anything. But it actively excludes some data which, for all intents and purposes, is ancient history (unless you're a Thrashers fan). You could argue that looking at just the 2nd half would be even more illuminating, I suppose, but my own intuition (prejudice, whatever) tells me that the last 60 games gives a good picture of what a team actually is. They've all gone through good and bad stretches, as have the individual players.

So, if you want to play along with this premise, what do these numbers show us that isn't equally obvious from the full, overall standings?
Again, this is nothing earth-shattering, but just maybe it's a bit of extra information at the margin that will be useful in handicapping the playoffs.

Comments:

Not quite. The Oilers will be seventh and could finish sixth by this metric and the Flames will be fourth if Anaheim's lead holds up. I wonder what the goal differentials look like in the last 60 or 62 games...
 


Here's some stats for games 21-80 for the playoff-bound teams:

(Team, Win%, GF/gm, GA/gm, PP, PK)

WEST:
Det .758, 3.70, 2.55, 21.2%, 85.4%
Dal .700, 2.95, 2.47, 17.5%, 84.7%
Cgy .650, 2.68, 2.28, 19.8%, 85.8%
Ana .650, 3.18, 2.62, 18.9%, 84.2%
SJ .642, 3.47, 2.75, 19.9%, 80.8%
Nsh .592, 3.05, 2.78, 18.0%, 84.2%
Col .583, 3.27, 3.00, 19.0%, 83.7%
Edm .583, 3.07, 3.00, 18.9%, 84.5%

EAST:
Buf .700, 3.32, 2.75, 20.8%, 87.7%
Car .683, 3.55, 3.22, 18.2%, 83.0%
NJ .642, 2.73, 2.50, 16.7%, 80.0%
Ott .642, 3.53, 2.60, 20.8%, 84.9%
NYR .625, 3.07, 2.58, 19.4%, 82.7%
Phi .600, 2.88, 2.93, 16.8%, 80.2%
TB .592, 3.03, 3.18, 18.0%, 80.5%
Mon .533, 2.87, 2.97, 19.3%, 80.9%
 


Detroit is impressive, yes, but don't you have to make some allowance for all the 'games' they got to play against the Axis of Ineptitude?
 


Detroit is impressive, yes, but don't you have to make some allowance for all the 'games' they got to play against the Axis of Ineptitude?

Here's the same stats for games 21-80 for the playoff-bound teams, excluding games vs. Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis:

(Team, Win%, GF/gm, GA/gm, PP, PK)

WEST:
Det .716, 3.61, 2.59, 23.9%, 82.9%
Cgy .660, 2.66, 2.28, 19.8%, 85.0%
Dal .657, 2.75, 2.51, 16.3%, 84.2%
Ana .625, 3.19, 2.71, 20.6%, 83.5%
SJ .623, 3.43, 2.83, 20.5%, 81.2%
Edm .606, 3.10, 3.04, 18.5%, 84.5%
Nsh .512, 2.71, 3.10, 16.0%, 81.5%
Col .510, 3.31, 3.33, 18.2%, 82.8%

EAST:
Buf .700, 3.32, 2.75, 20.8%, 87.7%
Car .667, 3.54, 3.28, 18.3%, 83.0%
Ott .642, 3.53, 2.60, 20.8%, 84.9%
NJ .632, 2.72, 2.49, 16.4%, 80.2%
NYR .632, 3.07, 2.54, 20.3%, 82.9%
Phi .579, 2.81, 3.00, 17.2%, 79.9%
TB .570, 3.00, 3.21, 18.3%, 80.4%
Mon .533, 2.87, 2.97, 19.3%, 80.9%
 


Hey, that's some good work earl.
 

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