Skip to main content

Endorsements

Got any good books to recommend?

Greatest Hits from Working the Net:

Harlow Salon - one of the very best hair salons in Nashville TN.

What Makes NHL Teams Win?

As promised, here's a look at a few more extended statistics, and their relationship to the ultimate result - points in the standings for NHL teams*. Today's sheet combines the Hits information discussed yesterday with Giveaway and Takeaway data, along with a combination of the two that I am hereforth proclaiming to be Puck Possession Plus/Minus (don't worry, I don't think the term, or the stat, will last). I thought it might be interesting to subtract the number of Giveaways from a team's Takeaways total, to come up with a rough guide to their ability to seize control of the game. It turns out I was wrong, but I'll include it this one time, anyway.

So what do these numbers (again from the 2005-2006 Regular Season) tell us? Well, the most interesting result is that Giveaways seem to be positively (albeit very weakly) correlated to regular season points. That is, the more Giveaways a team had, the likelier they were to be high in the standings. Typically one would think of Giveaways as "bad" events, likely to cause a team to lose, and while that is certainly true, it is just as likely that a team that has possession of the puck more than the other team, will, over the course of time, also give it up more. After all, look at the Chicago Blackhawks - they had the least number of Giveaways in the NHL last year, but that's more likely a result of not having the puck in the first place very often. Unfortunately we don't have time-of-possession data to index this by, so we don't know the extent to which that argument holds.

Also of interest is the positive correlation between Takeaways and Regular Season Points, which is also positive and slightly stronger than the Giveaways relationship. This makes solid sense; taking the puck away from the other team should momentarily give that team an advantage, and in fact the three worst teams in the league last year (Chicago, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis) were all near the bottom of the Takeaway totals. By comparison, the top three Takeaway teams were Montreal, Colorado, and Atlanta, and all fought down to the wire to make the playoffs (Atlanta unsuccessfully), which perhaps is what fed their zeal to hound the puck.
And before you ask, no, there wasn't a significant correlation between Hits and Takeaways. There were plenty of teams that hit a lot but didn't take the puck (Toronto & Boston), some who took the puck without hitting (Colorado & Detroit), some who did both (Montreal & Dallas), and those who apparently just didn't go after their opponents' puck carriers (Buffalo and Florida).

*I realize it would be best to remove the effect of overtime losses and shootouts from this, and intend to do so in the near future. This is good enough for a start.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Hooray for PythagenPuck

Back in November, around the quarter-mark of the NHL regular season, I wrote a piece looking at Expected Winning Percentages for each team, based on their Goals For/Goals Against ratio, using the PythagenPuck method as outlined in Alan Ryder's "Win Probabilities" article over at Hockey Analytics. Since we're approaching the end of the campaign, I thought it worth revisiting the two assertions I made back in November - that the Ottawa Senators were capable of getting back into the playoff race, and that the Boston Bruins were in danger of a freefall to the bottom of the standings.

Just to review, the basic idea behind win probability models like PythagenPuck is that over the course of a season, the Goals For and Goals Against numbers can be used to derive a team's winning percentage, within a a surprisingly narrow margin of error. For instance, if you only had GF/GA information, you could make a very good stab at projecting what the standings would look like. The w…

Where are my tickets, Mr. Holland?

While working on a piece about the 10th anniversary of the great Colorado/Detroit game at Joe Louis Arena, I caught myself reflecting on some of the great games I've had the fortune of seeing in Detroit during the 1990's, through a variety of means. Then another thing came to mind - when I'm in attendance, the Red Wings win. I'm on a huge personal winning streak here, so perhaps the Red Wings front office would want to bolster their chances during the upcoming playoffs and make sure I'm in the house for those critical games? I can make myself available...

June 4, 1995: Detroit takes Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals from Chicago, 3-2 (although the Hawks put one of the goalpost as the final horn sounds). Wow, has it been that long since the Blackhawks achieved anything? Ticket courtesy of a college buddy who had a spare.

October 13, 1995: The Wings pummel the Edmonton Oilers in their home opener, 9-0. After the painful Finals sweep against New Jersey the…