Social Icons

twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail


Hockey Challenge 2014

Recent Articles


Power Plays and Winning %, a chance for me to Nerd Out!

A comment from the previous game recap got me thinking about something.  The comment related to the fact that Seattle cannot afford to continue giving up Power Play chances to these good teams and expect to win.

Of course, this makes sense. The more chances you give a team like Portland to score with the man advantage the more dangerous they are going to be. Pretty simple hockey there.

That led me to looking at the fact that Seattle has only had 65 PP chances compared to 79 they have given to their opposition. This represents the 2nd worst mark in the league ahead of only Kamloops who have a putrid 62 PPF and 97 SHA (yikes).

So I began to wonder whether these things were correlated to winning. Do teams that maintain a poor ratio wind up losing in the long run and vice versa do teams with high ratio's tend to be the better teams.

Let's take a look at the current season first.

Translation: So far in 2013-14 the ratio of your PP chances to the number you surrender just doesn't seem to matter. On one end you have Kamloops (bad), Seattle (good) and Calgary (good) and on the other side we have Kelowna (good), Med Hat (good) and in 5th we have Brandon (under .500).

Teams are only about 16 games into the season so we really have a sample size that is too small. Let's look at previous years.


Translation: Wow... I did not expect this. In 2012-13 it really did not matter whether you netted more Power Plays than you gave up. In fact, the correlation is slightly negative. Generally speaking the better your ratio the lower your winning % was.

In fact, the number of Power Play chances you had mattered very little as well. Teams like Portland had a bundle of chances and a good record while the Kelowna rockets had a fantastic record and finished below average for chances.

Short Handed chances seemed to matter just a tad bit more and had a slightly stronger correlation but I wouldn't call it significant. Calgary gave up the most chances in the league last year by far at 367 (next closest was Saskatoon at 334) and both teams had winning percentages above .650 while Prince George surrendered the 2nd fewest chances at 260 and they were still terrible with a win percentage of .347.

Some people will hate this because they don't subscribe to statistical analysis but there just doesn't seem to be much evidence to support the theory that special teams matter very much.  They might matter a little bit but the evidence would suggest that it doesn't matter as much as we may have thought.

What does matter? File this one under the "Captain Obvious" category but the teams that score more goals and keep the puck out of their own net more often have better winning percentages. Hockey is a very complicated game but at its most simplistic level you have to score and you have to play defense.


Erica said...

Good god, Tyler. Math hurts my brain.

Thunnex said...

Well that's why I gave you the text explanation as well!!

Anonymous said...

Now go back and look at those teams that weren't affected by giving up more penalties and see what their PK% was. We'll wait....

Thunnex said...

I can't completely tell if you're being a smartass or not but I think you managed to completely miss the point.

So... I'll explain it again for you.

We aren't making a correlation between having an effective PK% and winning percentage, we're simply saying that giving up more didn't have an effect on winning percentage.

I will indulge you though and give it to you.

Calgary gave up the most chances and had an average PK unit at 9th overall and 81.5%

Saskatoon gave up the 2nd most and had a great PK unit at 3rd overall and 84.7%.

Lethbridge gave up the 3rd most chances and had a terrible PK at 18th overall and 76.6%.

So I'd ask what point you're trying to make because I felt like I made mine pretty clear.

Erica said...

Hockeyfights just posted the fights from Tues. That Yak hit looked pretty shoulder-to-shoulder from the angle in the me, anyways.

And reading about math is worse than actually doing math. :p

Dee Klem said...

So what happens if you actually remove the power play goals (for and against) as opposed to using PK, PP %s Not sure how complicated that is -- but even just for TBirds -- take out all PP goals for and against -- how does that swing the games?

I don't like math any more than Erika but seems like that is where the meat of the argument would be. It boils down to points.....

Anonymous said...

All that matters to me is winning the Memorial Cup.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree that the Yak hit was pretty much shoulder to shoulder. Hopefully the league takes a look at that before they decide to suspend him.

Thunnex said...

Dee... Tbirds are +10 on the PP (12 goals, 2 SH against) and -14 on the kill (15 against, 1 SH scored).

They're +11 overall and they are a net -4 on special teams. That would put them around +15 in 5 on 5 situations (spit-balling it I didn't check).

Not a huge difference either way so far.

WHL Scoreboard