Fixing the NHL’s wonky hit statistics

Jonathan Willis
June 06 2012 08:44AM

Taking the NHL’s official real time statistics at face value, we come across some astonishing things. For instance, the Chicago Blackhawks are more than 50% more physical on the road than at home. Perhaps they’re showing off for the home fans, but a more likely explanation is that the home scorer is more generous counting hits than road scorers are (this seems especially plausible given that home scorers dramatically over count both giveaways and takeaways for the home side as well).

How do we make the data usable?

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Burying Nino Niederreiter

Josh L.
June 05 2012 12:00PM



The internet can be a cruel place. Nino Niederreiter had a bad season. In fact, it was historically unproductive. A quick Google search is probably all you need to see to realize how down casual observers are on Nino.

The second suggested search is "nino niederreiter bust". The former top ten pick played ten minutes a night on a bad team for 55 games and notched one solitary goal to go with exactly zero assists. It's early to call him a bust. As bad as his season was there is still plenty of reason for optimism going forward. Just how bad was his season though?

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Can the New Jersey Devils overcome their 0-2 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals?

Jonathan Willis
June 04 2012 04:16PM

The New Jersey Devils are in real trouble.

According to, on 44 occasions a team has won both the first and second games of the Stanley Cup Finals. Forty-one times, the team with that 2-0 advantage in the Finals goes on to win the Stanley Cup – a 93.2 percent success rate.

Can they manage the comeback?

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Cutting corners: don't spend money on goalies

Cam Charron
June 04 2012 08:33AM


The average playoff team this past season won 45.8 games and earned a team overall even strength save percentage of .921.

The average non-playoff team won just 35.5 games, probably because they only got .914 goaltending.

Obviously, goaltending is the absolute equalizer in hockey, and average teams ought to pay more for it to become "good" teams. Toronto, Columbus, Edmonton, Winnipeg, all ought to make finding the right goaltender a #1 priority this offseason and take a step forward?

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Percentages vs. Timing

Jonathan Willis
June 03 2012 02:37PM

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; own work produced by Resolute.

One of the most frequent counterarguments to any percentage statistic – whether it be special teams’ effectiveness, save percentage, or something else – is the notion that overall percentage matters less than careful timing.

It’s an inane argument.

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