View Single Post
07-31-2012, 08:59 PM
Iain Fyffe
Hockey fact-checker
Iain Fyffe's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fredericton, NB
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,509
vCash: 500
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
2) The tendency to dismiss every effect that can't be easily explained statistically as "luck." The easiest example I can think of is the commonly used blanket statement that any increase or decrease in playoff performance is due to random variation. This would make sense of players were simply machines driven by probability engines, but completely ignores the psychological difference between the playoffs and the regular season both in terms of pressure and in terms of playing the same opponent over and over again.
The problem here is that you have made a blanket statement yourself (by claiming that analysts make that blanket statement), and also rely upon a truism (the playoffs are "different" in a meaningful way). What you're probably missing is the amount of analysis that has gone into a question like that, which reveals the strong effect that variance has on the playoffs.

If there are real differences in these players, it should be persistent and repeatable. And yet, clutch players one year often disappear the next, and "playoff" teams fail to repeat their performance.

Luck is never the only factor. But it's a biggie, the fewer games you play. That some teams perform differently in the playoffs being used as evidence that the playoffs are different is circular reasoning, and normal variance explains it just as well without begging the question.

Iain Fyffe is offline   Reply With Quote