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08-07-2012, 05:55 AM
Czech Your Math
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It seems that weaker teams often receive more power plays than their opponents, at least in some seasons. Does anyone dispute this? Has anyone done a correlation study between team quality and net power play opportunities? I would probably use ES (GF-GA) as an indicator of team quality, to filter out the effects of the power plays themselves.

It seems to defy common sense that a weaker team would get more power plays than their opponents, because A) stronger teams should create more mismatches/advantages which necessitate penalties by the opposing team, and B) having more net power plays should make a team stronger by improving their GF/GA ratio and therefore win%.

My theory is that the NHL helps weaker teams to stay competitive by giving them more power plays, although I'm not sure when this started and how true it still is. I would guess as the league has become more balanced, that the disparity in power plays has largely or perhaps completely disappeared. Does anyone have any other theories as to why this would be? The only other one I can come up with is that weaker teams are less of a threat on the power play, so their opponents may have less incentive to avoid penalties. However, I don't believe this would explain the massive disparity in net power plays in some years.

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