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08-08-2012, 01:21 PM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Due to a comment in a recent thread in the History forum, I dug into the correlation between a team's success in the standings and its net man-advantage situations. See my blog post here.

Any thoughts?
There are two reasons for a positive correlation:

A) the stronger teams should be creating more even strength advantages, which cause more penalties by the opponent, and therefore more net power plays

B) the teams with more net PPs should directly benefit by scoring more net goals and therefore appear stronger

The negative correlations are much more blatant evidence of something unusual at work than the positive correlations are of nothing unusual. You know my view: the NHL wanted to make the weaker teams more competitive, which will keep the fans more interested and generate more revenue. One might term this the "there's no business like show business" theory.

The only reason for a negative correlation which comes to mind is as follows. A stronger team may at times choose to commit a penalty to prevent a likely scoring chance by a much weaker team, knowing that the weaker team will often be much less likely to be able to take advantage on the power play (esp. against a strong team). Given that any team will often commit a penalty to avoid such a likely scoring chance, and that even the best teams don't convert more than ~1/4 of their power plays (and only the very strongest historically achieve that), it doesn't seem like that should be too much of a factor. Combined with the much stronger reasons for a positive correlation, the evidence is overwhelming that the correlation should be positive.

Given the evidence you've already presented, what would be helpful is to see net power plays vs. ES GF/GA ratio or differential. This both removes the direct influence of the power plays themselves and gives a more direct indicator of how strong the team was at ES (and so more directly measures how likely they should be to create ES advantages which necessitate penalties by their opponents).

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