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08-09-2012, 09:59 PM
Iain Fyffe
Hockey fact-checker
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fredericton, NB
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Originally Posted by alanschu View Post
What are your thoughts on players being "hot" or "cold?" Is it simply a pattern that is based on random chance?
Mostly, most likely, yes. Which is to say, it may appear to be a pattern, but it's not. As I said human brains are excellent pattern-detection tools, and are in fact so good at it that sometimes they invent patterns to see where none really are.

You do obviously have to consider things like the player's situational usage, minor injuries, fatigue and quality of teammates and opponents. But events in hockey are more context-dependant than in basketball, for example. Once you get a shot off in basketball, for the most part you just have to wait and see how good your aim and execution was. Take a shot in hockey, and you have to see if it gets by any defenders first, and then of course there's the goalie, who has a significant influence on the results of most shots. The more things beyond your control involved in the results, the more of a role variation plays.

If there is something to being hot and cold, then there needs to be something. The usual explanations are things like "things are just clicking" or "nothing is going his way", which have no real explanatory power. Those are based on results, not causes. If players get hot and cold, why do they do so, and if there is something making them hot, why can't they continue that instead of eventually becoming cold?

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