It seems to me that it is given much more importance because it is cut and dry... you win or you lose. (at least in theory! as someone posted in this thread you can lose a faceoff and still be doing what you intended... You don't want Crosby to draw the faceoff directly to Letang for a shot with 5 seconds left in a period... your team doesn't gain possession but the faceoff goes to the corner not toward the point... you lose the faceoff but really win)
Anyway it is one stat in hockey that you can actually measure. Even takeaways and giveaways or hits are monsterously affected in the NHL.com stats by what arena you are in. Different arenas call a bump a hit or whatever. Faceoffs are so measurable... you end up talking about them. Since most things in hockey are not really measurable in statistics save actual goals and assists, the fact that faceoffs can be measured gives fans and media stuff to talk about, stuff to analyse.
I actually think faceoffs matter. Not over the terms of a season... but in terms of a period or a game. Most games end up with one team winning more faceoffs then the other... still generally no more then 55-45 or 60-40... but SOME games you can find a HUGE dispairity for a team or a player. Some games you might see say for example Spezza vs Malkin... on the ice for 15 faceoffs against each other and Spezza goes 13-2. It might not tell the story of the game but in a head to head matchup of line vs line the Senators would be getting a significant puck control advantage. Things like this do happen... it can help tell the story of a game. You could still have Malkin getting 2 goals and an assist and the Spezza line -2 on the game even if Spezza is owning Malkin on the faceoffs... it doesn't tell you the results of the game... but it could tell the story to a degree if the Malkin line is shut down... the Spezza line scores 2 goals... Malking line none. Sens win 3-1... the faceoffs Spezza won probably tell a small part of the story of that game.
Kinda rambling but my point is... in a game or a period the faceoff winning percentage of one centre vs another... helps to tell the story of which line is more dominant over the other in some cases. As a global stat faceoffs are not that important. In a small amount of time.. it is. It coudl lead to by the third period the Penguins getting a winger to take faceoffs vs Spezza instead of Malkin. Or changing strategy and trying to get Malkin's line away from the Spezza line as often as possible. So inside of a single game in a single matchup faceoffs have some significant importance IF there is a big disparity between two centres.
How much is a 4% advantage worth over the course of a year, given the sheer number of faceoffs that take place? If a team has 5,000 faceoffs, winning 52% means you'll win 200 more than your opponents over the course of the season. Is that negligible? Boston's at 55% this year - that's a pace of almost 500 more faceoff wins than losses. Is that insignificant?
Are you sure you really need an advantage of 1,500 faceoff wins a year for it to be significant?
You're also ignoring the situational nature of the faceoffs. Defensive/offensive zone numbers, for example.
Add neutral zone to the trifecta.
The one`s that are lost in the defensive zone are killers. See Michel Therrien and Bill Lindsay in OT. Basically cost Therrien the Montreal job.
Last edited by Canadiens1958: 02-21-2012 at 02:02 PM.