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DFA's Monthly Stat Analysis: Overtime Losses

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01-09-2004, 11:45 AM
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David A. Rainer
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DFA's Monthly Stat Analysis: Overtime Losses

I originally posted this on the Kings board and got a lot of interesting ideas for changing the overtime rules. Thought I would post this here to see if we can come up with some more ideas.

Has the rule change that awards a point for overtime losses been consistent with it's proffered purpose?

The 1998-99 season saw a record total number of games ending in tie and a record percentage of games ending in a tie. To loosen the gridlock of ties, the league instituted the rule that awards a point for an overtime loss. As I understood it, there were two primary purposes for this rule change that was proffered by the NHL:

1.) To end the preceived fan dissatisfaction with ending a game in a tie; and
2.) To open up the overtime game by guaranteeing a point irregardless of the OT outcome.

Unfortunately, the 4-on-4 rule change was made the same offseason, so it has been difficult to prove whether or not the guaranteed point has in any way affected rationale #2. However, I would like to see if it has affected rationale #1. I offer the following stats as evidence:

1998-99 Season (the season before the rule change)
Number of games ending in a tie: 180 (actual number is 162 but there were less games played because of fewer teams, so I standardized this number to make it consistent with a 30 team league)
Percentage of games ending in tie: .146

1999-00 Season
Number of games that went to OT: 284 (standardized)
Number of games ending in a tie: 162 (again, standardized)
Percentage of games that went to OT and remained tied: .570
Percentage of total games that ended in a tie: .115
Note: clearly, the number of ties went down from the previous year - from 14.6% of total games to 11.5%

2000-01 Season
Number of games that went to OT: 274
Number of games ending in a tie: 152
Percentage of games that went to OT and remained tied: .555
Percentage of total games that ended in a tie: .111
Note: again, the % of games ending in a tie went down - 11.5% to 11.1%. Also, a higher % of games were won in OT that the previous year - 43.0% to 44.5%.

2001-02 Season
Number of games that went to OT: 266
Number of games ending in a tie: 149
Percentage of games that went to OT and remained tied: .560
Percentage of total games that ended in a tie: .108
Note: the % of games ending in a tie went down even further - 11.1% to 10.8%. So far, the rule change appears to be reducing the number of ties.

2002-03 Season
Number of games that went to OT: 313
Number of games ending in a tie: 157
Percentage of games that went to OT and remained tied: .502
Percentage of total games that ended in a tie: .127
Note: at this point, the number of ties begins to increase again - 10.8% to 12.7%. More and more games are ending tied. However, the % of games being won in OT has also increased - 44% to 49.8%. So, more games than ever going to OT, more ending in ties, and more being won in OT. This suggests that teams are playing conservative in the third period in hopes of reaching the guaranteed point of OT.

2003-04 Season
Number of games that went to OT: 331 (on pace for)
Number of games ending in a tie: 197 (on pace for)
Percentage of games that went to OT and remained tied: .595
Percentage of total games that ended in a tie: .160
Note: at this point, the league is on pace for even more ties than before the rule change. The NHL is on pace for a record number of games going to overtime (331) and a record number of games ending in a tie (197). Also, the percentage of overtime wins has decreased dramatically - 49.8% to 40.5%. And the percentage of games ending in a tie is well passed the percentage prior to the rule change - 14.6% to 16%.

So I ask: has the rule change actually accomplished what it had set out to do?

Thoughts?

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01-09-2004, 12:13 PM
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Douggy
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Nice work. The NHL needs to stop rewarding teams that go to over time. And when they get to over time, there needs to be less of a reward for a tie...

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01-09-2004, 02:08 PM
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PecaFan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathFromAbove
So I ask: has the rule change actually accomplished what it had set out to do?
Well, as your own numbers proved, of course it did, four straight years. The last year and a half have been different, but who knows what happens next year or the year after?

One must always be careful of making changes just because of normal statistical variation. And the same goes for making changes without understanding what effect it would have. It blew my mind when the NHL made the neutral zone smaller thinking it would lead to more offence, when it was clear to me the opposite would happen.

One suggestion, I'd break those numbers down for every year into conference and interconference games. Conference games are supposedly tighter, since giving up that extra point has higher import. And with there being more conference games now than before, that would suggest one reason for the rise in ties.

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01-10-2004, 06:58 AM
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Looger
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one thing that bugged me aboot the 98-99 season:

edmonton made the playoffs with 25 wins.

anaheim missed the playoffs with 32 wins (or so).

this is the most extreme case i remember when OTL's affected standings, but man did that pi$$ me off. not to mention what anaheim thought of it!

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