Can a 4 Year Old Beat the Experts?

For those who have read our predictions, we thought we'd keep ourselves - and all the other pundits out there - honest by asking my four year old daughter to give us her picks for each round of this year's playoffs. Her method, which involved sitting on the couch with a pencil crayon and […]

Why Great Goaltending is a Team Effort

When the playoffs begin next week a familiar nervousness will make its presence known in cities like Pittsburgh (assuming they’re in) and Vancouver as fans relive the failures of playoffs past.   Like everywhere else there will be the usual blather about leadership, chemistry, grit, etc. But more than that, there will be questions about […]

NHL has done good job creating parity, analytics suggest

There have been several articles recently suggesting that changes need to be made to the NHL’s draft lottery. The problem, apparently, is that tanking has gotten so out of control that the league needs to further try to deter it. I wrote earlier about how the draft lottery has mitigated against tanking. Tanking is something […]

Spreading the Wealth: Measuring Across-Season Parity

This week’s article in The Star looked at “across-season parity”. In a nutshell, across-season parity refers to all teams spending equal time being playoff teams, and winning an equal number of Stanley Cups. A lack of across-season parity occurs when the same teams make the playoffs each year, and when the same team wins the […]

Analytics Pixie Dust Can't Assume Away Ovechkin's Glaring Deficiencies

Surprisingly, many in the analytics community are in agreement with many mainstream analysts who believe that Alexander Ovechkin merits serious consideration for M.V.P. Considerably less surprisingly, I disagree with all of them. To be fair, Ovechkin has had a good season and there really aren’t any forwards that have stepped up and separated themselves from […]

Why the team with the most points isn't always the best

In the 2008 playoffs, the Dallas Stars limped into a 5th seed in the Western Conference with a 3-5-2 finish and 97 points. As the third best team in a strong Pacific Division (8th overall), the Stars had drawn the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks as their first round opponents.   The Ducks finished […]

Sports Analysts and Their Intellectual Blind Spots

There are many great moments in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball, but one of my favorites involves an exchange between Dan Feinstein, the Oakland A’s video coordinator and newly acquired outfielder John Mabry.   Mabry and teammate Scott Hatteberg are commiserating over how difficult it is to prepare for a game against Seattle Mariners ace Jamie Moyer, […]

Ducks Luck

With his Anaheim Ducks in first place overall, coach Bruce Boudreau is in familiar territory.  All too familiar, in fact. In his last three seasons as coach of the Washington Capitals (2009-2011) he won one President’s Trophy (first place overall in the regular season), and came second and fourth overall in the two others. But […]

Puck possession helps predict playoff chances, analytics suggest

Springtime means different things in different NHL cities. In some cities, fans can begin to get comfortable with their shiny new trade deadline acquisitions – players intended to help them on their way to Lord Stanley’s coveted mug. In other cities, fans brace themselves for the inevitable end to the 18-wheeler’s freefall, and hope that […]

NHL’s draft lottery seems to help fight tanking

The season is approaching the three quarter mark, and two races are in full flight: the race to secure a playoff seed, and the race to secure a high draft pick. For fans of those teams clearly out of the former, losses are cheered perhaps more than wins as tanking is seen as the best […]