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In the 94-95 lockout shortened season, teams that made the playoffs had a point percentage of .531 through two games with a standard deviation of +/- .352. Teams that didn’t make the playoffs had a point percentage of .400 +/- .316.

As correctly noted by Andy on twitter, this is a somewhat disingenuous collection of stats; there were fewer teams, so the outright point percentage result isn’t overly helpful. However, the standard deviation spread for either set of teams is useful to observe. .352 and .316 are both huge spreads reflecting the fact that a number of playoff squads went 0-2-0 and quite a few went 2-0-0 to start the year.

The point here is that we shouldn’t instantly assume rocket start success of Buffalo, Minnesota, Boston, Columbus or Pittsburgh is at all meaningful. In the same vein, losses from Vancouver, Los Angeles, Philly, or Calgary shouldn’t be taken too far either. Don’t only rely on the outcome of two games to frame your entire mindset or project the future. There’s just no reason to conclude anything about season-long success if the spread for two-game results is so huge.

After reflecting a bit, this isn’t a very surprising outcome. But sometimes I need to remind myself where we are in an NHL season. When 2 games is equal to about 3.42 of the typical 82 game season things don’t compress too far, but it’s abnormal so results are less intuitive. Even though the translation isn’t perfect, 94-95 gives some perspective to the outset and reminds me that patience is necessary, even in a sprint.

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