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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics - Volume 1

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There has been some recent chatter floating around the hockey blogosphere concerning a set of convoluted stats called the "PythagenPuck Analysis". The Forechecker plugged in some year-to-date numbers and used the formulas provided in a "Win Probability" model given by a Hockey Analysis guideline put out by Hockey Analytics.com, and determined that the Hurricanes are "likely to drop out of the playoff hunt soon".

Apparently, the formula factors in year-to-date "goals for" and "goals against" to determine a projected future winning percentage, and the results did not favor the Canes. (They had a projected .418 winning percentage).

To be honest, I did not read the entire document nor do I understand the total concept of the formula. What I do know is that there are too many other factors not taken into account for me to take this analysis too seriously. Important factors, such as injuries and coaching changes which have an obvious direct affect on a team's past and future results.

My question to the Forechecker would be, what was the end of year projection for the Washington Capitals at this time last season?

Speaking of the Caps, JP, over at Japer's Rink ran his own analysis based upon how a team has performed while playing at even strength and while on special teams. He compares the team ranking of each scenario and combines them for a final score. Obviously, the Canes have not performed well on special teams, but somewhat surprisingly, they were only ranked 20th while playing 5-on-5.

According to JP and his analysis, the Canes were one of the most "overachieving" (lucky) teams in the NHL and "they had no business taking home more than half of the points available to them". Really?

He also goes on further - "Heading into Sunday's action, the Minnesota Wild had the seventh-best power-play in the League, the second-best penalty kill and were bad five-on-five. The 'Canes were slightly better five-on-five than the Wild, but atrocious on the special teams, and yet Carolina, at 15-13-4 had one more point than Minny (16-14-2). Is there much question, however, which is the "better" team?

No disrespect intended to JP, but if he believes Minnesota is really THAT much better than Carolina, then what does that say about his overall statistical analysis? It's pretty meaningless.

Actually, I think that there is a valid question who the better team is, and it won't come down to who has the better stats. As always, the players will decide that on the ice.

(glove-tap to "tarheelicane" for the email tip about these stats)