Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Pacific vs. other divisions

Tom Benjamin has a great post about the records of the different divisions and conferences on his blog. Funny, I was thinking the same thing a couple of days ago when I was examining the standings. Tom does things in his posting like compile the overall record of each division, and the number of points amassed on average per game.

I did one other calculation, which only further confirms what Tom has said, with a little wrinkle. I generated the standard deviation of each division, which indicates the amount that data is spread in a sample. In simple terms, it tells you how far apart the rich and poor are. Not only does the Northwest have the highest average point total, it also has the lowest standard deviation, which means that all the teams are good, and close to each other.

  • Northwest: 58.6 AVG, 4.15 STD
  • Northeast: 56.4 AVG, 9.6 STD
  • Pacific: 56.6 AVG, 7.3 STD
  • Atlantic: 52.8, 14.5 STD
  • Southeast: 52.6, 12.3 STD
  • Midwest: 48.4, 18.2 STD
The Pacific, while having roughly the same average points as the Northeast, have a lower standard deviation. I would argue that this makes the Pacific a tougher division than the Northeast. The Sharks have to play the same teams on average that the Northeast does, but the worst teams are better. The Sharks don't have a Toronto or Montreal playing badly right now (despite Jan Bulis' 4 goals last night). All the teams in the Pacific are tough, and all have 50 points or more. Since the schedule is very division-heavy, this is an important factor; each team plays all the other teams in the division 8 times each during the regular season.

This sheds some new light on Detroit and Nashville, currently tied with 68 points, leading the West. The other three teams in the Midwest are Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis, 3 of the 4 worst teams in the NHL. Detroit is 13-1 against these teams so far this season! Since Detroit and Nashville have the luxury of playing these bad teams 24 times during the season, it's little wonder why their records are so good. It's not their fault they have to play against bad teams, but it might be a harbinger of an early-round upset in the playoffs. Maybe a 1994-esque upset for the Sharks?

1 comment:

UltimateWriter said...

Dude, I wanted that 94 team to win so badly.