Fun with Figures
It is clearly way too early to make any definitive statements about the all new hockey game that will be played in the NHL this season, but I thought I’d have some fun by looking at the 20 exhibition games played over the past few days.
Yes, but not by much. In the 20 games, teams averaged 5.65 goals, about half a goal more than 2003-04. Time will tell whether this is a real increase or whether it reflects the normal higher scoring preseason.
Not so far. A staggering 46% of the minutes in the 20 games had one team or the other on the power play. One game – Carolina at Florida – had nearly two full periods of special team play. Only two of the 20 games had less than one full period when one team or the other was on the power play.
Hardly. At even strength teams scored at the rate of 5.46 goals per game.
Not really. Fans don’t realize that about the same number of goals are scored per minute whether there are lots of power plays or not. The team with the extra man is twice as likely to score as they are at even strength, but that’s offset by the lack of shorthanded goals. Teams score at the rate of 5.18 goals per game when they have the man advantage, but only at .65 goals per game when shorthanded.
So far it isn’t good news for Gary Bettman. The data implies that the more things change, the more things will stay the same. Even if the crackdown sticks goals will rise only marginally.