Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revisionist Eastern Conference Playoffs 2010

So, with my methods well understood (I hope?), let's look at some data. Last season, you may well recall missing the playoffs by a point. Here's how that broke down:

1. Washington - 121
2. New Jersey - 103
3. Buffalo - 100
4. Pittsburgh - 101
5. Ottawa - 94
6. Boston - 91
7. Philadelphia - 88
8. Montréal - 88

I don't want to sound like a bitter fan, claiming we deserved a playoff spot last season, but let's take a look at what our new, sane point systems would have heralded. Here's the breakdown using the old-school points system (each game is worth two points):

1. Washington - 109
2. New Jersey - 95
3. Buffalo - 92
4. Pittsburgh - 88
5. Ottawa - 88
6. Philadelphia - 81
7. Boston - 77
9. Montréal - 76

And here's how it breaks down using the soccer-style system (each game is worth three points):

1. Washington - 164
2. New Jersey - 143
3. Buffalo - 135
4. Pittsburgh - 134
5. Ottawa - 128
6. Philadelphia - 123
8. Boston - 116
9. Montréal - 112

Rather than looking at the benefits of the soccer system vs. the old-school system, here's what's interesting to me: these new systems seem to agree with each other more than either one agrees with the stupid system we use now. Both new systems agree that the Canadiens are the team that should have fallen short last season, and they agree that Philly deserved a higher ranking. They also agree that Buffalo should have beaten Pittsburgh in points (under the stupid current system, Buffalo was handed the #3 spot due to winning their division, but Pittsburgh actually had more points).

In fact, let's take a look at the one place the two new systems disagree: the #7 and #8 spots. They're actually tied in points: Boston is only handed the #7 spot because of my tiebreaker concession: they have more shootout wins. If we were to do away with the shootout entirely, that tiebreaker would fall to the season series victor, which was the Rangers, 3-1. Which means that without the shootout tiebreaker, the two new systems actually agree 100% on what the standings should have been, and it is not what they were.

I'm not saying we wouldn't necessarily have ended up with the goddamn Flyers representing the conference anyway. I am saying that it's interesting to note that the two sane systems I'm proposing agree with each other in terms of what the playoff picture should be, and that what the NHL actually does seems to disagree. And that we missed out on yet another Rangers-Devils first round.

I wonder if other seasons, or the Western Conference, will see a closer relationship between the old-school system and the soccer-style system than between either of those and the current, stupid system. More to come, when I get a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Very interesting.

    I mean, maddening, to see, but also interesting.

    I like the soccer style myself, if we're going to keep shootouts in the game (note: I would also be happy to go complete old school and not do practice drills during games at all). I feel like having shootouts only determining a tiebreaker means half the crowd would start to leave the building and the game would sort of fade to a close instead of actually ending with any tension.

    I'd still like a longer OT period either way, since even 4v4 hockey is, you know. Hockey.