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Sunday, January 07, 2007

About those Canucks... 

So there's, roughly speaking, a 5-way tie for first in the Northwest division, where our beloved Canucks play.

I think our division this season is the story of five rather good teams just tearing the crap out of each other. Every one of these teams is playoff-quality, but their points relative to the rest of the league are hamstrung by their lack of chances to play cruddy teams.

Or at least, I hope so. I can't find a smoking gun stat to prove it.

The obvious thing to look for is records outside the division: are these teams much better against non-divisional opponents? Maybe.

Record vs. non-NW div
Van: 14-9-0  .609
Cgy: 15-10-2 .593
Min: 16-14-1 .532
Col: 12-14-1 .463
Edm: 12-11-3 .519

That last number, by the way, is my patented "percentage of potential points" (PPP) which is:

points / (2*games played)

That's really simple, but it approximates a winning percentage like in baseball, but with a fudge for Circus Time points.

If you're wondering, the Edm PPP for all games this season is .512, while Vancouver is a .559. Calgary leads with a .575, making them the effective standings leader at the moment.

I'm not really sure what this tells us. What it really may tell us is that I haven't made any adjustments for schedule strength. Hm. Colorado has been beaten by Washington, Chicago, St. Louis (twice), Columbus.... Maybe Colorado just stinks, but that doesn't explain why they do so well against NW division teams.

In conclusion, I have no idea what's going on. The goal I'm reaching for is to find teams that will excel in the playoffs, though, and I suspect that with the heavily imbalanced schedule, there is more possibility for good teams to be masked by playing good opponents often, or conversely, for mediocre teams to look better by playing bad opponents often. How sweet would it be to play Philly, St. Louis, or LA a whole bunch?

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