Sunday, March 28, 2010

Power Play Faceoff Percentage and Power Play Percentage

We wondered recently if there was a correlation between power play faceoff winning percentage, and power play percentages in general - in the tiny sample we have, it appears that there is not. The two right-hand columns are the most relevant. We should also note that we were interrupted in the middle of this work, and some of the faceoff numbers are as of Friday night, whereas the power play information is from Saturday.

The most interesting fact that came out of this is that faceoff percentages on the power play are generally above 50% - in fact, the Eastern Conference is winning faceoffs at a 54.8% rate. We wish we had the capability for isolating defensive-zone faceoff percentages, as we have noticed that teams will make almost no effort to win faceoffs while on the penalty kill in the other two zones. We do however suspect that the additional man allows teams on the power play to be more aggressive in retrieving the puck and winning the faceoff, and likewise causes the other team to be more concerned with defensive positioning than winning the faceoff. We should therefore be wary of using total faceoff percentage to dictate who is the better faceoff man; even strength faceoff percentage is far more likely to be a better determinant.

We also found that power play rank and faceoff rank have a slight negative correlation (-0.23), but we suspect that is due almost entirely to the Capitals and Panthers, whose power play rank and faceoff rank are inverted. We suspect power play faceoff percentage is meaningful, but that the percentage differences are so small that this sample cannot tell us just how much it matters.

1 comment:

  1. again pal, i just don't think there's enough data to get a true picture. you bring up great points about how teams don't always try to win them.

    this is more of an "eyes tell the story" thing i think.