September 12, 2007

Nashville's Unfair Advantage.

1Oct 4COL
2Oct 6DAL
3Oct 13CGY
4Oct 27FLA
5Nov 4CHI
6Nov 10CBJ
7Nov 15CHI
8Nov 17STL
9Nov 22DET
10Nov 24MIN
11Nov 29OTT
12Dec 1MTL
13Dec 6VAN
14Dec 8ANA
15Dec 10DET
16Dec 13COL
17Dec 22L.A
18Dec 29S.J
19Jan 3EDM
20Jan 12CBJ
21Feb 9S.J
22Feb 14CHI
23Feb 23DAL
24Mar 20DET
When I go through the NHL schedule for the first time there are two things I look at first: distance traveled and how many back to back games the team plays. I also look at back to back games from the perspective of the team who gets to play the tired team.

Typically a team sees about 12 back to back games and plays against 12 teams who played the day before. Nashville lucked out this season. They are scheduled to play 24 games (30% of the season) against tired teams [listed to the left] and play only 10 back to back games themselves.

Generally I argue that these games have a cost of about 5% in terms of winning percentage or 0.05 wins. So Nashville loses 0.50 games in the 10 games they play back to back and gains 1.2 wins in the 24 games they play against a back to back team. In essence the NHL has given Nashville 1.5 extra points. (this is worth approximately $700,000). Of course this isn't huge, but essentially Nashville has a 1.5 point advantage before the season starts.

It's interesting, but the majority of these games are in the first half of the season, possibly to get the team an early lead and to attract attention to the team. For example, Nashville plays tired teams for a whole week: Dec 6 to Dec 13.

Last season the NHL was very good at making sure back to back games were scheduled fairly and the largest difference was 5 (Col, S.J, NYI)

1 comment:

Vic Ferrari said...

Following a season in which the Oilers missed the playoffs by just a point or two, I remember Kevin Lowe complaining that they had intentionally scheduled too many home back to back games. This was done for the Oiler's business ops guys, who wanted to boost sales using weekender packages. Presumably targeting out of town fans.

He had a point, though playing extra B2Bs means there are more games played with 2 days rest in there as well, so you get some of it back. Still, when you miss the dance by a point ... an extra win means a lot.