Thursday, February 12, 2009

Atlantic vs. Northeast Continued

Here is some more data on the Atlantic Division vs. the Northeast Division, the average goals and average shooting percentage per team by division (not including New Jersey and Buffalo):

Atlantic: 268 goals, 10.6%
Northeast: 263 goals, 10.4%

Atlantic: 131 goals, 9.8%
Northeast: 148 goals, 10.4%

Atlantic: 252 goals, 10.1%
Northeast: 267 goals, 10.7%

Atlantic: 237 goals, 9.7%
Northeast: 244 goals, 10.0%

Atlantic: 204 goals, 9.3%
Northeast: 215 goals, 9.6%

Atlantic: 221 goals, 10.1%
Northeast: 226 goals, 9.7%

Atlantic: 223 goals, 9.7%
Northeast: 224 goals, 9.5%

Atlantic: 239 goals, 10.1%
Northeast: 235 goals, 10.1%

Atlantic: 222 goals, 9.9%
Northeast: 228 goals, 10.0%

It is possible that if the Atlantic Division was stronger, its teams would have weaker numbers since they had to play more games inside the division. If this was true, the effect would have to take place in the extra games played against the Atlantic compared to the Northeast. In this period, the New Jersey Devils played 211 games against their own division and 185 games against the Northeast. Those extra divisional games represent just 4% of the total games played, so that suggests that the overall effect on goalie stats would be very slight even if there was a significant disparity between divisions.

There were a few seasons (1994-95, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01) with a more balanced schedule where the Devils played an equal number of games against Atlantic teams and Northeast teams. In those 4 seasons, the average shooting percentage for each division was the same, and Buffalo's divisional opponents actually averaged slightly more goals per game than New Jersey's.

This evidence supports the view that divisional effects in the Eastern Conference in the mid- to late-1990s were minimal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is another example of selection bias as goal totals for each division have no relation to how good the teams where. If the 2 best teams in the league play head to head in a 3-2 game, they are still likely better offensively than the 2 worst teams going head to head in a 5-4 game. How about, as the comments suggested numerous times, doing a breakdown of Hasek vs the Atlantic division, and Brodeur against the Northeast.