"Game Management"

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  1. 613Leafer Registered User

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    I put this chart together using penalty data from nhl.com from the last 10 years to take a look at "game management" in the NHL. It's obviously a very basic analysis for a complicated (alleged) issue, but the correlation is also incredibly high.

    If reffing were purely objective, you'd expect there to be a weak relationship between penalties drawn and penalties taken. There could still be some correlation, because if one team is being aggressive and dirty, it can tend to bring out that same behaviour in the other team. Regardless, over a full regular season, you'd expect that a "dirty team" would be penalized far more than their opponents, and a "clean team" to be penalized far less than their opponents.

    Above is date from 2010-present, 10 seasons (with the asterix of 2013 being lockout shortened, and this season being only partially completed). There is a VERY strong correlation, R2 value of 0.912 for those of you that know basic statistics. To me this absolutely screams that refs are interfering in games on a very very regular basis. Rather than calling games objectively, they constantly do "make up calls", and try not to "interfere" in the game too much.

    I.e., if one team is dirty and gaining a lot of penalties, they'll make a bunch of softer calls on the other team to "even things up" (this represents the higher end of the distribution where teams with a ton of penalties for also have a ton of penalties against). On the flip side, cleaner teams, because they commit very few penalties, will have very few penalties called on their opponents regardless of how the opponent is playing, allowing their opponents to get away with what should be penalties (see low end of the distribution).

    This creates a situation where refs aren't calling penalties objectively on both teams, but are instead constantly shifting the goalposts, and creating different standards for different teams.
     
  2. DJB #MELNYKOUT

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    I applaud you on your hard work and dedication to make that graph.

    It basically confirms what many of us already is knew about refs calling soft make up calls.
     
  3. Stephen Moderator

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    From a tactical point of view, officials aren't going to call 20 penalties against a team per night, so why not be the aggressor and look for your PK and game management to bail you out. It has traditionally worked well for some teams.
     
  4. tarheelhockey Offside Review Specialist

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    It would be amusing to see a team go all-in on this strategy and straight-up dare the refs to call holding and hooking after they’ve already been penalized several times for way worse stuff.

    I’d say upwards of 90% of refs would overlook a flagrant hold by a team that already has multiple slashing majors.
     
  5. Kyndig86 Registered User

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  6. Beauner Registered User

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    That r2 value is absolutely nuts. Nice work on the graph. This seems like one of those generally accepted things that really shouldn't be as accepted as it is.

    But everyone, as evidenced here, benefits equally and it all evens out so no one really cares...
     
  7. Il Stugotz Fake Account

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    Smart teams exploit the hell out of this.
     
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  8. wgknestrick Registered User

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    Total pen mins per season won't tell you anything about GAME management by refs. You have to use penalties per each game as your samples. I like the study, just doubt the method was optimal. Can you run it by game? I suspect we'll see a high correlation result, but don't think it will be as high.
     
  9. 613Leafer Registered User

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    It suggests a smart move would be to build an aggressive physical team with very good special teams.

    You get to take liberties with other teams, and regardless of how physical they are, the PP opportunities will generally be pretty equal.

    You see it individually too. If teams were called on penalties they do against McDavid, they'd spend the whole game in the box.
     
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  10. Xanlet Registered User

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  11. supsens Registered User

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    These are pro athletes they know the rules. A“dirty” team takes a crazy ugly penalty how often? It does not happen that often. If you look at shots for and against over a year for the most part it’s going to look fairly fixed isn’t it? Most teams are within a few shots of each other how is that fixed?
    A quick glance it looks like some teams are taking 30 or so more penalties then they are drawing. That’s a lot.
    Have you removed offsetting penalties? They may ballon a few teams totals
    And if your a “dirty” team once the ref starts calling penalties you shut it down. I have no idea why you think players and coaches would be stupid enough to take stupid penalties all night.
    A lot of this has to do with them managing themselves play hard bait the other team if they get suckered into penalties keep it up. If your the only one getting called shut it down
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  12. supsens Registered User

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  13. egelband HFBoards Sponsor Sponsor

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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  14. Leafidelity Downtown Canada

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    Now lets put some names to the dots in a similar graph

     
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  15. Stephen Moderator

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    Surprise, surprise Boston in the top right corner.
     
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  16. Leafidelity Downtown Canada

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    Top end special teams surrounded by chippy players. They undoubtedly build their teams to game the system.
     
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  17. SotasicA Registered User

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    Fans are also immediately crying if a ref only calls penalties to their team, even if their team clearly commits more infractions. By the time penalties are 2-0 or 3-0, the fans cannot accept another penalty. And the refs are likely to let an infraction go, and immediately call the first so-so play the other way.

    That's what "we" want.

    In reality, there should be games where powerplays go 8-1 or 6-0 more often. But they end up being 4-2 or 3-1 instead.
     
  18. Merrrlin Grab the 9 iron, Barry!

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    No one takes advantage of this more than the Boston Bruins.

    Great article OP! @613Leafer
     
  19. MGK Welcome to the VGK (don't get attached).

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    VGK are nice lads, confirmed.
     
  20. kladorf2005 Registered User

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    Am I the only one that doesn't understand how OP came out of this with that takeaway? Of course there's going to be a correlation between penalties drawn and penalties taken. Especially over a large sample size. Do the same thing with goals scored vs goals allowed. Or shots for vs shots against. Pretty much any stat that has two sides. I bet they are all very highly correlated.

    I think people might be confusing correlation with causation here. You see a lot more umbrellas when it's raining, but that doesn't mean that umbrellas are what causes it to rain.

    FWIW - I happen to agree that refs tend to do the makeup call thing. I just don't see how this graph proves that theory
     
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  21. MGK Welcome to the VGK (don't get attached).

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    And how could Babs be such mean guy, but coach such friendly players?
     
  22. Tweed Registered User

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  23. Menzinger Kessel4LadyByng

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    The worst officiated league in all of international pro sports.

    Always a "joy" to see NHL refs pretend that half the rules dont exist as soon as thr post season starts lol
     
  24. jetsforever Registered User

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    No surprises here
     
  25. Scrantonicity 2 Not a Generational Poster

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    Imagine what the league could be like if the games were officiated objectively with no regard for current score, penalties taken, or the time remaining.

    At this point I would even settle for consistency in officiating between regular season and post-season, but that's asking too much apparently.
     
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