Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NHL feed is back in business...

The NHL 2008-09 data feed is up for exhibition games. It doesn't look like the NHL has added any useful information to the feed this year. Let me know if you see otherwise...

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Home Ice Faceoff Advantage

Someone asked me recently if there was any advantage to being able to put your stick down second for a face-off (as the home team's centerman does.) Let's look at the home-road numbers for 2003-08:
# FaceoffsWon
>100 Taken52.049.25.80%
There is a clear home-ice faceoff advantage with a very small portion of that advantage due to regular centermen lining up against wingers or inexperienced players who otherwise took fewer than 100 faceoffs in 5 years. In addition, 86% of players who took more than 100 faceoffs had a home-ice advantage.

Obviously, the home-ice advantage is not necessarily due to putting the stick down last. Not that I've actually analyzed this, but because the home team also has the last line change, this may result in the home team rarely having a poor faceoff-taker lined up against a good one in critical situations.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Canadian Junior A NCAA/Major Junior Equivalencies

I now have five-to-seven years of player data for Canadian Junior A leagues, so it's now possible to generate equivalencies for each league. I ran the data for British Columbia (BCHL), Alberta (AJHL), Saskatchewan (SJHL), Manitoba (MJHL), Ontario (OPJHL), Quebec (QJAHL) and the Maritimes (MJAHL).

The Quebec and Maritimes leagues did not send a significant number of players to the NCAA, and few players went from the SJHL to Major Junior. The Manitoba league was more likely to send players to other Junior A league than to have them step up to a higher-level of hockey.

Here are the equivalencies normalized to a player age of 18:

Junior A to NCAAEQUIVMean AgeN
A huge drop from the USHL to the Junior A leagues - but not a huge difference among the Canadian leagues. The AJHL seems to have a higher level of play.

Junior A to Major Junior
Less of a difference this time, but again the AJHL is on top.

Major Junior to Junior A

Note that the equivalency is in this table is actually for Junior A to Major Junior so that we can compare the relative performance of players stepping up a level of hockey versus those stepping down. Junior A leagues appear substantially less difficult for players coming from Major Junior than they did to players going in the other direction.

Overall, assuming that the level of play is identical in all three Canadian major Leagues (which has been shown elsewhere on this site), then the BCHL and AJHL appear to have the highest level of play of all the Junior A leagues.

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