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Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Those Damn Homer Refs": 3 Years' Time

Why not make it a trilogy, Samwise?


To be honest, I'm not happy enough to settle with just one year's data on team home PIM percentages, because we know that a single year houses its own anomalies (Ch-ch-ch-Cheechoo!*).  It's fun to rip on the Leafs for many reasons, but let's be fair: the disparity in home-away minors this year (37-63, respectively) has not really helped Toronto's performance (especially not with the league's 26th place power-play).

If you really want to mount a crusade with evidence on this front, you need more data to back you up (and one year's worth ain't it).  To get a bit clearer picture, I expanded my research to look at PIM data stretching back the last 3 years, including this year and going back to include 2007-08 (I put the standard deviation in parentheses to give a sense of which teams were steadily seeing advantage/disadvantage at that percentage).

Avg. %Minor PIM, Home - 2007-08 to 2009-10
1. Colorado Avalanche, 51.61% (4.447)
2. Philadelphia Flyers, 51.28 (7.231)
3. Chicago Blackhawks, 50.78 (5.995)
4. Boston Bruins, 50.35 (4.774)
5. Ottawa Senators, 50.29 (7.7)
6. St. Louis Blues, 50.09 (5.48)
7. Tampa Bay Lightning, 49.55 (4.23)
8. New York Islanders, 49.14 (3.59)
9. Dallas Stars, 49.11 (3.005)
10. Montreal Canadiens, 48.92 (3.213)
11. Phoenix Coyotes, 48.72 (3.905)
12. Anaheim Ducks, 48.31 (3.815)
13. New Jersey Devils, 48.08 (2.415)
14. San Jose Sharks, 47.97 (1.757)
15. Detroit Red Wings, 47.75 (2.381)
16. Minnesota Wild, 47.08 (1.491)
17. Atlanta Thrashers, 46.66 (3.782)
18. Florida Panthers, 46.64 (0.544)
19. Buffalo Sabres, 46.64 (3.004)
20. Vancouver Canucks, 46.59 (5.662)
21. Toronto Maple Leafs, 45.96 (8.097)
22. Los Angeles Kings, 45.91 (5.745)
23. Pittsburgh Penguins, 45.89 (5.908)
24. Carolina Hurricanes, 45.83 (4.11)
25. Washington Capitals, 45.81 (1.295)
26. Nashville Predators, 45.5 (2.03)
27. Edmonton Oilers, 45.33 (3.513)
28. Columbus Blue Jackets, 45.2 (3.019)
29. Calgary Flames, 44.49 (6.067)
30. New York Rangers, 43.61 (0.601)


Just to give you a brief idea of what we're looking at here: I'm using away PIM as a virtual "control group" (however debatable that might be).  Therefore, a low percentage here would suggest that teams are seeing favorable treatment at home (or, potentially, that everyone they play dislikes them and that somehow gets them more penalties in away games; or both).

As you can see, over the three years it doesn't appear that any team is a red-headed stepchild for long.

 Carrot Top will not be your punchline.

As you get to the team's with more favorable treatment at home, there are a handful of teams that stand out as consistently (read, low % and low standard deviation) receiving a distinct advantage.  Teams like the Predators and the Capitals are receiving consistent boosts over the others, and of course my Rangers are, far and away, receiving the most advantage.  The Penguins have two sub-43% home PIM seasons bookending a ~53% season in 2008-09.  On the flip side, the Colorado Avalanche seem to be the closest thing to consistent red-headed stepchildren, though the Lightning also seem to get the short end of the stick more often than not.  The Flyers, hit hard in the analysis for this year, were somewhat redeemed by a 44.5% reading at home in 2008-09 and a 50.44% in 2007-08.

The Rangers' advantage is above-and-beyond the most inexcusable stat out of this bunch.  The Maple Leafs' 37% from this year is ridiculous, but to post three straight seasons with a a nearly 56.5/43.5 split is terrible.  In the future, I want to get an even larger sample size (say, 10 or 20 years) to see if this is an unusual peak or par for the course.  Regardless, it also hasn't taken the Rangers places, though as I mentioned in the previous post some teams are literally a non-playoff season away from going under.

Finally, I want to give you some of the individual leaders/punching bags from 2008-09 and 2007-08.  As with the original post (The Fellowship of the Ring, if you will), we'll set our benchmarks at a minimum of 20 games played but bump it up to a minimum of 60 PIM, of which half or more need to be minor penalties.

Low %PIM Home, Forwards 2007-08
1. Mark Bell, Leafs - 20% (12 of 60 PIM; 40 non-fighting PIM)
2. Sean Bergenheim, Islanders - 22.58% (14 of 62; 62 nfPIM)
3. Kris Draper, Wings - 26.47% (18 of 68; 68 nfPIM)
4. Stephane Veilleux, Wild - 27.87% (17 of 61; 46 nfPIM)
5. Scott Nichol, Predators - 29.17% (21 of 72; 52 nfPIM)

Low %PIM Home, Defensemen 2007-08
1. Douglas Murray, Sharks - 16.33% (16 of 98; 60 nfPIM)
2. Greg De Vries, Predators - 19.72% (14 of 71; 66 nfPIM)
3. Mark Stuart, Bruins - 19.75% (16 of 81; 56 nfPIM)
4. Eric Brewer, Blues - 29.67% (27 of 91; 76 nfPIM)
5. Michal Rozsival, Rangers - 30% (24 of 80; 80 nfPIM)

High %PIM Home, Forwards 2007-08
1. Chris Gratton, Lightning - 72.73% (56 of 77; 62 nfPIM)
2. Olli Jokinen, Panthers - 71.64% (48 of 67; 52 nfPIM)
3. Steve Bernier, Sharks/Sabres - 70.31% (45 of 64; 44 nfPIM)
4. Scott Parker, Avalanche - 70% (49 of 70; 40 nfPIM)
5. Tom Kostopoulos, Canadiens - 65.49% (74 of 113; 68 nfPIM)

High %PIM Home, Defensemen 2007-08
1. Kevin Bieksa, Canucks - 74.44% (67 of 90; 70 nfPIM)
2. Rob Blake, Kings - 71.43% (70 of 98; 98 nfPIM)
3. Craig Weller, Coyotes - 71.25% (57 of 80; 60 nfPIM)
4. James Wisniewski, Blackhawks - 67.96% (70 of 103; 58 nfPIM)
5. Tim Gleason, Hurricanes - 66.67% (56 of 84; 54 nfPIM)

Low %PIM Home, Forwards 2008-09
1. Cal Clutterbuck, Wild - 21.05% (16 of 76; 76 nfPIM)
2. Ryan Craig, Lightning - 21.67% (13 of 60; 60 nfPIM)
3. Shane Doan, Coyotes - 22.22% (16 of 72; 62 nfPIM)
4. Sean Avery, Stars/Rangers - 27.03% (30 of 111; 76 nfPIM)
5. Erik Cole, Hurricanes/Oilers - 27.4% (20 of 73; 58 nfPIM)

Low %PIM Home, Defensemen 2008-09
1. Jim Vandermeer, Flames - 18.52% (20 of 108; 68 nfPIM)
2. Toni Lydman, Sabres - 28.57% (20 of 70; 70 nfPIM)
3. Braydon Coburn, Flyers - 28.87% (28 of 97; 92 nfPIM)
4. Craig Rivet, Sabres - 29.6% (37 of 125; 90 nfPIM)
5. Sheldon Brookbank, Devils/Ducks - 30.26% (23 of 76; 46 nfPIM)

High %PIM Home, Forwards 2008-09
1. Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks - 71.6% (58 of 81; 56 nfPIM)
2. Dustin Penner, Oilers - 70.49% (43 of 61; 46 nfPIM)
3. Ben Eager, Blackhawks - 70.19% (113 of 161; 96 nfPIM)
4. Dainius Zubrus, Devils - 68.12% (47 of 69; 64 nfPIM)
5. Dustin Brown, Kings - 65.63% (42 of 64; 59 nfPIM)

High %PIM Home, Defensemen 2008-09
1. Cam Barker, Blackhawks - 78.46% (51 of 65; 55 nfPIM)
2. Trevor Daley, Stars - 75.34% (55 of 73; 68 nfPIM)
3. Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks - 67.74% (42 of 62; 52 nfPIM)
4. Nick Boynton, Panthers - 65.93% (60 of 91; 66 nfPIM)
5. Brendan Witt, Islanders - 64.89% (61 of 94; 79 nfPIM)

An interesting smattering of players, though it does lead me to conclude the same thing that I did the last time I  looked at individual players: for one, the variance is so impressive here, it's really hard to say that any single player is receiving special treatment.  Even the Crosby detractors might need to re-assess their complaints; in 2007-08, he received 51.28% of his PIM at home, in 2008-09 59.21%, and this year 55.93%.  And in general, though I saw some support for the idea that star players receive favorable treatment at home this year, I don't see the same over this longer data set.

In conclusion, it is entertaining to think about Mark Bell again.  I thought he was dead.

You like me, you really like me!..or, maybe I just got another DUI...

Oh, and there might be some weight to teams receiving preferential treatment, but only a small number and we might need even more data before we could use it for a spirited argument (though it could be used in arguments when consuming spirits).

P.S. Once again, if you have any individual player queries (or really any other question), use our comments section below and I'll respond promptly.

* Okay, so this is a link to Jonathan Cheechoo's fan site; I had no idea it is a.) still a live site, and b.) people are still joining!

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