As the Playoffs approach, it’s time to revisit our Olympic Pain Point blog. As you recall, we saw a number of the truly talented NHL teams send a majority of their teams to the Olympics. At the top of this list were the Sharks, Devils, Canucks, and Ducks. Meanwhile, the Islanders, Panthers, and Oilers all huddled around their respective captain’s Big Screen to watch the Olympics on TV, without much participation in the games themselves. Two things that strike me as noteworthy right away—the Sharks, Devils, Canucks, and Ducks seem to be better teams than the Islander, Panthers, and Oilers.
But the more interesting question is, how much did the Sharks, Devils, Canucks, and Ducks suffer from sending a significant portion of their team to Vancouver? How much did the couch time help the Islanders, Panthers, and Oilers? The short answer is—not much. There appears to not be any correlation between Olympic Pain Points and Post-Olympic Performance. If you were a 1-pt./game team prior to the Olympics and you sent a truckload of players to the Olympics, like Anaheim, you are a 1-pt./game team after the Olympics. It isn’t surprising that the Sharks, Devils, and Canucks are still good. It also isn’t surprising that the Panthers, Islanders, and Oilers are not that good.
(Teams are ranked by biggest drop-off in points/game after the Olympics)
|NHL Teams||Olympians||Total Pain||Total Pain Grade|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||4||1200||D|
|San Jose Sharks||8||2048||F|
|Los Angeles Kings||5||1020||C|
|New Jersey Devils||6||1980||F|
|New York Rangers||5||1104||D|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||6||788||B|
|New York Islanders||1||448||A|
|St. Louis Blues||3||420||A|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||5||760||B|
|Detroit Red Wings||7||1580||F|
Of the teams that saw a spike after the Olympics, (Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Canadiens, and Coyotes) Phoenix only sent three individuals to Vancouver, whereas Detroit sent 7, so perhaps this is just a case of teams either turning it on and getting good, or having more favorable schedules in the second-half. Conversely, the teams that fell apart in the second half (Blackhawks, Lightning, and Sharks) sent a mixed-bag of representatives to the Olympics.
Some teams had a good last-quarter of the season, others struggled, but it appears that the Olympics did not impact their performance. More interestingly, Just as a tiger reveals its stripes, so too does an NHL teams.