Last night, the Hawks ratcheted up yet another one-goal victory, their league-leading 17th. That is by some distance, as the next best team has 13 one-goal wins. That doesn’t mean the Hawks have the best win % in one-goal games, which belongs to the Flames (Hawks are 6th in that category). No one is playing more and winning more one-goal games.
But of course that started what few functioning neurons I had left to stir. Are one-goal wins really a matter of skill or know-how, or are they luck? Obviously, the answer is probably a blending of the two but I still wanted to know. In baseball, the only other sport where the scoring is somewhat similar to hockey–but only somewhat–it’s been a given that one-run wins are mostly luck. Or at least they don’t speak to what kind of team you have. After all, your 103-win and World Series Champion Cubs were merely 22-23 in one-run games, and no one is going to say they weren’t the best team in baseball.
Does it work the same in hockey? In order to find out we’re going to have to get in up the elbow in numbers, so put on your rubber gloves. And for just another bullet point in how dumb the NHL site is, they include OT and SO wins in their one-goal wins category but not in the one-goal loss category. The conspiracy to inflate the standings goes deeper than you think, sheeple!!!
For this exercise, we’re going to throw out OT and SO wins, because overtime and shootouts are dumb and don’t have anything to do with what helps make hockey hockey in a major way, i.e. that everyone (or at least most) has to take a shift. Because the NHL thinks you, a populace that watches the Premier League more than the NHL, can’t handle ties. Chew on that for a minute if you need to.
So when you toss out OT and shootouts, the Hawks actually only have eight one-goal wins versus six one-goal losses. Above .500 of course, but not exactly blowing the competition away. Bet you want to see the whole list, don’t you? I can do that. The middle category here is regulation, one-goal wins and the category on the right is win% in one-goal, regulation games.
|3||St. Louis Blues||6||0.750|
|4||Columbus Blue Jackets||5||0.714|
|12||New York Rangers||6||0.545|
|16||Tampa Bay Lightning||2||0.500|
|19||San Jose Sharks||7||0.438|
|24||Los Angeles Kings||3||0.375|
|25||New York Islanders||3||0.375|
|26||New Jersey Devils||2||0.333|
|28||Toronto Maple Leafs||2||0.250|
|30||Detroit Red Wings||1||0.143|
So, what’s to learn from that. Seven of the top 10 are solidly playoff teams, but we also see Buffalo, Dallas, Anaheim, and Vancouver who range from on the bubble to simply awful. And the Penguins not having lost by a goal yet in 60 minutes is… well it’s impressive but simply has to be an outlier, no? Oh hey look, it’s another thing the Reds Wings suck at. In the bottom 10 you’ll find the Kings, a bubble playoff team as well as the Leafs, and the Preds and Canes.
Ok, but one year is hardly the sample size at which we should look. So let’s do last year while we’re here.
|TEAM||REG 1 WIN||REAL 1 WIN %|
|1||St. Louis Blues||12||0.750|
|5||New York Rangers||13||0.650|
|6||Detroit Red Wings||16||0.640|
|7||New York Islanders||10||0.625|
|11||Los Angeles Kings||13||0.542|
|16||Tampa Bay Lightning||11||0.524|
|17||San Jose Sharks||8||0.500|
|18||New Jersey Devils||11||0.478|
|26||Columbus Blue Jackets||6||0.353|
|30||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||0.158|
Top 10 all playoff teams save Colorado. But then the Wild, Hawks, and Finalist Sharks are in the bottom half as well. So are the Lightning. Ok.. I can keep going… ’14-’15
|New York Rangers||14||0.667|
|St. Louis Blues||11||0.611|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||12||0.571|
|New York Islanders||13||0.565|
|Detroit Red Wings||9||0.563|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||9||0.529|
|Los Angeles Kings||10||0.526|
|San Jose Sharks||7||0.438|
|New Jersey Devils||5||0.357|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||4||0.235|
God, the paper tiger Ducks being atop this list makes me just so happy. Anyway, here again nine of the top 10 were playoff teams, the outlier being the Stars. But you Cup champion Hawks were 20th, the Flames were a playoff team in 28th, the Sens were a playoff team in 25th, as were the Caps in 18th, and the Wild in 17th.
Let’s go back one more season, ’13-’14:
|TEAM||REG 1 WIN||REAL 1 WIN %|
|St. Louis Blues||12||0.706|
|Detroit Red Wings||12||0.667|
|San Jose Sharks||12||0.571|
|New Jersey Devils||13||0.565|
|New York Rangers||11||0.440|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||8||0.400|
|Los Angeles Kings||9||0.391|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||5||0.385|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||6||0.353|
|New York Islanders||6||0.316|
Getting the sense Bruce Boudreau has a theme? Anyway, in your top 10 here you have the known-fluke Avs, the non-playoff Preds, Canes, Devils, Yotes, and Sharks. The Hawks were middle of the pack, the champion Kings 22nd, playoff Rangers 18th.
So what does this mean, Hubie Brown? What you must do…
…is really not draw a lot from it. Four years is again, probably not enough but from that we can see that having a good regulation, one-goal record probably means you’re a good team, but not definitely. And it can mean you’ve just had a really fluky season. Considering where some of these Hawk teams finished with essentially the top of the roster remaining the same, it certainly doesn’t portend to some special skill they have now.