by professor ggrib
Following the Blues game last night, the Blue Jackets have played their 25th game. This is a water shed point of the season, so….
Please bear with me while I explain the basis for presenting the Blue Jacket predictions for 2015-16
For almost six decades, Leonard Koppett strode across the sport journalism landscape like a giant. His passion, innovation, and unique insights earned him accolades and acclaim, including inductions into the Baseball and Basketball Halls of Fame as a writer.
Many lauded his ability not just to communicate what had happened in the sports world, but also explain why it had happened. Koppett often used uncommon sports statistics to support his explorations and explanations.
But Koppett had a love-hate relationship with statistics.
In the last of his 16 books, The Rise and Fall of the Press Box – completed a mere two weeks before his death in 2003 – Koppett dedicates an entire chapter to his thoughts on statistics.
He minces no words, opening the section by declaring that when it comes to sports writing, the “excessive use of statistics, if not checked, may turn out to be a fatal malady.”
“Then there’s the silliest of all cliches, ‘on a pace for’… ‘Pace’ is a figment of the mathematician’s imagination.” – Leonard Koppett
Koppett’s least favorite statistic?
“Then there’s the silliest of all cliches, ‘on a pace for’. A player with 11 homers in his first 27 games is said to be ‘on a pace for 66 homers.’ Isn’t it obvious enough that home runs (and most other things) occur in irregular spurts? It’s a little less silly, but still sheer speculation, if you play the pace game after mid-season,” wrote Koppett. “Pace is a figment of the mathematician’s imagination.”
But how often does a fan encounter statements like, Steven Stamkos is on pace for 57 goals in 2011-12. Or, the Detroit Red Wings are on pace for million-and-two points this season (editor’s note: it’s more like 112).
These kinds of pace-based projections would seem to be just too tempting for the meia to avoid.
What’s an informed fan to do?
One of the easiest sets of statistics to use to go beyond direct predictions based on record is a team’s scoring.
Derived from on the grade-school Pythagorean formula, sporting statsmen have proposed that a team’s winning percentage will be equal to to Goals For2/(Goals For2 + Goals Against2).
Unfortunately, hockey’s single point makes for a problem, but while the Pythagorean formula does not easily take into account the NHL’s single point, at least wins account for the bulk of an NHL’s points. So we can cheat by incorporating a team’s direct single-point pace with the Pythagorean win prediction.
Only time will tell how accurate these predictions are, but at least the GF/GA formula offers even the casual fan a simple method to move beyond direct on-pace-for projections and move into the more sophisticated world of indirect statistical predictions.
Blue Jackets 2015-16 PREDICTION
With the 0-8 start of the season, the Blue Jackets are at a predicted 74 points for the year. And as loyal fans of the Columbus Blue, I have to say, but wait……the 0-8 start was an anomaly, you can’t count that, the team is better than that. Well if I wipe the slate clean of those games and just say they never happened, we fall below the magical 25 game stabilization level, but they are right of course, the predicted would then be 98 points. But alas, as my grandpa used to say “if wishes were horses, we’d need a manure spreader”.
So, fans, hold on to your butt, the true estimate of the predicted points are probably somewhere in between. And yes Virginia, we could make a 15-1 run again, but then that would be paramount to guessing the points at the start of the year. Again as fans, the Jackets are still not quit hitting on all cylinders, Foleigno is in a drought where he couldn’t buy a goal, Connauton still has to show he has any scoring touch, Prout is a defensive disaster, Saad has almost disappeared from the score sheet as of late. So hitting on all cylinders we are not.
Reality has set in, but as Blue Jacket fans always say, We just want to see good hockey. I think we will the rest of the year.