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ATLL765

Bad or Unlucky? The 2012-13 Season.

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I think a lot of us watched the team last year and shook our heads at the way we lost games. We didn't lose because we looked like sh!t, we stayed in games, battled, but lost on what always seemed to be the perfectly timed goal for the opposition.


Nice little graph to show how lucky or unlucky each team was last year based on several categories where you can modify how much weight it has in the overall amount of "luck".
 

http://www.hockeyabstract.com/luck

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Great find..Florida is another team I have been telling people not to sleep on. Kevin Dineen is a very good coach.

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I think a lot of us watched the team last year and shook our heads at the way we lost games. We didn't lose because we looked like sh!t, we stayed in games, battled, but lost on what always seemed to be the perfectly timed goal for the opposition.

Nice little graph to show how lucky or unlucky each team was last year based on several categories where you can modify how much weight it has in the overall amount of "luck".

 

http://www.hockeyabstract.com/luck

 

Very cool.  Of course, people won't notice that if you dial it back a year, 2011-12 NJ ranked 4th in 'luck'.  

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What seems clear is that whoever the "best teams" in the NHL are have luck going for them as well.

 

You could argue that, for the most part, good teams make their own "luck"

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What seems clear is that whoever the "best teams" in the NHL are have luck going for them as well.

 

You could argue that, for the most part, good teams make their own "luck"

Right, I think you can safely say that the "luck" shown in the analysis is really a mix of skill and luck or lack of them. You could probably go more in depth and look at the performance of each player on a particular team relative to his average season and show more definitively whether the team over or under performed, but that would take a lot of time and effort.

The sliders give you some options though. If you mess around with them and see who drops or rises based on one category will give you an idea of who's "bad" and who's "unlucky".

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If you go to "all" for seasons (the past five years), the Devils' luck has averaged out to being very slightly lucky overall.

 

Vancouver's luck is shown as being off-the-charts good.

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What seems clear is that whoever the "best teams" in the NHL are have luck going for them as well.

 

You could argue that, for the most part, good teams make their own "luck"

 

PDO's luck component is easily disputed - if you have great goaltending that appears to be luck by this measure, but isn't.  And indeed, great goaltending is also correlated with winning one-goal games, so that gets double-counted.  And shooting at the team level is a very minorly repeatable skill.  

 

There are a number of additional quibbles I'd have with this, but I don't think anyone here really cares to hear them.

Edited by Triumph

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PDO's luck component is easily disputed - if you have great goaltending that appears to be luck by this measure, but isn't.  And indeed, great goaltending is also correlated with winning one-goal games, so that gets double-counted.  And shooting at the team level is a very minorly repeatable skill.  

 

There are a number of additional quibbles I'd have with this, but I don't think anyone here really cares to hear them.

List away. I'm very bored. It seemed like this was a fairly basic graph and analysis, just kind of showing you some data, rather than making deep conclusions about anything in particular. I think this combined with what we all saw last year, tells us we weren't bad, just lacked the skill and luck that we needed to make it further. I think had things gone a little better for us, we could have made the playoffs, say Kovy doesn't get hurt, that might have done it for us.

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It was actually pretty simple...the Devils couldn't put pucks in and they couldn't stop them from going in.  They did so badly in both areas that even a massive shot differential in their favor couldn't help them overcome that. 

 

Obviously losing a good shooting% guy like Kovy was going to hurt, but in the games that he did play in 2013, his shooting was well down from his career avg (8.9 last season, 11.2 career as a Devil).  Would he have had a hot streak to make up for the 8.9 had he been healthy all year?  Who knows?  We kept waiting for that to happen in the 27 regular season games he played for the Devils in 2010, and yes, it was a small sample, but it never happened then either. 

 

But among the advanced metric crowd, it seems like whenever the results don't match up with the numbers should "predict", almost right away it's "Well, then it's good luck/bad luck, what you see really didn't/shouldn't have happened" etc.  Not discounting the science behind such metrics, just that they're not sure-fire ways to measure performance...but once some of the advanced-types fall in love with these ways of evaluating player/team performance, there's usually not much arguing/debating that gets anywhere. 

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I think the advanced stat stuff is very interesting, and certainly worth looking at.. But the problem with stats like these from my pov is that it counts a shot as a shot, and a save as a save. Regardless of whether it's a shot from 10' out from Steven Stamkos or 20' out from David Clarkson. It also fails to account for whether the pass was a silky smooth one straight on your stick from Joe Thornton, or a hard/wobbly slightly behind the shooter one from Cam Jansen.. There are just sooo many variables that stats can not account for.

Edited by njdevsftw

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Doesn't this kind of speak to us just being bad? Look I'm optimistic about this season and stuff, but we might be looking to deeply into this, I surely remember games last year like the one against Toronto, out shooting them by 30 shots and losing 1-0, but isn't a team that gets that many puck to the net, and doesn't convert on the chances a bad team? I mean if we had good players, and more specifically good players, those pucks would have found the back of the net.

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Doesn't this kind of speak to us just being bad? Look I'm optimistic about this season and stuff, but we might be looking to deeply into this, I surely remember games last year like the one against Toronto, out shooting them by 30 shots and losing 1-0, but isn't a team that gets that many puck to the net, and doesn't convert on the chances a bad team? I mean if we had good players, and more specifically good players, those pucks would have found the back of the net.

100%  Talent scores goals.  The Devils always get maximum effort from their players and that's why they outshoot teams.  They outwork them.  Ultimately, it takes talent to score at this level and this is where the Devils are lacking.

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100%  Talent scores goals.  The Devils always get maximum effort from their players and that's why they outshoot teams.  They outwork them.  Ultimately, it takes talent to score at this level and this is where the Devils are lacking.

Right, but the idea is that if we're doing far better possession wise and out-shooting opponents, our system is superior, so yes, then the only thing lacking is a mix of skill and luck. Had we had a bit more of either, we likely could have made the playoffs last year.

That being said, those who feel like we're going into the season with an offense worse than we had at the start of last season, are just being silly. We have good depth now, but we could definitely be aided by the presence of another top line forward.

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It was actually pretty simple...the Devils couldn't put pucks in and they couldn't stop them from going in.  They did so badly in both areas that even a massive shot differential in their favor couldn't help them overcome that. 

 

Obviously losing a good shooting% guy like Kovy was going to hurt, but in the games that he did play in 2013, his shooting was well down from his career avg (8.9 last season, 11.2 career as a Devil).  Would he have had a hot streak to make up for the 8.9 had he been healthy all year?  Who knows?  We kept waiting for that to happen in the 27 regular season games he played for the Devils in 2010, and yes, it was a small sample, but it never happened then either. 

 

But among the advanced metric crowd, it seems like whenever the results don't match up with the numbers should "predict", almost right away it's "Well, then it's good luck/bad luck, what you see really didn't/shouldn't have happened" etc.  Not discounting the science behind such metrics, just that they're not sure-fire ways to measure performance...but once some of the advanced-types fall in love with these ways of evaluating player/team performance, there's usually not much arguing/debating that gets anywhere. 

 

If some of the advance metric types didn't overstate their case, or if they did a better job explaining what "luck" actually means (and "luck" in hockey is similar to WAR in baseball, in that everyone has their own formulation of what it is), I wouldn't mind so much.

 

Neil Greenberg is a writer that really gets under my skin in this regard.  For the first round of the 2011-2012 playoffs, he came up with preposterous odds for a particular series outcome -- for example, the Kings have a 60 percent chance of beating the Canucks in six games (that's the gist of it, the numbers I'm throwing out there might be inaccurate) -- and based it on some kind of advanced metric.  (The article is behind the espn paywall).  At some point after the first round (it might have been at the end of the playoffs, I don't remember exactly) he was patting himself on the back about predicting the Kings first round victory.  In the comments section, I pointed out that he didn't mention that he got at least half of the first round series results wrong, and sometimes by a very healthy margin.  He had no response, and he is a writer that will respond to comments in his own articles. 

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Right, but the idea is that if we're doing far better possession wise and out-shooting opponents, our system is superior, so yes, then the only thing lacking is a mix of skill and luck. Had we had a bit more of either, we likely could have made the playoffs last year.

That being said, those who feel like we're going into the season with an offense worse than we had at the start of last season, are just being silly. We have good depth now, but we could definitely be aided by the presence of another top line forward.

 

How is one being silly.  There's the loss of Kovalchuk and Clarkson, the latter of which, I'll concede is overrated offensively, and I wasn't sorry to see him go.  But at least we know what Clarkson actually did last year, which is really what matters when you're comparing one team against another.  You add Clowe, s a very risky bet, Ryder, very solid, Olesz, let's not go patting ourselves on the back quite yet.  Elias and Zubrus aren't getting any younger, Henrique and Josefson, we really don't know what he we have there yet.  Of all the additions, Ryder is really the only one that you can say with some certainty that will really contribute.  Brunner might change things a bit, but he's not really a proven entity either. 

 

The assumption going into the season has to be that the Devils will be worse in the actual goal scoring department.  But it's not quite as safe an assumption that a team like Nashville will have trouble scoring goals.

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How is one being silly.  There's the loss of Kovalchuk and Clarkson, the latter of which, I'll concede is overrated offensively, and I wasn't sorry to see him go.  But at least we know what Clarkson actually did last year, which is really what matters when you're comparing one team against another.  You add Clowe, s a very risky bet, Ryder, very solid, Olesz, let's not go patting ourselves on the back quite yet.  Elias and Zubrus aren't getting any younger, Henrique and Josefson, we really don't know what he we have there yet.  Of all the additions, Ryder is really the only one that you can say with some certainty that will really contribute.  Brunner might change things a bit, but he's not really a proven entity either. 

 

The assumption going into the season has to be that the Devils will be worse in the actual goal scoring department.  But it's not quite as safe an assumption that a team like Nashville will have trouble scoring goals.

Some fans drink the kool aid constantly and can't be realistic.

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If some of the advance metric types didn't overstate their case, or if they did a better job explaining what "luck" actually means (and "luck" in hockey is similar to WAR in baseball, in that everyone has their own formulation of what it is), I wouldn't mind so much.

 

Neil Greenberg is a writer that really gets under my skin in this regard.  For the first round of the 2011-2012 playoffs, he came up with preposterous odds for a particular series outcome -- for example, the Kings have a 60 percent chance of beating the Canucks in six games (that's the gist of it, the numbers I'm throwing out there might be inaccurate) -- and based it on some kind of advanced metric.  (The article is behind the espn paywall).  At some point after the first round (it might have been at the end of the playoffs, I don't remember exactly) he was patting himself on the back about predicting the Kings first round victory.  In the comments section, I pointed out that he didn't mention that he got at least half of the first round series results wrong, and sometimes by a very healthy margin.  He had no response, and he is a writer that will respond to comments in his own articles. 

 

He didn't respond because he's smarter than I am. I will actually respond to you.

 

1:  Anyone who claims they can predict NHL playoff series with any amount of certainty should be either a millionaire, is a liar, or is delusional.

 

2:  While I don't like it when stats types pat themselves on the back for something like this, the truth is that having the Kings favored over the Canucks takes a giant leap of faith.  However, that was almost certainly the right move, and the results happened to turn out as they did.  The Kings were wildly undervalued in the betting markets.  Indeed, an 8 will never be favored over a 1 in an NBA series without a completely unforeseen event occurring right before the playoffs (team plane crash, multiple injuries to star players, etc.).  A 9-7 team will never be favored over a 14-2 team in the NFL.  Picking a 90 win team over an 100 win team in baseball can happen, but baseball's even more luck-based than hockey.  Regardless, the stats suggested that the Kings should be favored over the Canucks despite the Kings despite winning 8 fewer games, and they happened to win the series.

 

3:  No one is overstating their case.  I cannot predict the future, neither can anyone else, but you seem to have this idea that 'advanced stats' (and that phrase makes my skin crawl) do.  They can help to guide people into seeing teams that are either over or under performing.

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How is one being silly.  There's the loss of Kovalchuk and Clarkson, the latter of which, I'll concede is overrated offensively, and I wasn't sorry to see him go.  But at least we know what Clarkson actually did last year, which is really what matters when you're comparing one team against another.  You add Clowe, s a very risky bet, Ryder, very solid, Olesz, let's not go patting ourselves on the back quite yet.  Elias and Zubrus aren't getting any younger, Henrique and Josefson, we really don't know what he we have there yet.  Of all the additions, Ryder is really the only one that you can say with some certainty that will really contribute.  Brunner might change things a bit, but he's not really a proven entity either. 

 

The assumption going into the season has to be that the Devils will be worse in the actual goal scoring department.  But it's not quite as safe an assumption that a team like Nashville will have trouble scoring goals.

I'm not saying we're great on offense, just that I think at worst, we're about the same as we were last year. I don't see how you can argue that. We added a bit of depth in the first week of FA. Clowe, Ryder, Olesz. Clowe, is a risk, but so would have been Clarky, so still a wash. Ryder will put up similar scoring that Parise did, likely a bit less, but it's not a bad replacement on the wing. Even if Clowe has a bad year, all we need is Olesz to be better than terrible, to have between them, similar production to Clarkson from his peak(and that assumes Clarky would be here repeating that next year had he not left).

My opinion is that the team last year COULD have made the playoffs, so I think, if things go our way a bit more than last season, we can make the playoffs. I think that's more likely than missing. I'd say it's something like 65/35 that we'll make it. I'm not 100% and I don't think we'll be in the top 4 of the conference, more likely in the 7-10 group, but I think it's quite possible for us.

Edited by ATLL765

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I'm not saying we're great on offense, just that I think at worst, we're about the same as we were last year. I don't see how you can argue that. We added a bit of depth in the first week of FA. Clowe, Ryder, Olesz. Clowe, is a risk, but so would have been Clarky, so still a wash. Ryder will put up similar scoring that Parise did, likely a bit less, but it's not a bad replacement on the wing. Even if Clowe has a bad year, all we need is Olesz to be better than terrible, to have between them, similar production to Clarkson from his peak(and that assumes Clarky would be here repeating that next year had he not left).

My opinion is that the team last year COULD have made the playoffs, so I think, if things go our way a bit more than last season, we can make the playoffs. I think that's more likely than missing. I'd say it's something like 65/35 that we'll make it. I'm not 100% and I don't think we'll be in the top 4 of the conference, more likely in the 7-10 group, but I think it's quite possible for us.

 

The key to your response is that "Olesz, Clowe, is a risk, but so would have been Clarky."  Clarkson could put ten goals in his own net on purpose this upcoming season, but it's irrelevant.  The point is, we know what he did last season, and the issue is whether Clowe, Olesz, whoever, is going to outperform what Clarkson did last season.  That's pretty shaky.  Ryder should put up his share of goals, but it's a pretty bold prediction to say that he'll produce more goals than Kovalchuk did last year, when you account for his injury, shortened season, etc.

 

I think this season really comes down to the goaltending, if you want had to look at one thing.  You have to hope that some combination of Schneider and Marty can do for the Devils what Lunqvist does for the Rangers. 

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He didn't respond because he's smarter than I am. I will actually respond to you.

 

1:  Anyone who claims they can predict NHL playoff series with any amount of certainty should be either a millionaire, is a liar, or is delusional.

 

2:  While I don't like it when stats types pat themselves on the back for something like this, the truth is that having the Kings favored over the Canucks takes a giant leap of faith.  However, that was almost certainly the right move, and the results happened to turn out as they did.  The Kings were wildly undervalued in the betting markets.  Indeed, an 8 will never be favored over a 1 in an NBA series without a completely unforeseen event occurring right before the playoffs (team plane crash, multiple injuries to star players, etc.).  A 9-7 team will never be favored over a 14-2 team in the NFL.  Picking a 90 win team over an 100 win team in baseball can happen, but baseball's even more luck-based than hockey.  Regardless, the stats suggested that the Kings should be favored over the Canucks despite the Kings despite winning 8 fewer games, and they happened to win the series.

 

3:  No one is overstating their case.  I cannot predict the future, neither can anyone else, but you seem to have this idea that 'advanced stats' (and that phrase makes my skin crawl) do.  They can help to guide people into seeing teams that are either over or under performing.

 

1.  He did claim to predict the result of playoff series, and seemed pretty damned sure of himself, and went so far as to brag that he predicted at Kings upset, but ignoring his misses.  I don't know how much money he has, but I doubt he's a millionaire.  I suppose he could fall back on saying "well I only gave a percentage chance" of an outcome.  But it's the equivalent of saying there's a 70 percent chance that aliens will land on earth tomorrow, and when it doesn't happen, responding, "well, I didn't say it was a certainty".   (That is, it's a one time event that you can't reproduce in a controlled environment, like a coin flip, or roulette).

 

2.  I'm not quite clear on what you're saying.  You say that it took a giant leap of faith to pick the Kings, but then said the stats suggested the Kings should be the favorite, or are you just saying that Greenberg's stats said the Kings should be the favorite.  In any event, had he kept it to saying that the Kings are an undervalued Vegas bet, I really wouldn't care so much.

 

3.  Greenberg is indeed overstating his case in the example I gave, and there are a few others also.  And again, if you're going to brag about your individual hits, you ought to at least acknowledge your missses, especially when there were a lot of them.

 

As an aside, comparing the unlikelihood of upsets in the NHL and MLB playoffs versus basketball is less about "luck" (a term I guess I still don't understand), than it is far fewer variables in the NBA.  (Perhaps that's what "luck" means).  There are a lot more moving parts in a baseball and hockey, than there are in basketball. 

Edited by Daniel

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If I remember the Greenberg thing, I think I disagreed with Greenberg but also felt Daniel was misstating what Greenberg was saying. I could be remembering it wrong though.

Also, to pat myself on the back, I almost perfectly predicted the playoff winners for the entire playoffs before the first round started. :lol:

Edited by Devils731

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The key to your response is that "Olesz, Clowe, is a risk, but so would have been Clarky."  Clarkson could put ten goals in his own net on purpose this upcoming season, but it's irrelevant.  The point is, we know what he did last season, and the issue is whether Clowe, Olesz, whoever, is going to outperform what Clarkson did last season.  That's pretty shaky.  Ryder should put up his share of goals, but it's a pretty bold prediction to say that he'll produce more goals than Kovalchuk did last year, when you account for his injury, shortened season, etc.

 

I think this season really comes down to the goaltending, if you want had to look at one thing.  You have to hope that some combination of Schneider and Marty can do for the Devils what Lunqvist does for the Rangers. 

Clowe doesn't need to be better than Clarky, if he's consistent, that will be enough. I also never said that Ryder could fill Kovy's lost offense. I said Ryder could put up similar numbers to what Parise had in the past. I can see Ryder having a 60-65 point season, but that would be Ryder at his best and still not quite be what Parise can do at his best.

My point on Olesz is that say he puts up 5-10 goals and 15-20 points. We signed him for less than $1M. Clowe was signed for $4.85 per, if they, combined, can equal Clarkson's expected performance, 20-25 goals maybe 40 points, it's basically a wash. I think that's a conservative estimate for these two guys, even if one doesn't have a great year.

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Clowe doesn't need to be better than Clarky, if he's consistent, that will be enough. I also never said that Ryder could fill Kovy's lost offense. I said Ryder could put up similar numbers to what Parise had in the past. I can see Ryder having a 60-65 point season, but that would be Ryder at his best and still not quite be what Parise can do at his best.

My point on Olesz is that say he puts up 5-10 goals and 15-20 points. We signed him for less than $1M. Clowe was signed for $4.85 per, if they, combined, can equal Clarkson's expected performance, 20-25 goals maybe 40 points, it's basically a wash. I think that's a conservative estimate for these two guys, even if one doesn't have a great year.

Your comparing two players output with one, so I can't say it's that convincing.

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1.  He did claim to predict the result of playoff series, and seemed pretty damned sure of himself, and went so far as to brag that he predicted at Kings upset, but ignoring his misses.  I don't know how much money he has, but I doubt he's a millionaire.  I suppose he could fall back on saying "well I only gave a percentage chance" of an outcome.  But it's the equivalent of saying there's a 70 percent chance that aliens will land on earth tomorrow, and when it doesn't happen, responding, "well, I didn't say it was a certainty".   (That is, it's a one time event that you can't reproduce in a controlled environment, like a coin flip, or roulette).

 

Writers have to self-promote, unfortunately.  As Phil Birnbaum, scourge of all misusers of probability wrote, "And I hate [pre-season predictions], when they're taken seriously.  Because, predicting outcomes with a high degree of accuracy is impossible.  All you can do is guess at the basic probabilities.  After that, it's all luck."  So the error here is Greenberg patting himself on the back.  Baseball Prospectus used to promote themselves based on their prior predictions, and it doesn't really make sense to do so.

 

 

2.  I'm not quite clear on what you're saying.  You say that it took a giant leap of faith to pick the Kings, but then said the stats suggested the Kings should be the favorite, or are you just saying that Greenberg's stats said the Kings should be the favorite.  In any event, had he kept it to saying that the Kings are an undervalued Vegas bet, I really wouldn't care so much.

 

Sigh.  You don't know what you don't know.  I am saying that when stats say counter-intuitive things, things against what a reasonable person would expect, intelligent people don't assume that their analysis is correct.  There's so much shoddy analysis (and people trying to sell proprietary systems, people trying to promote themselves, etc.) out there that this is what you might think.  But when the stats think that the 8th seed is considerably better than the 1 seed, yeah, it's a leap of faith to pick against what the regular numbers (wins! pointszzz! you are what your record says you are!) say.

 

As an aside, comparing the unlikelihood of upsets in the NHL and MLB playoffs versus basketball is less about "luck" (a term I guess I still don't understand), than it is far fewer variables in the NBA.  (Perhaps that's what "luck" means).  There are a lot more moving parts in a baseball and hockey, than there are in basketball.

 

I've explained what luck means many times.  Chance elements.  You can't predict the score, you can't predict how people will shoot, etc.  It's a game featuring incredibly high velocity shots, most of which are taken from a reasonably long range, against a player intent on stopping them, who may or may not have enormous pads which cover a large portion of the net.  The biggest number that correlates to future wins that we've found is Fenwick Tied, but even that isn't all that strong.  Because luck - we don't know when the shooters will go cold, we don't know when the goalies will get hot.  Pittsburgh was the best shooting team for years, all their stars were healthy and playing, and Tuukka Rask stopped everything for 4 games.  No accounting for that.  Is there a chance it could happen?  Absolutely, and that's what probability says.  Regardless, you don't really seem to understand that luck or 'the unknown' is ostensibly quantifiable.  We can theoretically know what we can't know.  

 

The NBA has less variance not because there are less moving parts, whatever that means, it's because A: there are more scoring plays attempted and B: the chance of a scoring play succeeding are much higher.  A typical NHL game features around 55-60 shots on goal and 5.X or so goals.  The average NBA game features many more shot attempts (around 80 per team) and way more points (even if we divide all NBA points by two to reflect hockey scoring, the scores are still around 100 between both teams).  Beyond that, shooting percentages in the NBA are often closer to true averages in a single game than in an NHL game, where they are almost never close to true averages (since most forwards average a goal around every 9 shots and D men double that, so in a single game they are typically either way above average or below).  In addition, NBA players have much more control over their shooting percentage.  NHL players have not much control over their shooting percentage on a year to year basis and almost 0 control over it on a game to game basis.

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