How meaningless is the pre-season?

The Oilers pre-season at 6-0: PLAN THE PARADE!

The Oilers pre-season at 6-1: OMIGOD PANIC THIS IS HORRIBLE TRADE THEM ALL!

Good lord – did we all go off our meds at the same time?

Please calm down and repeat after me:

The pre-season is meaningless.

The pre-season is meaningless.

The pre-season is meaningless.

*Why* is the pre-season meaningless?

Because there are few complete rosters.  The only players playing hard are the bubble players, trying to impress the coaches and win a chance at a regular roster spot.  Those NHL regulars that are playing are playing to not get hurt, not to win. They often get badly outplayed by the bubble players as a result.

Every year there’s a dozen pre-season superheros who score like Crosby during the meaningless games, and disappear faster than the donuts at a media scrum once real bullets start flying.

Most bubble players play themselves *off* the team before the games are for realsies.  That’s the real purpose of the pre-season.

It happens year after year after year.  Why do we forget it at the start of every season?

Ever played poker without money?  It’s like that.  Good for teaching, but nothing like the real game.

Because this is a numbers blog, I will leave you with numerical proof of how meaningless the pre-season is.  This is the correlation between the pre-season and the regular season points % for each team from last season:

figure_1 pre vs regular season points percent

Let me shout it at you: THERE IS NO CORRELATION BETWEEN WHAT HAPPENS IN PRE-SEASON AND WHAT HAPPENS IN THE REGULAR SEASON!

Ok?

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2 thoughts on “How meaningless is the pre-season?

  1. Thank you for putting this in numbers.

    I was checking in over at LT occasionally last night and having a good chuckle. You’d think we got knocked out of the playoff race last night or something. Some of my favorite reactions:

    1. Talbot is no longer the starter (because real starters are perfect 100% of the time).
    2. Ference/Nikitin being bad last night was a disaster, when it was actually a good thing. They weren’t the kind of bad where you could blame it on someone else, or shrug it off. They were epically bad. I could see the coaching staff (MAYBE) giving 1 of the 2 of them a pass, but if there were any Ference/Nikitin supporters in the coaching or managerial ranks at the start of the game there were fewer by the end almost for sure. THAT’S WHAT THE PRESEASON IS FOR.
    3. That was the Canucks AHL team…. no it wasn’t. It wasn’t their A squad, but plenty of those players will be playing big minutes for the Canucks this year (obviously the top forward line was missing). They had their team Canada defenseman, their rising star prospect, their franchise #2 center all in the lineup, all playing hard.

    Anyway thank you for trying to inject some rationality into the internet. Not an easy task.

    Like

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