Monday, February 18, 2013

Around the League: Don't Let the Standings Fool You

(Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)

Luckily for Stars fans, this post isn't about Texas. There are a lot of moving parts in the calculation of the standings, and most people tend to only concentrate on one number: current standing. I'm not saying that's bad or wrongheaded. It's just a bit shortsighted.

See, the problem with concentrating on that one number is that not all teams are created equal. Well, more specifically, not all schedules are created equal. Take, for example, the North division. (Open this up for easy reference.)

Abbotsford leads the way with 59 points and earns a third place seeding due to their leadership of the division. But now take a look at their games played; this is where the foolishness happens. Abbotsford leads the league in games played to date at 53. Just behind them in the division is Toronto, only trailing by three points but with a whopping six games in hand. The Marlies have a better points percentage by almost .04. That might not sound like a lot, but over the course of 76 games, that's three points in the final standings, which is more than enough to make or break your whole season.

Other foolish examples, all from the Western Conference, include:
  • Chicago in ninth by points and sixth by percentage.
  • Rochester in eighth by points and fifth by percentage
  • Lake Erie in seventh by points and tenth by percentage.
For the record on Texas's numbers, the Stars actually have a game in hand on their closest followers, the Checkers.

Other news and notes:
  • Idaho wrapped up a playoff spot on Saturday night with a win over Ontario. Thanks to the nine team Western Conference, in which eight teams make the playoffs, Idaho had its third quickest clenching of a spot yet. The Steelheads have never missed the playoffs since their inception in 1997.
  • Jace Coyle has been on fire for the Steelheads with 5-5-10 in the month of February. He's probably not going to be lacing them up in Boise this week though, as he is likely to be the first callup with the injuries to Nemeth and Sloan this weekend.
  • Thoughts are with Wade MacLeod after he suffered a seizure on the ice yesterday in a game between the Falcons and Phantoms.

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