Tuesday, June 08, 2004

As Andrew Coyne recently wrote on his weblog,

Hockey commentary is always moronic, but it reaches a special intensity of moronitude at playoff time.

Indeed. During the final game of the Lighting-Flames series, the commenatators made much of the fact that no team in the last 33 years returned from a 2-0 defecit in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

This fact was supposed to demonstrate the desperate position the Flames were in after being down 2-0 in the middle of the second period.

Ummm. What are the chances of the Stanley cup going to game 7 and one team being up 2-0 at some point in the game? These are two independent events and one wouldnt expect them to combine very often -- which is enough to explain why you must go back quite far to find a blown 2-0 lead.

On a related note: during the first game of the Lakers-Pistons series, "Lakers are on an 8-4 run" was flashed on the screen.

Lets assume a model where the teams are exactly equal and during each possession each scores a basket with the same probability p. The probability that during the course of a basketball game, there exists one period where one of the teams outscores the other 8-4 is pretty close to 1.

An "8-4 run" is a completely meaningless statistical fact.


At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hockey is full of these unwritten democratic peace theory type statistically irrelevant laws, the difference being most hockey players will admit they are more superstitions than laws.

the commentators wont, but theyre idiots, except for ron maclean.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger alex said...

i agree.

i think all sports commentators are idiots, not just hockey.


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