Complaining about officiating is an unmistakable sign of a poor sport. Only a terrible sportsman blames the referees, but let’s get real: the Caps are getting screwed on penalties against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m not here to spread conspiracy theories or accuse officials of malpractice; I’ve just got some cold, hard facts that may blow your mind.
Biostatistician and devoutly “warped” Caps fan, Stevie K, is gifted with numbers in a way that I am not. Whereas my girlfriend does not permit me to keep score at Scrabble, K has performed a statistical analysis to ascertain how soon, in a perfect situation, the Washington Capitals can secure the Presidents’ Trophy (hereafter “The Prez”) for the first time in the team’s history.
What follows is a peek into a disturbed mind, wherein the machinations of p-values and standard deviations are comprehended with ease. Abandon all hope, ye who read on, of understanding what Stevie K now lays at your feet; let the numbers wash over you and ease you into a narcotic stupor. Trip the light fantastic amidst a really big spreadsheet. I promise to bold the important stuff that makes sense to normal human beings.
There’s a lot riding on tonight’s appointment with the Bruins, and it all merits serious discussion. Unfortunately, the Russian Machine is staffed by morons, so we’re going to swap genuine gravitas with overblown stupidity.
If the Caps win tonight, they will break the team’s record for consecutive games won (10, by the 83-84 Caps). They will also break the Bruins’ record for consecutive games lost (8, by the 56 Bruins). The Caps team is playing at their acme right now, whereas the Bruins are hoping they’ve already hit rock bottom. What does this portend for tonight’s game?
Well, if you flip a coin, your chances of getting heads are the same from one toss to another. Ideally, all binary competitions (one winner and one loser) would be like this. If the principle could be extended to sports, the Caps would likely win tonight just because they are the better team objectively. But first we much deal with a few others factors, and also, we must maul intelligent statistical theory until the results please us. Please join us behind the jump.