Friday, November 10, 2006

Chance of winning an offensive face-off is 55%

I just discovered JavaGeek's hockey blog, and I was going through his archives, when I discovered this: the chance of winning a faceoff in the offensive zone is 55%.

How come? Why isn't it 50%, considering that includes both teams? What's special about the way the offensive team takes the faceoff that would give it such a large advantage?

JavaGeek, do you know?

UPDATE: it's not 55%, it's 50.9%. See JavaGeek's comment below.


At Saturday, November 11, 2006 2:26:00 AM, Blogger JavaGeek said...

55% is a significant exaggeration (oops).

In 2005-2006 it was
Wins: 23459
Loss: 22633
This works out to 3.84 standard deviations away from 50%, so it's significant.

However it's not quite that simple. I got the 55% by observing individual players stats, for example Joe Sakic scored 50% in the defensive zone, but 59% in the offensive zone.

However an average works out to closer to 2.4% for the top 83 offensive zone (in terms of quantity) face off players. There appears to be two types of players (those who do better and those who are no different), not sure how to test that theory. So one groups average is around 0% and the other is around 5%.

I suspect it simply an incentive type thing: it's a lot easier to measure offense than defense so players are more concerned about things that could effect their scoring. Another way of saying this is that Joe Sakic isn't too concerned about winning a defensive face off because he can get the puck back easily after the face off. Joe Sakic might have more face offs vs. 3rd liners on the power play and they wont be near as good as top liners.

At Tuesday, November 21, 2006 9:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would expect a face-off in the offensive zone to be won at over 50% on average due to the fact that the players on the defensive team has to mark their men and hence can not concentrate as hard on getting the puck.

Typically the focus of defensive face-offs is not so much to maximize face-offs won but to miminize face-offs lost CLEANLY.

A face of where the puck goes straight back to a defenseman on the blue line (and gives an imidiate scoring opportunity) is much worse for the defence than one where the centers are "locked up" and an offensive winger comes out and digs it out after a second or two. (Because by then everyone on the offence is marked.) Yet both are scored as won face-offs for the offense.

My belif is that most teams would gladly accept a <50% face-off statistic in their own zone provided that most of the lost face-offs were of the second kind...


At Tuesday, November 21, 2006 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

That makes sense to me. Thanks.

At Sunday, November 26, 2006 3:57:00 PM, Blogger JavaGeek said...

Recent analysis shows that:
This 50.9% is purely the result of the power play. On the power play the offensive team wins 55% of face offs, most of which are in the offensive zone..

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