Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Referees - Part 1 - High PIM

The question is a common one - who calls the most penalties? It's truly impossible to say, because there is no official data on which of the two referees calls any given penalty. We can, however, say for certain that some referees are involved in games with far more penalty minutes than others.

The difference between the top and bottom is actually pretty large - over 9 minutes per game separate the top from the bottom - that's about 5 power play chances per game, assuming that major penalties and game misconducts are spread pretty evenly across all referees (something I'd like to look at down the road).

The average 06-07 NHL game looked like this:
Total Average PIM - 27.65
Total Average Home PIM - 14.28
Total Average Road PIM - 13.38

For this post, the first in the series, I'll keep things very simple - here are the top ten referees in average PIM per game:
Steve Kozari 32.35
Dennis LaRue 31.99
Dave Jackson 31.78
Chris Rooney 31.31
Craig Spada 30.25
Chris Lee 30.2
Brad Meier 30.14
Mike Hasenfratz 29.67
Brad Watson 29.65
Brian Pochmara 29.6

Out of that top 10, Kozari and Pochmara weren't full time referees. They each handled less than 30 games. Everyone else was close to the average of just over 70 games.

So what does this mean? It means that if you are watching a game with one of these guys, or even better, two of these guys, you're more likely to see more special teams play.

I know that just by the nature of the beast, someone has to be the top and someone has to be the bottom, but I was really surprised that the spread between the highest and lowest average was over 9 minutes. That seems really high to me - it's half of a period of power plays!

Data Mining - The Referees - Introduction

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