Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Referees - Part 7 - Goals

After taking a pretty decent high-level look at penalty minutes associated with the guys in stripes, let's take a look at the impact (if any) of the refs on goal scoring.

Goal scoring is the big issue in the NHL the last few seasons. The changes made towards opening up the game were all aimed at one thing - allowing the best players to show their stuff, thereby increasing the excitement level. It would also lead to increased offense, with more shooting and more goal scoring. We'll take a look at how the refs have influenced this in 2006-2007.

When I was looking at this data, I couldn't see any correlation between goal scoring and guys that seemed to favor the home or road team. The surprising thing I did find was that the guys who were involved in games with fewer penalty minutes were also involved in games with higher scoring.

To put that important point another way, the guys that call fewer penalties have higher scoring games. That seems counter-intuitive to me, but take a look at the data and see if you agree. Here are some brief points before I show the chart:
  • The average number of goals scored in a game in 06-07 is 5.91. That breaks down to 3.11 for the home team and 2.8 for the road team.
  • Of the guys in the top 10 in average PIM per game, only ONE is in the top 10 in average goals scored. FIVE of them are in the bottom 10 in average goals scored.
  • Six of the top ten in average goal scoring are in the bottom half of the rankings for average PIM.

Without further ado, here's the chart. I'm showing the ref, their average goals per game and their ranking in PIM per game.

Ref PIM Rank Goal Avg
Craig Spada 5 6.3
Dean Morton 33 6.25
Dean Warren 27 6.24
Greg Kimmerly 32 6.23
Don Koharski 11 6.19
Kevin Pollock 20 6.19
Justin St. Pierre 21 6.14
Kerry Fraser 31 6.12
Stephane Auger 23 6.1
Gord Dwyer 14 6.08
Don Van Massenhoven 19 6.02
Brad Meier 7 6.01
Chris Rooney 4 5.99
Dennis LaRue 2 5.99
Mick McGeough 17 5.97
Rob Martell 28 5.96
Kelly Sutherland 24 5.93
Paul Devorski 34 5.93
Rob Shick 25 5.88
Wes McCauley 37 5.88
Tim Peel 35 5.85
Mike Leggo 36 5.85
Dan O'Rourke 16 5.84
Eric Furlatt 18 5.77
Steve Kozari 1 5.77
Marc Joannette 30 5.76
Tom Kowal 12 5.72
Mike Hasenfratz 8 5.71
Brian Pochmara 10 5.7
Bill McCreary 26 5.7
Brad Watson 9 5.68
Dave Jackson 3 5.66
Ian Walsh 13 5.64
Dan Marouelli 29 5.63
Chris Lee 6 5.63
Dan O'Halloran 22 5.62
Francois St. Laurent 15 5.38

I know that St. Laurent is well below anyone else - but he also only was a ref for 16 games in 06-07, so it's not really fair to comment on that.

Tomorrow will be about shots. Do they correlate in a similar fashion? Are they a better indicator of offensive output in a game? We'll take a look tomorrow.

Here are the previous parts in the series:
Part 1 - High PIM
Part 2 - Low PIM
Part 3 - Home / Road Intro
Part 4 - Home PIM Rankings
Part 5 - Road PIM Rankings
Part 6 - PIM Spread


Will said...

WOW! That's a good series so far. I've never seen this kind of breakdown of the refs, very cool. Thanks for posting it all.

Wayne said...

So your study only has a goal difference from a guy who was barely in the league to absolute veterans. Now everyone needs to claim that thier goal is the difference of why thier team lost. Seems like most everyone has nothing to complain about. This is a very good article and really brings out the point that referees do the best that they can and do not intent to "Homer" any team.

Pat said...

will - thanks for the thoughts - I had never seen anything like this either, which is why I wrote it :)

wayne - i'm starting to agree with you - the more I look at this, the more it looks like the refs should stay to the background and let the players decide what happens on the ice. Tomorrow's piece on shots will only reinforce that...