NHL shootouts aren’t random. So let’s stop calling them that.
The National Hockey League has once again made headlines for tweaking its standards of playoff qualification, this time deciding it would look into into modifying the league’s shootout system. In the current structure, a shootout concludes any 5-minute overtime session ending without a goal, with the winning team earning an extra point towards season standings
One of the major factors in the NHL’s thinking, as it turns out, is that shootouts are too random. Just today, a Toronto columnist called the shootout a coin flip.
Statisticians, including ones I have a lot of respect for, have frequently enforced this idea. In an old post on SB Nation, St. Lawrence associate professor Michael Schuckers walks through several analyses to show that the distribution of…
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