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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

So I'm watching SportsCenter and just a few moments ago Linda Cohn posed a few questions to Barry Melrose, which is awesome because I think that any appearance by Melrose instantly makes said program at least one thousand times better.

But going beyond this, earlier in the program Cohn said something that was absolutely wrong.  While discussing the Detroit Red Wings, and the fact that the Red Wings had won their NHL single-season-record twenty-first consecutive home game, Cohn made the statement that the Red Wings had the best record in the NHL.  And this statement is absolutely wrong.

If you look at the current NHL standings (11 pm Central Standard Time - fake holiday - February 14, 2012), the Red Wings do indeed lead the NHL in points with 80, but it is actually the New York Rangers that have the best record in the NHL even though they trail the Red Wings with 79 points.  And the reason for this is quite simple: the Rangers have a superior points percentage.  Points percentage in the NHL is exactly analogous to winning percentage used in other sports.  Two points are awarded for a victory of any kind (regulation, overtime, or shootout), one point is awarded for an overtime or shootout loss, and zero points are awarded for a regulation loss.  If you look at the two teams' records (wins-losses-overtime losses), you have the Red Wings at 39-17-2 and the Rangers at 37-13-5.  So having played fifty-eight games, the Red Wings have 80 out of a possible 116 points for a points percentage of 68.97%.  However, the Rangers have played fifty-five games, indicating that they have earned 79 out of a possible 110 points.  And this points percentage is 71.82%.  So the Rangers clearly have the best record in the NHL right now (and they had the best record before the games of the fake holiday as well).

When it's all said and done at the end of the season this obviously will be immaterial, but this is one of those occasions where I don't think there is a legitimate excuse for getting it wrong.  Cohn should know not to simply look at points total (as I assume she did) to determine who has the best record in the NHL.

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