12 April 2012

The Pain Game 2011/12 - end of season wrap

Injury stats update – end of season awards

This is my final update* for the 2011/12 regular season looking at which teams have been hit hardest by injuries by trying to place a value on the games missed by players due to injury/illness.

[*Final regular update at least.  I may or may not produce some further breakdowns and four-year analyses at some point before next season.]

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2011/12 cap charge, then take the aggregate of these figures for each team and divide by 82. This indicator of value lost to a team by injury/illness is called CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players).

Again, for a different indicator of player "value", I've also illustrated a similar metric based on TOI/G alongside the CHIP numbers.  Clearly, neither cap charge nor TOI/G are perfect measures of player value, since each have a number of limitations and inconsistencies, but they provide a decent comparison and the results do vary somewhat.

A quick summary of the alternative metric:
  • TOI/G replaces cap charge as the measure of value in the calculation
  • For goalies, TOI/G has been worked out as Total Minutes Played / Games Dressed For* - i.e. a goalie playing every minute of 75% of the games, zero in the rest, would end up with a TOI/G of 45 minutes (or close to it, once you factor in OT and so on).  [*Actually, "Games Played by Team - Games Missed by Goalie" - I'm not inclined to disentangle any three-goalie systems or minor-league conditioning stints.]
  • This arguably overstates the worth of starting goalies somewhat, but it's simple and you could equally argue that a workhorse goalie is the hardest position to replace, so it's fair for them to have a much higher TOI/G figure
  • Where a player hasn't played all year or where a player fairly clearly has a reduced TOI/G figure due to getting injured in their only game or one of very few games, I've used TOI/G from last season (or further back if necessary)
  • For each player, multiply games missed by TOI/G to get (for a more palatable name) Cumulative Minutes of Injured Player (CMIP)
  • Take the aggregate of CMIP for the team and divide by games played by the team to arrive at AMIP (Average Minutes of Injured Players) - it feels more understandable expressing this metric as an average per game (whereas CHIP is a running total)
The figures...
The table below (playoff teams highlighted in yellow) shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over the 2011/12 regular season, as well as the distribution of CHIP by position
  • The player who has contributed most to the team's CHIP figure
  • The number of players with a CHIP contribution of over $250,000 (think of it as being equivalent to a $1m player missing 20 games or a $4m player missing five games)
  • AMIP for each team over the same period (e.g. an AMIP of 40:00 could be seen as the team missing two 20-minute per game players for every game this season) 
10 second analysis...
The Canadiens eventually eased to a comfortable gap at the top of the CHIP table, thus earning the title I'm assured by Randy Cunneyworth is known in those parts as L'Équipe Le Mostest Injuré de la HLN 2011/12.

A more successful season will no doubt be aided by the return to health of so many key players (and Scott Gomez).  Perhaps less aided by the future decision to fire the team surgeon halfway through Andrei Markov's next knee surgery.

Late season Datsyuk and Toews-shaped holes in the Red Wings and Blackhawks respective line-ups saw both teams move away from their long-held positions at the bottom, to be replaced by the pesky divisional rival Predators, sneaking into place Radulov-style.

Still no obviously strong correlation between the extent of injuries and making the playoffs to my untrained eye.

Winners of positional crowns:
Goaltenders: Islanders [shocked face]
Defensemen: Capitals [the smell of Poti Pourri and the decaying remains of what used to be Mike Green]
Forwards: Canadiens [shame Tomas Kaberle wasn't an injured forward]

And the paper hats:
Goaltenders: Kings and Predators [stress free roles with all the goal support]
Defensemen: Bruins [only group of defensemen who don't have to block any Zdeno Chara shots]
Forwards: Coyotes [every forward on the roster missed 50+ games, but it still adds up to only $1.1m]

The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:
The pain and frustration of all the games Sidney Crosby missed surely pales into insignificance compared to the vicious hurt incurred by the nasty words said into a microphone by a few people, including this year's runaway winner of the FACC (Fines Against Cursing Coaches) award, John Tortorella.

The Blue Jackets difficulties this season obviously not helped by having to find two replacements to eat up the 20 minutes a game pinned in their own end normally taken by Kristian Huselius and Radek Martinek.

Players who missed all 82 games (and are not officially retired to my knowledge):
Sauer (Phoenix) [second full season out]
Sheppard (San Jose) [second full season out]
Savard (Boston)
Betts (Philadelphia)
Laperriere (Philadelphia) [second full season out]
Ohlund (Tampa Bay)
Poti (Washington)

Where does it hurt?
This is another update of the crude injury-by-location analysis. Again, I’ve just used the descriptions found in the player profiles on tsn.ca, so the figures will encompass all the inaccuracies and vagueness within them. It should give a broad indication, if nothing else, though.

As a brief, meaningless comparison to last year: Mushy heads and upper/lower body pain up, leg hurt down.

Finally, a look at the Evasiveness Index.  This is basically the proportion of injury instances for each team that have been described as either "Undisclosed" or the helpfully pointless "Upper/Lower Body" in the same TSN profiles.  I have made no judgement about whether the many instances of "Illness" (i.e. concussion) or "Flu" (i.e. concussion) should also be included.

Things look broadly similar to last year at either end of the table here: Nashville, Phoenix and Carolina staying in the top four; Colorado, the Rangers and Edmonton staying in the bottom five.  Something clearly changed in either evil genius Guy Boucher or Canadian demigod Steve Yzerman for the Lightning to suddenly clam up over their injuries this year though.

  • Figures exclude a few minor-leaguers / marginal NHLers (perhaps an arbitrary judgement on my part in some cases) who had been on the NHL club’s IR since pre-season. Generally, if a minor-leaguer gets called up and then injured in an NHL game, his games missed will then count towards the CHIP though.  Minor-league conditioning stints immediately after/during a period on IR might be included in the man-games lost figures (but can't guarantee I get it right every time)
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I do the best I can with the information out there. Some corrections are picked up month-to-month too
  • The cap figure doesn't really correlate very well to the "worth" of a player in some cases, e.g. where rookie bonuses are included this year, where players are seeing out an old (underpaid or rookie) contract or where players are horrendously overpaid
  • Also, for any player who was acquired on re-entry waivers (e.g. Sean Avery), the cap hit will only reflect that for their current team, i.e. 50% of the player’s full cap hit (shared between his current and old teams)
  • I've once again stuck a full team-by-team listing of games missed and CHIP/CMIP numbers by each player on the web HERE
  • Injury/games/TOI info courtesy of tsn.ca and nhl.com - man-games lost info more than likely does not exactly match up with the "official" figures released by individual teams
  • Cap info courtesy of capgeek.com