Tag Archives: National Hockey League

NHL has the most parity in last 20 years

The Boston Celtics are back and looking to add...

Boston Celtics NBA Championship banners (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past several years, we have heard the word “parity” thrown around quite a bit, especially in the world of sports. Professional teams like the Montreal Canadians, the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakes, and at various times in the NFL, the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers and 49ers, have all enjoyed long success in their respective league.

While the fans in those towns may enjoy the dynasties that were built, other cities and executives within each of the four major sports leagues would rather see the wealth spread around a bit to other teams.

Back-to-back titles have happened in each of the four major sports in the last two decades. The Yankees won three straight titles in the late ’90’s; the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005 (there has not, however, been a team that has won three straight Super Bowls); the Lakers won three consecutive NBA titles earlier this century (and the Miami Heat are hoping for a third straight title this year); and, the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. But those days when a franchise won five or more straight championships are very much a distant past.

So which of the four major sports in the last 20 years has seen the “most” parity? Let’s start the discussion with a few numbers.

Different champions: Of the four sports, the NHL has had 13 different franchises win the Stanley Cup in the last 20 years. The NFL is close behind with 12 teams winning at least one Super Bowl in the past two decades. The World Series has been won by 11 different teams since 1993, while the NBA Championship has seen only eight franchises hoist the title trophy since 1993. Slight advantage to the NHL.

Repeat champions: Of the four sports, the NFL has had the most repeat champions (teams that won more than one title) in the last 20 years with seven (Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Green Bay, New England, New York Giants and Pittsburgh). The other three sports have each had five repeat champs in the past 20 seasons. No advantage.

Back-to-Back titles: In the past 20 years, the NHL has had the fewest consecutive titles by a team, one. That happened in 1997 and 1998 when the Red Wings won back-to-back titles. It has happened only twice in major league baseball in the last 20 years; it has occurred three times in the last 2o Super Bowls. In the NBA, there have been seven times when a team won back-to-back titles (on two occasions, those teams won a three-peat). Advantage NHL.

So based on these three factors, the NHL, in my opinion, has had the most parity over the past 20 years.

Your thoughts?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Game Sevens: Will the NHL finals series match the NBA and go 7 games?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals at the ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs took their NBA Finals series to a Game Seven with the Heat winning their second straight title. Now the question is: Can (or will) the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins take their Stanley Cup series to a seventh and deciding game?

Here’s a trivia question for you: When was the last time the NBA and NHL saw their finals series both go to a deciding seventh game in the same season? Answer to follow…

For the record, this was the 18th Game Seven in NBA Finals history and the first since 2010 when the Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games. If you compare the three professional leagues that have a seven-game finals playoff (major league baseball, the NBA and the NHL), the NHL has had the fewest Game Sevens since 1947 (when all three leagues were in existence at the same time) with 14. Major League Baseball has had the most Game Sevens with 26 since ’47.

Only once since 1947 have all three sports had a Game Seven decide their champion. That happened in 1955. The Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in seven games to win the ’55 World Series; Syracuse won the NBA title in 1955 winning the championship in a seventh game victory over Ft. Wayne; and Detroit won the ’55 Stanley Cup playoffs over Montreal by winning Game Seven.

Other than 1955, there have been a handful of times when two of the three sports saw their title series go the distance with seven games. Major League Baseball and the NBA have gone seven games in the finals in four seasons (1952, 1957, 1960 and 1962… note it hasn’t happened in over 50 years); the NHL and MLB have gone seven games in the finals in six season (1964, 1965, 1971, 1987, 2001 and 2011).

Trivia answer: The last time the NBA and NHL final series both went seven games in the same year was in 1994. The Houston Rockets won the NBA title with a Game Seven win over the New York Knicks, and the New York Rangers won the NHL title in 1994 by defeating Vancouver four games to three. That’s the only other time other than 1955 that the NBA and NHL have seen their championship series decided in seven games in the same year.

One more stat: Although the NHL has had the fewest Game Seven final series since 1947, they have had the most since 2000. Since 2000 the NHL has had six finals series go the distance with seven games (it could be seven years if this year’s Chicago-Boston finals goes to a seventh game). Both the NBA and Major League Baseball have seen a seventh game finals series in three years.

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A sports first! Reigning champs Packers (NFL), Mavs (NBA), Bruins (NHL) lose in 2012 first-round playoffs

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Rick Carlisle with the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers lost their first playoff game to the New York Giants. Then the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins lose their first-round series to the Washington Capitals four games to three. Finally, the defending NBA champs, the Dallas Mavericks, were swept in a four-game first-round series to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Put it all together and it was the first time in sports history that the defending NFL, NHL and NBA champions were all defeated the following year in the first-round of the playoffs. (If baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals make the 2012 MLB playoffs and are defeated in their first-round series, we’ll have a clean sweep of defending champs in the first round of the playoffs in 2012.)

Following is a look at each of the football, basketball and hockey champions since 1970 that were defeated in their first-round playoff the following season after their title (Year listed is the year they won the Super Bowl or the NBA, NHL championship, followed by their first-round loss in the playoffs the following season.)

National Football League (10)

2011-Green Bay Packers: Lost 37-20 to NY Giants in divisional playoff game

2010-New Orleans Saints: Lost 41-36 to Seattle in Wild Card playoff game

2008-NY Giants: Lost 23-11 to Philadelphia in divisional playoff game

2007-Indianapolis: Lost 28-24 to San Diego in divisional playoff game

2000-St. Louis Rams: Lost 31-28 to New Orleans in Wild Card playoff game

1995-San Francisco: Lost 27-17 to Green Bay in divisional playoff game

1986-Chicago: Lost 27-13 to Washington in divisional playoff game

1985-San Francisco: Lost 17-3 to NY Giants in Wild Card playoff game

1984-LA Raiders: Lost 13-7 to Seattle in Wild Card playoff game

1974-Miami: Lost 28-26 to Oakland in divisional playoff game

National Basketball Association (6)

2011-Dallas: Lost 4-0 to Oklahoma City in Western Conference first-round series

2006-Miami: Lost 4-0 to Chicago in Eastern Conference first-round series

1999-San Antonio: Lost 3-1 to Phoenix in Western Conference first-round series

1983-Philadelphia: Lost 3-2 to NJ Nets in Eastern Conference first-round series

1980-LA Lakers: Lost 2-1 to Houston in Western Conference first-round series

1977-Portland: Lost 4-2 to Seattle in Western Conference semifinals (they had a bye in the first round)

National Hockey League (12)

2011-Boston: Lost 4-3 to Washington in the conference quarterfinals

2010-Chicago: Lost 4-3 to Vancouver in the conference quarterfinals

2007-Anaheim: Lost 4-2 to Dallas in the conference quarterfinals

2004-Tampa Bay: Lost 4-1 to Ottawa in the 2006 conference quarterfinals (no 2005 season due to season cancelled)

2003-NJ Devils: Lost 4-1 to Philadelphia in conference quarterfinals

2002-Detroit: Lost 4-0 to Mighty Ducks in conference quarterfinals

1993-Montreal: Lost 4-3 to Boston in conference quarterfinals

1973-Montreal: Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1972-Boston: Lost 4-1 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1971-Montreal: Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1970-Boston: Lost 4-3 to Montreal in quarterfinals

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NHL Playoffs: The Conference Semifinals ‘seed’ advantage

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of ...

The Stanley Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next round of the NHL playoffs begin tonight as the first of the four Conference Semifinals will have Phoenix and Nashville facing off in Phoenix. The matchups for the Conference Semis:

No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 8 Los Angeles

No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Nashville

No. 1 NY Rangers vs. No. 7 Washington

No. 5 Philadelphia vs. No. 6 New Jersey

Since we have each of the eight seeds (No. 1, No. 2 through No.8) represented in the second round, how well has each seed done in previous Conference Semifinals? Following are the series records of each seed in the second round from 1994-2011. (The playoffs in 1994 was the first year the league ranked eight teams from each of the two conferences No. 1 through No. 8, the current playoff format.) Notice how the No. 2 seed has the best series record since 1994; also notice how well the No. 6 seed has performed in the second round.

Series Record (series won/lost) of Seeds in Conference Semifinals

No. 1 Seed… 17-8 .680

No. 2 Seed… 14-5 .737

No. 3 Seed… 9-13 .409

No. 4 Seed… 11-11 .500

No. 5 Seed… 4-8 .333

No. 6 Seed… 7-5 .583

No. 7 Seed… 4-11 .267

No. 8 Seed… 2-7 .222

Let’s take it a step further. Here are the actual seed matchups from the second round from 1994-2011

Conference Semifinals Matchups (by seed) 1994-2011

No. 1 vs. No. 4: Series tied at 2-2; No. 1 vs. No. 5: No. 1 has won five series and lost two; No. 1 vs. No. 6: No. 1 has won two series and lost three; No. 1 vs. No. 7: No. 1 has won eight series and lost one.

No. 2 vs. No. 3: No. 2 has won nine series and lost two; No. 2 vs. No. 4: No. 2 has won one series and lost two series; No. 2 vs. No. 5: series tied at 1-1; No. 2 vs. No. 8: No. 2 has won all three series.

No. 3 vs. No. 4: No. 3 has won five series and lost three; No. 3 vs. No. 5: No. 3 lost the only series; No. 3 vs. No. 8: No. 3 has won both series.

No. 4 vs. No. 6: Series tied at 1-1; No. 4 vs. No. 7: series tied at 1-1; No. 4 vs. No. 8: No. 4 has won two series and lost one.

No. 5 vs. No. 6: No. 5 has lost only series; No. 5 vs. No. 8: No. 5 has lost only series.

No. 6 vs. No. 7: Series tied at 2-2.

Did you know? The higher seed has won the 64.7 percent of the NHL Conference Semifinals series from 1994-2011.

As mentioned above, each of the eight seeds (No. 1 through No. 8) have a team playing in the second round. This is the fourth time this has happened in the second round of the playoffs since 1994 (1995, 1999, 2006 and 2010). The No. 2 seed in 2010 and 2006 won the Stanley Cup that year… could this bode well for the St. Louis Blues?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

SIX STATS you might not know about… NHL playoffs (4-game sweeps vs. 7-game series)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of ...

The Stanley Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Hockey League playoffs are underway. Two series, Los Angeles-Vancouver and Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, still have the potential of a four-game sweep as the #8 seed Kings hold a 3-0 series over top-seeded Vancouver, and the Flyers are up three games to none over Pittsburgh. In the other six series, there is still the potential of the teams taking the series to a deciding seventh game.

Following is a stats snapshot of NHL playoff series going back to 1987 (the year all playoff series went to seven games) with a focus on four-game sweeps and series that go to a deciding seventh game.

Conference Quarterfinals

1. Four-game series sweeps: There have been 25 four-game sweeps in the first round of the NHL playoffs since 1987. Teams that win the first round in a four-game sweep won 11 series and lost 14 series in the next round.

2. Seven-game series: There have been 52 seven-game series in the first round of the NHL playoffs since 1987. Teams that win a first-round series in seven games won the next series 23 times and lost the next series 29 times.

Conference Semifinals

3. Four-game sweeps: There have been 18 four-game sweeps in the semifinals since ’87. Teams that won a second-round series by sweeping the opposition went on to win the conference finals 11 times and lost in the conference finals seven times. (The extra rest before the conference finals helped?)

4. Seven-game series: There have been 23 seven-game series in the semifinals since ’87. Teams that won a second-round series in seven games won in the conference finals only six times and lost in the conference finals 17 times. (The fatigue factor of a seven-game series in the semifinals hurt teams in the conference finals?)

Conference Finals

5. Four-game sweeps: There have been six four-game sweeps in the conference finals from 1987-2011. Those six teams went on to win the Stanley Cup three times and lost the Cup three times.

6. Seven-game series: There have been 12 seven-game series in the conference finals from 1987-2011. Eight of the 12 teams went on to win the Stanley Cup; four lost the next series.

Did you know? In the 24 Stanley Cup finals since 1987, eight of the series went the full seven games. In six seasons, the Stanley Cup champion won in a four-game sweep.

Note: In all NHL playoff series from 1987-2011, 55 ended after a four-game sweep; 97 went the full seven games.

Note #2: Last year, the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins became the first team in NHL playoff history to win three playoff series by winning a decisive seventh game. Ironically, they won their fourth series (a semifinal series win over the Flyers) with a four-game sweep.