clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pythagoras theorizes: Islanders lack Golden Thighs

I've been avoiding addressing this, because a quick glance at league GF/GA figures tells you right away that the on-ice picture for the Islanders thus far is not good. And we really don't need yet another way of describing that -- at least not amid a six-game losing streak (reverse jinx, reverse jinx, reverse jinx!).

Nonetheless, Forechecker delivers charts (color-shaded!) that show the picture league-wide, which provides some interesting extremes as well as confirms what an idle glance detects: If the Islanders are victims of misfortune this season, it's certainly not on the ice (training room, maybe, but not on the ice).

Things of note: Ottawa has both the lowest GF and second-lowest GA in the league. Boston's stellar record is aided by a ridiculous (unsustainable?) .931 save %.

If you're familiar with the "Pythagorean" record in baseball, it basically projects what record a team "should have" -- minus bounces, acts of God, etc. -- based on runs scored and runs against. Compare the "should be" record with the actual record, and you have a theoretical measure of just how "lucky" (or unlucky) a team has been. A very simple concept with surprisingly decent results once the season has enough games under its belt.

Do the same in hockey (Forechecker explains all in his post, using win probabilities from and you get this: The Islanders' "expected" win percentage is below .300 -- the only one below that mark in the league. In fact, take away the nine goals against in the Pittsburgh drubbing -- seriously, pretend that game was an Islander 2-0 shutout -- and the Isles still have the worst figure in the league.

In the quest for green grass, though, I'll say the Islanders are lucky in one way: They can afford to go through this demolition and rebuild, which includes (hell, necessitates) such misery. When expectations are low -- and the market is not Toronto -- such is the perfect time to take it all apart, as they are doing, and build back up the right way. Pressure for short-term fixes is least in moments like these. It's a long rip of the band-aid off the flesh, but it has to happen.

[Explanatory note for those hoping to see fleshy golden goodness: Aristotle described Pythagoras as having a golden thigh -- the mark of divinity and/or a wonder-worker, which is something you wouldn't ascribe to the Isles this year.]