Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm sorry Blackhawks fans

Last Friday afternoon I wrote about my displeasure with the NHL's "in conference only" schedule this year, wishing that the Bruins would have a chance to end the Chicago Blackhawks 24 game (half the season) unbeaten in regulation streak.  I actually made a point of getting the piece done early in the evening because I had a feeling the Blackhawks were due to lose that night.  In retrospect I should have placed a bet as soon as I published the post, as Chicago went out and got crushed by the Avalanche 6-2.  Yesterday the 'Hawks dropped their next game as well, falling 6-5 to Edmonton.

After being undefeated through their first 24, Chicago losing their last two contests really isn't all that surprising.  It's a principle called "regression to the mean," and we see it all the time in sports.  Even if the Blackhawks are the best team in the NHL, they obviously weren't that much better than everyone else.  As seasons go on statistical oddities like this usually tend to even themselves out; in fact a similar thing happened to the Bruins last year.

Here's a prediction along those lines: The Miami Heat have won 18 consecutive games.  Later this week they'll head out on a five game road trip.  I bet they lose 3 of their next 6 (including at Boston next Monday I hope).  That will spawn tons of "what's wrong with the Heat" talk.  And the answer will be "nothing," they're just not actually as good as they were during the streak.


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