Thursday, September 25, 2008

Measuring the preseason workload

This is a bit of an extension of Wednesday's post on the nutty preseason schedule, something that drew a pretty good response. And one of the things quite a few people pointed out is just how many players are involved in exhibition hockey.

It's actually incredible, if you measure it, how big an operation these early games are.

Let's put it this way: In the regular season, there are a total of 1,230 games played by 30 teams, and last year, 852 skaters and 89 goaltenders saw the ice. That's an average of 31.4 players per team.

In the preseason? Going based on 2007, when there were 105 games played, there were 1,067 skaters and 106 goaltenders who got into the action. Or 39.1 players per team.

In 17 days.

A whole whack of those guys don't play all that much, but a few play a lot. In the 2007 exhibition schedule, two skaters played eight games — Peter Mueller and Eric Godard — and another 27 played seven games.

In all, 358 skaters played five or more exhibition games, including a lot of veterans. Of the 1,067 skaters to play in preseason, only 341 were considered rookies, and they averaged 2.7 games played apiece.

The "veterans" played just under four each.

That's probably not a crippling workload, but you throw all that travel in, and the shortened training camp format that started recently, and an average of 7.5 games a team seems a bit much. Especially if you stack it on top of the 100+ games the teams which go to the finals this year will play by June, 2009.

After all, what's the point of preseason having nearly 10 per cent as many games as the regular season? Other than getting a few more bodies in NHL duds.

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At 9:23 a.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger dzuunmod said...

Not to mention the fact that next year will be an Olympic year, meaning even more games for certain guys.

At 9:39 a.m., September 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A problem with your math James. 82 x 30 is 2460. 1230 for Eastern Conference teams and the same for the west.

At 10:03 a.m., September 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. I think that the preseason should definitely be lengthened. It is the most exciting time of the year seeing all the prospects. It is even better than the World Juniors and the Memorial Cup all rolled up into one.

At 10:49 a.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I wish the NHL kept track of individual preseason stats. It'd be funny to find out what player is the best when it matters the least.

And can announcers please not refer to Stamkos' preseason goal as "the first goal of his NHL career" like the TSN guys did yesterday?

At 11:12 a.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger W.R. Little said...

4 pre-season games per team would be more than enough. 2 games to give some of your fringe guys a chance (then make some cuts), then give the vets a couple games to get their feet back.

At 11:42 a.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger MacS said...

Don't worry, Godard got lots of rest during the regular season.

At 11:59 a.m., September 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preseason had more value when players had to work themselves into shape. Now they show up in shape (with a few notable exceptions, of course), and most of the spots aren't really up for grabs.

I think that more practice would be more valuable, since there is a lot of grumbling during the season when teams can't address issues on long road trips especially since they are either playing or traveling.

Five games might be good. Most of the guys that make noise show up well in the scrimmages and practices, so a game to get the "game-day" jitters out of the way for prospects and tryouts, a couple games where they can show what they have, and then two games for the full roster to get their timing back.

The season itself is too dang long as it is - no point in adding poitless fluff to the beginning of it.

At 12:50 p.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

A problem with your math James. 82 x 30 is 2460. 1230 for Eastern Conference teams and the same for the west.

Heh, that's some fine math.

Who are they playing in those extra 1,230 games if not another NHL team?


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