It’s fair to say that Daniel and Henrik Sedin have struggled so far in these playoffs. It’s fair to say that the Canucks need more from their two Art Ross winners. It’s fair to say that the Canucks will need the Sedins to be better if they have any chance of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
It’s not fair to combine their plus/minus ratings as evidence for these fair claims.
The plus/minus statistic already has its flaws; there is no need to add further difficulties. Perhaps people need a reminder of what plus/minus actually is: when a goal is scored for a player’s team while he is on the ice, he gets a plus. When a goal is scored against a player’s team while he is on the ice, he gets a minus. Take powerplay goals out of the equation, and voilà! When a goal is scored at even-strength, every single skater on the ice is affected. So, when the Sedins are on the ice and a goal is scored by the opposition, they both get a minus.
Daniel and Henrik both have a minus-7 rating in the playoffs. This means that, individually, they were each on the ice for 7 more goals against than goals for at even-strength. Since they are generally on the ice at the same time, it is reasonable to say that the Sedins, combined, have a minus-7 rating. It is completely unreasonable and absurd to say that the Sedins are a combined minus-14. That’s not how the plus/minus statistic works. You can’t double-up the effect of a single goal.
Honestly, this should be obvious. I’m upset that it even needs to be said. And yet, too many members of the media are making this mistake:
The Vancouver Canucks head coach felt it was unfair the twins, who have scored only an empty-net goal between them in the second-round series against the Nashville Predators, were disparaged for being a combined minus-seven in Game 5 on Saturday.
Let’s get this straight: the best defenceman had a goal and assist – for the opposition, the Art Ross twins combined for no points and a minus-seven rating, and the superstar netminder allowed four goals on his first 16 shots.
Unless you’re willing to crucify the Sedins because a couple of Canuck defencemen forgot to take care of the puck on Saturday, it’s a little unfair to point out the twins were a combined minus-7 and leave it at that.
Saturday’s minus-4 for Daniel and minus-3 for Henrik — the figures were reversed in Game 4 of the Chicago series — means the brothers are a combined minus-14 in two bad losses in the playoffs, and even in the other 10 games, which isn’t exactly a glowing testament for two of the top four scorers in the regular season.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the NHL’s scoring leaders the past two seasons, were a combined minus-7 Saturday night.
The problem with this tendency should be obvious: it makes the Sedins look a lot worse than they actually are. Considering they are both already -7, there should be plenty of ammunition already for those wishing to tell the story of the struggling Sedins. Combining those ratings into one does nothing more than provide a bigger number. It’s certainly not an accurate or useful number. It’s a cheap shortcut that misleads rather than informs.
For a satirical take on this issue, check out Harrison’s follow-up piece.Tags: Canucks, Daniel, Daniel Sedin, featured, Henrik, Henrik Sedin, I can't believe this has to be said, playoffs, Seriously?, Statistics, Stats