Off-Day Open Thread: Original Six Bias?

On the Forecheck's Dirk Hoag posted an interesting statistical rundown of every suspension the NHL has handed out (on a supplemental, but not automatic) basis since the lockout and has come to the conclusion that the age of an NHL franchise has a high correlation with how often players on other teams are suspended for infractions committed against the team and that, as a corrolary, the Original Six franchises enjoy a "privileged" status among the NHL's clubs.  He concludes that it would appear to confirm suspicions that the league is biased against newer teams, even being so kind as to throw in anecdotal evidence of instances in which violations of the rules committed against Predators players resulted in no supplementary punishment.

 

Suspensions_medium

What Hoag does not attempt to do while reaching this conclusion is address any other factors that may come into play.  While he states that he expects that these numbers should have evened out over time (a time frame of a mere 5.5 years since the lockout), he does not attempt to argue or provide evidence for how many infractions against teams other than the predators did not lead to suspensions when they likely should have.  If it's to be expected that the numbers should even out over such a short time frame (which they should not), then it should also be expected that the four instances of unpunished cheating should also even out among the teams and that the leage-leading New York Rangers' 11 drawn suspensions would be closer to 15 in an ideal world.

Looking a bit more in-depth at the numbers, it appears as though he may have a point regarding the original six, but I believe the data points to something that's related, but also easier to explain from a motive standpoint.  If you break down the percentage of times a team has been "protected" by having a cheater punished by division, you get this:

Division Times "Protected" Percentage of Total

Atlantic

26

20%

Northeast

29

22.3%

Southeast

15

11.5%

Central

19

14.6%

Northwest

19

14.6%

Pacific

22

16.9%

 

 

 

Now, if you throw out the Original Six garbage and look at what seems to motivate the league more (money) in a comparison against Forbes' data for franchise valuations from December 1, 2010, you get this:

Division % of Times "Protected" % of League Value

Atlantic

20%

20%

Northeast

22.3%

23.1%

Southeast

11.5%

11.8%

Central

14.6%

15.8%

Northwest

14.6

15.3%

Pacific

16.9%

14%

 

I fully admit that I'm not a statistician, but these numbers are pretty damn close if you ask me.  So, I now ask you, what's the motivation behind the seeming disparity in how the league's supplemental discipline policy works?  Are Bettman and Campbell looking at the age of the franchises when they make these decisions or is there another number at work in their heads?  I'd say this data provides at least a little insight as to what might be the motivating factor here.

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