FanDuel - WFBC

April 26, 2012

Power (Dis)Play? Teams In Black Draw More Penalties : Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs.

"Teams that wore black jerseys were penalized more, significantly more, than teams wearing other colored jerseys," said researcher Gregory Webster of the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Except when they're not.

posted by Wensink to hockey at 04:54 PM - 16 comments

Setting aside the researcher's correlation/causation confusion, and goofy assertions ("One possibility is that players wearing darker colored jerseys are more visible on the ice than players wearing white, allowing referees to spot fouls more easily."), the study's findings aren't exactly supported by recent PIM [penalty in minutes] numbers from the NHL.

Five teams wear black jerseys: Anaheim, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. According to Webster, they should be among the most penalized in the league, right?

Ranking for total PIMs, among 30 NHL teams:


2011-12 season

#3. Boston [1103 minutes]

#8. Dallas [1032]

#10. Anaheim [980]

#14. Los Angeles [923]

#19. Pittsburgh [880]

2010-11 season

#2. Pittsburgh [1388]

#5. Anaheim [1178]

#8. Boston [1115]

#13. Dallas [1066]

#16. Los Angeles [962]

2009-10 season

#3. Anaheim [1321]

#6. Pittsburgh [1195]

#16. Los Angeles [979]

#18. Dallas [963]

#20. Boston [953]

2008-09 season

#2. Anaheim [1426]

#12. Los Angeles [1207]

#15. Dallas [1144]

#18. Pittsburgh [1114]

#25. Boston [1028]

And what % of those penalties were received while playing in their black jerseys on home ice?

2011-12 season

Los Angeles [54.60%]

Dallas [49.03%]

Boston [46.96%]

Anaheim [46.22%]

Pittsburgh [45.91%]

2010-11 season

Boston [58.39%]

Dallas [48.59%]

Los Angeles [48.34%]

Pittsburgh [43.30%]

Anaheim [39.13%]

2009-10 season

Boston [51.52%]

Anaheim [47.77%]

Dallas [47.25%]

Los Angeles [44.84%]

Pittsburgh [41.67%]

2008-09 season

Pittsburgh [53.41%]

Boston [51.95%]

Anaheim [51.05%]

Los Angeles [45.65%]

Dallas [45.28%]

posted by Wensink at 05:21 PM on April 26

("One possibility is that players wearing darker colored jerseys are more visible on the ice than players wearing white, allowing referees to spot fouls more easily."

That would sort of explain why Raffi Torres didn't get a penalty when he almost murdered Marian Hossa.



Referee: "Woah! Why did Hossa just fall down?"

posted by grum@work at 05:35 PM on April 26

So you're saying that your four years of analysis are better than their 25 years of analysis. Also, correlation doesn't disprove causality. The article even says, "While the link between jersey colors and penalties is correlational, Webster said it's likely to be more than mere coincidence..."

posted by Etrigan at 05:49 PM on April 26

Oh sure, come slumming around here after this gets deleted at Metafilter. I guess we know where we stand.

posted by yerfatma at 07:33 PM on April 26

I hope you're kidding, yerfatma- it's a perfectly fine link/analysis for discussion.

posted by hincandenza at 07:38 PM on April 26

and goofy assertions

It's part of the Scientific process to have and eliminate alternative hypotheses.

Also, it's a 10% difference in penalties called, which given his sample size is huge, it does beg for an explanation. So the old "correlation doesn't equal causation" thing is, as usual, a red herring.

posted by rumple at 08:38 PM on April 26

@yerfatma Heh. Don't get me started about the post's deletion from MeFi. Four hours of number crunching down the drain. Just happy it has found a home here at Sportsfilter. (And thanks to the mods for keeping it in tact.)

My point is, the Bruins are (relatively) heavily penalized because they're the Broons, not because they wear black sweaters. If the researchers really wanted to dig deep, they'd look at the Dallas Stars' PIMs when they went from green unis to black.

posted by Wensink at 09:17 PM on April 26

So, I didn't read the article simply because grum weighed in and I trust him. But hey grum, can you do red jerseys next? Then blue?

I'd like to know which jersey I should pick out in the next men's league.

posted by BoKnows at 11:25 PM on April 26

So, I didn't read the article simply because grum weighed in and I trust him. But hey grum, can you do red jerseys next? Then blue?

Huh?

I think you're giving me credit for Wensink's work.

posted by grum@work at 12:03 AM on April 27

I was.

Shit.

I see a table of stats and my mind says grum. Simple as that.

I seem to have lost the ability to create even a comment lately, I'll just go back to hovering.

posted by BoKnows at 12:28 AM on April 27

BoKnows,

It's not just you. I saw a jumble of numbers, and automatically assumed it was grum...

posted by MeatSaber at 12:44 AM on April 27

@BoKnows Twelve reds, eleven blues, one orange. And one yellow (Nashville, your next Stanley Cup winner.) (Unless it's the St. Louis BLUES.)

posted by Wensink at 01:36 AM on April 27

So I should pick green then?

posted by BoKnows at 01:46 AM on April 27

What is your favourite colour?
Blue. No yel-- Auuuuuuuugh!

posted by scully at 08:18 AM on April 27

I saw a jumble of numbers, and automatically assumed it was grum...

:(

posted by grum@work at 11:42 AM on April 27

Sorry grum, that came out worse than I meant. Just that sometimes your high-level maths are a little over my head, is all...

posted by MeatSaber at 04:25 PM on April 29

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