There’s a seemingly endless amount of hockey statistics. Many are commonplace, such as shots and goals. Some are openly debated, e.g., plus-minus (+/-). Some are often overlooked, like icing and offside events, or independently researched but not implemented on a large scale, e.g., shot quality. The backbone of icetistics.com focuses on those stats that are often overlooked, not commonly implemented, or completely novel in nature. Follow the links below to learn more.

Icing and Offside Events

Icing and offside statistics have one major thing in common: they both represent a forfeit of puck possession. Although both event types are documented in NHL play-by-play files, to our knowledge an event team is not documented in conjunction with these events. This renders these statistics to be nearly useless in their nominal state.

We derived an algorithm to identify and assign event teams to roughly 97% of icing and offside events (for more information see our article on data QA/QC here). With this new information we can generate icing and offside stats for individual teams and game states. Figure 1 shows icing and offside information for each team through the first 660 games of the 2018-2019 season. The stats are broken down by game-state type relative to the respective team.

offside and icing boxplot per team

*Figure 1. Icing and offside stats for each team thru 660 games of the 2018-2019 season. Icing and offside stats are provided per 60 minutes of possession time (not to be confused with 60 minutes of overall play), for each team while leading, tied, and trailing*

We believe that icing and offside events are good indicators of team discipline and possession efficiency, especially when investigated relative to situational-splits. At the time of this writing, the Los Angeles Kings (LAK) and Detroit Red Wings (DET) are two of the worst teams in the NHL. Notice that when they have the lead in the game they ice the puck and go offside more than any other team. This may be a sign of an inability to keep the lead, but further investigation is needed. We plan to investigate offside and icing trends for different man-power and score-differential splits in the future.