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January 18, 2013
Intraconference Schedule, Travel Effects
by Matt Pfeffer
Hey, we've got a season! That's pretty cool. But what does it mean for teams? Lots of different things, of course. But let's look at one in particular: what it means in terms the amount of travel in their schedule.
|Average distance traveled per week (miles)|
On average, teams will be traveling about nine miles less per week than in 2011-12despite playing more games per weekbut as you can see in the table above, the intra-conference schedule doesn't have uniform effects on each team. True, most teams are traveling slightly less because they're playing teams in their own conference, but ironically, some teams like Detroit and Nashville need to travel further to play many Western Conference than Eastern Conference opponents. Additionally, teams like Vancouver, Chicago, and Minnesota are traveling more because they are not able to play as many of their road games on long, distant-efficient road trips, which in a typical season see them playing in many cities that are close together. Due to the increased pace of games3.4 games per week compared to 3.1 games per weekthese teams will have shorter road trips, returning home more often to balance out their home and away games. How much shorter?
|Average road trip length (days)|
A little bit, as you can see in the table above. Teams will return home a little more quickly. But does being on the road for a longer amount of time make any tangible difference?
"Performance" in the graph above is represented as the team's actual performance in the game over their expectations determined by how they did in the standings relative to their opposition, adjusted for home and away splits.
As you can see, there is a substantial downward trend in success with the amount of time spent on the road, leveling out around the week mark. So teams like Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg will have less of a disadvantage than usual, traveling back home more often due to the increased pace of games.
See? Gary Bettman does like Canada.
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