Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/25/14 at 08:15 AM ET
from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,
Opponents to the N.H.L.’s Olympic participation have long argued that clubs that send many players to the Winter Games tend to perform poorly after the break. The critics have had no real statistical evidence to back up the claim, though, and have largely based their opposition on individual teams that stumbled in the stretch run.
Still, a little-noticed 2012 study may provide such evidence: It found that for every player an N.H.L. club sent to the Olympics, the club’s goal differential dropped by 0.088 of a goal per game compared with its performance before the Games. That is to say, clubs that sent many players to the Olympics in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 suffered a bigger performance drop-off, on the whole, than clubs that sent few players.
The study, conducted by the University of Massachusetts professor Neil Longley and published in The International Journal of Sport Finance, is believed to be the only one to quantify the Olympic fatigue effect on N.H.L. clubs during the run to the playoffs.
“It could be physical fatigue; it could be emotional fatigue — we can’t really answer that question,” Longley said in a telephone interview.
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