Don’t get caught up in the stats! They can be defied!
Is it all in the numbers? I really don’t think so. Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been lots of chatter: What’s wrong with the Allen Americans? What needs to be done? Etc… Statistics have their place in every sport, whether it be a coach or player banking on a stat that displays a weakness in their opponent that they can attempt to exploit or utilizing your own player stats and team stats in order to improve in certain aspects of play; but how much do statistics really mean once a team has made the playoffs? I say very little if that team has the right coach and dedicated players.
If sports analysts would have been asked earlier this week if Maddie Rooney was going to end up defending the net in a six-round shoot out with seasoned Canadian shooters, what would they have said? We won’t speculate, but more than likely the odds would have been against Rooney in these statistic-minded sports analyst’s heads. Rooney defied the stats.
Historically, many teams that have been unbeatable in playoffs and championship games have had good stats, but there are also many winners throughout the years wherein the regular season stats had no bearing on their post season play.
In 1938 the Chicago Blackhawks only won 14 out of their 48 regular season games. The went on to win the Stanley Cup, going 8-2 in three playoff series and winning 66% more games than they did in the regular season.
In 1949 the Toronto Maple Leafs were 22-25-13 and were the fourth and lowest seed. They ended up sweeping the favored Red Wings who went 34-19-7 in the regular season.
In 1967 the Maple Leafs won 32 of 70 games and had a terrible season, but their will to win turned on late in the season and they hoisted the Stanley Cup once again.
In 1990 the Boston Bruins were heavily favored over the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins had a phenomenal season, while the Oilers only won 38 games in the regular season. The Oilers, a clear underdog and without Wayne Gretzky, won the cup over top seeded Boston.
And we can’t forget this week’s Team USA’s women’s hockey victory over Canada. Twenty-year-old, Maddie Rooney, made 29 saves through overtime, then turned away shots from four Canadians in the six-round shootout. The last save came against four-time Olympian, Meghan Agosta, to clinch a 3-2 victory that ended the Americans’ 20-year gold medal drought. I guarantee that Rooney wasn’t thinking about Agosta’s stats as she drove towards the net. She was thinking about the stop. “Then it all came down to Maddie Rooney, and she had a gold medal-winning performance,” U.S. forward Hilary Knight said.
There are many more examples from over the years of teams who were mediocre in regular season play, then turned on in the playoffs and you can speculate over and over as to why these extreme underdogs won the championship when, statistically, it was clear that they had no chance; but one thing is clear, they had coaching that knew how to motivate, which the Americans do in Steve Martinson, and they had players who wanted to and had the will to win, which the Americans do.
“Competitive sports are played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch court, the space between your ears.” Bobby Jones.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Babe Ruth.
“I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” Gale Sayers.
“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Wayne Gretzky
It cannot be argued that these quotes are from some of the greatest ever. It’s apparent that they are not worried about statistics, they’re focused on success.
So, don’t sell the Allen Americans short as of yet. This Friday night’s game is a new day and the past is in the rear-view mirror. We must remember that statistics are always variables that can always be defied. Are statistics important? Yes, they are very important in keeping record of a team and a players specific performance and achievements, but statistics are also made to not only be broken, but to also be defied.
The Americans know what it feels like to be a champion and once you have a taste of that, your inner athlete to dig down deep can defy any statistic that any analyst wants to throw at you. So, don’t get caught up in the numbers, if a team worries about where they’ve been and not where they’re going, using Gretzky’s puck analogy, they’ll miss the shot.
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