By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
I was talking last week about a long held belief on my part as it pertains to the Ontario Hockey League and the 2 Conferences
The last 18 times the J Ross Robertson Cup was awarded, a Western Conference team has been crowned as champion..... 15 times, or 83% of the time.
That result speaks volumes and leads to another long held belief on my part that judging players based on stats for year-end league awards and All Star teams is unbalanced; that is, an Eastern Conference player travels a vastly easier road than a Western Conference player.
To illustrate that belief, I took the top 2 scorers in the OHL this year; Ottawa's Marco Rossi from the East led the league with 120 points while Cole Perfetti of Saginaw from the West was 2nd with 111 points.
( I know, I know, Rossi is born in 2001 and Perfetti is born in 2002, but the actual difference in ages is essentially just 3 months, so we'll call it even ).
First, checking Marco Rossi's game by game stats, I found staggering point totals against the bottom 3 Eastern clubs; Kingston, Niagara and North Bay. He put up 38 points, or a 3rd of his total. in 13 games against those teams
Then just for giggles, I took the respective points per game percentages for both players against each conference.
For Marco Rossi, he put up 2.18 points per game against the Eastern teams and 2.05 points per game against Western Conference teams.
( The percentage for Rossi against the West would be reduced further were it not for 8 points in 2 games against Sarnia....but I digress )
For Cole Perfetti, he was remarkably consistent putting up 1.82 points per game against Western foes and 1.8 points against the East.
Then finally, I took their points per game numbers and applied it to a reversal of their respective conference games.
For example, what if Marco Rossi played 37 games against the West with a 2.05 points per game average and only played 17 against the East at 2.18 points per game ?
( Of note, Marco Rossi also had 4 points in 2 crossover games against Gatineau )
And what if we did likewise for Cole Perfetti ?
Crunching those numbers, I was somewhat surprised to find Marco Rossi would finish with 113 points, while Cole Perfetti would still be 2nd, now at 109 points.
Of course, the numbers, the reversals and my lingering beliefs don't really create a definitive answer....but it was fun playing with the numbers.
I'm Fred Wallace