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2012 Playoffs, Suspensions & Fines

Fun with Suspension Math! A Mind-Blowing NAHB Reader Devised Formula


Brendan Shanahan: Senior VP, Dept of Player Safety & Hockey Operations,
GM Puppet, Media Lightning Rod, Fan Scapegoat and Man of Many Regrets

My good friend and reader of the blog, @sk8hrd, decided to put his big brain to good use this week in hopes of making sense of the NHL supplementary discipline process. (It sure beats thinking about how his Sharks are doing.) He emailed me the following information on Friday, April 20th and I asked if he’d be willing to let me share it on the blog because I think he’s really onto something here.

So far in the playoffs, there have been a number of inexplicable suspensions. Being a Math geek, I figured I would try and help explain this using the following formula:

Player Star Power: This is a multiplier that is used to help assess how valuable the player is to the team and thus to the league. For the most part, their star power is linked directly to their salary. Star power can be calculated using 1/3rd of their salary in millions. So a player making $6M will have a star power of 2.

Goalie star power: As goalies are more valuable. All star goalie’s receive a star power of 2. Vezina/Conn Smythe candidates have a star power of 3.

The rookie rule: Since rookies can’t make nearly as much money as veterans, their star power is relative to their proximity to the line they are skating on inverted divided by 2. A player who skates the first line, has a star power of 2. A player who is on the 4th line has a star power of 1/2.

The Russian Discount: All Russian players receive a 25% discount on their star power.

European Discount: All European players receive a 10% discount on their star power

The Alex Ovechkin rule: AO’s star power is 1/2 of any other player is caliber as they like to make an example of him.

Previous offender rule: add 30% for second offense, 75% for the third offense and 2x for future offenses.

All suspensions start with a base of 1 game. If the player has an injury, that doubles the suspension. If the injury is significant then the base goes to 3. If injury is discussed on ESPN, then the star power of the player inflicting the injury is negated.

All playoff suspensions are 1/2 of the original suspension.

The offending player receives an inverse of their star power to offset the injury itself.

So the formula looks like this:

# of games * Star Power * (1/Offending player star power) * Playoffs = Suspension

Let’s put this in practice-

Carl Hagelin’s hit on Alfredsson:

Injury involved: 2 games

Alfredsson’s star power: 2.5

Hagelin’s star power: 1

Playoffs: 0.5

2 * 2.5 * 1* 0.5= 2.5 games. Round that up to 3 games which is what he got.

Shea Weber’s hit on Zetterberg:

No injury: 1 game

Shea Weber star power: 4

Zetterberg star power: 3

European Discount on Zetterberg: 10%

Playoffs: 0.5

This gives: 1* (3*.90) * 1/4 * 0.5 = 0.3375

Since this is less than 1 game, a fine of $2500 makes sense.

Shaw hit on Mike Smith:

Injury: perceived but not confirmed: 1.5

Shaw is a rookie 3rd liner: 0.75

Mike Smith has a potential to win the Conn Smythe: 3

Playoffs: 0.5

1.5 * 3 * (1/0.75) * 0.5 = 3

Shaw was suspended for 3 games.

Torres hit on Marian Hossa:

Significant Injury: 3

Hossa Star Power: 1.6

Torres Star Power: 0.6

Repeat offender: 2x

Playoffs: 0.5

1.6 * (1/0.6) * 2 * 3 * 0.5 = 8 games

Something I should mention is Hossa is making 7.9M this season so his
star power may be as high as 2.6 which would put the suspension up to
13 games. Averaging them out you can expect around 10 games.

@sk8hrd’s mathematical formula predicted about 10 games for Torres.  That’s about what I predicted and was hoping for.

So 25 games completely blows the math right?

Not so fast.

The key factor here is the playoff game ratio.  If this hit happened during the regular season, would it have merited 50 games?!? No way.  So lets remove the playoff factor.

2.6 * (1/0.6) * 2 * 3 *= 26 games



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About Karen M

Recovering academic/pop culture junkie/crazed hockey fan.


10 thoughts on “Fun with Suspension Math! A Mind-Blowing NAHB Reader Devised Formula

  1. Math boggles my mind. As does the reasoning behind the suspensions. This is the logical conclusion: mind-boggling suspension math.

    Posted by Kathryn P | April 21, 2012, 2:13 pm
  2. Holy Christ. This post is like the show Numb3rs applied to the NHL and suspensions. You know, you could at least take me out to dinner if you’re going to mind **** me!

    Posted by Mike (@RedWings3RDP) | April 21, 2012, 2:54 pm
  3. Oh, if I followed the formula correctly (which I’m bad at math so no promise that I did), Zdeno Chara should have been suspended for 6 games. I’d be interested to see a real math person do the math on that

    Posted by Mike (@RedWings3RDP) | April 21, 2012, 3:02 pm
  4. According to this Duncan Keith should have gotten 3 games, max, for the hit on Daniel Sedin. This is if you assume that the injury was significant and use Keith’s cap hit instead of this years pay.


    Posted by ee | April 21, 2012, 4:51 pm
    • actually, I believe it would be:

      3*1.8*(1/.6)= 9 games (which is more like what the Canucks were arguing for)

      (3 for injury 1.8 Dunc star power & .6 for Sedin star power.)

      You could argue that the end of the regular season is practically the playoffs & add that factor….
      3*1.8*(1/.6)*.5= 4.5 round up to 5

      I think this is right… My math skills aren’t all that good. ;)

      Posted by Karen M | April 21, 2012, 5:40 pm
      • Hate to disagree with your math, but I disagree with your math. :)

        Injured players star power should be a multiple, since the more star power makes the punishment more severe. Injuring player should be a divisor, since higher star power makes the punishment less severe.

        Also, I don’t get why Sedins star power should be .6 since according to capgeek his both his salary and his cap hit is 6.1M earning him a star power of 2 that with the European discount makes it 1.8 (same as Keiths so they cancel each other).

        (I’m not saying that I think he should have a shorter or longer punishment. It’s just that math is sort of my thing, when I see a formula, especially one as cool as this, I can’t help myself I need to try it out and this was the only case I knew well enough to get all the numbers for without extensive research.)

        Posted by ee | April 21, 2012, 7:27 pm
        • Math, especially applied math, is definitely not my thing. :) Hopefully sk8hrd can come comment on the formula and how he came up with it. I’d enjoy seeing *two* math minds at work as I try to keep up.

          Posted by Karen M | April 21, 2012, 7:42 pm
  5. Pacioretty: The year that Chara injured him, he was a rookie that was on a mid-season recall (He started the season on the bench). This would give him a 3rd line star power at best, potentially a 4.

    This would give the following:
    Chara: 2.5-10% EU discount = 2.25
    Pacioretty: Some may argue that he would get a 4th line ranking as he was in due to injury which gives him a star power of 2.
    This was a significant injury which would give a base of 3. As it was tracked on ESPN, then the star power of the player should have been negated

    This would give the following: 3 * 1 * 1/2 = 1.5 games. This really depends on how you value Pacioretty as a player. Keep in mind, this was pre-Shanaban so the formula may not be in play.

    Onto Duncan Keith:
    Keith Star Power: This year Keith is going to make $10M/3 = 3.33
    Daniel Sedin Star Power: $6.1M/3 = 2
    Injury: Tough one to decide if this is significant or not so either a 2 or a 3

    Lots of unknown variables with this one. If you assume the ESPN coverage and you rate the injury as a 2.5 the math actually makes sense:

    2.5 * 2 * 1 = 5 games

    As much as we would like to believe that math is a hard science, it still gets down to what is known. Being a math geek, I started to see patterns of how suspensions are given out. There is obviously some tongue in cheek but it’s surprising on how many times it actually works.

    Posted by sk8hrd | April 22, 2012, 9:25 pm

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