Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Using The FCF To Predict The First Round

If you were a Rink Reader at this time last year, you'll recall the startling discovery I made of a proven scientific method of predetermining playoff series winners - the Former Cap Factor (FCF). The FCF predicted an astonishing 80% of playoff series correctly last year, including both Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals.

In case you're new to the FCF (or if you need a refresher), the FCF holds that:
  1. If one team has fewer former Capitals than its opponent, it is most likely going to win any given series.
  2. If teams have the same number of former Capitals, the team with the fewer games played for the Capitals is most likely going to win any given series.
  3. If neither team has a former Capital and one team has a former Capital head coach behind the bench, that team is most likely to lose any given series.
  4. If both teams have former Capital head coaches, the team with the fewer games coached for the Capitals is most likely going to win any given series.
  5. If neither team has a former Capital or former Capital head coach, the team with the fewer former Capital draft picks is most likely going to win any given series.
  6. Addendum: If the teams have the same number of former Capital draft picks, the team with the fewer Capitals ties among assistant coaches/advisors/etc. is most likely going to win any given series.
With that in mind, let's look at the first round matchups and put the FCF to work:
  • Buffalo (1) vs. N.Y. Islanders (8) - Having Dainius Zubrus and former Caps' draft pick Nathan Paetsch on the roster may hurt the Sabres down the road, but not in this first-round matchup against Brendan Witt, Richard Zednik and Chris Simon (in absentia). Buffalo wins.
  • New Jersey (2) vs. Tampa Bay (7) - Both teams have a former Caps' draftee who never played for the big club, but the Bolts' Tim Taylor played for the Caps' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, which edges out the Devils' Johnny Oduya, who never signed with the Caps. Jersey wins.
  • Atlanta (3) vs. N.Y. Rangers (6) - The Thrashers wisely traded former Cap Glen Metropolit at the trade deadline. The Rangers should have done the same thing with Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander. Atlanta wins.
  • Ottawa (4) vs. Pittsburgh (5) - The few games Lawrence Nycholat played for the Caps (and, for that matter, for Ottawa this year) are nothing compared to the years of "defense" Sergei Gonchar and Joel Kwiatkowski logged in Washington. Ottawa wins.
  • Detroit (1) vs. Calgary (8) - Detroit's Robert Lang and Calgary's Jeff Friesen... even if you don't count the six games that Brad Norton played for the Wings in October, Lang played more games for the Caps than Freezer, so this one has "upset" written all over it. Calgary wins.
  • Anaheim (2) vs. Minnesota (7) - This is a tough one, as both teams wisely have no former Caps on the roster. Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle was an assistant in D.C., but Minnesota goaltending consultant Bob Mason played for the Cap (and in The Easter Epic, no less). Anaheim wins.
  • Vancouver (3) vs. Dallas (6) - Former Caps abound in this one, with Jeff Halpern and Nolan Baumgartner on Dallas's side and Trevor Linden and Jan Bulis on the Canucks' roster. Halpern's games played and captaincy in D.C., as well as another Caps' draft pick in Krys Barch on the Dallas roster tell me all I need to know. Vancouver wins.
  • Nashville (4) vs. San Jose (5) - Having learned their lesson with Brendan Witt last year, Nashville comes into this series with no former Caps. The Sharks have a former Cap coach in Ron Wilson and, more importantly, player in Mike Grier. Nashville wins.

There you have it: the FCF's first-round predictions. Take 'em to Vegas (or - they're money in the bank.


Hack27 said...

Hey JP, very good stuff. But what about Murray in Ottawa? I know you pointed it out on AOL, but shouldn't it be a factor here?

JP said...

Thanks, and no question Murray's a factor, but the FCF lists that factor below number of former Cap players.

Hey, I don't make the rules - I just follow them. :)

Stimpy said...

As a long time Chicago Cub fan, the "Former Cub Factor" has been a mainstay in baseball for years (Irv Kupcinet, Chicago Trib. I believe). I'm glad to see my hockey team can influence their sport as well. I wonder in the Vikings have the same effect?

JP said...

Funny you should mention that - my old roommate is a Cubby die-hard and introduced me to the FCF which I so shamelessly adapted.

Caps Nut said...

Sorry, but having the man who started all of the playoff chokes for the Caps, Bryan Murray, immediately tips the scales in the favor of the Penguin Scum.

Furthermore, Barry Trotz (former Caps Minor League Head Coach) and David "Bud" Poile (former Caps GM and the GM who built all of the playoff choking Caps teams) in Nashville tips the scales against Nashville.

Anonymous said...

How long has this been the case? Are the Larry Murphy years included? That guy won about 900 Cups after leaving the Caps.

JP said...

Last year was the first year of data. And just b/c Murphy won Cups doesn't mean the FCF failed (and it's not 100%... just close) - he may have just run up against teams with more former Caps.

Ron W said...

San Jose's Assistant Coaches Tim Hunter (Former Caps Assistant Coach) and Rob Zettler (Former Cap Player) tip balance even more to Nashville.

E said...

As of today, 4/20/07, 1 for 1 on the FCF predicitons. Ottawa advances, but so do the Rangers.

JP said...

2-1 (Anaheim and Ottawa right, Atlanta wrong).

Novaron said...

5 of 8 but at least you beat Maggie the Monkey (TSN). Note that Mike Grier has won 3 of the 4 series he has played in so far (and even he could not overcome the loss of a starting four defensemen on Buffalo against the Canes last year). Maybe there is a Mike Grier factor that is more powerful than the FCF.

JP said...

Caps Nut's comment about architecture is apparently spot on, and the FCF must be adjusted to account for David Poile. Retroactively, it changes nothing from last year and makes the FCF (which will be revisited before Round 2) 6 for 8 in Round 1 and 18 for 23 (78%) overall.