Several months ago, Carlton Chin, my coauthor and I completed a book called
Who Will Win The Big Game? 50 Championship Characteristics. This book identifies
the factors which empower coaches, teams and athletes to perform well in big games.
We predicted the winner of the last Super Bowl and the book was featured in
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Now we are utilizing the same
psychological and mathematical methodology to help teams, coaches, athletes, owners
and athletic directors build quality organizations.
We are also using the methodology which we developed to predict the winner of
The Stanley Cup.
Carlton, who is a MIT trained quant and a manager of a hedge fund crunched the
numbers once again. Here is what our research shows:
Over the past 30 years, the team with the better offensive star, measured by
points scored, has gone 19-11 (63.3%) in Stanley Cup Finals. This factor favors the
Black Hawks, and Patrick Kane (88 points) over the Flyers and Mike Richards (62
We note, however, that generally, during hard-checking and physical playoff hockey,
defense and goalies who are “in the zone” are major determinants of the eventual
The exception to the rule is when you have a standout offensive leader like Wayne
Gretzky. “The Great One” ushered in a period of high-powered NHL scoring from the
mid-80’s to the mid-90’s. During this time, offensive leaders were more easily able to
“lead’ and “will” their way to championships. Gretzky led his Edmonton Oilers to several
Stanley Cups, and then Mario Lemieux did the same for his Pittsburgh Penguins.
In less “high-powered” offensive times, defense and a good goalie have been key to
winning the Stanley Cup. Over the past 30 years, teams with the better goalie save
percentage have gone 18-11 (62.2%). Over recent years, since the high-scoring period of
the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s, teams with the better save percentage have gone:
• 3-0 over the last 4 years (teams had the same save percentage one year),
• 6-1 over the last 8 years,
• and 13-4 over the last 18 years.
This factor favors the Philadelphia Flyers with their .907 save percentage versus the
Chicago Black Hawks and their .903 save percentage. Another factor in the Flyers’ favor
is coach Peter Laviolette’s Stanley Cup Championship as coach of the 2006 Carolina
Hurricanes. This is Black Hawk coach Joel Quenneville’s first appearance as coach in
the Stanley Cup Finals. Our research has shown that experienced coaches tend to do well
in big games like this one.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, NJ and the Founder of
www.StayInTheZone.com and www.DrJayGranat.com