The Plus-Minus

For all you non-Puck Heads, the Plus-Minus is a Hockey statistic which measures a player’s team goal differential for the time he is on the ice during even-strength and shorthanded play.  The Plus-Minus statistic is increased by one (a “plus”) for each player on the ice for the team scoring a non-powerplay goal and it is decreased by one (a “minus”) for each player on the ice when a non-powerplay goal is scored against the team.   More recently, this old school hockey statistic has found its way into other statistical analyses.  The Houston Rockets implemented a modified version of the Plus-Minus stat which helped expose ineffective and light-scoring Shane Battier (Kudos to Michael Lewis’s article “The No-Stats All-Star” in The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2009.)  The Plus-Minus is now in regular use throughout the NBA,… and that’s probably the only good thing we can say about the NBA. 

We think The Plus-Minus has applicability to an array of scenarios.  At its core, it is essentially a measure of how a team performs when certain participants are involved in the effort.  In this Blog, entries categorized under our section appropriately named, The Plus-Minus, concern matters where we are either: a) looking for your participation, input and opinion; b) offer a comparative analysis of a sport, team, or player; c) consider the merits of a particular gameplan [whether that strategy relates to sports (e.g. the intentional walk to create a doubleplay opportunity), politics (e.g. the selection of Sarah Palin as the White Tornado’s running mate in 2008) , or controversial decision-making (e.g. Barack Obama’s decision to join the UN Coalition action in Libya, thereby initiating an act of war without seeking Congressional consent)]; or d) all of the above.

We fully expect that The Plus-Minus will be heralded as the newest evaluation tool in a wide range of team sports and political discourse.   See our Sidebar for any of a number of our hotly debated sporting or political matters.

Fast fact:  20 year defensive stalwart, Larry “Big Bird” Robinson of Les Habs holds the all-time career highest Plus-Minus of +730.  The “Great One” finished his career in 3rd place –  212 behind Robinson – but he is the highest non-defenseman.

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