Who is the most entertaining hockey team?

Have you ever wondered who the most entertaining team in the NHL is? Is it Ottawa? What about Stanley Cup defending Lightning? Or what about those dreaded Maple Leafs or the high flying Red Wings. Do you have NHL Center Ice and are wondering what the best hockey game to watch might be? By doing a little bit of number crunching we can find out.

Before I get into the details of how one could determing the most entertaining hockey team I must say that this is purely for fun and not to be taken too serious if you find out your favourite team doesn’t rank that highly.

The first thing we need to do when determining who the most entertaining hockey team is, is to determine what is entertaining. I personally believe that the most entertaining hockey games are 1) close games, 2) have plenty of offense, and 3) have plenty of hitting and physical play. With this in mind I gave every game through Friday November 4th an entertainment factor score. The score is calculated in the following manner:

+6 points for every goal scored (i.e. a 5-3 game would get (5+3)*6=48 points)
+1 point for every hit recorded
+10 points if game is a 1 goal game (i.e. 5-4 final score)
+ 5 points if game is a 2 goal game (i.e. 5-3 final score)
0 points if a game is a 3 goal game
-5 points if a game is a 4 goal game
-10 points if a game is a 5 goal game
-15 points if a game is a 6 goal game
-20 points if a game is a 7 goal game
-25 points if a game is a 8 goal game
-30 points if a game is a 9 goal game
-10 points for games with 5+ goal differential (since channel surfing is likely more interesting)
+5 points for a game ending in overtime or a shoot out.

When you add it all up, here are the top 5 most entertaining games.

1. Toronto 5 at Ottawa 6 (shootout) – October 10
2. San Jose 7 at St. Louis 6 – October 8
3. Philadelphia 6 at Carolina 8 – October 28
4. Los Angeles 4 at Dallas 5 – October 5
5. Boston 7 at Pittsburgh 6 (overtime) – October 8

And the three least entertining games were:

1. Colorado 7 at Edmonton 1, October 21
2. San Jose 1 at Minnesota 6, October 19
3. Detroit 6 at Columbus 0, October 22

Next I averaged all the game entertainment factor scores for all games that a team participated in to get a team entertainment factor. Here is the list of teams sorted by most entertaining to least entertaining.

Rank Team Entertainment Factor
1 Toronto 90.4
2 Montreal 87.1
3 Dallas 85.5
4 Philadelphia 85.1
5 Ottawa 82.2
6 NY Islanders 81.4
7 Boston 79.8
8 Los Angeles 79.8
9 Chicago 79.4
10 St. Louis 79.0
11 Colorado 78.3
12 Phoenix 76.8
13 Pittsburgh 75.8
14 San Jose 75.0
15 Carolina 74.9
16 Vancouver 74.1
17 Calgary 73.1
18 Detroit 71.0
19 Buffalo 69.8
20 New Jersey 69.0
21 Nashville 67.8
22 NY Rangers 67.7
23 Anaheim 67.6
24 Washington 67.5
25 Atlanta 65.4
26 Edmonton 64.9
27 Florida 63.9
28 Columbus 61.2
29 Tampa Bay 60.7
30 Minnesota 59.7

For somewhat of an adhoc algorithm it seems to have done a decent job of identifying the teams I would enjoy watching from those I wouldn’t. Tampa Bay being second from the bottom of the list is a bit surprising but that is largely due to the fact that they are the least physical team in the NHL. Florida, Columbus and Minnesota are probably well deserving of being in the bottom 4 though.

One thing that I might include in a future entertainment factor calculation is shots on goal since a 2-1 game in which two goaltenders stand on their heads saving almsost everything shot at them is just as, if not more, entertaining than a 6-5 game.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. I find your list really interesting but perhaps, as you said, it would be improved further by factoring shots on goal into the formula.

  2. So Ottawa is being punished for blowing out their opponents with regularity? Seems somewhat unfair.

    But as a whole, I’d say you’re right, this list is pretty good as far as what teams I find entertaining. Vancouver and Carolina not being in the top 10, while the Islanders and Blues are, seems somewhat strange though.

  3. Unless you are an Ottawa fan, watching the Sens blow someone out is not entertaining and would likely tune out and watch another game. I’ve got NHL Center Ice. i can watch any game I choose. Am I going to watch Dallas crush St. Louis 9-1 or watch pretty much any other pair of teams play a 3-2 game? Blowouts are generally not very entertaining.

  4. As a big time Isles fan I can say that almost every game they play in is decided by 1 goal. Leads are never save and it’s a nail biter to the end every night. If you have Center Ice you know you leave those games that are decided with plenty of time left and head for those games that are close or heading to OT, so I believe your analysis holds merit.

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