Manipulating Small Sample Sizes

Image c/o SportsInput.com

Image c/o SportsInput.com

Before the season started, a post on Twitter stated that Vegas named Craig Berube the third most likely coach to get fired. The person commenting on it dismissed the notion as preposterous. Three games into the season, fans were calling for Berube’s head. Every decision he made and word that came out of his mouth was suddenly scrutinized.

Similarly, Brayden Schenn was a leading candidate to have a breakout year before the puck dropped on the season. In no time, he was booted from the first line and rumors began circulating that the organization was unhappy with his play and was looking to trade him.

Such is the nature of sports in Philadelphia. Things can change at the bat of an eyelash — but there is no need to clamor for change simply for the sake of change. An optimistic perspective can make things look just as promising as a negative one can make them bleak.

So, let’s try that for a second.

Through the first five games of the season, the Flyers have played some tough teams and managed to stay in each game. With the exception of one game, every outcome was a one-goal differential. The loss to the New Jersey Devils included an empty netter, pushing the score to 6-4.

The team has a three game point streak going, Wayne Simmonds is one of the hottest goal scorers in the league and Mark Streit is tied for second in the league among defensemen in points. The Flyers have grit and moxie. Jake Voracek is a beast. Craig Berube’s decision to replace Steve Mason with Ray Emery in last night’s game against the Dallas Stars was cited as a turning point in the game. Schenn’s goal gave the team its first lead in the game.

One fluky goal or lucky save for the team and the Flyers could just as easily have as many points as the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Plenty of things can and will change during the season. Berube may get fired and Schenn may be traded. Or they both may stay and be integral to the team’s success moving forward. Whatever happens, be patient and try to enjoy the ride. Despite the outcome of any game, the team certainly does a good job of keeping you on the edge of your seat.

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