Impact of Travel on Offensive Performance

Last week, I looked at how the number of days of rest a player had affected his offensive performance. But not all back-to-back games are created equal - two home games in two days is not the same as two games in two days with extensive travel.

If we divide back-to-back games since the lockout by the miles traveled by a player's team, we can see the impact of travel distance:

1 day rest
GP P/82 +/-/82 TOI
>1000 359 38.1 -19.9 24.14
500-1000 5354 38.5 -7.4 24.11
100-500 11898 39.4 -4.1 24.14

There haven't been a lot of back-to-back games with long travel in between - just 20 in total over the last four seasons. But the impact of travel distance on offensive performance without a day of rest is very stark.

How does this compare to playing two days later?

2 days rest
GP P/82 +/-/82 TOI
>1000 8427 40.2 1.3 24.15
500-1000 9850 41.0 0.4 24.11
100-500 17845 40.8 0.2 24.21

This time we have a lot more games in the long-distance bucket. After 2 days, the length of travel no longer appears to have an obvious impact on performance. Our takeaway is unsurprising: clearly, if you're playing back-to-back away games, you want to minimize the amount of time spent traveling between the two road cities!

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