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What Exactly is Luck?

A commenter claimed "the Avs don’t fit neatly in to the win/loss model you expect with your statistics" and asked "Avs fans are offended by a term like 'luck' because in an 82 game season how much luck can you really have?  What is luck?"

The answer to this question is pretty straightforward.  Let's say we have a .450 team (~82 points per season in today's NHL.)  If we take a 0.45 weighted coin and flip it for 100000 seasons, we get the following distribution of point totals:


A .450 team has a roughly 1-in-10 chance of putting up 95 points (the same as the Avs) or more in a season.  And we're modeling nothing but luck here.  Remember, over the course of 82 games, you can get an incredible amount of luck!  82 games is still a relatively small sample size - you'd have to play over 200 games in order for a .450 team to finish under .500 95% of the time.  Do not be offended by the term 'luck'.