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Iggy being Iggy?

Following up on Iginla's so-called "slow start."

Iggy being Iggy
Iggy being Iggy
Jared Wickerham

(Editor's note: this was inspired in part by the fine article posted over at Days of Y'Orr this morning, so check that out!)

As I mentioned last week, sometimes we, as humans, get wrapped up in assumptions to the point where any evidence see can be used to support them: it's called confirmation bias.

I actually can remember the first time I heard someone call Jarome Iginla a slow starter. It was on an episode of the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast, from its first season. That year (the 2011-2012 season) as well as the year before, Iginla had only 8 points in the first 15 games. In previous years, he'd had anywhere between 12 and 25 points (!) at the 15 game mark. In only one other year did he have less than 12, with 9 during the 2003-2004 season (when he ended up with 73 points total). Again, huge sticktap to Matchsticks and Gasoline for doing the original work on this.

Jarome Iginla has played 17 seasons in the NHL. Three seasons of slower starts do not make him a "traditionally slow starter." In the last day or so, though, it seems to be the narrative that many members of the Boston media have latched onto. My problem isn't that they aren't raking him over the coals for not scoring -- it's actually a bit refreshing to see them cut him some slack for not immediately producing -- but it's that they are insisting on clinging to/propagating this false narrative about him being a player who takes a while to get going.

The reality is, Iginla is playing well. He's shooting a ton -- he has 24 shots on goal. That's the same number as Steven Stamkos, Jordan Eberle, and Chris Kunitz, by the by, and he leads the rest of the Bruins by 5 shots (next in line: Torey Krug). He seems to be clicking with Lucic and Krejci, and his 5 on 5 close CF% is 53.3%, which isn't amazing, but isn't terrible either. Furthermore, he's a career 13%-ish shooter -- right now his shooting percentage is 0. That ain't gonna last. To quote our very own tomservo (quoted from comments on the Days of Y'Orr piece mentioned above):

A 7 game run without a goal simply isn't that unlikely during any stretch of the season.

Given shot count & career %, through 7 games he's just as likely to have scored 0 goals as 5. At career 13.1% and ~3 shots per game, the binomial distribution of 0 Iginla goals lands at 5.24%. A Monte Carlo simulation of 1000 7 game spans returned 0 goals for Iggy at 10%. Pretty reasonable probabilities given a low number of events.

Because he's a cool dude, and a smart one, Servo also created a graphic to go along with this:


The point here is that Iginla is a. not playing poorly, and b. not going to continue to shoot this much and not score. Why must the media turn it into a false narrative about traditionally slow starts? It's lazy and sloppy, and only serves to reinforce notions that are provably false.

Iginla is going to be fine (not 40 goals fine, but that's another discussion). What's incredibly frustrating to me is that (as this piece shows) there's definitely a story here, and a good one at that, one worthy of analysis and discussion. It's just not the one being written.

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