Statistical analysis: Hitting Mike Green is a strategy for Capitals’ opponents


When Pittsburgh Coach Dan Bylsma told his players to "keep hitting [Mike] Green,” as seen on HBO’s “24/7,” we caught a glimpse of the strategy opposing teams use to neutralize Washington's offensive defenseman. Hit him hard and often. How effective is it?

Very.

When Green is hit more than two times per game, his productivity drops:

Points per game
Hit fewer than two times1.40
Hit twice or more1.11

It’s no surprise that rival Pittsburgh leads potential Eastern Conference playoff opponents with 4.3 hits against Green per game this year, almost double this season's average of 2.2 hits per game from all teams faced.

Times Hit/Gm
PIT4.3
BOS3.0
T.B2.8
BUF2.5
NYR2.3
MTL2.0
PHI1.0

The New York Rangers only hit Green 2.3 times per game in the regular season, but they have ratcheted that up in the postseason to a Pittsburgh-like four times per game.

While it’s unclear if the Rangers are intentionally targeting Green’s head, they are limiting his ability to be effective, and future playoff opponents will likely follow suit.

Neil Greenberg also writes for Russian Machine Never Breaks. Follow him on Twitter: @ngreenberg.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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