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Sportsnet's Grit Chart Measures The Importance Of Grit & Winning

What is Grit? Sportsnet has figured it all out and we look at how important grit is to winning teams.

Sportsnet's Grit Metric
Sportsnet's Grit Metric
screencap via @bookofloob

In his quest to find the ideal grit measurement, C&B regular curcro took another regular's definition, cavalierrogue's, and ran with it:

Returning to an earlier point, the original argument is not that enforcers’ fighting wins games, but "team toughness" wins games. So not number of fights, but who is doing the fighting. QUALGRIT, then should be a measure of how well distributed roughing and fighting penalties are distributed across the roster.

From that, he developed QUALGRIT, a team-level measurement of gritty play. Using QUALGRIT, he measured how the impact of fighting on winning and found it to be nearly non-existent.

But curcro wasn't the first into the ring. The screencap above, courtesy of @bookofloob, shows the brand-spankin'-new-for-2013 grit metric (What is Grit?) used by Sportsnet to explain which NHL teams are the grittiest. Grit is comprised of four measurements (stats!): Penalty Minutes, Fights, Hits, and Blocked Shots*. I combined the four into a single metric, weighted equally, and ranked the NHL by Sportsnet's grit metric below:

Team What is Grit? Rank
Philadelphia Flyers 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 2
New York Rangers 3
Colorado Avalanche 4
Montréal Canadiens 4
Edmonton Oilers 6
Dallas Stars 7
Buffalo Sabres 8
Pittsburgh Penguins 9
St. Louis Blues 10
Los Angeles Kings 11
Tampa Bay Lightning 12
Florida Panthers 13
Boston Bruins 14
Phoenix Coyotes 15
Calgary Flames 16
Columbus Blue Jackets 16
Winnipeg Jets 18
Anaheim Ducks 18
Nashville Predators 20
New York Islanders 21
Ottawa Senators 22
San Jose Sharks 23
Washington Capitals 23
Minnesota Wild 23
Vancouver Canucks 26
Chicago Blackhawks 27
Carolina Hurricanes 28
Detroit Red Wings 29
New Jersey Devils 30

Sportsnet defines grit, but doesn't tell us how grit correlates to winning. With good reason. The R^2 value of grit score to points is .068, low enough to be meaningless. The R^2 value of population to points is .188, meaning metropolitan population correlates to winning more far more closely than grit as defined by Sportsnet.

*If I were creating the index, I'd realize that fights make up ~20% of penalty minutes and use a smaller sample of penalty minutes, perhaps those aggressive in nature, but that's neither here nor there, this is Sportsnet's dog and pony show.

Chopstyx brought up a good point:

Grit is defined as "courage and resolve; strength of character".

Perhaps Sportsnet should first prove penalty minutes, fights, hits, and blocked shots are correlated with or actually require grit in the first place.

The best five consecutive teams in the grit chart rank #23-#27. Grit is so important to winning, in fact, that the top ten teams on the list average 1.05 points per game, or 87 points in a full season. The second ten teams average 1.13 points per game, or 93 points in a full season. The bottom ten teams average 1.11 points per game, or 91 points in a full season.

The worst ten grit teams are better than the best ten grit teams and the middle ten are better than both.