The Florida Panthers are off to a dismal start. Six games into the new year the Panthers find themselves staring at a 1-5-0 record, placing them 5th in the Southeast Division and last in the Eastern Conference. The offense is sputtering while the defense and goaltenders are stumbling.
Panthers fans have a right to be concerned. However, are the Panthers really this bad or is their poor start partially due to bad luck?
Let's talk about variance. Variance is one of those difficult concepts to wrap your head around in the world of sports. The term is usually reserved for baseball, where stats such as BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a true indicator of how lucky a hitter is getting on pitches he puts in play. A large or small BABIP might allow the fan to predict an upcoming hot or cold streak.
In hockey, it's a bit more complicated. Typically we're forced to look at previous career trends and apply them to the present. Generally, this helps prognosticators paint a p...