gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Österreich

Quantitative approach of comparing back-to-back games with performance in the National Hockey League

Meeting Abstract

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7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm079

doi: 10.3205/11esm079, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0791

Veröffentlicht: 24. Oktober 2011

© 2011 Konin et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if professional hockey players experience a decrease in their performance when playing back to back games on two consecutive days. Theoretically, playing a high impact, intense, and physical sport two days in a row at a professional level would decrease one’s physical and mental ability to perform at peak levels. To date, no study has quantifiably measured the actual result of team performance under such circumstances.

Material/Methods: Through publicly available documents, data was collected from all 32 National Hockey League teams during the 2008–2009 regular season. Consecutive games were defined as a regular season game followed by another regular season game on two consecutive calendar days. The following variables were measured as a part of team performance: shots for/shots against, wins/losses, number of penalties per game, overall regular season record. Descriptive statistics were incorporated to identify percentage differences between game one and game two.

Results: A minimal decrease in team performance from the first to the second game was found. The following were areas most notable:

  • A 6.6% increase in the total number of penalty minutes
  • A decrease of less than 1% of total shots taken
  • An increase of 0.23% of total shots allowed
  • A total decrease in wins/losses by 3.12%

Conclusion: Despite the widely accepted perception that team performance may be significantly decreased on day two of competitive back to back games, our results identified only subtle deficits in team performance indicators. There are a number of limitations to this study that may have influenced the results, including; injuries to players, travel distance and time zone changes, eating habits, and coaching decisions. Regardless, according to our findings, minimal evidence exists to support the perception of significant decreases in team performance with back to back competition for professional hockey players.