October 16, 2009
Stunning Numbers is an occasional look at stats and figures from around the NHL.
For anyone that thinks special teams are overrated, we give you the first two entries in the latest edition of Stunning Numbers ...
The power-play conversion percentage for the Nashville Predators. Yes, you read that right: The Preds are converted at a five-percent clip this season, with one goal in 20 opportunities. From The Tennessean:
"We have to do it quick and we have to execute," Nashville Coach Barry Trotz said. "You only have a second. Penalty-killing teams scout you. You have a portal and a split second once you get the puck to really attack the net. We don't take advantage of that portal and attack."
Trotz also said that some of the Predators are thinking too much and are not relying on their abilities. "We have become very methodical and very easy to defend," Trotz said. "Then we get frustrated. We're passing when we should be shooting, and we're shooting when we should be passing."
The return of J.P Dumont (5 PPG, 17 PPA in 2008-09) from injury will certainly make a difference.
The Florida Panthers (2-for-21) and the Ottawa Senators (2-for-21) aren't much better on the power-play this season, producing at a 9.5-percent rate. The Calgary Flames (41.2 percent) currently lead the NHL on the power play, going 7-for-17.
The penalty-killing percentage of those defensive stalwarts, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have given up
five power-play goals in 18 shorthanded opportunities 10 power-play goals in 24 shorthanded opportunities-- good for last in the NHL. It's not too hard to trace a line from this putrid stat to the equally putrid start for free-agent defensemen Francois Beauchemin(notes) and Mike Komisarek(notes), who both see significant time on the kill.
The average time on ice for Chris Pronger(notes) of the Philadelphia Flyers through five games this season. He averaged 26:56 last season for the Anaheim Ducks. Right behind him are Jay Bouwmeester(notes) of the Calgary Flames (27:36) and Joe Corvo(notes) (27:31) of the Carolina Hurricanes. What's Corvo doing there? Well, averaging 4:47 per game in shorthanded ice time probably helps bring up the average. The Hurricanes take a penalty or two, don't they?
The number of blocked shots for Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jay McKee(notes) through seven games; a player who continues to be the most fearless (and bruised) D-man in hockey. As he told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, it's all about showing that the Penguins made the right call in bringing him in:
"Coming here, I wasn't nervous, I was excited," said the 32-year-old McKee. "I just wanted to get comfortable on the ice with their system and their players and getting to know the guys. That's happened in a real hurry and it's been a lot of fun."
The Pens are no doubt impressed.
The number of giveaways for Sidney Crosby(notes) of the Penguins (7 games), Jason Demers(notes) of the San Jose Sharks (7 games), Denis Grebeshkov(notes) of the Edmonton Oilers (6 games), Niklas Kronwall(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings (6 games) and Alexander Semin(notes) of the Washington Capitals (7 games) to lead the League.
On the other hand, Sid has four takeaways, Demers has five, Grebeshkov has two, Kronwall has just one and Semin has an exemplary 10.
The NHL's leader in giveaways last season, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals with 107, has eight giveaways and six takeaways this season.
Finally, the number of wins in the shootout for road teams since the skills competition's inception in 2005-06. From John Kreiser of NHL.com:
Through four-plus seasons of the shootout, road teams have had the better of things in the breakaway competition that was first used in 2005-06. Since then, there have been 638 games that have gone to a shootout, and the visiting team has won 325 -- just under 51 percent. Home teams have won 313.
It's a not-inconsiderable difference, especially considering that slightly more than one in every eight games since 2005 (638 of 5,000, through Wednesday) has been decided in a shootout. This season, 14 of 86 games -- nearly 1 in 6 -- has gone to a shootout, with the visitors winning nine times.
One in every six games? A bit much, no? Especially when the a win there is worth as much as a win in 60 minutes of real hockey?