Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big Numbers: Interesting Stats, Eight Games In

Below you will find a compendium of interesting stats. Take from them what you will. Or, if you're feeling particularly sluggish this morning, take from them what I have taken from them. Yes, feel free to plagiarize my thoughts, like the government does through the microchip they've implanted in my utricle. I long ago lost the will to fight it.

  1. Through the first eight games, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler are six seconds apart in total time on ice at 159:20 in 196 shifts and 159:14 in 197, respectively. The difference between their TOI per game is one second. In short, their time on ice has been basically identical through eight games. Interestingly, it's not even close to the same type of ice time. Henrik has nearly twenty total minutes more time at even-strength, and Kesler spends far more time on special teams time on both sides of the man advantage. He's got seventeen more minutes of PK time, and two more minutes of power play time. Huh?

  2. Kesler really shouldn't have more total power play time. He not only leads the team in missed shots with 17--he's first among forwards and second overall in the NHL. Who's in front of him? Duncan Keith. That's a double-edged sword for the Blackhawks. Keith's missed shots numbers are going to be inflated because he's a defenseman and he plays so many minutes a game. But he's only got three assists for a guy who plays nearly half of every Blackhawks game. Both Kesler and Keith are offensive catalysts for their team, hence the frequency with which they shoot. This stat is a large part of the slow start in both Vancouver and Chicago. Both of these guys needs to start hitting the net. Note: Keith also leads the league in giveaways. Don't get me wrong--he's still an incredible player, but he's not playing as well as they're saying. He's just playing a lot.

  3. Before we move on, you should also know the Canucks are 2nd in the NHL in the team missed shots category, behind only Pittsburgh. Not too surprising, as Alain Vigneault once said that Pittsburgh plays the exact same style as the Canucks. There are, as a result, other statistical similarities, like the one below:

  4. Vancouver is second in the league in total hits with 216, behind only Pittsburgh's 240. And not that it's paying off, but the Canucks lead the NHL in hits on the road, with 120. They are 10th in hitting at home. Strangely, Pittsburgh has the inversion of this stat, leading the league in hits at home and sitting 11th on the road. Here's the weird part: Pittsburgh is below .500 at home and 3-0-1 on the road; The Canucks are winless on the road and 3-0-1 at home. Why do these teams win less when they hit more? I couldn't say for certain. My guess is that, while they're already very hitty teams, they hit more when trying to come from behind.

  5. The Canucks are 2nd in the NHL in total faceoff percentage, at 56.6%. All three of the Canucks top faceoff men are over 50% at the dot, with Manny Malhotra leading the league at an ungodly 66.9% over 139 faceoffs. That is a very large sample size at which to win two-thirds of your draws. Ryan Kesler is 14th in the NHL at an impressive 57.6%, and Henrik Sedin is 40th with 51.6%. How's about that fourth line? Well, interestingly enough, only the three guys mentioned above have even taken enough faceoffs to merit statistical consideration. 11 other guys have taken draws, and only Peter Schaefer has taken more than ten. Of note: Rick Rypien has nine; he's won six of them.

  6. Considering Malhotra and Kesler are defensive centers with excellent faceoff percentages, it's probably no surprise they lead the team in shorthanded time on ice among forwards. Who is the highest clocking winger? Peter Schaefer, to nobody's surprise. He has been an excellent defensive player. Following him, it's Jannik Hansen.

  7. Do you hear that? It's the sound of nobody missing Shane O'Brien. Andrew Alberts, who won his job in the preseason, shares the team lead for hits with Jannik Hansen at 23 apiece. Alberts is also second in blocked shots, with 13. Who leads the team? Alex Edler, with 15. Interestingly, Ryan Kesler also has 13, and the next best shot-blocking forward only has 5. It's Peter Schaefer. Keith Ballard had 8 blocked shots in two games before he was knocked out with the concussion. He would likely be leading the team right now.

  8. Speaking of Jannik Hansen, let us say something about his 23 hits. While he might not hit as hard as Alberts, he's hitting with frequency and efficiency. Hansen has the ability and multi-dimensionality to be this team's Kris Versteeg--a gritty guy with enough skill to occasionally surprise. Last game was a nice start, but he needs to do that more often. Here's hoping the chemistry he appears to have with Malhotra is for real.

  9. Kevin Bieksa leads the team in giveaways, as he has since the first game of the season. He has nine now, widening the gap since the last time I brought this up. Bieksa just might run away with this dubious category. Christian Ehrhoff is second on the team with six, but I don't remember each one of his nearly as vividly. You probably know exactly how I feel about Kevin Bieksa, so I'll just move on.

  10. Mason Raymond leads the team in takeaways with 8. He doesn't get nearly enough talk about his defensive play. The Sedins are up there as well, with 7 apiece. They don't just hold onto the puck spectacularly; they regularly take the puck.

  11. Canuck forwards without a goal are Tanner Glass, Guillaume Desbiens, Peter Schaefer, Jannik Hansen, Rick Rypien... and Henrik Sedin. It doesn't mean anything, especially considering he plays on the one of the most productive lines in hockey and he leads the league in assists, but the less time he spends on a line--even a stat line--with Tanner Glass the better.

  12. And finally, penalty minutes. Here's an interesting stat: through eight games, there isn't a single Canuck with more than one major penalty. Torres, Rypien, Alberts, and Desbiens have all fought one time and only one time. In total penalty minutes, Raffi Torres leads the team, but don't start ripping on him just yet. There are four guys with more minor penalties: Jannik Hansen, Mikael Samuelsson, Andrew Alberts, and Kevin Bieksa all have four. Do you know who shouldn't have four? Mikael Samuelsson. His temper doesn't get a lot of play, but it should. Ask Sweden: he can muster a boatloads of antipathy in a very short time. Most of his penalties are acts of aggression directed towards somebody who has pissed him off. He's a heady veteran who should know better than to take so many retaliatory penalties.


  1. I totally agree with regard to Samuelsson. I love the guy, and partly for his ability to turn into The Hulk, but not when it ends up hurting the team. I think Sammy needs to find a source to which to direct his anger that is not about the immediate game. Can we schedule another olympics or world cup this year, before the season ends, and kindly ask Sweden to keep him off the team again?

  2. I think the Canucks should regularly play games of pickup football or basketball and make sure they pick Samuelsson last, hoping that there's an odd number of players so they can leave him off the team "so it's fair for everyone." That should get him nice and angry...

  3. In terms of penalties, I would have been interested to know if all of Bieksa's have been in the third period. it sure feels that way...

  4. Wow, good work digging up those stats. Very interesting. I figured you would find something to write about during this slow period of the schedule. You guys planning on doing any October review?

  5. @nic876 Yeah, we'll probably do something like that at the ten-game mark. It depends on what's cooking. I mean, if somebody grabs a fan tonight, our focus will change rather drastically.

  6. On Bieksa's giveaways: Don't shots from the point whose rebounds are cleared away by the other team count as giveaways? I'm not close to an expert on the backing behind NHL statistics, so I could be way off on this. Still, it would explain why Duncan Keith has so many giveaways as well, especially since he keeps missing the net. I'm almost certain that a missed shot becomes a giveaway if the other team gets it.

    Point being, if Bieksa has a lot of missed shots, blocked shots, or the like, it could go a long way to explaining why he has so many giveaways. Remember Pavel Datsyuk had almost as many giveaways as takeaways for a long time last season, and for a time he played the point on the Red Wings' power play.

  7. Qris, you're breaking my stats apart! They're based on faith rather than actual science and you've questioned them noooooooo....

  8. There's not really any consistency to how giveaways are counted around the league, which is a problem. The simplest definition of a giveaway is when a player's own actions result in a loss of possession to the opposing team. This allows for the interpretation that a missed shot is a giveaway, but I'm willing to bet it's not counted that way in every arena.

  9. No, most of the stats are awesome, and I enjoyed reading.

    It's just, watching the games, I'm not constantly noticing Bieksa giving up the puck, which is why I raise an eyebrow at Bieksa's giveaway stat. Whether shots from the point become giveaways is as dependent on the Canucks in front of the net as it is the shooter.


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