Cat nip for stat nerds

Scott Cullen of TSN posted some of his award picks and some interesting stats through the first three quarters of the NHL season today. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in season totals, milestones and league leaders for the “big” stats that we forget about the bruisers and scrappers.

Using Cullen’s list as my guide, here are some of the most interesting, bizarre and amusing stats you’ll come across.

  • 27:12 minutes per game give Joni Pitkanen the NHL’s league lead in average time on ice. (I guess that’s what happens when you’re a half-decent defenseman on a nowhere near decent team.)
  • David Koci gets beaten down enough in most of his career fights, but his ego should be bruised even more because he has the league’s lowest per game time on ice average of just three minutes. Essentially, you could go get a beer and never see Koci play for an entire game. (I guess you can’t really blame him for a league low 2 blocked shots since he’s rarely on the ice.)
  • Cal Clutterbuck owns one of the NHL’s funniest last names as well as the league lead in hits at 256. He’s a little banged up, though, so he better watch Ryan Callahan who’s only one hit behind him at 255.
  • The Sedin twins keep ascending the NHL’s ladder of elite players, but you’ll never call them the Clutterbuck Cousins. Daniel has a league low 6 hits while Henrik has 11. That combines for, what, a week of Callahan hits?
  • Dennis Seidenberg’s nickname should be “puck sponge” (although that sounds kind of bad now that I think of it). He is by far the NHL’s leader in blocked shots with 186.
  • I used to associate the Red Wings with faceoff dominance, but the Sharks are clearly the class of the league now. Manny Malhotra leads the league with a 61.8% faceoff percentage but his teammate Scott Nichol is just behind him with 61.5%. Joe Pavelski is sixth in the league with a 60.1% rate. Both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are solid in the dot too.
  • Two Montreal players lead the league in the shameful category of giveaways; Roman Hamrlik is the “champion” with 77 turnovers. It’s not surprising that Pavel Datsyuk is the league leader in takeaways with 101 but his lead is staggering. The closest competitor is certified man crush Ryan Kesler with 68.
  • Finally, one of my favorite lesser-known stats is penalty differential. Dustin Brown is an artist at drawing penalties with a league leading 31. Rugged Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr probably doesn’t draw too many penalties, so it’s not that jarring that he ranks last in differential with a minus-19.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner)

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    Bergeron may need surgery for sports hernia

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    Patrice Bergeron says he may need offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia that he dealt with all year.

    Bergeron missed the Bruins’ first three games of the 82-game schedule with a lower-body injury; however, he managed to play the next 79, plus six more in the playoffs as Boston fell to Ottawa in the first round.

    Typically, a sports hernia is first treated with rest and physical therapy. Then, if that doesn’t solve the problem, surgery may be required.

    It was a frustrating start to the season for the 31-year-old center. Bergeron had just 24 points in 49 games before the All-Star break, but he finished with a respectable 53 points in 79 games, including 21 goals.

    Bergeron could win his fourth Selke Trophy in June. He’s a finalist for the award, along with Ryan Kesler and Mikko Koivu.

    In other Bruins injury news, Brandon Carlo had a concussion and Torey Krug an MCL injury. Neither d-man was able to suit up for the B’s in the postseason, though Krug was close to returning.

    Defenseman Adam McQuaid, hurt in Game 2 against the Sens, had a neck injury.

    No Patrick Kane for U.S. at Worlds

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    Tough day for USA Hockey.

    After learning that prized Toronto rookie Auston Matthews was skipping the World Hockey Championships, the organization was informed Chicago star Patrick Kane would also be passing on the event.

    Kane hasn’t often been able to participate in the Worlds, given he and the Blackhawks have advanced past the first playoff round in five of the last nine years. In fact, the last time Kane played at the Worlds was in 2008, when Chicago missed the playoffs entirely.

    (Kane had 10 points in seven games for the Americans that year, en route to a sixth-place finish.)

    Matthews cited fatigue as one of the main reasons he passed on this year’s tourney, and it’s safe to assume Kane did the same. He appeared in all 82 games for the ‘Hawks this year, four more in the playoffs, and also represented the U.S. at the World Cup of Hockey.

    USA Hockey did manage to secure the services of two important players last week, however. Both Calgary sniper Johnny Gaudreau and Buffalo sophomore Jack Eichel agreed to come aboard.

    Gaborik has procedure for ‘chronic’ knee issue, questionable for camp

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    Yesterday, new Kings GM Rob Blake told reporters the club wouldn’t be buying out Marian Gaborik’s contract, because the veteran winger had undergone a medical procedure.

    Today, the club shed more light on the situation.

    L.A. announced that Gaborik recently underwent an “in-depth medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his left knee,” adding the 35-year-old would be questionable for the start of training camp.

    Gaborik’s had left knee problems dating back to 2013, when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He missed nearly 20 games during the ’13-14 campaign, then had more knee troubles at the tail end of ’15-16 (with the Kings).

    Since injured players can’t be bought out of their contracts, Gaborik could very well open the year on LTIR, providing the Kings with some much-needed cap space.

    And though Blake said next season would “be a clean slate for Marian to come in and prove himself,” there has to be some question if he’ll return.

    Gaborik struggled through this season, scoring just 10 goals in 56 games while missing extensive time with a foot injury suffered at the World Cup. Health issues have dogged him throughout his 17-year career, and he’s only dressed in 110 of 164 games over the last two seasons.

    Because of this, his contract has become an albatross. Signed by ex-GM Dean Lombardi, Gaborik’s seven-year, $34.125 million deal still has four years remaining, at a $4.875M cap hit. Gaborik would be 39 by the time the deal expires on July 1, 2021.

    In other L.A. injury news, three players also underwent medical procedures recently. Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort had knee surgery, while Alec Martinez had “a minor medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his groin.” All three are expected to be ready for camp, however.

    Blackhawks’ Anisimov suffered high-ankle sprain in mid-March

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    Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov was not himself in the playoffs, and by the fourth game against the Predators his ice time was limited to just 14:18.

    It turns out he had a pretty good excuse. Anisimov suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 14 against the Montreal Canadiens, and that’s a tough injury to overcome in less than a month.

    Anisimov missed the rest of the regular season with the injury. He returned for the playoffs but failed to register a single point in four losses to Nashville.

    “Being away for that time period and coming right back into the playoffs, obviously you’re not as sharp as you want to be,” Anisimov’s agent told the Daily Herald’s John Dietz.