Some Stats: Matt Stajan still hasn’t scored

Some Stats is a weekly feature that will run every Thursday on PHT. In Some Stats, we look at some stats.

227 – Number of NHL players, not counting goalies, without a goal. For the record, that total includes guys like Victor Oreskovich, who got called up to the Canucks Tuesday, beaten up by Shane O’Brien, and sent back to the AHL the next day. But it also includes guys like Matt Stajan, Marty Reasoner and Magnus Paajarvi. By the way, does the four-year, $14-million deal Darryl Sutter gave Stajan win the “Everyone thought it was a bad idea at the time and here’s the proof” award? I still maintain Sutter only did that so he could say he traded Dion Phaneuf for a high-priced center.

6 – Number of teams averaging more than three goals per game (Philadelphia, Boston, Vancouver, Chicago, Washington and Toronto.) No huge surprise there – only four teams managed 3-plus in 2010-11. But when you compare it to the year after the lockout when 16 teams did, you have to wonder if anyone at the NHL is busy thinking up ways to increase scoring. Not that they should go back to calling every hook and hold, but it’s an issue worth discussing. At the very least, somebody should float the idea of bigger nets, just to watch all the purists lose their minds.

1.9 – Martin Havlat’s shooting percentage. He’s taken 53 shots and scored once. Is he doing it wrong or something? Not sure what you tell a guy in Havlat’s situation. Choke up on it? Bend your knees? Pass it to someone else?

.636 – Nashville’s winning percentage when leading after two periods, the lowest of any team in the NHL. And you know that’s just killing Barry Trotz. For whatever reason, the Preds have had trouble locking it down this season. Even during their most recent victory, a 6-5 win over the Canucks last Thursday, they blew a two-goal lead before winning it late.

94.7 – New Jersey’s penalty-killing percentage. The Devils have surrendered just five goals while shorthanded. All season. Their PK’s been perfect the last nine games. Why isn’t this getting more publicity? The Dallas Stars own the NHL record for best PK, finishing 1999-2000 at 89.3 percent. Get out to the rink and watch this team, Devils fans! You won’t be disappointed…in their ability to kill penalties.

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.