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Wrong side of the whistle: NHL teams hit hardest by penalties

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Earlier this week, PHT looked at the teams who tend to go on the power play far more often than they enter the penalty box, with the San Jose Sharks clearly leading the way. By a lot.

What about the other end of the spectrum? Well, it depends upon how you look at things.

Most time in the box

Chalk it up to strong coaching, great goaltending, or other factors, but some teams are hit harder by poor discipline than others.

Let’s start off in looking at sheer volume of penalty box trips, with help from NHL.com’s many handy stats.

Team Times shorthanded PPGA
1 Anaheim Ducks 281 43
2 Calgary Flames 277 51
3 Winnipeg Jets 275 62
4 Colorado Avalanche 274 64
5 Washington Capitals 272 44
6 Boston Bruins 265 38
7 St. Louis Blues 263 40
8 Arizona Coyotes 260 59
9 New Jersey Devils 260 53
10 Tampa Bay Lightning 258 48
11 Pittsburgh Penguins 257 52
12 Toronto Maple Leafs 251 44
13 Dallas Stars 249 65
14 Montréal Canadiens 249 47
15 Philadelphia Flyers 247 50

As you can see, the Ducks were shorthanded more than any other NHL team. Even so, they only allowed 43 power-play goals in 2016-17, tying them with the Edmonton Oilers for the 10th-fewest given up.

What if you expand the view beyond last season and look at how teams fared since the lockout? You got it, and in this case, here are numbers for all 30 NHL teams.

TEAM GP TS PPGA
Winnipeg Jets 376 1294 256
Arizona/Phx Coyotes 376 1284 284
Anaheim Ducks 376 1277 210
Philadelphia Flyers 376 1275 236
Detroit Red Wings 376 1253 230
Ottawa Senators 376 1242 236
Washington Capitals 376 1241 219
St. Louis Blues 376 1239 188
Blue Jackets 376 1229 227
New Jersey Devils 376 1225 218
Los Angeles Kings 376 1224 213
Montréal Canadiens 376 1222 213
Toronto Maple Leafs 376 1214 223
Pittsburgh Penguins 376 1212 206
Boston Bruins 376 1205 194
Colorado Avalanche 376 1205 236
Tampa Bay Lightning 376 1197 213
Dallas Stars 376 1193 241
Vancouver Canucks 376 1181 210
Florida Panthers 376 1176 243
Buffalo Sabres 376 1164 243
Edmonton Oilers 376 1151 221
Nashville Predators 376 1097 218
New York Islanders 376 1084 211
Calgary Flames 376 1082 215
New York Rangers 376 1081 197
Chicago Blackhawks 376 1044 192
Minnesota Wild 376 1040 193
San Jose Sharks 376 1037 190
Carolina Hurricanes 376 998 173

The Arizona Coyotes are easily the most assaulted by the broader numbers, which makes sense since they’ve dealt with some of the leanest years. The Buffalo Sabres are fittingly in the top ranks by similar logic.

It’s more interesting to consider teams who seem to go to the box more based (arguably) on style, and who suffers from poor PK units the most.

Remarkably, the Ducks once again find themselves in the lower third of the NHL as far as goals allowed, even though they take a lot of penalties.

Unfortunately for Anaheim, those wild ways hurt them when it mattered the most. They gave up a whopping 15 power-play goals during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, easily the most of the postseason. (Somehow, Nashville only allowed seven while the Penguins won it all despite yielding 12.)

Other observations

Let’s rattle off a few other notes, then.

Calm Hurricanes- The Hurricanes have already been tabbed as a team that could break through soon. If they can keep up their tendency to avoid penalties, they really might be onto something.

They’re the only team under 1,000 times shorthanded in that list above. Meanwhile, they join the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings as the only three teams with less than 100 major penalties since the last lockout.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Hurricanes allowed the fewest power-play goals with 173 during that span.

Hitchcock the key for Stars turnaround?- That said, the Blues stand out as the most efficient PK unit of that span.

Here are the top seven PK percentages from 2012-13 to 2016-17, with PPG allowed and times shorthanded:

1. Blues – 84.8 percent (188 allowed on 1,239 TS)
2. Bruins – 83.9 (194 allowed, 1,205)
3. Ducks – 83.5 (210 allowed, 1,277)
4. Penguins – 83 (206 allowed, 1,212)
5. Hurricanes – 82.7 (173 allowed, 998)
6 (t) Kings – 82.6 (213 allowed, 1,224)
6 (t) Canadiens – 82.6 (213 allowed, 1,222)

Meanwhile, the Coyotes, Sabres, Panthers and Stars are the only teams under an 80-percent kill rate.

A lot can go into a unit being successful or unsuccessful. Even so, could Ken Hitchcock whip the Dallas Stars into shape? It’s at least a possibility.

Carlyle loves the rough stuff- Randy Carlyle might be a changed man in Anaheim, but he still loves his ruffians.

If you look at teams with the most major penalties in individual seasons since the lockout, Carlyle-helmed teams dominated the top list:

1. His 2013-14 Maple Leafs (48 majors)
2. His 2012-13 Maple Leafs, with 46 majors in just 48 games.
Tied for third: Last season’s Ducks, with 46 in 82 games.

Now, it’s true that Bruce Boudreau’s 2015-16 Ducks were pretty ornery with 43 majors of their own, but it does seem like Carlyle is OK with a bit of carnage either way.

On the other end, there are five seasons’ worth of teams under 10 majors for a full campaign.

Penguins (2015-16) and Red Wings (2013-14) – nine majors
Red Wings in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – eight majors
Fittingly, Hurricanes in 2016-17: six majors.

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Much like with most studies in an age of parity, the majority of teams seem to fall in the middle when looking at penalties (either from a pessimistic or optimistic standpoint).

Interestingly, there are teams that can survive their own mistakes and others who aren’t always exploiting their advantages, but perhaps we’ll see changes in 2017-18 and beyond?

The Buzzer: Sharks dominate at MSG; Leafs edge Kings

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Player of the Night: Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks

The Sharks netminder stood tall Monday night during a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers. Jones stopped 33 shots as San Jose won their fourth consecutive game. Logan Couture recorded two points, which included his 200th career NHL assist. He now has six goals and nine points in four games.

Highlight of the Night:

Lovely shorthanded finish here by Trevor Lewis to help the Los Angeles Kings cut the Toronto Maple Leafs lead to 3-2 late in their game:

MISC:

• Congrats to Tim Heed for scoring his first NHL goal.

• New York’s power play failed on all six opportunities.

• The Rangers have won only twice in eight home games this season.

Frederik Andersen stopped 36 shots and Patrick Marleau recorded his fourth of the year as the Maple Leafs edged the Kings 3-2.

• Marleau’s goal stood as the game-winner and was the 99th of his career, good for eighth all-time.

• A weird sequence in the first period saw Jonathan Quick take an elbow to the head and be briefly forced from the game due to a concussion spotter’s call. Oddly, it took several minutes for Quick to be removed from the game, and then he was only off the ice for whistle.

Factoid of the Night: 

Monday’s scores:

San Jose 4, New York Rangers 1

Toronto 3, Los Angeles 2

Ducks’ Patrick Eaves diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome

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Patrick Eaves has only played two games for the Anaheim Ducks this season, and the team updated his situation on Monday.

Eaves, who hasn’t played since Oct. 13, spent the weekend at a local hospital after being diagnosed with what medical personnel believe to be Guillain-Barré syndrome which, according to the Ducks, is “a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.”

The Ducks say the 33-year-old Eaves was feeling weak last week and after seeing specialists, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California. Over the weekend he was stabilized and moved out of ICU. He’s expected to make a full recovery, though no timetable for a return has been given.

“I want to thank Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. and Dr. Danny Benmoshe for their early diagnosis of my condition, along with the proactive Ducks medical team,” Eaves said in a statement. “Thanks to them and the incredible nurses at Hoag Hospital, I’m on the road to recovery. I’ve received tremendous amount of support over the last few days, most importantly from my family, friends and teammates. I’m determined to fully overcome this and return to the ice as soon as possible.”

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, Guillain-Barré syndrome can affect someone at any age and is diagnosed in “only about one person in 100,000.” It’s still unknown how the disease manifests in those affected. William “Refrigerator” Perry and Danny Wuerffel are among those who battled it.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Tale of 2 brothers: 1 victim, 1 rescuer in Vegas shooting

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nicholas and Anthony Robone are about as close as two brothers can be.

They are the only two kids in their family, born and raised in Las Vegas. Nick and Tony share a passion for ice hockey, and as boys used their tape-wrapped hockey sticks to knock a puck around the street.

Tony followed Nick in becoming a defenseman, and joined him as a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A year ago, they pooled their money to buy the three-bedroom house they share.

So it wasn’t unusual that they were together at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1 when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, striking Nick, 28, in the upper chest and forcing firefighter and paramedic Tony, 25, into the role of his big brother’s rescuer.

Nick was at the country music festival with a three-day pass his parents gave him for his September birthday. ”It was going to be a fun night to hang out,” he said.

Tony, with the Henderson County Fire Department, couldn’t join his brother the first two days, but arrived at the festival grounds at about 8:30 p.m. on the final night after attending the Vegas Golden Knights professional hockey game. The brothers were with a few friends in the middle of the main stage area.

County music singer Jason Aldean was just a few songs into his set when the popping sounds started after 10 p.m. and Nick felt a piercing pain in his left side. A bullet had entered his chest right above his heart and lung, and traveled down to his side muscle, missing organs but badly bruising the lung.

Tony treated Nick’s wound as round after round of gunfire rained down on the panicked crowd. In the end, 58 people died. Hundreds were injured in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Tony told a news conference two days after the shooting that he and their friend Billy Tufano, an emergency medical technician, helped get Nick to the east side of the stage where they hid behind a police car. They later continued farther east, and eventually got Nick into an ambulance.

Critically injured, Nick was in surgery for four hours, in intensive care at Sunrise Hospital for five days, and released after 10 days.

Three weeks after the shooting, Nick is home recovering. He gets around pretty well on his own, he said in a telephone interview last week. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

”There won’t be any real rehab to speak off,” he said. ”Just walk around a few times a day,” do some regular breathing exercises and eat a good diet.

Nick has credited quick attention by his brother and friends at the concert for saving his life. Tony ”NEVER left my side,” he said in a tweet.

Doctors have estimated it will be six to eight weeks before he can return to work, he said.

Nick said he’s received unconditional support from Topgolf, an entertainment property with a driving range and restaurants where he’s employed in marketing. He also is an assistant ice hockey coach at his alma mater, where the Rebels hockey team and its fans have rallied around him.

With the VegasStrong hashtag scrawled on signs throughout the City National Arena, the ”Skatin’ Rebels” won their home game 8-0 in Nick’s honor the Friday after the massacre. A few days later, he felt well enough to visit the team and promise, ”I’ll be back.”

”My brother is the toughest guy I know,” Tony said. ”And I think the amount of support from the community, from the hockey community, from the firefighter community, it just represents and reflects the kind of guy he is.”

The feeling is mutual. ”My brother is a really great guy,” Nick said.

Report: Wild’s Parise considering back surgery

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The Minnesota Wild host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, which could be the same day forward Zach Parise undergoes surgery, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic.

Per that report, Parise is contemplating back surgery that would sideline the 33-year-old forward — who still hasn’t played a game this season — for up to two months.

Parise missed the beginning of training camp with a back injury, but had started to skate with the team before suffering a setback and leaving the ice during a session last week. At the time, general manager Chuck Fletcher was hopeful that this setback was only a short-term issue.

“We’ll see what it means. I don’t want to speculate, but it would have been better if he could have finished the practice, but he didn’t, so we’ll see how he feels,” said Fletcher last week.

“I try not to get too up or down and things like that. You feel badly for Zach, he’s working hard and he’s in great shape, and hopefully this is just a short-term setback, if it even is a setback. We’ll find out more later on, but I’m sure it’s very frustrating for him.”

This also surfaced out of Minnesota this afternoon, following the initial report:

The Wild are about to begin a six-game home stand, which gets underway Tuesday when they host the Canucks.

With a 2-2-2 record through six games to begin the season, Minnesota has experienced a disastrous list of injuries so far. Not only has Parise not yet made his debut, but Charlie Coyle (right fibula fracture) and Nino Niederreiter are still listed on injured reserve, and Mikael Granlund hasn’t played since the season opener back on Oct. 5.

The news surrounding Granlund is certainly more positive. He skated again on Monday and coach Bruce Boudreau was hopeful that the 25-year-old winger, who had a breakout 2016-17 season, could be ready to go versus the Canucks.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.