March Madness. For most (i.e. “ignorant”) Americans, March Madness is about skipping work for a couple of days each week to watch college basketball all day on T.V.
For us “more refined” Americans, March Madness consists of watching ridiculously entertaining hockey games, preparing ourselves for the upcoming NHL playoffs and going for gold in out own fantasy hockey playoffs. Throw in some green beer and St. Patrick’s Month and you’re good to go.
Month? Um… right…well that’s what it should be!
For those of you that haven't seen the lanky522 account sweeping through the forum, I’ve been a huge fan of the site for some time now. With that said, I'm extremely excited about the opportunity I’ve been given to regularly highlight some statistics for you guys that are not often mentioned on other hockey WebPages around the internet.
It is therefore very unlikely that the information you see here will be known by your competitors in your fantasy league (unless they visit DobberHockey as well). Hopefully this monthly column will give all of you an edge over your opposition.
Well, enough jibber-jabber, onto the meat of the first official Leprechaun’s Gold column!
***The following statistics are accurate up to and including Thursday’s games, March 15th, 2007***
Joe Thornton averaged 1.33 penalty minutes a game through his career preceding the NHL lockout. Since then he has averaged 0.56 penalty minutes a game. Another quite interesting (and under the radar) tidbit about Thornton: He has yet to play a full NHL season in his career. Since 1998 when he entered the NHL, he's averaged 76.4 games played per season (excluding this current season).
Since January 1, 2007, Tomas Holmstrom has 20 goals, 12 of which are on the power play, and two hat tricks. Only Vince Lecavalier (25), and Dany Heatley (22) have more goals during that span. Holmstrom's 12 power play goals lead the league in that span, while Olli Jokinen and Bill Guerin are the only other players with 2 hat tricks since New Years Day.
San Jose has six forwards in their active lineup that were first round draft picks. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Bill Guerin, Mark Bell, Steve Bernier, Milan Michalek were all taken in the first round of their respective draft classes. These six guys have combined for 263 of San Jose's points this season.
Jarome Iginla has 497 faceoff wins since the start of the 2005 season. During those 141 games, he's averaged 3.52 faceoff wins per game, and a faceoff percentage of 54.1%. Not bad for a natural winger. However, when you compare Iginla’s faceoff percentage during that span to Joe Sakic’s 52.7%, Joe Thornton’s 51.1%, and Mats Sundin’s 54.5%; you see that Iginla’s 54.1% isn’t bad PERIOD.
Alexei Zhitnik has eight points in eight games since joining the Atlanta Thrashers. Interestingly, he only has two penalty minutes during that period. Since when does Zhitnik get more points than penalty minutes?
So far in two seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, Wayne Gretzky has a record of 66-79-8 (140 points in the standings). In his first two seasons with the NHL Edmonton Oilers in 1979-80 and 1980-81, Gretzky had a record of 57-76-29(ties) for 143 points in the standings. Let’s see if he can do for Phoenix as a coach what he did for Edmonton as a player.
Despite splitting time with Toskala much of the season, Evgeni Nabokov has seven shutouts this year. His shutout total is second only to Brodeur's (12). Nabokov has started 40 games this season while Brodeur has started 68.
Milan Hejduk has 28 points in 20 games since the February 1. Only Joe Thornton has more points in that span (with 30). Paul Stastny isn’t the only one shining recently in Colorado.
Marc-Andre Bergeron has gotten a point on roughly every other goal the Islanders have scored in the month of March. He has nine points in seven games since March 1st. During that span, the Islanders have scored 20 times.
Alex Auld's record is 7-13-5 this season with the Florida Panthers. He has a save percentage is 88.8% and a GAA of 3.34. Roberto Luongo is 40-20-5 this season in Vancouver. Luongo has a save percentage of 91.9% and a GAA of 2.35. I can't imagine why Mike Keenan may have resigned!
In the 14 games since Ladislav Nagy left Phoenix, Shane Doan has had 13 points. Since arriving in Dallas, Nagy has just four points in 13 games. Perhaps Doan might be happy that Nagy's gone?
Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Cammalleri, Huselius, Stastny, and Vanek have 217 goals and 317 assists (534 points) this season. The sheer magnitude of these guys' scoring is impressive, but when you take into account that ALL of their salaries combined for this year are $7.39 million (not including bonuses), it's that much more mind-boggling. By the way, Patrik Elias (21 goals, 44 assists, 65 points) makes $7.5 million this year.
After going pointless in his first two games as a Thrasher, Keith Tkachuk has seven points in his last six games. Interestingly, the Trashers have won six of eight since Tkachuk came to town.
Marc Savard has 180 penalty minutes since the start of the 2005 season. Even more impressive perhaps, are his 188 points during that time. He is currently on pace to break his single season best this season needing only six more points to tie the 97 point total he had last year. Who would've thought that he'd put up these numbers without Kovalchuk or Hossa? Five million dollars a year is cheap for a talent like his. He's come darn close to replacing what Boston lost in Thornton.
Shea Weber has 15 goals in only 127 shots this season. His 11.8% shooting percentage is the best among defenders who've scored more than 10 goals this season. He has three multi-goal games since Valentine's Day (February 14 for all you fantasy hockey bachelors).
Mikka Kiprusoff is has a 0-5 overtime record and a 2-4 record in shootouts this season. He has only made five shootout saves in those six shootout games. Last season Kiprusoff had a 2-4 overtime record and a 1-7 shootout record. He didn't make A SINGLE shootout save the ENTIRE season last year. Needless to say, Calgary needs to try and win all of their games in regulation.
Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis (the two Tampa Bay goaltenders), have combined for a 10 and 1 shootout record this season. Not too bad… Vince Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis must have bailed them out a couple of times. Nope. The two goalies have been scored on a total of three times during those 11 shootouts, making 38 saves in the process. Their combined shootout save percentage is 92.5%.
Sidney Crosby was plus-15 through December 31st of this season. Since then, he has gone minus-7 in the past 33 games.
Wade Redden has 10 points in his last 10 games. He had one point in his first 10 games of the season. Hopefully, all you smart poolies snatched him when he was injured and sucking earlier this season.
Dion Phaneuf leads all defenders in power play goals during the past two seasons. He has 29 power play goals since 2005 (16 last year, 13 so far this year). He also has 178 penalty minutes during that span (93 last year, 85 so far this year). Hopefully I don't have to tell those of you in keeper leagues, which count defensive scoring, power play goals, and penalty minutes what this means.