12th – The place I find myself in my 17-year keeper league. I guess it’s the price I pay for selling my soul in order to rebuild a dynasty. I may be in 12th this year, but my keepers will be Malkin, St. Louis, J. Staal, Radulov, Kessel, Chara, Carle, and M.A. Fleury. Growing pains for ass-kicking gains I say.
22 – The number beside the plus symbol when you look at Chris Pronger’s stat line as of today. This becomes interesting because it is also the number you get when adding Lupul (-15) and Smid (-7) together in Edmonton, with the slight but meaningful difference of having a minus before it. With the next two draft classes looking sub-par, this trade is one of the most lopsided in recent memory. Under pressure or not, Lowe could have done much better. P.S. Pronger is also out scoring them 47-31.
25 – The number of goals that Eric Staal has scored. Also the number of goals that Jordan Staal has scored. What the hell was in the water in Thunder Bay back in the early 80’s? The crazy thing is that they say Jared is going to be the best of the bunch offensively. Jeesh … I wonder if old man Staal would mind breeding with my wife.
3.5 – The number of hours late I arrived home after a night out with “the boys” last weekend.
0 – The amount of action I have gotten this week due to this late arrival
15 – How many more goals Bill Guerin has scored in 60 games this year than he did all of last year with Dallas. This number is well on it’s way to affecting another number, and that is the one on Billy’s new contract next season.
187 – My prediction for the number of penalty minutes in Saturday’s Ottawa/Buffalo rematch
165 – The combined points for Lecavalier and St Louis, the highest teammate tandem in the league. The next closest is Crosby and Malkin at … get this … 164
8.25 – My father’s hat size (not relevant, but damn impressive)
71 - The difference between Nik Lidstrom’s league leading plus 42, and Kyle Calder’s league worst minus 29
36 – The difference between the number of chances (43) and the number of goals allowed (7) by the league’s two best shoot-out goaltenders, which is an 84 percent failure rate for the shooters. Ryan Miller in Buffalo shouldn’t surprise anyone, but his counterpart may. Who is it you ask … None other than Tim Thomas in Boston. On the flip side, the worst starting goalie based on the above scenario (with enough chances to be relevant) is Cristobal Huet in Montreal who only stops the shooters 43 percent of the time
15,851 – Tampa Bay’s average attendance for away games, the league’s worst. Surprisingly, Boston has the highest away attendance at 17, 871. Now that I think about it, these two facts are really quite boring. I apologize for including them.
33 & 24 – These two numbers are the key to a very surprising success story. Many predicted the Detroit Red Wings to be too old and therefore about to embark on a rebuilding phase. However, we find them in 2nd place overall and much of that success is due to the above numbers. 33 is the average number of shots that Detroit takes a game. 24 is the average number they allow. Both of these numbers lead the league in their respective categories. Imagine that.
406 – The number of shots Ovechkin is on pace to take this year, which will far and away make him the league leader again. Last year he took 425 shots, and it just goes to prove that things happen when you put the puck on net.
24:20 – The average ice time for Martin St Louis, who is the only forward in the top thirty in this category.
62.5 – The highest winning percentage of face-offs in the league. Held by Yanic Perrault, this stat does not seem that meaningful until you realize that the opposing team is only winning 37.5 of the draws against him. Suddenly it seems much more looming. In a related point, why is this guy always struggling to find a team to play for, only to put up great numbers every time he re-signs?
21 – This particular stat is meaningless to hockey, but is one that I find to be the most impressive from my years of following sports. In 1992, Tony Gwynn had 566 at bats for the San Diego Padres. If we use the MLB average of 4.3 pitches faced per at bat, this would give Gwynn 2434 pitches faced in 1992. Now here is the amazing part. Gwynn swung and missed only 21 times that year. Every other time he swung the bat, he at least fouled it off. Think about this for a minute. I know personally I have swung and missed 21 times in a beer league game. Incredible
Finally, I’ll wrap this up with some food for thought. When we first started our keeper pool back in the mid-eighties, Gretzky was excluded from being drafted as he could almost single handedly win the pool for whoever would have been lucky enough to get first pick. When Mario hit his prime, he too was excluded from our draft for the same reasons. To this day, these are the only two players to ever get this respect. As we come to the close of 2006-07, it appears we may need to invoke this clause again, as there is a player that is dominating the game in a way that skews our pools too dramatically. Sidney Crosby is the first name you will think of, followed by Ovechkin perhaps. However, it is not either one of these superstars, but Martin Brodeur that is putting up numbers that nobody has been forced to contend with before. In roto-based pools, I am having trouble remembering when a single player controlled 5 scoring categories so overwhelmingly. A blessing for those who own him and a curse for those of us who don’t.