|Written by Russ Miller|
|Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:20|
I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the month of Mo, uh, November and see who the top performers were. I've included players from both conferences, if only to provide a reference to where they place overall.
Statistics listed below do not include last night's games.
Dustin Byfuglien and Sidney Crosby were head and shoulders ahead of their peers in November. Avs rookie Kevin Shattenkirk put up points at a big time rate during the month and is on a seven game, ten point run. The addition of Matt Hunwick won't affect Shattenkirk's production unless the rookie totally blows (he won't). Alex Pietrangelo is on pace to finish with 49 points this season. Last year, he had two points in a nine game audition with the Blues, but ended up getting sent back to junior. In hindsight, that move probably helped in his development. Pietrangelo scored 29 points in 25 OHL games and went on to record 12 points in six games at the World Junior Championship. The fourth overall pick from the 2008 draft is for real. Brian Rafalski had a very good November with 10 points in 10 games.
Crosby, Stamkos, Semin, Nash, Cleary...Dan Cleary? The Newfoundland native has career highs of 20 goals and 42 points, but is on pace for 41 goals and 63 points and only receives one minute of power play time. Clearly he won't maintain this pace. Jordan Leopold has been a pleasant surprise for the Sabres, especially in light of Tyler Myers sophomore slump. Leopold has a career high of only 33 points, but he was a scorer in college, recording 48 points in 44 games. Please don't run out and pick up Eric Brewer or John Erskine because you see them on this list - this was merely a blip. Brewer is on pace for 10 points, all goals and Erskine is on pace to double his career high of nine points.
One thing that stands out for me is Ovechkin having more assists than any of the guys below him on this list, especially Crosby. I really thought Milan Hejduk was washed up. Wasn't he supposed to have a chronic knee issue? Nice rebound season in the making by Alex Tanguay. Rookie Cam Fowler has nine points in his last 10 games.
Power Play Points
There are no real surprises in the forwards except for two players. I would have bet that Milan Hejduk was headed out to pasture due to his cumulative injuries the league had inflicted upon his body. Hejduk averaged the second most power play ice time on the Avs last year and he sits third in that statistic this year. Jeff Skinner had one power play point in October. The calendar turns and he hits for seven points with the man advantage. Don't expect November numbers for the entire year as rookies tend to be inconsistent. Kevin Shattenkirk is making good on his opportunity to play on the top power play unit.
Shots on Goal
Alexander Ovechkin had 52 shots on goal in November, tied with Evander Kane, Martin St. Louis and Joe Pavelski for eighth in the league. It just doesn't seem right. Ovechkin has led the league in shots on goal every year he's been in the league and never scored less than 46 goals. He's on pace for his lowest goals (32) and shots on goal (357) totals of his career. Don't bet on things finishing that way. Evgeni Malkin is on pace to better his personal best of 290 shots on goal by 82. Jeff Carter finished third in this category last year and fourth the season before.
A couple of blow ups for Sean Avery has the uber-pest atop the penalty minute pile in November. Konopka is second to Brandon Prust in fighting majors this season after leading the league last year. Lapierre isn't well liked by opponents or referees thanks to his abrasive "style". Deryk Engelland is for real as a tough guy. He's taking on the leagues heavyweights and holding his own while playing on the third pairing with Alex Goligoski. Jonathan Ericsson received 17 of his 21 points in one game. It was a little surprising to not see Steve Downie on this list. He recorded 27 penalty minutes in November, following the 41 minutes he sat for in October. No worries though, he's not exactly turning into a Lady Byng candidate.
As you can see, Philadelphia is heavy on the positive side of the plus/minus ledger. Nicklas Backstrom is the lone Caps representative, but I suspect that Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Green, Alexander Semin and company will find their way to the top of this list fairly soon. Last year, the top five players in this category all played in Washington. Who the hell is Kevin Porter? Over his last ten games, he has been playing with either Milan Hejduk and Matt Duchene or Hejduk and Paul Stastny. His average time on the ice for the season is only 12:29, but over his last five games, he has averaged 17 minutes per game. That will likely decrease now that Tomas Fleischmann is on board, as the team will want to give Flash every opportunity to prove himself. Way to go Rusty, plus-16 overall (plus-9 in November) on Columbus is no easy feat.
Pavelec Smoking Hot
Just wanted to mention that in Ondrej Pavelec’s last six games, he’s 6-0-0 with a 0.83 goals-against-average and 0.973 save percentage. Stunning. It’s as if after knocking his head on the ice, when he came to, someone told him he was Dominik Hasek.
Thursday Trivia Time
Today a threesome!
1. Wayne Gretzky has won more Hart Memorial Trophy’s than anyone else. That should really come as no surprise. He owned the eighties, winning the award every year but one. Name the year and the player who won it.
2. Who has won the second most Hart Trophies? How many?
3. Name the defenseman who has his name etched on the Hart Trophy the most? How many?
Russ Miller said:
|Last Updated on Friday, 03 December 2010 10:09|