Stats are all-important in sports. To paraphrase Jonah Hill in Moneyball, people who run hockey teams think in terms of buying players. Their goal shouldn’t be to buy players, but to buy wins, and in order to buy wins, you need to buy points. Along with points, though, there are many stats that can be considered “intangibles” to truly make a player and a team great. Through the STATurday weekly segment, we will take time to give credit where it’s due, including those who may seem as unsung heroes.
Since official hockey-tracking outlets follow traditional stats such as Goals, Assists, Plus-Minus, Shots, Goals Against Average, Save Percentage, Wins, Shutouts, Points, Penalty Minutes; we shall be tracking the exact same stats, but with some key additions to help show fans what teams see in players, and whether they’ve got the right stuff. In addition to the stats above, we shall be tracking shots blocked, hits, giveaways, and takeaways on a team-by-team and individual basis, giving them awards based on their performance. The awards I shall be handing out on a weekly basis are as follows:
Sharpshooter Award: awarded to the team and player with most goals this week.
“Defense?” Award: awarded to the team with most goals against this week.
Teammate Award: awarded to the player with most assists this week.
“Get on the ice” Award: awarded to the player with the highest plus-minus rating this week.
Bad Omen Award: awarded to the player with the lowest plus-minus rating this week.
Stalwart Award: awarded to the goalie with the lowest GAA this week.
Reflexes Award: awarded to the goalie with the highest save percentage this week.
Leaky Award: awarded to the goalie with highest GAA this week (as well as most goals against, if they are different).
Third Stringer Award: awarded to the goalie with the lowest save percentage this week.
Sin Bin Award: awarded to the player and team with highest total penalty minutes this week.
Ice Pack Award: awarded to the player with highest number of shots blocked this week.
Crusher Award: awarded to the team and player with highest number of hits this week.
“Pass to Nowhere” award: awarded to the team and player with the most giveaways this week.
“MINE!” Award: awarded to the team and player with most takeaways this week.
Possession Award: awarded to the player with the highest differential between giveaways and takeaways this week.
Stick Tape Award: awarded to the player with the most shots on net this week.
In-Game Practice Award: awarded to the goalie who has faced the most shots this week.
3 Stars: given to the best statistical performers every week, but with a twist: unless someone absolutely merits it, it shall be restricted down to one forward, one defenseman, and one goalie.
In addition to the awards listed above, key games will be highlighted throughout the season, with playoff scenarios (in the late season), and clinching scenarios. Considering that the season just started, but every team has at least one game under their belts, let me illustrate how STATurday will work:
Sharpshooter Award – Individual: Three-way tie between Mason Raymond of the Calgary Flames, Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks with 3 goals apiece (though Corey Perry is the official recipient for fewest games played).
Sharpshooter Award – Team: Awarded to the Calgary Flames, with 7 goals scored.
“Defense?” Award: Awarded to the Philadelphia Flyers, for allowing 8 goals this week.
Teammate Award: Awarded to Joe Colborne of the Calgary Flames, who notched 4 assists this week.
Bad Omen Award: Awarded to Luke Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers, with a plus-minus rating of -6
Reflexes Award: Tie between Darcy Kuemper of the Minnesota Wild and Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks, both of whom posted shutouts, making their save percentage 1.000. (A bigger sample size next week will help, I promise).
Leaky Award: Awarded to Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, who posted a goals against average of 7.50.
Third Stringer Award: Awarded to Mike Smith of the Arizona Coyotes, who posted a save percentage of .778
Sin Bin Award – Individual: Awarded to Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers, who spent 9 minutes in the penalty box.
Ice Pack Award: Awarded to Kris Russell of the Calgary Flames, who blocked 8 shots this week.
Crusher Award – Team: Awarded to the Philadelphia Flyers, who as a team, dished out 56 hits.
“Pass to Nowhere” Award: Awarded to Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, who coughed the puck up 5 times this week.
“MINE!” Award: Awarded to Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens, who swiped the puck 4 times this week.
Possession Award: Three way tie between Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens, Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers, and Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers, with a +3 giveaway to takeaway ratio.
Stick Tape Award: Three way tie between Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens, all of whom tested the opposing goalie 9 times this week.
In-Game Practice Award: Awarded to Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers, who saw 58 shots come his direction.
3 Stars: Olli Maatta of the Pittsburgh Penguins (0G, 3A, +2, 2 hits, 1 SOG), Joe Colborne of the Calgary Flames (0G 4A, +4, 5 hits, 2 blocked shots, 2 PIM), Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks (1.000 SV%, 0.000 GAA, 34 shots against, 1 win, 1 shutout).
Key games of the week: It’s still too early to statistically tell who can get ahead, though if you’re betting, tonight’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks offers a very large payout if the Sabres pull off the win (though I wouldn’t go for it). Corey Perry looks to get a jump on the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, while Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins look to pad their points against an average-looking Toronto Maple Leafs. The Montreal Canadiens seeks an early jump in the standings when taking on the lowly Philadelphia Flyers, and the wide open Metropolitan Division has a monster clash between the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Join me next week, as we’ll have a brand new batch of awards to hand out, as well as important games to highlight statistically!