10 Fun Facts Through One-Third of the 2013 NHL Season
Hockey is a crazy game. The uncertainty and dangers of the day-to-day activities are just some of the things that make it great. Every season that uncertainty leads to some often unexpected, somewhat quirky and odd facts that leave fans wondering.
For example, did you know that there are a dozen women's names on the Stanley Cup?
This shortened 2013 season hasn’t been short on drama and has even provided us with some fun facts of its own. Here are some fun facts so far in the 2013 season.
Goaltending is crucial for success in the NHL. In a shortened season, depth at goaltending can be the make-or-break detail for a team. Some teams have distinct No. 1 goaltenders, while others use a bit of a platoon.
Goaltending by committee seems to be the method of choice for over one-third of the league. There have been 11 teams that have already used three goaltenders this season. Imagine that.
Interesting Tidbit: The Calgary Flames are the only team to use four goaltenders this season (Joey MacDonald, Leland Irving, Daniel Taylor and Miikka Kiprusoff).
There are some talented rookies in the NHL this season. Cory Conacher, Vladimir Tarasenko, Justin Schultz, Jonathan Huberdeau and Alex Galchenyuk are just a few of the big names from the young guns.
While all are producing for their respective clubs, one team has rookies to thank for almost half of their wins—the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are the only team to have three different rookies score game-winning goals.
Conacher (two), Richard Panik (one) and Alexander Killorn (one) account for the winners in four of the Lightning’s nine victories this season.
Interestingly enough, not every team in the NHL is using a goalie carousel. Some teams have their No. 1 and are sticking with it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a back-to-back situation or a rough performance—a few teams want a consistent name in the crease. Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has struggled, but started 18 of his team’s 20 games.
Despite the criticism of the situation and his performance, one goaltender leads the league in starts and it isn’t someone you would expect. Ilya Bryzgalov of the Philadelphia Flyers has started 20 of 22 games.
He’s certainly earning that paycheck this season.
Struggles and Surges
It seemed like just yesterday we were talking about the NHL lockout and the season that could have been lost. If that was yesterday, then this morning the league completed its first calendar week.
January was a month to remember for some individuals and a month to forget for others. On January 29, the San Jose Sharks’ Patrick Marleau had more goals than the entire Florida Panthers team (nine to the Panthers’ six).
Marleau has just four points (three goals) since that date. Oh, the glory days.
A Shortened Season Gets Shortened
Injuries are a part of the game. The injury bug bites players throughout their careers. But, some just seem to have it worse than others.
One such player is Antti Miettinen of the Winnipeg Jets.
Miettinen played in just 45 games last season and managed to make a brief appearance in 2013. His one shift lasted 17 seconds, though that is subject to debate. Here’s a full release from ProHockeyTalk.com.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks
Most fans don’t see their favorite team unless it’s a game night. What happens at practice—for the most part—stays at practice. That is unless it’s such a scary, freak incident like the one that happened to Zach Redmond of the Winnipeg Jets.
Redmond suffered a gruesome injury in practice on February 21 when his femoral artery was slashed by a teammate’s skate. He had emergency surgery and, according to a statement released by the family, is recovering well (via MSN Canada).
Flying in Formation
The Philadelphia Flyers have the goaltender with the most starts and the most balanced offense. Somehow they are below .500, but that’s another story.
Depth and balance are key for success and the Flyers know that. They have had a league-high 19 different players score goals.
Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux lead this offense with almost 25 combined goals.
Going, Going, Gone
Well, NHL fans may have seen the last of underachieving goaltender Rick DiPietro. The New York Islanders placed DiPietro on waivers—which he cleared—and recalled Kevin Poulin from the American Hockey League.
Once the new collective bargaining agreement included contract buy-outs, everyone knew that DiPietro would be a target. He is now casually enjoying his 15-year, $67.5 million deal in the AHL.
Having the Number
Maybe it’s the water or at the hotel, but something seems to propel players to greatness against specific opponents.
There are three current NHL players that just seem to cause headaches for opposing coaches (via Ian Mendes of Sportsnet East).
Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators has over 100 points in his career against the Montreal Canadiens.
Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks has over 100 points against the Los Angeles Kings.
Jaromir Jagr of the Dallas Stars has over 100 points against the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes.
Interesting for All the Wrong Reasons
There were a lot of questions surrounding the Southeast Division heading into the season. Could this be the year that multiple Southeast teams make the playoffs? Who is going to win this wide-open division?
Well the second question remains unanswered, but the first one doesn’t look like it will apply. The Southeast has all five teams within four points and three teams tied at the top with 19 points.
At this point, you basically either win the division or watch the playoffs from home. The division race will be exciting down the stretch, but another statistical race could be even more fun—who will have the worst defense in the league?
As of February 27, the Carolina Hurricanes are the best defensive team in the division (22nd in the league). Everyone else is trying to keep pace—or not keep pace.