Now that the Phillies mania has settled a bit, let’s get back to hockey. I wandered through the NHL’s new stats machine while researching material for another blog, and I came upon some odd statistics that prove that summertime predictions don’t always pan out as expected.
- Vancouver’s anemic offense last year combined with minimal off-season movement to improve the front lines, suggested to many that the team would struggle to put pucks in the net. As of today, Vancouver has scored 38 goals, enough to rank fourth overall in the NHL in goals for. The Canucks are only one goal behind the three teams tied for the lead with 39: Detroit, Philadelphia, and Anaheim.
- With Niedermeyer, Pronger and Giguere, the Anaheim Ducks should be one of the finest defensive units in the entire league. But they have allowed more goals (41) than any other team except for Dallas. Maybe Toronto fans should think twice before pushing MLSE to offer a GM contract to Brian Burke.
- Speaking of Toronto, the Maple Leafs currently sit at 10th overall in the Eastern Conference. This summer the fans firmly believed that releasing Mats Sundin, ridding the squad of some dead weight (Tucker and McCabe), and replacing them with third-line grinders like Jamal Mayers and Ryan Hollweg would guarantee them a spot in the race for Tavares/Hedman. Apparently, it might just put them right back into no-man’s land.
- Mike Smith of the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning continues to lead the NHL in save percentage at .942. And right on his heels at .939 is Tim Thomas, who yet again proves that he will prevail no matter who Boston tries to usher in as a replacement.
- Our current plus/minus leader is Nikolai Zherdev. Ken Hitchcock, eat your heart out.
- If you thought the only news in Nashville revolved around Boots del Biaggio and Alexander Radulov, think again. Shea Weber is tearing it up on the blue line. He shares the goal-scoring lead among defensemen with Mike Green and Francois Beauchemin. He also shares the points lead among defensemen with Rafalski, Markov, Kuba, and Pronger, and he’s a plus-5. Expect this member of the class of 2003 to challenge Jason Arnott for the Preds’ All-Star Game roster spot.