Big Numbers: 7-game road trip, powerplay shortage, and heading to the rafters

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.

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11 | The number of points, out of a possible 14, the Canucks earned on their 7-game road trip, the best the Canucks have ever done on a road trip of that length. Despite a slew of injuries, the Canucks earned points in all but one game on the road trip and showed a lot of gumption by coming from behind four times. The long road trip may have been just what the Canucks needed early in the season to come together as a team.

20 | Daniel Sedin’s penalty minutes, leading all Canucks in that category. This is largely thanks to the 2-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct he somehow earned by being accosted by David Backes at the end of the game against the St. Louis Blues.

211 | The total number of shots on goal for the Canucks over the 7-game road trip compared to 190 for their opponents. The Canucks out-shot their opponents in 5 of the 7 games, only slowing down on the tail-end, getting out-shot by both the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues to close out the trip.

2 | Eddie Lack has won two of his three starts this season, which is nice to see from the young Swedish netminder, particularly after he missed most of last season with hip surgery. More surprisingly, he actually has more wins this season than Cory Schneider, who has won just one of his six starts.

2.62 | This is the number of powerplays per game the Canucks have had through 13 games, the lowest average in the NHL. This has led to all sorts of fretting from Canucks fans and select members of the media, as well as some pointed comments from John Tortorella, but I’ll wait until we’re further into the season before crying conspiracy, as this still could easily be a small sample size issue.

28:04 |Henrik Sedin may have played over 25 minutes against the Devils and Blues on the final two games of the Canucks’ 7-game road trip, but he didn’t come close to Ryan Kesler’s 28 minutes in the overtime game against the New York Islanders last Tuesday, the highest time on ice of any Canucks’ player — including defencemen — this season. Kesler and the Sedins trail only Sidney Crosby in average ice time per game among NHL forwards.

5 | The Canucks have given up the first goal in 8 of their 13 games so far this season, but it hasn’t kept them down, as they’ve managed to win 5 of those games. So far, the Canucks actually have a better winning percentage when their opponents have opened the scoring, though I wouldn’t advise that as a go-to strategy for the rest of the season.

4.3 | This is the Canucks’ shooting percentage when Zack Kassian is on the ice, the lowest among Canuck players who have played at least 50 minutes this season. While this could be spun negatively by Kassian’s detractors, this is more an indication that Kassian hasn’t gotten the bounces early in the season. Kassian only has one point this season, a goal, but has been a positive possession player for the Canucks and should start picking up more points as his on-ice shooting percentage regresses towards the mean.

7 | This is both the number of Ryan Kesler’s goals this season and the number of points he has on his current 4-game point streak. This comes after many fans were worried about his point production earlier in the season, despite his great underlying statistics. The percentages were bound to even out over time, but it happened a lot more quickly than expected, to the point that his numbers are in danger of swinging around to the other side of unsustainable. I doubt Canucks fans will complain about those numbers, though.

24 | The number of players in Canucks history to wear the number 10, including early star Dennis Ververgaert, who wore it for five-and-a-half seasons. The most recent Canuck to wear number 10 was Jeff Tambellini during the 2010-11 season. No Canuck wore it better than Pavel Bure, however, and it will be his number 10 that goes into the rafters on Saturday, November 2nd.

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3 comments

  1. NarkusMaslund
    October 28, 2013

    29: The jersey number of Tom Sestito, who is slated to play on the 3rd line tonight.

    Please, please hurry back Booth. Or Schroeder. Or Hansen. Or Weise, even.

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  2. J21
    October 28, 2013

    but I’ll wait until we’re further into the season before crying conspiracy, as this still could easily be a small sample size issue.

    Two things:

    (1) This is a drum I beat often, but I don’t like how the word “conspiracy” always arises any time someone suggests differential treatment by sports officials. A conspiracy means a plot hatched between at least two people acting in coordination. When people complain about biased officiating — a phenomenon which has been proven many times in many sports the world over — they are not claiming a conspiracy, and I feel the use of the term is a tool purely to discredit them.

    Officials are human (and hockey people to begin with, moreover, who come into their position with a set of ingrained values/opinions) and are subject to the same ridiculous media narratives as run-of-the-mill fans on message boards. There is every reason to think they have internalized some of that message, particularly where it has gotten personal. This doesn’t have to be concerted action (i.e. conspiracy), it can still be an observable, real thing resulting from a bunch of people’s personal choices just as much as other uncoordinated actions, such as stock prices moving off of pure speculation, or girls being named “Madison” after 1984 because a comedy about a mermaid came out.

    They also make their money off the success of the NHL (so they do not really have true independence), and the success of the NHL is not random. I have stated this before, but it would be stranger for a private business NOT to be maximizing profits in the name of some justice in a kids’ game than the opposite — and this means, subconsciously or not, hoping that certain teams prevail over others. (The best NHL markets are those where the game is already established, but in stiff competition with other sports, so there is both big money already there and market share growth potential. Coincidence or not — and it probably is, don’t get me wrong — these are largely also the teams winning Cups these days).

    (2) Re: sample size. Since someone always has to be in first and last place, even where there is little variation in the absolute numbers, I agree that one should exercise caution when taking the number on its own. That said, the reason fans are so up in arms right now isn’t the aggregate numbers, but the specific infractions that only seem to be called one way. It seems (and I don’t see much of the games, so this is anecdotal) that there have been an inordinate number of ridiculous calls and non-calls always leaning the same way. Even Ray Ferraro observed during last year’s playoff series (which was literally historic in its PP lopsidedness, all the more curious with two similarly-built teams) how every time something was borderline, the officials were calling it to San Jose’s favor.

    The bottom line is a strong puck possession team should be drawing a lot of penalties. All the other ones seem to. When looking at the micro-data of the individual calls and non-calls that raise eyebrows, it is more than fair to be suspicious given the context of this “reputational” garbage which was questionable from the very beginning.

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  3. Lemming
    October 28, 2013

    Just watch the next game and take a shot of rum every time a Sedin is hooked and there is no call. You’ll be passed out before the game is over.

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