Big Numbers: Tough time to be an Alex; the Pacific Division sucks now

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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3 | The point gap between the Canucks and the third-in-the-Pacific Los Angeles Kings, whom the Canucks need to catch in order to be in a playoff spot. That’s really not too bad. Granted, catching the Kings is easier said than done, but considering the Canucks have been among the worst teams in hockey over their last 10 games (at least in terms of getting points), you’d think they’d be a little further back.

5 | The point gap the Canucks would face in the Central Division if they were trying to catch the third-place Colorado Avalanche, and it’s even worse than it looks. Colorado has four games in hand. Same goes for the St. Louis Blues, who are one point up on Colorado. In other words, for all this talk about how difficult the Pacific Division is, the Central might be even tougher, at least at the top. That’s a tough go for Minnesota, Nashville, Dallas and Winnipeg. It’s probably already time to start focusing on the Wild Card. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Canucks should be glad they’re in the Pacific.

5 | Outside of the San Jose Sharks, the most wins any team in the Pacific has collected in their past 10 games. Here’s why I bring this up: the Canucks are 3-4-3 in their last 10, which is pretty crummy, admittedly, but not uniquely so. It’s not that much worse than anyone else in the grouping. Anaheim is 3-4-3 as well. The LA Kings are 5-1-4. Phoenix is 4-4-2. In other words, the Canucks really haven’t lost that much ground at all because, despite what you’re hearing, they aren’t the only team in the NHL struggling right now.

1 | Again, outside of the San Jose Sharks, the longest winning streak in the Pacific Division. It belongs to the Canucks, Oilers, and Flames.

0 | Alex Burrows’ stunning goal total. It’s amazing. Chris Tanev has a goal. Jeremy Welsh has a goal. Dale Weise and Tom Sestito have 2 goals. David Booth has 3. Meanwhile, Burrows is now up to 49 shots on goal without scoring, and to show you how absurd that is, the average number of goals scored for the NHL’s 10 other 49-shot shooters is 5. Milan Lucic has taken 48 shots. He’s got 11 goals. Poor Burrows.

2 | The number of Canuck prospects invited to Team Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp, as Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk were named among Canada’s final 25.

1 | The number of Canucks still among the top 30 in NHL icetime. It’s Alex Edler, whose 24:03 a night is tops on the Canucks and 26th in the NHL. This is notable for two reasons: first, after causing an uproar with the big minutes he was handing to Ryan Kesler and the Sedins, John Tortorella has backed off a little on their icetime of late. Second, while Edler has become the new Canucks scapegoat after cameras caught him receiving a terrifying earful from the coach the other night, Tortorella still seems to prefer him on the ice rather than not.

-12 | The temperature in Calgary today (although it feels like -24), as well as Edler’s plus/minus on the year. That’s cursed frogurt bad. He’s 749th out of 755 NHLers. Now listen: plus/minus is a dumb stat. As Trevor Daley recently said, it’s the worst stat in hockey. After all, you can hop onto the ice at the same time a goal is scored in your own zone and get a minus. On a game-to-game basis especially, plus/minus is almost entirely useless. But when you’re the best or the worst in the league at something, it’s probably time to take heed, at least a little. Edler’s due for a run of good luck not unlike Dan Hamhuis was earlier in the year, but he also needs to tighten up his defensive game. We’ll suggest that’s what Tortorella was telling him the other night, albeit with more swears.

37.5 | Tom Sestito’s Corsi For percentage at even-strength. In other words, when Sestito is on the ice, the Canucks are attempting 37.5% of the shots. That’s league-worst among guys with at least 22 games played. No player in the entire NHL craters his team’s possession numbers on the regular quite like this guy. But nevermind that. He’s tied for the league-lead in fighting majors at 9, and he’s 6’5″. Gotta get that size on the ice from time to time, right?

 

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29 comments

  1. mb13
    December 2, 2013

    Just ran a few quick numbers:

    Canucks record vs. teams in playoffs if started today: 4-12
    Vice versa: 10-3

    I think this one stat tells us everything we need to know about this team. They can play with the bottom half of the league and struggle against the top half.

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    • Pavo
      December 2, 2013

      Aah!

      MB13 – quick off the mark to brighten our Monday morning.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        December 2, 2013

        He is the harbinger of hope the world needs.

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        • Jake
          December 2, 2013

          and so we’ll hate him. Because he can take it, because he’s not a hero; he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Knight.

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      • Josh
        December 2, 2013

        Yeah, let’s just mock the guy instead of saying something about the stat he’s put forth.

        I think it is troubling, although not terribly shocking. They handle the poor teams, and while they don’t exactly get dominated by the good teams, they’ve had a tough time beating those teams with any sort of consistency.

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        • mb13
          December 2, 2013

          Thanks Josh.

          Some people get too concerned with the messenger and lose sight of the message.

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          • Pavo
            December 2, 2013

            Only if the messenger appears committed to putting out a single message – expressed in multiple ways. Objectivity be damned.

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  2. mb13
    December 2, 2013

    Rasheed Wallace always used to say, “Ball don’t lie”.

    well – Numbers don’t lie.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 2, 2013

      Depends on the number. Win and loss records are an imperfect predictor of future results at this point in the season, so the numbers you posted could, in fact, be “lying.”

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      • mb13
        December 2, 2013

        I don’t disagree with you there.

        But the numbers I put forward are quite important ones. Whether they are predictive, I remained silent on that.

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        • akiddd
          December 2, 2013

          i hear ya, mb13, but i also recently watched the team dominate the kings, coyotes, hawks, sharks and ducks, not on the scoreboard but winning battles, moving puck and limiting chances.

          there are a ton of good teams this season. a ton. your stats are pretty much what i’d expect from most teams, that points against lesser teams are easier to come by.

          and no one is planning any parade routes just yet. nobody. if you list one stanley cup favourite, you’d have to list five. that’s just how it is. i’m going to go way out on a limb and say that , over the rest of the season, i predict the canucks will lose some more games against really good teams.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2013

      Except that they totally do if you cherrypick the Hell out of them. But cool, sure.

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  3. akiddd
    December 2, 2013

    sestito is doing his job. he’s keeping the peace in that weird nhl way and the result is that the canucks are not getting messed with nearly as much as in the past. and he has decent hands. a couple of goals and some posts too. i’m not sure what some people expect out of their 4th-line enforcers but sestito’s doing what he’s supposed to and doing it rather well, id’ say.

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    • Aaron
      December 3, 2013

      Thats a good point Akiddd but he is just such a weak player, It would be very nice if he could play and be an enforcer. His is a brutal job and I agree he does what hes supposed to do as far as protecting his team mates. Either way though he is a liability when he hits the ice, but not when he hits some one!

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  4. steveB
    December 2, 2013

    maybe it’s just a case of the Mondays, but I now think he’s the harbinger of gloom we deserve.
    This team has huge hole to dig themselves out of.
    I hope they can find a way to do it, but I ain’t holding my breath.

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    • Pavo
      December 2, 2013

      In a salary-capped league, it is unreasonable to expect any team to stay on top indefinitely.

      No, the Canucks are not as good as a couple of years ago. But part of the fun (and pain), of being a fan will be to see how the team now re-invigorates itself.

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  5. Naturalmystic
    December 2, 2013

    I won’t be surprised if Vancouver slides into 10th place in time for Christmas break.

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    • Pavo
      December 2, 2013

      But something tells me you will be crushed if they don’t.

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    • shoes
      December 2, 2013

      I have asked you trolls before, Do you have a team, outside of professional bowling, that you cheer for? Bet you don’t answer.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        December 2, 2013

        Isn’t NM a Bruins fan? I feel like he arrived in the comments section during the great Cup rematch of 2012.

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  6. Chris the Curmudgeon
    December 2, 2013

    Not to fact check you or anything, but Michael Chaput, Cody McCormick and Douglas Murray all have worse Corsi For stats than Sestito, and that’s only among guys with 100+ minutes on the ice. Truth be told I was more amazed that Sestito has actually found his way to being on the ice for almost 160 minutes this season.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2013

      Whoops, sorry, I meant to add “with 22 games played” and did not. Fixed.

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  7. Noodle
    December 2, 2013

    “The point gap between the Canucks and the third-in-the-Pacific Los Angeles Kings, whom the Canucks need to catch in order to be in a playoff spot.”

    Don’t we need to catch PHX for the Wild Card spot? That seems a little more relevant than catching the 3rd seed. And although PHX is only 1 point ahead of us, they have 3 games in hand.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 2, 2013

      I’d say both are relevant since we’re so early in the season. Getting into and staying in a wild card spot would be fine, but catching one of San Jose, Anaheim, or Los Angeles and finishing in the top-3 in the Pacific would be even better.

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  8. Lemming
    December 2, 2013

    Wouldn’t a Fenwick Close examination of the Canucks vs. playoff teams to this point be more useful than a simple regurgitation of win-loss stats? I mean, when LA won the cup, they weren’t on a roll at all the whole year and made the 8th seed on a Minnesota loss, if I remember correctly. Regurgitating win-loss records is pointless.

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    • mb13
      December 3, 2013

      And holding on for dear life to advanced statistics that may or may not cause winning is hopeful – at best.

      But hey, if comparing the Canucks to the once in a lifetime 2011-12 Kings make you sleep better at night, sweet dreams.

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      • Lemming
        December 3, 2013

        Nice rebuttal (except not).
        I actually care how the Canucks played in their loses, because that matters, unless you have an agenda in some way. I’m not even saying they played well or poorly in all those games, but your methodology is, even to an extreme stats layman like me, extremely flawed.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 3, 2013

      It’s interesting you bring this up, Lemming, as the post I’ve been putting together for the past couple days is all about the 2011-12 Kings. They provide an interesting comparison for the Canucks, actually.

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  9. Aaron
    December 3, 2013

    It does not matter which position the Canucks get into the playoffs at. What will matter is if they can keep dominating teams and put pucks in the net. I would feel very good about our chances right now if we were scoring on the PP while still controling the game the way we have been. They will also need to find another gear in the Playoffs.

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