Big Numbers: Canucks don’t score much; could Kesler make history?

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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0 | Minutes in goal for Roberto Luongo since Canada played Austria on February 13th. At the risk of beating a dead horse, it is absurd that he has yet to play a game for the Canucks, and for what? So John Tortorella can ride the hot hand? As Cam Charron recently pointed out in an article smartly titled, If Eddie Lack was the answer, you asked the wrong question, the whole notion of riding the hot hand is actually pretty silly. How a goaltender plays in one game actually has no bearing on how he’ll play the next game. In other words, John Tortorella fired up a completely needless goaltending controversy in pursuit of a myth.

2.33 | The Canucks’ goals per game average this season, which is good for 27th in the league, ahead of just Los Angeles, Calgary, and Buffalo. (And not ahead of the Nashville Predators.) If not for the presence of LA, this would be truly embarrassing company. But the difference between the Canuck and the Kings is quite simple: the Kings may not score, but they also don’t get scored on. Their goals against average is 2.08, the best in the NHL. The Canucks are at 2.52, which is middle of the pack. If you’re terrible at scoring goals, you’d better be amazing at preventing them. Unfortunately, the Canucks aren’t.

42 | The answer to life, the universe and everything, including the Canucks’ biggest problem: this is the number of third-period goals they’ve scored this season, far and away the fewest in the NHL. The Buffalo Sabres, 29th in the category, have scored 46 third-period goals. Fans have begun to catch on to just how futile things are for the Canucks in thirds. At the Heritage Classic, with the Canucks pressing for a third-period equalizer, fans started filing out at about the 10-minute mark.

.412 | This is the Canucks’ winning percentage when outshooting their opponents. They’re 23rd in the category. It’s a damning stat for the club, since they’ve outshot their opponents this season more than they’ve been outshot, and it’s doing them no good. While their Corsi rate continues to be in the top 10 in the NHL (they’re 9th), meaning they outplay their opponents over games — usually a good indication that a team is good — they’re just not scoring goals, and unfortunately, that’s sort of how you win.

2 | The number of other NHL teams on which Daniel and Henrik Sedin, with 40 points apiece, would be the leading scorers. Those teams are the Buffalo Sabres, where Cody Hodgson is leading the way with just 30 points, and the Florida Panthers, where Scottie Upshall’s on top with the same number. They’d be tied with Shea Weber and David Legwand for the team lead in Nashville. In Phoenix, they’d be one point back of Mike Ribeiro. In Calgary, they’d be three points behind Jiri Hudler.

-24 | Alex Edler’s plus/minus this season. I know, I know, plus/minus is a junk stat. But only in the short-term, in my opinion. Over a full season, or, say, three quarters of one, if you’re at the bottom of the league — and Edler is four spots out — it says something about you. What a rough season it’s been for him. On the bright side, he looked really good with Chris Tanev on Sunday. If he’s still here after the trade deadline, Tanev and Edler could be a decent duo next season.

0 | Seasons in the post-lockout era (since 2004-05, if you’re confused about what that means, what with all the other lockouts) where the Canucks’ leading goal scorer has been someone other than top line mainstays Daniel Sedin or Alex Burrows. Barring a miracle, that’s going to change this year. Ryan Kesler sits atop the leaderboard, with 21 goals. Daniel’s at 13. And you may have heard that Burrows is stuck on none.

0 | Seasons in Canuck history where the team’s leading goal-scorer finished the year playing for another team. That’s less of a foregone conclusion than the last stat, but Kesler’s got a five-goal lead on Chris Higgins, the only guy who has even a remote shot at catching him. If he’s moved, as is rumoured, and his lead holds, which it should, since the other stats in today’s feature don’t point to the Canucks scoring a whole lot in his absence, this’ll be the first time this has ever happened, to my knowledge.

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10 comments

  1. akidd
    March 3, 2014

    pretty miserable stuff, eh. how low can you go? i’m trying to make sense of it. tank for the draft? make it so miserable that all the vets very willingly waive their ntc’s? what’s the deal here?( said in my best fargo car salesman’s voice.) it can’t get this bad unless it’s on purpose right?

    the only thing that doesn’t make sense is why they gave tortorella such a long, lucrative contract. i mean, tortorella obviously has to go doesn’t he? such a plummet. the players are like ghosts out there. they don’t want to play for this guy. and his system is so completely boring. i’m flipping to other channels it’s so bad. five guys collapsing to the net, no transition game when everyone is starting from the hash marks. it’s not like they’re creating chances and just unlucky. they’re not creating chances.

    the rangers rode the guy out of town on a rail. they hated him there. players, fans and management were unanimous. but then boom a five-year contract from the canucks?!? it’s just weird.

    i’m pretty sure guys are going to be gone come trade deadline and then again this summer and some kind of fresh start should be in the works. but it’s gotta be with a new coach too. tortorella hockey is just brutal to watch. it burns my eyeballs. can’t score goals. can’t stop them either. what’s the #%$^ing point!

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  2. Alex
    March 3, 2014

    Canucks fans have always started leaving games with about 10 minutes left. This is nothing new since I’ve been a fan (about 5 years).

    If someone leaves with 10 minutes to go, 10 minutes is one sixth of a game. If a ticket was $100 which is a conservative figure for alot of seats, then the fan is leaving without seeing $16.67 of hockey!

    It makes me even angrier when fans started leaving when the team is actually winning too.

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  3. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 3, 2014

    Just to be clear, Cody Hodgson missed a number of games due to injury. His 32 points in 50 games would actually put him on the same points per game pace as Daniel Sedin. Faint praise, to be sure, but still an indication of how expendable scoring isn’t (and wasn’t when Cody was traded) on this team.

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  4. Noodle
    March 3, 2014

    That’s kind of stunning, that our Corsi can be top 10 in the league and yet the team is in this terrible spot.

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  5. Naturalmystic
    March 4, 2014

    Talk around the league is Kesler invokes his no trade clause when approached with a trade to Columbus. Looks like he is only interested in playing for a contender not another pretender like Vancouver. Can Gillis make a trade before the deadline? I am skeptical.

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    • Chinook
      March 4, 2014

      If Kesler wants out of Van and turned down Columbus, he might have made a mistake. I think Columbus are team that is coming on, and makes sense Gillis would go after one of their young talented centres, Johansen (hometown boy) or Jenner.

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      • mb13
        March 4, 2014

        Maybe I’m crazy…. wouldn’t Johansen > Kesler?

        The guy has more goals. Better +/-. Is younger so you’d expect his production to improve.

        I have to ask again… is anybody convinced that Mike Gillis knows what he’s doing?

        Daniel/Harrison, you have always been quite big fans of Gillis. Are you starting to doubt his ability to steer this ship? Other than take a core hitting it’s prime and riding it to the finals, he has too many mis-steps for someone who is competent at their job.

        It’s gotten to the point that I actually felt bad for Luongo. GMMG and Torts have done the impossible.

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        • Chinook
          March 4, 2014

          I agree, Johansen > Kesler. Maybe Kesler + Edler would get it done. Gillis may be trying some package deals though I think Johansen has too much upside for Columbus to trade, period. But should Gillis be trusted to make a Kesler deal if he is going to get the sack in a couple of months. He deserves to be – if he didn’t hire Tortorella, he at least endorsed / acquiesced to Aquilini’s choice.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 4, 2014

      He probably turned down the Jackets because of RJ Umberger. The two were college teammates but apparently despise one another, and Kesler might not want to walk into RJ’s locker room.

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  6. John in Marpole
    March 4, 2014

    Gotta take issue with your assertion that the “hot hand” isn’t a real thing for goaltenders.

    From my personal experience between the pipes over 5 decades, I assure you that goaltenders (even we amatures) do indeed get into a groove and play sharper for stretches of games at times. It is a matter of enhanced confidence leading to better focus. It is an actual, tangible feeling, commonly called being in a zone. It’s real.

    Yes, a streak like that does come to an end at some point, but when a team has a goaltender showing consistency of play as Lack had been doing , most coaches would keep playing that “hot hand” until the streak ends.

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