2009-2010 NHL Mid-Season Report

Photo Courtesy of AP

The middle of the NHL Season is upon us and it’s time to look back at what has been an exciting first half of the season.

Best Team: This was a tough one. I’m giving it to the San Jose Sharks, but the Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils are not far behind. I’m giving this to the Sharks, because they have lost seven games in either the overtime and shootout while Chicago has had just three. This means that San Jose had the potential to gain more points than Chicago did. Chicago earned their points by going 8-3 in shootouts and overtime. Chicago has also played 24 home games to just 18 away games while San Jose has had just 20 home games to 22 away games. The Sharks have won eight straight and are playing their best hockey right now and that’s why they earn my pick as the top team from the first half of the NHL season.

Worst Team: The Carolina Hurricanes win this award easily. The Hurricanes are embarrassingly bad. They have the fewest points in the league with 29, seven worst than Edmonton who has the second fewest points. Carolina’s goal differential is also worse in the league at -44 and they have accumulated just 10 points in 20 away games. To cap it off, the Hurricane’s power play and their penalty kill are both 26th in the league. Carolina is the only team truly eliminated from the playoffs and for that they are the worst team from the first half of the season.

MVP: Marian Gaborik earns this award not just for his incredible stats, but for how he has carried the Rangers the entire year. Gaborik leads the league in goals with 27 and is third in points with 52. He is averaging over 22 minutes of time on ice yet has just 14 penalty minutes on the year. Incredibly though, Gaborik is the only Ranger with double-digit goals. While New York has allowed seven more goals than they’ve scored, Gaborik is +6. Gaborik has more than just the best stats in the NHL, he is the reason the Rangers have 43 points and currently sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Continue reading “2009-2010 NHL Mid-Season Report”

The Curious Case of the Phoenix Coyotes

Photo Courtesy of AP

The Phoenix Coyotes ownership is in disarray. The management and coaching is a mess. The team has the lowest salary totals in the league. With all that being said, the Coyotes must be one of the worst teams in the league, right? Wrong! Phoenix currently sits at the 4th in the Western Conference, just five points behind the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks.   

So how are they doing so well while spending so little money? Time to go to the numbers.   

The Coyotes have just two players with more than ten goals. No player has 25 or more points. However, what Phoenix lacks in star power, it makes up for in consistency. Twelve players have double-digit points with nine of them having 17 or more points. Fourteen players average more than fifteen minutes on ice per game. Most importantly though is the Coyotes goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov ranks fourth in the NHL in GAA and is tied for third in save percentage. He leads the league in shutouts, is second behind Martin Broedur in wins, and is tied for second in games played. Bryzgalov has carried the Coyotes all year.   

Bryzgalov is making $4.26 million per year. That’s good for 16th in the league among goaltenders. How’s that for a steal.   

Shane Doan’s 24 points are the most on the team and his salary, $4.55 million, leads all forwards. Radim Vrbata has the second highest salary ($3 million) amongst forwards and his third on the team with 22 points. Matthew Lombardi has the third highest salary ($1.817 million) and the second most points (23). Continue reading “The Curious Case of the Phoenix Coyotes”