I can't think of a topic for this morning's introduction, so I guess I'll just give you a random Canadiens statistic. Among players that have played six games or more, only three Canadiens - Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller, and Travis Moen - have a positive penalty differential while eight - Galchenyuk, Desharnais, Subban, Diaz, Briere, Gionta, Bourque, and Tinordi - have a negative penalty differential.
Compared to the Atlantic division, these numbers are not so great. Montreal is tied with Ottawa for the fewest positive differential players, is tied with Toronto and Buffalo for fourth most negative players, and is sporting the second biggest difference between positive players and negative players (-5 verses Ottawa's -8). In the division, only the Florida Panthers have more players with positive differentials (8) than negative differentials (7).
I don't really know where to go from this rudimentary analysis, so I'll just present you with some fine hockey links. Enjoy!
Montreal Canadiens News and Analysis
Things are relatively quiet on the roster front. Despite making the trip to New York and participating in Monday's morning skate, George Parros is still sporting a no-contact jersey and is out indefinitely with his concussion. Meanwhile, Douglas Murray drew into the lineup for his first game of the season and was predictably dreadful on the third pairing alongside the also struggling Francis Bouillon. Cube and the Murr-man led the team in Corsi events surrendered, at 19 and 17 respectively, and sported the lowest CF% among defenders (26.9% and 32.0%). Despite this, the ice time summary reveals that Murray was third among defensemen in shorthanded TOI last night. Yup.
Christopher Boucher's research reveals a couple of surprising (and not so surprising) facts surrounding the Montreal Canadiens' centre corps. For example, Tomas Plekanec is below average in both ES Ratio and ES Risk/Reward rating, but his phenomenal special team's play pushes his overall ratio above the average for centres. Meanwhile, Ryan White ranks first among the middlemen in overall ratio, although he engages in far fewer events than his peers.
The Montreal Canadiens sit third in Derek Zona's Eastern Conference power rankings and tenth in the league overall. I can't find a breakdown of Zona's methodology, but he's a pretty sweet guy, so I guess we'll have to take his word for it.
Matthew Skolnikoff of Puck Buddys gives his take on the Habs early season play, noting that rub downs may be the key to improving performance.
General News and Analysis
The Columbus Blue Jackets' Jarmo Kekäläinen became the first European GM in NHL history back in February. Risto Pakarinen of IIHF.com traces the Finn's career from a client of then NHL agent Ray Shero, to a scout with Ottawa, and a GM in the Finnish league. This post is not the most timely piece in the world, but it's a good read nonetheless.
Tyler Dellow looks at the relationship between first game save percentage and second game save percentage to see if a "hot start" is a predictor of immediate future success. Guess what the answer is?
Speaking of goalie analysis, Fear the Fin's Jake Sundstrom looks at whether fatigue, represented by a goalie having more saves than his counterpart, has a negative impact on shootout winning percentage.
According to a report from the Buffalo News, the Sabres were prepared to reward Thomas Vanek handsomely if he agreed to stick around for the rebuild. John Vogl claims that a source claims that Buffalo was willing to make Vanek the highest paid player in the NHL. This would involve a cap hit north of Alex Ovechkin's $9.5 million. I don't really know what to say to this, so I'll let you ruminate on the details.
Speaking of Buffalo, the Sabres are featured heavily in Megalodon's funniest hockey tweets of the week.
In case you weren't aware, Tampa Bay is currently sporting an 8-3-0 record, which is good for tops in the Eastern Conference. However, this record seems to be supported by above average shot conversion and goaltending, rather than strong possession play. For example, when the score is close, the Bolts are getting above-average goaltending (0.933 vs. 0.923), have an above average shooting percentage (0.092 vs 0.079) and are below average in CF% (0.484 vs .502). On the powerplay, they rank 23rd in pucks directed but have scored at the third highest rate in the league (20%). On the penalty kill, they rank 24th in Corsi events allowed and eleventh in save percentage.
Bill Meltzer looks at the state of player development in Switzerland for IIHF.com, noting that the next breakthrough for the program that just captured Men's World Championship Silver would be a Swiss superstar in the NHL.
More from Eyes On The Prize:
- Canadiens vs. Rangers - Top Six Minutes - Goaltending Controversy Edition
- 24CH Recap - Season Two, Episode Four: Winnipeg, Columbus and Nashville, oh my.
- Catching The Torch: Oct 21-27 Edition
- Hamilton Bulldogs player of the week: Louis Leblanc
- Travis Moen suffers a facial fracture