The Hurt Locker: Studying the Impact of NHL Injuries - 2012 Results and Power Rankings

Chris Pronger was hit by a puck in the eye last season. He may never play again as result. - Bruce Bennett

As we wait for the 2013 NHL playoffs to kick off, let's look back at how injuries played a part in last year's regular season and playoff results, leading up to the LA Kings' Stanley Cup victory.

Sometimes you suffer a devastating headshot, sometimes you have your achilles sliced, and sometimes you don't backup your computer enough and have all your accumulated injury data lost forever. Luckily, it was the latter that befell me last month, and as a result it has taken longer than expected to get this third edition of The Hurt Locker up and running (Update: sometimes it happens again as you're writing about it happening, and then you have to get a new laptop).

For those new to these posts, they are based on the statistic "man minutes lost", which is intended as a more precise measure than "man games lost" of how teams are affected by injury over the course of a season. It is by no means a flawless stat, but it gives a little more insight into how this aspect of luck has played out. For a more complete introduction of the statistic, and for 2010 results, click here. For 2011 results, click here. All regular season data was borrowed from Springing Malik, while all playoff data I accumulated myself thanks to NHL.com and TSN.ca.

For the last two editions, I tried to see if there was any particular correlation between injuries and success. Considering that I couldn't find anything conclusive - likely because a good team will be sidetracked by injury far less than a bad team - I won't do the same here. Instead, I will break down the teams one by one, sorting them in descending order of regular season injury troubles, while also posting how they were affected in the playoffs.

First off, here is a refresher on how the standings played out last year.

Screen_shot_2013-04-22_at_4

And now, here are the 2011-2012 Regular Season NHL Injury Power Rankings. The categories listed are MML/G Rank (in ascending order, 1 being luckiest, 30 being least lucky), MML/G, NHL Reg. Season Finish, and Differential. Differential is the difference between the team's ascending MML/G position and its final place in the standings. The teams are sorted by this differential, to give an idea of how well each one coped, whether they were able to outperform their injury luck, and by how much.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
26 71:26 4 22

Most costly injury: Sidney Crosby (60 games)

2. Philadelphia Flyers

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
27 83:27 6

21

Most costly injury: Chris Pronger (69 games)

3. St. Louis Blues

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
14 63:14 3 18

Most costly injury: Andy McDonald (57 games)

4. Vancouver Canucks

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
14 50:31 1 13

Most costly injury: Mason Raymond (25 games)

5. New York Rangers

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
11 44:51 2 9

Most costly injury: Michael Sauer (63 games)

6. Florida Panthers

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
22 64:17 14 8

Most costly injury: Dmitri Kulikov (24 games)

T-7. Calgary Flames

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
24 67:35 17 7

Most costly injury: Mikael Backlund (40 games)

T-7. Phoenix Coyotes

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
18 59:42 11 7

Most costly injury: Kurt Sauer (82 games)

T-7. New Jersey Devils

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
16 52:09 9 7

Most costly injury: Travis Zajac (67 games)

T-10. Minnesota Wild

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
29 86:31 24 5

Most costly injury: Mikko Koivu (27 games)

T-10. Buffalo Sabres

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
23 65:10 18 5

Most costly injury: Tyler Myers (23 games)

T-10. Washington Capitals

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
20 61:19 15 5

Most costly injury: Mike Green (47 games), Nicklas Backstrom (40 games)

13. Tampa Bay Lightning

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
25 69:53 21 4


Most costly injury: Matthias Ohlund (82 games)

14. Boston Bruins

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
9 42:30 7 2

Most costly injury: Marc Savard (82 games)

15. San Jose Sharks

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
13 48:57 12 1

Most costly injury: Martin Havlat (43 games)

T-16. Columbus Blue Jackets

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
30 92:35 30 0

Most costly injury: Kristien Huselius (80 games)

T-16. Montreal Canadiens

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
28 83:38 28 0

Most costly injury: Andrei Markov (69 games)

T-16. Detroit Red Wings

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
8 42:20 8 0

Most costly injury: Nicklas Lidstrom (12 games), Pavel Datsyuk (12 games)

19. Nashville Predators

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
1 28:06 5 -4


Most costly injury: Kevin Klein (16 games)

20. Ottawa Senators

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
10 44:21 16 -6

Most costly injury: Craig Anderson (12 games)

T-21. Winnipeg Jets

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
15 52:06 22 -7

Most costly injury: Ron Hainsey (26 games)

T-21. Chicago Blackhawks

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
3 32:01 10 -7

Most costly injury: Jonathan Toews (26 games)

T-23. New York Islanders

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
19 61:15 27 -8

Most costly injury: Rick DiPietro (62 games)

T-23. Los Angeles Kings

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
5 34:44 13 -8

Most costly injury: Simon Gagne (48 games)

25. Edmonton Oilers

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
17 53:18 29 -12

Most costly injury: Ryan Whitney (31 games)

26. Dallas Stars

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
6 40:20 19 -13

Most costly injury: Brenden Morrow (25 games)

27. Toronto Maple Leafs

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
12 48:34 26 -14

Most costly injury: James Reimer (24 games)

T-28. Carolina Hurricanes

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
7 42:02 23 -16

Most costly injury: Joni Pitkanen (52 games)

T-28. Colorado Avalanche

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
4 32:53 20 -16

Most costly injury: Peter Mueller (47 games)

30. Anaheim Ducks

MML/G Rank MML/G NHL Reg. Season Finish Differential
2 31:46 25 -23

Most costly injury: Dan Ellis (46 games)

And now, here are similar power rankings for the 2012 Playoffs. If you can't remember what happened, here's a reminder.

And now for the power rankings. Here, I have listed MML and MML/G, to give an idea of the sample sizes for each team, some being as small as five games. MML/G Rank is once again in ascending order. I have listed playoff wins as well, as the replacement for regular season finish for this differential will be playoff wins rank, which includes numerous ties.

T-1. Philadelphia Flyers

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
803:35 11 73:03 16 5 T-6 10

Most costly injury (not including players that missed all 82 regular season games): Chris Pronger (11/11 games)

T-1. Washington Capitals

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
989:03 14 70:39 15 7 5 10

Most costly injury: Mike Knuble (3/14 games)

T-3. Phoenix Coyotes

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
434:07 11 39:28 12 9 4 8

Most costly injury: Martin Hanzal (3/11 games)

T-3. Los Angeles Kings

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
600:15 20 30:01 9 16 1 8

Most costly injury: Simon Gagne (14/20 games)

5. New York Rangers

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
691:50 20 34:36 10 10 3 7

Most costly injury: Brandon Dubinsky (11/20 games)

6. Boston Bruins

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
446:36 7 66:39 14 3 T-9 5

Most costly injury: Nathan Horton (7/7 games)

T-7. Florida Panthers

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
361:37 7 51:40 13 3 T-9 4

Most costly injury: Jose Theodore (2/7 games)

T-7. New Jersey Devils

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
599:26 24 24:59 6 14 2 4

Most costly injury: Henrik Tallinder (18/24 games)

9. St. Louis Blues

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
268:30 9 29:50 8 4 8 0

Most costly injury: Jaroslav Halak (7/9 games)

10. Chicago Blackhawks

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
216:45 6 36:08 11 2 T-12 -1

Most costly injury: Marian Hossa (3/6 games)

11. Ottawa Senators

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
187:17 7 26:45 7 3 T-9 -2

Most costly injury: Daniel Alfredsson (3/7 games)

12. Nashville Predators

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
138:50 10 13:53 1 5 T-6 -5

Most costly injury: Hal Gill (5/10 games)

13. Vancouver Canucks

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
116:47 5 23:21 5 1 T-14 -9

Most costly injury: Daniel Sedin (3/5 games)

T-14. Detroit Red Wings

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
113:10 5 22:38 4 1 T-14 -10

Most costly injury: Darren Helm (4/5 games)

T-14. Pittsburgh Penguins

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
104:52 6 17:29 2 2 T-12 -10

Most costly injury: Paul Martin (3/6 games)

16. San Jose Sharks

MML GP MML/G MML/G Rank Playoff Wins Playoff Win Rank Differential
89:47 5 17:57 3 1 T-14 -11

Most costly injury: Colin White (2/5 games)


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