“Figures often beguile me…especially when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force; ‘There are three kind of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics’” – Mark Twain from “Chapters of my Autobiography” as published in the North American Review, 1906.
Yes… for many, many moons now, people have understood that stats and stats alone cannot be the end all of end alls regarding certain issues…especially in sports. Indeed, they fail to tell the whole story behind how a team or individual player is performing. Worse still, there are times when stats can, whether intentional or not, can even be used to twist or contort the facts.
I know it, you know it…and the Thrasherville people know it.
Case in point. If one simply went with a statistical review of the Thrashers netminders, it could be argued the best goalie they’ve skated out between the pipes this fall is Peter Mannino…statistically speaking, I mean. He’s yet to lose even once, has a team high .938 SV% and his 1.58 GAA is far better than that of either Ondrej Pavelec or Chris Mason.
While true, those numbers don’t reveal the fact that Mannino has played in only two periods, has faced but 16 shots and finds himself back in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.
But with all that said, let’s take time to review just where the team and the players find themselves in a statistical sense after fourteen games played and as the NHL heads into Monday night’s action.
You, then, may interpret them as you see fit in the comment section below.
First of all, 14 games played equates to roughly17% of the 82-game season. Their 6-5-3 record give Atlanta 15 points in the standings. This total is good enough for third in the Southeast Division, (1 point behind Tampa Bay and 1 point ahead of Carolina). In the conference, they are tied with Boston, NY Rangers, Ottawa and Pittsburgh for spots five through nine at this time.
Last year Atlanta was 7-6-1 for 15 points after 14 games played. Two years ago it was 5-7-2 for 12 points.
The .536 points-winning % is 15th best in NHL, tied with NYR and OTT.
15 points after 14 games played also puts the Thrashers on a course for right at 88 points. For what it’s worth…that was the points total I, along with a few others, predicted they would end up at this April. We’ll see if that holds up as there is much more hockey to play.
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the Thrashers offense going into the season. But so far they have scored goals at a very respectable 3.07 per game rate. That is sixth best in NHL…0.01 behind Vancouver.
Unfortunately, they have not faired so well on the other end of the ice, allowing 3.50 GA/G… tied with NYI for dead last in the league. St. Louis’ 1.42 GA/G is best and Boston’s 1.73 is second.
Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd lead the Thrashers in overall team points with 13. Buff has 5 goals and 8 assists while Ladd has 4 goals and 9 assists. Evander Kane’s 7 goals is the most on the squad while Ladd’s nine helpers is tied with Toby Enstrom for the most in that statistical column.
On the opposite of the score sheet…Oduya, Hainsey, Sopel, Meyer and Bogosian are still having their mail delivered to Schnide Island.
Atlanta’s power play has been solid over the course of the initial weeks of the season, scoring goals 25.0% of the time they are afforded the man advantage. That is 5th best in NHL. Dustin Byfuglien and Nik Antropov lead the way here with 3 PP goals each. Dustin has also contributed with 5 PP assists.
The three scored by Antropov account for all of his goal scoring and Enstrom has a team best 7 assists while the Thrashers have had the man advantage.
Conversely, the penalty kill squads have been 78.0% efficient…that’s tied with the Rangers for 25th in the league at this time.
The 28.2 shots per game average is tied with the L.A. Kings and Ottawa Senators for 24th in the NHL. But the 37.8 shot against number is dead last… 0.08 behind Anaheim. The Blues have the league’s lowest SA/G stat, 26.5, while Pittsburgh’s 26.6 SA/G is second best.
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio is 0.70. Only New Jersey’s 0.58 and New York Islanders 0.40 is lower.
Andrew Ladd has scored the only short-handed goal thus far. It came in San Jose during the second period, sparking the come-from-behind 4-2 win against the Sharks. Bryan Little assisted on the shorty that cut San Jose’s lead to 2-1.
As for hat tricks, well there has been one to speak of. Anthony Stewart score thrice out in Anaheim…but really, who didn’t see that coming from him this season?
The Thrashers have, however, allowed three different players to notch hat tricks against them this fall. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, Washington’s Alexander Semin and St. Louis’ Jay McClement.
The Thrashers are winning 49.3% of their face offs, which 22nd in the NHL.
Byfuglien has dished out the most hits. 34 times Big Buff has forcefully impacted an opposing player in attempt to dislodge the puck. Eager has 26 hits, Kane has 24 and Chris Thorburn has 22.
Nic Bergfors is yet to register a hit.
Ben Eager’s +2 is highest on the team. Brent Sopel, Bryan Little and Eric Boulton are each +1. Eager has played in all 14 games, Sopel in 13, Little in 10 and Bolts has dressed for 8.
Ladd and Bergfors are EVEN.
Nik Antropov’s –10 is the lowest +/- for Atlanta…he was a +13 last year. Kane and Oduya are –8. Fredrik Modin is –7.
Brent Sopel has blocked 32 shots launched toward Atlanta’s goal. Ron Hainsey has 31, Enstrom has 29, Johnny Oduya has 28 and Freddy Meyer has blocked 15 in just 5 games played.
Who is the forward with the most blocked shots? Chris Thorburn with 12.
Eager has spent the most time in the sin-bin pondering his on-ice transgressions. He’s amassed 34 penalties so far this year. Byfuglien has 25, Thorburn has 13 and rookie Alex Burmistrov has spent 10 minutes in time out.
But Burmistrov has certainly drawn his share of penalties from the opposition as well.
Surprisingly… one of the Thrashers “enforcers”, Eric Boulton, has yet to collect any penalty minutes. The same can be said of Fredrik Modin.
Kane has taken the most shots on goal, 52, and Ladd is not too far behind with 48. Ladd and Rich Peverley are distant third and fourth…28 and 27 SOG respectively.
Toby Enstrom leads the Thrashers in playing time as he’s averaging 25:59 TOI each game. Byfuglien is behind Toby with 22:29. Zach Bogosian and Johnny Oduya both are averaging 22:18 time on ice.
Eric Boulton, however, has seen 8:45 average TOI in his eight games played so far.
And finally in goal…
Chris Mason is 6-4-1 with a 3.45 GAA and .909 SV%. He sees right at 37.8 shots per game on the average. Only Carolina’s Cam Ward and Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller have faced more shots…428 and 411 respectively. However, both have played in one more game and started two more times then Mason has.
Mason faces a shot on the average of every 1 minute and 35 seconds. Hiller sees one every 1: 42 while Ward has to face one every 1:41.
Ondrej Pavelec is 0-1-2 with a 2.83 GAA and .922 SV%. Not counting the 2:25 played on opening night in which he faced no shots, Opie has seen 116 shots during the three games he’s played, two of which went to shootouts. That’s an average of about 38 and a half shots per game.
Mason is 1-0 in shootouts this season, stopping both tries by the Anaheim Ducks. Opie is 0-2, stopping 3 of 7 shootout attempts between the Blues and Blackhawks.
And of course, there’s the aforementioned Peter Mannino who is 0-0-0 and a .938 SV% and 1.58 GAA. He played in the second and third period on last month’s 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay stopping 15 of the 16 shots he faced in 38:26 TOI. He faced one Tampa Bay shot every 2:24 during those two periods.
Hmmmmmm…imagine what Mason and Pavelec’s numbers would look like if they only faced a shots every two minutes or so. Of course, many would say think about what Mannino’s stats would look like if he played up here more and saw as many shots as the other two.
But that’s stats for ya…and you know what some people say about ‘em.