The first of a weekly feature. Each week, I pull out the most eye-popping or unusual statistics in relation to Canucks hockey and share them with the members of the Canucks Community.
GREY CUP AND GRAY SKIES?
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/10/oct.07_sedin_t.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The biggest groans after the Saskatchewan Roughriders knocked off the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL's West Division Final on Sunday did not come from fans in Cowtown, but rather it would have come from some of the stats-obsessed members of the Canucks organization.
Since 1970, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have advanced to the Grey Cup Championship five times (1972, 1976, 1989, 1997, and 2007). In the spring following those five Grey Cup trips made by the Roughriders, the Canucks have gone on to miss the playoffs in each of those years.
Of course, it's not all doom-and-gloom for those who believe there is a cosmic connection between the Canucks and the Grey Cup. Since 1970, the Montreal Alouettes (including their stints as the Montreal Concordes and Baltimore Stallions) have made it to the Grey Cup 14 times and in the spring following those 14 trips, the Canucks have gone on to make the playoffs 11 out of those 14 times.
The last two times the Alouettes made it to the big dance, the Canucks have responded the following spring with not only trips to the post-season, but with first round playoff victories (2006-07 and 2008-09).
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/10/garrett_sm.jpg" class="imageFloatRightFramed">It might be time to mandate that all members of the Sportsnet Pacific broadcast crew carry four-leaf clovers each time they're on the air during Vancouver Canucks hockey.
For whatever reason, the Canucks just can't seem to string wins together when their games have aired on S-Pac. Following Sunday's loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks fell to 3-9-0 when appearing on Rogers Sportsnet. That record does not include the win against the Minnesota Wild on November 5th that was scheduled to only air on Citytv but ended up being shown on Sportsnet as well as a result of MLB's World Series ending after six games.
Rogers Sportsnet is the only (Canadian) network the Canucks have a losing record on this season. So far this season, the Canucks are 3-1-0 on CBC, 2-1-0 on Canucks TV Pay-Per-View, 1-0-0 on Citytv, and 3-0-0 on TSN.
PREDICTING THE FUTURE: AFTER 21
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/10/oct3009_ducks08_t.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">If you missed it, last week on Fanzone I reviewed the Canucks season after the first 21 games and highlighted some of the best and worst individual performers of the season. One thing that wasn't explored in detail was just how much can be predicted after the first 21 games.
After the first 21 games of the 2008.09 campaign, the Canucks sat third in the Western Conference with a record of 13-6-2. Here's how the top eight of the Conference looked on the morning of November 23, 2008 following the Canucks' 21st game of last season:
1. San Jose
Here is what the top eight looked like after 82 games:
1. San Jose
6. St. Louis
While there was some movement in positioning among the bottom five seeds, only one team that was not in a top eight position near the quarter-pole of the season managed to squeeze in to a playoff spot - the St. Louis Blues, who on the morning of November 23, 2008 were three points behind eighth-place Columbus but had two games in hand.
The importance of the first quarter was even more pronounced in the Eastern Conference. Here is what the top eight of the East looked like on the morning of November 23, 2008:
2. NY Rangers
7. New Jersey
Here's how the Eastern Conference finished in 2008.09:
3. New Jersey
7. NY Rangers
The Canucks will be the first team to tell you how much shuffling there can be throughout the course of a season after their rollercoaster ride through the Western Conference standings last season, but when 15 of the 16 teams at the quarter-pole that occupy a playoff position end up staying there, it should be a testament to the importance of a good start.
Games in hand notwithstanding, here's some good news for Canucks fans. On the morning following their 21st game of this season - Vancouver's 8-2 triumph over Colorado - here is what the standings looked like:
1. San Jose
5. Los Angeles
(note: division leaders listed first, second and third in the Conference, respectively)
BEST OF THE GAME NOTES
Published November 22nd
For Christian Ehrhoff, the best part of his game on Friday was not his first career two-goal effort nor was it his personal record-tying three-point night, it was the fact that his team actually came away with a victory in the same game he found the back of the net.
Entering Friday's game [versus Colorado], the Canucks oddly had a record of 0-3-0 in games where Christian Ehrhoff had scored this season. Ehrhoff's other goals this season came in Vancouver's 5-3 loss to Columbus on October 5th, Vancouver's 5-3 loss to Calgary on October 16th and Vancouver's 5-4 loss to Detroit on October 27th.
As far as which player has earned the Canucks the most success this season when scoring, that honour belongs to Ryan Kesler. Vancouver is a perfect 5-0-0 when Kesler finds the back of the net. Honourable mentions go out to Henrik Sedin (6-3-0), Mikael Samuelsson (6-2-0), and Steve Bernier (4-2-0).
For trivia lovers, here's a head-scratcher for you: Excluding Kesler, which other players have scored this season only in Canuck wins? I'll post the answer on Wednesday. (Hint: There are five)