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Number Crunching IX: Us against the world edition


canucks_df

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Between Ref-gate, Fight-gate and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (whoops, wrong forum), there was certainly no shortage of controversial topics this past week. Here on Number Crunching, we certainly don't shy away from controversy as we take a look at the best and worst statistics from the week that was in Canucks hockey and answer that burning question of just whether the refs really do hold a grudge against the boys in blue. And as always, read on to find out who takes home this week's coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award.

ZEBRA WATCH

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan0910_ryptwo_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">We can't imagine Alex Burrows or many others in Canuck Nation are too thrilled with the crew in stripes this week particularly in light of everything that happened last Monday against the Nashville Predators. In fairness to the zebras, however, up until this recent week Canuck Nation was probably pretty happy with the way things had gone with the officiating overall on the season.

Including the games from this past week's games, the Canucks have earned more power play opportunities versus their opponents in exactly half of the 48 games they have played this season. In five of the 48 games played, the Canucks have had an equal amount of power play chances as their opponents and in the remaining 19, the Canucks have had fewer power play opportunities compared to the other team.

Here are Vancouver's respective records this season in each of the three scenarios:

When getting more PP chances than opponent: 15-9-0

When getting fewer PP chances than opponent: 10-8-1

When getting equal PP chances as opponent: 3-1-1

Interestingly, until Saturday's contest against the Penguins, the Canucks had not received more power play opportunities in a game compared to their opponents since the turn of the calendar to 2010.

ALL GIVE AND NO TAKE

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan1310_wild02_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Without a doubt Vancouver's worst showing of the week came in Minnesota on Wednesday as they took one on the chin in a 5-2 loss to the Wild, which was about the only thing they managed to take away in that game. For the first time all season, the Canucks were completely shutout in the takeaways column as they were credited with a grand total of zero. Vancouver's previous low for takeaways this season came way back on October 19th in Edmonton when they were credited with a measly two takeaways in a 2-1 loss to the Oilers.

Through 48 games this season, the Canucks are averaging 7.375 takeaways per game. Their best night as far as takeaways are concerned came about two weeks ago on January 7th against the Coyotes when they recorded a season-high 12 takeaways.

Those looking for a correlation between takeaways and wins will probably be a little bit underwhelmed going solely by Vancouver's numbers this season. In the 11 games where the Canucks have recorded ten-or-more takeaways as a team, their record is 6-4-1.

As far as best "takers" on the team, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows are the runaway leaders with 54 and 43, respectively, this season. Behind them in a distant third place tie are Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Sedin, who each have 25 takeaways each so far this season.

THE BEST OF DEMO

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/12/122808_hankpavol_tt.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Without a doubt, the best part of the week for the Canucks had to be seeing jersey No. 38 out on the ice in a game for the first time since last May so in honour of Pavol Demitra's triumphant return to the Vancouver lineup, Number Crunching presents the following "Best of Demo" stats:

Canucks record in 2008.09 when Demitra scores a goal (regular season): 14-3-1

Canucks record in 2008.09 with Demitra out of lineup (regular season): 6-4-3

Longest goal streak by Demitra as a Canuck: 4 games (Nov. 17 - 22, 2008)

Longest point streak by Demitra as a Canuck: 6 games (5-5-10 from Nov. 15 - 24, 2008)

MILESTONES

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan0510_twins_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Number Crunching congratulates Daniel Sedin on reaching his 500th career NHL point on Saturday against Pittsburgh with his first assist of the game on brother Henrik Sedin's goal.

Daniel became the second player this season to reach 500 points as a Canuck joining brother Henrik and officially became the sixth player to do so in all-time franchise history joining Markus Naslund (756), Trevor Linden (733), Stan Smyl (673), Thomas Gradin (550) and Henrik Sedin (527+).

In honour of Daniel's latest achievement, here is a rundown of some of Daniel's more memorable career moments (courtesy of the Canucks Media Guide):

First career NHL game: October 5, 2000 at Philadelphia Flyers

First career NHL goal (and point): October 8, 2000 at Tampa Bay Lightning

100th career NHL game: November 23, 2001 at Boston Bruins

100th career NHL point: October 18, 2003 at Minnesota Wild

500th career NHL game: November 23, 2007 at St. Louis Blues

500th career NHL point: January 16, 2010 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/canucks3_205x115_011110.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Alex Burrows: Four goals in three games

If there are any Timex executives currently reading this blog, we'd like to give you some free advice and suggest that you contact Alex Burrows immediately and offer him an endorsement deal because here is a player who clearly can take a licking and keep on ticking.

In Burrows' case, the licking came first from referee Stephane Auger on Monday, followed by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell on Tuesday in the form of a $2500 fine and then again on Saturday by Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada in a segment that had about as much integrity as a house of cards.

For his part, the 28-year old Burrows didn't seem to be phased much by the off-ice distractions this week as he continued his red hot streak by netting goals in all three games of the week and extending his season-high and career-high point streak to eight games dating back to December 31st (11-2-13).

He enters action this week riding his third three-game goal streak of the season and will have an opportunity on Wednesday in Edmonton to match a career-high if he can find the back of the net against the Oilers. His last four-game goal streak came last season from March 9th to 15th. His current eight-game point streak is already double his previous career-high of four games.

CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan1310_wild08_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Alex Bolduc: 6'8", 258 lbs.

For those who follow the Canucks closely, you will know that the measurements listed above do not belong to Alex Bolduc. Rather, they belong to Minnesota Wild tough guy John Scott - who the 6'3", 200 lbs. Bolduc decided was a good idea to challenge to a scrap on Wednesday in Minnesota in what was a lost cause with the Canucks down 5-2 in the third period to the Wild with less than half a period to go.

While you can't help but applaud the courage of the 24-year old Bolduc, one has to question whether it was the bright idea in light of the fact Bolduc had just recently returned from a shoulder injury. As it turns out, Bolduc was literally crunched by the intimidating physical numbers of John Scott and ended up re-aggravating the shoulder injury and is now out of the lineup indefinitely.

Bolduc was averaging less than 10 minutes per game but was a key component on the Canucks penalty kill - particularly with Ryan Johnson also out of the lineup. Bolduc was also one of Vancouver's best players in the faceoff circle. Among Canucks who have played 10-or-more games this season, Bolduc ranked third on the team with a faceoff win rate of 54 percent - behind only Ryan Kesler (55.8) and Kyle Wellwood (54.3)

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