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It was a good week in Canuck Nation if your name was Ryan and appropriately in this week's edition of Number Crunching, we pay tribute to the Ryans as we look back at the best and worst statistics in the week that was. Read on to find out who takes home this week's Number Crunching Player of the Week Award...could it very well be Ryan's for the taking? THE BEST OF KES <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/van6_031410.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The big news of the week for the Canucks came off the ice on Friday when Ryan Kesler officially put his name on a brand new contract extension that will see him remain in Vancouver colours until 2015.16. In honour of Kesler's new deal, Number Crunching presents the top six Ryan Kesler stats of 2009.10: 1. When Kesler scores, Canucks win. Vancouver's record this season when Ryan Kesler tallies a goal is 15-5-0. 2. When Kesler has been held point-less this season, Vancouver's record is only 8-13-2. 3. Through 72 games played, Kesler leads all Canucks in power play goals with 12 - four more than second place Mason Raymond who has eight. The 12 PPGs are a career-high for Kesler, besting the 10 PPGs he had in 2008.09. Coming into this season, he had scored just 15 total career power play goals. Incidentally, Vancouver's record when Kesler scores a PPG this season is 8-4-0. 4. Kesler's 13-game point streak from February 6 to March 14 shattered his previous career-high entering this season which was five games. Earlier this season, Kesler tied his previous career-best point streak twice. During his 13-game run, he tallied six goals and 15 points. 5. Through 72 games played, no other Canuck forward has had more average ice-time than Ryan Kesler's 19:51 per game. In terms of overall ice-time through the whole season, Kesler sits behind only Christian Ehrhoff (1,652:54) and Alex Edler (1,472:28) with 1,429:53. 6. No stat better describes Kesler's desire to have the puck than his 74 takeaways this season through 72 games played - leading all Canuck players. Alex Burrows has the next highest number of takeaways this season with 63 while Henrik Sedin is in a distant third place with 38. Kesler had 74 takeaways in all of last season. He has been the Canucks' leader in takeaways for the past two consecutive seasons and is on his way to making it three straight. OH JOHNNY BOY <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/032010Canucks205.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Kesler wasn't the only Ryan who had reason to celebrate this week as Ryan Johnson was all smiles after breaking an 82-game goal-less drought on Thursday against San Jose. Johnson entered that game as Vancouver's leader for longest goal drought. With Johnson finally getting the goal monkey off his back the new Canucks' leader in the category is defenceman Aaron Rome, who following Saturday's game against Detroit is now at the half-century mark in games played without a goal. The goal against the Sharks was also the fourth career game-winner for Johnson. Two of his three goals as a Canuck have been game-winners. He scored the GWG against the New York Rangers back on November 19, 2008 - his first career goal as a member of the Canucks. Johnson now has a game-winning goal in three consecutive seasons. BLINK AND YOU'LL MISS IT <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2010_muddle_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The Canucks have seen plenty of team and personal records fall this season but they probably were not too thrilled with the mark that bit the dust on Saturday against the Red Wings. Red Wings goals scored five seconds apart by Todd Bertuzzi at 12:34 of the second period and Pavel Datsyuk at 12:39 of the second period during Vancouver's 4-3 overtime loss on Saturday set a new franchise mark for fastest two goals by a Canucks' opponent. The previous record was seven seconds, initially set back on October 19, 1976 in the first period of a game against the New York Islanders when Bob Nystrom scored twice in seven seconds - 8:34 and 8:41 - in what ended up as a 6-1 Islanders victory. Over 14 years later, the mark was tied when the Flames' Joe Mullen and Doug Gilmour scored seven seconds apart in the first period in a 5-1 Calgary win on March 3, 1990. Just less than five years after that, the feat was once again repeated by the Rangers' Pat Verbeek and Niklas Sundstrom, who also scored seven seconds apart in the first period against the Canucks in a 5-2 Rangers victory on October 24, 1995. It seems safe to suggest that the all-time NHL mark for fastest two goals will never be surpassed, if it is even ever repeated. A pair of ex-Canucks had a hand in setting that record as members of the Minnesota Wild. Jim Dowd and Richard Park scored three seconds apart (19:44 and 19:47 of the third period) in a 4-2 victory by the Wild over the Chicago Blackhawks on January 21, 2004. FLORIDA FLASHBACKS <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2010_freeze_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">For the first time since becoming a Vancouver Canuck, Roberto Luongo reached the half-century mark in saves in a single regular season game when he recorded 50 stops on 54 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Red Wings on Saturday. Luongo's previous high for saves as a Canuck in a regular season game was 49 - set back on February 21, 2008 in a 3-2 shootout win for the Canucks over the Nashville Predators. Prior to Saturday, the last time Luongo was forced to make 50-or-more saves in a single regular season game was over four years ago on December 18, 2005. On that night, Luongo's Florida Panthers were out-shot 55-34 by the Washington Capitals but Luongo stopped all-but-two shots in a 3-2 victory. Incidentally, the 54 shots surrendered by the Canucks to the Red Wings overall on Saturday not only marked the most shots they have given up this season but also the first time they have surrendered over 50 shots in a single regular season game since the aforementioned game on February 21, 2008 against the Predators (they surrendered 51 shots that night). Vancouver's all-time record for most shots against in a single regular season game is 60. That was set back on February 25, 1971 against the Boston Bruins during the Canucks' inaugural NHL season. Vancouver lost that game 8-3. NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar1810_wellhappy_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Kyle Wellwood: Two goals and three points in four games played. Kyle Wellwood has taken his fair share of shots for his lack of offensive production particularly near the start of the season so now that he's playing some of his best hockey of the year it seems only fair to give him his share of praise. The 26-year-old has not only found the net with more regularity since the second half of the season began, but his newly-formed line with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen has given the Canucks a legitimate third-line scoring threat - something Vancouver really has not had much of on a consistent basis throughout the whole season. Wellwood's two-point (1-1-2) outing against the Red Wings on Saturday was his fourth multi-point game of the season - double what he had all of last year. With 22 points (11-11-22) on the season and 10 more games left on the schedule, he would need to average one point every two games to equal the 27 points he had last year in his first season as a Canuck. CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec2009_ehrhoff_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Shane O'Brien: One goal and three points in two games played. First, let me preface this by saying Shane O'Brien (rhymes with Ryan) being tagged with this dubious distinction actually has absolutely nothing to do with his play this week. By all accounts, O'Brien was fantastic in his return to the lineup not only finishing with a plus-two rating but chipping in with three points and a rare goal as well. If the Canucks had their way however, they might just ask Shane to stick with piling up the assists rather than netting any goals himself. If there are two things Canuck observers have been able to surmise from watching O'Brien the last two seasons it's that: 1. O'Brien can only score against Central Division opponents. Counting his playoff goal versus Chicago last season, O'Brien has also scored against St. Louis and Detroit. 2. When O'Brien scores, the Canucks don't win. Canucks lost 7-5 in Game 6 against Chicago in the Western Conference Semi-Final and also lost 3-1 to the Blues back on December 20th of this season prior to Saturday's overtime loss to the Red Wings. The O'Brien curse, as it were, only began after Shane joined the Canucks. Prior to coming to Vancouver, O'Brien's previous teams (Anaheim and Tampa Bay) were not only 3-1-0 in games where he had scored, but O'Brien personally notched the game-winning goals in each of those three wins. The best news for Shane and the Canucks? Vancouver will not see another Central Division opponent the rest of this season barring a playoff match-up.
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan1710_skills17_rr.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Jersey change? It was brought to our attention by Icethetics.info in blog posts on both December 1, 2009 and December 3, 2009 that the Canucks may be switching to their modernized stick-in-rink jersey as their home jersey for the 2010-11 NHL campaign. It's interesting to note that on Sunday at the team's annual SuperSkills event, Team Blue wore the team's third jersey featuring the modernized stick-in-rink as the main crest and the Johnny V logo on the shoulders as opposed to their home jersey with the orca on the front and the modernized stick-in-rink on the shoulders. If something isn't up, it's a bit weird that the Canucks would choose to wear their thirds as opposed to their home jersey. Needless to say, we know which one the Canucks like better as an organization. However, the Canucks mascot Fin and the player's kids were wearing the home jersey. Maybe it's an attempt to throw the fans off and make the switch less obvious, but also ever so slightly hinting towards a possible switch. The colours of the Canucks are awesome, but the logo needs to change. The orca logo was designed with blue-silver-red in mind, not the blue-white-green of our current jersey. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec0709_nashville36_rr.jpg" class="imageFloatRightFramed">Vigneault gets it right in the third I don't like to question the coach's decision because he is the one getting paid the big bucks to do it, but it completely puzzled me as to why the plan Wednesday night was scratch Kyle Wellwood, move Steve Bernier to the second line, move Demitra to centre on the third line, and drop Samuelsson down to the third line. Glass has been a great story this year, coming to training camp this year, he was expected to be with the Manitoba Moose all season long and probably won't even get a sniff at the NHL with the Canucks. He defied the odds made the team and has set career highs in every statistical category. However, Glass is not a third line player; he has four goals and five assists all season. Glass is a banger and is not going to snipe any passes he gets from Demitra. News broke late that Rick Rypien had the stomach flu and they could not get Ryan Johnson of long-term injured reserve in time, Wellwood had his spot in the lineup salvaged. Vigneault puts the fourth line player in Glass on the third line and puts the third line player in Wellwood on the fourth line. Puzzling. The lines of Raymond-Kesler-Bernier and Glass-Demitra-Samuelsson all looked lost out there especially Glass. Thankfully, Vigneault saw that and reunited the Raymond-Kesler-Samuelsson unit and formed the dream third line of many Canucks fans of Demitra-Wellwood-Bernier. Wellwood's played with Steve Bernier for the most part in their times as Canucks and Wellwood has displayed the ability to put up points when put with skilled players. Raymond, Kesler, and Samuelsson are a line that have been together all season long. It ain't broken, why fix it? The second and third lines didn't generate the goal to tie the game, but they were a threat to score and put on pressure in the offensive zone. Tonight's going to be an easy decision on whose going to come out of the lineup for Ryan Johnson's expected return. Tanner Glass, Jannik Hansen, and Darcy Hordichuk then didn't see a single shift five on five in the third period, so it's easy to say one of them will come out. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canadiens/images/upload/2009/04/laraque_bruins.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Nylander treatment for Laraque News broke this morning that the Montreal Canadiens will part with veteran enforcer Georges Laraque because head coach Jacques Martin has lost confidence in Laraque and thinks the team will be better off without Laraque. At this moment, it doesn't appear Laraque will be placed on waivers or traded, but rather will be getting the "Michael Nylander treatment." Which is we will continue to pay your salary, but you are not welcomed to be near the team at all and you can just sit at home all day. I personally believe that you need an enforcer in the NHL despite the fact this is the post-lockout era. Just take a look at last night for the Canadiens, Carey Price gets run over by Cam Janssen (or you could say Janssen got run over by Price), but would that have happened had Laraque been in the lineup? I would like to lean towards no. Take the Washington Capitals for example, who are without an enforcer, star defenceman Mike Green gets hit from behind by David Koci and gets blindsided by Colton Orr, and their captain Alex Ovechkin almost had to fight Steve Downie of the Tampa Bay Lightning. From a previous blog post of mine: Having an enforcer is important and look no further than the last four Stanley Cup champions coming out of the lockout. Last year, Eric Godard was there to serve and protect for the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2008, there was Aaron Downey on the Detroit Red Wings. In 2007, there was of course George Parros and Shawn Thornton on Brian Burke's Anaheim Ducks. In 2006, there was Jesse Boulerice for the Carolina Hurricanes, albeit for four months of the season before being traded as part of the Doug Weight deal. Questionable hits so far this year in the NHL this season have also been committed to mostly teams that have lacked a heavyweight enforcer. Both Jarkko Ruutu and Alexander Ovechkin's respective hits on Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres, David Koci on Washington's Mike Green, Ovechkin on Tim Gleason of Carolina, Mike Richards on David Booth of Florida, Carcillo's cheapshot on Matt Bradley of Washington in a fight, or Georges Laraques knee on Niklas Kronwall of Detroit. Oh noes! This briefly appeared on the TSN.ca Ice Chips page: The whole Canucks team is injured and will be missing tonight's game!
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov2209_puck_rr.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">A 3-2-0 record represents a good, but not great, numbers for a home stand. But we've got some great numbers for the Canucks Community to chew on in this week's edition of Number Crunching. AN OFF NIGHT IN THE DOT What's an even rarer sight than a Canucks home loss this season? A night where the Canucks are dominated in the faceoff dot. Heading into the Sunday's game, the Canucks had lost the faceoff battle just once in their previous 12 games. The Canucks won just 24 of 57 total faceoffs against the Sharks - good for just a 42 percent success rate. Statistically, it was actually their second worst night in the faceoff circle. Their only worst outing this season was back on October 11th against the Dallas stars when they won just 37 percent of the draws (19 draws won on 52 faceoffs). Losing the faceoff battle hasn't exactly spelled disaster for the Canucks however. They are 4-3-0 this season in games where they finish below 50 percent in the faceoff circle. BUSTING OUT If for nothing else, this past week of Canucks hockey will be remembered for finally shaking the monkey off several of the players' backs - most notably Alex Burrows, Alex Edler and Kyle Wellwood. Burrows was the first to bump the slump when he tallied the first goal of the game on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings - marking his first goal in seven games and his first goal scored against a goaltender in 19 games. Finally reunited on a fully healthy top line, Burrows has a solid week scoring twice and adding an assist in three games. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov2609_wellwood_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">In that same game against the Kings, Kyle Wellwood not only tallied his first goal of the season and first in 24 regular season games overall, he also scored arguably the most dramatic empty-net goal in the history of the NHL. After having a goal stripped taken away from him just 13 minutes earlier, Wellwood finally deposited his first of the season into an empty net by sniping a top shelf beauty past makeshift goalie Drew Doughty. Wellwood wrapped up the week but showing he actually can beat a real goaltender, scoring on San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov in the first period of Vancouver's 4-2 loss to the Sharks. Rounding out the week for slump busters was Alex Edler who tallied his first of the season on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers - his first goal in 33 regular season games dating back to March 27th. Edler was just one of two Canucks to record points in all three games last week. The other was Steve Bernier. Which Canucks are the next on our list to watch break slumps? Here are the top three on our Number Crunching list: Kevin Bieksa: no goals in 25 games and counting. Sami Salo: no points in 11 games and no goals in 39 games and counting. Ryan Johnson: no goals in 55 games and counting. GLASS BREAKER <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov2909_glass_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">He got some mock jeers at GM Place on Thursday night when he was given credit for a goal that was initially thought to have been scored by Kyle Wellwood, but while the fans might have given him a bit of a rough ride, Number Crunching gives plenty of love to the Tanner Glass. Just how unheralded was Tanner Glass when he signed with the Canucks as a free agent on August 5, 2009? The Canucks media guide does not even have him listed in the featured players section instead listing him with the other 'In the System' players alongside the likes of Guillaume Desbiens, Taylor Ellington, and Evan Oberg. Conversely, Brad Lukowich (currently on loan to the AHL's Texas Stars) is given a two-page spread as are all roster mainstays (Roberto Luongo is allotted a four-page spread). While five points (4-1-5) in 22 games played isn't necessarily something to write home about, for Tanner Glass it has already shattered some of his previous career highs. Prior to joining the Canucks, the Regina native had all of two career NHL points in 44 games played. The only career stat Glass hasn't matched or surpassed at this point is his record for games played in a single season. He appeared in a career-high 41 games in 2007.08 with the Florida Panthers. NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK (for the week ending Sunday, November 29th) The NHL has their weekly awards, so why not Number Crunching? Our inaugural Number Crunching Player of the Week award goes to: <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov2009_edler2_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Alexander Edler: Five points (1-4-5) in three games played. Edler had a season-high three points (1-2-3) on Saturday against the Oilers and despite all the heat he's taken from media and fans alike for his lack of production, his 16 points on the season have him just one point behind Christian Ehrhoff for most points by a Canucks blue-liner. CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS At Number Crunching, we don't hold back on praise but we also don't hold back on criticism. Here is the player(s) we are calling out this week: <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/205x115_1_112209.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo, and Mathieu Schneider: Combined zero points (0-0-0) in three games played. They are supposed to key offensive cogs on the Canucks blue-line but the trio was completely shutout for the week in the points column. That stat is even more eye-popping when you consider the Canucks had a banner night on Saturday on the power play scoring four times on five man-advantages. Sami Salo is the only one of the three that was actually on the ice for a power play goal on Saturday, but even that might be a tad misleading. He happened to be on the ice for Mason Raymond's power play goal which, many will recall, happened in the midst of a line change.