Here's another: prior to last night's action, the Caps had the 19th-rated penalty kill in the League at 78.8%.
And here's what happens when you put them together: no team in the League with a worse penalty kill than the Caps' takes as many minor penalties as the boys in red, white and blue - the team is taking a ton of penalties and not doing a terribly good job of killing them off.
So far this season, the Caps power play has been mediocre. The goaltending has been fair. But if this team's looking for a quick fix improvement (and at the risk of stating the obvious), it should stop taking so many penalties. Easier said than done? Perhaps. But it's also probably an easier route to allowing fewer power play goals against than hoping that a team that finished 25th in the NHL in penalty killing efficiency last year is suddenly going to collectively master that skill with largely the same personnel.
First to go? Cut down on the restraining fouls. Mike Green is tied for the League lead in hooking penalties with four, and Michael Nylander is just one behind. Shaone Morrisonn is tied for the League lead in interference minors with four. These are, for the most part, lazy penalties - move your feet boys (increased confidence in the netminder behind them should help here as well).
Next up? The bench minors. Two in nine games may not sound like many, but it's a pace that would have led the League in two of the last three seasons.
Look, penalties happen. But some teams can afford to take more than others; the Caps are not one of those teams. If they can get focused and show some better discipline, however, they'll likely see their efforts pay immediate dividends.
Here are a few more random stats floating around the hockey universe:
- Mike Green leads the NHL in average power play time per game with a whopping 7:12 per game.
- Alex Ovechkin is skating the longest shifts in the League (Green is fifth, Nicklas Backstrom 15th and Alex Semin 22nd).
- John Carlson is second in rookie defenseman scoring and tied for the best plus/minus of any rookie in the OHL.
- Braden Holtby leads the WHL in wins and is seventh in GAA and SV%.
Bill Clement loves Sergei Fedorov. We love this Bill Clement Caps card.... Speaking of love, still more of it pouring in for Alex Semin (who is everyone's fantasy), but this article includes a brilliant lament from Matt Bradley that "It's kind of depressing knowing I'll never be able to do half the moves he does."... Tuvan Hillbilly has the translation of some good stuff from our buddy Dmitry Chesnokov on Semin and Viktor Kozlov following the Preds game.... The Falls Church News-Press thinks Jose Theodore is in for a good year yet.... Alex Ovechkin with a brunette? Now we've seen it all.... We hate the Pens more than they hate us. No surprise there.... That CHL All-Star team for which Stefan Della Rovere got snubbed? At least Joel Broda made the WHL squad.... Finally, since it's Halloween...