Thursday, 22 January 2009

Statistics 101

I decided to make a bit of a schedule change. I'm going to push back the look at uniforms until tomorrow simply because there are so many little things that need to be commented on with these. Especially the uniforms worn by the referees. In the meantime, like Belushi in Animal House to the left, we're going to take a look at Statistics 101: All-Star Game numbers. Some of these stats are simply amazing. Others were hard to believe. However, all of these statistics are a part of the NHL All-Star Game's history, and should be considered. Longevity, scoring, penalty minutes... all will be touched on in this look at the All-Star Game.

Most NHL All-Star Game Appearances: Gordie Howe with 23 games.

Gordie Howe's longevity will probably never be matched. First, rarely are there players who play past 40 years of age as an All-Star now, let alone into their fifth decade of life. Howe's last NHL All-Star Game came in 1980 where, as a member of the Hartford Whalers, he recorded an assist at age 51! Chris Chelios, who turns 47 this week, isn't even in the Top-10 for appearances, and no active player is within ten games of the 23 games that Howe played in.

Most Goals - Career: Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux with 13 apiece.

It took Wayne 17 appearances to record 13 goals whereas it only took 10 games for Lemieux to match that mark. Gretzky was never the prolific goal-scorer that Lemieux was, so any comparisons between the two for All-Star Game goal-scoring would be like comparing apples and oranges. Teemu Selanne is the highest-scoring active player right now with eight goals in eight games.

Most Goals - Single Game: Five players tied at four goals in one game.

Wayne Gretzky did it in 1983. Mario Lemieux was next in 1990. Vincent Damphousse turned in four goals in 1991. Mike Gartner tied the record in 1993. And Dany Heatley added his name to the list in 2003. This is a record that could be broken in any game if a player catches fire. My guess is that a guy like Alexander Ovechkin could be the man to do it.

Most Goals - One Period: Wayne Gretzky with four goals.

Gretzky actually wasn't even in the running for the 1983 All-Star Game MVP until the third period rolled around. With the score 3-2 for the Campbell Conference at the 35th NHL All-Star Game in 1983 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, Gretzky scored at 6:20, 10:31, 15:32, and 19:18 of the third period to claim the MVP Award. Ironically, Campbell Conference goaltender John Garrett had been voted the MVP after the second period before Gretzky's domination in the third period. Garrett, who was a replacement player for injured teammate Richard Brodeur, relieved Chicago's Murray Bannerman midway through the game, and allowed one goal before Gretzky's torrid scoring in the third period.

"I think John was up to the glove compartment, a horn and two tires when Mr. Gretzky took over," joked Lanny McDonald of the Calgary Flames after the game.

Most Assists - Career: Mark Messier and Ray Bourque with 13 apiece.

It took Messier 14 games to pick up 13 helpers, while Bourque needed 18 games. Messier had the benefit of playing a number of All-Star Games alongside guys like Kurri, Gretzky, and Anderson, so his numbers should be pretty good. Bourque, being a defenceman, had a pinpoint accurate break-out pass, and showed his skill every time he played in an All-Star Game. Another mind-blowing career total is Adam Oates' 12 assists in only five NHL All-Star Games. You never truly appreciated how good Oates was when it came to passing outside of his days in St. Louis alongside Brett Hull, but the guy could dish. Joe Sakic is the current leader in active players with 12 assists in eight games.

Most Assists - Single Game: Mats Naslund with five helpers.

Naslund took advantage of playing alongside Mario Lemieux in the 39th NHL All-Star Game in 1988 in St. Louis, Missouri by making it seem like the two players had grown up playing hockey together. Naslund assisted on all three goals by Mario Lemieux as well as goals by Tomas Sandstrom and Peter Stastny. There have been a pile of players to record four assists, but Naslund's record still stands today.

Most Assists - One Period: Adam Oates with four assists.

Oates set the mark during the 44th NHL All-Star Game in 1993 in Montreal, Quebec. His linemates - Mike Gartner and Peter Bondra - scored four of the six goals by the Wales Conference in the period, staking the Wales Conference to a 6-0 lead. Gartner had three goals, while Bondra recorded a single. Playing with two of the speedier players in the league at that time was easy for Oates. He simply had to thread the needle and let the scorers score goals.

Most Points - Career: Wayne Gretzky with 25 points.

It should be no surprise that the most prolific scorer in NHL history also holds the distinction for the NHL All-Star Game. His 13 goals and 12 assists are near the top of both categories, and it only took him 17 games to put up his 25 points. Gordie Howe, who played in the most All-Star Games, ranks third behind Gretzky and Lemieux. Lemieux recorded 22 career points, while Howe finished his career with 19 points.

Most Points - Single Game: Mario Lemieux with six points.

It's hard to believe that this record has stood for 20 years with some of the scores rung up at All-Star Games. Lemieux set this record at the 39th NHL All-Star Game in 1988 in St. Louis in the same game that Naslund set the record for assists in one game. Lemieux's three goals and three assists gave him a point on every goal scored by the Wales Conference in a 6-5 overtime win. There have been a pile of players who have hit five points, but the six points in one game still holds strong today.

Most Points - One Period: Three players with four points.

Gretzky's four-goal performance was highlighted above from 1983. Mike Gartner got mentioned for his three goals in the first period in 1988, but he also added an assist in that period. And Adam Oates recorded four assists in 1993, as seen above as well. Again, it's hard to believe that this record hasn't been broken with some of the ridiculous scores seen over the years.

Most Powerplay Goals - Career: Gordie Howe with six powerplay goals.

With the All-Star Game turning into a game where hits occur as often as blocked shots, powerplays are few and far between. However, back in the 1940s and 1950s, the game was played with a little more tenacity, so powerplay goals were more common. To give an example, Bobby Hull is second in career powerplay goals, and Maurice Richard is third. Six goals might never be touched.

Penalty Minutes - Career: Gordie Howe with 25 minutes in the sin bin.

Howe's All-Star legacy is not without its moments in the penalty box. In 1948 in his first All-Star Game, Howe got into a fight. You read that correctly - a fight in the All-Star Game. Howe squared off with Maple Leaf Gus Mortson in the first fight, which was followed by a Ted Lindsay-Teeder Kennedy scrap in the same game! As an aside, Howe only recorded two "Gordie Howe hat tricks" in his entire career: October 10, 1953 and March 21, 1954. Unofficially, Brendan Shanahan has recorded the most "Gordie Howe hat tricks" in his career with nine, according to The Hockey News. Unfortunately, THN has only tracked the GHHT stats since 1996-97.

Most Games Played by a Goaltender - Career: Glenn Hall with 13 appearances.

Hall, a Saskatchewan native, is way out in front of any active player in NHL history for appearances by a goaltender. His 13 cameos put him two ahead of Terry Sawchuk, long considered a goaltending legend, and Patrick Roy, a legend in his own right. The man they called "Mr. Goalie" played in 502 consecutive games for the Red Wings and Blackhawks, a record that will never be touched. To give you an idea, that's more than six straight seasons of 82 games. Blackhawk fans should know that he was the man who backstopped the 'Hawks to their last Stanley Cup in 1961.

Most Goals Against - Career: Patrick Roy with 31 goals-against.

In just nine games, Patrick Roy was shelled for 31 goals - well off his career numbers. However, there were some other goalies who suffered just as much or worse, and might have surpassed Roy had they played in more All-Star Games. Mike Vernon was hit for 21 goals in five games, while Andy Moog gave up 18 goals in four games.

Best GAA in Two Games or More - Career: Gilles Villemure with a 0.68 GAA in three games.

Who is Gilles Villemure, you ask? He was a goaltender for the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks in the 1960s and 1970s. He began as the backup to Ed Giacomin at the age of 30, but soon took over as the starter with Giacomin inching towards retirement. Villemure stymied the opposition, going 66-27-10 in three seasons as a Ranger with a GAA never above 2.30. He appeared in three All-Star Games during his dazzling three seasons as a starter. As he neared his mid-30s, his play began to slide, and he was traded to Chicago where he backed up Tony Esposito. He never regained the form he had in New York, and retired after the 1976-77 season.

First Goaltender to Record a Point: Arturs Irbe in 1999.

This is one accomplishment that I was blown away by. Considering all the offence in the 1980s, you would think that possibly Grant Fuhr or Ron Hextall may have picked up a point somewhere, right? However, it was Latvian Arturs Irbe who recorded an assist at the 49th NHL All-Star Game in Tampa Bay. Irbe drew the second assist on the World Team's second goal of the game at 2:02 of the second period by Teemu Selanne in an 8-6 loss.

First Brothers to Record a Point on Same Goal: Henri and Maurice Richard in 1956.

This one should be a no-brainer considering how good the Montreal Canadiens were back then, particularly the Richard brothers. The 1956 All-Star Game ended in a tie at 1-1, with the only Montreal goal being produced by the Richards. What astounded me is that it took 44 years for the next brother tandem to record points. It wasn't the Sutters who did it, either. Rather, it was the Bure brothers at the 50th NHL All-Star Game in 2000 in Toronto, Canada. 33 seconds into the second period, Pavel scored on a pass from Valeri to give the World Team a 4-2 lead. While I've searched high and low, I can't find any proof that Max and Doug Bentley combined on Doug's goal in the third period of the 1947 All-Star Game. If anyone finds otherwise, let me know!

First Overtime Game: 31st NHL All-Star Game in 1978 at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York.

Buffalo fans went home delighted as the French Connection sparked the Wales Conference. Buafflo's Richard Martin tied the game at 2-2 with his goal in the third period with 1:39 remaining, sending the game into overtime for the first time in NHL history. At 3:39 into the overtime period, Buffalo fans celebrated their All-Stars as Gilbert Perreault netted the winner.

First Penalty-Free Game: 29th NHL All-Star Game in 1976 at Philadelphia Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This one caught me off-guard. The Flyers, known for their intimidating and rough play, hosted the first NHL All-Star Game where there was no time served in the penalty box by any player. The Broad Street Bullies even sent six players to the All-Star Game that year: Bill Barber, Andre Dupont, Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Wayne Stephenson, and Jimmy Watson.

Most Goals Combined by Both Teams: 26 goals total at the 51st NHL All-Star Game in 2001 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

In what turned out to be a "last goal wins" style of game, the North American Team defeated the World Team by a 14-12 score. It was a line of Americans who dominated the scoresheet as Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, and Tony Amonte recorded six goals and seven assists in the game. Guerin was the MVP with three goals and two assists. Mats Sundin had two goals and two assists for the World Team.

Fastest Goal From Start of Game: Ted Lindsay in 19 seconds.

Lindsay and the Red Wings were all over the NHL All-Stars in the 4th NHL All-Star Game in 1950 as the Wings went on to win 7-1. Lindsay opened the game with a goal just 19 seconds in, and the Wings never looked back. Jacques Laperriere is second-fastest at the 20-second mark in 1970, and Mario Lemieux takes the bronze for scoring at the 21-second mark in 1990.

Fastest Goal From Start of Period: Ray Bourque in 17 seconds.

Bourque opened the second period of the 49th NHL All-Star Game in Tampa Bay in 1999 in style, scoring just 17 seconds into the frame. The three men above - Lindsay, Laperriere, and Lemieux - sit second, third, and fourth all-time, respectively.

Fewest Goals Combined by Both Teams: Two goals total. It happened twice.

The first time two goals total were scored happened at the 6th National Hockey League All-Star Game in 1952 at the Detroit Olympia in Detroit, Michigan. The First Team NHL All-Stars battled the Second Team NHL All-Stars to a 1-1 tie. The second time that the two teams combined for only two goals, the Richards combined to give Montreal their only goal of that game as the Canadiens battled the NHL All-Stars to a 1-1 tie at the 10th NHL All-Star Game in 1956 in Montreal, Quebec.

Most Goals by One Team: 16 goals by the Wales Conference at the 44th NHL All-Star Game in 1993 in Montreal.

Goal scorers for the Wales Conference in that game included Mike Gartner with four goals, Pierre Turgeon with two goals, Rick Tocchet with two goals, Peter Bondra, Alexander Mogilny, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, Pat LaFontaine, Jaromir Jagr, and Brad Marsh.

Fewest Goals by One Team: Zero goals by the NHL All-Stars at the 20th NHL All-Star Game in 1967 in Montreal, Quebec.

Garry Bauman and Charlie Hodge pitched the 35-save shutout for the Montreal Canadiens, marking it as the only time any team has recorded a shutout in an NHL All-Star Game. Montreal's Henri Richard was voted as the game's MVP while John Ferguson scores twice.

Most Shots Combined by Both Teams: 102 shots on net at the 45th NHL All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

The game ended with the Eastern Conference All-Stars outshooting the Western Conference All-Stars 56-46. The Eastern Conference won the game by a 9-8 score, and Mike Richter was named the game's MVP after stopping 19 of 21 shots taken by the Western Conference in the second period. The two players to beat him? Paul Coffey and Sandis Ozolinsh - both defencemen. As an aside, the 56 shots taken by the Eastern Conference All-Stars is a record for one team as well.

Fewest Shots Combined by Both Teams: 52 shots on net at the 31st NHL All-Star Game in 1978 at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York.

It's not like the Wales Conference wasn't trying. The Wales Conference All-Stars fired 40 shots in the game compared to the measly 12 shots taken all game, including overtime, by the Campbell Conference. The Wales Conference won 3-2 in overtime, but goaltender Billy Smith of the Campbell Conference was named as the game's MVP, stopping all 16 shots he faced in the first period, much to the disgust of the Buffalo fans. The Campbell Conference shot total went as follows: 5-2-3-2. Horrendous.

Alright, that's enough numbers for today. Tomorrow, the jersey review will be out, and Saturday will be a day of highlights from past All-Star Games as we look at some of the more memorable NHL ASG moments. Lots of stuff to wrap your head around today and the coming days for sure.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

Your first goaltender to record a point stat is not correct. I have not researched for detail but not hard to try to verify a game in the 80's or very early 90's while I watched, it was something like the Islanders versus whomever and with their goalie pulled in the final moments, the trailing team, while on offensive attack in the leading teams end, passed to their point man who missed the pass. The puck rolled down the ice into the net and the goal credit is therefore based on the last player touching it on the other team before the player shot it into his own net. I recall with absolute certainty that the goalie on the ice was either the last player to touch (therefore credited with the actual goal) or the second last player to touch therefore, credit for assist - the goalie had saved/steered the puck aside. Unless the recent years of rule changing and whimping down the game has altered old stats - your stat is off the mark... check it... I watched the game, was an avid goalie in the top level comp leagues through my years and seeing this game/event happen was "cool" to me... I saw the stat happen and heard the refs and commentators validate what I saw. I'm not knocking you... I just stumbled across your stat note and I know it's inaccurate and thought you might care, as you seem pretty serious about this stuff.


Teebz said...

No offence, Dave, but you should read the whole article.

This is a breakdown on all the records set in the NHL All-Star Games. Arturs Irbe was the very first goaltender to record a point in an All-Star Game. I have checked and double-checked.

Thanks, though.