Monday, February 24, 2014

Nagano to Sochi: Canada's all-time Olympic numbers in the NHL era

Photo from
Salt Lake City, Vancouver and now Sochi. In the five Winter Olympics since NHL players were allowed to compete, Canada has won gold in three of them. And while more zealous fans will tell you that we should have had all five, the best team on paper never wins a hundred percent of the time.

It can take a very under-appreciated resiliency to be the best and live up to it. To stick to sound and systematic play -- especially when it only gets you a 2-1 win against an Arturs Irbe-less Latvian team. Or just two measly assists through five games from the best player in the world.

But here we are, just barely recovered from a deprived sleep schedule and with ultimate bragging rights for at least four more years. And thank Price, because we all know how much longer four years can feel after having left Gretzky on the bench in Nagano.

Since 1998, Team Canada has played a total of 31 games. That is nearly half a regular season's worth of the most scrutinized hockey known to man. Makes for a pretty decent sample size. Which makes you wonder where Sidney Crosby's pair of Olympic performances might stack up against, say...Joe Sakic's. Or Steve Yzerman's. Or where Shea Weber and Drew Doughty rank among the Scott Niedermayers and Chris Prongers of yesteryear.

One can only Google so hard until they take matters into their own hands. If there's already an all-time list out there, well, it's not in the first 10 pages of a standard Google search. So go, go gadget Excel spreadsheet. The career rankings of Team Canada players since 1998:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Finland: The little hockey engine that very consistently could

How many times can a team succeed before you stop calling them underdogs?

Nevermind that they have the world's most likable player in captain Teemu Selanne. (And around these parts, the most likable ex-Canuck in Sami Salo.) Or that they just won their third consecutive Olympic medal by toppling the generally-hated Team USA. In international competition, Finland has been as endearing to the hockey world as they are efficient and successful.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Eddie Lack: All-Rookie Team front-runner?

File:Eddie Lack Canucks.jpg
Lack is exceeding all expectations this year. And maintaining his entire
team's fading dignity in the process.

His numbers are among the league's elite. With a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage, Eddie Lack is tied for eighth and ninth in the NHL, respectively. Yet with a 8-8-3 record, he is one of only two goalies with a .500-or-worse record among the league's top 15 in GAA. The other goalie? Cory Schneider.

That speaks volumes. Because unlike the dispatched ginger in his tenure here, Lack has accomplished his top-level stats on what is now a truly mediocre team. The next-highest ranking goalie without a winning record is Justin Peters at 7-9-4 with Carolina.