Monday, November 2, 2009

Tim Horton and some weird stats

Sometimes I’ll notice something statistically that just seems rare or out of place. The dictionary calls this an anomaly; “a deviation from the common rule and an odd, peculiar, or strange condition, situation, quality.” I love finding these little quirks in hockey history. Thanks to the great sites, and I can then go delve further into these anomalies.
I don’t know why, but I was just looking at Tim Horton’s career numbers and noticed he once finished third in the NHL in game winning goals with seven of them in 1963/64. Now, we all know Tim Horton was not known for his goal scoring having topped ten in a year only three times in 22 full seasons. In fact he scored 115 goals total. The game winning goal stat was not officially kept until the same season of Horton’s third place finish behind Boom Boom Geoffrion (9) and Ken Wharram (8). From this year onward, Horton would score only 16 GWG’s in eleven seasons with seven of them in 63/64. This seemed like what I would be considered an anomaly. After a few clicks, I found out it was quite strange, very close to being unique.
Horton’s 7 winners out of 9 total goals represents 78% of his total. Amongst players with that many game-winners in one season, this is in fact the top percentage ever. However, if we lower the GWG number to five for the year we find Horton’s rate barely beaten. In 2000/01, Scott Niedermayer tallied five winners among his six total goals for an 83% rate. Kelly Buchberger in 94/95 and David Legwand in 05/06 each scored five game winners of their seven total for 71%. Of course none of these other players were as close to leading the league as Horton. As well, in 1963/64, Horton and the Leafs won the Cup and the entire team autographed a hockey stick that I now have hanging in Nitzy’s Hockey Den. Coincidence?

Speaking of noticing surprising tidbits, here are a few career numbers that made me look twice. Let me know if you realized all these numbers were fact.
The aforementioned Kelly Buchberger played in a total of 1182 NHL games, one more than Frank Mahovlich. Marc Bergevin played in 1192 career games and Radek Bonk played 969 games. If was to guess before I checked, I would have said about six or seven hundred for each. The much-maligned Alexei Kovalev currently has 946 points, did you realize it was that high? Also, Brian Rolston now has 303 goals in the NHL, I would have guessed maybe 200. Were you aware that Rod Brind’Amour now has 725 career ASSISTS a mere 10 behind re-knowned playmaker Doug Weight.
Adam Oates scored 45 goals in 1992/93, a fact that escaped my memory. Hall of Famer Bernie Federko has a career plus/minus rating of MINUS 132. Gilbert Perreault had a -39 rating as a rookie in 1970/71 and a -40 the next year. Phil Esposito was a -40 the year he was traded from Boston to the Rangers. Peter Stastny was once a -46 (89/90) including -45 in 62 games with the Nords before going to the Devils. Also, he was a career minus at -12 (sorry Bidzy). Over the last eight years of his career, Wayne Gretzky checked in with a total -76 rating. Reggie Leach was a -61 with the California Golden Seals in 1973/74 then was traded to Philly the next year were he posted a +53. This has to be the largest turn-around from one year to another in history. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

1 comment:

Geoff_9 said...

you should look up "game-winning goals" in the playoffs too

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