Penalties: A look at the first 16 games

November 12, 2007

It’s easy to look at statistics and tell who is racking up penalty minutes, as this is a stat that is one of the “big” ones kept in the NHL.  What’s become available in recent years is data on who drew a penalty, in addition to who committed the foul.

After 20% of the season has passed, let’s look at a few different things:

Team top 3 penalty types committed

  1. Hooking – 22
  2. Interference (goalie/other) – 16
  3. Tripping – 13

Team top 3 penalty types drawn

  1. Hooking – 21
  2. Interference (goalie/other) – 18
  3. Tripping and Holding – 12

No big surprises here, I’m willing to guess that most NHL teams would see the same basic calls at the top of their lists.

For this next series, I’m introducing a metric titled “Penalty +/-“.  It’s the number of penalties drawn minus the number of penalties committed.  For example, a player who commits six penalties while drawing ten will have a penalty +/- of 4.  On to the numbers…

Top 3 Penalty +/-

  1. Rick Nash, +7
  2. Hainsey, +3
  3. Vyborny, +3
  4. Glencross, +3
  5. Zherdev, +3

Bottom 3 Penalty +/-

  1. Jason Chimera, -6
  2. Rostislav Klesla, -5
  3. Michael Peca, -4

Obviously these stats would mean a lot more if I factored in TOI and normalized to +/- per 60 minutes, and I’ll be meaning to do this very soon.  But it’s interesting to note who doesn’t top this list, Jared Boll.  That’s not to say that Boll isn’t drawing penalties as everyone is saying, because he certainly is doing just that.  He’s second on the team to Rick Nash (15) with 12 penalties drawn.  But he’s also first on the team in penalties committed, with 11 (even if you take out the misconduct that was assessed at the same time as the elbowing call in the first game, he’s still leading the team).

Jared is spreading his penalty minutes over number of different types of calls: Fighting (4 occurrences), hooking and interference (2 each), and one each of diving, misconduct (game), and elbowing.  Boll has been tagged as an agitator or a pest.  I’m not sure what types of penalties those kind of players usually commit, but I would guess they would be centered around physical and stick penalties (somebody help me out, here!).  I would expect agitators to mostly draw roughing penalties, but because Boll has been willing to drop the gloves with anyone who comes knocking, he’s only racked up one drawn roughing call to the previously mentioned four fights.

When looking at Rick Nash, he’s drawing the types of penalties you’d expect of a dominant player: hooking (5), holding (4), and tripping (2) are the top three.  The opposition is trying to slow him down, and they’re paying for it.

Jason Chimera, despite being one of the fastest Blue Jackets on skates, has taken quite a few calls you’d expect from a slower player: hooking (4), and one occurence each of holding and holding the stick.

Notes: I’ve included links to the data sets I used to create this post, so you can come up with your own conclusions.  The highlights I’ve made above (with Nash and Chimera) are not meant to be all-inclusive of the penalties drawn and committed.  View the links for complete data.  Also, I’ve not included any penalties committed by the opposition that are not linked to a CBJ player (a few unsportsmanlike or misconduct penalties, too many men, delay of game, etc.) because they do not contribute to or affect this basic study as I see it.


Agree, or have alternate hypotheses?  I welcome your thoughts on the information presented. 

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

(Oh yeah, do you like the new header?)

– Drew

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