Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hockey and Numb3rs: Go Figure

(photo courtesy of Rex Hammock at

On Friday night, the 13th place Boston Bruins, who had 14 games left in the season, didn’t play. Nonetheless, I was prompted to think about facts, figures, and statistics as I watched CBS’ Numb3rs, starring Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz, and Judd Hirsch.

Don (Morrow), a dedicated FBI guy and Charlie (Krumholtz), a genius mathematician with a better-than-average knowledge of theoretical physics, are the Eppes brothers; they team together to solve Los Angeles-based crimes. When they’re not working—and sometimes when they are—they’re usually at home with their dad, Alan (Hirsch). The three are hockey fans, but on Friday night’s episode, the home team must have had the night off. So instead of watching the Kings, the Eppes family is gathered around an air hockey table, which brings me back to the Bruins. And the AMHL.

Here are some random ratios and integers, a few of which might make you scratch your head…



45:33: Goals to goals against for the division-leading Flyers
20: Goals for Mike Evans, whose Blues are mired in last place
3.30: GAA for Flyers' goalie Ken Tarr


51:34: Goals to goals against for division-leading Canadiens
16: Goals for Chris Garrison, for the cellar-dweller Rangers
0: Penalties for the disputatious Dana Salvo


37: 0 Points to penalty minutes for Aaron Sherman of the second-place Panthers
3.88: GAA for Mike Chase of the first-place Bruins
0: Number of games the last-place Capitals have lost when Steve “Sir Galahad” Nicolle plays


Atlanta Thrashers:

215: 216 Goals to goals against
36:24 Wins to losses
6th: Place in the conference, all but guaranteed a playoff berth

Detroit Red Wings:

215:167: Goals to goals against
39: Plus/minus for Niklas Lidstrom, who leads the NHL in that category
16th: Power play ranking in the NHL

Boston Bruins:

192:238: Ratio of goals to goals-against
32:31: Wins to losses
16: Short-handed goals the Bs have surrendered this season
13th: place
6: Points out of a playoff spot
5: Teams ahead of them

It doesn’t take an advanced degree from MIT or simple algorithm to figure out the Bs need to string together several victories and hope the teams ahead of them in the standings crash to Earth quicker than you can say supergravity theory.

As I publish this piece between the second and third periods of Boston-Detroit game, the Bruins lead the Wings, 3–2. Go figure.

Update, March 16, 2007

Dana Salvo amassed four penalty minutes this week, two each on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was penalty-free on Thursday, but his teammate, Aaron Sherman, served two minutes. Although these infractions might seem to preclude them from consideration for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, Salvo did offer to send flowers to the player who had solicited Salvo's ire. Sherman, however, didn't seem to display any remorse. JD
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