I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again…this season has been weird. On the surface everything looks pretty normal; Evgeni Malkin is looking for his second Art Ross, Steven Stamkos has the most goals, and Lundqvist again is on top of the shutout list. There are a few surprises as far as teams go, but this is definitely not the first time that Vancouver and Detroit have been in the battle for the President’s Trophy.  However you have to look deeper, things are happening that we just don’t ordinarily see. A couple of these stats you may recognize from a Pizzo’s Points in the past, but their spot on this list is deserving.

1)      Number of coaches fired this season and Sidney Crosby games played= Same number

That’s right 8 coaches have been fired and Crosby has played a grand total of 8 games. Now Sid announced that he has been cleared for contact which means he could be back on the ice soon, but the way this season has gone, we could see a few more coaches get their pink slip as well.

2)      Matt Cooke has 84 less penalty minutes than he did last year at this point

I NEVER thought we would see a turnaround is someone’s game like we have seen with Cooke this season. I have spent the entire year just waiting to see him go back to his old ways and try to send someone’s head into the 8th row, but it just hasn’t happened. There are certain awards in the NHL that many times are awarded because of improvements from last season (Like the Jack Adams trophy. Ie: “No one thought team X would do this well after finishing in the basement last year”), if that holds true, should he be considered for the Lady Byng?? (I’m joking….kind of) .

3)      Sidney Crosby’s string of top 6 finishes in the PPG category is still intact

Crosby has never finished worse than 6th in the points per game category and has actually finished first twice. His 12 points in 8 games puts him at 1.50, the best in the NHL.

4)      The Montreal Canadiens have the best Penalty Kill in the NHL, but sit dead last in the east

I’ve got to thank my friend Cooper for bringing this to my attention. Truth be told, when he told me the stat I responded with two words…”That’s impossible”. Turns out it’s very possible. They kill penalties at a 89.3% clip to sit in first, now if they could only score some goals.

5)      Through 62 games, Alexander Ovechkin has 35 games that saw him play under 20 minutes.

This would not be that surprising if the player we are talking about was not…you know…Alexander O’friggen’vechkin. Before this season the highest amount of sub-20 minute games he has played through 62 games is just 22. In fact over the last 4 years he has averaged just 10.5.

6)      Despite having a terrible season, Ryan Miller has equaled his career high in shutouts with 5

I have spent much of this season ripping into Ryan Miller and rightfully so as it is clearly the worst of his career, but somehow he has 5 shutouts. Ok, four of them have come in the last 16 games, but still.

7)      The Rangers are challenging for the President’s Trophy despite not having a top 10 offense (only done once since the 1967 expansion)

I wrote about this a while back, and it’s still holding true. They presently sit in 11th and their leading scorer (Marian Gaborik) is 25th in the NHL in scoring. It must be nice having Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes.

8)      The Leafs are sixth in 1st and 3rd period scoring. In the second period, they are 18th .

What the hell are the Leafs doing in the first intermission? Going to the buffet?

9)      Jonathan Quick could become the 1st goalie since Roy Edwards in 1972-73 to lead the NHL in shutouts while playing for a non-playoff team

There is no one I feel sorrier for in the NHL than Jonathan Quick. The guy is pulling his weight, but unfortunately is on the team that has the 2nd worst offense in hockey. He has been in net for four 1-0 losses, and eight 2-1 losses.

10)   The Blues have both Brian Elliott and Joraslav Halak in the top 3 in GAA.

The last time 2 goalies from the same team did that was 2007-08 (Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek). As a guy who has been known to place a bet or two on hockey games I can tell you this: for the first time ever when I bet the over/under in a game involving the Blues, I could care less who is in net. The correct answer is UNDER.

******

Let’s head to the links

Hey look, Jaromir Jagr is hurt….again  (Pro Hockey Talk)

Some powerful stuff here. Brain McGrattan talks about being sober for 3 years {video} (Section 303)

A councilman was assaulted after a Red Wings game becasue his son was wearing a Blackhawks Jersey. Warning, this post talks about complete and utter morons that unfortunately live in this world. (Puck Daddy)

You had to know when Steve Yzerman was announced as Canada’s GM that the mock teams would start rolling in (Dirty Dangle)

Katie Baker from Grantland talks about how Henrik Lundqvist has been using his head this season

The Sporting News talks about when we could see Sid back on the ice

So the Days of Y’Orr wrote a pots called 5 reasons to love Marty Turco. I thought they were nuts when I read the title…then I read the post. Holy crap there ARE five reasons!

Winnipeg Whiteout talks about the man with the dirtiest name in the NHL: Grant Clitsome

As always, check out Elliotte Freidman’s 30 thoughts (CBC)

Oh..and I can confirm that Jakub Voracek is still alive after this hit (just barely)