Issue #32: Small Sample Size Season
It's way too early to draw any conclusion about any hockey team yet. Let's draw some conclusions.
Hello, my name is Colin. Welcome to the 32nd issue of The Wood Report, an eclectic smorgasbord of sports “news” and humor.
This Week’s Main Story
We are 10 days into the NHL season, giving us the perfect amount of data to rush to opinions about all 32 teams in the league, including the Seattle Kraken who have played 5 total games in their existence. There’s nothing better in sports than using small sample sizes to win arguments. Everything I am going to present is based on facts, which means it cannot be disputed.
NHL Small Sample Storylines
Chicago Blackhawks - It’s time to start worrying about this roster construction.
The Blackhawks are 0-4-1 to start the season. They have trailed for 225 minutes so far, and have held a lead for 0 minutes.
A lot of this falls on the defense, allowing 60% of the high-danger scoring chances in games for the opposition.
The blame also falls on the goaltending that, as a team, holds an .861 save percentage. Marc-Andre Fleury, the reigning Vezina winner, is struggling on his new team with a 5.63 goals against average in 3 games.
Star player and captain Jonathan Toews doesn’t have a single point this season. The team is scoring just 1.80 goals per game, 30th in the league. They have just 3 goals at even strength.
Buffalo Sabres - Was Jack Eichel the problem all along?
Buffalo was the first team in the league to start 3-0. By winning their first 3 games of the season, they raised their playoff odds from 0.4% to 1.1%.
They have taken the fewest penalties in the league at just 6 minutes per game. They have a top 10 power play and a top 10 penalty kill unit. Special teams matter.
Goaltending has been excellent. The veteran tandem of Craig Anderson (40 years old) and Dustin Tokarski (32 years old) have a .940 save percentage and are allowing just 2 goals a game.
At 3-1-1, they sit in 2nd place in the Atlantic division, just behind undefeated Florida Panthers and ahead of the Lightning, the Maple Leafs, and the Bruins.
Montreal Canadiens - Maybe last season was a fluke (surprising 0 people outside of Montreal).
The Canadiens started the season 0-5-0. They accumulated 0 points in the standings through 5 games for the first time since 1995.
Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, two youngsters that powered a lot the scoring on the Canadiens playoff run just a few months ago, both have just 1 assists and no goals through 6 games to start this season.
We all knew this was going to happen: Jesperi Kotkaniemi (the offer sheeted forward that now plays in Carolina and sparked a lot of tensions between these two franchises) scored his first goal of the season against the Canadiens IN MONTREAL. Kick ‘em while their down.
Seattle Kraken - They sure are trying.
The Kraken were kind of an enigma coming into the season. No one expected a repeat of the Vegas expansion team, but the Kraken are floundering far more than expected. They are 1-4-1 and currently on a 4 game losing streak.
There is one thing Seattle is excellent at. Fighting. They have 6 fights in their first 6 games in franchise history. Seven if you include their fans.
They are lapping the field in penalty minutes per game at 19. Nathan Bastian is leading the team, picking up 27 minutes in 6 games with the team (to go along with his 0 total points).
Edmonton Oilers - The powerhouse duo is at it again.
As is tradition, the Oilers go as goes their 2 star players, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
On Tuesday, Leon Draisaitl scored his 200th career goal.
Two days later, Connor McDavid also scored his 200th career goal.
The Oilers are 5-0-0 and have one of the best offenses again, scoring 4.6 goals per game, 2nd best in the league. McDavid and Draisaitl are the top 2 players in points with 13 and 11 respectively.
Alexander Ovechkin - Chasing history.
5 games into the season and Ovi already has 5 goals. He has failed to score in just 1 game so far. The unbreakable Russian machine is on a mission to pass Gretzky sooner rather than later.
Gold Medal – NHL Overtime
It’s no secret that I adore the 3-on-3 rules used for overtime in the NHL. The open ice leads to plenty of electric playmaking by some of the best players in the world. The start of the 2021 season has already provided us with some of the best OT periods we could hope for. This one between the Maple Leafs and Rangers deserves to be witnessed in full.
Here for the Wild is some very pretty passing to completely tear down the goalie.
And then there’s this fun score by the Ducks.
Let’s hope this trend continues all year.
Villain of the Week – Chicago Sky
Last Sunday, the Candace Parker and the Chicago Sky came from behind in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals to win the series and claim the first championship in franchise history. Chicago was the 6 seed coming into the tournament. They had to face two winner-take-all games in the first two rounds and then took down the #1 overall team in the Connecticut Sun. And finally they went head to head with the GOAT, Diana Taurasi, in the Finals. Even down 11 in the 4th quarter, the Sky played like champions. Allie Quigley scored 26 points, Courtney Vandersloot dished out 15 assists, and Kahleah Copper was named Finals MVP for her performance through all 4 games.
Taurasi, meanwhile, had a rough game facing elimination. She shot just 4 of 16 for 16 points and had 2 assists and 2 rebounds. She finished with a -22 for the game. Her frustration was palpable in the closing minutes of the game and that frustration followed her into the locker room where she reportedly broke a door.
In response, the Chicago Sky decided to bring something special to their Championship parade and rally.
They brought the door Taurasi broke to the parade! This is absolutely masterful trolling.
Neither Taurasi nor the Mercury have confirmed that she is responsible for the incident, but eyewitnesses said they saw Taurasi repeatedly slamming the door of the visiting locker room. When asked about it a few days later, Diana’s only comment was, "There was a lot of doors in there.”
The Sky saw an opportunity to really twist the knife by showcasing the door and I respect the level of petty shown.
Is This How You Play?
Is this how you play football?
Foligno picked up some new fighting moves.
Is this how you… uh… I’m not sure what he’s doing.
Hey, uh, what are you doing there goalie? This is what we’re talking about Chicago!
This is the worst fake attempt ever.
Russell Wilson is an all-time dork for faking the huddle while warming up for a game he wasn’t even going to play.
Is this how you play point guard?
News by the Numbers
0 - Offensive snaps the Lions have played this season while they hold a lead. The team is 0-6 and have suffered some of the worst losses, including losing on a record breaking field goal.
3 - Number of 7’ players on the Cleveland Cavaliers opening day starting lineup. That includes Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. The other two players on the court were 6’1” guards in Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. There is no middle ground for this team.
6 - Number of fingers Kentucky LB JJ Weaver has on his right hand. Does this give him an advantage in football? Results unknown yet.
8 - Number of 25+ point quarters Steph Curry has had in his career. When he’s hot, no one can stop him.
20 - Minutes played by Avery Bradley on Friday night. In those 20 minutes, he was basically invisible. He became just the 11th player in NBA history to not record a single counting stat in at least 20 minutes of play. A true NBA Bigfoot.
21.8 - Top speed (in mph) of Derrick Henry on his 76 yard TD run in week 6, making him the fastest ball carrier in the NFL this season. As a reminder, Derrick Henry is listed at 6’3” and 247 pounds, and he is faster than everyone else in the league. The other players in the top 5 of speed are all 6’ or shorter and around 50 pounds lighter than Henry. He is an alien.
2,023 - Number of hits Dusty Baker had as a major league player. He has now passed that number of wins as a manager in the league (regular and postseason combined). With the Astros clinching a spot in the World Series, Dusty is up to 2,025 and will look to add 4 more this season. He is also the 9th manager in MLB history to win a pennant in both leagues.
Homer Bias Restricted Area
There’s something about October 19th for the Devils.
Nico Hischier's first NHL goal: October 19, 2017
Jack Hughes' first NHL goal: October 19, 2019
Dawson Mercer's first NHL goal: October 19, 2021
End Of Restricted Area
Thanks for reading this week’s newsletter. I hope you have a fantastic Sunday and great week to come.
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Keep Sports Fun.
Twitter - @ColinRingwood12
The Buzzer Beater
This ref got the fuck out of there real quick.