Monday, February 12, 2007

Wings in the Times

On Sundays, the New York Times sports section is pretty good about devoting one or two pages to the NHL and ice hockey stories in general. This week was no different as they had a couple of interesting articles that made mention of the Red Wings.

In the NHL, Third Period Leads Usually Hold Up, they point out that NHL teams with the lead going into the third period win 84 percent of the time. The obvious reasons cited are that teams with the lead buckle down and play defense while the teams playing catch up often take chances on the offensive end that leave them susceptible to being scored on. The story mentions that the Wings are tied with the Montreal Canadians for the most come from behind victories in third periods this season with seven (the article was illustrated with a photograph of Henrik Zetterberg.) The Red Wings recently came from behind to beat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden and the New York Islanders on Long Island with third period goals, perhaps inciting curiosity about how often this takes place in the NHL with the NYT assigning editor.

The Times also ran a statistic called adjusted plus/minus factor that measures a player’s plus/minus figure against his team average. Unsurprisingly, Niklas Lidstrom leads the league with a +27.6. He is the only Wing in the top ten in this category. This is further proof that a good offense is good defense, and with Lidstrom playing nearly 30 minutes a game, that is a huge amount of each game where the Wings net out positive in scoring.

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