by Forechecker on 02/09/09 at 06:45 PM ET
It’s time once again to update those NHL Penalty Plus/Minus rankings, and marvel again at how Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown continues to lead the way; as I’ve noted before, Brown led the league last year in this measure as well, so this is hardly a fluke.
You know what is interesting, though? As I looked at last year’s results, I scanned the runners-up, and found typical big-name superstars like Crosby, Datsyuk and Ovechkin in spots 2-4. While Datsyuk’s +12 this season is still quite positive, Crosby (+2) and Ovechkin (0) are mired in mediocrity. I’ll leave to their fans (or their detractors) to help explain why they’re just not drawing the whistles like they were before. One theory could be that the referees were included in that recent ESPN survey in which Sid the Kid was named the biggest complainer in the league…
Data updated each Monday during the season
Click here to go to the Google Doc
Turning our attention to the bottom of the list, we find clearly documented evidence to back up Vancouver Canucks defenseman Shane O’Brien; last week he spoke out to say that he had more to contribute to his team than merely fighting, in response to what he felt was a management call for him to drop the gloves more. His league-worst -23 rating certainly backs up his claim; since fights typically involve coincidental majors, they don’t have any net impact on Penalty Plus/Minus. His astoundingly negative performance here, then, is an indication of his wide-ranging abilities to wind up in the penalty box. Shane O’Brien is so much more than a fighter - he can hook, hold, rough or slash with the best of them.
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