If you're wondering who's drawing the most penalties in the NHL, I've performed the weekly update over at the publicly available Google spreadsheet. Currently Sidney Crosby leads the way with 12, and then we have a five-way tie between Alexander Ovechkin, Joe Thornton, Scott Gomez, Mike Cammelleri, and Anze Kopitar, who have each drawn 11 penalties this season.
I've added a few columns to the spreadsheet, including Games Played, Average Time on Ice, and Position, for those of you who were wondering about such things. NOTE - There's currently a formatting issue with any player averaging over 24 minutes per game, and I'm hoping to fix that by next week. Dion Phaneuf, for example, shows as having an average ice time of 3:31, rather than 27:31.
I missed Saturday night's thriller between the Predators and Panthers, as I took my wife to the Grand Ole Opry, something she'd wanted to do since we moved to Nashville two years ago. I admit, being raised in the suburbs of Detroit I didn't know 90% of the performers there, but we had a good time, and there were a few hockey connections in the evening. Longtime Predators season-ticket holder Vince Gill was part of the festivities, and one of the presenters was Little Jimmy Dickens, a member of the Opry for almost 60 years;
Little Jimmy Dickens, the Chris Chelios of Country Music
It was interesting to see that Barry Trotz didn't cater to dramatic setup by starting Chris Mason against old mentor Tomas Vokoun, but instead went with Dan Ellis who was coming off a shutout Thursday night against Atlanta. Between that and the recent Marek Zidlicky benching, it's apparent that Trotz is establishing a meritocracy in the early going. Perform, and you'll get ice time. Screw up, and sit.
While the Central Division is improving, the Red Wings should cruise handily to another title. Jiri Hudler's top-shelf goal over Roberto Luongo's shoulder last night shows that scoring depth is still strong in Detroit, and that opponents have to worry about much more than the Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom combination.