I haven't taken a look at the Hits that the NHL tracks in quite a while, firstly because I suspect (but haven't validated) that there's a good deal of scoring bias in various arenas, and also the notion that hits may not be of any particular value in winning hockey games.
I've decided to take another dig into this matter, however, particularly since the NHL, starting last season, started tracking a couple additional pieces of information. Whereas originally all we knew was which player dished out a Hit, we now get both the name of the player taking the hit, and also the zone in which it occurs. I suspect there may be something meaningful there if we slice down to see if there are effects based on whether it's a defenseman or forward making a hit, and whether it's in the offensive or defensive zones.
Before digging into the details, my first guess is that defensemen making hits in their own zone may well take themselves out of position, and as a high-risk play, is likely to yield disastrous results. Forwards making hits in the offensive end, however, may well create some offensive opportunites. We'll see over the next few days as I create some supporting tables necessary to run through that info.
In the meantime, I will pass on a couple tidbits. First, the fact that the overall breakdown of hits by zone is quite interesting:
I'm not surprised to see the Neutral Zone figure so low, since the danger in attempting to make a hit in open ice likely keeps that relatively rare, but the fact that the Offensive and Defensive numbers are basically equal struck me as a bit odd. I would think forechecking is a good opportunity to get aggressive and bang away, but there you go.
Here's a look on a team-by-team basis as to who's doing the hitting, and who's getting hit:
|Team||Hits Given||Hits Taken|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||1919||2071|
|Detroit Red Wings||1440||1668|
|Los Angeles Kings||2128||2009|
|New Jersey Devils||1430||1448|
|New York Islanders||1828||1562|
|New York Rangers||2312||2173|
|San Jose Sharks||2042||1948|
|St. Louis Blues||1611||1651|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||1854||1441|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||1736||1923|
Again, in terms of overall totals there's little reason to believe that outhitting your opponents leads to victory (check out Tampa Bay and Detroit at the extremes), but the details could get interesting, so stay tuned in the days ahead.