Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goon Ranking

Toughness and grit are long sought after traits in professional hockey players. But there is a line in the sand where these sought after characteristics and goonery. Fighting is a controversial though common aspect of ice hockey. The game is well known for its own form of on-ice vigilante justice and the men who enforce the law - the Hockey Goons. Also known as enforcers, toughguys, pugilists and fighters, these players often play the game for their one on one matchups rather than the usual hockey strategies.

The hockey enforcers are typically players of less than star capabilities who generally play on the third or fourth line and see very limited ice team. They often act as protection for star players and typically face off against the opposing team's enforcers.

Over the history of the hockey, thousands of players have made the National Hockey League on the basis of their toughness. They have performed at various levels and some have been more effective as others. This website looks back at some of these great hockey goons and uses basic statistics to create a list of the best tough guys.

Behind the numbers
The basis of this statistical analysis is to evaluate the fighters at what they do best - fight and take penalties. So we started off by penalizing these players for what is not their core competency - goals and assists. The formula we came up with is as follows:

(-1 x Goals x 10) + (-1 x Assist x 5) + (Penalty Minutes) / Career Games

The only requirement is that the player have atlest 1,500 career NHL penalty minutes.

Goon Analysis and Biographies
Player/ Career Games /Goals Assists /Points/ PIM /Goon Stat
Peter Worrell 319 19 27 46 1554 3.85
Shane Churla 488 26 45 71 2301 3.72
Kelly Chase 458 17 36 53 2007 3.62
Mick Vukota 575 17 29 46 2071 3.05
Mike Peluso 458 38 52 90 1951 2.86
Gord Donnelly 554 28 41 69 2069 2.86
Rob Ray 900 40 50 90 3207 2.84
Ken Baumgartner 696 13 41 54 2242 2.74
Tim Hunter 815 62 76 138 3142 2.63
Basil McRae 576 53 83 136 2453 2.62
Todd Ewen 518 36 40 76 1911 2.61
Gino Odjick 605 64 73 137 2567 2.58
Jay Miller 446 40 44 84 1743 2.52
Stu Grimson 729 17 22 39 2113 2.51
Paul Laus 530 14 58 72 1702 2.40
Rich Pilon 631 8 69 77 1745 2.09
Jim Cummins 511 24 36 60 1538 2.19
Chris Nilan 688 110 115 225 3043 1.99
Craig Berube 1054 61 98 159 3129 1.94
Bob McGill 705 17 55 72 1768 1.88
Tie Domi 1020 104 141 245 3515 1.73
Torrie Robertson 442 49 100 149 1751 1.72
Dave Schultz 535 79 121 200 2294 1.68
Joey Kocur 820 80 82 162 2529 1.61
Larry Playfair 688 26 94 120 1812 1.57

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top Ten Hockey Mullets.

In my last blog we touched on the tradition of the playoff beard. In this blog we'll spot light a now seemingly dead tradition in hockey, The Mullet.

Is there any sport more associated with mullets than hockey? Maybe soccer in Europe but hockey hair has become synonymous with mullet. And with very good reason, some of the best players have had their best seasons partying in the back. But was there anything sweeter than seeing a helmetless player fly down the wing. The mullet was the ultimate anti-helmet. And so here are the top 10 mulleted players and how their mullet led them to greatness.

10. Barry Melrose. Some may expect that he should be number one but his mullet isn’t what made him famous as a player, it was his coaching hair that is best remembered. It led him all the way to the Stanley Cup final in 1993, although maybe Wayne Gretzky and Kelly Hrudey had something to do with that. Leaf fans won’t forget it that’s for sure.

9. Wendel Clark. Anyone remember when he had 17 shaved into the side of his head on top of his mullet that was freaking awesome. His mullet was matched only by his tenacity; it’s too bad his body couldn’t keep up with his will. Still one of the most beloved Leafs is only more so beloved for his hair.

8. Wayne Gretzky. Yes I rated the great one more on his mullet than on his career. His mullet led him to greatness, or followed whichever you prefer, but his mullet was really second rate. You only ever really saw it when the helmet was off otherwise he’s better remembered for his helmet, which was also unique.

7. Brett Hull. Everyone remembers those GT snow racer commercials with Brett Hull, we all wanted to go out and get one with Brett Hull’s face on the box, with a glorious mullet. Well it also led him to a very successful career, his 86 goals in 90-91 third all-time. He finally won a cup long after the mullet came off. The only thing bigger than his mullet was, and still is, his mouth.

6. Mario Lemieux. Yes Gretzky had better career statistics, but Lemieux had a better mullet. Between the great one and super Mario they owned the Art Ross between 1981 and 1994. Mario also had 199 points in 1988-89. But Mario and mullet’s best accomplishments, arguably the two consecutive Conn Smythes, Bernie Parent is the only other player to accomplish that.

5. Jaromir Jagr. Lemieux’s partner in crime, both in mullets and in success, had a better mullet and was the best scorer in a time when scoring was harder to find than an exciting Devil’s game. But his mullet was pure gold; it led him to five Art Ross’ and a Hart, as well as two Stanley Cups while with Lemieux and the Penguins.

4. Dean Evason. Who? He didn’t have much of a career; his best season was 1986-87 when he had 59 points. He did finish with 139 goals and 372 points, which is nothing to sneeze at but he did have one of the best mullets. It was blonde and all party in the back. If he had been a few years younger he might have even gone without the helmet and just let it flow.

3. Mike Ricci. He came into the NHL billed as an offensive talent, coming off 50 goal 116 point season with the Peterborough Petes. He never got close, with only 30 goals in 1993-94. But the Petes have produced some of the best checking forwards, Bob Gainey, Jamie Langenbrunner, Doug Jarvis and Steve Yzerman all won the Selke. Ricci didn’t but he carved a niche being a shutdown forward. And his hair was the best, black and covering most of his name on the back of his jersey, some American announcers had a tough time figuring out who he was.

2. Ryan Smyth. His NHL success has only been limited by the teams he’s played for, but he is the toughest son of a bitch in the league right now. Taking a Pronger shot to the teeth and playing again in the same game. He’s the modern era mullet, something that has gone out of style of late but still represents hockey.

1. Al Iafrate. By the time he was done Iafrate didn’t have the hair in the front anymore, but that didn’t stop him from having the league’s best skullet. It’s his dedication to the hair style that sets him apart from the rest; he didn’t let baldness get him down. But his awesome hair was made all the more awesome during his hardest shot competitions; before Al MacInnis ran away with it Iafrate was the man. And his skullet was the best.

The Great Beard Off of 2009

Have you ever wondered where did the playoff beard superstition-turned-tradition come from?

It seems to be a relatively recent trend. The New York Islanders dynasty of the early 1980s featured several players who grew or maintained beards come playoff time. Ken Morrow, Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Clark Gillies, and Gord Lane all had big, itchy, black beards. It was said to be a good luck charm, and it delivered four consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

If you dig through photos of cup winners before the Islanders you wont find many beards at all so it seems to hold a little truth that maybe the boys from New York started the whole tradition.

Check out for a little bit of a laugh on the whole beard tradition, I really like this sites "Chuck Norris Award".

Slap Shot (2012)

It's fitting that the first real post on this blog deals with a movie that helped make a hockey fan out of me at a young age. George Roy Hill's Slap Shot. Anyone reading this post has more then likely seen the original movie at least once. In recent news it was announced that Hollywood would be remaking the cult classic. Universal is heading the project with 21 and Analyze That screenwriter Peter Steinfeld.

In an interview with "your movie maven" Steinfeld has this to say, “Right now I’m finishing writing the re-make of the iconic hockey movie Slap Shot for Universal. I’ve never had so many people hate me for writing something they haven’t seen yet. It’s such a classic film and fans of the original feel like I’m grave-robbing or something. But I think the movie will be really fun and will capture what it’s like to play minor league hockey in 2008. We haven’t set cast yet…”

it goes without saying that I would be excited to see another movie in the same vain as Slap Shot. The really combined a beautifully snarky tone with some absurd humor, all centered on the already ridiculous world of minor league hockey. We haven’t seen anything like it since. Mystery, Alaska could have been that movie — but it chose to go the way of the family-friendly story. Close, but not quite.


Hey everyone, welcome to my humble little hockey blog. My goal in building and maintaining this blog is to spot like hockey. I'll be posting a lot of different blogs from all over the sport of hockey, some will deal with news, players, teams, defunct teams and leagues and rumors. I hope to keep this fresh and bring my own personality to the table. If you enjoy the blogs stick around and check this thing out and if you don't like the blogs stick around and you might come across something interesting.