Yesterday Mike Chen took an in-depth look at the penalties that have been called in the National Hockey League this year. His main goal was to try to identify how many 'dirty' penalties and how many 'cheating' penalties were being racked up by each team. How did he break them down? Glad you asked:
So let's break down penalties into two categories: dirty (boarding, charging, checking from behind, clipping, elbowing, kneeing, and roughing) and cheating (holding, holding the stick, hooking, goalie interference, interference, and tripping). Note that I'm NOT including fighting in with the dirty plays, as fighting tends to be two enforcers squaring off against each other, which is a bit different from, say, a boarding play.
No surprise to observant fans: The Leafs don't cheat (29th in the NHL) and are an averagely dirty team (15th in the NHL). Even less of a surprise are the names on the players' lists in each category. That post prompted today's Noon Number: 277. That's how many minor penalties the Leafs have taken this year. They are on pace for about 306. That will be a third straight year of declining minors under Ron Wilson. They've been in or near the top third in that category (good) and in the bottom third of majors (that's truculence). Good thing too because the penalty kill stinks.