Saturday, August 10, 2013

Comparing obstruction-penalties-taken to won-and-lost puck-battles

This post will focus on the relationship between the a player's ability to win puck-battles, and the number of obstruction penalties they take per-60 minutes of even-strength ice-time. In theory, the stronger a player is defensively (1on1), the more puck-battles they should win, and the fewer obstruction penalties they should take.

A puck-battle is described as any attempt by a player to remove puck-possession from the opposition by way of a stick or body check. A won puck-battle results in a loss of possession by the opposing team, while a failed puck-battle results in the other team maintaining possession.

Obstruction penalties include penalties for hooking, tripping, holding, interference, and holding the stick.

Explaining the Graph:
  • The further to the right a player's bubble is, the more puck-battles that player won per-minute of even-strength ice-time. 
  • The higher the bubble is, the more puck-battles that player lost per-minute of ice-time.
  • The bigger the bubble is, the more obstruction penalties that player managed per-minute of ice-time


PK Subban earned the most obstruction penalties per-minute of even-strength ice-time. He also managed to win the fifth-fewest puck-battles per-minute of ice-time. That said, Subban leads the team in loose-puck recoveries. These LPR's were often the product of a teammate's won puck-battle.

Alexei Emelin earned the second most obstruction penalties PMP.  He led all Habs d-men in lost puck-battles per-minute played, while winning the second-most puck-battles PMP. Raphael Diaz earned the third-most obstruction penalties PMP. He also lost the second-most puck-battles per-minute played.

Gorges lost the fewest puck-battles, and won the most puck-battles; all this while earning the second-fewest obstruction penalties per-minute played; another testament to Gorges defensive-prowess.


Ryan White earned the most obstruction penalties per-minute played, while losing the most puck-battles. Quite surprisingly, Tomas Plekanec had the fewest obstruction penalties PMP, while managing to win the fewest puck-battles.

Lars Eller earned the third-most obstruction penalties per-minute played among Montreal centres. That said, Eller won the most puck-battles, and lost the fewest puck-battles of any Habs centre. Jeff Halpern won the second-most puck-battles among this group of players.


Among Montreal wingers, Brian Gionta earned the fewest obstruction penalties per-minute of ice-time, and won the third-most puck-battles. Alex Galchenyuk earned the most obstruction penalties, and lost the third-most puck-battles.

Brandon Prust lost the fewest puck-battles PMP, while earning the second-fewest obstruction penalties. Max Pacioretty won the most puck-battles PMP, and Rene Bourque won the fewest.

Travis Moen lost the most puck-battles, while earning the fourth fewest obstruction penalties PMP.

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