February 29 2012 02:24AM
A lot has been made over the past few weeks (and rightfully so) about the glaring deficiencies in the game of the Calgary Flames.
Shots, goals, ice time and matchups are always popular topics, and after Monday's game it looks as though a couple of people even blamed goaltending somehow. But what about penalties? As they are such a big part of the game, it was weird to me that no one was talking about them. This piqued my curiosity because it looked to me like the Flames were sitting in the box more often this year as opposed to last year.
Now, of course we can't actually fully measure the amount of penalties taken this year because the Flames haven't played 82 games yet, but we can measure penalty kill and power play time as well as the actual numbers of calls from this year and last on a per-game basis.
If there happens to be something wrong with my math, point it out in the comments and I'll correct it. There's a reason I'm in the social sciences.
Obviously, one wants their team to draw more penalties then they take. The Flames have done a better job this year compared to last year in taking penalties, reducing them by about .2 per game. However, they've drawn about three quarters less penalties per game this year compared to last year. Currently, the Flames are on pace for a penalty differential 43 penalties worse then last year and a goal differential 10 worse this year, which is around 3 points in the standings. There's still quite a bit of time to correct these things, and it could feasibly result in gaining maybe a point back by the end of the season.