With a second five-day break from Flyers action in the past two weeks, I thought it would be cool to look at a few statistical anomalies that have shone through in this successful-to-this-point Flyers season.
The first is faceoff percentage.
Among players who have taken at least one draw per game, the Flyers two best faceoff folks this season are currently playing wing.
Jeff Carter hasn't taken enough draws to count among the league leaders but is winning 55.6 percent of his faceoffs this season...which would tie him with Sidney Crosby for 17th in the league. The reason he hasn't taken enough draws is because he's been playing a lot of wing.
Ville Leino is clicking at 58 percent, although he usually only gets a chance when Danny Briere gets tossed from the circle.
Still, going 40-for-69 is a pretty good sample, and maybe there's something there.
Mike Richards (49.2 percent), Claude Giroux (50.7 percent) and Blair Betts (48.4 percent) are close to a coin flip each time, but Danny Briere is a sub-par 45.3 percent.
Everybody is better at home than on the road becase you get the matchups you're looking for - that is all except Briere, who is one-tenth of a percent better away from the Wells Fargo Center. All that means though is Briere is equally shaky in the circle regardless of where the game is being played.
Which brings about this idea?
Why not let Leino take the draws on that line?
I'm sure coach Peter Laviolette will one day sit me down and explain how job responsibilities stem from positioning in a face off circle and how systematically it wouldn't be prudent to let Leino take draws instead of Briere, but until that day arrives (and I'll let you know if it does, it seems to me you should go with the hot hand.
If Leino proves to be just a flash in the pan in the circle - then go back to Briere. But to me, it's worth a shot to see what Ville can do.
As for Carter, how about giving him more of the draws than Giroux? It's not that Giroux has been bad... actually he's the best of the top four... but Carter has been elite. Only 18 of 91 qualifying pivots are winning at that good a clip.
Laviolette certainly plays matchups with those two right now, but Carter should be given more.
At least that's one man's opinion.
Now, after highlighting a negative in Danny Briere's game, let's turn to a positive.
There is only one line on the Flyers that has scored more points on the road than at home this season and, yep, you guessed it, it's Briere's line.
That translates to the rest of the league having no answer for them when they're on their game.
In other words, when the opposing coach has the ability to match up his best defensive pairing and his best defensive line against the Briere line, they're still scoring.
Combined they have 66 points and are a plus-32 in 26 road games. They have 52 points and are a plus-17 in 27 home games.
The only other Flyers that are better offensively on the road than at home are Andreas Nodl (11 points vs. 7 points), Jody Shelley (4 points vs. 0 points), Matt Carle (14 points vs. 10 points) and Andrej Meszaros (10 points vs. 9 points).
One of the favorite parts of hockey - as far as fans are concerned - is hitting. The Flyers, of course, have a big time reputation of being a team that hits and hits hard.
And while that reputation is being upheld by the current bunch of players, it may not be the guys you think of first and foremost that are doing the hitting.
There are four players with 100 or more hits this season and only one of them would be on the "as expected list" and that's Scott Hartnell, who incidentally is fourth on the team with 100 on the nose.
Who is ahead of him?
How about Chris Pronger - the notorious defensive hammer.
Nope. Granted he missed 15 games this season, but he's averaging less than one a game and has only 27 so far.
How about the enforcers? Dan Carcillo and Jody Shelley?
Well, combined they have more than 100 (118) but that's not even as many as the best hitter on the team.
How about Mike Richards - who so many people around the NHL ridiculously label a head hunter?
No. He has 66 hits. Fewer than ANdreas Nodl (72) and Claude Giroux (75).
Well, No. 1 is Darroll Powe, with a whopping 128 - not bad for a fourth line player.
No. 2 is Andrej Meszaros with 110 - just another excellent part of his game.
And No. 3 is Braydon Coburn (more on him coming in a separate story on delcotimes.com tomorrow) with 101.
Here's a few other surprises:
Most giveaways: Matt Carle (39) - most among forwards: Mike Richards (26).
Fewest giveaways among regular players: Blair Betts (5)
Most Missed Shots: Jeff Carter (83) - O.K., that's not a surprise.