Some numbers of interest:
4 to 3: The edge in assists 24 games into the season for Brooks Orpik holds over Jordan Staal.
March 11, 2006: The last time the voters at hockeyfights.com agreed that Georges Laraque lost a fight. It was against Jody Shelley, if you're wondering. The recap stated Laraque his Shelley with his patented jackhammer lefts, before Shelley got in a couple rights, one of which caught BGL. Shelley then curiously lost his balance and the refs intervened. Sadly, no youtube evidence of this fight exists, so like Bigfoot I question it's existence.....Since that fight, Laraque has been voted a winner (or scored a draw) in his 16 fights since that point. Which includes pre-season and post-season scraps.
48: The number of goals Sidney Crosby is on pace to score at this point.
12/12: Sergei Gonchar's split of home points versus road points
65: combined points of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the 2nd highest tandem of teammates in the league behind Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis (69). Sid and Geno do have 2 man games in hand on the Tampa players.
3: The number of defenseman who have been credited with more hits than Brooks Orpik. [They are Montreal's Mike Komasarek, Calgary's Dion Phaneuf and surprisingly the Ranger's Fedor Tyutin].
As an aside: Hits are a very subjective stat to track, which is why the NHL briefly got them unofficially tracked. All it takes is a scorekeeper with a hometown bias and a quick finger to quickly inflate the smallest bumps into an official hit. Back in the early part of this decade the clown in Florida who used to always inflate Robert Svehla's hit statistics would always seem to bump him above rightful hit champion Darius Kasparaitis. This, obviously, has left a bad taste in my mouth after all these years.
Komasarek is a tough customer who hits a lot (2nd last season), so I don't think it's going on there. Phaneuf's basically a national hero in Canada for how he hits, so it wouldn't surprise me if he's slightly inflated. The surprise is Tyutin, who only average 2.25 hits a game last year's. His numbers have popped. Interesting. Orpik, for his part, has earned his stats, in my observations. He's been hitting everything in his radius. And not Svehla-style nudges, we're talking checks that take you out of the play here.
-7: Darryl Sydor's +/- rating this season for games at Mellon Arena
o: Sydor's +/- in away games.
4-1-0: Record when Mark Recchi has been a healthy scratch.
3.6: Goals scored per game the Pens score when Old Man Recchi is not in the lineup
2.8: Goals per game when Recchi dresses.
101 man games, 0 goals, 9 assists: Combined production of all Penguins defensemen not named Gonchar or Whitney. The list is (Nasreddine, Sydor, Letang, Eaton, Scuderi, Orpik). And as mentioned, Orpik's 4 assists is the class of this group too. To be fair, except for the rookie Letang none of these players see anything close to significant powerplay time. But then again, there is a reason the coaches ride Gonchar the full two minutes and rotate Whitney and Letang on the other point.
1: The number of Eastern Conference teams (excluding the porous Southeast Division) that have given up more goals to date than the Penguins. That team, of course, is Toronto.
27: The number of points the Penguins accumulated in the first 27 games of the 2006-07 season. That's right, they were 11-11-4 at one point last year. But then two really healthy streaks later they ended up getting 105 points on the season. So achieving 78 points in the standings in just 55 games averages to a pretty sweet 1.41 PPG. If these Penguins can get points at a similar streak, they'll end up with 106 points at season's end, one better than last season. Get 1.41 points a night for the rest of the season is certainly easier said than done though.