Stars By The Numbers: A Reduced Role for Toby Petersen

This last week not only produced a perfect 3-0 homestand for the Stars, it also produced plenty of obscure stats upon which this series is predicated.

So in honor of Loui Eriksson's game tying goal against Phoenix last Monday that led to the shootout win, I'll lead off with the following stat, just so you can see how rare an occurrence Loui's feat has been recently.

2 - Number of times the Stars tied or won a game with a goal in the last minute of regulation last season. Both of which occurred in the month of March.

The first time it occurred, Jamie Benn was driving a stake through the hearts of last year's Coyotes with a power play goal with 4.8 ticks on the clock on the first day of the month.

The second time it occurred was on March 13th when it appeared the Stars would salvage a least a point in their last home game of the year against the Kings thanks to a Jamie Langebrunner goal with 40.8 seconds left.

But lo and behold, Michael Handzus had other ideas as his redirection past Kari Lehtonen with 20.8 seconds left gave LA the lead back. And one they wouldn't relinquish.

More hockey fun facts after the jump

1:22 - The amount of ice time Tom Wandell has spent in special teams situations for the Stars thus far this season, which accounts for just over 4% of the time the Stars have spent on the power play and shorthanded in games Wandell has played in.

Remarkably, that only ranks 2nd on the team for lowest TOI for this department. The lowest?

0:00 - Which belongs to Toby Petersen.

And yes, I double checked the official game summaries than the NHL puts out after every game.

For comparison sake, Petersen was on the ice for just over 29% of the Stars total shorthanded ice time last year and was 3rd amongst the Stars forwards behind Steve Ott and Adam Burish in that category.

This year, Jake Dowell and Vernon Fiddler are getting that ice time.

3 - Number of Too Many Men penalties that were doled out during Monday's ill-scheduled Columbus Day matinee. The officials nailed the Stars twice for this call while Phoenix got the gate for it once.

2 - Number of games it tooks the Stars GF/60 on the power play to exceed their GA/60 when shorthanded. Again, it doesn't really much in the grand scheme because the sample size is too small.

But consider this.

Last year, the Stars GF/60 on the power play trailed their GA/60 shorthanded until the 45th game of the year when it dipped slightly ahead, thanks to a four power play goal outburst against Atlanta that allowed it to rise from 6.741 to 7.371.

For the record, this important plus/minus metric stayed in positive territory for the next five days before diving into negative territory for the rest of the season.

We're five games into the 2011-12 campaign and it's been in positive territory for three games, including the most recent contest against Columbus. The longer it stays in positive territory, the more validation it'll give Glen Gulutzan's system.

And speaking of Gully, I spent part of my Texas Rangers ALCS celebration hangover channel surfing before the Cowboys killed my sports buzz. I finally settled on FSSW's In Their Own Words because it featured Razor interviewing the newest Stars coach.

He recounted his first coaching job in Las Vegas in the ECHL, where he also doubled as the Outlaw's GM and had to deal with travel issues, of all things.  As coach, he also had to deal with the distraction of gambling by his players in Sin City.

Considering all he had to deal with, Gulutzan had to come up with an interesting way to combat this problem when one day during practice, his best player showed up barely able to skate. Gully kicked him out of practice, then sat the young unnamed kid down to find out what happened.

Not surprisingly, the player had been out gambling all night until 7:00 am.

So Gully came up with this team rule to combat the problem of players missing practice because they pulled an all nighter at the Blackjack table (or wherever they were gambling and whatever they were gambling on).

First offense - It's on me. the offending player gets a warning

Second offense - $100 fine to be paid by the offending player

Third offense - $100 fine to be paid by EVERY MEMBER OF THE TEAM.

Which leads to the final By The Numbers stat for this week...

1 - The number of $100 fines that were paid. By an unnamed player.

Gully decided he wasn't going to police this activity. It was going to be on the players to police it.

Which I'm sure they did quite effectively when you consider $100 to a someone playing in the ECHL amounts to about 1/4 to 1/3 their weekly pay.

Anyway, I found the story interesting because it showed at that level, Gulutzan would treat his players like adults.

Even to the point of allowing the players to police un-adult like activities.

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