Stu Hackel Week on Arctic Ice Hockey: Posts Hit aka "Stats the NHL ought to keep"

OTTAWA ON - FEBRUARY 15: Josh Bailey #12 and Michael Grabner #40 of the New York Islanders watch as the puck rings off the crossbar above the head of Brian Elliott #30 of the Ottawa Senators in a game at Scotiabank Place on February 15 2011 in Ottawa Ontario Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Stu Hackel wonders: "Hit posts. The stats now include shots on goal, blocked shots and shots that miss the net. But what about the ones that hit the post? They are noted in the real time play-by-play, but aren’t compiled anywhere. Wouldn’t it be informative to learn which players hit the post most often, or which team leads the league in that unfortunate category?"

As ridiculous as it sounds, the NHL stopped recording missed shots for several years because of a labor dispute. But that's water under the bridge - since the lockout, we've been getting this data. As with many NHL stats, there's general disagreement on what constitutes hitting the post or the crossbar. Madison Square Garden, as usual, has no clue:

Rink Crossbar Post Rink Crossbar Post
nyr 63 167 van 22 182
atl 35 162 was 22 148
nyi 34 180 cls 22 152
nsh 34 151 mon 21 198
nj 33 141 buf 19 183
ott 32 173 edm 19 156
pit 32 204 dal 19 148
min 32 146 stl 18 157
det 31 183 tb 17 167
fla 31 119 tor 17 144
ana 30 140 la 16 195
chi 29 134 cgy 14 168
car 27 165 bos 10 152
sj 27 134 col 10 136
pho 23 172 phi 8 224

As for individuals, here are the players with the most crossbars and posts hit - with a 60% delta between Pittsburgh and Colorado in terms of recording hit posts, some players will find it very difficult to make this list:

Player G S MS CB Post Pct
Alexander Ovechkin 328 2387 1136 6 41 1.22
Ilya Kovalchuk 284 1645 830 3 41 1.59
Pavel Datsyuk 184 1161 537 5 36 2.18
Dany Heatley 263 1484 668 1 40 1.70
Jarome Iginla 254 1642 683 7 32 1.51
Eric Staal 229 1777 766 5 32 1.33
Daniel Sedin 211 1423 624 3 32 1.55
Henrik Zetterberg 201 1744 686 3 32 1.33
Brendan Shanahan 94 824 309 9 24 2.69
Jaromir Jagr 123 921 399 5 27 2.22
Sidney Crosby 217 1207 489 5 27 1.67
Brian Rolston 149 1393 592 7 25 1.50
Alex Kovalev 138 1024 442 6 25 1.93
Evgeni Malkin 194 1280 535 5 26 1.54
Martin St. Louis 206 1376 636 5 26 1.40
Jeff Carter 191 1573 711 3 28 1.25
Ryan Getzlaf 134 963 493 7 23 1.89
Corey Perry 191 1331 569 4 26 1.43
Vincent Lecavalier 224 1687 630 4 26 1.18
Olli Jokinen 190 1683 683 4 26 1.17

And, as a percentage of shots taken:

Player G S MS CB Post Pct
Josef Vasicek 26 217 120 0 13 3.58
Chris Simon 19 166 76 0 9 3.45
Brendan Shanahan 94 824 309 9 24 2.69
Sergei Fedorov 50 517 234 3 18 2.62
Robert Lang 84 606 259 2 22 2.53
Anson Carter 44 170 82 0 7 2.36
Yanic Perreault 52 276 95 3 7 2.36
Mike Sillinger 74 394 193 4 11 2.27
Tony Amonte 24 265 112 0 9 2.24
Jaromir Jagr 123 921 399 5 27 2.22
Ladislav Nagy 36 320 147 1 10 2.19
Pavel Datsyuk 184 1161 537 5 36 2.18
Chris Drury 128 850 398 6 23 2.11
Martin Straka 64 383 172 0 13 2.10
Petr Prucha 78 479 225 3 13 2.05
Richard Park 57 584 205 4 13 2.01
Kristian Huselius 135 863 348 4 23 2.01
Jaroslav Modry 9 278 124 1 7 1.95
Alex Kovalev 138 1024 442 6 25 1.93
Viktor Kozlov 66 592 230 1 16 1.91

Chris Simon scored only 19 goals after the lockout - another nine goals instead of posts would certainly have extended his career by a year or two!

Verdict: the NHL needs to standardize recording of posts and crossbars across rinks before they report this stat. And even if they do, I don't find this list particularly informative. It's the kind of thing that has zero statistical significance and no predictive value.

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