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The hit game

As we've seen with injuries, hockey can be a brutal sport. Let's take a look at the Pittsburgh Penguin defensemen and the hits they've given and received.

Bruce Bennett

Extra Skater was tweeting out some odds and ends about stats and one caught our eye about tracking players who "get hit". Olli Maatta and Matt Niskanen ranked among the top defensemen in the league for getting hit a lot more than they dished out hits. So we ran the stats on all the Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen.

Hitorbehit

A few thoughts:

  • Look how few total hits Rob Scuderi takes, just 32 in 42 games. His "get hit" per game is a lot lower than I would have thought for a guy who spends a lot of time in front of his own net and in his own defensive zone and isn't the quickest player on his skates to avoid checks. Chalk that up to timing and a vet picking his spots and knowing where to go.
  • Brooks Orpik might be the #1 Penguin in the hit +/-, but he's also the number one Penguin involved in total collisions. This has hampered him before in previous seasons, so let's hope he doesn't get worn down.
  • Speaking of, Niskanen and Maatta have been mainstays on the Pens blue-line, and they've paid the price for it in eating a ton of checks to make plays.
  • Maatta's numbers in drawing penalties are among the best in the league too. For a rookie he has a veteran way to draw a call.
  • Robert Bortuzzo sure does get a lot of penalties for and against. Having a five fights figures in, but considering his low games played and ice-time, that's a lot of penalties.

Nothing too revolutionary or surprising, just an interesting look before the games tonight and something to consider down the stretch. For players like Maatta and Orpik who also played in Olympic games half the world away last month, it might be important to get them some rest for the playoffs to ensure maximize output.