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Thinking Outside the [Penalty] Box

Long gone are the days when the Ducks were among the league leaders in penalty minutes. Surprise, surprise, that's not a bad thing.

Keeping track of PIM with his watch. Like a boss.
Keeping track of PIM with his watch. Like a boss.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

We Ducks fans have a lot to be happy about at this point in the 2013 NHL season. But we also have a lot of questions, starting with, "Why are the Ducks so good this year?" Obviously, there is no one reason for their stellar play. It's the combination of a lot of things, including Ryan Getzlaf's renaissance season, instant chemistry on the third line and the top defensive pairing, and the everyday genius of Bruce Boudreau. But something else has been happening this year that has not garnered as much attention: the Ducks are taking fewer penalties. Let's look at some stats, shall we?

Penalties Since the Second Lockout
Season PIM/Game League Ranking
2013 11.0 6
2011-12 12.0 21
2010-11 14.4 26
2009-10 16.1 26
2008-09 17.4 29
2007-08 18.1 30
2006-07 17.8 30
2005-06 17.8 20

Some things that immediately jump out:

  • They're doing better than they have in a long time, but last year wasn't terrible either.
  • Actually, they've improved every year for a while now.
  • They led the league in penalty minutes the year they won the Cup.


  • Bruce Boudreau is better at getting his players to stop taking penalties than Randy Carlyle was.
  • The 2006-07 Stanley Cup team played a completely different style of play than the current one does. And they were 5th in the league with a PK success rate of 85.1%, compared to the current team's 78.0%, good for 24th.
  • It's possible to win both ways.
  • George Parros was The Man.

Considering how bad the PK has been this year, staying out of the box has definitely helped the Ducks be where they are right now, but that doesn't mean it's been the biggest factor in their success. To be honest, I had expected a bigger difference between this year's PIM/Game and last year's. But I'd be willing to bet that the average before Boudreau took over was a lot higher than the average while he was in charge, and that's when they started winning, wasn't it?

Just one more thing to think about. But don't think about it to hard, or you might forget to enjoy how well the Ducks are playing right now.

[Ed. Note: Derek's post is just a preview to AC's discussion on penalties and the Ducks. Robby has a full on analysis for this week's Ducks Stat-urday. - JN]