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Who are the most disciplined and undisciplined teams in the NHL?

Mar 27, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

Let’s continue our best-and-worst series (see: special teams, shot differential, 5-on-5 scoring) with a look at discipline. Or in the case of teams like the Senators, Bruins and Jets, a lack thereof:

PPs PKs Diff
1 SJS 262 195 67
2 CAR 257 222 35
3 DAL 255 232 23
4 NYR 237 214 23
5 PIT 246 226 20
6 NYI 247 229 18
7 FLA 243 228 15
8 MIN 228 219 9
9 CGY 224 217 7
10 PHX 259 253 6
11 NSH 220 215 5
12 ANA 244 240 4
13 CHI 234 230 4
14 EDM 248 245 3
15 WSH 262 259 3
16 MTL 256 257 -1
17 STL 249 250 -1
18 COL 218 220 -2
19 CBJ 248 251 -3
20 TBL 235 240 -5
21 DET 251 264 -13
22 LAK 258 271 -13
23 BUF 226 242 -16
24 NJD 214 231 -17
25 VAN 232 249 -17
26 TOR 229 247 -18
27 PHI 262 284 -22
28 WPG 235 264 -29
29 BOS 202 239 -37
30 OTT 239 287 -48


Unlike the three other things we’ve looked at in this series, there doesn’t seem to be a strict relationship between winning/losing and taking fewer/more penalties. Yes, the Sharks are one of the NHL’s elite, but the Hurricanes, Islanders, and Panthers sure aren’t. Conversely, while the Senators have had a tough season, the Bruins sure haven’t.

San Jose’s differential certainly stands out though, just because it’s such a big number. The Sharks have been shorthanded the fewest times per game (2.64) while averaging the sixth-most power plays (3.54).

“I think it’s a big reason why we have the success we’ve had so far winning games,” forward Tommy Wingels said in January. “[On] a lot of teams, the power play guys get paid a lot to produce on the power play. You have to keep them without the man advantage. When you stay disciplined, you often times limit the other team’s scoring opportunities. That’s what we try to do defensively.”

Related: Hitch says killing penalties is more important than scoring on the power play

  1. upyourstodd - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    How does the difference between how many power plays you get and how many penalty kills you have have any correlation with discipline? How many penalties a team commits as a standalone statistic should be the mark of a teams discipline. Unless im totally clueless and dont grasp the concept this appears to misinterpret the meaning of discipline or lack there of.

    • Jason Brough - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      I get what you’re saying; I’m just not so sure they’re completely independent of each other. Unless you believe the standard of officiating remains consistent game to game and there’s no such thing as make-up calls.

      • upyourstodd - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        I believe that there are too many variables that go into the amount of penalties a team takes as opposed to how many power plays they get. Style of play, officiating etc. This also does not take into account 10 minute misconducts, which should fall into the category of undisciplined play and loss of composure.

      • drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        The Bruins have far and away the fewest power plays this season. Without game charting, I can’t say for sure why, but the Bruins have been ahead in so many games, they’re probably not diving or trying to sell penalties as much as other teams. I watch most of their games, as well; they don’t seem to dive much as a team (Marchand being the notable exception). And this would seem to work both ways. If the Bruins are ahead in a lot of games, the team they’re playing is behind a lot. Since teams that are behind tend to need power plays, you see them try to dive or sell penalties a lot. That probably accounts for an increase in penalties against the Bruins relative to much of the league.

        And even then, the Bruins are 16th in times on the PK. They’re hardly an example of an undisciplined team. If you watch them play, it’s obvious that they’re not undisciplined. Except against the Habs…

        Hell, Chara experimented with diving for a while, and the refs were so used to him not diving, they wouldn’t buy it!

      • sabatimus - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        For all the reasons listed in this comment section, this article is useless.

        1) You need to define what “discipline” means.
        2) As upyourstodd said, there’s far too many variables, and the lack of 10 minute misconducts means the data above is extremely flawed and an indicator of just about nothing.

        Strike that. This article has potentially two uses: either to start a flame war or demonstrate how to make statistics irrelevant.

      • Jason Brough - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        I think people may be getting too caught up in the title of the post. My fault, I guess.
        But if you’re consistently finishing games with more PKs than PPs, there might be an issue. (See: all the times Craig Berube has said the Flyers have gotta take less penalties.)
        And that San Jose differential is definitely worth pointing out.

      • c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        That San Jose differential at 67 is kinda eye popping. It certainly helps explain the amount of shots they get on net.

        Curious as to why that number is so big.

    • imleftcoast - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      4 of the bottom 6 are Canadian teams. Proving the bias – fire Gary.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        that’s a joke, right? if so, thumbs up.

      • imleftcoast - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        It’s a joke. But I can see Canadian sports talk radio hosts throwing it out there.

  2. sjsharks66 - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Hope the Sharks stay this way in the playoffs. The 2 penalties last year against the Kings really put the nail in the coffin for the series. At this point the Sharks are leading or in the top 4 of so many statistics that they can’t fail. If they fail to bring the cup to San Jose with the season they have had, there’s nothing more to be said rather then they choked. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen!

    • skr213 - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      Premature choke comment. And by one of our own!! So if they get to the SCF and lose in 7 to the Bruins, that would be a “choke”?? C’mon, that’s just stupid.

  3. rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    The media is starting to speculate that if the former owners of the Canucks are held liable in the Steve Moore case, some current owners including Jeremy Jacobs and Ed Snider will radically change their rosters to reduce the chance that they could be sued over something like a Chara rub out.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      oh come on man, the Broad Street Bullies narrative should be over by now. maybe the Flyers take a lot of minors and get in a decent amount of fights, but they aren’t a team full of cheapshot goons like they used to be. not to mention, neither Bertuzzi or McSorely were Flyers (the two times I can remember that charges were pressed. Melnyk wanted me to add Matt Cooke to this list lol), so they shouldn’t even be in the conversation over a couple other teams.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        The Bruins and Flyers are hyper-sensitive to this issue because of the Marc Savard and Chris Pronger situations.

        It just so happens that they also hypocritically enjoy playing “playoff hockey” where there are no penalties. That may be coming to an end if the NHL (headed by Jacobs and Snider) can’t lawyer their way out of the Steve Moore lawsuit.

      • toiletclown - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        Another Penguins reference. Your jealousy amazes me.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        yeah. you’re right. I’m jealous. I just really, really, really wish Matt Cooke (not even on the Penguins anymore, dipsh**) was on the Flyers.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        and rdk, why would they be hyper-sensitive to it when one of their own players was hurt (in Prongers case, not even a dirty play), not their own player hurting somebody else? why would they be held liable for what happened to Pronger?

        you know Moore was not a Canuck at the time right?

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        Those teams employed players who suffered career-ending injuries, therefore they could be held liable. It’s basic labor law.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        …they’re already paying Pronger his full (or close to it) salary. there was no mistreatment of his injury (unless they take a look at that short time where he came back, only to leave again… but that hasn’t happened yet), why would they be liable?

        players have career-ending injuries all the time. the team is never responsible, unless they’re forcing the player back onto the ice while hurt.

        and I’m still not seeing how that has ANYTHING to do with the Moore situation. MOORE WAS NOT A CANUCK. the only reason the Canucks would be liable (idk if I agree with it or not, just saying) is because it was one of THEIR players that injured him. can you tell me a time a Flyer has had charges pressed on him for a play? no, you can’t. why would Snider be liable for anything at this point?

        you don’t have a real point here, right? you’re just f’ing with me, right?

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        The point is that Jacobs and Snider are already afraid of liability because they have seen the devastating effects that a career-ending injury can have on an individual that they know personally. Obviously Pronger isn’t suing because the NHL allowed him to remain an “active” player and receive compensation.

        However, the Steve Moore lawsuit adds a new wrinkle in that a precedent may be set where other teams can be held liable for injuring a player due to violent play, such as in the case of Chara assaulting someone with an inanimate metal rod.

        That would be the reason why teams like the Bruins and Flyers remake their rosters and radically change their style of play.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        and THAT, would be the reason I said anything in the first place.

        The Flyers have no reason to rebuild their roster to avoid ‘goonery.’ They are no longer the Broad Street Bullies. There’s absolutely 0 reason for you to have included Ed Snider in your comment. I don’t know how to lay it out any more clear for you. The only reason the Bruins would have to worry is the McSorely incident. Now, they have a couple guys that some consider to be goons as well, but there’s nobody on that team that’s capable of repeating the Bertuzzi or McSorely incidents currently, so I wouldn’t see a need for them to rebuild either. You’re talking out your ass more than I usually do on here.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        and even if Pronger WANTED to sue, he’d have to prove a mishandling of the injury by the Flyers.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        I was quoting recent media reports who name-dropped Jacobs and Snider, likely because they’re the two most powerful NHL board members. I never commented one way or another on the Flyers’ style of play.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        well, rereading my comment…

        “but there’s nobody on that team that’s capable of repeating the Bertuzzi or McSorely incidents currently”

        I guess there’s an argument to be made for Thornton, but I wouldn’t consider him to be a dangerous guy. but that’s beside the point about the Flyers anyway.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        Steve Downie is a lawsuit waiting to happen and he was given as an example by Francois Gagnon in his report.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        yeah, might as well “radically change their roster” then. good point.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        but don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting rid of Downie, and I say it on here all the time.

    • 7mantel - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      The owner would have to have prior knowledge that their player was going to injure an opposing player . That would open a can of worms ,every sport owner then would be liable when ever a player gets hurt !

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        You mean like how players (Bertuzzi, Chara, Lucic, etc.) routinely cite the “enforcers code” after a game?

      • 7mantel - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Your being a little ridiculous rdk, they aren’t going out on the ice committing felonies with the intent before hand . Take a pitcher in baseball, he drills a batter after a home run and that batter gets hurt .You want the owner held responsible ?

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        the again, I bet a lawyer would make the same exact argument. and if it got that far, you never know how much that could play in. I can kinda feel rdk on that one.

      • 7mantel - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Then say good-bye to every sport team !

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        or possibly just more clauses in player contracts. not saying I agree with it, but unless teams are contractually protected from that happening, if it really came down to it, a lawyer would probably exploit that.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:22 PM


      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Bertuzzi’s defense hinges on the fact that the Canucks publicly declared their intention to seek retribution, and when they challenged to a fight Moore accepted it under the “enforcers code” and yet Bertuzzi still felt the need to seek additional retribution, outside the norms of both the written and unwritten rules of hockey.

      • 7mantel - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        Let’s see how it plays out ! We can only speculate.

    • flyerspsu - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      lol no that wouldnt happen

  4. nunan - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Can’t assume a team with a negative value is ‘undisciplined’. The Bruins have the least amount of PPs in the league. That’s not because the teams they play just happen to be ‘disciplined’ whenever they play the Bruins. In other words, can’t just look at the final value. Have to consider what goes into the PP and PK numbers. The Bs have the least amount of PPs but also have less PKs than over half the league. Read into that what you will. I think refs just tend to get into a habit during a game. The Bs don’t draw a lot of penalties and therefore, there aren’t a lot of PPs awarded in that game in general, hence their low totals. Great example is the MTL game. The Habs survive on the PP. So it was a team that doesn’t need the PP vs a team that does. It happened to be a game where 12 penalties were called and the result is somewhat predictable. So much depends on the officiating crew that particular night. Rather have a good 5-5 team in the post season bc the refs call less.

    • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:10 PM

      The Habs survive thanks to a great PK. The PP is not particularly great and they don’t get as many chances as you think they do.

      Also, the game against Boston this week was marred by 4 consecutive third period “make-up” calls in favor of the Bruins, all thanks to Julien’s temper tantrum between periods. That was an embarrassment to the game.

      • nunan - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Making my point. I don’t care who the penalties are against. The more penalties are called, the more the game is negatively effected. Case in point, the Bs have the least amount of PPs in the league. Then they randomly have a game with 6 PPs? That’s not bc they just happened to draw 6. It’s because the Habs work their hardest to draw penalties. When they’re successful, the other team gets more calls too. The result is a game where the refs are overly involved, which is a terrible things for any sport. Again, depends on the reffing crew. Some give into those teams that try and draw penalties and some don’t. Whichever way it goes, it tends to be pretty even. I will always vote for LESS ref involvement.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        The B’s took 6 penalties because the Habs are in their heads. Losing 6 out of 7 to your nemesis will do that to a team.

      • Moop - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        The Canadiens are 7th in the league in power play chances. They have been within the top ten teams in the league for power play chances in each of the past three seasons.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        7th in the league in PP chances doesn’t mean anything when they have a negative differential.
        You wouldn’t believe how many PPs were quickly cancelled by the other ref.

      • nunan - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        And I guess you can say the same for the Habs then, using that logic. They committed 6 penalties, too. Bs must be in their head. Seriously though, so you’re saying the penalties called on the Bs were warranted bc the “habs are in their head” but the calls against the Habs in the third were “make-up calls”. You sound incredibly biased, which is fine. Just admit you’re a fan of the Habs (or you just dislike the Bruins), that way I know to ignore your posts bc they’re one-sided. I am a Bruin’s fan but I know what is good for the game in spite of who I root for. Basketball sucks bc the refs play a huge role in that sport. The ‘fouls’ are so subjective. The same holds true when there are games like the one this week, where there were 12 penalties called. And just to respond to your last comment with my own one-sided/fan comment, we both know the Habs would never survive in a 7 game series against the Bs where less penalties are called and the Bs dominate 5-5 like they did this week, nevermind the fact there are no shootouts for the Habs to fall back on. I think most logical observers would favor the Bs in a playoff series. Recent playoff results between the two teams would support that, too. Nobody wants the Bruins in the playoffs.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Anybody who knows anything about hockey knows that those were make-up calls. The footage of Julien between periods chewing out the refs made it obvious what was about to happen. The Bruins’ penalties were to guys like Chara and Boychuck for losing their minds after clean hits. And Lucic is still crying about it two days later. It’s unfortunate that Parros didn’t dress because the B’s wouldn’t have even bothered to show-up, like the previous encounters this season.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        Just in case you forgot what the Boston Bruins bandwagon was like before you all got back on it in 2011, here’s Bill Simmons in 2008 summing it up nicely:

        “I mention this only because, for the past two weeks, I have been watching hockey. It started innocently enough — the Bruins were pitted against the Canadiens in Round 1 of the playoffs, and even though I couldn’t have named five Bruins, I found myself flicking over to Versus for Game 1 just because I enjoyed seeing the uniforms so much. The Bruins were wearing their white, black and gold, the Habs were wearing their red and blue, and they were playing in Whatever-The-Hell-The-Forum-Is-Called-Now. Just like old times … right down to the part when the Bruins lost. Game 2 happened on a Saturday and I caught the third period and overtime; we blew that one, too. But it wasn’t until Game 3 that I found myself getting hooked — not for the excitement of the games as much as the ignominy of Montreal fans infiltrating Whatever-The-Hell-The-Garden-Is-Called-Now and cheering on the visiting Habs. Even worse, they had no problem throwing down with Boston fans in the stands. I mean, this was like something that would happen to the Atlanta Hawks or the Tampa Bay Rays.

        No matter what has happened to hockey in Boston over the years, this was an unforgivable turn of events — nearly as violating as hundreds of British people randomly showing up in Charlestown dressed in 1770s garb, heading over to the Warren Tavern and starting to push locals around. I don’t care what’s happened to me and the Bruins over the years; the fact that (A) Montreal fans felt safe enough to come to a playoff game in Boston and (B) they could get THAT many tickets to a playoff game had to rank among the saddest moments in recent Boston sports history. It’s one thing to see the dead body of someone you used to love; it’s another thing to watch vultures picking away at it. Like everyone else who cares about Boston as a sports city, I was completely horrified.”

      • nunan - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        rdk – short and sweet buddy. Always way more effective than a long post, which includes a copy and pasted quote using someone else’s thoughts and opinions. Bs sucked for so many years (don’t act like the Habs were any better..they haven’t won for a LONG time) but they started re-emerging in 2008 when they took the Habs to game 7 as an 8 seed. Since then, they’ve only been on the up and up and they’ve owned the Habs in the playoffs. And I don’t think it helps your argument to bring up the Bruins reactions to plays when I can easily complain about how the Habs utilize their dirty tactics. Dirty as in cheap, not dirty as in dangerous. And Boychuk was reacting to a punch in the head after he threw a clean hit and Subban reacted. So now you sound hypocritical.

      • rdk - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:06 PM

        Beating a depleted Habs team in OT in a game 7 after several non calls and non suspensions, including a dirty hit to the head on Halpern, which concussed him and led directly to the deflected-in series-winning goal, is “owning” them. C’est trop drôle!

      • nunan - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        Wow, talk about a biased, one-sided view. Again, all you had to say was that you’re a Habs fan and I wouldn’t have to waste time with your jaded view on what actually happens during these games. I can claim random non-calls and dirty plays by the Habs, too. Doesn’t help your argument. You also forgot about the time the Bs SWEPT the Habs…just completely dominated them. And if your argument is that the Habs were depleted and there were missed calls, I can say the same thing about the Bs…missing Seidenberg and the refs missing several embellishments, Subban throwing punches, etc. Just stop. Your hatred has distracted you from the point, which is to say more ref involvement is bad for the game. I know the Habs rely on it but the rest of the league is fine without 12 penalties in a game. Thanks for playin!

  5. lilgurgi - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    This report means nothing because it doesn’t take into account how the team plays. The Flyers are tied for the most PP’s (262) and have the 2nd most PK’s (284). The Flyers take their share of penalties, but it also shows that the style of game they play also causes the opponents to take a lot of penalties as well. This is from the Flyers (more times than not) playing a physical type of game.

    Last I checked they had the 10th ranked PP and the 6th ranked PK so it really hasn’t hurt them (other than breaking up momentum of the game).

    • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      sooooo…. would you say….. “These numbers don’t mean jack?”

  6. Wineshard - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    The ONLY thing this stat line tells me conclusively is that the Sharks are the best divers this year.

    Moore’s lawyer is getting the previous owner to testify because as any blood-sucking lawyer would do in a civil case he is going after the deep pockets or easy money. I am sure that the previous owner had to indemnify the current ownership (at least partly) for any future payments on the Moore case. The hammer would be that under oath the owner can’t say a lie and may have to hang himself if there could be evidence proving his testimony to the contrary. The money that may or may not be in escrow is sitting there waiting for the Moore case to take it.

    Not sure if this will be precedent setting or if it will be simply opportunistic?

  7. skr213 - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Would love 2 more columns regarding the teams’ PP% and PK%. So for instance, two teams might take the same number of PKs, but if their % of success is different, that says a lot. I’m guessing with those two extra columns, teams like the Canes and Islanders and Panthers might not still be in the top 10.

  8. thesportsjudge - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I’d like to see some sort of effective PP/PK overall time. When/if a team scores on the PP, how much time has elapsed. How much PP time is lost due to a call against that team while working on the PP? How many penalties are called at the 60 minute mark of a game that is over(are those even counted?)

  9. thesportsjudge - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    I’d also like to see that same list 2 more times, going by totals(PP and PK) not just differential.

  10. muckleflugga - Mar 27, 2014 at 7:29 PM


    eye popping to say the least

    unknown to many is doug wilson’s aggressive pursuit of greg louganis as an alternate coach

    mr louganis is possessed of excellent character, a remarkable history in dominating olympic diving championships and he’s a renowned dog trainer

    areas where sharks needs were most wanting

    he’s cleaned-up sharks diving program to the point the casual viewer might confuse a routine sharks’ game as the olympic diving trials … verily

    it goes without saying sharks needed a character boost … joe thornton’s whining embarrassment when clattered by a giant pavel datsyuk comes to mind … the full triple twisting hissy with too much splash

    losing divin’ devin was not enough with glide plane pavelski and splatter pants couture remaining on board … noooooo

    greg was needed and hired … throw in the fact he’s a superlative dog trainer well there you go

    eye popping

  11. bcisleman - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    Don’t know that discipline is as quantifiable as the article suggests, but it is vital to being a champion. The Dynasty Isles won 19 straight playoff series and four straight cups on hard work and discipline as talent. Watch Espo–starting at the 4:29 mark of this video–admit that lack of discipline kept his team from becoming a dynasty comparable to the Isles.

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