Thursday, January 6, 2011

Skating for Miles

In today's modern game, we are often overwhelmed with stats which are gathered during a game. In most circumstances, the information is of interest only to a coaching staff, scouts and those participating in hockey pools.

In 1943-44, most statistical data pertained to goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. However, NHL President Red Dutton added another wrinkle into the mix. It was his desire to answer the burning question on every fans must-know-list. How far did an NHL forward skate in a game?

To assist in determining the answer to this question, Dutton hired a statistician. One of the players selected for study during a game was Elmer Lach of the Montreal Canadiens. According to calculations, Lach's performance was as follows...

First period, 3 shifts, 42 1/2 rushes covering 7,650 to 8,500 feet.

Second period, 3 shifts, 41 rushes covering 7,300 to 8,200 feet.

Third period, 3 shifts, 53 rushes covering 9,540 to 10,600 feet.

Based on this fact-finding-mission, the League estimated that Lach skated just over 4 to 5 1/4 miles.

Some 67 years later, it provides some insight into the state of the game during the early stages of the Original Six era. If anything, it provides a comparison for future generations who conduct a similar study.

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