Monday, August 2, 2010

Who are the CBJ's pace-setting scorers?

The second post in my "Blue Jackets by the Numbers" series takes a look at the polar opposite of the first, which looked at clutch goal scorers.  While I would never suggest that the combination of scoring acumen, ice water in the veins and a dash of good fortune is anything but the most important combination in sports, I think it's also important to look at those who come roaring out of the gates to get their team on the path to victory.

Thus, we're going to look at the Columbus Blue Jackets players who scored the "pace-setting" goals, or the first goal for the team in a game.  It's not necessarily an easy thing to break the scoring ice, and those who have the touch early provide needed spark to get their team moving.  As we all know, momentum is king in sports, so let's celebrate those who gave the Blue Jackets momentum last season.

Need an early Blue Jackets goal?  Look to Antoine Vermette!
(Photo from DailyMe)
This particular query was much easier to construct; all I did was filter through the goal scorers who put the CBJ on the board first in the first period in a given game.  With no further ado, here's your list of 2009-2010 Columbus Blue Jackets pace-setter goal scorers:

  • Antoine Vermette - 5 games
  • Rick Nash - 3 games
  • Jason Chimera, Kristian Huselius & Andrew Murray - 2 games each
  • Derick Brassard, Chris Clark, Raffi Torres & R.J. Umberger - 1 game each
Oh my...Antoine Vermette is quite a sparkplug.  But here's an interesting trivia note: He scored 4 of those 5 goals on the road!  Matters not, as a goal is a goal no matter where it is scored.  Vermette's efforts largely didn't help the cause, though, as the Jackets lost 4 of the 5 games in which he was the team's first first-period scorer.

Jason Chimera always was tantalizingly fast in Columbus, and his unpredictability with the puck (blast it past the goalie while flying up the wing...or shoot it into the stands) made for some serious CBJ fan angst.  His two pace-setting goals will be missed, but how badly?

Not the automatic choice for pace-setting goal scorer,
Andrew Murray dropped two in last year (Photo from PuckHuffers)
In the pleasant surprise category, note that Andrew Murray got 2 of his 5 goals last year on pace-setting fast starts.  He's 28 years old, which makes him two years older than captain Rick Nash, so he's not a young pup on a team with what feels like a lot of them.  Murray does have energy, though, and pushes hard most every time he's on the ice.  His place on this list cements that impression in my book.

After the last post, I suppose I have to mention that Derick Brassard made this list.  I'll suggest that it's somewhat easier to be a pace-setter at the beginning of a game as opposed to a clutch goal scorer at the end of a game, but it's still good to see that Brassard put a goal with disproportionate importance in last season.  Not a lot, but something to build upon...

Looking forward, I've got a couple more areas that I want to mine.  Any requests from the audience?

2 comments:

  1. How about a +/- relating to goals scored in the final 60 seconds of a period? That could show us who should be out on the ice in that final shift.

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  2. I could do that one fairly easily - Just would need to add another field to the database and go hunt down the data.

    Give me a little while, and I'll work on that. Thanks for the input!

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