So with everybody from Joe the Proverbial Plumber all the way up to Uncle Ted himself discussing the officiating in a 5-2 win over the 10th place team in the East, I figured I'd take some time to look into just how much time the Caps spend in the box, and their success in paying off their sins.
The numbers you'll see are the minors committed, PIMs/game and PK%, with league ranks for each. The below are the last 4 years, including this one.
'05-'06: 619 Minors committed (Most), 18.3 PIMs/game (4th most), 78.9% PK (28th best)
'06-'07: 451 Minors (13th most), 15 PIMs/game (9th most), 80.2% PK (23rd best)
'07-'08: 366 Minors (7th fewest), 11.9 PIMs/game (4th fewest), 80.5% PK (25th best)
This year: 305 Minors (6th most), 13 PIMs/game (7th fewest), 79.8% PK (20th best)
So does this mean that since Alex Ovechkin has come to town that the inmates run the asylum? Hardly. In fact, you've got to go all the way back to the 2000-01 season to find the last year the Caps were even in the TOP HALF of killing penalties. The growth of the players is admittedly remarkable, but there's still three Caps players who are in the Top 40 of the league at taking the most 5 on 5 penalties per 60 minutes, and one of them is being paid $4 million this to be a leader.
Is the problem a European one? Well, Detroit is routinely in the Top 10 of fewest PIMs per games, and they don't have a roster that Don Cherry would gush over. Their players do not do things like knowing how many people to have to be on the ice when killing a penalty, or diving to trip up a skater with under 4 minutes to play, or counting to 5 with under 3 minutes in a game.
As one who doesn't like Kerry Fraser or Don Koharski and wouldn't even think about defending them, I'd suggest that Messrs. Boudreau and company work on their own house, and understand that ANY penalty is dangerous for the Caps, regardless of who's killing the penalty kill.