Penalty minutes; A ranking of discipline or toughness?

Red Wings Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall combine for 38 of the teams penalty minutes this season. Photo Credit Julian H. Gonzalez / DFP

Penalty minutes.

Depending on the statistics database you visit, penalty minutes can be ranked in ascending or descending order

Is the team with the fewest penalty minutes the most self-disciplined? Does a high ranking in this category show toughness?

Unlike other obvious categories, penalty minute rankings lead to varying opinions.

The Detroit Red Wings are ranked 29th in PIM this season (8.4 per game), with only the Phoenix Coyotes recording less (7.9 per game).

Jonathan Ericsson leads Detroit with 43 penalty minutes in 50 games. Despite leading the team in minutes in the sin bin, he ranks 91st in the NHL.

Forward Todd Bertuzzi, known for his brutal hitting in the past, ranks 114th in the league with 39 minutes.

While Detroit has had success and sits in first place in the Western Conference at the All-Star break, some of the worst offenders in penalties are also the best NHL teams this season.

The Boston Bruins average the most penalty minutes per game (15.9), followed by Philadelphia (15.5), Ottawa (14.2), Vancouver (13.9), New York Rangers (13.7) and the St. Louis Blues (13.3).

These six teams most commonly killing penalties are ranked in the best nine in the league, while Phoenix, on the other hand, is ranked 20th in the league, despite recording the fewest penalty minutes (397).

Continue reading


Michigan State Spartan Rashad Evans Earns Title Shot

Evans punishes Davis during their 5 round bout. (Photo by Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Former Michigan State Spartan wrestler “Sugar” Rashad Evans has finally earned his shot at the title again.

After winning the belt in 2008 against Forrest Griffin, Evans lost it in his next fight against Lyoto Machida.

It was no easy task on the road back to the belt for Evans. He defeated Thiago Silva, and Rampage Jackson. After the Jackson fight Evans earned a title shot against Shogun Rua. Rua however would hurt his knee, forcing Evans to wait almost a year for his shot. A few weeks before the title bout Evans himself hurt his knee forcing him to miss his opportunity.

One of Evans best friends and training partners took the title shot himself. Jon Jones.

Jones has since then dominated the division while Evans has had to sit back and watch his former friend wear the belt. Evans left his training camp and has feuded publicly with Jones over the last year because of it.

Continue reading

No. 20 Wolverines outmatched by No. 4 Ohio State


Burke (3) driving on Aaron Craft as Michigan offense struggles during 64-49 loss at Ohio State. Photo Credit: Jay LaPrete/ AP

Foul trouble and rebounds haunted No. 20 Michigan in its fifth road loss of the season at No. 4 Ohio State 64-49.

Senior guard Zack Novak and sophomore forward Jordan Morgan and fellow sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz all had four fouls in the game forcing them to play safe on defense. Continue reading

Burke heads to The School Up North

Trey Burke celebrates win over Michigan State. Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio

Saturday afternoon No. 20 Michigan will travel to Columbus, Ohio to play rival No. 3 Ohio State for first place in the Big Ten.

But for one Wolverine this game means more than first place and a win over a hated rival.
For freshman guard Trey Burke it’s a chance to come home and show his family and friends he made the right choice by leaving his hometown Columbus, Ohio for Ann Arbor.

“It’s a game I’m definitely looking forward to,” Burke said. “Just the opportunity to go back home and play is big.”

Burke turned away from a lot when he choose to head to, what former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes called U of M, ‘that school up north.’

Burke had all the reason to stay home and play for the Buckeyes.

Not only has OSU been on top of the Big Ten lately but his best friend growing up is the team leader.

Burke and Jared Sullinger became best friends in elementary school and in high school during Burke’s junior season the two led Northland High School to national No. 1 ranking by ESPN HS and USA Today before losing in the regional finals to Lincoln High School.

Continue reading

Tom Izzo Enters Legendary Status In Big Ten With Win No. 400

Tom Izzo celebrates win no. 400 with his team at the press conference. Courtesy of Mlive

“I’m pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State,”

“I am going to be a lifer,”

“This is what I’m going to be. And I’m damn proud of it.”

Those were the words Tom Izzo said during his press conference two summers ago. Those words made the statement that Tom Izzo would be a Spartan for life after the NBA has continuously tried to sweep Izzo off his feet.

Tom Izzo made another statement last night, but he didn’t speak it.

Izzo claimed victory no. 400 against Minnesota at the Breslin Center on Wednesday night. The win means much more than Michigan State improving to 17-4 and moving into a first place tie for the Big Ten.

Continue reading

Game Recap: Izzo Earns 400th Win Against Minnesota

Tom Izzo directs his team courtesy of the NY Daily

Tom Izzo doesn’t usually get emotional when he accomplishes something for himself. He saves it for when his team or a player reaches a milestone but, with under a minute left in No. 10 Michigan State’s (17-4, 6-2) victory over Minnesota (15-6, 3-5) Tom Izzo was tearing up on the bench.

The game itself was entertaining for Spartan fans. The Spartans only trailed once in the game and that was 3-2. MSU shot 54% from the field and out rebounded Minnesota 32-24 to a 68-52 victory.

Freshman Branden Dawson continued his recent strong play scoring 16 points with a few rim rattling dunks sprinkled in.

The real star of the game was senior forward Draymond Green.

The Saginaw native scored 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and had 6 assists. While Green is used to impressing the Izzone and Tom Izzo, he also impressed Minnesota’s head coach Tubby Smith.

Smith recruited Green heavily when Smith was coaching at Kentucky. Smith talked to the Lansing State Journal after the game.

Continue reading

Novak leading the Way

Novak bleeding in a win at Illinois in 2008-09 season. Photo Credit: Dylan Burkhardt

You don’t have to lead the team in a bunch of statistical categories to be the team leader.

Senior guard Zack Novak proves that for the No. 20 Michigan basketball team.

He isn’t the top scorer, rebounder, distributer, shot blocker nor does he create turnovers, but he does all the little things which is just what the Wolverines (16-5, 6-2 Big Ten) needed from him Tuesday night in their 66-64 win over Purdue (14-7, 4-4 Big Ten). Continue reading

Branden Dawson’s Fire Key to Michigan State’s Deep Run In Tournament

Dawson engaged with other players on the court

One takeaway from the Michigan State vs Purdue game was Branden Dawson’s ability to turn it on when he wants to.

The freshman has the talent and skill set to play at the next level, it’s just getting him to consistently play with a passion.

Michigan State may of found it in the game vs Purdue.

Dawson really seemed to get fired up when he was engaged in talking trash to Purdue, including head coach Matt Painter. Dawson may believe he has something to prove to everyone once people start talking to him on the court.

It’d be a huge advantage for MSU to get Dawson motivated and fired up during games because his production is key for the Spartans to go deep in the NCAA tournament.

Personally I’m not a fan of talking trash on the court or field. It’s not my style but for certain players it works. One player it works for is Dawson’s teammate senior forward Draymond Green.

If you ever watch MSU games Green’s mouth is running from warm ups to after the game. He never stops. It’s part of his game to get inside the head of his opponent and frustrate them. Green should lend Dawson a trash talking session because Dawson sure did get fired up after talking.

The Indiana freshman finished with a team-high 14 points and added a few big slams just for good measure.

Continue reading

Game Recap: No. 10 Michigan State Takes Frustration Out On Purdue

One of Branden Dawson's Thunderous Dunks Against Purdue

The last time No. 10 Michigan State (16-4, 5-2) lost two games in a row they went on a 15 game winning streak afterward.

After losing to Northwestern in a poor defensive game, and a tough one point loss at Michigan, the Spartans buckled down and crushed Purdue (14-6, 4-3) 83-58.

Purdue’s shooting resembled a middle school basketball game.

The Boilermakers shot 29 percent from the field. All-star Robbie Hummel struggled the most shooting 0-11 and finished with two points.

Michigan State center Derrick Nix continued his strong play down low scoring 12 points, shooting 5-7 from the field.

This was the breakout game for talented freshman Branden Dawson. The Indiana native was highly recruited out of high school between Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, and Purdue’s Matt Painter. Dawson chose MSU upsetting many Purdue fans.

Continue reading