Latvian hockey players in NHL

Goalies

As I'm a goalies man the official NHL statistics has been grinding my gears as I would say for quite a long time. There is this pre-lockout and the post-lockout problem which has been ignored by the NHL and it's pretty easy to overcome it.

Starting 1983-84 season, the NHL introduced a five-minute extra period of overtime following the third period in the event of a tied game. A team losing in overtime would get no points. This rule remained in effect until the 1999–2000 season, where a team losing in overtime was awarded 1 point. If the game remained tied after the five-minute extra period, it remained a tie, until the NHL shootout arrived in the 2005–06 season. Overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs remained unchanged.[1]

So the goalie statistics. For example Arturs Irbe who played in pre-lockout era from 1991-92 till 2003-04 and his official NHL record is Win - Loss - Tie where over time loss counted simply as loss but Elvis Merzlikins who is playing in post-lockout era record will be Win - Loss - Over time loss. So the missing peaces by comparing both goalies by official NHL statistics is over time loss for Arturs Irbe and tie games for Elvis Merzlikins despite the fact that both goalies has played in overtime. In the light of these facts the we can cross out the modern shoot out statistics and call it additional statistics.

So the final formula is to compare goalies from both eras is:

  • Regulation and over time victories

  • Regulation losses

  • Overtime losses

  • Tie games after overtime.

Minor leagues

The whole structure of professional US and Canadian hockey depends on the NHL. Despite the fact that the NHL is tightly closed league with unequal markets and shared revenues we have seen large buy-ins, relocations and rumors or desire for relocation through the years. So basically the big hockey is where the big money is so comes the minor affiliations with subsidies from parent teams. In the 90's there were two parallel options for NHL farm or affiliation team - AHL and IHL until it's demise in 2001. Long story short in this whole story of  minor hockey leagues are a lot of team, franchise relocations within the league or from a one league to another league, the leagues ceasing to exist and league mergers. There is a lot to read about it. If you're into it just dig in.

Professional hockey leagues in North America as in season 2022-23:

  • AAA - AHL

  • AA - ECHL

  • A - SPHL, FHL

So the reason why I am talking about the minors are because I like statistics and I want to share. So I present you the combined AHL and IHL statistics for Latvian goalies.

AHL

ECHL

So from a long list of former hockey leagues I would like to note those where my compatriots has participated over years.

  • International hockey league - IHL 1945-2001 - six surviving teams merged with AHL;

  • West coast hockey league - WCHL 1995-2003 - six surviving teams merged with East Coast Hockey League and became just ECHL;

  • Central hockey league - CHL 1992-2014 - seven surviving teams merged with ECHL;

In CHL all over those existing years has played Raitis Ivanans, Peteris Skudra and Viktors Ignatjevs who later played in NHL. Sergejs Naumovs, Igors Bondarevs, Aleksandrs Cuncukovs, Gatis Ceplis, Arturs Kupaks, Janis Tomans, Mareks Jass, Arvids Rekis has played for National team of Latvia in IIHF World Championships and Winter Olympic games. Karlis Zirnis and Ronalds Ozolins has become well known coaches.

In WCHL has played well known National team players - Georgijs Pujacs, Rodrigo Lavins and Sergejs Naumovs.

Skaters

Points scored per game

Arithmetical average points scored per game? No thanks because that's yesterday and lazy! I have something better in my sleeve. I have calculated in how many game players have scored at least one point divided it by career games played so we can see the true player scoring utility.

Hat-tricks

I don't know what is the single best thing but I am sure that the second one is scoring at 3 or more goals in a game. For Latvian hockey It's been more than 20 years since Sandis Ozolinsh scored his second NHL hat-trick but I have never lost a hope to see the next one.

  1. Sandis Ozolinsh (Avalanche) scored 3 goals on December 6, 1999 in home game vs Vancouver Canucks;

  2. Sandis Ozolinsh (Hurricanes) scored his second hat-trick on March 4, 2001 in away game vs Chicago Blackhawks. And he did in a great fashion - 1 goal 5vs5, 1 goal in PP and 1 goal in 4vs5.

Since the next closest thing to scoring 3 goals in a game is scoring 2 goals I had a natural curiosity who and how many times that has happened so I compiled the data in I think self explanatory table for you to see.

Point streaks

I have created a self explanatory table where I have summarized the length of player point scoring streaks starting from as small as scoring at least one point in two games in a row.

Goal streaks

More numbers

Between all the dates and numbers relating to Latvian hockey players in and related to NHL I tried to choose the most important and to highlight them.