- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2002

Seen and heard last night at Madison Square Garden in New York:
TIME OUT Center Dainius Zubrus was excused from last night's game so he could be present for the birth of his first child. Other than missing his hulking presence in the lineup, it was not much of a problem for the Caps because they carry an extra forward either Stephen Peat or Mike Farrell. Kip Miller moved to center, and Peat started with the third line on the right side.
In one way, the Caps have been uncharacteristically lucky this season. They are the only NHL team not to have injuries bad enough to put a player on the sideline, even for a game. In other years, by the sixth game of the season Washington had enough man-games lost to carry a team through for the season.
STATS MISSING When "real time" statistics became a part of the NHL a few years back, there were releases praising the move so fans could keep track of things like exactly how much time a player spent on the ice, how many hits he registered, how many take-aways or give-aways he was responsible for, how many shots he blocked, how many times he shot and missed not only the barn door but the entire barn.
Now such stats are gone, or at least most of them. Rumor has it that too many general managers were being forced to confront those figures in negotiations and wanted the numbers eliminated. A league source counters that a lot of agents also had second thoughts when GMs began using the stats against their clients.
Reporters and fans are left with shots on goal, scoring, ice time and faceoff stats, the latter broken down by zone. With missed and blocked shots eliminated, it is impossible to now tell how many shots a team attempted; with teams' zone time eliminated, it is impossible statistically to say how dominant a team was.
All for the benefit of negotiations.
Dave Fay


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