Let's take a moment to bask in the reflected glow of Mirtle's updated Rod Langaway Award rankings. For those unfamiliar with this, Mirtle picks out all the defensemen in the league who have played at least 30 games and who average roughly two minutes on the penalty kill a game. Then he uses three stats - quality of competition, goals against per 60 minutes at even strength, and goals against per 60 minutes of short-handed time - to determine who the best defensive defensemen in the league are right now. It's not an exact science, but as far as quantifying defense goes, it's not bad either.
Tyler Myers is right outside the top 20 at number 21. Wooo for Tyler Myers! For some reason, I'm really, really starting to get excited about him potentially winning the Calder. To stack up against some of the other players on that list in those particular categories in your rookie year (at 19 years of age!) is pretty darn impressive.
I, however, am even more tickled with number 17, Henrik Tallinder. There was a time in 2007-2008, about the halfway point of the season, I think, where Hank was on the very top of the list when Mirtle did this. Shortly after that he dropped off a cliff and then he laid at the bottom in a broken, crumpled heap for the next season and a half. To see him creeping up these rankings again, for me that's a real sign that he's finally returning to form, and it makes me really happy. The quality of competition stat is definitely up for debate - I believe it's based on a player's plus/minus relative to his teammates which doesn't take into account whether it's a good team or a bad team - but goals allowed per 60 minutes at even strength and short-handed are pretty straight forward stats and important ones, especially for a guy who is supposed to be playing defense. So yay for you, Henrik Tallinder! I knew you still had that defensive stud in you somewhere.
*All stats are taken from Behind the Net. The guy behind Behind the Net has collected a bunch of cool stats and created some of his own. Stats are much harder to apply to hockey than say, baseball but if you're into numbers at all, you should really check this site out. Even the stats that don't quite work are interesting in concept.
*As part of his post, Mirtle asks if the reader thinks there should be some kind of official award for defensive defensemen. I didn't go into here since I've given this lecture many, many times before but for the record, duh, of course there should be an award for defensive defensemen. They don't get nearly enough credit or recognition for what they do. Even among d-men, offense gets the glory.