Today, however, I stumbled across something odd: Alex Edler has taken two faceoffs. In fact, he is one of only three defencemen in the NHL to record more than one faceoff this season.
Now, before you all rush to the message boards and declare Alex Edler to be the Canucks new fourth line centre, a couple caveats. First, that's stupid. And second, he apparently lost both faceoffs.
But I'm more interested in knowing how it happened. When a centre is waved out of the faceoff circle (which can happen for a multitude of reasons), he's normally replaced by a winger. There are many reasons for this, but it should suffice simply to say that defencemen just aren't meant to take faceoffs; let's say it's against their nature. If the second player taking the faceoff also commits a faceoff violation, the team gets a 2-minute bench minor for delay of game, so you simply won't see several players waved out until a defenceman is the only one remaining to take the draw.
The only occasion I can think of when a defenceman might be called in is if the team is defending a 5-on-3 powerplay with one forward and two defencemen. Oddly enough, the one record I could find in the Canucks season so far of Edler taking a faceoff it was in their unfortunate 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild in October where there were no 5-on-3 powerplays for the Wild. In fact, the faceoff was in the offensive zone. To make things even more confusing, the Canucks were on the powerplay at the time with both Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler on the ice.
So is it just a clerical error? Did someone write down #23 instead of #33? Well, yeah, probably. Unfortunately, I couldn't track down the other game that he took a faceoff in to see if it too was a typo or a mistake. Given the vital importance of this stat, I enlist you, the fine Bulies reading this, to track down that faceoff!