Travis Yost looks at which defensemen do the best job of preventing opposing players from shooting in the most dangerous areas and comes up with a number of interesting tidbits:
One of the big surprises (to me anyway) in this “bad” group is New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh. … McDonagh has leaked quality shots against two years in a row.
Oh, and Alex Pietrangelo. We have talked about his shaky underlying numbers before. Consider this another data point against him.
Lastly, it’s impossible not to notice how many “defensive defencemen” – by reputation only – sit in this quadrant. Brooks Orpik, Girardi, Roman Polak, and Dion Phaneuf are just four of many names in this list who are oft-regarded as shutdown defenders. By the number of shots they concede from these dangerous scoring areas, the reputation appears undeserved.
More relevant to Sens fans are the players who excel (after naming Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith, P.K. Subban, and Mark Giordano):
Ottawa’s Marc Methot is one of those guys. No defender has been better at preventing shots near the crease than Methot in the last two seasons (1.4 less than the league average, per 60), and he’s been just as adept at keeping shots out of the also dangerous slot area. Erik Karlsson gets an awful lot of credit for the dominance of Ottawa’s first pairing, but Methot is an instrumental complement. To the extent that Karlsson’s firewagon brand of hockey temporarily fails, Methot’s become the ultimate bailout package – the guy who can settle things down and cover for his partner.
I don’t think anyone is surprised that Methot has been effective, but this effective is something else. Whether the 30-year old can remain healthy enough to put this ability on display for a full season is another question.
Nichols breaks out his blue pencil to jot down interviews with Randy Lee and Pierre Dorion, where beyond reiterating the news that Nick Paul won’t be playing in the rookie tournament (due to injury), the major points of interest were:
-Lee pumping the tires of Mikael Wikstrand: “He’s a really good puck-moving defenceman that we want to see how he transitions to the North American game. He’s a very cerebral guy. He sees the game well and I think you’re really going to like him, but it is a transition.” Just as a reminder, he was drafted as a safe, defensive player.
-Dorion was also pumping: “if you do look at a guy like (Mikael) Wikstrand, we feel that he’s very close to the NHL at this point in time.” He also clarified that, whether he likes it or not, he’ll stay in North America this season: “We decide where Mikael Wikstrand is going to play this year. If he doesn’t make the Ottawa Senators, he’s going to go to Binghamton.”
-There was a lot said about the absent Paul‘s potential, but given his absence from the rookie tournament I won’t quote it here (needless to say, its several paragraphs of Dorion hype)
-Dorion indicated that, between Chris Driedger and Matt O’Connor, whoever is playing better will start; he also downplayed the possibility of either playing in Evansville (Nichols, incidentally, is firmly onboard the Marcus Hogberg train now)
-Nichols says something I completely agree with: “Like the 2011 Binghamton Calder Cup win, I don’t really think about a rookie tournament as something that is a precursor for success at the parent level.”
Martin Havlat won’t be at Sens camp as he’s taking a PTO with Florida instead.
Jeff Ulmer wonders if Binghamton will have issues in net due to the relative inexperience of Matt O’Connor and Chris Driedger. This echoes my concerns, although by re-signing Scott Greenham and the added goaltending depth in Evansville, they aren’t completely dependent on the two young prospects.
Andrew over at WTYKY writes a long (and I mean long) piece about the lack of women, people of colour, and LGBTQ community amongst those who cover hockey (while mentioning Cassie Campbell, one shouldn’t forget Kevin Weekes, Christine Simpson, or rinkside reporter Andi Petrillo–all at the CBC, incidentally) and while I agree wholeheartedly with the general thrust of what he’s saying (I don’t see how anyone could not), particularly in the myth of meritocracy, he dovetails at the end into something that sounds almost like a conspiracy theory:
Far too many in each group are working to keep hockey media a white, straight, cis male preserve.
There’s no secret meetings or machinations and I’m sure that’s not what Andrew meant–he’s talking about something more nuanced–but I don’t like the language and I don’t think it’s helpful. Certainly TSN, Sportsnet, newspapers, etc–any corporate or business enterprise where people are being paid to cover the sport should have representation–but for unpaid bloggers? People are going to involve their friends, who may or may not be a diverse group (generally not in terms of socioeconomic background, although I don’t think Andrew talked about class in the post), and I don’t have a problem with that. Unfortunately, I don’t see the dinosaurs that cover hockey changing anything in the near future. Hockey coverage has been conservative and generally awful for as long as I can remember and outside the CBC (which has diversity mandates), there seems very little push for that to change. At any rate, the blog is well worth reading in its entirety and I look forward to hearing more from Andrew.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)
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