LGD - Game 11: Leafs @ Blue Jackets - Clarkson?

Cam Charron
October 25 2013 01:32PM

We're two weeks into the regular season and at least one thing is clear: the Metropolitan Division is crap, and if that trend continues, the Atlantic Division will send five teams to the post-season. The Columbus Blue Jackets are in fifth place in the Metro with a very mediocre 4-5 start to the season. A second thing is clear: they're further from that team that went on the torrid second half run and barely missed out on the postseason than people think.

For one, it would appear that Sergei Bobrovsky is human. The Jackets are on the precipice of being a bottom third puck-possession club this season, with just three regular players at above 50% in Corsi with the score close: Cam Atkinson, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Johansen.

What I'm really saying is that it's unlikely tonight's Leafs and Blue Jackets game will be the perfect start to the weekend. But maybe it will be because DAVID CLARKSON finally makes his "real" debut as a Toronto Maple Leaf.

KEY STATISTICS

I'd still rather wait a few more games before I post possession data at the start of every preview, since there's still some noise that has yet to be separated from the signal (the New York Rangers have yet to play a home game). I think that some of the trends that have carried over from last season are very legitimate (the Leafs not taking a lot of shots, the Leafs winning despite not taking a lot of shots) and maybe some things in the early going are worth noting because the symmetry doesn't exist from last season.

Remember when Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy as the Jackets' goaltender? Check out a graph of his career save percentage in line with his 20-game rolling save percentage:

It seems unlikely that Bobrovsky is Dominik Hasek and his save percentage will stabilize at .935. He's playing well above his capabilities and it wasn't until about a quarter way through last season that he went on a notable hot-streak, eventually posting a 20-game run at above .950, which is nuts.

But still, sports fans love to make decisions based on small samples. Bobrovsky wasn't an overwhelmingly high pick in Yahoo Fantasy Hockey, but he was still picked on average 27th overall ahead of goalies like Ryan Miller, Roberto Luongo or Jaroslav Halak with better track records. It's as if people forget very often that goaltenders that tend to be hot one season… are "not" the next. A brief analysis of Corey Crawford's first three NHL seasons goes as follows: Good, Bad, Excellent. Taken at an average of 34th overall, apparently Yahoo users believe he'll be "good" again.

MAPLE LEAFS LINEUP

DAVID CLARKSON! I forgot about him when opening the intro the first time. Let's edit that.

*goes and edits*

There's a plus and a minus to this. David Clarkson is "in" while Joffrey Lupul, who is listed as day-to-day with a bruised foot, may not be in. Josh Leivo will remain in and play in Lupul's spot next to Nazem Kadri, according to Chris Johnston.

This seems likely:

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Mason Raymond - David Bolland - David Clarkson
Jay McClement - Nazem Kadri - Josh Leivo
Frazer McLaren - Trevor Smith - Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
Morgan Rielly - Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner - Paul Ranger

Oh yeah. Frazer McLaren will be in for Troy Bodie on the fourth line, which makes about as much sense as the penny-making machine at the Canadian Mint (we don't make pennies or cents anymore is the joke). Still a little further away from seeing the Lupul-Kadri-Clarkson line everybody wants to see. 

BLUE JACKETS LINEUP

This is from dailyfaceoff:

Nick Foligno - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Blake Comeau - Ryan Johansen - R.J. Umberger
Mark Letestu - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - David Savard
Fedor Tyutin - Daulton Prout
Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski

When you see "D. Savard" on the boxscore, remind yourself it couldn't possibly by Denis.

Generally at home this season, Todd Richards has used that Johansen third line as a checking unit against opposing teams' top forwards, so we'll see if Randy Carlyle tries to avoid the matchup. I think he'd rather see Kessel go head-to-head against Anisimov's line.

Johansen starts often in the defensive zone, but the Jackets, like the Leafs, don't exactly have the luxury of a pile of offensive zone faceoffs every game. They tend to go to the fourth line and the young players. Make sure you dress both Orr and Boll in your fantasy lineups tonight—both teams seem to have no problem with the staged fight.

STARTING GOALIES

Jonathan Bernier against Sergei Bobrovsky. Working theory is that James Reimer is still hurt and the team wants to give him an extra day of rest before sending him to the wolves against Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The puck drops in Columbus tonight at 7:00 Eastern and can be found on Leafs TV.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Hockeylover20
October 25 2013, 02:38PM
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Every point you make is numbers based. Not once have I ever seen you say something like "Columbus seems to have lost a step this year, their speed has seemingly decreased in their last ten games"... You know, one of those observations you get from actually watching the games.

I'm not knocking statistical analysis overall, some of the information is very useful.

But this is just ridiculous. You need to branch out a lot more to brighten up these dull pieces.

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#3 EvanLichty
October 25 2013, 03:42PM
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Hockeylover20 wrote:

Every point you make is numbers based. Not once have I ever seen you say something like "Columbus seems to have lost a step this year, their speed has seemingly decreased in their last ten games"... You know, one of those observations you get from actually watching the games.

I'm not knocking statistical analysis overall, some of the information is very useful.

But this is just ridiculous. You need to branch out a lot more to brighten up these dull pieces.

@Hockeylover20 Stats are what Cam Charron does. He watches the games, too, but he likes to count things while he watches to see if the numbers can tell him things where his eyes might have been deceived. That's what he brings to the table. What's wrong with that?

If you want a balanced analysis, you have to check multiple sources. This site gives one point of view, and Cam is upfront about his reasoning and methodology. I don't know that it's fair to expect him to try to analyze the game from everybody else's point of view as well.

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#4 Twitchy
October 25 2013, 04:35PM
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I love how people who use stats are always criticized for not watching the game. I'm sure Cam just LOVES looking at the numbers for hockey, and doesn't bother watching the games at all.

Let's use some critical thinking here champ. He wouldn't be wasting all this time blogging and writing and looking up all this information if he didn't like, or enjoy watching hockey.

And if that's your opinion about stats or Cam, why bother reading it? You know what you're going to get. Go check out The Star if you want to read something by uninformed tools like Cox.

I don't agree with everything Cam says but man what a weird thing to complain about.

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#5 Steve Dangle
October 25 2013, 05:00PM
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Hockeylover20 wrote:

Every point you make is numbers based. Not once have I ever seen you say something like "Columbus seems to have lost a step this year, their speed has seemingly decreased in their last ten games"... You know, one of those observations you get from actually watching the games.

I'm not knocking statistical analysis overall, some of the information is very useful.

But this is just ridiculous. You need to branch out a lot more to brighten up these dull pieces.

100% guaranteed if his numbers supported the Leafs more you'd call him a genius.

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#6 Hockeylover20
October 25 2013, 04:00PM
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EvanLichty wrote:

@Hockeylover20 Stats are what Cam Charron does. He watches the games, too, but he likes to count things while he watches to see if the numbers can tell him things where his eyes might have been deceived. That's what he brings to the table. What's wrong with that?

If you want a balanced analysis, you have to check multiple sources. This site gives one point of view, and Cam is upfront about his reasoning and methodology. I don't know that it's fair to expect him to try to analyze the game from everybody else's point of view as well.

It's not like he says "here's my 2 cents, take it or leave it". He uses strictly numbers to form his opinion them goes on to constantly bash our leaf coaching staff and management team based on his "corsi" and self-made graphs.

My point is that perhaps if he opened his mind up to the fact that there is a huge hockey world beyond simple and advanced statistis, he would be able to understand why the leafs are 7-3 and will continue to improve all season when the veterans come back from injury.

Shot quality is one of the most important things in the NHL, where's the stat for that?

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#7 Hockeylover20
October 25 2013, 04:29PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

You:

Shot quality is one of the most important things in the NHL, where's the stat for that?

Me, two days ago:

Shot quality is likely the single biggest difference between teams in an individual game.

So we agree on something! Even more reason to heed my advice

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