Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports
There’s a lot of talk about this year’s All-Star Game. It’s four-team, 3-on-3 format with cash incentives allows for some creativity in an otherwise boring, usually contactless and always half-assed single game. The coaches will pick the bulk of their rosters, but it’s up to the fans to pick the Captain of each division. For us, there is no better option than Toronto’s Stephane Robidas.
A Born Leader
First and foremost, the league is making all of these adjustments to the game because they’d like to see it evolve into a competition that is taken seriously. If you’re going to stake it seriously, your captain should be a serious leader. Stephane Robidas is a serious leader; he’s 38 years old, been around the pro game for seventeen years, and has worn the “A” for two NHL teams.
One of those teams was the Dallas Stars, who he first played with in 2002/03. Have you seen the jerseys they wore at that time?
The jersey that Robidas truly developed his career in was based on an NHL All-Star Jersey worn years prior. Representing the league on a stage like this is literally a part of his hockey DNA so, in that regard, the eye test checks out.
Is He Good Enough? (Of Corsi Is)
But the modern game is a stats driven one, and you need to have good numbers to win hockey games. While he left a lot to be desired last year, here’s what we know about Robidas’ numbers.
- The Leafs have yet to lose a game this year that Stephane Robidas has played in
- Stephane Robidas has never given up a goal in a 3-on-3 situation
- No player in the NHL has been on the ice for fewer goals against
- No player in the NHL has been on the ice for fewer high-danger chances against
- No player in the NHL has been on the ice for fewer scoring chances against
- No player in the NHL has been on the ice for fewer shots against
- No player in the NHL has been on the ice for fewer shot attempts against
The analytics clearly show that Robidas is the most effective shutdown defenceman in hockey right now, and it’s not really close. Even crazier is how Robidas is able to deliver these results at a fraction of the cost of the so called “superstar” competition. There is obvious merit to him being on the team. Even if you want to declare “small sample size”, this is a guy who has been an All-Star in the league in the past.
Stephane Robidas is having the best defensive season in the league, and he’s doing it completely under the radar. Quite frankly, he deserves more recognition for it, and the All Star Game is a great way to give it to him.
Even if you’re a stats denier, it’s hard to argue against Robidas. He’s a seasoned vet. He’s played at International Levels. He’s worn letters in the NHL. He’s put on the All Star Jersey, the most meaningful in hockey, in the past, something most of these other kids haven’t done. He’s a brand name who deserves another hurrah in front of the fans in Nashville.
He’s the definition of a team player. He’s the type of guy that, when you tell him to go out there and “break a leg”, he literally does it. If that’s not the man that you want to be the captain of Team Atlantic Division, I don’t know who is. The choice is obvious.