Saturday, January 28, 2012

Habs by the numbers: Jeremy Roenick on the Montreal Canadiens

Good day Puck Addicts!

As reported in our daily news post this morning, Jeremy Roenick spoke to RDS about the P.K. Subban situation, as well as the Habs in general.

As much as I have to agree with the generalities he states about Subban, I simply can not avoid commenting on the outrageous remarks that he's made on the Habs. And not just in the RDS article but also in the December 29th edition of his blog.

For those who might be interested, his blog is humbly called: "The World according to JR", and can be found on the NHL's official web site.

Erik Cole

Here's what JR had to say about Cole:

1) "Erik Cole has had a decent season, but he doesn't have anybody to play with that can match his speed".

2) "Erik Cole est également un excellent joueur, mais il est avant tout un très bon complément."

Well, this one will be easy. Erik Cole is simply having a career year; over 82 games, he's set to have his best year ever in terms of goals scored, assists, points, PP goals (even though the Habs have had the worst PP all year) and shots on net.

You're right JR; this would have to be considered a "decent" season.

Habs have no playmaker

Here's what Mr. Roenick had to say about Tomas Plekanec: "The Canadiens don't have a playmaker every night that sets up their goal scorers...Tomas Plekanec, who might be their best playmaker, is two games on, one game off, two games off, one game on."

I will assume that JR would have a different opinion would the Habs have the luxury of counting of a first line centerman such as Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Kesler, John Tavares or Patrick Marleau.

Well, since 2009-10 and in over 200 regular season games, Plekanec has had more assists than all these "big names", and in less games than each of them.

During that period of time, Plekanec ranks 16th in the league. See chart below:

Habs a very small team

Here's the un-researched (that's polite, no?) comment that our favorite new NHL blogger made to RDS: "En plus d’un manque de talent, le Canadien forme une petite équipe alors que, dans notre ère, les joueurs sont gros, forts et talentueux. C’est difficile pour eux de gagner régulièrement en raison de ce facteur."

And he added the following on his blog, in the article stated earlier: "The Canadiens also are a very small team that gets pushed around too much. Their lack of size and speed in the big and fast NHL forces them to work extra hard to win games. That's never a recipe for extended success."

Well, if you look at the chart pasted below, the Habs are the ninth heaviest team in the league. Also, all 30 teams are either 6'0" or 6'1" on average, and the Habs fall under the 6'1" category.

If Montreal is one the "heaviest" teams and one of the taller, it can't be just because of Hal Gill! Unless I'm mistaken, I count exactly five regular Canadiens who fit under the 6'0" mark: David Desharnais (5'7"), Raphael Diaz (5'11"), Brian Gionta (5'7"), Scott Gomez (5'11") and Plekanec (5'11").

With Michael Blunden, Rene Bourque, Cole, Lars Eller, Travis Moen and Max Pacioretty all being forwards over 6'2", how can someone who follows hockey not know that Montreal can no longer be considered a "small team" up front? One could argue they have a "shortish" center line, but Roenick's comment was about the whole team.

On defense, only the two Swiss countrymen, Diaz and Weber, are under 6'0" (both are 5'11).

How can one say the Habs are still a small team? I certainly don't feel they get pushed around too much. Has anyone else had that feeling lately? Is Montreal still a "small" vulnerable team?

The numbers say no, but what do you say?

Frank Dumais is a freelance writer, currently contributing to “Habs By the numbers” weekly column. He writes on current Habs topics, but with a “numbers twist”.

Follow Frank on Twitter

(Photo by Mark Von Holden/Getty Images North America)


Good stuff Frank!

It's always amazing when people speak about a team based on feeling, to then see those ideas juxtaposed against numbers.

I've got to say that the numbers you pulled out are pretty surprising.

In the size side, the Habs have definitely done a good job of getting bigger over the last year or so. Having Pacioretty, Cole, Blunden and others in the lineup, definitely helps!

Plekanec's numbers are not as surprising to me, since he is always leading the team in scoring. Now if only the Habs could get a legit No. 1 center for Plek to play behind, he'd become an elite player!

Thanks Kamal. I had a little Tweetfest with JR last December about his article. When I saw your piece this morning, I could not believe he was still ranting the same stuff we've been hearing for 2-3 years now.

Nothing but respect for the player that Roenick was. Intelligent, strong and skilled, a true power forward. As a writer, not so much respect. I think JR should watch a replay for the Wings game of this week!

As for Pleky, forever I've been hearing people saying he'd be a "good" 2nd line center, or an "excellent" 3rd line center. The more you pull stats on this guy, the more you understand that he belongs with the 1st line center of this league. I just think he plays to much PK.

Plekanec is, of the top 30 points generating centermen, the one that plays the most PK minutes, and if you add them up, the one who plays the most "special units" TOI by far. He's actually played 7th most minutes of all NHL centermen so far.

Plekanec IS a legitimate 1st line center. I'll argue this with numbers with anyone. He is not the best of the 1st line centers, but definitely belongs.

@Frank: Wow. Those are some serious numbers there! For me, all I mean about Plek in the No.2 hole, is that he would be even BETTER behind, say, a Crosby, or Getzlaf, etc.

Koivu was much the same, imo. Contributed a lot but ultimately wasted the best years of his life shouldering too much of the burden.

I think that as good as Plek is, he would be even better as a No.2.

Still, your numbers are compelling.

Nice article Frank!
You state the truth and have your info to back it up
Keep up the good work!

I have one thing too say in regards to JR comments about our beloved Canadiens Pttttttttttttttttttth!!!! If Jeremy couldn't run off at the mouth he would shock the world. He always has a habit of feeling that what he has to say is the end all and be all not the facts folks those do not count. When you pull the numbers out Jeremy looks foolish as ever regarding is opinions, I noticed also he had an opinion regarding PK Subban to the French media I assume RDS lucky for him I can't read French or I would have told him what I think about that also. Have a good day all!!!

Frank, I think this is one of the best articles (rebuttals) I've seen in a long time. Fiction vs. facts. Great job. I hope you don't mind me pilfering some of these facts as I argue with Leaf fans here in Hogtown!

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