Peca Vs. Bouwmeester

Jonathan Willis
September 30 2010 11:04PM

Mike Peca’s critical comments regarding Jay Bouwmeester have generated quite a bit of fuss, with the Flames organization standing behind Bouwmeester, and media people standing beside Peca’s right to give his opinion.

On the serious points, I’m largely in agreement with Kent Wilson: it’s a tempest in a teapot, without Ken King’s comments it would already be a dead story, Peca has the right to speak his mind, and this is the kind of commentary is the sort of thing that should be encouraged in general.

As for whether Peca’s comments were correct or not, I think he was partly right and partly wrong. Peca essentially made two points: the first, that Bouwmeester is easy to play against, and the second, that Bouwmeester isn’t really a high-end power play quarterback.

On the first point, I don’t see much evidence that Peca is correct. Certainly Peca’s numbers never benefitted from playing against Bouwmeester: in 11 games against Florida during Bouwmeester’s time there, Peca scored one goal, added four assists and finished with an even rating. Taking the totals he posted during those seasons and weighting them relative to games played per season, we would have expected two goals, four assists and a plus-1 rating. Bouwmeester routinely plays top opponents, and routinely puts up strong results. As for the charge of being casual, Bouwmeester blocks over 100 pucks every single season (he led the Flames with 126 blocked shots last season) and I have trouble reconciling the notion of putting one’s body in front of a shot with the notion of a casual approach to the game.

On the other hand, Peca’s point about Bouwmeester’s power play ability does strike me as accurate. Certainly it looks true based on last season, where Bouwmeester finished third of three Flames defencemen in points/60 during 5-on-4 play. In 2008-09, he finished second of a group of five Panthers’ defencemen in the same category. In 2007-08, when Florida finished with the sixth-best power play in the NHL, Bouwmeester ranked 39th in 5-on-4 points/60 among NHL defencemen to average more than 2:00 per night – right between Dan Hamhuis and Brad Stuart. Certainly, Bouwmeester’s a capable power play defenceman, but he’s nowhere near the top of an objective list of quarterbacks.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Vanderneuf
October 01 2010, 05:36AM
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The good news is that the Sutters have been experimenting with Jaybo where he belongs: in the slot.

A lot of his offensive talent comes from, a little ironically, finding a way down to the slot area on the PP. He'll creep down, take a nice pass, and, often enough, he'll finish them that close. One of his 3 goals last year was of this variety. Certainly those are tiny numbers but 33% isn't crazy; that's his M.O.

With Jokinen finally back on the point - where he' been successful in the past - and Tanguay around, I'm optimistic our top guys can have a good year. In particular I think we can enjoy a resurgence on the powerplay.

Hopefully the they don't pull the plug on these tweaks too soon.

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#2 Vanderneuf
October 01 2010, 05:38AM
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@Vanderneuf

NOTE:

I meant one of his three goals was, at least originally, brought about by creeping down to the slot area. It was more like the crease area on that one but the idea's the same

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#3 JF
October 01 2010, 09:20AM
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Sigh... on Peca-gate:

This is one those situations, a situation where Peca is right & wrong depending entirely on ones definitions.

Peca is Right: Jay Bouwmeester isn't very hard to play against. Bouwmeester is many things but one thing he is not is a physical defenseman (See: Phaneaf, Dion) that's not to say he shys away from contact but you won't see him dishing out bone-rattling hits.

Peca is Wrong: Jay Bouwmeester is hard to play against. He is positionally sound and has active stick work (See: Lidstrom, Nicklas) and with his excellent passing and skating skills is able to relieve/reverse pressure quickly. And as mentioned above he is willing to block an impressive number of shots.

Peca is Right: Jay Bouwmeester is not a good PP Quarterback. He has Ho-hum point totals during 5-4 play and doesn't have a point shot that packs a whallop.

Peca is Wrong: Jay Bouwmeester is a good PP Quaterback. He is smart enough to make responsible foreys deep into the opposition zone and can distribute the puck with supieror skill. Any failing in point accruel are due to his teammates inability to cash in on the situations that he creates

See it all comes down to what attributes one considers essential to the position. My own personal opinion is close to the author, JBouw is a difficult defenseman to play against in the mould of a Lidstrom type d-man. He isn't the best choice to play the point on the PP thou. Thankfully, from what we've seen of the preseason so far the Powers That Be realize this by having Jokinen and Kotalik play the point where their heavy shots are most valuable and using JBouw as the screener. That suits me as a good set-up since JBouw isn't a small guy (Blocks Goalies View) and with his excellent skating skills he can quickly get back if the puck is cleared. I think it's a role he could do well in.

One comment that I though was wierd was when Peca said "He turns over the Puck a lot" I've never found that Bouwmeester turns over the puck at a rate worse then other d-men. I strongly suspect he was just being sensationalistic since he did do a bad turnover earlier that specific game.

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#4 Kent Wilson
October 01 2010, 09:34AM
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It's possible that Bouwmeester turns the puck over at a decent enough rate to be noticed...but that's mostly because Bouwmeester has been facing some of the toughest opponents in the league for years and starting from his own end a majority of the time. Almost anyone would be noticeably turning pucks over in that circumstance.

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#5 CitizenFlame
October 01 2010, 11:20AM
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@Kent Wilson

and logs close to 30 minutes of ice time a game.

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#6 Danny Lawson
October 01 2010, 11:55AM
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Based upon observations of last years performance, Peca's comments were not too far off the mark IMO.

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