The Pros and Cons of Anton Babchuk



During the season I was adamant the Flames should not re-sign Anton Babchuk when his ticket expired in the summer. This probably struck many people as odd – the big Ukrainian scored eight goals and 27 points in just 69 games for the Flames and was a +18 to boot. He also added an element to Calgary’s power-play that has been missing since Dion Pahneuf left town: a booming slapshot from the point.

A frequent mistake made by both fans and managers in the NHL is to be seduced by a nice stats line without fully investigating the circumstances that led to it. Not all minutes are created equal in the NHL. Coaches generally deploy players in ways that best suit their strengths or hide weaknesses. Some guys start out in their own end a lot, PK a lot and face the big guns every night. Those defenders don’t generally collect the goals and assists (unless they are Nik LIdstrom or Duncan Keith that is). Other guys face the marshmellows: they don’t PK, they start out every other shift in the offensive zone and they never see the whites of Pavel Dastyuk’s eyes if their coach can help it.

The Red Flags 

I have been explicit about this previously, but it bears repeating: Anton Babchuk played some of the easiest minutes available amongst regular NHL defensemen last year. Out of the seven Flames defenders who played 30 games or more last year, Babchuk’s quality of competition rating ranked 6th (with only Adam Pardy behind). In addition, Babchuk’s offensive-to-defensive zone start ratio was 61.9%, the easiest on the team. In raw numbers, he saw 135 more o-zone than d-zone draws. 

To give some context, that ZS was the third highest in the NHL for defensemen who played at least 30 games. Only nine defensemen total had a percentage above the 60% mark*.The only two defenders with a relative quality of competition measure in the same realm as Babchuk were tough guy Paul Bissonette and fringe NHLer Sheldon Brookbank.

*(Of note – one of them was Christian Ehrhoff. Enjoy, Sabres fans.)

Despite the pillowy soft treatment, Babchuk’s underlying possession numbers are nonetheless ho-hum. His fenwick ratio (same as corsi except minus blocked shots) was decent at .541 (although still lagging giordano’s .545) but his scoring chance ratio was the second worse on the team at .494. His overall corsi rate for the season was a marginal +3.10/60. Adam Pardy, who was the only Flame to play in similar circumstances, was at +12.74/60 by way of example.

We can correct for Babchuk’s extreme ZS to get a more balanced view of his possession rate. Each additional offensive zone start is worth +0.8 corsi, meaning Babchuk’s 135 extra o-zone starts augmented his raw possession number by (135*0.8) 108. Babchuk played about 1088 minutes at even strength last season between the Flames and Hurricanes. With a corsi rate of +3.10 per hour, that means his raw corsi score was about +56. If we correct for zone start (108-56), we get -52 raw corsi or -2.88/60.

What this means is if Babchuk’s ZS ratio was dropped to 50% he would be underwater in terms of possession. And that’s assuming the same level of competition as before. If he started seeing top-six type players, there is little doubt his possession numbers would drop even further. To put that in perspective, Robyn Regehr was at -3.62/60 for the Flames last season, but faced the best players night-in and night-out with a ZS of 49.9%.

In summary: Anton Babchuk was uber-protected last season but he didn’t exactly crush the bad guys. If he were to move up the depth chart or if his usage was less skewed towards the offensive zone, it’s practically certain he’d start bleeding shots and chances against.

Another minor concern is Babchuk’s career Shooting percentage of 8.7%. Although he can hammer the puck, that stuck me as unusually high for a modern defender. Al MacInnis hovered around 6% for his career, and he was facing much lesser quality goaltending on average. Rob Vollman of Hockey Prospectus provided me a list of the modern defenders who have sustained a SH% of 8% or higher. If’s a pretty short one (minimum 300 shots):

Fredrik Olausson     41  429  9.6%
Marc-Andre Bergeron  77  828  9.3%
Lubomir Visnovsky   111 1232  9.0%
Mike Green           80  898  8.9%
James Patrick        29  328  8.8%
Anton Babchuk        34  389  8.7%
Alex Goligoski       28  323  8.7%
Sandis Ozolinsh      88 1050  8.4%
Drew Doughty         33  407  8.1%
Sergei Gonchar      179 2209  8.1%
Dick Tarnstrom       35  436  8.0%

Just 11 guys have managed the feat, with only Visnovsky, Green, MA Bergeron, Ozolinsh and Gonchar sustaining it over a relatively large sample (800+ shots). This isn’t to say that Babchuk is guaranteed to drop off, just that an 8% SH% is extremely rare and regression is possible. Dion Phaneuf is an example of how shooting percentage take a step backwards: through the first 700 or so shos of his career, he score at about a 7.5% rate. Through the next 700, he fell to just over 4%. This is a problem when a guys primary (only?) ability is to score goals from the point.

The Good Stuff

Babchuk is a limited player. A power-play specialist basically. The good news is two-fold: firstly, his contract, while pricier than I would ideally reccomend, isn’t overly onerous at 2.5 million/year, nor is it long-term, so the risk is somewhat limited. Secondly, his production on the man advantage so far through his career has been quite good. In 2008-09, he led the Hurricanes blueline in terms of production efficiency on the PP with 5.00 PPP/60. Last year, he was up at 4.15 for the Flames. Those are very healthy rates, easily inside the top-20 amongst regular PP guys on the back-end in the NHL. 

My reservations about his career shooting percentage aside, Babchuk’s shot is a massive boon for any power-play unit. If he can continue to put up between four and five power-play points per hour and 8-10 goals a year, the Flames should be able to leverage his contract to provide value…assuming, of course, they don’t feel the need to move him up the rotation at even strength. Protecting him at five-on-five is going to be tougher without Robyn Regehr in the line-up (and no similar replacement anywhere on the horizon) so here’s hoping some combination of Sarich, Butler, Carson, Brodie, Giordano and Bouwmeester can form a stable top-four so Babchuk will continue to do his thing without having to face anything more than a third-liner.

  • Who knows, may Mr. Hartsburg can help him with the defensive side of his game? He is only 27, certainly not to old to tidy up his defensive game.

    It sure does feel like they are hoping Butler is up for #4 minutes…

  • Bustmeester

    Great research Kent, I can’t help but feel you are cutting Babchuk short. I understand he hasn’t quite proven he can play 5 on 5 vs top players yet or really anything but the PP. But come on, you really think Brodie or Carson could do much better? I’ll reserve my judgement until he plays a full season with us.

    • I don’t know if Brodie or Carson can do any better. The point is Babchuk has a proven track record of not begin anything more than a third pairing guy at ES.

      To be blunt, I doubt Carson and Brodie are better, at least at this point in their careers. That’s the risk the Flames are running signing Babs with the current depth chart. The hope is that someone of those listed will step up into the top-4 so he doesn’t have to.

    • Bustmeester

      I don’t think Kent is cutting Babchuk short at all. The numbers are there and they represent a strong indication.

      However, I agree with you that Brodie or Carson likely wouldn’t be better and this highlights the problem: We can’t HOPE that Babchuk is something he isn’t, and he’s paid like he is something he isn’t. If someone wants to sell me that his PP influence is worth and extra 1.5-2.0million per year, I’m listening, but…

      We have a good first-pairing, huge minutes, guy (JBO).

      We have one of the best (IMO) second-pairing guys (GIO)

      Then we will have four third pairing guys.

      Some of these guys are going to be forced in over their heads, and since we don’t exactly have the fastest, puck-pursuit, back-checking team, and a increasingly inconsistent goalie, is Feaster doesn’t address this 13th place will look like a lock.

  • Oyo

    All I hope is that they don’t give up any picks or assets to bring some old ass top 4 guy. Maybe Codyfranson would have been nice but….. Were not exactly pressing for the cup this year. Make moves next year when we have some more room to work with and see who is able to take over that number 4 slot out of the young guys. And if they don’t you know what you have anyways

    • Oyo

      I hope your comment isn’t inferring that Cody Franson is a legit top four guy, he’s in the same boat as Babchuk, guy was super sheltered in Nashville. Shane O Brien got tougher assignments than Franson got. Why does everyone asume that someone that got 30+ points in a season is suddenly a top 4 guy, as Babchuk shows us, that is sometimes far from the case.

  • Oyo

    As long as he sticks to the same role last year, I have no problems with Babchuk… that being said, the Flames NEED another top four guy.

    …and thanks for the pic of Shakira… I love that yodeling stripper 😉

  • Sworkhard

    I know Babchuck was very sheltered last year, however, I was wondering if the linear regressions you apply to adjust the advanced statistics to make players more comparable applies as to the players on the extreme edges as much as to those more in the middle? Most statistics follow the bell curve in some way, and those on the edges don’t normally suffer or benefit as much from a small change in the extreme circumstances as a small change in the middle might. Any thoughts?

    • Eric T. of the blog Broadstreet Hockey created something called “balanced corsi” recently, a metric that compares the possession results of player to the average of the players closest to them in terms of circumstances.

      Babchuk’s balanced corsi rate was -4.56 (or 4.56 corsi/60 less than his expected rate given the average of players with circumstances most similar his in the league), good for 360th in the NHL.

  • Bustmeester

    I think we saw Babchuk’s overall game progress as the season went on. If he continues to improve and shift his way up the depth chart – great. If not, then he is what he is… which I’m fine with. I honestly don’t think Feaster is signing Babz to be a top-4 guy, just a serviceable 5-6 player that gets paid 2.5mill because of his PP point contributions. So if he worked well as a sheltered D man, why not continue to play him as a sheltered D man, until he proves otherwise? Seems pretty low risk to me.

    1) Bouw-Giordano
    2) Carson/Butler – Sarich
    3) Carson/Butler – Babchuk

    … first call-up: Brodie

    Let Carson/Butler battle for a top-4 spot alongside Sarich, as mobile D men that can learn and evolve on the job. The last thing I want to see is Feaster sign another slow, pricey veteran (Hannan, O’Brien) to pidgeon-hole the younger D men. While I’d love to see Brodie on the team, my guess is he would have to play Babchuk minutes, if not less. I think we sometimes forget that Brodie is 21-years old, which is still very young for an NHL D man. The best option for him is to play top minutes in the AHL, rather than play in a 6-7 role with the big squad. He can continue to progress in the AHL, and jump right into a top-4 spot when Sarich leaves next offseason.

  • Oh… last thing.

    Vancouver is our litmus strip. So imagine our future and what Feaster is preparing us for.

    Last year would get ugly (with JBO, REG, GIO et al.)

    NOW… (we’re in Vancouver… it’s 2011…imagine)

    Vingeault is matching lines. He puts Kesler, Raymond and Sturm out against Jbo and Gio… who takes Kesler in front?

    Then he puts out Henrik, Daniel and Burrows against SARICH and BABCHUK/BUTLER/CARSON/BRODIE?

    Are you f*king kidding me????? It’s going to be a painful rivalry… the Canucks would ALREADY get 35-40 SA last year. I forsee our future, one which ends with us down by 4 or 5 many nights.

    • Amen rain dogs. Some of those top lines are going to absolutely slaughter our 2nd and 3rd defensive pairings. The Datsyuks/Toewes/Kopitars of the world will light us up – but then again, isn’t that the point of a rebuild/season tanking?

      As for the boston dude’s posting, Edmonton is kind of a crap hole. The downtown is small and their river runs along the industrial sector. Calgary has much nicer open spaces and parks and as someone stated, the winter is (somewhat) more bearable. Edmonton is usually the coldest place on Earth during the winters (besides the Arctic/Antarctic regions) at something like -53 degC.

      My freshman year of university in the US, there was a kid from Edmonton in my dorms. He had the strong EDM/CLG hockey rivalry, but even he admitted Edmonton wasn’t very nice to live in.

      Cities are generally ugly to look at anyways. If you want a nice place to live, Vancouver is lovely as well. Beaches, oceans, and a 35 minute drive to Whistler for snowboarding.

  • Derzie

    No NHL minutes are soft minutes. We all know Babchuck is targeted for 3/4 pairing. He’s not a number one. Why all the hate? I can see being PO’d about losing Reggie but signing Babchuk is a good move. Attitude is part of it an he played like he wanted to compete and win and there’s no persoanl stat for that (except team wins and they did just fine with him in the lineup).

  • Derzie

    Of course, if there were to be a 23-28 year old D man available for top-4 duty via trade, then I might feel otherwise. The Leafs seem to have a crowded blueline these days… Outside of Mike “Can’t Skate” Komisarek, would any of those D men be available on the trade market?

    As far as offer sheets or trades for RFAs go, I would love a shot at Zach Bogosian or Luke Schenn. But that, of course, is very wishful thinking

  • everton fc

    A few thoughts…

    How was Brodie in Abby last season? Was he average?… Elite??… Sub-par some evenings…?? Everyone has him penciled into the lineup, and I think he will be when the season starts…

    Graham has the following pairings for opening day:

    1) Bouw-Giordano 2) Carson/Butler – Sarich 3) Carson/Butler – Babchuk

    I think Butler is our #3 d-man. Sarich may be #4 for one year. Gio’s minutes will be similar to Bouwmeester’s last season. Carson & Babchuk round out the 5/6 slots…

    Unless you move Sarich…

    Then, is Brodie a #4 d-man on opening day? Does Carson move into a #4 role, with Butler??

    There is some unfinished business here, me thinks.

    I think the organization can help Babchuk defencively, and if they can, this will work out. Perhaps no one has worked diligently on this part of his game??

    If they can’t help him defencively… Can he be turned into a forward??

    As an aside… I like the Guillaume Desbiens. I think he may just turn out like Jackman. If he could centre our fourth line… With Kosto and Jackman on the wings… That’d be a tough foruth line to play against. Canucks fans like him, and wanted him on their fourth line opening day.

    Perhaps a silent steal, similar to Jackman? Watch him on Youtube. He’s a gritty one, with some decent hands, who can also skate.

    Keeping my fingers crossed…

  • T&A4Flames

    I just feel sorry for your team. I know you have a huge rivalry with Edmunton, but I just don’t really get why you think your organization is headed in a better direction that their org is. I have read the past 7 or 8 posts and I find it unusual and sad that the posters generally feel they are in better shape than the oiler.

    Coming from the East I can certainly say we are more excited to have the oilers first overall picks come into town to play than we are about anyone on your team. My brother in pitsburgh is flying with his kids to watch the oilers home game on the 9th because there is so much young tallent on that team.

    I guess I just fee sorry and awkward that you have not one positive thing you can say about your team. I get the jist that calgary is a more beautiful city… But I only read anout that on here. My cousins are in ottawa and they saw edmonton is significantly more beautiful than calgaray.

    I guess calgary is trying to become the next big city in north america. I am going to go out on a limb but I bet boston is WAY nicer. I know MIT isn’t as good as your calgary college, but oh well.

    7 parades in 11 years!! How many parades for you?

    • Derzie

      Take your bets people is this…

      A: An Oiler fan masquarading as a Bruins fan?
      B: A Bruins fan (oddly) trolling a Flames site?

      My money would be on “A”. In the event that it’s “B” regardless of how many high picks the Oilers have had they are not now (at this moment) a better team then the Calgary Flames. They will be in a few years time (barring any odd occurances) but in 2011-2012 they’re still going to be a lottery team. Probably not dead last (my money would be on Winnipeg or Florida for that distinction). Frankly, I don’t really care what a fan in Boston thinks is a more exciting event…

      Plus what’s the deal with bragging about parades? Does anyone else really care about how well the Sox do?

    • T&A4Flames

      You are open to your opinions on which teams are more exciting. Are the Flames in a better spot than the Oilers? That is up for debate. The future most certainly looks better for the Oilers at this time. Calgary isn’t at a point yet where the are ready to throw in the towel, and for that I am glad. Although, it could happen in the next couple of years.

      As for which city is nicer? I have lived in both and I can tell you with a certainty that Calgary is a MUCH nicer city. Your cousins haven’t really been to both and spent time in them or they have bad memories.

      Championships? We don’t have NFL or MLB in either of these cities so, yea, we don’t have close to 7 in 11 years. But congrats on winning your 1st Stanley Cup in, what, 40 years or so.

    • Canucks Suck

      > Implying cities are beautiful

      Yah okay there bud I’d take my quarter section in the Alberta foothills over any city you deem most beautiful anyday.

    • Reidja

      What a bizarre post! You’d think in a city with so many great sports teams, you would be familiar with sports fans….

      Oh right, you are. And your trying to get a rise out of us…. Nice job.

      A couple of sports things:
      What is an MLB?
      Fact is in this small market (1.1 Mil) you’d be lucky to get 10,000 out for baseball and the TV revenue would not be good. On top of that baseball induces me to vomit when I watch it. I can’t explain it – and I’ve learned to live with it. We watch, b!tch about, play and love hockey here. EOS

      On that, we appreciate that you like to watch the oilers (if my wife was a fan o a team other than the flames, I’d keep up on them too), but whether or not you buy that ticket when they come to town has very little to do with the over-hyping of Anton Babcuck. Or does it? Illuminate us.

      Regarding Calgary: everyone loves home and this is home for me. A couple of days ago I drove 1.5 hours from my door, walked up a mountain, and had a sandwich at 2.2 km (1.3 miles) above sea level by a glacial lake while the weather turned from 25 C (77 F) to thunder/hail storm and back again. I’m not sure I can appreciate other places like I can my home, but that seemed pretty beautiful.

    • Canucks Suck

      Sounds good buddy. So we’ll follow our team, and you can follow yours. I’m sorry that your cousins feel Edmonton is a nicer city. Nobody is saying that the Oilers aren’t a young, exciting team… but you don’t hand them the cup because they had some high draft picks.

      No one is trying to convince anyone that Calgary is a good hockey team, but we’ll continue to follow them. Thanks for your input nonetheless, and feel free to make a stop in Calgary sometime… on your way to beautiful Edmonton Alberta

    • Reidja

      I have no hate on Boston, and certainly no hate on a fan that didn’t go to the zoolander school for kids that don’t read good. Do you know what the biproduct of that is? An adult that can’t spell or form sentences. Glad Boston won though. What a riot.

  • everton fc

    Well I am certainly NOT a fan of the Oilers! I married an Oilers fan in D.C. while articling. I am true Bear all they way. I guess you are just jelous that you don’t even have an MLB team, or NFL for that matter.

    My sons asked me to find an oilers site so they could write a message to the team and we found the national oilers site and a link to this site. I have always hated the flames since they were in Atlanta.

    I hated Gretzky too, but that was because he was too darn good (not as good as Orr, but good).

    So to answer you poll, I guess I am just reading through you articles and I find it extremely interesting how much you complain about your own team

    • T&A4Flames

      Well I’ll take you’re word on it… I don’t know why you’re trolling the Flames though… seriously I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else that cheered more for the Bruins in the SCF then here.

      And you’re mistaken about the quality of the city… I’ve been to Edmonton many times and Calgary is the nicer city. It’s cleaner, has better green space, better winters, more modern buildings, scenic river paths, the people are just as nice. Nothing against Edmonton personally… I just like Calgary better.

    • Super_Gio

      …….Is that not why we have this site? to criticize, complain, praise, discuss? Is that not what you do as freakin fan?….sheesh
      No jealousy coming from me regarding MLB and NFL I could care less, those sports are too slow anyways heheh.
      When you live in a place that is cold for 8 bloody months of the year we tend to take our hockey quite seriously!!

    • Vintage Flame

      For such an avid sports fan, you’re certainly not too bright.

      Coming on here ripping fans that did nothing but cheer on the Bruins in the SCF’s pretty much makes you as low class as Toad [research the reference if you like]!

      As for your claim that we are jealous of not having the MLB? I feel bad for you cause you’re STUCK with the MLB. Stupid f@$King game if you ask me. Guy can stand in left field for the entire game and get more time in talking to fans than seeing a ball hit his way. Or how about a guy who is 5’3″ but weighs 250, so we’ll stick him on 3rd base so he doesn’t have to physically exert himself and have a coronary on the field.

      As for the NFL.. NO Canadian city has an NFL team douche-bag.. So what’s you’re point?

      LOL. You call yourself a “True Bear”?? Buddy you haven’t the foggiest idea of what that is. I can drive 45 min from my house and see bears that would make you soil your underoos in fear. We look at them and see true beauty.

      You think Boston is more beautiful than Calgary? You have no idea how to make that comparison. Boston is a gorgeous city with a lot of history, but Calgary is not called “God’s Country” for nothing pal.

      My advice… Sort yourself out and go enjoy your parades.. Ignorance is bliss.. eh Chowda!

  • Canucks Suck

    Boston douche what is your actual problem with us here? This site is for in depth analysis and news about players and team. Should we be praising our players for their shortcomings? Just because you point out that a guy has some flaws and make some statements about it doesn’t mean were all just complainers.

  • Canucks Suck

    Hey Boston Fan shouldn’t you be on a Vancouver fan site bragging about your win? but no for some reason you come to a Flames site to insult a team and city you clearly know next to nothing about. As a true Flames fan nothing made me happier than seeing your Bruins defeat our bitter rival, but you’re not doing your fanbase any favors with your misinformed slander. The reason you see fans on here questioning there teams direction is because we’re passionate and care enough to provide input. Unlike in the US, Hockey is religion here and like you said we don’t have MLB or NFL to share that stage. So do us all a favor and either get your facts straight or take off eh!

  • thymebalm

    Bostonfan – I think beyond the obvious trolling, you’ve got a point about people hating on their own team. It’s just the flamesnation way. Kent and Pat are knowledgable but would rather be pleasantly surprised than ever project that a player donning a flames sweater could make an impact beyond the implications of their advanced stats. Here on flamesnation the cupboards are bare, the future is bleak, and everyone on the team makes too much money. Great site for information, kind of lacking in “support” and optimism however…

    • Oyo

      unfortunately i have to agree…not a lot besides “here is where he is, and this is where he will be based on this information. ”

      which i totally agree with but sometimes its just fun to think MAYBE max reinhart is the next kesler. MAYBE Bartschi turns into a datsyuk.

      doubtful?? of course.

      who cares. its fun. i choose to enjoy the mess the flames are in based on the fact WE CANNOT DO A DAMN THING ABOUT IT so might as well hope babchuk chucks in 50 points this year. if he doesnt? meh.


  • Oyo

    and the only guy im interested in LOOKING at getting is Bogosian. intrigues me. other then that. let this year go and see where the kids are at and build from there next season.

  • Vintage Flame

    “As for your claim that we are jealous of not having the MLB? I feel bad for you cause you’re STUCK with the MLB. Stupid f@$King game if you ask me. Guy can stand in left field for the entire game and get more time in talking to fans than seeing a ball hit his way. Or how about a guy who is 5’3″ but weighs 250, so we’ll stick him on 3rd base so he doesn’t have to physically exert himself and have a coronary on the field.”

    When responding to the irrational rants of those who in their stumble through life find their way to “our” website to babble incoherently, don’t make the mistake of lowering yourself to their level.

    I’m a Flames fan and understand defending “our team”, however your trashing of baseball has no place and you will alienate many of your allies by following this logic.Obviously you have neither played or watched the game as evidenced by your apparent lack of understanding and use of ridiculous examples.

    • Vintage Flame

      Actually I have watched more than enough. I lost interest in baseball when the Expos left the MLB. And I have a full understanding of the game. I don’t buy into the claim that the hardest thing to do in sports is to “hit a round ball with a round bat”.. and I’m simply not a fan.

      And though my examples may be exaggerated, I don’t believe they are ridiculous.. merely overlooked by the fans of the game [which I don’t begrudge them for being].

      I don’t believe you have to be in the best shape to still find a place in a baseball lineup, you can’t deny that? And there have been games where players in the outfield have not seen a ball come there way, other than being at bat?

      So yes.. I may have exaggerated the inference, but I’m not too far off the mark.
      That being said… duly noted on lowering myself to his level.

  • Captain Ron

    After watching the Bruins this year I really noticed how well they played as a five man unit and were especially good in their own end of the rink on most nights. I was impressed with them when I saw us play them in the regular season. It would be very encouraging to see the Flames play like that on a regular basis. Thats how cups are won. Until that happens it isn’t going to matter if Jesus is in goal, the Apostles make up the rest of the team and Moses is coaching.

    I don’t mind having Babchuk on the team for the entertainment value, both good and bad that he provides. Here’s hoping he’s on the ice for more goals for than against. I actually think we’ll see more 5-3, 6-5, and 4-3 type games than the 7-3 stuff some are predicting.

    Next off season should go a long way to determining our future. With the recent arbitration cases announced does’nt it mean that those players will now become UFA’s next July 1st?

    Boston fan troll, assuming your not an Oiler troll (which I think you are) there are a lot of people around here that cheered for the Bruins, myself included so don’t kick over the honey pot eh.

  • Captain Ron

    Great read as always.

    Babchuk seemed to improve over the year and I agree that he was very sheltered but I’m wondering how much better he was for the second half vs the first half of the time he was here (or even if he was better).

    Kent, is there anyway to see if his numbers improved from the first 35 vs the next 34 (since he only played 69 games with the Flames). If his numbers improved in that time, I think that we have reason to hope that Feaster and Sutter are right and that he can continue to improve. If not, then we better hope that Brodie is ready to play in the big leagues.

  • Captain Ron

    After watching the Bruins this year I really noticed how well they played as a five man unit and were especially good in their own end of the rink on most nights. I was impressed with them when I saw us play them in the regular season. It would be very encouraging to see the Flames play like that on a regular basis. Thats how cups are won. Until that happens it isn’t going to matter if Jesus is in goal, the Apostles make up the rest of the team and Moses is coaching.

    The team that went the distancein 03/04 was a gelled team. Boston was playing as a team. Vancouver…not so much. Detroit has won so many times because of a culture and team approach and gelling. The make up of the team and dollar values to me mean not so much. But rather getting the right team toghether in terms of disposition and ethic and team work.

    PS BOSTON FAN – you are completly retarded!

  • Captain Ron

    I think some of you guys are on crack. I mean to say that Butler and/or Carson are 2nd pairing NHL defensemen? Cmon these guys have had nothing more than a drink of water in the NHL and couldnt stay up with their team. Mind you Buffalo and Carolina arent exactly busting with defensive talent. This d-squad is really going to be the downfall of this team this year. What happens if Kipper does have a bad season? What if Iggy and Tanguay dont mesh and get no more than 60-65 points? What if Jokinen is what he is, 40-50 point man. What if. . . wow thats alot of what ifs. This isnt a playoff team, i’d say 10th place is pushing it.