Setting Up The Play: Anton Babchuk’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure



If you watched Tuesday night’s game, it’s more then likely you noticed a rather strange event end around 10:39 of the second period.

Anton Babchuk-for some incongruous reason-was able to stay on the ice for two minutes and fifty-five seconds.

Of course, I’ve covered previously covered Babchuk a little here. We all know he’s a bit of a defensive liability (as evidenced by the game winning goal Tuesday), so having him on the ice for anything more then 30 seconds at a time is bad. 2:55 is basically four horsemen type stuff. Let’s break it down a little, shall we? 

“Man, having the puck is awesome. Maybe I’ll score this shift!”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:05  

 “Dangles! Time to take this shot, bitches!”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:07  

“Well, the shot missed. I guess that’s OK. I’m pretty deep in the zone though…I should probably get back.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:15 

“Well, the puck’s coming back into our zone. I’ll just make an outlet pass then I’ll get off the ice.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:45 

“Where the heck did this big meanie come from? Oh well, I’m sure someone will come and help me get the puck out.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:48 

“Ouch! That hurt a lot more then I thought it would. David! Get the puck out!”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:51  

“Ooh, good pass. That’s going up the ice! Time to get off.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:52

“Come on, Lee! That’s gotta be a tape-to-tape pass! Well, probably better to stay on tired then leave the entire side of the ice open.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 0:55

“Hey, so, they’ve been playing with the puck in the neutral zone for like 30 seconds now. Can you guys get the puck in their zone, please? Olli? Curtis? Anyone?”

Elapsed Shift Time: 1:26

“So, this is really starting to get frustrating! Duchene’s pretty fresh, I’m just going to use my stick, conserve some energy.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 1:28

“Man, that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Wow, my legs are tired…I can barely skate.”

Elapsed Shift Time: 1:29

“I’m just going to stand in front of the net now, make it look like I’m contributing. I feel bad, I can’t do anything out here!”

Elapsed Shift Time: 1:32 

“Oh, it’s going the other way. Finally!”

Elapsed Shift Time: 1:35


Elapsed Shift Time: 1:37 

It really is amazing the Flames weren’t scored on in the 2:55 he was on the ice. Really, what’s even more amazing is that even after all of this, he still managed to be on the ice for another 90 FULL SECONDS. He basically has the equivalent of two shifts left out there! Like, Babchuk’s average time on ice this season is 13:49 (I know, I was amazed it was that high too). That means, based on his average TOI, this one shift was 1/5th of a game for Babchuk.

Take a look at the shift chart for this monstrosity (Babchuk in blue):

NHL Teams can dress up to 20 players (18 forwards/defensemen and 2 goaltenders) per game. 18 members of the Colorado Avalanche had ice time against Babchuk on this single shift. Jay McClement and Jean-Sebastien Giguere were the only ones not to share ice with Babchuk on the shift. 

One thing I’ve never understood is why NHL teams don’t go into roller hockey mode when they have a player stuck out there like this. Babchuk is the far side defenseman, which means he’s furthest from the bench. What teams should do in this situation is most easily described by diagrams. (Babchuk is D2 in this situation.)


F4 comes on for D2 and the change is complete. This allows teams to get fresh legs out there without being defensively vulnerable.

The one positive here is that Babchuk could’ve been out there longer-like for 3:45 (which is really, really bad and very Oilers-like) or MORE THEN A QUARTER OF A GOD DAMN PERIOD (LIKE WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THERE?!?!?!?!?!).