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1/24/11-Washington Capitals Forward Brooks Laich Shouldn’t Be Under “Performance” Microscope

January 24, 2011

1/24/11

Yes, it’s Mia this time around. Sara and Jerry were concerned about me. I understand the reasoning behind it, but all is as good as it can be for me right now. I took a mighty blow at an interview recently. It gave me cause to stumble. This happens and I’ve learned to catch my balance quickly or just get back up if I face plant.

Anyway, onto something much more interesting. I will begin with Japer’s Rink and the “Weekly Ups and Downs“. I doubt by now it is at all a secret that I stay away from numerical analysis, for the most part. That doesn’t mean I’m not paying any attention to numbers however. I agree with my fellow SFTCer, Sara, regarding her take on Brooks Laich’s work during the CAPS-Leafs game of two nights ago. Again, I’m on the more large picture perspective and Laich’s numbers are not necessarily the entire measure of a player’s contribution to a team.

Russian Machine Never Breaks touches on the numbers aspect for me, so we’ll start there since numbers are everyone’s favorite thing. I think RMNB covers that side of it well, so thanks to RMNB. No disrespect to Japer’s at all, by the way. I am a fan and Japer’s saves me inordinate amounts of time by putting all relative information in one place. It’s pretty awesome to have that available, so thanks to Japer’s as well.

I see Laich’s contribution in a different light. It’s a lot harder for me make concrete arguments or present a different perspective that actually means something to others who are always in a hurry and prefer a nice little package of data that doesn’t take the form of a quantitative answer. I still do it though, so onward I go. If one were to re-watch Saturdays’ game against Toronto and only really paid a good, focused attention to every move Laich made while he was out on the ice, one might see a pattern. For example, he has a constant awareness that his stick, if put flat to ice and moved around in front of or near opposing player’s forces that player to make decisions in more haste Rushed decisions causes mistakes, bad passes and can then lead to an opportunity for the Capitals.

Can anyone in complete honesty tell me that you get the sense that he become “tentative” or at any time unaware of the action on the ice, most specifically where the puck was at all times? Maybe if you re-watch the game and do the same thing for one of the younger forwards, you might then see the differences. Both Laich and Green took time with the puck away from the other team. That matters and it matters a lot. Even if Green and Laich weren’t making rushes to the net all night or some of the other things that are far more tangible when viewed at the surface, Laich did an EXCELLENT job of forcing the Leafs to make on ice decisions fast. He made a very concerted effort to keep the Leaf’s shooting lane unpopulated by the enemy. He was consistently a pain the butt for Toronto. If you watch the game again and take the perspective of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you might actually be very unhappy with the name Laich. He kept taking time and space away from them on both sides of the ice. That matters. If the other team can’t catch a break, get time to set up, get time to find space or find a way to get to the slot, that team will have FAR FEWER BONAFIED CHANCES TO SCORE.

It is not for me to make any comment as to what line Brooksie should play. Numbers are certainly important to the game and all those within the organization who may have to make decisions about personnel, especially with respect to the salary cap. I get all the hoopla about numbers. Brooks Laich has a sturdy commitment to the game and it rarely ever varies when displayed on ice or elsewhere. Reliable hard work, focus and a “never give up” attitude may not have a numerical representation, but it has value.

As I’ve said in the video blogs and here in this format, the game can change in a heartbeat. The “streaks” and the “slumps” will come and go. The ups and downs are a natural part of an NHL season, of an NFL season, of a marriage, of a day and well of life. I view things less in single, quantitative terms representing only a small period of time. I view things from more a longitudinal perspective which allows the patterns to become more clear. Over time, the contributions of any single person on a team become a measure of his/her focused commitment to completing the mission successfully. I’m about as sure as a person who doesn’t actually know Brooks Laich can be that he is focused and committed to winning the Stanley Cup and he certainly is not afraid of hard work or “greasy” goals.

I’m going to get on the video blog again after the CAPS-Rangers this evening on Versus at 7:30pm. Jerry is now addicted to live games so he will be representing the SFTC three at a second Capitals game in a row. The DC REDS and I just sucked in another believer. My plot to proliferate the CAPS fan base across and to the outer reaches of the universe is taking shape - mwahaha!

GO GET ‘EM REDS ya studs – that Lundqvist guy isn’t without his flaws. Get on the ice bringing the most focused of what you got guys! Jerry will suffer through another hangover without issue, so don’t hold back on giving him reason to celebrate again! – peace – mia – singingfromthecrease@gmail.com

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