March Madness

Winless (and scoreless) in their last three games, the Canadiens will be looking for a much needed win at home tonight when they face the Atlanta Thrashers.

The bleu-blanc-rouge started the month of March on a high note; a four game winning streak that saw them defeat Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay and Boston. Nearing the end of the month though, it is a completely different story.

They have now fallen seven points behind Boston, who has a game in hand.

After crushing the Minnesota Wild 8-1 the Habs went on to lose their next three games, being outscored 11-0, including an embarrassing 7-0 blowout to the Boston Bruins.

Who is to blame for this?

It is impossible to point a finger at any one player in general. The forwards aren’t scoring, the defencemen aren’t defending. Carey Price continues to stand on his head in net but the team in front of him is not producing results.

A few months ago I posted a blog where I mentioned an interesting stat about Scott Gomez and the correlation between his time on the ice and the result of the game.

When Gomez has more than 18:40 minutes of ice time the Canadiens almost always end up losing.

At the time the Habs were 1-6-0 when he played more than 18:40 and 12-1-1 when he played less.

While studying the way the month of March has unfolded I’ve come to realize that this stat still holds true.

When Gomez has played more than 18:40 in the month of March the Habs are 2-6-0. When he has played less than that they are 5-0-0.

I’m not going to say Gomez is the one to completely blame for this. It’s not like he decides his own ice time.

The problem with Gomez is he is a defensive liability (hence why he is -16 on the season). His style is very offensive; he does not have a strong defensive mind set. However, with only seven goals to his name his offensive talent is being completely discredited.

When the Canadiens are down Gomez gets more ice time and the fourth line sits more solely based on this fact that he should be producing goals. This is why the ending result is a loss when he plays more. He just isn’t scoring.

When the Habs are leading Gomez sees the bench more because he is a defensive liability and he’s not needed on the ice. This is why the ending result is a win when he plays less. He isn’t on the ice to get scored on.  

As I mentioned in By the Numbers the best thing the Habs can do is keep Gomez’s ice time below 18 minutes a game. He’s proven time and time again that he is not going to be a high scoring player this season.

When Montreal and Atlanta last met on March 1, the Canadiens won 3-1. Gomez had 19:09 minutes of ice time and was +2. Hopefully they’ll see similar results tonight. They cannot afford to keep losing.

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5 thoughts on “March Madness

  1. Though he maybe the 8 Million dollar man.. but he is just 1 .. not 23… the other 22 need to pull up their socks, Check their jocks and leave it all on the ice..

    Awesome read!

  2. Beating up my Gomez again eh??? =)

    I tease! Interesting points. You’d make one serious statistician. Those are interesting thoughts on “Why” there’s failure with +18:40 TOI, which begs we ask the question – Why would JM and Muller continue to increase his ice time when he clearly isn’t responding with goals.

    Truth is, Gomez has always been a play maker, not a goal scorer. That being said, he’s a necessity on the ice, but with heavily guarded time allotments.

    The other reality is that his play-making ability is slack lately too. The passing needs to get back to a crisp, fast paced, accurate condition, which could be said for many a player on the team right now as well.

    But I’ll save that for my own post!!!

    Good Read!

    • They seem to increase his TOI when they’re already down. I guess hoping he will produce. That’s why sometimes you have to look beyond the stat. They’re already usually losing by the time he’s passed that 18:40 minute mark. But when they’re winning that’s when they reduce his time because they don’t need any goals, and they know putting him out will more than likely cost them a goal, lol. And I agree… he is a play maker. His 28 assists prove that.
      As I mentioned in my reply to Grant, he always shines come playoff time and a lot of people will be jumping on the Gomez train when the post season rolls around.

      Looking forward to that post of yours!

  3. Very interesting read, i like that you didn’t exactly attack Gomez, but instead you just did your research and pointed out the facts. Very well written!

    • Thanks Grant! I don’t really like attacking players. He’s definitely over paid for how he is playing this season but he is a play maker. He has 28 assists so that tells you he’s at least involved in a bunch of our goals. His -16 is real blow though. A lot of people hate on him big time. He’s more of a playoff type player anyways. I guarantee a lot of people will be jumping on the Gomez band wagon come post season.

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