Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Enigmatic Mr. Laraque

I check on the Phoenix box scores every now and again, just keeping tabs on Georges and a few other Coyote players out of curiousity. It's an interesting team they've assembled.

Anyhow, Georges has always been a unique player and person. And he always has had stretches of tremendously effective play, not very glamourous but when your team has the puck as much as George's team does when he's on one of his rolls, you end up with gaudy +/- numbers at evens. And of course stretches of just terrible play when he looks lost out there.

Anyhow, before Georges got his first goal and point of the season vs the Oilers back on October 26th, he was EV+0 and EV-5. I remember Dennis had noticed him inexplicably playing tough minutes and mudcrutch put up some snippets of shift charts to drive the point home. He was starting to get some bad press as well.

Since that time he is EV+12 and EV-2 including a pointless game where he went -1 last night. In that stretch he has a whopping 11 points at 5v5, plus another 3 on the power play. Yowza! I mean Ovechkin has 12 5v5 points in the same stretch, but with a helluva lot more icetime.

Not getting total cherry minutes or anything either by the looks of it. He played typical 4th liner minutes against the Oilers by my memory, but not usually in other games.

Just checked the icetime against Kariya (with Legwand and Erat now as Arnott is out) vs Nashville the other night. If the shiftcharts are right then he had a respectable 4.6 minutes of head to head time, trailing only Doan and Sjostrom amongst wingers, a mile behind Michalek at 11.3 minutes, but a mile ahead of Jovo (0.3), Gratton (0.0) and Roenick(0.1). And well clear of Scatchard, Morris, Nolan and a few others as well.

He NEVER played that kind of icetime for MacTavish. Look at a list of the guys who were on the ice for Georges +s and -s as an Oiler and it's mostly a list of guys that only hardcore fans have even heard of. But in PHX I've noticed Lang and Tkachuk on that list, last night against Dallas' decimated lineup his minus came against Ribiero and Lehtinen. Strange stuff indeed. And good for Georges. He's an enigma, most hockey players are very nearly exactly as 'streaky' as a slots player would be expected to be. Laraque is an exception, madass stuff. And if history has taught me properly then he'll implode soon enough, which is a shame.

Also: Georges has been playing with Zigomanis as his C. Good player if he's the guy I'm thinking of, a smallish guy with big hair who is very hard on the puck.


Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Zigomanis has bounced around an absolute tonne but now him and BG have been joined by Oleg Sprykin, sp?, on a very effective line in Phx.

I don't mind BG's success, in fact I'm really glad for him. He was beginning to make enough money that he'd have to ascend beyond 4th line ictime and MacT was never going to trust him enough for that here.

Craig's a straight shooter though and if BG's still on pace for a great season the next time the Yotes are in town then it will be interesting to see what the old head coach has to say about it.

12/07/2006 12:56 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Interesting stuff Vic. Here's another cool mini-breakdown for the NAMBLA contingent over at HF:

First 14 games:
Smith +6/-10
Tjarnqvist +7/-11
Greene +10/-8
Horcoff +6/-10

Last 13 games:
Smith +13/-6
Tjarnqvist +12/-5
Greene +5/-8
Horcoff +9/-3

Obviously this stuff is pretty small but it's interesting to me. The vets are coming around.

Also interesting is Smid and Lupul. They were -3GD and -5GD respectively in their first 14 games and are both +1 in their last 13 games. This is good news for both players as I think their minutes may be a shade tougher lately as well.

12/07/2006 1:08 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

rivers - NAMBLA?

I don't see as many games as I would like but last night was a good one. Smart hockey by the Oil and even when it was 1-1 it reminded me of one of those Ducks' games from last spring - I just could not see them losing. Keeping it simple.

And Smid is Smid, huh? He looked alright most of the night and then had one play where he was deep in his own zone with no pressure and dumped it softly into the open corner. Chaos ensued.

Sorry for the tangent Vic - good post. I like LeGG and am glad he is doing well but I'll be interested to see how things go from here on out for him. I always find it interesting to see a borderline guy and how he can contribute more then you would expect - is it increased icetime and responsibility, some luck, the right linemates? Peterson is a guy now who really is an effective guy for the Oilers and I wonder why he didn't see more icetime last spring.

12/07/2006 1:26 pm  
Blogger Doogie said...

I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop on Big Georges for, oh, two or three weeks. Question is, what if it doesn't? I know I think 40-50 points would look good on the big guy.

12/07/2006 2:08 pm  
Blogger Bank Shot said...

Rivq- The numbers you posted for Smith add up to +3 but his +/- stat is officially -5. I don't understand how that works.

12/07/2006 3:27 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Nice to see that both Smith and Shaggy are bouncing back. Nice game from 2 last night as it seemed like MacT was really cutting his ES TOI.

I hadn't thought about 15 now playing tough min but yeah that's the case...him and 71 are now in that role. And 16 as well when the Oilers are A: on the road or B: when they're at home and facing a team with two offensive lines.

There's been a definite sea change in the MacTactics with both of first 83 and then 94 joining 18 on the sidelines and it's gonna be interestnig to see how it shakes out. It could turn out to be the best thing that could've happened and not in the stupid "teams are better when they deal with adversity" deal that everyone throws out. Rather my thinking is that if 71-10-15 mesh together then 94 slides back in for 71 and we've got a PVP line that can score. If 14-16-34 keep working out then we've got another line that can score and meanwhile we know that 71/83 have chem and we can work guys in and out on their other wing and plus we've got teh 28-19-26 line that should be able to throttle anyone else's 4th unit. And that's not even counting Moreau whom I won't count until I see him back on the ice, BTW.

So the only thing missing would be who could play with 71/83. My first hope would be 78 but both 83 and 94 are a long ways away right now so there's lots of time for one of the kids plus Petersen to grab that last spot in the top 12.

12/07/2006 4:02 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Yep Lupul and Sykora out there with Horcoff and they did a fine job. And Stoll's line as well.

Really a fine game - Canes had some decent chances early but nothing ridiculous. They really miss Kaberle and Stillman on the PP though - there wasn't even a sniff of danger and I believe they were Oiler like in their incompetence - some 0 for 20 streak or something - but that's two guys with some skill as we know :(

The Oil are playing as they did in the playoffs last season - just basic smart hockey - good puck support, hard on the puck, dump and chase when they have to, chip it out/chip it in.

That and some individuals who are playing better - namely Torres, Lupul and Stoll. And the kids are alright.

12/07/2006 6:31 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

bank shot:

Well, first off I've got a typo in there. Smith's first 14 games were +6/-14, so he's -1 overall by my calculations.

The remaining discrepancy is because I'm only counting pure 5V5 GF/GA which means the following: no SHGF or SHGA; no 4V4 GF/GA; and no ENGF or ENGA (ie. no 6 skater vs. 5 skater situations).

12/08/2006 4:09 pm  

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