FLUBBER’S GAME OF THE WEEK: COLUMBUS vs SAN JOSE


FlubbersGOW900

Hey, Flubber’s Game of the Week is back.  That’s where we take a weekly look at the game to watch in the NHL.  Here’s the last game before the Olympic break, or as Columbus Blue Jacket fans still waiting for an All-Star game call it, “another excuse.”

gow1Significance

The significance, also known as, why the Sharks should trade for Jack Johnson.

Yes.  THAT Jack Johnson.

Columbus Blue Jackets headshots

“Sup?”

Hold onto your #fancyhats, it’s about to be a bumpy ride.  Ready?  Here we go!  WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Since the Tomas Hertl injury, the Sharks are 15-8 (.652%).  Before (and counting) the injury, they were 21-14 (.600%).  Thus, without Hertl their win percentage has seen a slight increase.  Could this be due to Hertl being out of the lineup, or the fact they have played inferior opponents?  Well, frankly, who cares.  The point is they are better off without him.  But, how much better, and what might this mean for a Sharks playoff run?  A look at their offense might tell the tale.

The Sharks have scored 162 goals, which is near the top of the league, but only 105 of those at 5-on-5, which is near the middle of the pack.  Defensively, they have given up 94 goals at 5-on-5, near the top of the league, and are still fairly decent when subtracting the ridiculous outliers (Boston and the Kings).  Couple that with their Fenwick Against, in which they are still better than the league median.  That said, they don’t give up a lot of shots in comparison to the rest of the league, and I would argue their below-average PDO (shooting % + save %) – 995, five points below the magic regression number of 1000 – is mostly due to their poor shooting percentage (~7.1%) than their decent save percentage (~92.4%).  Since they do not give up an exorbitant number of shots, and save an acceptable number of shots, it stands to reason that the Sharks will slowly progress to what some may call better, albeit mediocre, offensively.  But, why wait for statistics to take their course when the Sharks can easily jump start their offense without giving up too much defensively.

What’s that supposed to mean, you ask?  Well, the Sharks might get better offensively at their current pace.  Indeed, things do tend to balance out for playoff caliber clubs.  But, they might continue to regress.  Suppose Joe Pavelski comes back from Sochi with nothing left in the tank.  The Sharks offense stalls, regresses, and the Phoenix Coyotes jump the Sharks (so to speak) for the last spot in the playoffs.  How terrible!

The theory I am proposing is that the Sharks – even with some form of offensive regression – can stand to give up a few more goals for the betterment of the team, specifically the betterment of their offense.

Enter the savior, Jack Johnson.

Currently,  Johnson is well below his career average in 5-on-5 goals, and will presumably trend upwards through the duration of the season.  Johnson’s fancy stat troubles have been well documented, but if statistic analysis has taught us anything, it’s that Johnson will see a post-Olympic rebound in production just merely due to science.

But who would Johnson replace?  Let’s take a cursory look at Dan Boyle.  His current offensive numbers are either at, or have exceeded, career averages, thus regression is about to hit him like a ton of bricks.  That said, his Corsi HARD (defensive) rating is actually POORER than Johnson’s.  This is a no brainer.

Ipso facto.  The Sharks should trade Tomas Hertl (who they don’t need, as past performance has shown us) or Dan Boyle (who is already bringing them down defensively, and is due to regress offensively) to Columbus for Jack Johnson (who will improve offensively, and is already better defensively than Boyle).  The Sharks and Johnson are a marriage of two entities about to catch fire at the same time.  Remember, after the fire, after all the rain, Jack will be the flame.

TheFlame

You’re welcome, San Jose.

Olympians

Wow.  That was exhausting.

Here, watch this video the Sharks made for you.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets couldn’t look more red, sending four players to Team Russia to play for gold in their native country.

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No disrespect to Russia or the Russian people with the Soviet gibes.
Those sweaters are pretty sweet.

FYI: Marian Gaborik still plays for the Jackets, and is a member of Team Slovakia.  It is assumed he will play just as many games for Slovakia this season as he has for Columbus.  You may recall the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as the last time Team Slovakia featured the greatest player in the history of the world, Ziggy Palffy.  It must have been so cool for Gaborik to play with Ziggy.  Alas, he is now retired.  Let’s all take a moment to bask in his reflected glory!

*metal*

Good luck, Marian, and I’m deeply sorry for you and your country’s loss.

Twitter Presence

The Columbus Blue Jackets have not only become somewhat entertaining to watch on the ice – for the Eastern Conference, at least – they are also opening up on social media.  In fact, the LA Kings official Twitter account and the Jackets account are becoming great friends.  In fact, they have even started ignoring the accounts of terrible teams together!  How cute.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 12.34.29 AMIt’s good to have allies, and its always best practice to ignore terrible teams and their nosey Twitter accounts.

As for the Sharks, fairly standard official social media account.  No talking to other team’s accounts, only posting fan photos, and this monstrosity.

Get a grip, San Jose Sharks official Twitter account.

Something to watch in this game is if the Jackets account attempts to engage the Sharks account.  We could see new friends made; or some lame passive aggression from the Sharks account.  Hopefully we don’t see any of that Wingels crap, that’s for sure.

Oh, this is a bad sign…

Video of Note

Jack Johnson working out!  And a visit to the USA Hockey OH THIS IS AWKWARD

Prediction

I never use #fancystats again, and continue to have no idea what the hell I’m talking about.  Jack Johnson scores a goal.  Dan Boyle scores a goal.  The Sharks win in overtime, 3-2.  Jack Johnson defects to Slovenia, and plays in the Olympics as their second line left wing.

Flubber McGee is TRH's resident Kansas City correspondent, and has survived as a Kings fan long before the dawn of Internet streaming sites. He has seen the Kings win exactly zero non-exhibition games in person. Have you ever achieved enlightenment? Flubber has, because he once witnessed Kevin and Brett Westgarth fight in, and get kicked out of, the same game (they didn't fight each other, unfortunately). In addition to being a part of TRH, Flubber runs a Kansas City hockey blog. It's exactly what you think it is. You can follow Flubber McGee on Twitter @FlubberMcGee.