KORAB Grit Numbers: Kings-Sharks Game 6, or, We Need to Talk About Leadership
“(Without) leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman
Well, well, well. So, here we are, after all of that drama, the series comes down to a seventh game. How expected.
For the second straight year, the Kings and Sharks will meet for another Game 7, this despite the Kings trailing 3-0 in the series. The Kings are only the ninth team in league history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0, and look to be the fourth team to win a series after facing that deficit.
So, will they do it?
Sure, maybe you could look to stats like Corsi and Fenwick, which will tell you who is driving possession and getting the best chances for the answer, but does any of that really matter in a Game 7?
The answer, as the Don Cherrys and Mike Milburys of the world will tell you, is a resounding no. And seriously, why would you get hockey information from anyone else?
What matters is gumption, want-to, stick-to-itiveness. Because it’s the Cup, and it’s what these players have been playing for since they were children (well, the hardy North American players, at least). So, you are one lucky son-of-a-gun that KORAB grit numbers exist.
Through six games we have seen a fairly even matchup in the grit numbers, despite the uneven play of the series as a whole. But, discrepancies arise, and it is through this we see the grittiest of the grit, the players built for the playoffs, and the true leaders of their team. Thus, we are able to take a scientific approach to determine who wants it more in Game 7.
If you are unfamiliar with KORAB, go ahead and get caught up. It shouldn’t take you any longer than a lunch break.
Okay, let’s look at the numbers for the Kings Game 6 win at Staples Center to even the series at three.
Kings Game 6 KORAB:
One noticeable stat in this game was the lack of hits in comparison to the previous games. This could be due to a variety of factors: the wear of a long series, a lack of intensity, the players starting to listen to the drama queens in the league office talk about eliminating all contact from the game completely. Who really knows. The point is, this game would truly show the disparity between moxie and pussyfooting.
Stoll and Brown, the wily vets of this team and obvious leaders on the team, carried the team for yet another night. This is not only how games are won, but how CUPS ARE WON. The leaders have to lead. Don’t think so? Just look what that does to the young guys on the team. Pearson and Muzzin came to life, following suit with the guys who have been there before. And this goes a long way in allowing offensive minded guys like Justin Williams to score the easy goals without worrying about getting taken out in the slot.
KINGS OVERALL KORAB – ROUND 1:
Look at that leadership. Stoll and Brown dominate, Kopitar and Lewis contribute, and young guys like Toffoli, Pearson, and Clifford learn by example. That’s seven players in the lineup that are consistently laying it all on the line for the TEAM. It starts at the top and trickles down, and that is why the Kings lead the overall KORAB for the series.
Coaching wizard Todd McLellan scratched one of his grittiest players in Mike Brown for this game. The numbers didn’t line up, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. That said, this decision turned out to be a costly one when the Sharks failed to muster the same amount of grit from the fourth line that was seen in the first five games. As a result, Torres was wholly ineffective and had a poor KORAB night by his standards, while the fresh-legged Matt Irwin was the only one who actually brought any toughness to the lineup. This toughness fell way short of that averaged by Brown, though.
We will revisit this in a moment, but take a look at Joe Thornton’s and Patrick Marleau’s KORAB. If you will recall, we called out Thornton in the previous post, citing a true lack of leadership from the Sharks captain in comparison to the Kings veteran guys.
So, just keep that in mind.
SHARKS OVERALL KORAB – ROUND 1:
Who has the highest KORAB? Brown. Who was scratched last game? Brown. What was the result of that game? Sharks lose because they don’t have a salt of the Earth guy to block shots and clear the crease. Thus, three of the four Kings goals are scored a combined two feet from the goal line.
But enough about that. We could go on all day and night about the importance of Mike Brown.
Let’s talk about leadership. This is the Sharks combined series KORAB after Game 3, having just won three straight games:
Thornton, even through the first three games, really did not show much in the way of grit. At that point, no one had the balls to question his backbone, but now we can. Does Thornton even care about this team, or even about hockey? If the first five games are any indication, no. And now he just wants to turn it on for one game? That’s not how it works.
In the last three games we have seen the regression out of the fourth liners, and little done by the top six to pick up the slack. Couture’s KORAB has dipped since Game 3, and Hannan has been a non-factor selfish finesse player. Leadership, and influence, starts at the top. So Sharks fans, as yourselves, is this who you want as a leader?
Ohhhhhhh noooooooo sooooooo intimidating
So, who wins Game 7? Well, if you have been paying attention at all, it will be the grittiest team. And the Kings have been the grittiest team through six games. But it all starts with leadership, and THAT stat is hard to quantify.