Welcome again to Pizzametrics. Each week, after recording and pouring over the games played, I'll be applying my "complex" system of metaphorical metrics to members of the Anaheim Ducks, and calling out the best eaters and delivery guys on the squad on an individual game or group of games basis. Because this is a "stat," I have created a one slice (1P-Met) to six slice (6P-Met) rating system, with six slices of pizza being excellent.
Ok, right off the top: I have books due between now and December. This is the crazy town of deadline-ville for me. Unless something sensationally amazing happens, less is more. Also we had a team lunch today at a pizza place. I won everything.
The Ducks played four games in week four and came out 2-2-0. Not bad, but I don't mind saying, I really wanted the team to beat the Carlyle-coached Maple Leafs. And naturally, it was the worst game this team has played all year. Some of you might argue they played worse against the Montreal Canadiens. You're wrong. The Habs played better than the Ducks, which is an important distinction. But really I'm splitting hairs because I'm disappointed the team let Phil Kessel beat them.
I got on Sami Vatanen's case last week. He played better this week. I'd give him another slice on top of the two last week. But I mostly mention him now because when Luca Sbisa is ready, I think Sami sits. I like what he brings when he's not being overly aggressive. The thing is, Sbisa and Vatanen play almost exactly the same type of game, despite Sami being more mobile. Which brings me to...
Hampus Lindholm, D (3P-Met) - For a young kid, he's been pretty good for the team. I have written about my worries over his growth and development already, so this isn't that. Through the four games this week, he has held his own in driving possession. He's played consistent minutes and has been a good partner for Francois Beauchemin.
Where I think he can improve is in using his body: he has the fewest blocked shots on the team's blue line. His defensive partner has the most. The Ducks are secretly a good shot blocking team, so obviously there's a bit of a philosophy of taking away forwards' shots for the club. I worry about Lindholm's lack of it because it means Beauchemin is taking the brunt whenever they share the ice.
Bryan Allen, D (overall: 2P-Met, week 4: 4P-Met) - Allen is interesting. He's slow. He gets lost in coverage at times. The combination of the two means he doesn't often get back into the play because the puck is in the back of the net. But against teams who tried to out-smash the Ducks - Dallas, Toronto, Montreal - Allen is awesome. Only the speedy Ottawa gave him trouble in week four.
Simply put, I think this has a lot to do with coaching. Dallas, Toronto, and Montreal all take a more old-school approach to zone entries - dump, get it deep, chase it down. Allen does alright against that, because he's big. MacLean comes from the Detroit school of possession, which more coaches and teams are beginning to play as well, and those are the games that see Allen out of his depth.
Allen is a bottom six defenseman who is ideally suited to face off against dump-in teams and third and fourth liners who tend to dump pucks in more. His big body is also useful blocking shots on the PK. This is probably the pinnacle of Allen's Pizzametrics, this week.
Mathieu Perreault, C (6P-Met) - I'm going to keep this short. Perreault is the best. The Washington Capitals suck. Perreault makes every person around him better. He and Fowler have been the biggest surprises this season. I need no elaboration here. I speak truth, you feel it in your souls. Perreault eats all the pizzas.
Hits. I know a few people who have remarked to me that the Ducks aren't a physical team. Why, I ask. Because we aren't hitting as much.
Nonsense. The system the Ducks play isn't as reliant on the notion of "finishing checks," the way some coaches who think that is good forechecking preach to players. Instead, our high pressure (less hitting) forechecking has resulted in more turnovers and goals.
A forechecking hit is nine times out of 10 a pointless hit. A good hit is to separate man from puck. Finding good examples from each game is tough, because hits aren't highlighted consistently, so unless I note it the night of, it's harder to find. That being said, here's two good, clean hits. Note: these hits have more impact on the game than the stuff that sounds awesome (boom, bang, crash) but usually decides nothing.
Beauchemin on Vernon Fiddler.