Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Defending Shawn Horcoff.

I got into a lengthy debate on HF after presenting my ideas for improving the team. One particular poster decided to take offense to my suggestion that Horcoff should not be paired with Hemsky and Sykora against quality opposition. He contended that it was Horcoff dragging down Hemsky and Sykora at ES, not vice versa. So I went and checked out some shift charts and compared Horcoff's ES results based on his line mates. Needless to say, what I found re-enforced my belief that Horcoff's plummeting +/- stems in part from his current line mates.

Out of Smyth, Pisani, Lupul, Sykora and Hemsky, I consider only Smyth and Pisani as defensively sound forwards.

Games 1 through 10 Horc is paired with Smyth and Lupul: -2.
Games 11-25 Horc is paired with Smyth and Pisani: -1
Games 26-33 Horc is paired mostly with Lupul and Sykora: -3
Games 34-Present Horc is paired mostly with Sykora and Hemsky: -6

Let's break it down:

Games with no questionable defensive forwards on his line: 15.
Result: -1.
On pace for: -5
Games with 1 questionable defensive forward: 10.
Result: -2.
On pace for: -16
Games with 2 questionable defensive forwards: 13.
Result: -9.
On pace for: -56

This certainly suggests that pairing Horc with more than 1 or more defensively irresponsible forwards and still relying on him to play tough minutes is a recipe for disaster.

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