Shinoix wrote:I sat back tonight and thought about this as I watched Gonchar completely give up and barely try tonight.
For people who are getting excited with his play as of late, you're wrong. The only reason he's getting points is because the team is starting to play better and therefore scoring more goals. Defensively he's still terrible and his effort is so inconsistent.
That may be one of the most illogical arguments I've read on here in quite some time. 'The only reason' he is scoring more often is because his team is playing better overall. There's no way there's any chance that he has actually elevated his offensive level of play to be part of the reason that the team's overall play is better. No way. That's impossible.
Shinoix wrote:Now people, i want you to think long and hard about this. Gonchar is supposed to be one of the elite offensive defenseman of the league. Right?
Well, here, you're starting to show some signs of logic. Yes, he is considered as such. Or at least he has been for the last 5 years. This year has obviously hurt that reputation. In the past 3 seasons, Gonchar has finished first, second, and first amongst scoring defensemen. (These were obviuosly his best amongs the last 5 years, but I can't find ranked scoring for the 2 years before them. But his PPG stats are not that much worse (.75 and .74) for those two years than the previous 3 years have been (.77, .81, .85)). So it is safe to say he has earned the title of being an elite offensive dman.
Shinoix wrote:Ok, we've seen one nice end to end rush this year to win a game in overtime. Other than that, when he rushes the puck, he pretty much gives up at the blueline and just rolls it in and because he's carried the puck up the ice, a tll of our forwards hado slow down or stop at the blueline and therefore there is no forecheck.
Do you not think that is the strategy the coaches have decided they want to employ? Do you think he would be QBing the PP if what he was doing was going against what the coaching staff wanted? Gonchar is able to lug the puck through the neutral zone and get it into the opponents end. Not many other people on the team can do that right now. I'm not saying Gonchar is = Kovalev for stickhandling and rushing the puck, but he is one of the best we have right now.
Shinoix wrote:Secondly, have we seen him spring anyone for a great breakaway pass this year or anything like that? Nope, we haven't.
Actually, I have. Not nearly as many as I've seen him make in the past, but I have seen it. Just because you can't recollect a specific breakout pass doesn't mean they aren't happening. I notice a disturbing trend in your logic of equating good play with video highlight type plays. While highlights are usually indicative of good play, good play is not always indicated by highlight plays.
Shinoix wrote:On to his Power Play production. What exactly does he do better on the PP than other defenseman in the league? He shoots, that's all he does, he shoots! He's horrible for having shots blocked and i'm tired of it. You can see it when he has it in his mind that he's going to shoot, and nothing will change his mind, even if there is a guy in his lane. Someone will slide him the puck and he won't change his mind no matter what is happening. Him and Whitney make the worst decisions on shots.
Poor guy can't win. If he chooses his shots too tentatively, he's bad. If he opens up the flood gates and shoots constantly, he's bad. I will agree to a point that I think he overdoes it sometimes and does make bad decisions. In other words, he's forcing it. Imagine that. On a team that has had scoring goals for large stretches this season.
Shinoix wrote:Now, does he pass well on the PP? Not really, him and Sid pretty much play catch, that's about it. I ask again, have you seen him set anyone up point blank this year for a goal? Have you actually seen him create a goal? I can't, and I've watched everygame, and nothing really sticks out.
So, he has to set guys up for point blank shots to be considered productive? Newsflash: Dmen don't really set many guys up from point blank range when the dman is playing point on the PP. The goalie would really have to be out to lunch for that to happen, even if the dman makes a cross-ice diagonal pass from one circle to the opposite post. He generates his points by shots from the point... either going in or by rebounds created by his wicked shot. We've already established that his 45 points in 66 games thus far for .68 PPG is lower than his average over the past 5 years, but of those 45 points, 30 were scored on the power play, or 2/3 of his points, or 67%. His overall production is low, but that is a pretty healthy amount of power play production. The dman with the most power play production this year is Lidstrom, who scored 58% of his total point production (72).
Shinoix wrote:So I guess what I'm trying to say is, he hasn't done anything this year. All of his assists are just rebound assists, nothing to do with setups or creativity. I haven't once this season said, wow when he made a play. I never once said to myself, what a great play by Gonchar, and that's why he's one of the best in the league.
Again, his rebound points are somehow less valuable than a 'highlight' play? I don't know how much you saw Gonchar previously, but he was never a superstar playmaker. Of all his offensive game this year, in my opinion his shot accuracy and selections is the most glaringly subpar compared to the past 5 years. He has not scored nearly as many power play goals this year as in the past. However, it's not like the point shot is his only offensively above average attribute. He has a VERY good sense for hanging back, then sneaking in behind the play, be it on the power play or on a cycle play, etc. I know I have said to myself MANY times 'wow' on this ability. You do notice it much more watching the games in person, I must say.
Shinoix wrote:Combine this with his lack of defensive play, lack of effort, defensive lapses, and he's really done nothing all year.
Well, let's not get started on his defensive play. That is not a subject that is up for debate. He has been very bad. He has always been subpar, but it is glaring this year. Maybe because of early goaltending woes and the overall defensive corp around him. As far as lack of effort, that is a baseless claim. You are not in his head. You do not watch practices. Sometimes watching a player can reveal his level of effort: see Koltsov. But there are other times when a player does not appear to be 'playing hard' when they are, in actuality. See=Mario Lemieux.
Shinoix wrote:Take a good look at him next game and see what he does really well. See how many times you say, wow, what a great play, or great pass. Colby Armstrong does better things in a game than Gonchar.
I have, I do, and I will continue to see him do good things. Increasingly over the past month or so. That's not to say I don't see him do bad things... offensively and defensively. As far as the Bird doing better things, well, duh. Colby has been arguably the best player on the team the past couple weeks, maybe other than Sid. Armstrong has done more to help the team than Gonchar has, admittedly.
Yes, he's had a bad year. Below his previously elite level of offensive play, below his previously below-average level of defensive play. It's called an outlier to the data set. Is there a guarantee that his elite years aren't behind him and he will return to that status? No, there's not. But there's reason to believe that he can produce at, or close to, that elite level again. He's overpaid at 5 million a year, and it especially hurts when he's having a bad year. That's the real reason I think most people focus on him so much. Sergei Gonchar is this year's goat. Plain and simple.
I'm just happy to be able to see improvements, slowly but surely, in his game, in the hope that the remaining contract doesn't continue to drag the team down.