Was This Really Necessary?

by Rich

I know that I’m asking for it by reading one of the “blogs” on The Worldwide Leader’s website, but this is a bit much. With apologies to the gentlemen at Fire Joe Morgan, there are some things here that need to be addressed.

If there is one thing I can stress, it is to not read too much into Steve Bernier’s first night as a Sabre. That doesn’t mean to dismiss it out of hand either.

Well-hedged, sir. No need to actually offer an opinion on a player’s performance when you can say that it might be significant. Or it might not. The important thing is that Sean Allen successfully dodged the question.

Bernier played the entire night on a line with two of Buffalo’s most dynamic players — Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy and it resulted in two goals and an assist in the Sabres’ 8-4 win over the Predators. A grinder by nature, Bernier had benefited from playing with talent way above his head in the past (Joe Thornton), so as long as he remains with that unit he can keep his production in the fantasy-useful realm. However, Bernier’s value is tied 100 percent to his linemates, and a move of [sic] the top line would mean his value crashes and burns.

So those three points that Bear put up last night were solely the result of being on the ice with Vanek and Roy. It’s true; if you look closely, Bernier never actually touched the puck on any of those plays. The combined awesomeness of his linemates propelled the puck into the net, and the scorekeeper simply took pity on Steve, awarding him some points so that we, the foolish fans, would feel better about the truly devastating loss of perennial Norris trophy-winner Brian Campbell.

Little Known Fact: Steve Bernier did accomplish something of note last night, tying Don Luce’s team record for “Most Points Awarded to a Player Due Solely To His Teammates.” The record had stood since a 1975 game against the Flyers, when Luce was credited with a natural hat trick simply for sharing ice time with the French Connection.

Anyhow, skipping down a bit in the article we find this gem:

Speaking of Campbell, he led all Sharks in ice time as they dominated the Blue Jackets 4-2. Campbell chipped in an assist and would have had the third assist on the first goal (if such a thing existed).

Okay, this one just hurts my brain. I’m going to need to go one sentence at a time here.

Speaking of Campbell, he led all Sharks in ice time as they dominated the Blue Jackets 4-2.

Just so we’re clear, the Sabres “won” 8-4. The Sharks “dominated” 4-2. I’m not trying to argue that the Sabres did dominate the Preds, but it’s just silly to say that a 4-2 win is any more impressive than an 8-4 win. You know what? Screw it. While we’re randomly qualifying and disqualifying stats, let’s just have the two goals that Jocelyn “The Human Empty Net” Thibault allowed stricken from the record. I’d say the Sabres’ 8-2 win was at least as “dominating” as SJ’s 4-2 final.

Campbell chipped in an assist and would have had the third assist on the first goal (if such a thing existed).

As my Texan roommate said after reading this line, “If my grandmother had balls, she’d be my grandfather.”

While we’re on the topic of the “third assist,” since when is it useful to create stats to describe events that didn’t actually happen? I’m all for stats, but only if they actually have some meaning. A “Third Assist” stat would give 4 of the 5 players on the ice when a goal is scored a point. You’re telling me that it’s statistically significant to keep track of the guy who passes to the guy who passes to the guy who passes to the guy who scores? That…would do nothing but artificially inflate the offensive statistics of mediocre players and completely skew perceptions on the actual value of an offensive player. As far as I know, the purpose of statistics as they pertain to sports is to make the evaluation of players easier, not more difficult.

Also, I notice that there’s no disclaimer about Soup’s abilities. For those of you keeping track at home, the Sabres got a guy with 15 goals (13 at the time of the trade) whose scoring is apparently completely dependent on his linemates, and the Sharks got MVP candidate, Hall-of-Fame defenseman, and Nobel Prize nominee Brian Campbell (who has 5 goals credited to him and 44 more that would have been if not for his charitable nature and insistence that those goals be credited to his less awesome teammates). Does this guy know Bucky Gleason?


  1. twoeightnine


  2. Ian

    …aaaaaand I’m subscribed.

    Nice blog.

  3. Ryan

    And he wonders why I want him to post more often…

  4. Anne

    Ok, so I’ve reviewed the highlights from Wednesday’s San Jose game. Soupy had an interesting night:

    He drew the ire of one Rick Nash for reasons no one can seem to sort out.

    He had an assist.

    He had a serviceable open ice hit.

    He also can be prominently seen flying through the Sharks’ goal crease and falling down ineffectively as the puck goes in the net for Columbus’ first goal.

    Classic Soupy.

    But I still kind of miss him.