I've received a couple reactions since posting, perhaps from as distant perspectives as you can get. Thought I'd share.
Twitter's @Zekebud, perhaps the Blue Jackets fanbase's most adept user of advanced hockey statistics, tells me that he awarded his MVP to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Here's a bit of his rationale (but I strongly suggest you read the post to best appreciate his point of view):
In this the first installment of the CBJ 2013 Review, we’re going right for the empty-netter, the obvious one. Although that metaphor doesn’t actually translate to the player we’re talking about. Instead, his contribution is a more literal ferocious effort between the pipes, a relentless, stalwart force, unrelenting and nigh-impossible to solve. Oh, and at times he made it look effortless and calm. He should be the Vezina winner, and he could be seen as a serious Hart candidate. He is Sergei Bobrovsky.
The numbers are indeed compelling, and I will not argue with anything he said. In fact, I'll suggest that anyone who argues that Bobrovsky had anything less than a stellar final two-thirds of the season...well, they should be shot out of Stinger's t-shirt gatling gun.But you know all these things if you watched any hockey this year. Bob was a beast, plain and simple. His dominance relative to his team and relative to other goalies was simply astounding.
I just thought that Vinny was the better all-around choice. His impact on the culture of the team puts him over the top.
Another opinion came from Twitter's @CMac9113, who told me "... you clearly chose the wrong guy. The MVP was clearly Colton Gillies."
Colton Gillies? An unorthodox choice, to be sure, so I asked CMac to put together a cogent argument and I would post as a rebuttal. Here goes (I'm stitching together a string of his tweets and editing to split into paragraphs):
70% of the times that Gillies drew into the lineup, we got at least one point.
He's not afraid to bang, fight, throw the puck at the net, or pass. While not the most gifted offensive player, he's a guy that at 6'4" uses his size to his advantage. How many times did Gillies lose a battle in the corner. not many. How many times did he take crap from anyone on the opposing team. Not many. How many guys did he just pummel into the end boards, or force a turnover. A lot. While he doesn't have the offensive intangibles that most other players in the league have, the jackets did not have to expect this from him.
Not only that, but he's the perfect complement to Jared Boll. Throw them out there together, opposing teams aren't ever going to put their heads down. Another plus is that if Boll was in the box, or injured, Gillies could do exactly the same thing.
Richards loved throwing the 4th line out there, and Gillies was a large part of that. He's a no-nonsense type of guy that every team loves to have. He knows his role and he knows to leave skill up to other players. He's a lot like DMac in a way, because he's always a full effort grind it out, inflict pain on the other guys type of guy. He was always a guy that if you needed a physical shift, throw him out there and you got it.
That's the type of guy, who you always want on your side, and ultimately, while not making a ton of offensive impact, can swing a game in your favor.
I rest my case, your honor.OK, then.
I'm still not sure I buy the entire argument, but the special recognition of the fourth liners is perfectly appropriate. In fact, I'd even suggest that "The Fourth Line" could be MVP's as a group because they kept the team in more than their share of games while the top six struggled to find themselves early on.
What's your take? Who was the team's Most Valuable Player, and why?