Thursday, May 2, 2013

Early reactions to DBJ's 2013 CBJ MVP award

In case you missed it, I awarded Vinny Prospal my 2013 CBJ Most Valuable Player award over at FOX Sports Ohio's Dark Blue Jacket Plus blog.  Go on over and check it out.

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. 
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.
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.

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):
My argument... 
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?

13 comments:

  1. Simple. Bob. In the end analysis, a team's most valuable player is the one who, if he were pulled from the line-up, the team goes do the crapper. Was Vinnie important, this year? Yes. But without Bob in net, there is no way on Earth, in Heaven, or in Hell that the Blue Jackets would have come close to being in the play-offs. That is the reason he is the CBJ MVP, the should be Vezina winner and a top contender for the Hart.

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    1. Dark Blue JacketMay 3, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Vezina, without question. I'm still wrestling with the rest.

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  2. Statistically I would say Bobrovsky. However I agree that Prospal has been an amazing asset. Calling out that the team was lazy during the 2011-2012 season to just not quitting this season he's been awesome. That whole pointing at the scoreboard moment may not have been the most tasteful move but it shows just the type of motivating player he is for the rest of the team. (Not to mention he plays with as much passion and energy as a 20 something!)

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  3. I don't know. Bobs is the "obvious" choice. The effort between the pipes is undeniable, and arguably why we were in a lot of those games where Gillies played and we got a point. I would also say that Vinny is a strong choice. What he provides in veteran leadership doesn't show up on a stat sheet. And the enthusiasm he shows for the game, for his goals, for his teammates' goals; it's so much more than some of our past stars/MVPs have shown. But where's the love for Dalton Prout. The kid gets called up on emergency, never goes back to Springfield (until the season ends), and his arrival coincides with the phenomenal finish. Or was it coincidence? Prorated out over an 82-game season, his +15 ends up being a franchise-record +44. And from a rookie who was about 9th or 10th on the defensive depth chart in January.

    There are a few good candidates, honestly. It's just a shame we only had 29 games in which we could enjoy what looks to be the core of the team that will debut in the East next year.

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    1. Dark Blue JacketMay 3, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Did I say I don't like Dalton Prout? The offseason is long...

      (And yes, there are a handful of excellent candidates. All the more fun in picking one!)

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  4. I thought of Dalton, but instead wanted the challenge to find a reason of why Gillies could be the MVP. Dalton would have been the next one

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    1. Dark Blue JacketMay 3, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      So you were just screwing with me about Gillies? ;-)

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    2. Do I believe he was the MVP, no...however, I do feel he was an integral part of the team

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  5. Bobs, hands down. But if we're talking about culture, Jack Johnson is up there as well and had solid on ice production. Dubi also had a big impact leadership wise, and really had a great season considering the injuries.

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    1. Dark Blue JacketMay 3, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Honestly, I'm not entirely sure about JMFJ's impact on team culture. He's a warhorse, to be sure, but I didn't hear him stepping up when things got rough early in the season. Vinny did. (Not sure anyone else did, really.)

      Johnson was fine playing the role of the late-season fresh-faced pickup in 2011-12, enjoying the celebrity of being the Guy Who Was Traded For Jeff Carter, but he's blended into the woodwork a lot since then. And outside of his time on ice, his stats aren't earth-shattering, either.

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  6. From solely and 'on-ice' perspective, Bobrovsky deserves the award. If you look at a team as a whole - on the ice, off the ice, on the road - most players will tell you they loved Vinny and valued what he said. While I'm not directly comparing the two, this season Vinny filled a role for the CBJ in similar way to the one Mark Messier filled for the 93-94 Rangers. Looking at all aspects of a professional hockey team and what it means to be valuable, it's difficult not to go with Vinny.

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    1. Dark Blue JacketMay 3, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Love the Messier analogy. Very apt.

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  7. No doubt about it - Bob's the MVP. For the #2 MVP on the team, I'd say Tyutin. If you're into the statistic 'point shares', Bob was 2nd in the league this year; Tyutin had the 7th highest among all D-men in the NHL...and he was tied for the team lead in assists.
    _Rick

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