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11-12-2009, 10:42 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,618
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G Dan Bouchard

D Chris Phillips

Bouchard won 286 games with a 0.543 winning percentage despite never playing on strong teams, not an easy thing to do in the NHL of the '70s and '80s. He also performed very well compared to his backups - over his career, on average his GAA was 0.32 lower than his backup's, his winning percentage was 0.061 higher, and his save percentage was 0.010 higher.

Bouchard's top-10s in save percentage are as follows:

1972-73: 9th
1973-74: 3rd
1974-75: 4th
1975-76: 3rd
1979-80: 7th
1980-81: 10th

(He was 11th in 1977-78 and 1978-79)

Chris Phillips is a bit of a homer pick - he's my favourite NHL player. That said, I don't think he's out of place on a minor league squad, he's been one of the best defensive defencemen in the NHL since the lockout and has been the best defenceman on his team since Chara left.

Phillips is big, strong, and mobile, and can handle forwards with speed or size. Against the rush, he very rarely steps up for a hit, but is excellent at maintaining gap control without getting burned, closing the gap, and taking the puck away from the attacker.

Phillips is good at knowing when to stay in front of the net and when to go after the puck in the corner. He rarely gets caught in between, because when he goes for the puck, he goes hard. When he does go after the puck, he's excellent at using his size and strength to win the puck, brush off the attacker, and make a good first pass. In his younger days he was more of a "puck off the boards" type, but he's much more confident with the puck now and will very often carry the puck up ice until a pass opens up, using his strength to brush off opponents.

Phillips is conservative at jumping into the rush, but is effective when he does. While he never does anything fancy, he stays behind the puck, skates hard, and uses his size and strength almost like a running back hitting a hole, which is difficult to stop. He rarely turns the puck over and usually ends the play either by shooting on goal or dumping the puck behind the net, at which point he quickly returns to the blueline. Phillips is more likely to jump into the rush late in the game with the team down, and is famous among Ottawa fans for scoring big goals.

While Phillips is less noticeable than other defensive defencemen in the "hits and blocked shots" mould, he's very good at what he does, and very effective. Ottawa has leaned heavily on him ever since the lockout - in the first year he made up an uber-shutdown pairing with Chara, and since then he's led the pairing that logged heavy minutes against top lines and goes out for defensive zone faceoffs whenever possible. When his regular partner is out or they get split up, he often gets the "baby-sitting" duty playing with the rookie in the line-up, but still handling his regular shut-down duties.

If Phillips can play a few more years at his current level, I think he'll be an ATD regular. For now, I'm happy to have an excellent defensive defenceman and my favourite player on my minor league roster.

Last edited by overpass: 11-12-2009 at 11:14 AM.
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