Thread: Recalled/Assigned: 1/5 Wingells recalled; White to IR
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01-05-2012, 08:15 PM
Les Wynan*
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Originally Posted by SpinTheBlackCircle View Post
Actually, Handzus has double the points and is 53% on faceoffs. Zeus has been fine.
So point totals are all that matter? When Handzus has been on the ice this season, the Sharks have been outshot 441-344 (including missed and blocked shots, for and against) meaning he's spent a disproportionate percentage of his shifts in his own zone. That would be somewhat acceptable if he were lining up against Henrik Sedin and Pavel Datsyuk and Ryan Getzlaf every night but he's not. He's playing against scrubs and is being dominated territorially, especially when you consider the fact that he's one of just 3 Sharks to have been outshot this year (the others being Demers, who has sucked, and Douglas Murray, who's excusable since he was playing the toughest minutes on the team before his injury).

Those shots against will turn into minuses soon enough. Niemi and Greiss have posted a 0.946 SV% at even strength behind Handzus this season. Only four players in the entire NHL sustained an on-ice SV% that high by the end of last year (all fourth liners who exclusively played against other fourth liners) and even if Handzus is able to get that lucky he's costing the team by losing the possession battle so sorely -- 52% of his shifts have ended in the defensive zone, forcing Thornton and Couture to begin their shifts there more often which is an obvious and significant disadvantage.

It's highly unlikely a halfway decent replacement for Handzus playing the same role would get dominated to such an extent. Wellwood was phenomenal in that role last season and he's hardly an elite player. Obviously Handzus isn't the only guy on the ice at even strength but it's telling that McGinn and Mitchell have been significantly better possession-wise when they've been split from Handzus (as I alluded to earlier, neither has been outshot at even strength) while Handzus has been considerably worse. In an ideal world, Handzus and Mitchell are both gone but Handzus has undoubtedly been worse this season, especially when you take into consideration his terrible penalty killing.

Les Wynan* is offline   Reply With Quote