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Old
12-27-2008, 05:01 PM
  #1
54toscore
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Clark

It's been three months of unrelenting Clark bashing and, I gotta be honest, I can't really figure out why.

After all, he's the ice-time leader on the team and second in plus/minus. Why is (almost) everyone on this board so cocksure of themselves, thinking they know more about hockey than the coaching staff? Isn't this a little bit ridiculous?

Clark blocks shots, competes fairly hard, is generally in good defensive position, has more poise and patience with the puck than most of the Avs' D-men (it's this "slowing down" of the play that makes his occasional turnovers seem so egregious--17 giveaways in 34 games according to NHL.com). Who cares about his low points total--this isn't what he's being paid for.

Clark is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a Nik Lidstrom in Lake Erie waiting for a call up. I admit it's nauseating to listen to the Altitude guys insinuate that Clark one of the best 10 D-men in the NHL, but he's a solid second-pair defenseman, albeit overpaid. If you stop watching the games intent on finding every little mistake of Clark, I have a feeling you'll see he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat.

Aranson on the other hand...

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12-27-2008, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
It's been three months of unrelenting Clark bashing and, I gotta be honest, I can't really figure out why.

After all, he's the ice-time leader on the team and second in plus/minus. Why is (almost) everyone on this board so cocksure of themselves, thinking they know more about hockey than the coaching staff? Isn't this a little bit ridiculous?

Clark blocks shots, competes fairly hard, is generally in good defensive position, has more poise and patience with the puck than most of the Avs' D-men (it's this "slowing down" of the play that makes his occasional turnovers seem so egregious--17 giveaways in 34 games according to NHL.com). Who cares about his low points total--this isn't what he's being paid for.

Clark is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a Nik Lidstrom in Lake Erie waiting for a call up. I admit it's nauseating to listen to the Altitude guys insinuate that Clark one of the best 10 D-men in the NHL, but he's a solid second-pair defenseman, albeit overpaid. If you stop watching the games intent on finding every little mistake of Clark, I have a feeling you'll see he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat.

Aranson on the other hand...
I think most would agree with the bolded part. He is a fine 3-4 guy in my opinion and is somewhat overpaid but no horribly. You kind of answer your own question in the first line though by stating he is the ice time leader. He is a solid 3-4 guy playing #1 minutes. That is the problem IMO. I don't hate the guy but I don't like how we use him.

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12-27-2008, 05:30 PM
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oh man, you're in for it now. The Clark haters will be all over you very soon. Especially because you used the giveaway and blocked shot stats. :p

I've tried to be rational about this before, but no one will listen. fwiw, I agree with you, and I think many here do. But they're not nearly as vocal as our local internet "experts." So don't bother.

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12-27-2008, 05:44 PM
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Let's see....

An "offensive defenseman" with 5 points in 34 games.

Mistake after mistake on defense. Getting blown by like a pylon standing still.

Not deserving of #1 d-man minutes in the NHL.

Oh, but I know. The plus/minus....

I guess that means Cody McCormick, Marek Svatos, and Cody McCleod are all better defensively than Sakic, Hejduk, and Stastny...

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12-27-2008, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Golden Foppa View Post
Let's see....

An "offensive defenseman" with 5 points in 34 games.

Mistake after mistake on defense. Getting blown by like a pylon standing still.

Not deserving of #1 d-man minutes in the NHL.

Oh, but I know. The plus/minus....

I guess that means Cody McCormick, Marek Svatos, and Cody McCleod are all better defensively than Sakic, Hejduk, and Stastny...


One game I saw 5 of these "pylon moments" from Clark

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12-27-2008, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
It's been three months of unrelenting Clark bashing and, I gotta be honest, I can't really figure out why.

After all, he's the ice-time leader on the team and second in plus/minus. Why is (almost) everyone on this board so cocksure of themselves, thinking they know more about hockey than the coaching staff? Isn't this a little bit ridiculous?

Clark blocks shots, competes fairly hard, is generally in good defensive position, has more poise and patience with the puck than most of the Avs' D-men (it's this "slowing down" of the play that makes his occasional turnovers seem so egregious--17 giveaways in 34 games according to NHL.com). Who cares about his low points total--this isn't what he's being paid for.

Clark is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a Nik Lidstrom in Lake Erie waiting for a call up. I admit it's nauseating to listen to the Altitude guys insinuate that Clark one of the best 10 D-men in the NHL, but he's a solid second-pair defenseman, albeit overpaid. If you stop watching the games intent on finding every little mistake of Clark, I have a feeling you'll see he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat.

Aranson on the other hand...
AB is going to have fun with you.

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12-27-2008, 07:54 PM
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To his credit Clark is a very good shot blocker.
To his discredit Clark is very mediocre in getting the puck of the zone, thus leading to further instances where a shot must be blocked.

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12-27-2008, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
It's been three months of unrelenting Clark bashing and, I gotta be honest, I can't really figure out why.

After all, he's the ice-time leader on the team and second in plus/minus. Why is (almost) everyone on this board so cocksure of themselves, thinking they know more about hockey than the coaching staff? Isn't this a little bit ridiculous?

Clark blocks shots, competes fairly hard, is generally in good defensive position, has more poise and patience with the puck than most of the Avs' D-men (it's this "slowing down" of the play that makes his occasional turnovers seem so egregious--17 giveaways in 34 games according to NHL.com). Who cares about his low points total--this isn't what he's being paid for.

Clark is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a Nik Lidstrom in Lake Erie waiting for a call up. I admit it's nauseating to listen to the Altitude guys insinuate that Clark one of the best 10 D-men in the NHL, but he's a solid second-pair defenseman, albeit overpaid. If you stop watching the games intent on finding every little mistake of Clark, I have a feeling you'll see he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat.

Aranson on the other hand...
The answer to your question is in your own post. He's a decent but overpaid second pairing guy as you said, but as you also noted, he's played as our number one guy, and gets the most minutes. He's the most mistake prone defenseman on the team, and since he gets the most minutes, he makes more mistakes, hence more negative posts about him.

There's a few other points you made that aren't quite true though, as he is not generally in good position. This is what causes him a lot of problems. He doesn't a have a quick first couple steps, so when he gets out of position, he can't recover quick enough. Also, the 17 giveaways is a completely unreliable and totally subjective stat.

Yes he's a scapegoat, and the team has lots of problems besides his play, but when we already have Liles at $4.2 M, Hannan at $4.5 M, and Foote at $3 M, and none of them are going anywhere (besides maybe Liles in the offseason in a blockbuster) it would be stupide to keep Clark's $3.5 M when he plays the way he does. And nothing besides maybe a goalie is more frustrating, and more likely to generate negative posts than an error prone defenseman that is paid too much.

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12-27-2008, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
Clark blocks shots, competes fairly hard, is generally in good defensive position, has more poise and patience with the puck than most of the Avs' D-men (it's this "slowing down" of the play that makes his occasional turnovers seem so egregious--17 giveaways in 34 games according to NHL.com). Who cares about his low points total--this isn't what he's being paid for.
The coaching staff disagrees with you. He gets first unit PP minutes AND "hero" line minutes (ie last minute of the game, down by one). I've also seen him out there as the extra attacker on delayed penalties quite a bit, especially since Sakic's been out. Any important situation and Clark is the first defender over the boards. Clark is a pretty good all around defender but he is the best at nothing.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
Clark is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a Nik Lidstrom in Lake Erie waiting for a call up. I admit it's nauseating to listen to the Altitude guys insinuate that Clark one of the best 10 D-men in the NHL, but he's a solid second-pair defenseman, albeit overpaid. If you stop watching the games intent on finding every little mistake of Clark, I have a feeling you'll see he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat.
I sincerely doubt anyone here watches the games just to see Clark screw up. I don't really like the guy but I don't sit and cheer every time he screws up. In fact I hate it when he screws up because it hurts the team. Thing is, he screws up every game. At least once a game he gets made to look like a pylon, which leads to a quality chance against. And I can't even begin to count how many times I've seen him just stand in front of the net and helplessly lunge at his man, who is shooting unobstructed from 5' or less. These things add up, especially when they routinely happen against the other team's top players.

I'd have no problem with Clark if he were given 16-18 minutes against secondary offensive lines, I think that would be an ideal role because his defensive style would work against most of the players he'd face. But he's continually shoved down our throats as a #1 guy. I don't think I've ever seen him punished or held responsible for mistakes the way Sauer, Finger, Leopold, and even Cumiskey have been. He's always given a chance at redemption, which is a lot more than can be said for other players.

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12-27-2008, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
It's been three months of unrelenting Clark bashing and, I gotta be honest, I can't really figure out why.
Well, we've been through this many times, but what the hey. Since I've been one of the most vocal posters in here over the past three years, re: Clark's suckiness, I'll respond to each point:

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
After all, he's the ice-time leader on the team and second in plus/minus.
You should talk to the Doc. He's really into relatively meaningless individual stats like +/-, etc.

Quick note: Tyler Arnason has a better +/- than Paul Stastny and Joe Sakic. Is Tyler the better defensive player? Please apply the same logic to Clark.

His leading in IT is a tough one to stomach, especially given *every* other defenseman on the roster has played better defensively.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
Clark blocks shots,
Yes, he does. And he's pretty good at it, too. Which is basically the crux of his defensive game - he's not bad when he doesn't have to move very much, i.e. killing penalties when the team is in a box. Then, he actually does OK sometimes. It's in defensive transition where Clark gets stripped naked on a regular basis.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
competes fairly hard,
Enh. Sometimes. To me, he looks fairly nonchalant most of the time. I don't see much intensity from him.

Of course, I don't see it from many other players on the roster, either. This is a team problem.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
is generally in good defensive position,
Oh, please stop. He most surely is not.

This is the biggest problem Clark has - he simply doesn't have good defensive instincts, and makes a bigtime poor defensive play darn near every game. That isn't to say he doesn't make good plays either, but he's lit up by fairly run of the mill players night in and night out.

In the past couple of games, the man got fleeced by Richard Zednik and Steven Reinprecht. Ovechkin and Malkin, they're not.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
has more poise and patience with the puck than most of the Avs' D-men (it's this "slowing down" of the play that makes his occasional turnovers seem so egregious--17 giveaways in 34 games according to NHL.com).
That 'poise and patience' helps the team - how? Seriously - please tell me how that helps.

That "slowing down" of the play is exactly what the opposition would want to happen, as it allows them to get set defensively. It also kills the Avs' transition game. I've heard people talk about this 'calmness', but what does it really do to help the team?

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
Who cares about his low points total--this isn't what he's being paid for.
Sorry, yes it is. He averaged 30+ ppg prior to signing that contract, and the Avs most certainly paid for that point production when they (very carelessly) gave him a raise to $3.5M per.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
Clark is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a Nik Lidstrom in Lake Erie waiting for a call up. I admit it's nauseating to listen to the Altitude guys insinuate that Clark one of the best 10 D-men in the NHL, but he's a barely adequate third-pair defenseman, albeit overpaid.
Corrected that for ya.

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Originally Posted by hockeyguy2007 View Post
If you stop watching the games intent on finding every little mistake of Clark, I have a feeling you'll see he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat.
I most certainly don't wish Clark to stink it up, as he hurts the team when he does. But, his poor play is so very consistently obvious (to me, it has been since the day he donned an Avs jersey), it's pretty hard not to see it and comment.

What the Avs should do with Clark (if they can't trade him), is to play him on the 3rd pairing with Salei, and give him power play time on the point, after Liles and Leopold have had their chance(s). If they did that - played the man 12-14 minutes per night, as little as possible against other teams' top guys - he'd probably be OK, albeit quite expensive.

-AB

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12-27-2008, 09:09 PM
  #11
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oh man, you're in for it now. The Clark haters will be all over you very soon. Especially because you used the giveaway and blocked shot stats. :p

I've tried to be rational about this before, but no one will listen. fwiw, I agree with you, and I think many here do. But they're not nearly as vocal as our local internet "experts." So don't bother.
So I guess my 16 years of actually playing hockey, about the same of watching hockey, and just being involved in hockey for almost all my life means I should shut up and be happy with watching Clark get a ton of minutes despite the fact that he makes VERY apparent mistakes.

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12-27-2008, 09:11 PM
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Clark gets too much ice time. It is as simple as that. I can't for the life of me understand why Hannan isn't getting 25 minutes a night.

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12-27-2008, 09:26 PM
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Clark gets too much ice time. It is as simple as that. I can't for the life of me understand why Hannan isn't getting 25 minutes a night.
Or Leopold.

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12-27-2008, 09:36 PM
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So I guess my 16 years of actually playing hockey, about the same of watching hockey, and just being involved in hockey for almost all my life means
...nothing. You should pay attention to +/- stats instead.

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12-27-2008, 09:57 PM
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So I guess my 16 years of actually playing hockey, about the same of watching hockey, and just being involved in hockey for almost all my life means I should shut up and be happy with watching Clark get a ton of minutes despite the fact that he makes VERY apparent mistakes.
Duh! Granato and Cloutier are NHL coaches, as such we should just sit here and take it because we post on Internet message boards. Another thing you forgot is the mistakes he makes are simply subjective, if you can't quantify them in any way they aren't bad.

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12-28-2008, 02:03 AM
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Not sure either. It's kinda funny; I guess people ran out of bad things to say about Arnason. What's funny is that people attribute Svatos's lack of production to his knee surgery, but rip Clark apart when he had shoulder surgery.

That said, don't get me wrong: he's overpaid and still makes his fair share of mistakes. But bashing him? How about everyone starts bashing Darcy Tucker? 8 points in 24 games by a guy getting paid top 6 cash.

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12-28-2008, 03:57 AM
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Not sure either. It's kinda funny; I guess people ran out of bad things to say about Arnason. What's funny is that people attribute Svatos's lack of production to his knee surgery, but rip Clark apart when he had shoulder surgery.

That said, don't get me wrong: he's overpaid and still makes his fair share of mistakes. But bashing him? How about everyone starts bashing Darcy Tucker? 8 points in 24 games by a guy getting paid top 6 cash.
He gets called worthless in every GDT. Svatos has taken his share of criticisms as well.

With Clark it seems there will always be two groups of people: those who see it (his mistakes) and those who don't. Those of us who see it can't always quantify what happened on the ice, so those who don't see it don't always understand and actually seem quite confused.

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12-28-2008, 04:55 AM
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Not sure either. It's kinda funny; I guess people ran out of bad things to say about Arnason. What's funny is that people attribute Svatos's lack of production to his knee surgery, but rip Clark apart when he had shoulder surgery.

That said, don't get me wrong: he's overpaid and still makes his fair share of mistakes. But bashing him? How about everyone starts bashing Darcy Tucker? 8 points in 24 games by a guy getting paid top 6 cash.
Svatos plays a different position, and Clark's problems are with his head, not his shoulder. Also, Tucker has only played 24 games for this team, while fans have seen what Clark does for four years now. That said, I think Tucker is basically just a more expensive Brad May, and his contract will affect how much the Avs are able to upgrade this team next year. He just doesn't have the wheels anymore to be effective, especially after his latest knee injury, and is basically just a glorified 4th liner at this point. He does seem to see the play fairly well, and make decent passes in the offensive zone, but when he has to move around the offensive zone to get open, or skate up ice in transition, he just can't skate well enough to be a consistent offensive contributor, and his balance isn't good enough to drive the net or take the punishment by standing there.

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He gets called worthless in every GDT. Svatos has taken his share of criticisms as well.

With Clark it seems there will always be two groups of people: those who see it (his mistakes) and those who don't. Those of us who see it can't always quantify what happened on the ice, so those who don't see it don't always understand and actually seem quite confused.
The thing is, I think those who notice his mistakes, probably notice the same little mistakes he makes on almost every shift that I do, that force his D partner, or forwards to cover his ass, but it's hard to make a post out of them. I just wish I could sit in the same room with those that don't see them, so I could point them out,looking away from the game to post about it. He's constantly making his teammates jobs more difficult. All players make similar mistakes throughout the course of a game or season, but Clark seems to make them on almost every shift. Whether it's killing the transition up ice by turning the puck over at the blueline, or forcing his D partner to take himself out of position, because he lost the battle for the puck, or turned it over behind his net or in the corner where a forward can get to it with time and space. I've started posting a few of these types of mistakes, but there are still ones that would just take too much explaining on how it affected the team, and prevent someone from actually watching the game.

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12-28-2008, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foppa2118 View Post
Svatos plays a different position, and Clark's problems are with his head, not his shoulder. Also, Tucker has only played 24 games for this team, while fans have seen what Clark does for four years now. That said, I think Tucker is basically just a more expensive Brad May, and his contract will affect how much the Avs are able to upgrade this team next year. He just doesn't have the wheels anymore to be effective, especially after his latest knee injury, and is basically just a glorified 4th liner at this point. He does seem to see the play fairly well, and make decent passes in the offensive zone, but when he has to move around the offensive zone to get open, or skate up ice in transition, he just can't skate well enough to be a consistent offensive contributor, and his balance isn't good enough to drive the net or take the punishment by standing there.



The thing is, I think those who notice his mistakes, probably notice the same little mistakes he makes on almost every shift that I do, that force his D partner, or forwards to cover his ass, but it's hard to make a post out of them. I just wish I could sit in the same room with those that don't see them, so I could point them out,looking away from the game to post about it. He's constantly making his teammates jobs more difficult. All players make similar mistakes throughout the course of a game or season, but Clark seems to make them on almost every shift. Whether it's killing the transition up ice by turning the puck over at the blueline, or forcing his D partner to take himself out of position, because he lost the battle for the puck, or turned it over behind his net or in the corner where a forward can get to it with time and space. I've started posting a few of these types of mistakes, but there are still ones that would just take too much explaining on how it affected the team, and prevent someone from actually watching the game.
The thing I see most about Clark is that it doesn't always seem like his head is in the game. Sometimes it seems as if he's actually at a concession standing waiting to get a hot dog and beers. You can see it in his play, he'll make ill advised passes that are hard to receive, he'll make getting the puck out of the zone much harder than it needs to be, and he takes rushes when it would be much more effective if he just quickly passes the puck. He also tends to lose his man in coverage, I can no longer count how many goals have been scored against us because a man is left completely uncovered in front of the net.

I think a lot of his issues come about just because he gets way more minutes than he should be playing, so I'm saying that in terms of physical conditioning he can probably play those minutes, but in terms of mental fatigue, I think it affects him greatly. I think we'd all like Clark a lot more if we had a legit number one that would take those minutes away from him, so really the problem is coaching.

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12-28-2008, 10:31 PM
  #20
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The thing is, I think those who notice his mistakes, probably notice the same little mistakes he makes on almost every shift that I do, that force his D partner, or forwards to cover his ass, but it's hard to make a post out of them. I just wish I could sit in the same room with those that don't see them, so I could point them out,looking away from the game to post about it. He's constantly making his teammates jobs more difficult. All players make similar mistakes throughout the course of a game or season, but Clark seems to make them on almost every shift. Whether it's killing the transition up ice by turning the puck over at the blueline, or forcing his D partner to take himself out of position, because he lost the battle for the puck, or turned it over behind his net or in the corner where a forward can get to it with time and space. I've started posting a few of these types of mistakes, but there are still ones that would just take too much explaining on how it affected the team, and prevent someone from actually watching the game.
Actually, as a member of that much-derided 2nd group, I see his mistakes just fine. Clark DOES make mistakes, and plenty of them. But so does every other Avs defender. Leopold and Salei have had tremendous clearance problems this year, Hannan fumbles the puck all the time in the defensive zone, even Liles and Foote have struggled. And yet all we hear about is Clark Clark Clark, nothing about the other defender struggles which -- especially when talking about Salei and Leo -- have been more egregious against worse competition.

Look, I rag on Clark plenty when watching a game. But it's not any more than the other defenders, and I also see lots of plays where I go, "nice," usually more than other defenders. I won't bother listing those good things again, because no one will listen.

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12-28-2008, 10:36 PM
  #21
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Quote:
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You should talk to the Doc. He's really into relatively meaningless individual stats like +/-, etc.
thanks buddy, you really know how to put words in my mouth. keep preaching to your little internet choir while pounding on your straw man.

oh btw: http://www.fromtherink.com/2008/12/2...y-award-update

why, that's James Mirtle using ESGA/60 and QCOMP as meaningful defensive stats! Guess we're both giant dumbasses compared to your WEALTH of personal experience and hockey knowledge (which was what, btw?)!

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12-28-2008, 11:08 PM
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Actually, as a member of that much-derided 2nd group, I see his mistakes just fine. Clark DOES make mistakes, and plenty of them. But so does every other Avs defender. Leopold and Salei have had tremendous clearance problems this year, Hannan fumbles the puck all the time in the defensive zone, even Liles and Foote have struggled. And yet all we hear about is Clark Clark Clark, nothing about the other defender struggles which -- especially when talking about Salei and Leo -- have been more egregious against worse competition.

Look, I rag on Clark plenty when watching a game. But it's not any more than the other defenders, and I also see lots of plays where I go, "nice," usually more than other defenders. I won't bother listing those good things again, because no one will listen.
Salei has been a healthy scratch this season. He doesn't play as many minutes as Clark and he doesn't get paid as much as Clark.

Leopold is the bargain on our team. He puts up points in addition to playing well defensively. He also hits. Yes, there have been times when he's been out of position, but so have all Avs' d-men. But I don't remember any instances where Leopold directly lead to the opposition getting a quality chance.

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12-28-2008, 11:27 PM
  #23
ABasin
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Clark DOES make mistakes, and plenty of them.
Ah, my son. You have seen the light.

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But so does every other Avs defender.
Very true. Though there is this thing about 'frequency', ya know?

Salei has been disappointing this year, though his game has changed since he got here, and I don't know why. He was awful early on, has gotten better lately. Leopold has had a few breakdowns, but not nearly to Clark's level. Foote, while generally solid defensively, has so clearly lost some foot (please pardon the pun) speed, it's scary. As for Liles and Hannan, they've been pretty solid, IMO.

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I won't bother listing those good things again, because no one will listen.
Nope. Nor should they.

-AB

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12-28-2008, 11:39 PM
  #24
ABasin
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thanks buddy, you really know how to put words in my mouth.
I did no such thing. You cited a stat page as evidence of Clark's good play. I simply stated that fact.

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keep preaching to your little internet choir while pounding on your straw man.
Yeah, I'll compare my opinion to "Arnason has played better defense than Stastny so far this year" any day.

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Ah, more stats, eh Doc? Sheesh, some people never learn. Didn't Detrude's explanation of defensive play and stats compel you to look at this....even a little?

Dude. Just look at the damn list you just cited. Amongst the top 30 defensemen in the world this year:

Paul Mara
Rob Scuderi (no, I swear I'm not making that up)
Sean O'Donnell
Adam Foote (To anyone who watches, he's not even top on his own team)
Dan Girardi (3rd NYR in the top 20 on the list - think the goaltender might have something to do with this "defenseman greatness" list?)
Kurt Sauer (again, I swear I'm not kidding)
Martin Skoula (heh)
Steve Eminger
Karl Alzner

Another nice stat list there, Doc. Heaven Almighty, please give up the stats, and instead watch a game or three, eh?

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why, that's James Mirtle using ESGA/60 and QCOMP as meaningful defensive stats! Guess we're both giant dumbasses compared to your WEALTH of personal experience and hockey knowledge
Your words, not mine. :-)

-AB


Last edited by ABasin: 12-29-2008 at 08:28 AM.
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12-29-2008, 08:53 PM
  #25
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I did no such thing. You cited a stat page as evidence of Clark's good play. I simply stated that fact.
...like I was espousing +/- as a relevant defense stat. Typical posturing and sniping at me when I'm not even involved. Pretty dick move, tbh.

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Originally Posted by ABasin View Post
Paul Mara
Rob Scuderi (no, I swear I'm not making that up)
Sean O'Donnell
Adam Foote (To anyone who watches, he's not even top on his own team)
Dan Girardi (3rd NYR in the top 20 on the list - think the goaltender might have something to do with this "defenseman greatness" list?)
Kurt Sauer (again, I swear I'm not kidding)
Martin Skoula (heh)
Steve Eminger
Karl Alzner

Another nice stat list there, Doc. Heaven Almighty, please give up the stats, and instead watch a game or three, eh?
It's true that the stat doesn't provide great comparisons between different teams -- goaltender play is linked...except when all the comparisons are made in front of the same goalies. Why, actually, here you are showing that the stat IS meaningful -- you're correctly pulling out that good defender/goalie pairings are rising to the top.

And you've been watching all of these guys this year yourself? How many times have you watched these guys? You must be omniscient as well as the great defensive expert ever. You don't have to be a touted prospect or a previously good defender to play well, dude. Let the bias go, just like you should with Clark.

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