Last week, it was revealed that the Pittsburgh Penguins relied heavily on analytics in deciding to acquire forward James Neal in a trade two years ago.
Given the dividends the trade has paid — Neal is currently fifth in the NHL with 17 goals — the Pens were obviously pleased with what their proprietary numbers told them.
So pleased were that they director of player personnel Dan MacKinnon recently said, “I don’t think we’ve made an impact decision since then without consulting the analytics.”
But general manager Ray Shero didn’t read off a bunch of stats today when asked about his two most recent acquisitions, forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas and defenseman Douglas Murray from San Jose.
“Analytics doesn’t come in to this for me,” said Shero, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “You can’t measure the heart, the character, the fit on your team you’re looking for.”
Neither trade has been particularly well-received by the burgeoning advanced statistics community. Morrow and Murray are both veterans with plenty of postseason experience, but both have seen their roles reduced in recent seasons.
Can Morrow rediscover the form that made him one of Team Canada’s unsung heroes at the 2010 Olympics?
Can Murray provide the big, physical presence Shero says he was looking for?
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger