This afternoon, I was listening to Jeff Paterson on the Team 1040 as he was pontificating on tonight’s Canucks-Blues game, and I was struck by one particular comment he made. He was talking about how on a Blues team that started the season with great expectations of what Halak and Elliot could provide in goal, it has been Jake Allen who has given them “terrific goaltending every time out.” And this comment immediately brought to mind a suggestion for sports-talk hosts I came up with awhile back, and that is, “Team up with poolster!”
Given Allen is sporting a 8-1-0 record, it would appear that he has indeed been providing the Blues with “terrific goaltending every time out” as Paterson said. However, any diligent poolster would tell you that Paterson is guilty here of an overstatement. Diligent poolster pour over stats every day, looking for overlooked players who might be worth picking up, and back in early February, when Halak was hurt and Elliot was melting down, Allen appeared to be one of them. He went 3-1-0 in a week of work before Halak returned, but his goaltending in two of the three wins could hardly be characterized as “terrific”; in one, he sported a pedestrian .903 SV%, and in another, a downright terrible .833. In early March, he got another chance to play, and started five of the next six games, winning them all. But a poolster would have noticed that his SV% in the first two was only .885 and .880. He did, however, improve to .951, 1.000 and .964 in the last three games, and so, can be credited with “terrific goaltending” for this short period at least. If Paterson had been teamed up with a poolster, he would have been equipped with these stats, and therefore, could have been more nuanced in his comments.
The incident that first got me thinking of such partnerships occurred in the last week of February. Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko had incurred a concussion the week before, and a sports-talk guy (whose identity now escapes me) was lamenting the fact that Tarasenko’s “sensational” rookie season was being interrupted by the concussion. Tarasenko did indeed make a sensational entry into the NHL, collecting five points in his first two games. And a point in each of games 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 might be bordering on sensational for a raw rookie. But he then went on to get only one point in next five games (going -8 over that stretch), and only one more in his last four games before the concussion. . .totally destroying any chance his season to date could be classified as “sensational.”
There are, of course, some hockey pundits who seem to know everything about everyone (Bob McKenzie and Pierre Lebrun come to mind), but I think that mere mortal sports-talk guys would be well served by teaming up with diligent poolsters (working in tandem, they might even start approaching the status of a McKenzie or a Lebrun!)