That statistic I've repeated most about Jean-Gabriel Pageau is that his 4P (2G, 2A) came in just 3 of his 9 regular season games. In 10 playoff games, his 6P (4G, 2A) game in 3 games as well. That means that two-thirds of the time, Pageau wasn't scoring or helping the team score.
So, when Pageau has just one point (a goal) in eight games to start this season, those of us who were surprised are those of us who weren't paying attention. Pageau is a fun kid to watch. He's a good skater with good understanding of flow and a good release. He's also 5'9" and 163lbs. By comparison, Martin St. Louis is listed at 5'8" and 180lbs. Remember, Erik Karlsson came into the league listed at 160lbs, and is now playing at 170, and there's a clear difference in his ability to control the puck.
I don't want to over emphasize muscle mass too much, because there are plenty of strong guys who don't make it an asset, and even Sidney Crosby is only 5'11" and 200lbs, so he's not some crazy body builder. Pure strength isn't everything--but it isn't nothing, either. We saw how Steven Stamkos' game elevated once he took his fitness seriously. Strength and fitness are two assets in the talented player's toolkit. There's not magical kingmakers, and can't replace talent that isn't there, but they can augment it.
There's a reason that Pageau almost started last season in the ECHL, and a reason it took the Senators so long to call him up last year. There's also a reason for Pageau's slow start this year: He's not ready for the role the Senators had available for him yet. Pageau is a speedy, dynamic player. His linemates this year were not possessing a similar skill set., and asking Pageau to go out there and forecheck is setting him up to fail. At 6'3" and 193lbs, Derek Grant is more suited for those nine minutes of ice time.
In Ottawa, Pageau was rotting away on the vine. In Binghamton, he'll be given prime minutes that befit his skills. He's not done in the NHL--probably not even for this year. He's already demonstrated he has the talent to play in the NHL. His future success now depends on him augmenting that talent on a personal level, and the team augmenting it with more skilled linemates the next time he plays. Both of those things will happen with time. It just requires us to be patient.
- Senators GM Bryan Murray basically says what I just said. That either means I'm a team shill or ready to be an NHL GM. [Senators Extra]
- Luke's back with some more advanced statistics. Why aren't more people using these? [Bonk's Mullet]
- You may have heard the Senators shuffled their lines yesterday. Here's what head coach Paul MacLean had to say about it:
"I’m trying to get our team ready to play the Islanders and give ourselves the best chance, that’s all we’re doing. "We’ve changed (the lines) before, but at this point in time, with a chance to prepare (Wednesday and Thursday), we feel that’s the way we’ll start the game. But who knows by the end of the game?"
So, reading between the lines there, those lines are not going to last. [SE]
- Jeremy Milks suggests that Chris Neil's brand of "tough hockey" is something the Senators need and doesn't understand the Neil laments this year. I'd suggest that it's because Neil is not playing "tough hockey" anymore, and he's no longer one of the best at it. [Black Aces]
- Erik Karlsson says the team has to stay positive. You mean like believing that you're a fucking god, Erik? [SE]
- The team's Halloween gag continues, as the players evaluate themselves as zombies. For some reason, I think the true cause of the team's struggles has been identified: It's lack of sleep. Also, Bobby Ryan calls out Milan Michalek for being Eurotrash. [Senators]
- The Buffalo Sabres' John Scott has been suspended for seven games for elbowing the Boston Bruins' Loui Eriksson, which is an absolute disgrace. I have no doubt Scott got less than 10 games specifically to avoid the appeals process. But remember, the league cares about player safety. Totally. [NHL]
- Roberto Luongo tells the Toronto Sun he was surprised he didn't end up in Toronto. That's right, Toronto media speculates a player might land in Toronto, and that player agrees. That's called placating, boys and girls. [Sun... sorry]
- Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen "wants more" from winger Marian Gaborik. That's GM code for "we're not going to overpay to keep this guy." [Columbus Dispatch]
- Finally, submitted without comment, the Edmonton Oilers' struggles have gotten so bad that five-year-olds are telling head coach Dallas Eakins that he sucks. [Edmonton Sun... sorry]