Game Preview #77 - Learning Experience

At least, that seems to be the story.

New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets

April 2, 2015 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 FM - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

There is a seminal moment in The Usual Suspects in which Kevin Spacey's character prophetically states, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." If you're the one person on the earth who hasn't seen this movie, I won't ruin it for you. Suffice it to say, once you know how the movie ends... well, it's a pretty big moment.

I can't really add anything that you all haven't already said or wondered aloud in the comments to Jeff's piece from yesterday, but suffice it to say that whatever devilry has been used to convince the coaching staff that Jared Boll is somehow an upgrade over Marko Dano (or that Boll coming off a suspension for a head shot to another player somehow deserves, on his own merits, to replace anyone in the lineup that's now won seven straight) is something not of this world. Perhaps the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing this coaching staff that, with six games to go in a lost season, somehow a young player would get more experience watching an inferior player from the press box.

All over-dramatics aside, I don't get this move. Richards can talk about "the process" all he wants; that's his right. I would rather talk about the stats. Dano currently leads the Jackets forwards (any that have played at least 30 games, as he has) in Corsi/60 at 7.12. Jared Boll is 17th (last) at -24.27. That's just one stat, but it's indicative of the value and ability of both players. What, exactly, is Dano supposed to be learning while Boll is out there dragging down possession in his place?

At EV the other night against New Jersey, the fourth line of Matt Calvert (+5), Mark Letestu (+4), and Jeremy Morin (+5) all had positive Corsi-For+/- numbers. Boll has only ever gotten above +4 THREE times this season. He's played in 71 games. Dano's done it 12 times in 30 games.

But yes, do go on about "the process" and things that can be learned by watching a slower, inferior player who plays a completely different style from you taking your spot despite there being no statistical justification for it.

In other news, Jack Johnson was ill this morning and missed morning skate. He'll be a game-time decision. Not sure who would go in his place, so I won't guess right now.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(37-35-4, 78 Points; 6th division, 12th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Cam Atkinson
Artem Anisimov Brandon Dubinsky Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell Alexander Wennberg Jeremy Morin
Matt Calvert Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton Cody Goloubef
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

New York Islanders
(45-27-5, 95 Points; 2nd Division, 4th Conference)

Nikolay Kulemin John Tavares Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey Frans Nielsen Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee Brock Nelson Tyler Kennedy
Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy Johnny Boychuk
Brian Strait Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey Lubomir Visnovsky
Jaroslav Halak
Michal Neuvirth

Season Series

NYI - 2-0-0
CBJ - 0-2-0

01/10/15 - NY Islanders 5 at Columbus 2
02/14/15 - Columbus 3 at NY Islanders 5
04/02/15 - NY Islanders at Columbus
04/11/15 - Columbus at NY Islanders

Head to Head Stats

New York Columbus
2.96 (4) GPG 2.67 (18)
2.74 (23) GAPG 3.05 (25)
18.9% (12) PP% 22.2% (5)
77.4% (27) PK% 79.3% (24)
John Tavares, 34 G leader Nick Foligno, 27
John Tavares, 43 A leader Ryan Johansen, 43
John Tavares, 77 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 68
Matt Martin, 114 PIM leader Jared Boll, 109
21-13-4 Road/Home 15-20-2
3-6-1 Last 10 9-1-0
3/29 vs. Detroit, W 5-4 Last Game 3/31 vs. New Jersey, W 3-2 (OT)

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