After the Bruins won game 3, I commented on the Gus Booth recap regarding Kevan Miller. In a nutshell, my comment was critical of Miller’s ability to make plays that lead to breakouts when the opponent is in our defensive zone. I had no evidence other than my own eye test to backup my claim. Stats don't really track a defenseman’s ability to get the puck out of the zone, so JanneyWheels suggested that I count the events during last night's game and I was happy to oblige.
After some thought, I decided to count the same events for Chara, but let me be clear: I do not in any way think Miller should be performing at the same level as Chara. I simply wanted to see where the "gold standard" bar is set, so I had a frame of reference. In other words: counting Miller alone wouldn’t necessarily tell me if Miller is good or bad (at the particular skill I planned to track) because we would have nothing to compare. Miller makes 11.5% of Chara’s salary. If Miller performed at even 25% of Chara’s ability, he would be outpacing his salary expectation significantly.
What I counted:
First, the attempts to gain possession from opponents in the defensive zone. I broke these into stick attempts and body attempts. This is under "method of choice." I then counted how successful Chara/Miller was at gaining possession after the initial body or stick check. To get a full picture of the success I counted whether or not a teammate helped, or if Chara/Miller gained possession himself. For example: if Miller laid a body check in a way that allowed the puck to squirt free to a teammate, this still counted as Miller being able to gain possession. This is represented by the gray bar under the success column. If Miller laid a body check and then gathered the puck up himself, this is represented as the gold bar under the success column. If Miller's body check (or stick check) did nothing to help the Bruins (Detroit maintained possession), this is the red bar under the success column. Lastly, I counted whether or not all these plays resulted in a breakout, which are represented as the pie charts. I split these into two categories to show whether the teammate who helped Chara/Miller gain possession was able to get the puck out of the zone, or if Chara/Miller himself completed the task.
Here’s the chart:
Based on April 24, 2014 game vs. Detroit Red Wings.