Name three aspects of hockey that are just....beautiful. I'll give you a minute to think about it before I tell you my list.
- Montreal losing
- Greasy-slick hands making sweet, sweet dangles and dekes
- A breakaway pass
If you didn't have #1 correct, you're a Habs fan. Sorry your life has turned out that way. But I'm here to talk about #3; and in particular, a Torey Krug #3.
But Bob, you say, Torey Krug can't go #3, he's a human! Humans only go #1 and #2!
Did that play look human to you? Besides, we all know that Krug is our little lion man.
This isn't just Bergeron scoring, or Krug making a slick pass; it's got a few different moving parts. Let's break it down in edition 3 of Bruins Play of the Week of the Year (So Far).
36 seconds into the game, on 1/16/16, the Toronto Maple LoLeafs get punked. Toronto gets a shot on net, and Kevan Miller is there to pickup the long rebound. The Leafs, save poor Dion Phaneuf, begin to change lines, working the short shifts early. The Bruins don't. Miller passes behind the net to Krug, ever the puck magician, who patiently holds onto the biscuit.
Notice the game clock and the NESN Bruins lineup overlay here:
As Krug is waiting for his breakout to setup, he sees the Leafs all going to change out. Game clock, again:
Where the hell did the forecheckers go? It's like they literally turned into Maple Leaves and blew away. You know who else you don't see? Bergeron. But he didn't go to the bench, oh no.
Connolly set himself up for the short cross-ice pass, and Bergeron snuck down the center of the ice, while the defenseman on that side is already reaching for the smelling salts on the bench. Dion Phaneuf, who had initally gone to cover Connolly, sees Bergeron by himself; but it's too late.
A+ for effort though.
Krug puts some dijon in it and hits Patrice in perfect position. That's not an easy pass, folks; have you ever seen an average joe (or janet, go women!) try to put a puck in the net from the blue-line during an intermission? And do you remember how agonizing it was to watch, as they missed, missed, and missed again? Now try to do that, at twice the length, in the blink of an eye, to a moving target the size of an ipad. Not easy.
Let's check back in with poor Dion Phaneuf and the rest of his linemates, shall we?
Oof. Sorry buddy. Now do you understand why most people think +/- is a useless stat? Phaneuf is going to get a minus here, because his defensive partner left him out to dry. And NESN isn't even finished showing us tonight's forward lineups, much less the defensive pairings!
Bergeron, of course, finishes the goal, because his hands are made of silk that's been dipped in butter. Here's the reverse angle of the full play:
I'd like to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs for their part of today's segment, and I'm sure, future segments to come.
A few bonus notes regarding Krug.
A gorgeous pass wasn't the only thing that Krug did during this game. But this play did remind me just how good, and useful, Krug is to our defense; this led me down a bit of a rabbit hole with #fancystats.
A quick peek at his HERO chart, a great starting point.
Sweet! Utah, get me two! Now let's check out how he's been deployed.
Paints a bit of a different picture.
Here, from war-on-ice, I compared all Bruins defensemen from 13-14 to 15-16, minimum 400 minutes played. The X axis is the one to watch here; it is the fraction of offensive vs defensive zone starts - a.k.a., who gets the "easy" defensive minutes. According to this, Krug is a sheltered defenseman.
But sheltered can also be seen as deployed offensively; Krug is a master shot creator, as shown by the Corsi For per 60 minutes, as well as a master point getter, as shown by the coloring of the circle (red is worse, blue is better). Don't consider him sheltered - consider him smartly deployed (I wish he would play more though). So shut up and enjoy the free salad.
And that's all for this iteration of the Bruins Play of the Year of the Week (So Far) ™.
Hey! They won! This feels a lot better.