Monday, July 21, 2014

P.A. Parenteau Jersey Card

A lot has been written about the trade that sent Daniel Brière from the Montréal Canadiens to the Colorado Avalanche for Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau right before free agency kicked in three weeks ago; idiots observers talk about how Parenteau's ''puck possession statistics'' we so much better than Brière's, which just goes to show how flawed those statistics are.

The Corsi rating - the most-used ''advanced stat'' - calculates the amount of shots fired at the offensive net compared to the defensive one whilst a player is on the ice to calculate whether that player is ''in the plusses'' or ''the minuses'', which in itself is wrong on at least a hundred and fifty levels, starting with the quality of players on the ice; last season, for example, Brière was always used in fourth-line duties; even when not paired with grinders, the players he was with were either slumping or pretty much grounded by head coach Michel Therrien, and often played less than 10 minutes per game. Parenteau played on the Avs' top two lines, usually paired with Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O'Reilly, if not with Alex Tanguay and Matt Duchene. That's two of that season's award winners, a gold-winning Olympian, and a former All-Star.

Also, the Corsi, obviously created by a former goalie, totally ignores the basics of a hockey game. An average, tight NHL game will finish 3-2, with 30 shots apiece. Perhaps 50 each counting blocked shots and deflections. That's one per minute, per team, except hockey isn't basketball: the action doesn't go end-to-end for 60 minutes. It goes in 60-to-100-second spurts of momentum, with players who usually get on for 45-second shifts, and in those bursts, most shots will get rebounds, and the first one or two will have missed, so instead of going 1-for-1 or, in a 45-second shift, 2 shots each way, it's likely going to be a 3-0 count that the player himself had little to do with apart from just being in the play or not.

The quality of your opposition says as much as the quality of your line, and none of that indicates actual possession. Recent Detroit Red Wings teams could have the puck on their sticks for 45 minutes per game and only shoot 20 times - and win 4-1; shots directed simply do not demonstrate possession.

Comparing actual statistics is fairly easy though: Parenteau has zero 30-goal seasons, to Brière's four; Parenteau has one 20-goal season on John Tavares' wing to Brière's seven with lesser players. Brière has played in two All-Star Games, and was MVP of one. Brière is a point-per-game career player in the playoffs, and even led all players in 2010 with 30 (in just 23 games) as the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. Brière has been an NHL captain twice.

Internationally, Parenteau has a silver medal, with Team Canada at the 2003 World Juniors; Brière has... gold from the 1997 World Juniors, and gold from the 2003 and 2004 World Championships. (He also won gold at the U-18 before it was ''a thing''). Brière is also a point-per-game player on the international stage.

So who do you want to dress for a Game 7?

Speaking of the masters of pressure, it seems Avs head coach Patrick Roy didn't exactly see eye-to-eye with Parenteau, so just obtaining anything in return is considered a win, let alone a ton of leadership come playoff time.

Still, I'm looking forward to seeing a guy who can put the puck in the net playing with Tomas Plekanec on the Habs' second line. I'm hoping for 25 goals, but I really can't tell if that's possible or not. Ironically, I unwrapped a couple of Parenteau jersey cards this winter, and figured I could start with this one:
It's card #AF-PA from Upper Deck's 2013-14 SP Game-Used Edition set (part of the Authentic Fabrics sub-set), and features a big burgundy jersey swatch while showing him wearing the Avs' white (away) uniform.

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