Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mikhail "Difference Maker" Grabovski

Thought maybe the next one was going to be Kessel, didn't ya? Well, so did I, at the time, when I decided this would be a series. But then I read something insightful and it got me thinking a little...

"did anyone expect the Leafs to miss Grabbo that much? Since his return they are on a tear. Love that crazy bastard."
-JaredOfLondon, Die Hard Blue And White.

Totally agree. It made me realize that Grabbo's presence is really necessary as a secondary scoring threat, and without him, it's too easy for the opposition to focus their defensive muscle on Kessel. While Grabbo hasn't razzled and dazzled quite like he did last year, he's still an effective forechecker who messes with the opposition's heads, and screws with their rhythm and focus, altering the intensity of the game in the Leafs favor.

Then this happened...
That's pretty cool. But here's the real reason Grabbo is this edition's Difference Maker - did you realize that when Grabovski is in the line up for the Leafs, they are a BETTER THEN .500 TEAM? That was the goal, scored by Grabbo himself, that brought them up to the .500 plateau.

Tonight, Grabovski assisted on John Mitchell's 2nd period goal to cue the comeback, and then assisted on Kulemin's 2nd overtime winner of the month, to give the Leafs a 3-2 victory, thus pushing them one win over .500 when Grabbo laces up the skates this season. Grabovski was on the ice, as was Kaberle, for all 3 goals and both finished +3.

The Leafs record this season now stands at 28-35-12. When Grabovski got injured in the first period of the first game of the new year, a January 2nd 3-1 loss to Calgary, the Leafs record, that game included, was 14-19-9. From January 5th to March 7th, the Leafs record in Grabbo's absence was a brutal 6-14-3. Since returning to the line up on March 9th, the Leafs have been on a definitive roll, going 8-2-0.

14-19-9 + 8-2-0 = 22-21-9
28-35-12 - 6-14-3 = 22-21-9

Equals BETER THEN .500!

I'm not trying to say that Grabbo alone makes the Leafs awesome, but he makes them at least not horrible. Otherwise, they are. But when Grabovski's in the line-up, the Leafs are competitive, with a better then equal chance of picking up a point. Still not quite good enough to be playoff bound, but .500 is a lot closer then where we are now.

If the Leafs were in fact a .500 team, we would be ahead of Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Columbus, and the Islanders.
Post Game Notes...

MONSTER MARCH! Gustavsson is 7-0-0 for the month, sporting a super-nifty .929 SV% and a 1.93 GAA during this amazing streak.

Kulemin's overtime heroics continue with last night's game winner. That's now 2 overtime goals this month to go along with 3 goals scored in the shoot-out as well. Meanwhile the Leafs now have 7 straight victories in extra-time, all in the last 4 weeks, as their once woeful OT record suddenly begins to balance out.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Great numbers on Grabovski. And it has indeed been a MONSTER MARCH.

Anonymous said...

22-21-9 is not really above .500. Consider it 22-30. Still, Grabbo is great.

Jaredoflondon said...

I'm famous!

general borschevsky said...

Cheers, eyebleaf.

Hey Anonymous! You're right, of course. I actually agree with the sentiment but for the purpose of this post, .500 was in the context of point accumulation. Those 9 "ties" in fact represent victories for the opposition, and while the Leafs have picked up 53 points in the 52 games that Grabbo has played in, opponents have earned 68 points - 30 wins plus 8 overtime losses. An illustration of how the NHL's points system is fundamentally flawed. And while .500 is no longer a marker for playoff contention, when you've hit rock bottom, it's a welcome step forward.

Hey look, everyone! It's Jared! Thanks for getting me thinkin' about Grabbo's impact to the Leafs record.

kidkawartha said...

I've had some doubts about the Titanium Belarussian, but thanks to the General, they're all gone.

general borschevsky said...

Cheers, kidk. Titanium Belarussian, eh? That might need some work. I like the Weeble Wobbler or Rowdy Grabbo, myself.

Sergei Puckizin said...

Nice work General. FYI, I stole your Grabbo picture as my new facebook profile pic. Hope you don't mind.


general borschevsky said...

Cheers, Sergei! It's not really my Grabbo pic so you're more then welcome.