Just A Goon (October 18, 2010)


Before I begin please allow me to preface this with a simple fact, I dislike Dan Carcillo. I dislike his style of play, his lack of actual hockey skill, even his ridiculous mustache. To put it in 2010 terms, Dan Carcillo is on my blocked list on facebook. Anyway, I was given an article by an outspoken lover of Dan Carcillo’s style with the hopes of swaying my lackluster opinion of the hockey player. The article used numbers, specifically his ability to draw penalties versus his knack for committing them himself, to prove that Carcillo is worth much more to the Philadelphia Flyers than most fans give him credit for. Usually having the man advantage is a good thing, however, considering the Flyers obvious misfortunes in terms of power play efficiency, 9.1 percent so far this season, why would it be good for Carcillo to be on the rink at all? The team does not have a ‘set up and pass through the defense’ type of playing style. The Flyers actually excel in quick counters on the rush while at full strength and on the penalty kill, something that is hard to do on a line that features Carcillo skating at about half the speed of most other wingers on the team, or so it seems. In reality it might be about 70 percent.

I do not disagree that he should be given props for annoying pretty much everyone on the rink, including his own teammates from time to time, but the Flyers do not and should not rely on him to win hockey games, which is goal number one, right? If he really isn’t an integral part of that scenario than how important is he? Numbers don’t have the ability to tell the story in nearly every situation. Lets be serious, at one point the numbers made Adam Eaton look like a good pitcher, Donovan McNabb like a great quarterback, and Roman Cechmanek like a quality first rate goaltender.

I think we can agree that in most instances numbers are meaningless based on the ability that everyone has to find a number that can easily help back up a seemingly innocuous point. For example, Brian Engblom led the NHL in plus/minus in 1980-81, does that mean the current ESPN correspondent was a fantastic player? Absolutely not! What does mean something, and is a constant thorn in my side when I think about Dan Carcillo’s addition to the Flyers, is when a player does not understand the flow of the game and gets in a meaningless fight while his team is up 3-0 in a playoff game at home. The only reason for the fight in the first place is so the Penguins player could fire up his team, which is not something you want to happen if you’re a Flyers player/fan. Self-restraint and the knowledge to skate away are things that should have been ringing through Carcillo’s mind at the time. The Flyers went on to lose the game by the way, 4-3. I know that you’re saying to yourself, “But he won that fight Adam”…which is true, but if you know something about hockey the Penguins viewed the act as a slap in the face and were able to use it to rally around for their comeback.

The point is to not fight in certain situations, and as a professional hockey player you should know when to toe the line and know when not to cross it. Fighting is a necessary part of hockey, but it isn’t necessary to use it randomly. Backing up the star player with muscle, fighting for your goalie if he’s getting squeezed, or trying to pump up a team that looks tired are perfectly acceptable reasons for jousting, not because you feel like it. Carcillo is naively unaware of the game itself, and coupled with his general lack of skill while on the ice his only true talent is lost on this Flyers team. The franchise won twice with a team of Dan Carcillo like players who were ready to drop their gloves at a moments notice and weren’t exactly the worlds best overall hockey players, but the game has changed. Physical play is still a staple when wearing the sweater, but the premiums today are put on skating, puck handling, and solid defense. For a player like Carcillo, who can’t do any of those things very well, to take a roster spot is just plain wrong. I’m not the only person to realize this simple fact, seeing as how the Flyers head coach has made Carcillo a healthy scratch recently. There are players who have the ability to help their team by using a combination of broad skill and quality annoyance techniques, but there is a difference between an agitator and a goon. Sean Avery, world-class agitator. Dan Carcillo, goon.

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    • jdilaurojr
    • October 24th, 2010

    while these two players are no where near equivalents talent-wise and i still maintain that there are other players from camp i would have rather seen make the team over carcillo (especially for the cap hit) – with kovalchuk being benched last night (10/23 vs the sabres), can it be said that benching a player is not always about their talent level? whether it be to shake up a team in the midst of losing games, trying new and different line combinations, a player just not producing, or any number of reasons, benching a player is a strategic move by a coach to get and keep a team on track for success.

    again, while i do think we would have been better off going with other players in our training camp, carcillo does fit into laviolette’s system of simplified, energetic, forecheck like hell hockey as an energy player. using a player in the wrong role (i.e. an energy guy on a skill line or a defensively retarded russian on a defensive styled team) severely limits what that player can accomplish and serves only to make him look out of place. against the leafs last night, carcillo looked much better in an energy role. every player has a particular role on a team and when players use their talents within a system, the team will win.

    while i was thinking of going on a tirade regarding offense and defense, it’s useless because we will never see eye to eye on that. (i’ll let the capitals first round loss do that for me)

    and it’s about time carcillo shaved the mustache (along with hartnell’s shave and a haircut).

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