Get out your torches and pitch forks Flyers fans! The 2010-11 NHL season is approaching fast, and Dan Carcrillo is still a member of your Philadelphia Flyers.
(collective groan from the cheap seats)
Since vituperative fan criticism of Carcillo has practically become sport amongst a significant segment of the Flyers fan base, I thought it would be fun write a piece illustrating why many Flyers fans just don't understand the role of an effective NHL agitator; at least not when it comes to the player we've come to know as "Car Bomb."
Pop Quiz: in 2009-10, where did the Philadelphia Flyers rank in the NHL with regard to total power play opportunities?
Answer: the Flyers ranked sixth in the NHL for power play opportunities, resulting in 317 situations with the Flyers on the man-advantage.
The Flyers scored 68 goals on the power play in 2009-10, second only to the Washington Capitals, who notched 79 tallies on the man-advantage.
What does that have to do with Daniel Carcillo you might ask yourself?
Quite a bit actually when you consider that in 2009-10, Carcillo was second in the NHL in drawn penalties with 42, translating into roughly 13 percent of the Flyers overall power play opportunities.
If you don't understand the significance of those numbers, start by subtracting Carcillo's 42 drawn penalties from the Flyers 317 power play opportunities last season, which would have decreased Philadelphia's man-advantage totals to 275 last season.
Keeping those numbers in mind, which do you think the Philadelphia Flyers would rather have?
317 power play opportunities, good for sixth in the NHL.
275 power play opportunities, good for 26th in the NHL.
When faced with numbers which change the balance of power play opportunities so drastically, can there be any doubt about what Daniel Carcillo brings to the Flyers with his world-class shit disturbing talents as an NHL agitator?
Fine. You still don't like Dan Carcillo. But you can't look at those numbers and deny that his abilities as an agitator yield tangible results in the form of power play opportunities for the Flyers.
Yeah, yeah. But you still don't like the guy.
Maybe you don't like him because you're still making sweet, sweet love to the memory of Scottie Upshall in a black and orange sweater; which is entirely unfair if that is indeed the case. Regardless of how you feel about the trade that brought him to Philadelphia, it is certain Carcillo had zero input in the decision.
Maybe you don't like Carcillo because he looks like that greasy hesher that chased your 12-year-old butt into a corn field and beat the living tar out of you in 1982, when you threw snowballs at his bitchin' Camaro as he drove by you and your friends in a snow storm.
I can't help you there, but I hear there are wonderful medications available to help one cope with childhood trauma.
Or maybe you just think the guy takes a lot of penalties, which is entirely true; but I don't think you understand the big picture if that's your rationale. Let me explain.
Daniel Carcillo made 46 pilgrimages to the sin bin in 2009-10. Yes, that's a lot.
Of those 46 trips to the penalty box, there were just 17 instances in which Daniel Carcillo skated to box by himself, which is to say, out of the 46 occasions Carcillo lit the red light between the penalty benches, opponents followed him into the box 29 times on a coincidental minor penalty, or more.
If you insist that even 17 solo voyages to the penalty box is entirely too many, then you should know Carcillo ranks No. 7 on the Flyers in that fashion, behind Scott Hartnell (28), Daniel Briere (23), Braydon Coburn (20), Chris Pronger (19), Jeff Carter (19), and Kimmo Timonen (17).
With that being said, Carcillo's 17 trips to the penalty box without an opposing player accompanying him still does not impact the Flyers with anywhere near the significance when contrasted with his value to the team when drawing penalties.
In 2009-10, the Flyers played short-handed a total of 335 times, ranking third in the NHL.
This isn't surprising when you consider the Flyers organization takes pride in the tough, physical teams it puts onto the ice every night.
Removing Carcillo's 17 penalties (5 percent of the entire team total) from the equation improves the Flyers time on the penalty kill from third in the NHL to 11th, which is nowhere near as extreme a shift as the drop in power play opportunities when removing Carcillo's 42 drawn penalties.
So here are the numbers, Car Bomb haters. Life with Dan Carcillo, and life without Dan Carcillo:
Flyers Power Play Opportunities
With Carcillo's contribution: ranked sixth in NHL
Without Carcillo's contribution: ranked 26th in the NHL
Flyers Penalty Killing Situations
With Carcillo's 17 non-coincidental penalties taken: third in the NHL
Without Carcillo's 17 non-coincidental penalties taken: 11th in the NHL
Looking at the data, there can be no doubt that Daniel Carcillo contributes to the Flyers in a significant way by reigning as one of the NHL's premier agitators. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you'll understand why the Flyers sought him out in the first place (psst...the "cap room" thing was a load of crap).
Aaaaand...you still don't like Daniel Carcillo. And you know what, that's just fine.
But know this—every time you paint the guy as some worthless goon, you're just wrong.
Spend some time with the stats and see for yourself.
Sources [Behind The Net] | [NHL.com] | [Yahoo Sports]
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