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The One Dimensional Player
I am confused about the perception of one-dimensional player in the NHL. A forward that is a specialty player like Blair Betts on face-offs and penalty killing is valuable to the team. Coaches love these guys as they block shots and kill penalties. However, these guys are virtually useless on the ice offensively. Yeah they score occasionally, but really do not work on playing offense very hard. Enforcers do nothing except look to intimidate or fight. They offer nothing on the defensive or offensive side of the game. Players and coaches love these guys.

However if you are a one-dimensional offensive player, you will be in the coach’s doghouse consistently over your career. Ok here are the stats of a totally offensive player from my last post. These stats are through December 19th. I know lately that Zherdev is nursing an injury, but I think on the line with Carter and Giroux that he was a huge factor before the injury.
• Zherdev is averaging 12 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time per game. That put him 554th in the league.
• Yet, he was tied for 20th in the NHL in goals heading into Saturday night's games.
• He was scoring at a higher rate than most NHL players, including a guy named Alex Ovechkin.
• Entering Saturday, Ovechkin had 12 goals in 709 minutes, an average of a goal every 59.1 minutes.
• Zherdev has 13 goals in 378 minutes, an average of one goal every 29 minutes.
I want to know why coaches dislike people that are simply offensive and LOVE completely defensive players. Now I know that Zherdev makes lots of very risky plays but his is a +4 this season which is the same rating as Claude Giroux. Can someone shed some light on why this is the way it is?

I know the press writes unflattering articles about Nik because he does not talk to reporters. Come on guys grow up!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Good Night and Good Hockey!
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Filed Under:   Flyers  
January 8, 2011 10:02 PM ET | Delete
It's because defensively sound players are never a liability. One-way offensive players are a liability to have on the ice because you know they can't play defense. You leave yourself vulnerable.
January 8, 2011 10:02 PM ET | Delete
Zherdev is criticized because of his effort not because he is one dimensional. If you look at a player like Briere, he is considered to be a one dimensional offensive player and does not get in the coach's doghouse because he gives a consistent effort. When Zherdev isn't trying he is a liability on both sides of the puck.
January 8, 2011 10:25 PM ET | Delete
Ok well Jody Shelley is not a defensively sound player and most other "fighters" are not either. He can't be that much of a risk at 4 for the season. I think it is more about imposing the coach's will on the player. Hockey is about scoring MORE goals than the other team. They signed this guy to put the puck in the net and he has been in very little ice time. Why not just let him do his job?
January 8, 2011 11:18 PM ET | Delete
Actually, Jody Shelley is pretty good in his own end. Zherdev doesn't pass. Zherdev is invisible for long stretches of time. Zherdev doesn't hit.
January 9, 2011 12:01 AM ET | Delete
I think there are some purely offensive players who escape the doghouse. A good example -- though perhaps not the kind of player you had in mind -- is Tomas Holmstrom. The guy is a beast on the PP and is a great complimentary winger for skilled players like Datsyuk and Zetterberg, but he doesn't kill penalties, he's a terrible skater and next-to-useless on a checking line.
January 9, 2011 12:05 AM ET | Delete
(Continued) I think the difference is that Holmstrom is never going to be a good defensive player -- he's much too poor a skater -- but he has a very specific role that he plays well, and he works his ass off every night doing it. I get the impression that most one-dimensional scorers who end up in the doghouse do so because they COULD and SHOULD be better in their own end, but are simply unwilling to do the kind of difficult, unglamorous work that defensive hockey requires.
January 9, 2011 3:26 AM ET | Delete
Kessel is one dimensional.
January 9, 2011 5:21 AM ET | Delete
The problem with guys like Zherdev isn't that he's one dimensional, it's that he's lazy. Jody Shelley might not be able to score on an empty net, but that guy will work his ass off. Blair Betts, too. If Zherdev worked as hard as Shelley and Betts, he'd be in Columbus making $7mm a year and winning Richard Trophies.
MJL
January 9, 2011 8:16 AM ET | Delete
Jody Shlely isn't a sound defensive player. C'mon Phigment. That is absolutely untrue. He is very sound defensively. You totally don't get the Zherdev situation. This is about effort, heart, and competing on a nightly basis. Nothing to do with being a one dimensional offensive player.
January 9, 2011 9:14 AM ET | Delete
Defense wins games...
January 9, 2011 10:36 AM ET | Delete
Blair Betts is NOT a one dimensional player. He is a good faceoff guy, a good penalty killer, a good defensive player. Works hard every shift. That is 4 dimensions at least.Zherdev scores goals. And when he isn't scoring goals, which is the majority of the time, he is loafing around the defensive zone, gliding back to the zone when he does decide to do it, avoids areas of the ice like the slot, and the corners. The Flyers are basically playing shorthanded when he is on the ice.
January 9, 2011 11:31 AM ET | Delete
zherdev can flat-out score don't get me wrong, but the reason he scores is because he's always in the offensive zone...he's a plus 4 because the Flyers are a machine this year, Meszaros is a plus 25 after years of being a minus in TB and OTT. I still like Z, but that doesn't make lavvy like him at all haha
January 12, 2011 12:11 AM ET | Delete
The Big problem with the zherdev situation is the problem that what were the Flyers thinking? Zherdev had the same problem every team he was on they new that all he does is score when he wants to try. Did the Flyers think that he was all of the sudden fix all of his flaws? They were stupid to bring him in unless they were going to deal with what he brings to the table and that is score goals.
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