EDMONTON – Somehow, Chris Russell became one of those players that many fans truly appreciate only when he is not in the lineup.
Actually, it's a bit insulting to those fans. And the analytic community that was tough with Russell.
“The guys don't like statistics,” he said about his game. "Teammates don't mind it yet."
Today on the shelf for the sixth consecutive game, the value of Russell is confirmed by the fact that it disappears in his absence. Oil industry fans — even those who denounce his style or his $ 4 million salary — notice this.
So we decided to ask several NHL players: what do they like in the Russell game, that so many fans cannot appreciate or notice from their point of view?
“I don’t think they are aware of the leadership, the experience he brings in the room. How he can help the young guys in between periods or even when he sits next to them on the bench after the shift, ”said Oilers goalkeeper Cam Talbot, who will support Mikko Koskinen when Vancouver visits Rogers Place tonight. "Sometimes, when it comes to a teammate, and not a coach behind you, this lesson seems a little better."
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Russell left with an unknown injury (presumably with a groin) at the same time when Oscar Klefbom is absent, who has undergone an operation to repair a broken finger. The void left by these players led to a losing streak of three games, since the Oilers team, which was defending itself with head coach Ken Hitchcock, somehow lost the key lately.
“Unfortunately, when two guys leave at the same time,” said quiet, quiet Russell on Thursday. “Just do your best to return as soon as possible.” I hate sitting and looking. I hope this sooner than later.
He can play on Saturday when San Jose visits, but for now Russell’s absence becomes an exploration of two points of view of hockey: from the locker room and from the top sheet.
Since the analyst left an indelible mark on the game, Russell (and players like him) were considered to be expendable by people who put a PDO on the map or create heat maps. This is not a sign that these people do not know the game as much as an example of a system that can display a player’s movement and ownership, but still cannot quantify intangible assets that still matter in NHL clothes. number.
We asked Alex Edler to compare Chris Russell. He immediately concluded: "Matthias Ohlund."
“Mattias Ohlund had a very high standard. In my opinion, he never had a bad game, ”said Adler. “Always solid. Always played with team thinking. He did everything he needed to help the team. Sacrifice your body.
“Maybe they do not do bright things that end up on the main points. But when they are not in composition you really notice it. You need those types of players who always play flawlessly and do not make a lot of mistakes. ”
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Look up and down the composition of the NHL, and you will see that 30-40 percent of players do not have a significant impact in the points department. Among this group, valuable ones find a niche that allows scorers to score, goalkeepers to make a few more saving throws, and also often help all of the above with the mental part of the game.
“There are certain (qualities) that you simply won’t get through analytics,” Talbot said. “Look at a guy like Matt Hendrix. "Glue guy." These guys, the intangible assets they bring, I don’t think you can fully realize this if you don’t end up in this room.
“(Russell) will put his body in front of anything, and this is what we loved in him,” said goalkeeper Oilers. “But there are those little plays that he does, just reading in a hurry. Some of the young guys, they're just not there yet. It takes time to get to this level. These are little things that fans don't see, or they underestimate. ”
In five games, missed by Russell, Edmonton scored only three points. There is no doubt that the absence of Klefbom aggravates this, but, nevertheless, if he can return on Saturday, the Oilers will be a happy group.
“The guys who jumped did a good job, but obviously I was here a little longer, and the team understands how I will play. Players can read this out, ”said Russell. “I am more inclined to defense. If there is a game that I can do, I will try, but I play a little safer. "
Players love safe. Coaches love safe.
Unfortunately for Russell, he is an incidentless player who lives in a world of statistics that displays events.