How do you solve a problem like Danick Paquette…?
Danick Paquette, a firm fan favourite who as has re-signed for the 18/19 season, much to the glee of the Blaze fans.
In this article, we analyse the numbers during the 3 middle months of the 17/18 season, where Danick received his heftiest suspensions and Blaze suffered their biggest losses of the season, as well as overall stats. We will look at whether an “agitator” an “enforcer” or “trouble maker” brings more risks than rewards across the league.
The cheers and chants fill the arena as a bit of pushing and shoving starts and one of the two dancers has #47 on his back.
However, mention his name to fans from other teams and the views aren’t quite as…. rosy. The 27 year old Canadian forward has certainly made a name for himself across his career for being a trouble maker and sometimes a villain totting up 2,215 penalty infraction minutes before joining the Blaze. Famously described by Bruce Boudreau as “one of those guys everybody loves to hate”.
But at what cost has this boisterous play method come at? Or was it is fire that re-ignited the blaze (sorry, it had to be done…)? It could be easy to mistake the time in the Bin at as wasted time, but could it be a sacrifice that is required?
Across the season Paquette received 196 PIMs across his 40 games during the season, with 11 goals. This works out at about five minutes per game (that he wasn’t suspended!) and around 18 minutes of PIM per goal he scored. Obviously then, this is – on face value – a shocking fact. However if we compare to some other “big hitters” that have played recently, its seems to be a trend with the “agitating play maker”.
Jay Rosehill – the hard hitting Canadian winger who built his reputation as an enforcer in the NHL, collected a total of 186 Penalty Infraction Minutes for the 42 games he played for the Manchester Storm, with 6 goals. Equating to around 4 and a half minutes per game, or half an hour of penalties per goal scored.
Guillaume Desbiens – the now retired Canadian winger went out with a blast in his last season, not only winning the playoffs with the Sheffield Steelers, but also racking up 130 penalty minutes across the 52 games played, and 8 goals. Which equates to around 2 and a half minutes per game, and just over quarter of an hour per goal scored.
It is of course, unfair to compare the three players on a level ‘goal per penalty’ basis, but as a benchmark it certainly points that there is certainly still a need, or a want for these types of players in the EIHL.
So at what cost?
Having taken data from across several sources for the 29 Blaze games from 2nd December to 25th Feb; a time where Danick was suspended for 6 games, 5 of which were in one span, and where Blaze suffered a string of defeats; Danick scored 6 times (6.59% of total goals for this period), one of which was infact voted the Blaze goal of the season! He also assisted 11% of the goals scored (10 goals). However the Blaze lost two thirds of the games where Danick was suspended. All in all then it would seem for the games out, he more than made up when he was back in the game.
But the facts and figures are only skin deep.
When we look at what Danick and the other “Agitators” do, and what they do to the morale of the team, this is where we see their true worth.
During that December to Feb loss streak – the morale on the bench was obviously low. The team were sitting down during the game, the fans were quieter than usual. However, in mid Feb, a minor roughing got the benches on their feet, the crowd rowdy and the morale for the team was flipped on its head. The next game, tired legs, the weight of expectation on their shoulder in the last 10 minutes of the game, another roughing spurred a heated energy boost, keeping players and fans pumped for the win.
Its clear that in every team, there is someone that will cause a stir, even creating anger, to take the game to the next notch, give the team something to fight for, even if it risks the sacrifice… some may say a heroic act, but again, depends on which bench you are on.
The debate on the use of enforcers in the teams has all but concluded and disappeared. The argument over having trouble makers and “bad lads” in the line up rumbles on – are they worth the PIMs? Are they worth the man in the bin? Do they really create motivation and adrenaline for the team? In my opinion. Yes to all of these. This is one of the best parts of hockey. The stories that are told, and are therefore a vital part.
Whatever the answers are, from my experience, and from researching for this article, its very clear that every story needs its heroes and every story needs its villains.
Just sometimes, its hard to see who is who…
…and lets face it – we all love a good story.