I've probably said it many times here, but often a general manager's biggest issue can be winning. Winning isn't a formula or an algorithm - it's a weird combination of preparation, skill, determination, and luck. So when a team wins, a general manager thinks that it's the combination of players that helped it to do so, neglecting to observe the luck element.
Stephen Gionta is killing this team. He was great in the playoffs, and so was his line. Against all odds, Gionta and his crew piled up points. They've somehow done so this season, to an extent - Steve Bernier has 4 goals, Carter 2, Gionta 1 - if you think this not many, recall that the third line for most of last year was Tedenby-Carter-Clarkson, and Tedenby had 1 goal and Carter had 4.
I recognize that Gionta and his line also sometimes draw difficult assignments. He's seen almost 13 minutes of Sidney Crosby, and almost 12 of Evgeni Malkin. He's been up against John Tavares for 9 minutes and that's not counting last night. He's only played 142 minutes at even strength, so seeing 1/10th of it against Sid is not easy.
But he's getting absolutely run to the woodshed. With Gionta on the ice, the Devils are getting 37% of the shots on goal at even strength. They are getting 40% of the shot attempts. If DeBoer's plan is to stick Gionta etc. against the best lines in the league to free up his other players to go against lesser lights, it's not working very well. This isn't even mentioning Gionta's play on the penalty kill - the Islanders passed around him last night to set up Ponikarovsky's penalty. I don't understand why the coaching staff can't see this stuff, but then again, the team won a lot last year with this lineup, and sometimes it's difficult to see past that.
Edited by Triumph, 17 February 2013 - 11:49 AM.