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pierre-marc bouchard

The Islanders scored three times late in the third last night to beat the Penguins 4-3. The third goal came from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who had all the time in the world to bury a breakaway goal past netminder Jeff Zatkoff.Except it wasn't a breakaway.Rather inexplicably, Bouchard was left all alone in front of the Pittsburgh net on an absolute gift of a defensive lapse from the Penguins. I mean seriously how did the Islanders get a 2-on-0 (see right) with the puck never leaving the zone?The play begins with a Radek Martinek slapper from the point that Zatkoff steered to the corner boards. The puck comes out of the corner and Pens right winger Chuck Kobasew attempts to clear the puck up the boards (green arrow in the picture below). Also of note is defender Olli Maatta, in the red circle, who is starting to float way out of position. His defensive partner #2 Matt Niskanen is below him in the defensive zone. There's an arrow on the direction of Evgeni Malkin, as he anticipates a breakout. So we've already got the left wing and left defender completely failing on the defensive coverage of the left side of the Pens' net, a spot which happens to have two Islanders over there.The problem with Malkin's breakout idea is that Martinek is able to hold the zone. Martinek knocks it down and doesn't get great control of the puck, but he keeps it from heading off to center ice where Malkin or Jussi Jokinen can attempt to make a rush. Bouchard and Regin are still hanging out in front of the net, seemingly in anticipating of Martinek holding the zone, which is OK since Brock Nelson is in a position to backcheck.?Oh and that guy attacking Martinek? That's Maatta, who again is a defender and is way the hell out of position. Pressuring the puck is great and all, but not if it's at the expense of being insanely out of position and leaving the front of your net undefended. Maatta is way the hell out of position and Niskanen is just kind of watching. Not helping things are Malkin and Jokinen heading up ice, but to be fair if their defender is where he should be, they could get away with it (my assumption is that they usually do).So now Bouchard has no one within 10 feet of him except the goalie. Malkin and Jokinen have drifted up ice and with Maatta way the hell out of position, there is one Penguin below the circles. Martinek is fumbling the puck a bit and barely holding the zone, but he is holding it. That's one of two impressive things Martinek does on the play. He kicked the puck, looked like he couldn't find it for a second, had a defender right on him, and didn't really have any right to keep the puck in, but he did.OK, so I said Martinek did two impressive things on the play.Well the second thing was the no-look pass he threw to Bouchard that no one on the Penguins expected at all. With his back turned -- his back completely turned, I mean look at this ridiculous picture below -- he tosses the puck to center. Is it a sort of dump in to hold the zone? Is it a conscious pass to Bouchard? I don't know. But he puts it right to Bouchard in the middle of the ice. Malkin and Jokinen are off at the blueline straight chillin and so is Maatta who, to reiterate, is a defenseman (Malkin is circled because lol his back is turned to the play). Only two out of five Penguins are actually defending someone and defending the correct player.By the time Bouchard gets the puck there's no one within a country mile and he's got all the time in the world to figure out how to beat Zatkoff who has been left out to dry by his teammates like wet laundry. The rest is up to Bouchard to finish, and he does. We talked about him being a good possession player the other day, but this had nothing to do with that. This was a hilarious defensive breakdown from the Penguins and a crazy, awesome no-look pass from Radek Martinek. Although, of course, credit to Bouchard for the nice finish.The Penguins annoucers called Bouchard "sneaky" and "crafty, one of those guys who will sneak in behind things." But none of those things were actually true on this play. You can actually hear one of the announcers start to blame Niskanen and Maatta and then cut himself off (homer?). It was more of a case of Bouchard being left all alone with the keys to the Camaro than him being elusive.
Tags: Islanders, pierre-marc bouchard, Videos, Kevin Schultz
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Written by Garik

A common complaint I've seen from Islanders fans on the internet has been with the play of Pierre-Marc Bouchard. 'He plays too soft! He doesn't hit! He isn't scoring either! Why isn't he scratched for Brock Nelson?' Bouchard was the Islanders' biggest acquisition in the offseason; a one-year, 2 Million dollar "show me" deal and was thought to be the Isles replacement for Brad Boyes and PA Parenteau. But despite a week in preseason on line one, he has bounced around two different lines so far and has yet to produce much offensive numbers. So the general line of thinking is that, 9 games in, he's a bust and part of the problem the Isles have had so far.If you know my writing at all, you shouldn't be surprised when I tell you that this general line of thinking is VERY wrong. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been one of the most effective Islanders on the ice so far for the team on 5-on-5, regardless of which line he has been on!You see, one of the most effective ways of telling whether a team is winning the battles in a game of hockey while a player is on the ice isn't to count how often that player hits or to look at how many shots he is blocking, but rather to see which team is getting more shots while that player is on the ice. You can do this by looking at the amount of shots on goal for each team while that player is on the ice; alternatively you can look just at shots on goal and missed shots while a player is on the ice (this is also known as fenwick, or unblocked shot attempts), or at all shot attempts while that player is on the ice, including missed and blocked shots (also known as corsi). Take a look at these numbers for Bouchard and how they rank among Islander forwards:With Bouchard on the Ice 5-on-5, the Islanders are:Outshooting opponents: 53-37 in shots on goal (1st among Isles' forwards)Outshooting opponents: 68-64 in unblocked shot attempts (fenwick) (2nd among Isles' forwards to Josh Bailey)Outshooting opponents: 90-81 in shot attempts (corsi) (1st among Isles' forwards)That's right; in shot differential PMB is either #1 or #2 among Islanders forwards. In fact, only 2-4 Islander forwards are not being outshot by these numbers. Bouchard and Josh Bailey are outshooting opponents by all three metrics, while Peter Regin and Matt Martin are at least even in shots on goal, although Martin's #s get worse when you look at missed and blocked shots.What exactly does this mean? Well it means simply this: the Islanders are spending a greater percentage of time in the opponents' zone with PMB on the ice than any other Islanders forward.

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Could this be not because of PMB but instead because of Bouchard's linemates? Well, look at the shot attempt differential numbers of Bouchard's two centers with and without PMB:Frans Nielsen without PMB: 40.7% shot-attempt differntial (Corsi).Frans Nielsen with PMB: 54.1% shot-attempt differentialPeter Regin without PMB: 47.3% shot-attempt differentialPeter Regin with PMB: 55.2% shot-attempt differentialYes, both of PMB's two centers, with whom he's played roughly equal time, show much better results with PMB at left wing than without PMB. This by the way continues a trend from the last three years where players playing with PMB showed much better results with him than without him on the Minnesota Wild (see right).Nor are these results because PMB is getting a lot of offensive zone faceoffs. Regin's basically gotten the same amount of D-zone faceoffs as O-zone faceoffs and half of his results are with Frans Nielsen on the line that is meant to handle opponents' best forwards. So his results aren't due to facing weak competition either.Simply put, these numbers continue to show that Bouchard has been an ASSET to this team -- making those he plays with better and tilting the ice in the Islanders' favor -- and whose play is important to this team's success. Much like another winger named Pierre picked up off the scrap heap three years ago, this guy is very underrated.

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None of this praise is to say that Bouchard has been perfect. He hasn't. For example, while his ability to raise his teammates performance has continued on the Isle, his shooting ability hasn't.During the last three years, PMB has averaged a little over seven shots on goal per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play. This season, PMB is averaging 3.8 shots on goal per 60, roughly half the shooting production from the years prior (and PMB didn't play an offensive role for the Wild either). PMB has actually been a good shooter the last three years, but if he shoots the puck this infrequently, that won't matter much. PMB isn't just here to help his teammates -- although that's a big help -- but also to provide production on his own, and he hasn't yet done that.Still, whatever his individual faults, through nine games it certainly seems like PMB has made whoever he's played with much better at keeping the puck in the offensive end. Perhaps that's something that fans should value, rather than begging for him to be scratched because he doesn't do it in a flashy way. Hockey is about winning, not looking good doing it.
Tags: fancy stats, garik, guest post, Islanders, pierre-marc bouchard, Kevin Schultz

SYOSSET, NY -- One of the newest Islanders at training camp this week is Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who signed with the team as a free agent from Minnesota over the summer. In day two of camp today, Bouchard was placed on the right wing spot on the first line alongside John Tavares and Matt Moulson. While Kyle Okposo has occupied that spot on occasion and armchair coaches have shifted stud center prospect Ryan Strome over to the wing, it appears that it could be Bouchard's spot to lose at least in the early going."It's great to be on the right side of those two players, it's fun," he said speaking about his two linemates. "John is a great center man, he does everything good on the ice. And Matt is a pure goal scorer, works hard. It's fun to have a chance to play with those two guys."Bouchard, 29, spent the first decade of his NHL career in Minnesota with the Wild but missed the entire 2009-10 season due to concussions and missed half of the 2011-12 season for the same issues, both of which are documented in detail here. However, he was healthy last season playing in 43 of 48 games, said he feeling just fine. "I felt great, I had a chance to work out really hard this summer. I'm healthy, I'm ready to go," he told reporters. The right wing spot on the first line has been a bit of a work-in-progress for the past few seasons. Two seasons ago, PA Parenteau held the spot and racked up 67 points. The Islanders chose not to re-sign him the following summer, as he got big money from Colorado (4 years, $4 million per). Last season Brad Boyes would hold the spot and notch 35 points, but again the Islanders looked in a different direction, this time with Bouchard. Boyes is currently attending Florida training camp on a tryout contract. For Bouchard, if he does indeed end up on the first line right wing this season, it'll be an opportunity to maybe turn back the clock and put up some big numbers. His best NHL season to date was 2007-08, when he had 63 points playing nearly 17 minutes per night in Minnesota. With two excellent linemates -- one a three-time 30-goal scorer and the other a Hart Trophy finalist last season -- Bouchard, or whomever ends up occupying the spot, will have all the help necessary to succeed.
Tags: Islanders, pierre-marc bouchard, Kevin Schultz