My mom always says I learned math from pouring over box scores in the newspaper.
“Edmonton beat Boston 5-2, so they won by three goals,” was something my four-year old self would announce.
There’s no doubt a four-year old Reid Wilkins would have loved looking at the box score for Wednesday night’s game between the Oilers and Colorado Avalanche. Oilers won by three. Now they have 25 points on the season. Connor McDavid has nine points and 18 assists giving him 27 points.
And look at that! Milan Lucic had four points!
Even the youngest hockey fan knows that’s a big game. You can not watch the game and only look at the box score and know that’s a big game.
But Lucic’s stats don’t tell his whole story.
“He doesn’t have to get points or score goals for him to be effective,” says McDavid. “He brings so much in the room, first and foremost, that sense of calm and that sense of safety for a lot of us. We can go out there and play our game and not have to worry. He’s such a presence out there that guys are a little bit timid to do things. He does so much away from the puck, defensively, in the room, it doesn’t matter whether he scores or not.”
And that’s the beauty of it. There are things about Lucic we can’t really measure. The box score can’t tell us that the Oilers were, say, 8/10 on the calmness scale because of Lucic. It can’t tell us that McDavid had four feet to maneuver along the boards instead of two because of Lucic’s presence. It can’t give us a stat for how safe Lucic’s teammates feel on the ice.
No, we need McDavid to tell us that. If the star player on the team believes that Lucic has an impact regardless of points, that’s enough for me, at any age, to believe it, too. (jrw)