Dan Boyle vs. Lubomir Visnovsky

steve laidlaw




Did you take my advice and watch the Ducks-Sharks games this past week? Admittedly Friday's game was a snoozer. I felt dumb for having hyped up that game so much. It was as though I was a producer of The Playboy Club or something. I let you down and the game let us all down. Monday's game more than made up for it though. Anaheim's stars finally turned it on and brought some excitement to this rivalry. There were scrums, there were fights and most of all there were plenty of scoring chances. That's all you can really ask for at this stage of the season.


To continue my efforts of informing the public of what a great rivalry this is, Cage Match will feature Part Two in the Ducks-Sharks saga. This time we look to the blue line. It is Dan Boyle vs. Lubomir Visnovsky. Let's get it on!


Boyle and Visnovsky have so much in common it is frightening. They are both 35 years old, undersized defensemen who broke into the league full time in the 2000-01 season. On top of that Boyle and Visnovsky both quarterback two of the top offensive teams in the league, who actually tied for second best power play in the league at 23.5% last season. Furthermore, the two defensemen are off to mediocre starts this season, which makes them ripe for the picking. (Visnovsky has one point through his first five games, while Boyle has two points through his first four.)


So just which one should you go after? You might be inclined to go after Visnovsky. After all, he did lead all NHL defensemen in points last season with 68. Boyle did not do so bad himself, scoring 50 points to finish among the top 10 defensemen in scoring. As the figure below will show Boyle, is in fact the more consistent option. He (along with Nik Lidstrom) is one of only two defensemen to finish in the top 10 in defensemen scoring in the last three seasons and is the only defenseman in the NHL to score at least 50 all three of those years. Here the three year averages for Boyle and Visnovsky: