Cage Match: Who to remove from the Band-Aid Boy list?

by Rick Roos on December 9, 2015

Have your say on the latest list of Band-Aid Boys – Which players to add? Who to remove?

It’s that magical time of year – the leaves have all fallen, neighborhood ponds soon will be frozen, and holiday festivities are just around the corner. But wait; I’m leaving out the best part – the winter Cage Match Tournament! Or in this case I should say Tournaments, since this year I’ll be running three – yes three! – separate tournaments over the next three weeks, each centered around one of Dobber’s biggest claims to fame, Band-Aid Boys.

While the current list is still a very useful resource, it could – by Dobber’s own admission – use a refresh. And what better way to help that process unfold than by enabling all the DobberHockey readers to be an official part of it! Yes, each of you can vote in the three separate weekly tournaments that will focus on Band-Aid Boys, with the idea being that Dobber will update the list based on your votes!


Summary of Each Tournament

The first tournament – running this week – will be to vote on which players should be removed from the current list because they no longer merit inclusion. In other words, they’ve arguably enjoyed sustained good health (jinx alert!) for a long enough period of time as to no longer be deserving of the moniker that no NHLer wants – Band-Aid Boy.

Next week, you’ll be voting on new additions to the Band-Aid Boy list. In that case, you’ll decide two new defensemen, two new forwards, and one new goalie to include on the list that aren’t there already, plus give Dobber some food for thought should he want to add even more players to the list.

And finally, in just two weeks the last tournament will represent the coup de grâce – deciding which current Band-Aid Boys should replace at least four (Rick DiPietro, Peter Mueller, Sheldon Souray, Martin Havlat) of the Band-Aid Boy Executives, each of whom either is already retired or essentially done with the NHL. And who knows – maybe Dobber will decide to do a full purge of the Execs, removing even Marian Gaborik in favor of a more deserving Band-Aid Boy?


This Week’s Tournament Removing Players from the Current Band-Aid Boy List

At the outset, you’ll see I didn’t focus on players who’ve retired or are now out of the NHL. They’ll be removed in the normal course. Instead, this is the chance to reward current players with your votes if you think they no longer meet the criteria of being a Band-Aid Boy.

To be among the voting choices, each player must have demonstrated good health for a long enough period of time to essentially cancel out his Band-Aid Boy track record. That’s why you won’t see Andrei Markov among the choices, because although he’s been the picture of good health for several seasons, it’s still not quite enough – yet – to negate his long and painful (literally) past as a Band-Aid Boy.

In some instances, players have still missed some games in recent seasons on their way to Band-Aid Boy reclamation; however, either I’ve deemed the total number of recent games missed or their otherwise good overall health (or a combination of both) to be still enough to overcome whatever they did in the past to land themselves on the list in the first place. In short, these are players who, if they weren’t already on the current list, I think would not deserve to be there.

Of course you should decide your votes however you want, but I’d encourage you to not just go by name recognition or pure math in terms of games missed. When in doubt, a nice tie breaker might be as simple as asking yourself which of these players strikes you most as not a Band-Aid Boy. Kind of like a variation on the “I know it when I see it” legal test of old.


Player Choices

Without further ado, here are the eleven players (in alphabetical order) for your voting consideration:

Derick Brassard – There’s no question Brassard was once rightfully included on the list, as he played more than 74 games in only one of his first four seasons. But if we look at recent history, we see a total of just four games missed in total during the past three campaigns. The scales would seem to be tilting toward him no longer meeting Band-Aid Boy criteria.

Brent Burns – In his first five full seasons, Burns had an 82 game campaign, but also two where he played fewer than 60. And although he’s still had bumps and bruises over his past five campaigns, he also has played 80+ games in three of those seasons, and has been much healthier since becoming a full time defenseman, including his current consecutive games played streak that’s now over 125.

Jeff Carter – In Carter’s ten campaigns, he’s missed no games four times, along with having played in 80 one season and 81 for another. Plus, in two of his other campaigns he missed no more than ten games. And out of his two seasons where he missed the most games, one was nearly ten years ago. Maybe Carter is not the best bet to stay 100% healthy in any given season, but then again neither are many players who somehow don’t fit the Band-Aid Boy definition.

Ryan Kesler – Like Carter, since becoming a full time player in 2005-06 Kesler has four 82 games played seasons to his credit, plus one of 81 and another of 80. And although he missed 25+ games in a season twice in his career, once was in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign and the other was way back in 2006-07. His other two full seasons featured only five games missed apiece. It seems like the pendulum has swung back toward Kesler not meeting the Band-Aid Boy criteria.

David Krejci – It is true that Krejci missed nearly half of last season due to injury; however, his 56 game 2007-08 campaign was the by-product of him spending 25 games in the AHL, not an injury. And in six campaigns in between, he missed a total of only 16 games. Perhaps the Band-Aid Boy label was placed unfairly on Krejci in the first place?

Max Pacioretty – In his four full NHL seasons, Pacioretty’s games missed totals have been two, four, five and nine. In other words, he’s never missed more than nine games, and twice missed four or fewer. Beyond that, in several cases he suffered what at first appeared to be serious injuries, only to make a much speedier recovery than most would’ve been expected. All that makes it sound like his Band-Aid Boy label might be undeserved.

Matt Read – Although Read has never missed fewer than two games in any of his four previous NHL seasons, he’s also never missed more than seven; and his average number of games missed per season is only 4.5. To be honest, it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to how he landed on this list.

James van Riemsdyk – It’s a tale of two eras for JVR’s health, as with the Flyers he missed four games in his first season, followed by seven, and then thirty-nine. But since arriving in Toronto for 2012-13, he’s missed two – and that’s not two per season, that’s two out of a total of 230+ possible contests. It might just be time to remove him from the list.

Marc Staal – After just two games missed in his first three seasons, Staal went on to miss an average of nearly 20 games per season over his next four campaigns. But don’t look now – he’s on a run of 125+ consecutive regular season games played, stretching back into Spring of 2014. I think a case can be made that’s enough to help him shed the Band-Aid Boy label, especially when coupled with his early career durability.

Thomas Vanek – Even I was surprised to see that Vanek has never missed more than 11 games in a season. Beyond that, in his nine non-lockout seasons he’s played in 80+ games five times (all 82 twice) and only missed an average of seven games in the other four. Maybe this is a case where the Band-Aid Boy label was more easily, but unjustifiably, put on a player because of his inconsistent reputation?

Justin Williams – There is no question Williams was once a Band-Aid Boy through and through, having played fewer than 50 games four times during one seven season stretch. But don’t look now – since turning 30 at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, Williams has missed one single measly game. So not only has he done his best to lose the Band-Aid Boy moniker, but he’s doing it in at a stage in his career where many players actually have more trouble staying healthy.


Where and When to Vote

Voting is already open here in the Hockey Hockey Hockey Hockey area of the DobberHockey Forums, and will run until Monday December 9th. Remember that you’re voting for the player who you think is currently least deserving of remaining a Band-Aid Boy, not the player you think should retain the label. Be sure to post your thoughts in the poll thread to let everyone know the factor(s) behind your votes!

Next week I’ll present the results of this voting, plus we’ll move onto the second tournament, which will be to add brand new Band-Aid Boys.