12 is the number of shifts that Aaron Volpatti inexplicably played against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday night. 12. 8 minutes and 23 seconds of poor skating, bad puck decisions, and general ineptitude from the worst player on the Vancouver Canucks.
I'm convinced that Volpatti made the team because he punched out Brad or Doug or Ben Winchester in the last game of the regular season. Whoever the guy is. That Winchester fellow managed to land an NHL job with the Sharks, and happens to have an assist thus far. Even Colton Orr, the second more useless of the useless Toronto goons (the other being Jay Rosehill) has a goal this season. But Aaron Volpatti has yet to get a scoring chance. He has one shot attempt this season, a long slapshot attempt against the Penguins, and a giveaway leading to a goal.
There is no reason to have Volpatti on the ice. What's the classic defense for having a guy like Volpatti, 4 goals, 107 PIMs in his professional hockey career to date?
1 - He protects the star players like Henrik Sedin:
Or not. I know this is a vague anecdote and therefore a bad argument, but don't you think maybe, just maybe, if "goon theory" had practical application, that Marc Methot wouldn't take advantage of a star player, former scoring champion, and team captain in a vulnerable position?
The answer is "yes". Keep in mind, Shawn Thornton was right there when Matt Cooke ended Marc Savard's career. How many goons are on the Penguins? Which of them prevented Dave Steckel or Victor Hedman from taking liberties with Sidney Crosby? This is a tired old argument in hockey, and it may have been a thing back in the 80s, but what protects the star players now are the referees and the league working together to keep dirty plays off the ice.
2 - They create momentum:
Vancouver did not have a fight this game, and came back from a goal down twice. Actually, five times have the Canucks scored a goal from behind this year, and not a single time did Volpatti, or anybody on the fourth line, for that matter, throw a hit or set up a chance in any conceivable stretch of minutes before either of these goals were scored. Goals come from an influx of shots, the theory being that one of them is bound to go in. In what order do these shots go in is absolutely random and has nothing to do with how much a player has been motivated by Aaron Volpatti before he takes to the ice.
Aaron Volpatti was a -3 in Corsi last night, and what an ugly -3 it was.