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Ethan Moreau's Shame

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You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.

--Denis Lemieux, Slapshot

When I last looked at Ethan Moreau, I came to the conclusion that he was the worst regular forward in the playoff race last year. Oilers fans throughout the land have been questioning the leadership and more importantly the play of Ethan Moreau (TheCAPtainEthanMoreau to Kevin Quinn) since early last year.

According to Behind The Net, among qualifying forwards Moreau was 3rd in penalties taken last season with 31 and fourth in penalties taken per 60 minutes. His Corsi was 10th among forwards, His scoring chance differential (thanks to Dennis King's excellent work) was last among all forwards on the team at -1.49/15

He hamstrung the team down the stretch taking what seemed to be a regular trip to the penalty box for offensive zone infractions, taken while on the attack, 195 feet away from his own goal. Some members in the Edmonton media did some hand-waving and claimed that Moreau's penalties were easier to kill because they were aggressive penalties. Some members in the Edmonton media should have their credentials revoked and their keyboards broken.

Ethan is off to a banner start again this year. He's already taken three minor penalties in four games, two of them in the offensive zone. While some serious combination of puck luck and sample size have combined to allow Moreau to lead the OIlers in EV +/- / 15, Moreau is dead last on the team in Corsi, and is in the bottom half of the team in scoring chance differential. Pat Quinn took him to task for his play in the waning seconds of the Calgary game, a play that led directly to the game-tying goal against.

A young team coming into it's own needs some leadership, both in the locker room and more importantly on the ice. There is more to leadership than working out in the off-season and chastising those who don't. When the captain is one of the worst players on the team and consistently makes terrible decisions, it's time to look at new leadership.