Isolating the impact of goalies

How good is Tim Thomas without the Bruins' elite D in front of him? Steve Babineau/Getty Images

A few issues ago, I wrote about Boston and the rise of statistical analysis in sports ("Why Boston Is Better Than You," Oct. 3). In that story, I ragged on the Bruins, dismissing them as an old-school line-'em-up and beat-'em-up squad. Afterward, I heard from Boston fan kddillon2121, who put forth a theory I hadn't considered, not about the effect of beer in the Red Sox clubhouse but about the B's defense: "The Bruins went against the grain," kddillon2121 wrote, "by becoming a gritty, defensive-minded team instead of splurging on offensive superstars."