Around View From My Seats, we enjoy great writing almost as much as we enjoy the sport we cover. Each week, there are excellent writers doing their thing all over the hockey blogosphere—so many, in fact, that it’s easy to miss some of the good stuff that gets published each week. Each week throughout the season, we shoot to bring you some of the best writing from around the web. Some will be from the mainstream media and some will be from talented bloggers doing it for the love of the game. Some entries will come from beat writers around North America and still others will come from national writers bringing a “big picture” perspective. We don’t care. We’re just looking for great hockey writing. Everything else can go to hell.
If you find anything that catches your eye and you think should be included, feel free to contact us and we’ll consider it for next week’s installment!
Without further ado, here is our weekly trip around the hockey blogosphere bringing you some of the best articles that you may have missed.
“Here’s the thing with me, and the problem with the whole “statistical movement” versus “non-statistical movement” thing. I don’t know why this has happened, maybe it’s because of Moneyball and people just don’t like Billy Beane. I mean, Billy Beane does sort of come off as an arrogant guy in that book. But I just don’t understand why people have to say it’s one or the other, and I’ll tell you this, some of the worst people when it comes to arguing about that – are some of the people on either side of the debate.
To me they’re probably both right to some degree. Brian Burke is right in that there are a lot of things in hockey that maybe you can’t predict for like you can in baseball. But I also think that Mike Tanev is right in the sense that you have to ask yourself okay, when you’re in this situation, what are you going to do? I mean, why do people practice – it’s because it’s repetition.
I think part of the problem is that people who believe solely in statistical analysis forget an unquantifiable thing called “heart.” I can’t tell you how many times, when I’ve had conversations about this, people who believe in statistics don’t believe in heart, or they don’t believe in pressure. And I hate that, because the reason they don’t believe in it is because it’s foreign to them, and non-quantifiable. And I think that’s terrible, and really dumb thinking. To me I think the right answer is somewhere in the middle.”
“But let’s not end with something as grim as labor strife; there’s enough of that going on in the NBA. Here’s a much better story about contract negotiations: When Anaheim’s left winger, Bobby Ryan,16 reached a contract-negotiation impasse with the Anaheim Ducks around this time a year ago, he turned to his linemates, right winger Corey Perry and center Ryan Getzlaf, the team captain, to feel out their long-term commitment to Anaheim. When the two gave him their word that they planned to stick around for the long haul, Ryan went behind the back of his hard-liner agent, Don Meehan, to independently negotiate a five-year, $25.5 million contract directly with the team. ‘What you ultimately play for is the guys in the room,’ he said at the time. ‘The fans and the coaches and all that, they’re separate.’”
And at the heart of it all there will be hockey. In Canada, seven cities will live and breathe it through the winter; a lucky few will be lucky enough to do so into spring. In Quebec City, an arena will rise from the ground, and the locals will wait to join the fun. All across the league the game will continue to paint the canvas provided, for good and bad. That’s hockey.
So yes, the NHL will be haunted by this year, even as the game inevitably skates into its future. Labour issues may be gathering on the horizon, and darkness may loom in the recent past. But soon the NHL will be full of players skating under the lights, trying to learn, trying to hold on, trying to win, trying to forget. There is fresh ice, yes, even if the fissures won’t go all the way away.
“In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, here’s some of what Cherry said: “The ones that I am really disgusted with . . . are the bunch of pukes that fought before: Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson. (They say) ‘Oh, the reason that they’re drinking, (taking) drugs and alcoholics is because they’re fighting.’ You turncoats. You hypocrites.”
All this would be bad enough, were it not true that Cherry is the biggest hypocrite in the country.
It’s easy to be tough with someone else’s brainpan. It’s easy to poo-poo concussions when you’re not living in the dark yourself. And it’s easy to extol fighting when you’re not the one who’s out there absorbing right hooks from Zdeno Chara.”
“Season openers are a lot like playoff games in the way they’re evaluated and broken down. It’s the first game and fans have been waiting for months to watch their team play. Players don’t work their arse off all summer long to lose the first game of the season.
I will say this, if the players are going to dwell on the negative after just one game, then this team is in for a long, long year.”
“At 7 p.m. Saturday, 18,000-plus red-clad fans will welcome their team back onto the ice with open arms. How long those arms stay open, however, will manifest itself over the next several months. Several prominent media outlets have crowned the Caps as preseason favorites to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, but to get there, they have to get over a speed bump that has plagued them for 13 years: the second round.
There’s something different about this Caps team, though. It’s intangible, but there seems to be an aura surrounding them. The Caps were all smiles during Saturday’s morning skate, but despite the lightheartedness, this team is all business. When Backstrom entered the locker room and took his pads off, he was wearing a warm-up shirt underneath with a distinct message. Last season, it was “Stay Angry.” This season, it is “Get Ready. It’s Our Time.” In between the two sentences was a picture of the Stanley Cup.”
“Joking aside: Can this campaign bring new fans to the Coyotes? Perhaps.
It speaks a universal language for anyone looking to join a movement, which is the language of the underdog. There’s a defiance to the campaign — one blue-collar hockey team battling against cynics and naysayers and the entirety of Canada.”
“When we last saw Stamkos, he was at the end of his first playoff season – and he was a bloody mess. His nose was shattered by a shot from Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Stamkos and his red river left the ice. But before long, he was back out there, his face behind a cage, that bludgeoned nose a righteous symbol of playoff All In.
“They put it back in its place,” Stamkos said. “It was the biggest game of my life. There was no way I wanted to miss it. I was so jacked up at the Game 7. I didn’t really feel it until the next morning, when I woke up and both my eyes were shut, two black eyes and my nose still bleeding.”
That wasn’t even what hurt.”
“Perhaps only Gary Bettman among hockey personages has been more reviled over the past dozen years than Shanahan’s predecessor, Colin Campbell. Maybe it’s a tie. How deserving either man has been of all that scorn is a matter for discussion, but that does not alter the facts: The person who enacts league discipline on players will likely end up hugely unpopular.
The rancor can come from the fans, who either want the perpetrator banned (if not shot) or, if he plays for their favorite team, exonerated and hailed as some sort of hero or martyr. No matter what, some group is unhappy.”