8. Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
There was a time when I harboured (haha) no ill will toward any of Halifax's suburbs, but those days are gone.
Did you know this sleepy rich-kid town of Cole Harbour has produced two No. 1 NHL picks in the last eight years?
Of course, the hockey world just couldn't get enough of this backwater burgh this week, given that Sid Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon — who are both from there wow!!! — played each other for the first time ever this week, and the whole town's denizens packed themselves, dead-eyed and joyless, into a sports bar the size of a small supermarket to see them combine for no points and Crosby finish a minus-1.
Why don't we make a big deal like this out of every game? Patrick Kane and Nick Foligno — two first-round picks! — are both from Buffalo. Oh right, no one cares about Buffalo. The NHL isn't dispatching writers to Vienna whenever Thomas Vanek and Andreas Nodl play each other.
Cole Harbour's Wikipedia page says some UFC fighter I've never heard of is from there too. And a guy from the Trailer Park Boys. Let's get all of them together for the game in Denver later this year, get everyone out to Big Leagues, and hope no one ever talks about it this much again.
Hey kid, you're staying in Calgary. It's not official yet or anything, but the whole city is basically begging Jay Feaster to keep you.
You're at more than a point a game because you keep getting power play time and a whole lot of sheltering, and even mediocre NHL talent is devouring you at even strength, but all those goals.
Wow, you did it. You came out on the right side of math for three whole weeks. Enjoy November. Please call Devan Dubnyk and impart to him your mystical secrets.
Through nine games, the Avalanche are 8-1-0 because they're scoring a lot of goals (28) and allowing almost none (12). The team's combined save percentage in .961.
Most notably, billion-year-old J.S. Giguere is sitting on a line of 0.67/.981 through three starts and isn't that wonderful?
Yesterday on Twitter our own Nick Cotsonika kicked off a pretty hefty and heated debate because he was sick of seeing run down Giguere's numbers as being unsustainable. Why can't we just enjoy that his numbers are as good as they are right this second? There is, I suppose, something to that, particularly if you're an Avs fan.
But his big misstep was that his argument used the word "stats" and "taking the fun out of sports." This of course got everyone who likes "stats" upset, as you might expect. The argument, through no fault of Nick's, eventually devolved into another one of those ever-so-charming, "Well if the stats guys were nicer and not a bunch of know-it-alls, maybe more people would listen to them," argument.
Which is stupid.
It doesn't matter to me whether you think stats tell you anything. If you want to be in the "WATCH THE GAME" crowd, go nuts. However, you are also far more likely to be incorrect in your analysis of Team x and Player y, and have been repeatedly shown to be so over the last few years.
Yes, we are in the early days of so-called advanced hockey statistics and their use and application, but they've already been used to confirm many things the "nerds" have said. The Minnesota Wild's crashout, etc.
There's a reason more teams are hiring people to do this kind of number-crunching for them, and it's not because they don't also have people whose job is to "Watch the Games."
Even three or four years ago, when someone used corsi rates, PDO, and the like that Sean Monahan wouldn't be a point-a-game player for the entirety of his rookie year, the answer would likely have been, "Why not?" Rather than, "Well, no kidding, but let me enjoy this."
Sports are supposed to be fun, sure, but sports analysis is not. Analysis is supposed to be used to tell you things that are the most likely to happen; they don't always work out exactly that way, but they do tell us what we can logically expect.
Being nice isn't the way to get someone to see the light on this subject. If they choose to be willfully ignorant that's their problem and they're going to go on being wrong for the rest of their dumb lives. No one thinks you can win the intelligent design debate — where one side has years of data on its side and the other a bunch of nonsense — by being nice to the other side. Let them live out in the dark if they want.
Given all the suspensions the NHL Department of Player Safety has been giving out lately, it seems that playing with an almost shocking disregard for the health and safety of your opponent has become rather in vogue.
When even the already-fashionable Michael Grabner gets involved, trying to remove Nate Gerbe's head from his li'l shoulders with a flying shoulder, you know for sure that getting suspended is the new black third jerseys.
Honestly, if you wrote down a list of the guys in the league most likely to drill someone with a headshot, where would Grabner fall on it? Mid 500s? If he's even that high. That really goes to show just how little that thing about "respecting your opponent" actually counts in this league; when even the least-dirty among us are throwing around hits like that, that's a big problem.
3. Holding your breath until your face turns blue
Speaking of which, word on Patrick Kaleta's suspension appeal comes down Wednesday, and Gary Bettman has three options laid out before him. He can:
a) Reduce Kaleta's suspension and then have Jared Boll sprint straight through his office door and pummel him, because that would be a borderline reasonable reaction to a reduced suspension for a slimeball coward like Kaleta.
b) Uphold Brendan Shanahan's decision of 10 games, which is what's probably the most likely thing to happen.
c) Tack on a few more games, which would only be fair but would also make the NHLPA go apoplectic.
The problem is that options (b) and (c) mean that Kaleta, who's already a dirtbag for putting himself — let alone his opponents — in this position, kick the case up to a higher authority, in this case a third-party arbitrator. Elliotte Friedman had a note in 30 Thoughts about how most of the PA's members are pretty mad that the union is even bothering to bring an appeal to the league itself. Giving him 10 games frankly seemed like he was getting off easy.
But this is politics, plain and simple. No one would defend Kaleta, who's the lowest of the low in terms of what he brings to the game versus what he takes from it. But because they can, and this is the first instance of a suspension falling into the Appealable Zone, the PA is of course pushing back.
Frankly, it would be great to see this kicked up to an arbitrator. And for the arbitrator to go, "Let's call it 20." That would be the greatest.
When things go badly for teams, ownership's confidence in a coach or GM's ability can go one of two ways. On the one hand, they might put you on The Hot Seat and if things don't turn around you're fired as hell. On the other, they might stand by the embattled person and let them try to work their way out of the mess they may or may not have created.
Within the last week, two such votes of confidence have been issued. The first came from an unbelievable source: Lou Lamoriello. The Devils are off to another garbage start and Pete DeBoer, despite all the underlying numbers last year making a pretty strong case for him, looked like he was in some hot water before the Devils bombed the Rangers. Lamoriello has fired coaches for sneezing wrong (probably) and yet he's standing by DeBoer here.
This is an actual quote:
"We're not going to dwell on it. The coaching staff is doing everything they can. So are the players. They’re working at it. We have to be more consistent in certain areas."
In what world does that sound like a real thing Lou Lamoriello would say? Maybe he's softening in his old age? Tough to say, but I'm nervous.
The second comes, perhaps predictably, in Philadelphia, where Paul Holmgren could run over Jakub Voracek's dog on the way to trading Wayne Simmonds for a fifth-round pick and still get a big thumbs up and, "We all think you're doing a great job," from 14-time winner of Philadelphia's third-most reputable Crypt Keeper Look-Alike Contest Ed Snider. The only thing that's going to get Holmgren fired is a Wirtz-like succession to pass the team to a competent owner. Anyone suggesting otherwise is having a laugh.
Which brings us to…
Hahaha good one, Claude. Flyers in the playoffs. You flyboys really crack me up. This is almost as funny as the time people said you were the best player in the world and meant it.
(Not ranked this week: The Sharks being probably too good and not very fair to everyone else; Wisconsin's goaltending; Todd Bertuzzi; The memory of Walt Whitman; Jarome Iginla's annual inability to score goals in October; The World Series of Baseball; Columns wondering about Jarome Iginla's annual inability to score in October; The Jets having any hope of making the playoffs ever under Claude Noel; this picture of Regis in a Wu-Tang shirt.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Nick Foligno
- Patrick Kaleta