What We’re Thankful for in Hockey 2013: Puck Daddy Edition
(Ed. Note: It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., a.k.a. “Real Thanksgiving”, which means it’s once again time to reflect on what we’re thankful for in the world of hockey. Here are your friends at Puck Daddy telling you what they’re thankful for.As always, we give thanks to you, the reader, for supporting this blog.)
Greg Wyshynski, Editor
Going To The Game: There’s nothing like hockey inside the arena. Nothing. And there’s nothing like sitting in the stands and watching the game, rather than being stuck in an antiseptic press box. Hearing odd conversations. Eating overpriced food. Having waves of cheers or boos crashing over you. And best of all, experiencing it all with others: Taking my girlfriend to her first Devils/Flyers game and seeing her react to the chaos or bemoaning a Devils loss with my dad or learning the traditions at another arena with a new friend. It’s the greatest.
Bruce Boudreau: The single best interview in the NHL, one of the greatest guys and best coaches. The fact that there’s a bench boss in the League that can talk to about how to use Cam Fowler on the power play and the glory of Bruno Sammartino in the same conversation.
Canadian Money: The NHL just signed a $4.9 billion television contract with Rogers Communications for the exclusive rights to the League on Canadian television for the next 12 years. Awesomeness No. 1: The salary cap is going to rise like a helium balloon, so congratulations to the Flyers. Awesomeness No. 2: Revenue sharing will turn those Canadian loonies into a few serviceable Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers.
Matt Duchene: Dutchy is one of those players you know is special. God-given talent. He’s also a player that’s overcome hiccups in his career, and to see him go next-level this season has been exhilarating.
The Buffalo Sabres Third Jerseys: Because no matter how crap-tastic you look in the morning, at least you don’t have gray sleeves and a super hero cape.
Sean Leahy, Editor
Ageless wonders: Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr both made their NHL debuts over 20 years ago. Here we are in 2013 and they're still playing at a high level. Selanne has already said he's retiring after this season and Jagr future is a year-to-year decision.
Darryl Sutter: Between the faces he makes on the bench to his quirky post-game quotes, there is no more entertaining coach in the league.
Fantasy hockey: When else would you desperately need Nick Bonino to score a hat trick if you're not an Anaheim Ducks fan? And when else would you yell at your television when he'd finish a minus-3?
Harrison Mooney, Editor
Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne: They are gods walking and living among us. All hail them. All hail.
The massive disparity in competition between the Western and Eastern Conference: It's ridiculous, and hilarious. The eighth place team in the West would be tied for first in the East. The Metropolitan Division is so bad that only one team in it has won consecutive games. I saw someone on Twitter suggest that the Blue Jackets and Red Wings weren't moved to the East -- they were relegated. Tough to argue with that.
The Canadian cup drought: On the one hand, it hardly means anything anyway, since every team is stocked with Canadian players, and the moment the last Canadian team is eliminated from the postseason, we just sort of shrug and start talking about the rosters anyway. But on the other hand, it's everything. A Canadian team hasn't been the Stanley Cup champion in just shy of forever, and the fact that Canadians freak out about this every single year even though it's not that big of a deal is really amusing to me.
Ray Emery: He's insane. I don't like what he did any more than anyone else, but you need a couple wackos in your league. Otherwise there's nothing to talk about.
This blog and all the people that read it: I don't want to be accused of brown-nosing, especially since that's already the colour of my nose, but this is really fantastic job and not a day goes by that I'm not glad to have it. Writing and tweeting from a coffee shop on a Tuesday when I could be, you know, doing something that feels like work in a place that feels like a workplace, makes me the happiest girl in the world. I love it here. I love the people I write with, and I love the people I write to -- well, most of you. You, and you know who you are, I could do without.
Advanced stats: They tell us so much, and yet the masses don't want to hear it. It's easy to see why, too. On the one hand, they distract from the shortsighted narrative of the moment, and that's really no fun. It's not fun to watch a game where one team loses and have someone say "Yeah, well, that's just bad luck based on this stat, they're bound to come around." Sure, and that may be true, but it robs folks of their God-given right to overreact, and dammit, sometimes folks want to overreact. Plus math is hard. Good luck trying to replace people's hearts with calculators, stat heads. You may be right, but people don't want to think about sports -- they want to feel about sports.
Canada: The best country. We did Thanksgiving a month ago because we're more efficient. While you're peeling potatoes, we're just up here replacing this guy's heart with that guy's heart, free of charge.
Dmitry Chesnokov, Senior Writer
Pavel Datsyuk: Awaiting the hockey version of Now You See Me
Dustin Penner following me on Twitter: I celebrated with pancakes, sir!
The great people I met through hockey
NHL Playoffs: the excitement can raise the dead. In a good sense.
Ilya Bryzgalov: you know.
Ryan Lambert, Columnist
College hockey: As much as I love the NHL, I wish there were college hockey games on TV every night. I think I say I'm thankful for it every year but yeah guess what I am still. College hockey is the best. Wow I love it.
Teemu Selanne: I will miss him terribly when he goes.
Hockey's "advanced" stats movement: It's nice to know how things are going to happen in hockey before they do. Predictive stats like corsi enrich our understanding of the game so much, and really help you to appreciate players who might otherwise get short shrift. It also really helps with fantasy hockey.
The Puck Daddy commenters: Just kidding.
Players who make me look good: Being in the fantasy hockey game I'm always sticking my neck out with bold predictions that take heavy criticism. So when a player pulls through for me, it allows me to gloss over my whiffs. This year it's Ben Bishop (projected over 31 wins) making me thankful. Let's focus on that, and not the Nathan MacKinnon/70 points thing.
Players who make all prognosticators look bad: It's okay if I projected David Desharnais to get 54 points because he's been so terrible that all prognosticators missed badly with him. As long as the other guys get dragged down with me, I'm okay with being wrong.
My Barry Trotz Theory proven once again: No, the Predators didn't magically discover Dan Ellis and turn him into a capable starter and then he suddenly lost his mojo on another team. No, Predators scouting didn't see "star power" in Chris Mason back in 1998 - star power that dissolved once he left Tennessee. And no, Anders Lindback didn't have NHL starter potential in Nashville only to have it suspiciously disappear upon moving to Tampa. It's the Barry Trotz coaching system in which any average goaltender can flourish. So if another team acquires Marek Mazanec in the offseason after an impressive 2013-14 - don't fall for it.
Smaller goalie pads: Anything that promotes more goals, my fantasy-hockey self is all for it.
Ted Nolan: For some reason, I just feel good about this guy being back in the NHL. And even better that it's back in Buffalo. I don't like how something unexplainable sometimes happens in this league and no explanation is given. Why was the coach of the year fired and then had trouble getting another NHL job? Now to set my mind fully at peace, let's see Lonny Bohonos make an NHL team at 40. That guy had 18 points in 22 career regular season and playoff games for the Leafs, never to be heard from again.