Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Correlative Studies for Dummies

Down with Detroit originally began as a t-shirt company, focusing entirely on Detroit sportswear. Upon joining Facebook, the Down with Detroit group page became a focal point for discussing Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, Rockers, Vipers, Mechanics, and reindeer games as they occur. Naturally, the Wings receive the majority of the attention and support, because they're fucking awesome, right? Seriously, they're the best fucking team in the league and have been for at least 85.5 years. Look at the scoreboard and deal with it, bro.

This evening, DWD marveled us with this open-ended statement:

Yeah, Tony Blair became Prime Minister, then Konstantinov played his final hockey game because Richard Gnida was a tree hugger. Those are to what you are referring, right? Sorry, that was rude. Anyway, there's no possible way in hell that a shitty period of hockey against the '97 Canadiens significantly correlates with Detroit's playoff performance that season. But hey, it's about getting those 'likes' and promoting those t-shirts, right? So, keep on keepin' on, Down with Detroit. I can't wait to see another status about a Howardian shutout, a Bertuzzian shootout spinorama-backhand, or an annoyingian comparison of two things that don't relate at all. Bring on the postseason!

Since this carries the tune of a boo-hate article, I'll leave with a compliment: you're slightly cool for selling the "Here, Dog. Come on, Dog!" t-shirt.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Moves Like Malkin™

Oh no, Brierre is hurt again...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We should start trademarking things.

Dacque, it looks like I'm not the only one who imitates your greatness anymore. If you're interested, their "Classic Clips" section is all highlights of you hitting crossbars and separating shoulders at the AP rink in 2010.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Moves Like Malkin, part 11 minus 6.

What's two balls minus one? No cups for Buffalo!.... wait... no, that's right!

Perhaps they're including warm-up ice time in this figure. More likely, they're just too busy chewing on their own lips to realize how unintelligent they appear.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

We're almost there, but not quite.

Hey Sven, we've had a few conversations about the importance (or lack thereof) of fighting within the game of hockey, right? For as strongly as we feel about its place in the game, I expected more support for those feelings in our little corner of the interwebs. Perhaps it was lost in one of the many thought sequences that ran something similar to, "I think I'm going to post to the blog today... but wait, Joe Dirt is on TV/my lawn could be mowed/I can't believe it's not butter!/eight hours of Monopoly sounds more productive. I'll post an entry some other time!" Slightly hungover and with my favorite game piece missing (I typically choose the iron so the women won't fight over it... so considerate, I know), it looks like I'm left without an alternative. Damn it.

While the waiving of Colton Orr may not have signified the end of the pure fighter, it certainly signified the beginning of the end.

If Orr can't stick in Toronto, where I wouldn't be shocked to learn that GM Brian Burke has a "truculence" stencil on the wall behind his desk, there aren't many places left for guys like him. But don't think Orr's dismissal marks the end of fighting or the end of toughness. Far from it -- it merely marks the shift. The pure fighter is the past.

If only life were this simple. Orr included, Toronto has dressed 19 forwards this season. While this may signify how reduced his role on the team has become, this may also represent a hunch by Brian Burke that the current lineup is playing well (shedding $1 million off of the salary cap is nice, as well) and shouldn't be changed at the time (and with five wins and eleven points in the last eight games, this isn't a stretch). It's fairly possible that he may be called up again, but even if he doesn't get that opportunity, it's not as if the role of "pure fighter" wasn't at risk before this demotion. This is thankfully highlighted by players such as Brian McGrattan, Jody Shelley, and Raitis Ivanans finding it tough to crack the roster and stay there. However, even with Orr's demotion, there are still darlings such as Janssen, Hordichuk, Thorburn and Boll racking up the PIMs and shots on face.

What I'm really trying to say is that although I would love to believe that "pure fighters" are being removed from the game for good, we still have some fairly useless players occupying spots on NHL rosters.

The fighter-scorer, however, is the future. He's also among the most coveted player types in hockey right now.

Sigh. Most-coveted?

Last year's Boston Bruins were the quintessential example of what can happen if the players providing your toughness are versatile. It wasn't just that Boston had guys that could drop the gloves -- it's that those guys were still plenty effective when they held onto their equipment.

Last year's Boston Bruins were the quintessential example of what can happen if the players providing your toughness realize that they have to provide more than toughness in order to keep a roster spot. Also, they were a team with unparalleled depth throughout the roster and an MVP goaltender; Boston is an above average hockey team.

The Bruins had two players finish in double digits in fighting majors in 2010-11 -- Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell -- and both those players finished in double digits in goals as well. Thornton had 10 goals and 14 majors; Campbell had 13 and 11.

Let me put into perspective how impressive this is: there were only seven players in the entire NHL that reached 10 goals and 10 majors in 2010-11, and Boston had two of them.

Remember how I said that Boston is an above average hockey team? Is there any way that Thornton and Campbell experienced better season totals as a result of the talent surrounding them? Even as fourth-liners, their chances for offensive production are much better when Marchand or Seguin are between them. Either way, I don't see why there is such a high value being placed on these two.

As we near the halfway point in the 2011-12 schedule, with most teams having played 41 games now, the numbers of players projected to reach the milestone is even lower.

So unfortunate. Does that mean we have to overvalue the three players that manage to light ten lamps and earn 50 PIMs with their fists? New Jersey will have to let go of Parise in order to forward $7.5 million a year to David Clarkson.

...Would you believe that it's rarer to post 10 goals and 10 fights than to score 30 goals? There were twenty-nine 30-goal-scorers last season. Heck, fighter-scorers are almost as rare as 40-goal scorers, of which there were five.

And they're almost as vital to deep, successful teams.

The title of this article, "The fighter-scorer is as rare as the 40-goal scorer, and almost as valuable", is ridiculous. A 40-goal scorer is often the best player on the roster and typically seen as a team leader. The label of "fighter-scorer" is a premature distinction for knuckle-knockers who apparently need to score ten goals a season in order to earn said label. This means Tim Jackman and Ryane Clowe are basically the same player, right? David Clarkson for (potentially) Matt Martin would be an equal swap, right? I understand the point trying to be made here, and I will agree that some of the players mentioned in this article are valuable assets to their respective teams. Regardless, you're not going to convince me that Tootoo, Downie and Lapierre are (almost) as significant as Erat, Stamkos and Willard.

What the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks and the 2010-11 Boston Bruins have shown us is that there isn't room in a Stanley Cup-winning lineup for a player that can't take regular shifts. You need four complete lines that can score, as those teams boasted, and you simply can't waste spots on one-dimensional pugilists.

Bravo! This is part of why I haven't had much to write about lately. While I want to bash him for putting too much value on fighters that score, he recognizes that pure fighters are a waste of space.

Nowadays, if you want toughness (and you need toughness), you either get a guy who can fight and play, or you willfully dress a flaw. Last I checked, the team that wins is the team with the fewest flaws, so starting with a one-flaw handicap is hardly efficient.

I feel silly for getting mad at you. Can we still be friends?

The scoring fighter, however, very much is.

I'll call this a work in progress. For the sake of argument, Ryane Clowe is a power forward, while Tim Jackman is a fourth-line player who will likely never score ten goals in one season for the rest of his career. Until then, I hope you enjoy this pathetic excuse of a blog post; it might be the last one for 2012.