Hockey

Ok, so as if the Hawks week can’t get any better as they get routinely thwacked by real-ass teams in their own division (oh, and they see a potential 60-goal scorer Thursday), evidence that they actually have no idea what they’re doing in the front office continues to mount. And I don’t mean getting capped out last night to the extreme of 17 skaters.

At the top, we should say that the Hawks are just in the same net with the rest of hockey, and their actions or behavior is more just a symptom of the whole damn culture than they being unique. What it does do is tear down this idea, that they are the biggest promoters of, that they are somehow the gold standard organization.

It started last week or so, when Akim Aliu said that he had been racially abused by Bill Peters while both were in Rockford. Now we know pretty much the whole story, and it involves team captain at the time Jake Dowell having a sit-down with Peters over what he had said to Aliu.

This is hockey, and if there is any sport where this kind of thing can somehow not make its way up the food chain, it’s here. Players are afraid to cause waves, organizations are terrified of media distractions, everyone else is in the middle. However, your AHL captain meeting with your AHL coach over this, it’s nearly impossible to think that this doesn’t set off alarm bells for everyone both in Rockford and Chicago.

And as friend of the program Chris Block has pointed out, there are other people in and out of AHL dressing rooms all the time. Agents, families, team personnel, some media, so the idea that this was completely contained in the dressing room and the coach’s office, there’s just no way to buy that. Peters was gone a year later to join Mike Babcock’s staff, so maybe the Hawks just thought everything was taken care of with that. Maybe they thought the gloss of a newly contending team washed away all. Maybe they were afraid of dulling that in any way. Whatever the answer, it isn’t enough.

And now they have to investigate their own assistant coach, one they brought in to babysit their struggling young coach/take over when that young coach finally drowned. Again, I wasn’t really aware of Marc Crawford’s past, but it wasn’t really my job to be. When doing due diligence on a new hire, you’d have to believe if you scraped anywhere beneath the surface you’d find his record of abuse. Y’know, because it was in a former player’s book and all? I didn’t read O’Sullivan’s book, but someone somewhere did and might have mentioned this kind of thing. Call me crazy.

It’s kind of amazing how recently this shit has gone on. We are 40 year beyond Woody Hayes punching an opposing player, which ended his famous career, and that’s in football which is the only sport that has a bigger attitude amongst its coaches of how tough they are due to how saggy their balls are and whatnot. We’re over 20 years since Bobby Knight was kicking and choking his own players (and son) at Indiana. All this in hockey is in the last five to ten years. Amazing what happens in this dark corner.

Again, on the other side, some would tell you that hockey’s culture of “just take it and shut up” handicaps them from acting. But we know that the Hurricanes went up the chain to Ron Francis. We know the Red Wings did the same to Ken Holland about Babcock. We know Dowell confronted Peters at the very least. So while there’s certainly an element of players afraid to speak up, it’s not like they’ve been totally silent either. The problem is that when they have spoken up, they’ve faced an indifferent or callous organization looking in the opposite direction.

If you’ve paid any attention, you know the way the Hawks paint themselves isn’t anywhere near reality. Any crisis they’ve faced they’ve royally fucked up, and combined with their current fucking up the on-ice product (what only anyone really cares about at the end of the day) they’ve been revealed to be one of the more balloon-handed organizations around.

But to restrict this as a Hawks problem would be unfair and silly. I’ve thought a lot about this lately and why hockey is so far behind everything else. And it’s mostly that it operated in the dark for so long, anything could go on because no one knew except for those in it. There was no one around to point out all the things wrong, because the only ones who knew were the ones in the culture and they could behave however they saw fit. Hell, the reason some of us became fans was because no one else was. So it’s not that hockey is upset that it’s being scrutinized now, it’s upset that anyone is looking at all. It doesn’t want to jibe with the wider world because the wider world was never aware of its existence for so long. But that’s not a justification, and far from it.

I don’t know why these GMs like Holland or Treveling or Francis or whoever knew here or whoever was Crawford’s boss just tried to shoo it away. The easy answer is callousness, and that might be it. I think it’s at least part laziness too. Because if they had taken action, that would only lead to more questions they would have to answer. Questions they aren’t equipped to handle. And we know how much they hate the media and questions. It’s just easier to say “man up” even though we’ve eliminated that term as a qualified answer years ago. It’s easier to hope that things just go away, which they did.

Well, they won’t now, and it’s a bigger mess. Who’s around who is actually equipped to deal with it?

Football

This is what I get? Off a bye week. After a loss. This is how you respond. Go ahead and ask yourself; can you remember a worse 3-3 football team? The Bears suck right now, and I don’t envision a scenario where they are going to get any better.

Before you go off on Mitch Trubisky and how he’s a joke of a QB, lets address the running game. A running game that really isn’t a running game. The Bears tried to run the ball seven times. Seven times in an NFL football game. Who in the actual fuck runs the ball seven times in actual NFL football game? Not in a drive, not in a quarter, not in a half, but in a game. What you ask, did the seven rush attempts yield? A grand total of 17 yards. That means 2.4 yard per carry. Not only did Matt Nagy call for seven rush attempts, he asked his lead back and prize draft pick to carry the ball two times. Again. TWO times. There is not a quarterback alive that can expect to see any sort of open passing lanes when the threat of a run is non-existent. It’s tee off time, 1-Mississippi type of rush that the Bears are facing. This is especially dreadful when you have an O-line that can’t block for dick.

When you have a terrible offensive line, you, in turn, have a quarterback who wants/needs to rush everything. This results in first read throws that are hurried, but more importantly, throws that your quarterback is not convinced he should make. Its easy, and borderline lazy, to say that Trubisky put up his respectable numbers when the game was over. But what do you want the guy to do? Stop playing? Start throwing picks? What he showed me is that he wanted to compete. He wasn’t great early, but he didn’t quit. I appreciate his effort and so do his receivers. Probably none more than Tarik Cohen, who played his ass off in route to nine catches. Cohen competed until the end, something you love to see.

Anthony Miller had five catches, but its clear there is a disconnect and unhappiness between him and Trubisky/Nagy. His poor body language was evident late in the game and he simply quit on some routes late in the game. I don’t know what’s going on with this guy, but its time he makes a name for himself on what he’s done instead of what he’s going to do.

I have never been a big Corradelle Patterson guy, but there is no question that he balled out today. Guy was everywhere and made plays in all phases. He’s going to be an Pro-Bowl special teams players and is someone that the young guys on the team can learn from.

Much like this entire Bears team, this defensive unit isn’t as good as we thought they’d be. 36 points allowed to a Saints offense that was without Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara? Get the fuck outta here. Not only did backup running back Latavius Murray run for his second 100 yard game against the Bears in two games, but Michael Thomas caught 9 balls for 131 yards against a Bears secondary that has continued to struggle this season. Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater continued to impress in a reserve role, throwing for 281 yards, but more importantly, only getting sacked one time.

This is going to be a long week for the Bears. Especially so: Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy. Questions are many, answers are few, and we still don’t know who this team is seven weeks into the season.

Football

Who is the greatest QB to ever play for the Chicago Bears? This is tough question because, over the last 100 years, the options have been very, very slim. So, here’s a quick exercise: I am going to provide you some QB statistics, but without the years, names, or numbers. You are the GM and you get to decide who is the best player to lead your team at the quarterback position.

Career Stats

Games     Record     Comp %     TD %     INT %     QBR     Pass Yards/Game
Player A      119            67-30       58               3.9          3.5           78.2      152.5
Player B      153            74-79       62               4.6          3.3           85.3      229.6
Player C      26              15-11        63.5            4.1          2.5           87.7       208.3
Player D      128            NA           51.8            7.9          7.6           75          114.7

Career with Bears

Games      Record     Comp %     TD %      INT %     QBR      Pass Yards/Game
Player A     119             67-30 58 3.9 3.5 78.2 152.5
Player B     153             74-79 62 4.6 3.3 85.3 229.6
Player C     26              15-11 63.5 4.1 2.5 87.7 208.3
Player D     128            NA 51.8 7.9 7.6 75 114.7

Career Stats with One Team:
Games Record Comp % TD % INT % QBR Pass Yards/Game
Player A 66 46-15 57.8 4.4 3.7 80.4 169.7
Player B 102 51-51 61.8 4.7 3.3 85.2 229.8
Player C 26 15-11 63.5 4.1 2.5 87.7 208.3
Player D 128 NA 51.8 7.9 7.6 75 114.7

Best Single Season Stats:
Games Record Comp % TD % INT % QBR Pass Yards/Game
Player A 13 11-0 56.9 4.8 3.5 97.8 184
Player B 15 6-9 64.4 4.3 2.3 92.3 243.9
Player C 14 11-3 66.6 5.5 2.8 95.4 230.2
Player D 10 NA 54.5 13.9 5.9 107.5 219.4

Based on these numbers, each player would receive the following overall adjusted performance grades: (Note that Games Played and Records are not figured into the performance grades.)
Plus Minus Overall
Player A 0 3 -3
Player B 4 2 +2
Player C 7 1 +6
Player D 4 9 -5

Unfortunately for all old school Bears fans who don’t want to look at actual statistics, Player D is none other than Sid Luckman. And before you talk about Luckman’s rushing prowess taking away from his passing yards/game, you must recognize that QBR considers rushing yards into the equation. Sid Luckman is somehow in the Hall of Fame; which is an entirely different argument. Because, really, his numbers do not exactly ooze Canton-worthy. It probably didn’t hurt that the Halas family basically ran the league back then and they got whatever they wanted. Sid Luckman in the Hall of Fame is akin to Harold Baines in the Hall of Fame – the comps are just not there. Finally, I have never seen a single down that Sid Luckman has ever played, either live or on tape. This is because I have no interest in watching him play against guys who moonlighted as professional football players when they had some off time from their jobs as stone masons and iron workers. Sid Luckman was a good player is his era, but he probably would be a D3 player in this age.

Next up on chopping black is Player A. This is going to hurt a lot of die-hard Bears fan because this guy was basically a mascot for the fans – the problem is he was never really that good. Player A is Jimmy McMahon. Never in the history of the league has a QB benefitting more from a great defense and a great running back. McMahon’s job was never to win a game, it was simply not to lose it; which reminds me of someone else; (see Player C.) Bears superfans (who are probably the worst fans in all of sports) will argue about McMahon’s record. But let’s be honest, very few NFL quarterbacks could have fucked that team up. Shit, that defense made Steve Fuller a serviceable player; which is a testament to how great they were. So sorry Jim, you made a career and a life for yourself as the starting QB of a Super Bowl champion, the problem is, you just weren’t that good.

The next QB listed currently stands as the greatest signal caller in Bears history. Player B is the guy that an entire city loved to hate, Jay Cutler. Cutler’s Bears career was perfectly average if you look at his record, but to win 51 games with the type of coaches, receivers, and linemen he had is truly remarkable. His skill set is far and away the best the Bears have ever had and rivals some of the best QBs in this current NFL era. His physical attributes were at the top of his class; but you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit, and entire organization was exactly that, shit. Years from now, I think Cutty will finally be appreciated for his on the field contributions. Forget what you think you know about him off the field, the guy was as athletically gifted and as tough as any quarterback to ever wear the Bears uniform…and it’s not even close.

Present day Bears fans dicks will get even harder knowing that Player C is the chosen one to resurrect the franchise. Although only a sample size, Mitch Trubisky’s numbers, when projected over an entire career, show that the Monsters offense is in pretty good hands. That said, this organization, for a plethora of reasons, has somehow never had a great QB; you’d think over the course of 100 years, you’d get lucky once or twice, however, this hasn’t occurred. The truth is this, the Bears only need Trubisky to be as good as Cutler. If Jay had this defense and this offensive scheme and these receivers and this line, the Bears would have been perennial playoff contenders, but they didn’t have this current teams supporting cast, so they were really fucking hard to watch. Regardless, if Trubisky continues to improve at the rate he is currently on, he will ultimately sign a long-term deal and the Bears will finally have a franchise quarterback.

You deserve this Bears fans, and even if Mitch ends up being more Shane Stafford than Aaron Rodgers, you will still be fortunate enough to watch him in his prime, playing for your team.

Everything Else

Yeah, we’re jaded. Bob Murray was the “GM” of the Hawks when Jeremy Roenick was traded, which took the Hawks a couple decades to recover from. Really he was just Pulford’s and Wirtz’s mouthpiece. He also oversaw the trades of Eddie Belfour and Chris Chelios, which is something like seeing over pissing on the ashes of the building you already helped destroy.

But in case you were wondering what it looks like to sign old players to bad contracts and then watch them deteriorate without the banners and memories, we present Murray and the Anaheim Ducks. This is what Stan Bowman would appear to the world if he wasn’t sitting in the chair for three Cups.

It was Murray who signed Getzlaf and Perry to contracts that pay them until heat-death, even though they were over 30 and Getzlaf was already proving to be a dog who just floated around the outside and looked for a pass that would relieve him of responsibility. Perry’s style was always liable to break down his body. Ryan Kesler’s body was already breaking down when Murray added another six years to his contract. That’s $23.6M per year for the three, thank you very much.

While Murray did build the team that did make two conference finals in three years, he also hired Randy Carlyle, who remember, couldn’t make toast. He just re-signed Jakob Silfverberg, who would seem to define the term “middle six guy.” He is lukewarm if ever a player was. Adam Henrique just got a new contract that takes him well into his 30s, and you wouldn’t know Adam Henrique from Adam (that’s convenient).

So it’s a wonder why he has been allowed to start the rebuild the Ducks so desperately need, which he didn’t even really do. Shifting Andrew Cogliano is a definite “whatever” move, and that’s been about it. The Ducks have cap space next year with not really anyone they have to bring back, but they’ve always been a budget team so who knows how close to the rising cap they can get.

There are some kids in the minors who are lighting it up, but one wonders how much space there is for them unless the Senators are going to take all of the three aging, broken, ass-boils mentioned above off the Ducks’ hands. Murray nearly rolled the boulder up the hill, but then it rolled back over him on its way down. One wonders why he gets another try.

 

Game #64 Preview Suite

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