Everything Else

Tuesday Grab Bag

I’ve just got random flotsam and jetsam passing around my skull today, so I’m just going to spit it all out in random fashion.

-Though I worry this might kick off a whole thing here, I really wasn’t comfortable with the Patrick Kane’s grandfather’s passing after last night’s game. I guess it’s news or something you have to mention. But to me, that’s Kane’s private matter to deal with. If he wants to share with the press and public, that’s fine. But it just felt like there was a slightly gleeful… exploitation of that angle? Maybe that’s a bit strong.

Kane’s not the first, or even this season. There was Thomas Tartar scoring in the very same building a day after his father died. And I wasn’t really comfortable with that either. That’s his matter, his grief, his process, and we’re not entitled to know about it. Again, if Tartar was willingly sharing that’s ok. But when I hear on the radio about whether Kane will attend the funeral or not or miss games, that’s too personal for me. I feel like the Hawks could have easily said, “Patrick has a family emergency” or something.

I feel like events like this are shaped and used to make players seem more heroic or determined or something that they can play through grief. But you know, a lot of us use work to get through a hard time or after a loss of someone close. It’s a distraction, gives us something else to focus on for a short time instead of the pain. I don’t feel like athletes are any more remarkable in that way than anyone else. I know I have done this. And those who don’t play, or don’t work, they’re no less worthy of praise for taking the time they need.

It just isn’t any of our business. The information is fine, but the glorification of it, the exploitation for an easy narrative, it just makes me itchy. That’s Kaner’s personal business, not ours.

-I saw a bit of a debate in McClure’s wrap about how the Kings are one of the better possession teams in the league in Corsi and Fenwick but couldn’t score in a brothel with a roll of 100s and a pound of coke. I thought it needs a little flushing out, and it’s a great illustration of how “hockey sabermetrics” can’t tell you the whole story in the way they can in baseball, say. They tell us a lot, but not everything.

The Kings always have great possession numbers because they are a great defensive team, even with their recent struggles. They rarely allow teams to carry the puck into the zone, and once the other team dumps it in they’re usually really good at recovering it. Few teams can match the speed of the Hawks to beat the Kings to those loose pucks. They smother everything.

They also are volume shooters. They try a lot of point shots that create a lot of rebounds which create more shots. But in that, the Kings are so blunt that these positive shot attempt comparisons are empty. They don’t create off the rush, or hardly ever do. They don’t try and create within the zone, just shovel the puck toward the net and dive. And their power play has always been awful. It’s why they never score.

It’s not that the Kings necessarily “have the puck” more than the other team. They just attempt more shots, if you can understand the difference.

-It’s the same story with Brent Seabrook, who actually has been decent the past few games. There’s no number we can point to to back up our assertions that he’s been erratic for most of the year. Because he’s always on the ice with Duncan Keith, who was and might still be playing the best hockey of his career. It inflates Seabrook’s +/-, his points, his Extra Skater numbers, everything. You can’t separate the two.

I’m sure it’s the lack of these backing stats, or at least partly, that causes some to disagree with us. Which is why we’re probably a little too anxious to highlight a play here and there to make our point. Because we can’t point to any overriding number. Look at Seabrook’s stats would make it seem like he’s having a good year. But the eye test says he isn’t. More fun with stats vs. eyes, and that’ll never go away.

-Back to the Kings, they used to be my main fear in the West. Not any more. And I don’t know what move they can make that would make them so again. Thomas Vanek is just more of what they already have, though at the top of the chain. He doesn’t create his own shot but slots home the opportunities that he’s given. Sam Gagner? Too light in the ass I think. Matt Moulson? See Vanek. Same with Callahan. The long-rumored Ales Hemsky? Might be a start but not all the answer.

-Remember to join Killion and yours truly at The Globe tomorrow night for the Hawks and Ducks. It’s at 1934 w. Irving, right off the brown line. I’ll keep my promise this time and be in the Vermont Sharp jersey so I’m easily identified.


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