Thomas Drance over at Vice has created a "jerkpuck" all-star team for the 2013 season. Drance has this to say about the archetypal jerkpuck player:
The ideal practitioner of the jerkpuck dark arts isn’t a guy who just dives a lot, or regularly goes headhunting—there’s lots of guys who do that. No, the real jerk puck all-stars are the guys who get away it. [They are the players] who are consistently able to push the boundaries of sportsmanship in a way that help their clubs win and rarely, if ever, hurts their own team.
The Habs were the only team on Drance's list with three players (Brendan Gallagher, P.K. Subban, and Alexei Emelin) while Edmonton, Detroit, Phoenix, and Toronto all had two. The bizarre thing about the list was that it was created using some mysterious combination of penalties drawn and reputation. For example, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and P.K. Subban were the two leading defensemen in penalties drawn this season at the time of the article's publication. Larsson stayed off the list while Subban ended up on the jerkpuck team's top pairing. The rationale given was that OEL's drawing ability was attributed to his "smoothness", while Subban's drawing prowess was attributed to his ability to aggravate the opposition with unfair play. These kind of distinctions may be frustrating at first glance, but they testify to the confirmation bias that informs these kind of classifications. To one fan, a player is a diver who the media and referees give a pass, to another that same player's behavior is grossly exaggerated. It's the kind of thing that people will always hold their biases about, so there's no sense in getting worked up about it when players you like are targeted.
In summary, don't let the turkeys get you down and enjoy today's collection of links.
Habs News and Analysis
- Practice has just gotten underway at the MTS Centre at the time of writing. Tomas Kaberle and Jarred Tinordi both made the trip to Winnipeg and were practicing on a pairing together. Meanwhile, Francis Bouillon and Andrei Markov are not skating with the team today.
- Here's In Lou We Trust's John Fischer with his recap of last night's loss to the Devils. Fischer notes that after playing very well in the second period - including a nearly two minute stretch where the Habs pinned Adam Larsson and Alexander Urbom in their own zone - Montreal only mustered a mere five shots in the third period.
- Here's a recap of last night's game by the Associated Press. For the fifth time in as many defeats, the Habs went down by two goals in the first period. Therrien was quoted as saying: "We have to do a much better job on the penalty kill. We have to make the right decisions and we have to be smart." I agree with this statement.
General NHL News and Analysis
- L.A. Kings captain Dustin Brown will face a disciplinary hearing for elbowing Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville. Here's reaction from the folks over at Hockey Wilderness.
- Michael Parkatti continues his study of luck and PDO. He notes that "team shooting percentages are seemingly random, and that we should expect those to regress to league average over the long term." Meanwhile, "team save percentages are not random, and can be sustained at high or low levels." Thus, Parkatti concludes that a measure other than PDO, which is a combination of shooting and save percentages, needs to be devised to "properly gauge how lucky a team is."
- Erik Karlsson practiced with Marc Methot today and could return to Ottawa's lineup tomorrow!
- Peter Hassett over at Russian Machine Never Breaks cites Adam Oates' optimization of Alex Ovechkin, which included moving him away from "possession Charybdis" Mike Ribero and reducing his personal zone entries, the rise of Marcus Johansson, and the team's collection of reliable role players as the reason why Washington has found success in the later half of the season. He commends Adam Oates for his system and George McPhee for building the playoff team he said he would.
- Don Brennan, the fantastic columnist from the equally fantastic Ottawa Sun, allegedly had a penis-oriented run-in with Matt Cooke in the Penguins locker room. Jeffrey Kleiman over at Awful Announcing, an apt home for Mr. Brennan, has the scoop.
- Tyler Dellow notes that by not participating with amateur analysts in the blogosphere, academics and professional consultants are missing out a wealth of crowdsourced knowledge. He cites the example of Stats Sports Consulting, a firm that provides consulting services for NHL teams, who developed a Total Hockey Ranking statistic without accounting for score effects and real time statistic rink bias.
- Steve MacFarlane reflects on Miikka Kiprusoff's career as a Flame. There's a fondness for the introverted Fin that comes through in the piece. It's truly an enjoyable read.
EOTP News and Archive Material
- The Habs are playing like poop of late. However, this stretch does not even come close to the poopiness of last year. In the 2011-2012 season, the Habs had a six game losing streak in October, a five game losing streak in December, and an another five game losing streak in February. If you want to feel better about our lot in life as it stands now, check out these despair fueled articles.