Not your usual piece

Bruce Bennett

You probably come here for a cerebral take on the Montreal Canadiens and their goings-on... sorry.

I brushed my teeth last night before bed, I swear. I like my popcorn popped the old-fashioned way, on the stove, but do you think you can find popcorn kernels at Safeway that aren't the microwaveable kind (which I've been unable to stomach since I had kids; it smells exactly like baby-who's-breastfed's poop - ask any mom), or the hot-air poppable kind? The answer is, 'no'. So, when you pop your popcorn in a pot on the stove, the way it was meant to be made, except with the hot-air kind, you get a lot of kernel flakes in the bowl. A LOT.

So, as I sit here marvelling at the fact that despite toothpaste and toothbrush, dental floss and mouthwash, I could still be digging popcorn out of my mouth (it's also the curse of having big teeth with big grooves, thanks a lot, paternal side), I'm also trying to wrap my brain around facts, figures and stats surrounding the Habs' 2013 NHL Entry Draft picks.

I've never analyzed players this way before. I don't think with that side of my brain, whichever side it is. I very recently began proofreading articles at Eyes on the Prize for fun; I love proofreading, like, love/love, and I love the Habs, so I married the two; like that happy accident that created the Reese's peanut butter/chocolate combo. Not that there is much, if any, proofreading required at this site, these writers are so good; so mostly my job is just easy, and a free education, to boot. I win! For me, it's fun, proofreading, I mean, and since doing it here, I've been forced to learn about things like Fenwick and Corsi, McKeen's, and stats, stats, stats.

Here's the thing: the contributors here know their stuff, and I do not. I've been a fan of hockey; specifically, a fan of the Habs, all my life. But I feel like before now I knew nothing. Optimism was my strategy. Who knows what the future holds? The Cup! For us, every year! No matter how the season ends; no matter how the season begins; no matter who's the coach, and no matter how tall/small our guys are. "Chicago won the Cup, and they're pretty small! It's ours next year! Whee!"

So, that's embarrassing, really, considering that I deride Leafs fans for feeling the same way every year. So, now, there are stats available (actually, they always were) and that I read through, and have actually been absorbing. That side of my brain has been getting an unbelievable workout. I've seen on Twitter today (by people seemingly tweeting during Wimbledon commercial breaks), the debate of the analysis of stats vs. the unpredictability of the future, and I come away with this: nobody can predict the future, and nobody claims to. There is a happy resolution to the debate, and that is: why not arm yourself with all the education you can absorb, whilst maintaining hope for surprises? Stuff happens. Injuries, for the Habs or the bad guys; slumps happen, winning streaks beyond anyone's imagination happen. One thing is for sure: we're all cheering for the good guys. But data is data. Just ask Nate Silver.

I've been reading here for a long time; it's where I come when I need the updates and the news, and where I come to see what the smart people are saying. I mean, excluding this piece. It's the best place to get cogent, carefully researched pieces on the Canadiens. When I have questions, the answers are here. Again - not in this piece.

And for now, the off-season, we are going to have fun! Breaking down our draft picks, following the Jagr negotiations as best as we can (Hey, Petr Svoboda, show us some more candour! Throw us a bone!), and checking out how it's going at development camp then training camp, then pre-season. I'll be learning a lot. Is it okay if I still picture the Habs with the Cup in May, though? Not to jinx it.


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