As a fan of hockey, guitars, and awesome things, the past two weeks have been very good to me. Well, except for the lockout, which is neither hockey nor awesome. The guitars front, however, is doing pretty well.
A couple weeks ago I introduced you to Reed Hein, a diehard hockey fan with a penchant for building guitars. The Team Canada guitar he built in honour of the gold medal victory in 2010 was a thing of beauty, but he also let me know that he had another guitar in the works, this time a Winnipeg Jets guitar.
Robin Lehner was drafted in the second round by the Ottawa Senators in 2009, and has done pretty well for himself. He saw NHL action in 2010-11, and impressed last year in five games with the big club, putting up a 2.01 goals against average and .935 save percentage. He also happens to be a rather large man (6’3″, 220), and seems like he might be a bit of a loose cannon.
After having a Syracuse Crunch player fall on him one too many times during an AHL contest this weekend, Lehner got up chucking. The guy he was swinging at was engaged with someone else, but he didn’t seem to care.
Seeing this from the other crease, fellow large man (6’3″, 203) and goaltender Riku Helenius did the right thing and headed down the ice to give Lehner an outlet for his rage. Not smart. Read the rest of this entry »
Don't show this guitar to Ryan Lambert. He'll freak right out.
There are very few things in this world that I love more than hockey. I specify “things,” because there are plenty of people I love more. One of those things is my favourite guitar, my G&L ASAT Classic Semi-Hollow. It’s a gorgeous sounding Telecaster-style guitar that plays like a dream. When my wife married me, she knew she’d be sharing me with that guitar.
I also have a Washburn electric, an Epiphone hollow body from the 70′s, and half of another hollow body currently under repair, to go with a bass and an acoustic. While that seems like an appropriate number of guitars to me, it doesn’t to my wife, who didn’t agree to share me with all of them.
What I’m saying is that I love guitars, so when I saw the above Team Canada guitar combining that love with my love for hockey, I had to find out more.
Bernie Nicholls is one of eight players to ever surpass the 70 goal plateau in a single season, and one of only five plays to notch 150 points in one, as his Twitter bio proudly reminds us.
In 2012 he returned to the place it happened, the Los Angeles Kings organization, to be a coaching consultant, a vague title which likely means “One of our franchise’s biggest names, so we’d like to keep him in the mix.” Nicholls is a ridiculously great guy too, so you can’t fault the Kings for scooping him back up.
Nicholls never won a Stanley Cup during his playing days, but his new front office role with Los Angeles counted enough to get him a day with Lord Stanley.
Shawn Hunwick in net for the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Jamie Sabau, Getty Images)
What happens to Rudy after he’s carried off the field?
At the end of the film Rudy, Rudy Ruettiger, all 5’6″ of him, gets carried off the field by his Notre Dame teammates, after getting on the field for the only play of his college football career. It’s one of several moments in Rudy that is designed to make manly sports fans weep the manliest tears into their manly stubble, and it is incredibly effective . In the movie, Rudy’s story ends there, freeze-framed on top of the world. That’s essentially where the story ends for the real Ruettiger as well. His two plays (not one) for Notre Dame are the extent of his football career and the rest of his story takes a sordid turn.
For the young man who has been called “Hockey Rudy,” however, the story is just beginning, with the next chapter set to take place in Austria.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of 10 NBA teams to use SportsVU technology to gain an information advantage over their opponents. (Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images)
The future of advanced statistical analysis in hockey is happening right now. The only problem is that it’s happening in basketball.
There are two massive obstacles to the advancement of statistical analysis in hockey, in my opinion. One is the speed and complexity of the game, which makes it difficult to track and isolate specific events. A game like baseball lends itself well to advanced statistics because it is so easily parsed into individual events that can be quantified and analysed. In hockey, it’s extremely difficult to isolate events beyond the obvious, like faceoffs and shots. It’s one of the reasons why a lot of advanced statistical analysis revolves around attempted shots: they’re one of the few isolated, individual events that are available to be analysed.
The second obstacle is the accuracy of the data. Because statistics are compiled by human scorers at each rink, human error and bias enter into the picture, making it difficult to trust their accuracy. For instance, Colorado Avalanche scorekeepers tend to record significantly more shots on goal than league average, while the New Jersey Devils scorekeepers significantly undercount shots. Madison Square Garden scorekeepers consistently get shot location wrong, sometimes by as much as 20 feet, and NHL scorekeepers as a whole apparently can’t even decide where the faceoff dots are.
The technology for overcoming both of these obstacles already exists: it’s called SportsVU and it is currently invading the NBA. While it has a lot of potential to revolutionize basketball statistics, the potential for the technology in hockey is even greater.
That’s all she wrote folks. The Stanley Cup has been awarded, the champagne has been popped and our 2012 NHL Draft Preview is underway. All in all it was a thoroughly entertaining season. Read the rest of this entry »