Archive for the ‘Hypothesizing’ Category

So that’s the question of the Olympic season: If Usain Bolt lined up in a normal lane under normal circumstances, and Marian Gaborik lined up beside him in skates (we’ll assume in gear) on ice, who wins the 100 meter dash?

It first came to me in tweet form, and I apologize dearly to whomever sent it my way, because I’ve forgotten who it was. I didn’t respond at the time, because, duh, there’s an obvious answer…I just wasn’t sure which one it was.

I wanted to respond with something like “Seriously? A guy on skates kills anyone on shoes.” But then I pictured them getting out of the blocks and thought “Bolt would smoke him off the line, it might be too much to make up.”

And then I thought…that’s a great goddamn question. Read the rest of this entry »

I advocate listening to these guys less. (Dave Sandford, Getty Images)

“While the Men Watch” was disastrous on all levels, but there was one positive idea at its core, beyond the admirable intention of getting non-hockey fans interest in hockey. The idea of providing an alternate commentary track for hockey games is a good one. There are plenty of hockey fans who are dissatisfied with the play-by-play and colour commentary that is available on our current hockey broadcasts.

I know there are people out there who so prefer their local radio play-by-play to that of the TV broadcasts that they simply turn off the sound on their TV and sync up their radio with the broadcast. Unfortunately, this can get a bit complicated and some fans don’t like their radio commentary any better. Instead, I’d like to see broadcasters provide alternate commentary tracks online, synced up with the television broadcast, to serve fans’ varied interests.

To a certain extent, CBC has already done this with their online streaming of games in Punjabi, but I’m not talking about just providing commentary in different languages. I’m talking about commentary tailored to different fans’ interests. While it’s extremely unlikely that broadcasters would actually do this (there’s likely no money in it), but I could see an enterprising blogger or fan giving it a shot.

Here are some alternate commentary tracks I’d like to see:

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Bobby Ryan: Trade Target

The big name is off the table in the NHL’s trade market as of yesterday with the Columbus Blue Jackets trading Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for three players and a first round pick.

The inevitable speculation will now shift to who the next big name to go will be. It’s what happens when a star gets traded in the offseason. While many will be quick to point to Roberto Luongo — who could very well be traded any minute because he needs to be — I would argue that the man more likely to hire a real estate agent is Bobby Ryan, currently of the Anaheim Ducks.
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Frequent readers of this space may remember that I have a little bit of an obsession with principles of general management. Around the trade deadline and UFA day, everyone is always talking about management, but most of the conversations are situation-specific: is GM A go after Player X or Player Y? Where will Player Z land? While these questions are certainly interesting, they’re also extremely speculative, because they rely on information most of us do not and cannot know. GM A may only be releasing partial dribs and drabs of information to the media insiders in the hopes of influencing the market. Player Z might be motivated by money or climate or family concerns or any number of inscrutable private impulses. When we talk about individual cases, we’re often daydreaming.

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The thing about draft day is that most of us don’t really know what we’re talking about. You, me, even most of the guys in the newsrooms, all of us- we’re almost all relative idiots when it comes to the draft. Sure, at the deadline or UFA day, we can be pretty sharp. We watch the NHL a lot, we read about it, we know the players and the teams and the market, we can form some grounded, objective analyses. But when we talk about the draft, even smart, serious, knowledgeable hockey people are apt to talk out of their nether regions more often that not. Like goaltending, understanding the draft takes a kind of knowledge one doesn’t just pick up from zealously following the Show and catching a couple of major junior playoff games. You don’t just grow draft wisdom with age and observation. You have to make a serious study of it, and few of us have the time and patience to do so.

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I know, I know, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the Los Angeles Kings are going to win the Stanley Cup. Well, at least not tonight. But in all likelihood, it’s a thing that’s happening in the next week.

This year, like every year, it’s fun to wonder: who will the captain give the Cup to first? That initial hand-off always means something – whether the captain gives it to a veteran guy who’s spent years chasing it, a star player, or a guy whose story just dictates that he should get it first (well, technically second), is always something worth keeping an eye on.

Speaking of “veteran guy who’s spent years chasing it,” the most memorable Cup pass I can think of is the year Joe Sakic accepted the Cup, then hot-potato-style passed it to Ray Bourque, who’d played 20 tremendous years in the League without getting to touch that revered piece of silver.

Let’s take a look at the most likely candidates:

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I held the second-to-last shift too long, the immutable law of never change when the puck’s in your end having been burned into my reptile brain by a hundred overserious hockey friends. The puck had been stuck in our end, our attempts to break out muddled by the growing fatigue, and by the time it got enough across the line for me to head to the bench I fairly crashed through the door and slumped, gasping, against the back of the boards, eyes unfixed.

There is no kind of tired quite like hockey-tired. There is a kind of hockey-tired, the mid-game version, that is packed with nervous, hyper-focused energy, but by the time the end comes near, the tired has spread from your legs to your brain and even attention feels like too much work. Hell, breathing feels like too much work. It doesn’t even hurt anymore. I’m too tired to feel pain.

It is 7:00.

I still have one more shift.

There’s no way I can skate one more shift.

Read the rest of this entry »