Archive for the ‘Stanley Cup!’ Category

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three

Mention that Jonathan Toews is playing poorly in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and an angry mob of advanced statistics people will march on your home carrying charts and graphs. Mention that Jonathan Toews is playing well in the postseason by pointing toward his Corsi and Fenwick numbers, and old sportswriters will roll their eyes and ask if you pay rent while living in your mom’s basement.

Trying to determine why in the heck a player as good as Toews has one goal in 20 playoff games is about as difficult juggling chainsaws with your feet, only instead of feet, you have stumps smothered in baby oil.

During the regular season, Toews was so good at the sport of hockey that he finished fourth in voting for the Hart Trophy. On the strength of a career-best (pro-rated) 23 goals and 48 points in 47 contests and excellent defensive game that won him the Selke Trophy, the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks also received the third-most first-place votes for the Hart.

The Blackhawks won the Presidents’ Trophy with 131.5 (again, pro-rated, obviously) points, which if you round up ties the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for the most in a season. Sure, it happened over the course of 48 games so it doesn’t mean as much, but the Blackhawks put forth the NHL’s most dominant season in nearly four decades, and Toews was a major reason the Blackhawks brought hockey back the way Justin Timberlake brought sexy back in that neither brought anything back because it was already there. Read the rest of this entry »

Former New York Ranger Adam Graves Visits The Empire State Building With The Stanley Cup

Now that the match-ups are set, here’s the schedule for the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Plan your lives accordingly.

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“Well, does it work?”

Lumped beneath the noise of criticism heaped on a football coach for “icing” a kicker, not enough people were asking the legitimate question. “Does calling a timeout before a kicker attempts a long field goal help prevent the kick from being successful?”

(This is a hockey blog, and we’ll get to the hockey-related content shortly)

As it turns out, no, it doesn’t. Much of the criticism of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid’s decision to call a timeout to “ice” New York Giants’ kicker Lawrence Tynes came as a result of the fact that Tynes missed the kick that took place on the dead play.

Tynes would go on to miss the second attempt as well (turns out it’s hard to kick a field goal from 54 yards) but we went into the night with many columnnists and commentators going after Reid for his own individual actions, being such an easy target, nobody was questioning the practice itself.

Icing the kicker is a football convention that’s only sometimes challenged by people who actually have a stake in football games. These would be coaches who, after research shows that on long field goal attempts the practice doesn’t make these kicks any less successful, continue to operate applying their own philosophy on the game instead of what actually happened.

Hockey has a long way to go as well. There are ways to manipulate both the rulebook and convention to gain an advantage.

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Every single person in Los Angeles got a tattoo after the Kings won the Stanley Cup. Not like, a few people. Not a dozen, but like, all of the people who live within the city limits, and most of the people who live in California. At least that’s how it appears.

The great Kings blog “The Royal Half” has a feature up where they compiled all the pics people sent into the LA’s Twitter feed when the Kings requested that people send in shots of their fresh tats. There’s like, a million of them.

I honestly had no idea so many people did this to celebrate sporting wins. At least the Kings have cool colours and a great logo, otherwise this could really be a mess. Read the rest of this entry »

When the Stanley Cup first came into being, no one really knew what exactly to do with it.  Lord Stanley famously gave the Cup to Canadian hockey, but he was rather hazy on the details. Not his fault, really, the poor man didn’t know what he was starting. He thought he was giving a punch bowl to the provincials, a small treat for a small victory in a small game. He called it the ‘Dominion Challenge Cup’, and made up five rules for it, which may be summarized thusly:

1. Don’t break it.
2. Put your name on it if you win.
3. Anybody can challenge for it.
4. These here two guys will figure out whatever other shit comes up.
5. If one of those guys doesn’t want to do it anymore, find another guy to replace him.

And with that, Lord Stanley patted himself on the back, washed his hands of hockey, and went back to England to earl over his Earldom.

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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.

Naturally, he headed into the woods with it. Read the rest of this entry »

The Kings’ Peace

Although we are not so committed to keeping it holy as we once were, most of us in the Judeo-Christian West are familiar with the Sabbath day. Sunday, yeah? When the Lord rested after the creation of the world, and, for century upon century, we rested from the creation of potatoes or tables or armor or castles or whatever other things people made back when God was the only legitimate reason for chilling out. Although the level of religiosity in the West has receded dramatically, we still retain a customary deference for Sunday. It’s always the laziest day of the week.

However, we have entirely forgotten the concept of the Sabbath year. According to the law of ancient Israel, it was not only every seventh day that belonged to God, but also every seventh year. These years, called shmita in Hebrew, were primarily defined by a prohibition on agricultural labor: fields were expected to lie fallow, the deliberate cultivation of plants was forbidden, and whatever edible growth sprang up naturally was considered God’s produce, owned by no one, free to the entire community equally.

Shmita was also the time of forgiveness. The word means ‘release’- from obligations, from enmities, from wrongs. All debts were erased. All slaves were freed. And after seven cycles of seven years were completed, during fiftieth year- called the Jubilee in English, yovel in Hebrew- all ancestral lands would revert to the original families, and all wandering individuals would be welcomed back by their clans. In other words, all the things that alienated members of the community from one another- the wars that made some masters and others servants, the financial transactions that made some rich and others poor, the family squabbles that drove siblings and children away- were tossed out the window. The cycle of shmita and yovel years was, essentially, a cycle of divinely-mandated getting over shit.

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