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Vulgar Opinions: Narrative Versus Reality

01/14/13

I think one of my biggest pet peeves about Buffalo hockey fans is a willingness to get too caught up in the narrative and ignore reality.  That’s how we get prevailing thoughts about Thomas Vanek being lazy or Andrej Sekera being bad at defense.  And it’s not like it’s all that difficult to spend ten minutes on Google looking these things up.  (Okay, advanced stats are a little complicated, but still.)

Today I popped in on a Twitter conversation in which someone said “Is “that useless guy we got at the trade deadline” a nickname, cause I’ve used it for Zubrus, Torres, Moore, Bernier, and Boyes…”  I felt the need to throw Hodgson into the mix, mainly just to be a jerk, but also because there isn’t that much to statistically differentiate Hodgson from some of those names.  Sure, he’s got a higher pedigree and is younger and more highly touted, but it’s not like those things haven’t burned us before.  He also had success with his previous team, but it’s not like that hasn’t burned us before.  You see what I’m getting at.

I don’t think you’d find many that would disagree with Torres and Moore.  Those guys were, for lack of a better term, crap.  (I suspect that Torres just flat out hated being here.)  But on Zubrus, Bernier, Boyes, and Hodgson…

  • 19gp, 4g, 4a, 8pts.
  • 17gp, 3g, 6a, 9pts.
  • 21gp, 5g, 9a, 14pts.
  • 20gp, 3g, 4a, 7pts.

Which stat-line belongs to which player?  (I just went in order.)  The third is obviously Brad Boyes, whose fantastic run in 2010-2011 is probably a key reason that team made the playoffs when it had no business doing so.  When a guy is a significant piece in making the playoffs, I have a hard time calling him useless.  Also, Hodgson is statistically the worst of those four.  Now that’s not to say I think Hodgson will be a bust or a bad prospect at all, but he hasn’t done a whole lot to help the team yet.  Hindsight is not counting your chickens before they’re…whatever.

When I pressed, this individual did amend his ‘useless’ statement to say “statistically good in the final chunk of the regular season and then soft/complacent in the playoffs.”  Which, if you’re remembering Dainius Zubrus, also isn’t accurate (since only two of the above four actually made the playoffs).  Zubrus had 0g and 8a (on a team in which he wasn’t expected to score) and 46 hits (second on the team behind…Ales Kotalik? LOL!) in 15 games.  That is by no means soft and complacent.

I know my words aren’t going to dissuade our disappointing media from inventing stories, or our fans from eating them up.  I just felt like ranting.  Cheers.

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