Apologies for stealing the title, but fuck if it isn’t a good one, and if directness isn’t the best policy. It’s relevant and recent that Harrison Mooney was fired from Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog for making unwanted advances towards women both in person, and on Twitter. The ‘in person’ part of that, particularly when Mooney was told ‘no’ twice, is sexual assault, regardless of what fellow writer Thomas Drance wants to tell you.
Guys…we need to be better.
And yes, I get that not all of us are Harrison Mooney but that’s not the point. The point is that when one of our own does something like this we need to quit bitching about how not every guy is a creepy harasser and start telling the creepy harassers to stop being creepy harassers. And that if they’re going to continue to be creepy harassers, then we need to tell them they’re not welcome in our circles.
We need to stop thinking about how guilty and how complicit we are and start simply making things better for women. This isn’t about us. Let’s stop trying to make everything about us because pretty much every fucking thing in sports has been about us to this point. Let’s make this about the women we so love to watch hockey with. Better, let’s make this about making hockey better for them.
I can totally see why women wouldn’t want to have anything to do with sports. The most common synonym for “shitty” in sports, the most common way to let a player know how much they suck, is to call them a woman. Right Cindy Crosby? Who the fuck wants to watch something where who you are as a person is interchangeable with “bad” and undesirable to the point of ridicule?
Surely we can do better than this.
And the truth of it is, hockey needs women. It needs women because women will make the sport better for everyone. The larger pool you have to draw talent from, the better off you are overall. This is why New York City produces more athletes than Helena, Montana. The inclusion of women will make our writers better, our broadcasters better, hell there will come a day when they will make our coaches better. They won’t all be sterling, but they will raise our collective intelligence because when you’re looking for smart hockey people you’re no longer disqualifying half the population.
Sure, “get more women in hockey” sounds like special rights for women, but do you know what’s actually special rights? Ninety percent of those involved to this point having been men. Special rights is not being poo-pooed as a broadcaster because “male voices better fill” the role. And if that sounds all too rare, just remember that “doesn’t feel right” and “doesn’t fit the culture” are shades of the same thing. Special rights is not being told (or shown) your only way of contributing is as eye candy.
Surely we can do better than this.
We men have always benefited from the antiquated notion that only men can do sports things and in spite of Title IX, we’re still benefiting. And because we make up such a vast majority of the sports landscape, it is terrifyingly easy to keep reaping the advantages we’ve acquired by being exclusionary dicks. That needs to stop.
And make no mistake, the women are, and should be the superstars of the fight for better representation in sports. Their voices should rise over ours because they have the first hand experiences off of which to build. But we can, and I’d argue we have a responsibility, to catalyze equality by bulldozing the garbage to create safe spaces for women, and by holding our own accountable.
Let’s do better than this.
And to add to the Women’s Hockey Round Up, the ECAC, which contains the Defending National Champions and my Alma Mater, the Clarkson University Golden Knights, has also released its schedule.
The NHL has announced that Buffalo’s vaunted HarborCenter will host both the 2015 and 2016 NHL Scouting Combines, beating out Pittsburgh and Mississauga, which is near Toronto. Commissioner Gary Bettman and his lapdog Colin Campbell gave all 30 NHL cities an opportunity to make a case for the event before eventually settling on Buffalo.
Buffalo was chosen both because of the resources and amenities the $172 million HarborCenter has to offer, but also because the Mississauga facility looked like “the inside of a rotten burrito.”
“When we went up to Toronto, we were told not to expect much,” said Bettman. “But their VIP Hotel Package was Toronto Sun reporter Steve Simmons’s couch. There were newspapers from 1967 strewn about and it appeared that a Josh Gorges Maple Leafs jersey had been burned in the corner.
“The entire city of Toronto looks and smells like someone took Flint, Michigan and farted all over it,” said Campbell. “They have all the pretension of a Kardashian and all the class of that one dirty abandoned sock you see on the side of the road. The prevailing theme to the city is inescapable failure.”
“I’m actually writing a dystopian novel about hockey,” added Bettman. “It was originally set in downtown Tampa, but I’m thinking of moving it to Toronto. Hell, I’m thinking of moving the Maple Leafs to Seattle now as a humanitarian effort on behalf of the players and coaches.”
The Scouting Combine joins a long list of things that Buffalo has beaten Toronto in, among them Josh Gorges, affordable living, hockey 1970-Present, cleanliness, happiness, being in America, and amazingly enough, media acumen. When we pressed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for comment, he tried to snort my phone and then asked if he could lick my hair. Every single Torontoan I met tried to do the same.
We barely made it out alive.
Last season I watched every single shootout. Every. Single. One. I wanted to look for trends. Were right handed shooters or left handed shooters better. Was deking better than shooting? Were there any other patterns? The following is what I found, but first, some definitions of terms.
Deking vs. Shooting: It’s surprisingly difficult to draw a line since players are generally moving the puck side to side in some manner all the way in. For the purposes of the study, any side-to-side movement below the hashmarks constituted a deke. If the puck was released above the hashmarks, it was a shot, regardless of movement coming in.
The moves: I wanted to categorize deking moves to see if some were more effective than others. They are:
- 100 Kane Dekes
- Backhand (Kopitar at :33)
- Backhand top-shelf
- Between the Legs
- Datsyuk Backwards skate / toe drag (There are a few variations on this, but I opted to combine them)
- Head fake, forehand
- Omark Shoulder Flip
The shot locations: Likewise, this was also tricky. For shots that went in, it was easy, I just marked where it went in. For shots that didn’t I did my best to approximate where the save was made and where the shooter was aiming.
Misses: A lost puck, a shot wide, or a post hit all counted as misses.
- Shooting: 552 attempts, 160 goals (28.99%) Miss – 14.5%
- Deking: 716 attempts, 239 goals (33.38%) Miss – 16.1%
My theory was that with NHL-caliber shots and goaltender reflexes that can only be so good, that shooting would prove to be a better option in the shootout. I was wrong and in hindsight it makes sense. You gain more in opening up larger windows to put the puck than you lose in potentially making an error stick-handling and shooting players were only slightly less likely to miss the net than deking players were to lose the puck.
This is the worst Cup Finals since 2009 when we were treated to a repeat of two teams nobody f*cking likes. This year we’re treated to one almost-repeat that nobody f*cking likes and an old piece of garbage that nobody f*cking likes. Here are the Power Rankings of things I hate about this series:
1). Goalieturbation – I was sick of these goalies two years ago. You’ve got one guy that, were he literally any other player, would be heavily derided by the hockey media because he’s won DIDDLEY! SQUAT! in this league up until now. The other is Jonathan Quick, who has reached deity status despite the fact that the Kings’ last cup run came because of the Herculean efforts of several other players, most notably Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, and Drew Doughty and because they ran through a slew of easy teams like a half-Sedined Canucks team, a Pietrangelo and Halak-less Blues team, Phoenix (really?), and the New Jersey Devils who join the 2010 Flyers and 2006 Oilers in the pantheon of “Why the f*ck are you even here?”
I hope every game ends 38-36.
2). No One in these Markets Likes Hockey – Seriously. These are terrible hockey markets. The only reason they sell out is because there are a gazillion people living in the area. If it snows in New York City, the Rangers draw 13,000. If the Clippers or Lakers or Sacramento Kings or Suns make a playoff run, the Kings forfeit so everyone can watch basketball.
3). Rick Nash – Rick Nash is terrible. He captained the Columbus Blue Jackets like Joe Hazelwood, that is to say, straight into a reef where they promptly leaked goo everywhere. He has 10 points in 20 playoff games which makes him the least prolific important Rangers player. He has the same number of goals as Ryan McDonagh, Dominic Moore, and Benoit Pouliot. He has one more goal than Daniel Carcillo in 12 more games. He is above .8 points per game in the regular season and at .5 points per game even in the playoffs. If two players were ever in dire need of having the perceptions of them switched, it’s Rick Nash and Patrick Marleau.
A guy in my inline league last night said that he hates any team Rick Nash is on when I asked him (a Blues fan) who he was rooting for. He is now my best friend.
4). Linda Cohn – Who sits in third overall in the pool and whose blatant NYR homerism may actually pay off.
5). All the dumb NYC – LA culture montages we’re bound to see over the next several days. Both are filled with assholes. LA residents are dirty. NYC residents have superiority complexes. On the redeeming side, LA has porn. NYC has DGWU. You could pick, but that’s like picking which testicle you want stabbed.
One of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen was an intro to a Monday Night Football for a Jets – Patriots game. Chowder! Pizza! Lots of people who talk funny! The NFL on ABC! This is going to be so much worse.
My Pick: Los Angeles in 5 – For the love of god, a return to normalcy. LA is really good. NYR is a really good turd. Glen Sather doesn’t win Stanley Cups. Rick Nash doesn’t score playoff goals. Jonathan Quick is a sorcerer.
Chicago in 6 – The Blackhawks swept the season series and are just flat out more talented. Marian Gaborik though… Nothing would please me more than a Kings Stanley Cup and a Marian Gaborik Conn Smythe Trophy.
Montreal in 6 – Rick Nash Rick Nashing his way through the playoffs. Part of me hopes the Rangers keep going so Rick Nash can continue to not put up points and cement his place as the most gutless softie to ever don an NHL uniform.
Since WGR is being slow as hell approving my comment, probably because they’re blown away by its awesomeness, here it is in full. This is a direct response to this piece by Jeremy White.
The Pens have numerous flaws, which aren’t as simple as not having enough picks (or not having picks). No one is disputing the talent of Crosby or Malkin, but they each count 1.4 times as much against the cap ($8.7M) as Jonathan Toews ($6.3M). Are they 1.4 times as good as Toews on the ice? Probably not.
It’s also worth noting that one of those top picks, Marc-Andre Fleury, is one of their problems, and another, Ryan Whitney, did not win a cup with them (although he did bring back Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi). Having a bunch of top picks doesn’t matter if your GM doesn’t place his faith in the right guys. (Hello Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek, if you want to go there.)