My Isles Beat partner, B.D., aka The Voice of Reason, aka Mr. (or if you ask him – Captain) Buzzkill, has done a lot for me since we launched the show.
You see, since returning to simple fandom after my last run covering hockey, I’ve propelled myself to the front of the line in leading the charge of negativity that doesn’t really need any leading throughout Isles Nation. Anything and everything could be called into question, from organizational decisions to player performance, coaching aptitude (or ineptitude, I might argue) and on and on – all was fair game and I was conditioned to take that half-empty glass and chug it, be it full of beer, grape juice, water or even bleach. (Often bleach.)
But pairing up with Admiral Absolutely has helped me quickly become more optimistic, more practical and dare I say even confident about everything-Islanders overall. In fact, I’ve tried to spread that uplifting vibe to our thousands of listeners thus far. (That’s right – thousands. That means another thank you is in order. Thank you!)
No major transactions this off-season? Who cares?!?!? As you’ve heard on the show, they’re better off staying put. (Well, for now… See B.D.’s latest for some current scuttlebutt.) Where would these guys fit in the lineup anyway? Who would they replace? Why would the Isles blow up their onus on cap management to bring in this overpriced veteran or that?
This is a good team. And a year later, they’re going to be better than ever, even remaining as-is.
So, mon frère, mission: accomplished in terms of turning this frown upside down (for now… Capuano, Strait… You remain on my radar…)
Having said all that, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t dip a toe into the wacky world of analytics – something the Islanders live by, through and through, as B.D. has consistently been quick to remind.
I just can’t bring myself to embrace the concept. Fenwick, Corsi and GAR may be here to stay as a primo factor in how the Isles and other teams do business but hey, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. (Fenwick, Corsi and GAR, by the way, sound like a scrapheap third line the Isles tossed out there for some opening night we’d rather forget about from the Milbury Era gone by. All due respect to Grigori Panteleev, Mike MacWilliam, Jarrett Deuling et al…)
Admittedly, I’m the guy who reached out to several baseball writers when sabermetrics was starting to emerge, ranting about how WAR, BABIP, OPS and the like would never mean more than AVG, HR, RBI and ERA. Whoops.
I’m a bit more humble these days than the young, brash JJ who wrote those letters, so I won’t discredit the new era of hockey data so much as I will say, “Give me goals, assists, points, save percentage and goals against average or give me death!”
(Don’t give me death, please. I have children. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.)
Here’s my bottom line: You do the fancypants statistical analysis, those of you who get paid to do so, in exchange for positive on-ice results. I don’t really care how the latter takes place, so long as it, you know, does. I’ll be here, in my new state of positivity, caring only about how often a guy scores, how often a team wins, how often a goaltender stops the puck and, while it is still permitted to exist, the occasional instance of a guy on my team beating a guy on your team down.
Repeated thanks to my compadre for the much-needed attitude adjustment but hockey analytics just isn’t a train I’ll be boarding any time soon. With the brain cells I have left, I choose to focus on more simple things. (Like the Capuano Countdown Clock… The answer to “Why does Brian Strait play hockey?”… and efforts to clean up my shoddy microphone audio on the podcast…)