Silver Nuggets: Overreaction

All your Sens links, plus some thoughts on overreacting to early season play.

Most hockey writing is still narrative-driven. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes narratives distort what stats tell us, such as there's no such thing as a player who knows how to win. But at the same time, people want to read stories. I'm not interested in reading that a certain player was only a 30% Corsi hockey player on the weekend -- I want someone to tell me that they were a bad possession player because they get hemmed in their own zone a lot and missed on three or four zone-clearing passes. The stats make the story, but the story is far more interesting to read.

The problem with these narratives is trying to write early in the season. I felt very alarmist last night trying to write the Ups and Downs, putting Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan as down arrows. It seems harsh to pick two of your best players as some of the worst performers after only three games. Especially since there were no games last week, I said they were trending down from nothing. The truth is, Karlsson can have three consecutive off-games during the season. If they came in early December, we wouldn't notice as much. Ryan can go three games without a goal in February and nobody bats an eye. But this early in the year, trying to draw any kind of conclusion feels like hasty judgment.

You can see this in other sources too. Here's an article from the Edmonton Journal about Connor McDavid's first game. It talks about things like his lack of chemistry with Taylor Hall, an observation from ONE GAME OF REGULAR SEASON HOCKEY. Especially after a short scrimmage at BioSteel hockey camp was enough to talk about the chemistry between McDavid and Hall. As of today, Jack Eichel has two more goals (and points) than McDavid, and you can find articles talking about the Calder race. Just for comparison, Mark Stone didn't even get an injury invite to the rookie All-Star team; he finished second in Calder voting. It's a little early to even be mentioning the race unless you run a betting website.

That being said, I appreciate what these people have to do. You have to deliver content, and this early into the year, that means making judgments based on a very small sample size. If you don't write the headlines, somebody else will. So if you think we're making a big deal out of nothing, that's fine. We probably are.

Sens Links:

Other Links:

  • In Goal Magazine has your best saves of the week. The Sens made the list, but as the team that got robbed [InGoalMag]
  • Micah McCurdy uses his Pip projection system to predict each team's point totals. He has Ottawa in the final playoff spot [HockeyViz]
  • James Mirtle, love him or hate him, has some comments on how poorly the Kings handled the Mike Richards situation in light of him actually having a substance abuse problem [Globe and Mail]
  • Nice gesture by the Ducks, making Kai Quinonez, a 13-year-old with aplastic anemia, part of their opening night roster [NHL]
  • A great breakdown of an Adam Henrique goal by All About The Jersey (formerly In Lou We Trust) [AATJ]
  • Pension Plan Puppets with a good review of Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract [PPP]

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