Monday, December 5, 2016

Laine, all-star voting and too much parity

The following is from an email exchange between Dave Lozo and Sean McIndoe (Down Goes Brown). Each month they will talk some nonsense and debate the biggest topics in the NHL in our monthly review. You can also check out the Biscuits podcast with Sean and Dave as they discuss the events of the week.

DGB: So when we did our October roundup, the big story in the league was how the young kids were dominating. Since then, we've seen Auston Matthews go through a scoring slump and Dylan Strome sent back to junior. But for the most part, the kids are still running over everyone. Patrik Laine is tied with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in goals, Matthews and Mitch Marner are on pace for 60-plus points in Toronto, and Zach Werenski looks fantastic for the Blue Jackets. So this is officially a thing now, right? Are we witnessing one of the best rookie classes in NHL history?


Lozo: Hang on. Let me turn my hat backward, grab my skateboard, slide on my black-framed glasses that don't have any lenses and... there. Hello, fellow youths that are taking over this sport! A very lit af day to you all, fam! What? No, I'm not a cop. I'm young! Like you! How cool are the Pearl Jam?!

I'm in love with Laine. I want to be friends with him. I want us to be Snapchat buddies. I want to go on Tinder double dates with him. I want to go to the arcade and... I mean, I want to do tandem VR mask adventures with him, because real young people don't go to arcades anymore, daddio! He's so fun and good so what I'm most excited about is how his coaches or teammates or the league itself turns him into a robot.

We're unsure whether Laine feels the same. Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I'm least excited about the Leafs rookies because Toronto media types like YOU will pit them against each other, turn against Matthews because he's a beautiful American, then there will be stories about trading one of them for a defensemen. Toronto doesn't deserve them. One of those three guys will get Kessel'd and you know it. I bet it's Matthews, who will then win a cup with PK Subban in Nashville.


DGB: Man, I wish I could say you were wrong, but that's absolutely going to happen. But for the record, the early leader is William Nylander, who's already got media in Toronto calling him lazy. He just doesn't work as hard as those Canadian-born players, am I right? (Note: William Nylander was born in Canada.)

But yeah, Laine is great. I wonder what would happen if you hooked Gary Bettman up to a lie detector and asked him how he honestly feels about having his two most marketable young stars in Laine and Connor McDavid stuck in Winnipeg and Edmonton. OK, I know what would happen: the lie detector would start glitching like a Westworld robot as soon as Bettman touched it. But still, the NHL's marketing department can't be thrilled with this, can it?


Lozo: Here's one thing I've learned during my nearly four decades (spoiler: I'm old) on this planet—if the NHL's marketing department is against it, it's probably against something great for the league and its fans. This is the league that saw John Scott fall in its lap last year and proceeded to do everything to force it off its lap over and over until the NHL decided to go with it because it had no choice.

For instance, let's say if you wanted to vote for Bryan Bickell this year, who is battling MS and may be in the midst of his final NHL season because of it. Can you vote for him? Yes. But it's hard because you have to write him in. So if you wanted to vote 10 times for Bickell as a way of doing something—which you should—it's this big hassle to do so. But you should do it because his wife was tweeting out links to get fans to vote for Bickell, so clearly it's OK with Bickell and his family.

Side note: I would have written back sooner but I'm at a bar watching the Giants game and they just gave up a safety and a field goal and are down 5-0, so I was distracted by my rage crying.


DGB: Don't worry, the Giants are in the red zone, I'm sure this will turn out fine.

OK, so the all-star voting thing. I feel like you and I aren't quite on the same page, but we're in the same ballpark. That's a mixed metaphor and doesn't make any sense, but people know what I mean. I get the Bickell idea. I see the appeal. But can we agree that the power rankings for all-star voting options looks something like this?

1. Just voting for good players, the way All-Star Games are supposed to work.

1a. Voting for somebody like Bryan Bickell who isn't really an all-star but deserves some recognition for other reasons.

2. Mindlessly stuffing the ballot-box for the players on your own team.

3. Not voting at all, meaning that the rosters get stacked with players from whichever city is hosting because they're the only fans who care.


58. Printing off paper copies of the ballot at home, then eating them.


1,482. Organizing a campaign to vote for somebody terrible like Shawn Thornton or Steve Ott because you liked the John Scott thing and somehow believe that jokes are just as funny when you re-tell the same ones over and over.


>> Read the full post at Vice Sports

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