Hot Takes – Oct. 9th, 2018

Let me start this off by saying that I am SO SORRY to everyone I have on Facebook.  Why?  Because I asked them to “like” my fan page.  Being very serious for a moment, I can’t stomach doing that shit.  Self promotion, bragging up any accomplishments, hand outs, asking people for favours, I do none of these things easy if I ever do them at all.  I hate it.  Because I know for so many of them, they see “Tyler Campbell has invited you to like Soups on Hockey” and they just think “fuck off, don’t annoy me with that shit”.  Not that I do, but I know far too many people who that would be there actual response.  I don’t think that mainly because anyone who does that shit is probably thinking the same things as I just laid out when they sent it.  Anyway, for those who liked the page, or added the IG account for the blog/podcast, thank you.  I’m just trying to turn this thing into something more than it is, and have to annoy people (like I did with that) along the way to do it.  So again, thank you very much to any of you who did so.

 

Onto business.

 

It is going to be difficult to not talk about the Leafs this season, and buddies of mine who are Leafs fans might not like listening to me while they’re going good because I try to look at them more realistically, where when they’ll be down and getting piled on, that would be the time to see what I have to say.  2-1-0 to start, that’s good, and they’re fun as f*ck to watch!  But…Montreal?  Ottawa?  Chicago?  With Cam Ward unable to stop a beach ball?  And you didn’t get a regulation win?  People need to pay much more attention to THAT stat and less about that they’ve won two games.  And at the moment, with Nylander still out, are they anything improved from this time last season?  Tavares in with Nylander, Bozak, JVR, and Komarov all out.  Definitely not saying that they need to push the panic button, but the media is making them out to be unbeatable.  No, they are very beatable at the moment and have a lot of work to do.  Talented enough to contend for a Cup, but at the moment, that’s all they are.

 

They should trade William Nylander.  Not because of contract demands, although they do sound ridiculous.  But they should because they shouldn’t commit so much money to their wingers.  If Nylander gets 7.5 per to 8.5 per, and Mitch Marner is going to get from 9-10 per, and you have Tavares at 11 per, and Matthews likely to get 12 per or more, it is just insane!  If they had a top four defence that was all in their prime and all on bargain deals, then ok.  But they don’t!  I firmly believe they need two more D for their top four to be set.  And it’s not just needing the money for the blueline.  The easiest thing in the league to find is talented wingers, and the Leafs have a lot of kids who can fill a 2nd line winger role.  It just doesn’t make sense to me to want to sign Nylander to a long term deal with the intention of keeping him as part of the core.  If they do intend to keep him long term, then for now a bridge is the best move they can make in my mind.   His numbers aren’t likely to get better thanks to no time on the top PP unit.  But I hope for their sake that they plan to turn him into a piece that they really need.  Look at this offence right now without him.  It’s very ok!  Kasperi Kapanen is very capable of being a 2nd line winger.  And if he doesn’t work in that spot, there are about 20 of them available every year at the trade deadline for a 2nd round pick or cheaper.

 

Bigger goalie equipment looks good so far wouldn’t you say?!….Man this league is a joke.

 

Biggest problem in the NFL right now is the new roughing the passer rule.  Hey, at least it’s a league where the refs actually DO THEIR JOBS!!!!  Dinosaurs will say “if you called this game by the book then you’d have 60 penalties a game”.  Nobody wants that, but how about we have our officials focus just a LITTLE more on calling it by the book and quit being so fucking worried about the flow of the game?!?  When it is a strategy for teams to challenge the refs to call everything because they know they’ll only call a max of six or seven penalties against them, then we have a major issue.  The way the league and the dinosaurs want it officiated leaves the door wide ass open for bias, even if it’s just a bias towards the situation, it’s still a bias.  5 on 3’s NEVER get called anymore, the percentage of penalties called in a game to the number of infractions that occur is somewhere around 17%, anytime officials are asked to crack down on something (obstruction, slashing, etc) it last’s about a month and then fades away, 30% of the rules will be called to the letter of the law but then the other 70% will be all dependent on things such as time of the game/how many PP’s a team has already had/are we punishing them too much (AKA will it become a five on three), it is a JOKE!!!  Oh, you’ve heard this before?  Yeah, well, until we start seeing some change with the way things are done you’ll continue to hear it from me.  Who in the hell wasn’t RAVING about that Chicago/Toronto game on Sunday night?  That could be a normal game if the league got their heads out of their asses!  And sure, law of diminishing returns would kick in, but not to the point where anyone would ever get bored with it!  I wonder if I just draw this up in detail for Gary and title the whole thing “idea just like the outdoor games”, at least then we’d have at least 10 games a year that were good.

 

So this really isn’t about anything going on in hockey at the moment, but my fantasy hockey league is moving over to Fantrax from CBS next season.  We got both actually for this season, but mainly just going to use Fantrax as a test dummy this season.  And as I’ve come to find out (FAR TOO LATE), there are just so many more features on Fantrax than CBS.  We run a pretty detailed league too.  Keeper league, rookie drafts, free agent auction, contract extensions, 14 teams (possibly going to move it to 16 next season), you have to start a full lineup of 12 forwards, 6 D, 2 tendys, it’s a geeky and detailed league (and if you’ve done those types of leagues on both Fantrax and CBS yourself then you know how hard I’m kicking myself that I didn’t have us on Fantrax YEARS ago).  I ended up debating my brother in law on this though where one thing I love is that you can incorporate much more detailed stats and have your fantasy league much closer to reality.  Stats like PK TOI, takeaways/giveaways, net faceoffs won, corsi, fenwick, they have a stat I’m a big fan of that sounds gimmicky “Old Time Hockey” but it just combines blocked shots with hits and fights.  I love incorporating these kind of stats into the league so that a player who is really good doesn’t just put up points, he has to do everything.  Add to that, we have a deeper league than most, so it helps make more players valuable.  Maybe they don’t put up much for points, but if they see a lot of TOI, are on the PK, win faceoffs, etc. then they’re worth picking up still.  The brother in law hates this though.  He’s loves and only does keeper leagues that are this deep, but believes in keeping it simple as can be.  Goals, assists, PIM’s, goaltenders worth nothing, etc.  I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I just found it interesting and would love to know what other people think.  One thing that has really excited me with analytics from a selfish point of view is that since they’re more telling than traditional stats, they’ll be outstanding to use for fantasy purposes.  Would honestly love to know what people think on this.

 

Well, the next Oilers game both can’t get here fast enough, and yet I’m not sure I can even watch.  Look, we all know it’s ONE game.  But the problem is that it’s the exact same team we saw last season.  I mean, it’s not the exact same team, it’s a team that’s added a lot of speed since this time last season.  But it’s the same disorganization, same passiveness, same slow tempo.  If it’s just some guys that are doing things like being out of position or playing slower it would be the personal.  I said this all last season and I still maintain this: the team is good enough to make the playoffs and Todd McLellan isn’t getting anywhere near the most out of them.  This squad is player for player faster than Vegas for example.  Yet the Golden Knights play one of the highest tempo’s in the league, and the Oilers could be the slowest.  Some of that is a lack of puck movers on the back end.  This system might work better if they had five or six guys who move the puck as well as Bouchard can, but they don’t!  They need to play on their toes, and instead McLellan has them playing for the game to come to them and allow the opposition to dictate, and it doesn’t work!  They did this in 17, it isn’t as if this was new last season.  And how did this team do?  Against the WEST, amazing.  The West was still playing slow/heavy enough that it worked.  Last year, the league got noticeably faster and the Oilers were skated into the ice most nights.  Vegas had guys last season like Perron, Neal, Reilly Smith, McNabb, Engelland, they were not an overly good skating team!  They simply played on their toes!  And that’s how most teams play now!  And the Oilers are just playing this completely passive style which is a big reason in my opinion they’re such a weak team defensively.  People believe that being aggressive will hurt you defensively, but I can say from experience that it’s much easier to play the game in general when you’re never stationary.  Had the Oilers lost 5-2 playing aggressive and the PP looked good, I’d be so happy and encouraged right now.  McLellan didn’t learn SHIT over the summer.  I’m very willing to give this team time, I’m not meaning to sound like the sky is falling.  And hey, it was Europe and maybe they just weren’t as prepared as they needed to be for that particular game.  But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t REALLY worried about what I saw.  Skated into the fuckin ice by a team that’s good, and they are fast, but they aren’t THAT good or THAT fast.  Again, if it’s a couple guys, then it’s the players.  It is the team and if it’s the entire team and we know that they have the talent to be at least a solid hockey team, then it is the coach.  He should have been gone, as should Chiarelli, and while I don’t know if I can stomach another season like the last, because of the Oilers complete JOKE of an owner it might be needed.  Then again, the jackasses who call the shots for them are too busy golfing or making a “Bobby Nichs burger” to even notice they have a joke of a team.

 

Having ranted all this…there is a Matt Benning problem that the dip shit GM wouldn’t address for the second off-season in a row.  His Matt Benning fetish has to end.  He’s a bottom pairing guy, and makes both too much money and they have much more useful bottom pairing guys for him to even be on the team anymore.  So what do you do?  Peter won’t go get Justin Faulk as he very likely could, and maybe the other guy they could go after is Tyson Barrie and he won’t do that either (Waddell and Sakic are probably both waiting on him to add a couple extra 1st’s to the McDavid package he has on the table).  In my opinion, they need to carry eight defencemen if they aren’t going to shed one in a trade, and go with Ethan Bear on the second pairing.  I’m with you on what you’re thinking after reading that.  I feel the same way!  But here is the thing: at least Bear can REALLY move the puck and can add something to their PP (since they aren’t going to use Bouchard on that top unit).  Bear isn’t a top four defenceman, but they badly need a blueline that can move the puck.  Bouchard and Bear are their best puck movers.  I think this team badly needs those guys on the ice.  And yes, I know how bad Bear got exposed at times in his own zone last season.  He can get walked rather easily.  But Benning isn’t much better in his own zone, he’s not that much better of a skater, and he can’t move the puck or shoot the puck near as well as Bear can.  It makes me sick that Bear might be the best option in that spot right now, but he probably is.

 

But hey, why get down after just one bad game, right?  I’m sure seven of the next eight aren’t against teams that were among the best in the league last year, right?….

 

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