2009-2010 Penalty Project

So this is the Big Man. I know the Oilers (and fans) have been kind of a enigma about having a heavy weight on the team over the last few seasons: first we don't need Laraque in 2006, then we got pushed around a bunch. We plucked off waivers Steve MacIntyre in 2008 but by the next season he was gone too. All the time we where still being pushed around, so in between we hire the thug Jesse Boulerice and then we cut him after 2 games.

Well I am still saddened that we ever gave Boulerice a chance to sully our silks, but that is not the same for SMac or Big George. I am glad they where on my team, not glad they wasted a roster spot. Fuck Strudwick, these are good stories. Plus they wore the (in)famous numbers of 27 and 33: oh the memories.

Some of you might know, I have a small stats project on the go, but I didn't really wite about it this year. No worries here comes a whole season in one shot. Hat tip to Sean, the 'bring back the glory' computer assistant extraordinaire for providing the data.

For those that need a refreasher the idea of Aggressive Penalties and Lazy penalties can be found here. This is the first attempt, well second really, but the first systematic attempt to use these stats: if you are looking for the evolution then you have to read a bunch of the post labeled under Aggressive or Lazy Penalties (or here). Over the debates a couple things have been pointed, ad nauseam, such as Lazy Penalty doesn't mean Bad Penalty or vice versa. Yes, I agree but I never claimed that. Only that these stat groupings can tell us something of the role a player plays and their effectiveness at it. For example, one would hope that a agitator or a heavy weight would have more Aggressive Penalties then Lazy ones, since we want these players PiM totals to be made up of charging and Fighting minutes not hooking. Well I do at least. Also that a smaller forward's ratio can tell use how he played the game, well maybe give us a hint or two. Note for all the Oilers stats, one game is missing; some kind of computer problem and we can't figure out which one is missing, sorry folks.

Team Penalties (2009-2010 in Blue and 2008-2009 in Copper)
Total Penalties: 399 / 444
Aggressive Penalties: 154 / 175
% of Aggressive: 39% / 39%
Lazy Penalties: 245 / 269
% of Lazy: 61% / 61%
Ratio of Aggressive to Lazy: 1:1.59 / 1:1.54
So it appears that both this year and last year we pulled almost exactly the same ratios and percents, but with 45 few penalties. That looks fine, to my eyes at least (plus it will make the future post about individual players easier to compare across seasons).
A Break Down of the Aggressive Penalties
Fighting: 57 / 59
Instigating: 3 / 4
Boarding: 8 / 7
Charging: 0 / 2
Cross-Checking: 16 / 20
Elbowing: 2 / 2
Misconducts: 12 / 12
Roughing: 59 / 62
Goalie Interference: 9 / 9
Unsportsman like Conduct: 3 / 2
Things look about even again. An interesting aside: in 08-09 fights made up 34% of all aggressive penalties and roughing made up 35%, while in 09-10 fights made up 37% of AP and roughing made up 38%. Once we got rid of the heavy weight, we got into more fights and had more players sucker-punch (or rough) an opponent. Again, cheers to the boys for no hitting from behind!
A Break Down of the Lazy Penalties
Hooking: 57 / 82
High-sticking: 25 / 36
Interference: 32 / 28
Holding: 43 / 29
Diving: 0 / 1
Delay of Game: 8 / 11
Tripping: 48 / 45
Slashing: 29 / 36
Kneeing: 0 / 2
Holding the Stick: 4 / 4
Covering the Puck in the Crease: 0 / 1
Goalie leaves Crease: 0 /1
This one has a more interesting change from last season: hooking calls where down to 23% (from last year's 30%) but holding went up to 18% (last year's 11%). Does the 7% difference in between these two season mean anything, or is it that this year's players where more likely to use their hands (as opposed to their stick) to attempt to slow down another player that beat them?
Next up the individual break down (well, it will be up after I finish a couple papers) and then on to using it to judge Fighters, the real use of this stat.

The Second Round Pick

When most people think of the beauties for the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, they immediately think of Susan Sarandon (as Janet Weiss) in her white bra and slip.  It is kinda like this up coming draft, it is all about that first pick.

As I re-watched this classic flick (including in the lovely Garneau Theatre and when you still where allowed to throw rice/toast and bring waterguns), I have come to appreciate the loveliness of Columbia, or Nell Campbell, a in a deep and disturbing way.  It is not just the star of the show which should be keeping our attention, but the supporting cast that makes a decent bit of eye-candy a truly frame by frame kinda of event (for you young'ens: pay attention to Columbia during the 'Floor Show'- it is worth it).  Seriously, you have to be some kinda of square to prefer Janet to Columbia!

In my opinion, Columbia is like our second round pick: fantastic in their own right, but will always be thought of as the after thought, or a 'groupie'.  That is until time passes and we re-watch the movie or see the player develop.  So in this blog, I am going to look at who might be available when the Oilers walk up to the podium with the 31st pick overall.  

First lets look at how the Oilers draft by position since 2000 in the first three rounds:
2009: 1st-LW, 2nd-C, 3rd-D/RW
2008: 1st-C, no 2nd or 3rd round picks (but they did pick a D in the 4th)
2007: 1st-C/D/C
2006: 2rd-D, 3rd-D
2005: 1st-C, 2nd-D, 3rd-D/C
2004: 1st-G/C, 2nd-D/LW
2003: 1st-C, 2nd-RW/LW, 3rd-C/C
2002: 1st-C/G, 2nd-C/D, 3rd-LW
2001: 1st-RW, 2nd-D/LW, 3rd-D
2000: 1st-LW, 2nd-LW, 3rd-D
Well there is no obvious pattern that smacks you with a 2x4, but I think we can gleam some information.  Discounting goalie picks, the Oilers have picked a defenseman immediately after picked a forward 5 out of 10 time (08, 07, 05, 04 and 01).  In all but two drafts (06 and 03), the Oilers have picked at least one forward and one defenseman in the first two rounds.  I was thinking that the Oilers were almost a lock to pick a defenseman with the 31st pick, but according to recent history that seems only 50% likely, and they would still have two (maybe three more picks, depending on Calgary) to find a Dman in the top three rounds.  
Assuming I am wrong, and the Oilers are going to pick a Dman with the number 31 pick, who would be on their radar*:
Jonanthon Merril (USA U-18), ranked 21st NA Skaters
6'3" 198 lbs.  (commited to Univ. of Michigan)
22 GP, 1 G, 8A, 9Pts, 12 PiM   (0.409 Pts/G)
Alex Petrovic (Red Deer WHL), ranked 29th  NA Skaters
6'4" 193 lbs.
57 GP 8 G, 19A, 27Pts. 87PiM    (0.474 Pts/G)
Stephens John (USA U-18), ranked 35th NA Skaters
6'3" 215 lbs
23 Gp, 1G, 7A, 8Pts, 29PiM   (0.348 Pts/G)
Patrik Nemeth (AIK jr.), ranked 11th Euro Skaters
6'3" 201 lbs.
AIK J20: 38GP, 1G, 19A, 20Pts, 120PiM (0.526Pts/G)
AIK (Sweden-2): 16GP, 0G, 3A, 3Pts, 8PiM (0.188Pts/G)
Alexei Marchenko (CSKA 2), ranked 12th Euro Skaters
6'2" 170 lbs.
CSKA 2: 43GP, 11G, 23A, 34Pts, 59PiM (0.790 Pts/G)
CSKA (KHL): 10GP, 0Pts, 0 PiM
Nikita Zaytev (Novosibirsk) ranked 13th Euro Skater
6'1" 176 lbs
KHL: 40 GP. 0G, 1A, 1Pts, 8PiM
Now, I am no expert (really I wrote this just to put the picture of Columbia on my blog), but if I was a betting man (which I would be if I had a job that paid above the poverty line) I would be looking at the Oilers to eyeing either Jonanthon Merril or Patrik Nemeth.  
  • The Oil like the tall and a bit lanky America Dmen, ala Gilbert/Whitney variety, so Merril is in the mix.  Merril's offensive numbers (pts/g) is a little lower then the others, but he plays only a small number of games in the USA U-18 system and will have three years (most likely) to work on this at University of Michagin (another place the Oilers like to have their prospects). 
  • Nemeth has some interesting things going for him: a) he is not Russia, like the other two Euro Skaters I have singled out, b) his Junior numbers are great (0.526 pts) and he has more consistency playing then men then Marchenko, c) he is big (6'3" 201 lbs), but also has a mean streak (120 PiMs), strange for a Euro.
  • The two Russians have a real possibility of falling to the Nashville 2nd round pick that we got for the Acid Eater.  Neither of them will ever be as good as him: yes, I said that and I will stand by that.  Zatyev does interest me though (and I mean that I am really interested): seriously, why is this kid playing 40 games against men with only one point.  He must bring something to the table, and I want to see what this is:  maybe a shutdown defender??? 
* I am only using Central Scouting's report since they are the only one I can find the 30th and above ranked players for free.

End Times

As the season comes to a close, both in terms of the Oilers death march towards epic suckdom and my own academic year, I find myself thinking reflectively about what was and wasn't accomplished, feeling a bit heartbroken about missed opportunities combined with the sense of hope and rebirth that always accompanies the first signs of spring. It is certainly a cliche to believe that hope is a possibility, yet with all of the hopelessness that surrounds this team, I find myself falling into the cautious optimism camp. It is a strange place to occupy, one where I have some to terms with a great many things about both myself and the team, not to mention the idea of being a part of a community that is very passionate and vocal, informed and dedicated yet slowly losing faith in the very thing, the essence of what has created the community in the first place.

This is Jean-Luc Nancy, a French theorist who I have grown fairly dependent upon in my current research. Nancy wrote a book in the early 1980s called "The Inoperative Community" where he examines the ideas of what community can represent. We definitely are a community here, a community of writers and fans, a group of people who have chosen to come together from all sorts of different places to enjoy a game, a team, and a certain way of life. Throughout it all, this community has never lost its will to exist as such, despite the overwhelming desire to flee in the face of perpetual heartbreak and loss, a death of sorts. Even the very fact of calling this season a death march for the second time since the miracle of 06 indicates that we define this community both through mythology and the death of others. This is where Nancy comes into the equation.:

Nancy redefines community, asking what can it be if it is reduced neither to a collection of separate individuals, nor to treat the abstraction of communal substance. He writes that our attempt to design civil society according to pre-planned definitions frequently leads to social violence and terror, posing the social and political question of how to proceed with the development of society with this knowledge in mind. Inoperable Community means that community is not the result of a production, be it social, economic or even political or nationalist production....

...The community that becomes a single thing (body, mind, fatherland, Leader...) ...necessarily loses the in of being -in-common. Or, it loses the with or the together that defines it. It yields its being-together to a being of togetherness. The truth of community, on the contrary, resides in the retreat of such a being...

Nancy tackles the question of how we can speak of a plurality of a "we" without making the "we" a singular identity. The premise of the title essay in this book is that there is no being without "being-with," that "I" does not come before "we" and that there is no existence without co-existence. This notion of "we" is something that I have often thought of in my academic work, but it relates to being a part of this community as well. Often in reading comments on other blogs, such as The Copper and Blue or Lowetide, I find commenters referencing themselves as a "we " of sorts, as if they themselves are a part of the team that the this community represents, yet none of us are actually a part of that community at all; we are not under contract to the organization nor have any sort of real affiliation to it except for what our own minds as individual "I's" within a greater "we" have built in our minds, a sort of affinity-based community that we have created for ourselves.

Furthermore, we have our own collections of myths that we draw upon regularly, be it "the boys on the bus," "the little team that could," or the "06 miracle." Hell, this website espouses such a mythological construct even in the way that it is named-Bringing Back the Glory-with little numbers representing the years in which our mythological heroes carried us on their backs and brought with them a sense of joy, love and passion that created a singularity out of a collection of seemingly disperate individuals.

Bringing it back to Nancy for a moment, he makes a reference to this type of situation through the telling of a story, of myth framed as history, discussing the origins and emergences of a people who were once dispersed and found themselves together again, as the beginnings of all stories, as myth making a community what it is though the transmission and repetition of the myths as history, and as stories, as organization and as truth (Nancy, 43-47). Community, according to Nancy takes place for others and through others, and is made up of a collection of I’s who are always others (Nancy, 15-17). It also reveals itself through the death of others. Yet communities tend to occupy a singular space, a space of safety, where this collection of I’s can become a singular we, drawn together for any number of social, political, moral or religious reasons. Community acts as space itself as well as the spacing of experience. At the same time it is outside the spacing of experience and outside the self, as it is outside of the individual’s inner experience while still maintaining that desire for connection and belonging to the world outside the self. For every great moment of victory, the joy is shared by all-for every year or game of tragedy, failure and loss, the feeling of death is equally shared by all. This of course validates Nancy’s conception that mythology and community define each other (Nancy, 41).

But this revelation does not necessarily have to be the foundational moment where community and communal bonds of trust and love are formed. Furthermore, this idea can be turned back upon itself to look at the how this plays out in communities of fate, where the members supposedly have little control in being a part of this community space (for example, my own association in Judaism, and how both the ritual of “sitting sheva”, the week long public mourning ritual, combined with the collective trauma of the holocaust have on community identification and bonds of loyalty and obligation), as opposed to communities of choice, where the individual members would likely participate in such customs not because they have to but instead because they want to, an arrangement that implies at least a sense of agency and autonomy that is largely absent from the subtext surrounding obligatory communal and social bonds. Nancy asserts that the "singular being does not know but experiences his like . . . This is its passion. Singularity is the passion of Being" (Nancy, 33) In an extension from his thoughts on freedom, community, and the sense of the world, he imagines the "being-with" as a mutual exposure to one another that preserves the freedom of the "I", and thus a community that is not subject to an exterior or pre-existent definition.

I wanted to make this post as something of a tribute to BCB, who recently had a close family member pass on. As he said in his most recent post, one of the major bonds that the two of them shared was over the great game of hockey. They were together a part of a smaller community, a family, but also a part of this community, of passionate hockey fans whose shared collective memory has created a series of myths and stories that help define and give the community life; yet even in death, these stories and myths live on through the others that continue to tell them, allowing for rebirth and redemption in the face of death and tragedy.

Despite the sadness of the past year, I remain hopeful that a new, happier mythology will embrace our passionate, faithful community in the not so distant future. Maybe it is the first sunshine of spring getting to my head, or may be I was simply looking for an excuse to test out these ideas (as I am about to begin writing a 30 page paper on this subject), but despite the death and gloom surrounding the Oilers this season, I am remaining cautiously hopeful that our community will have great new stories to tell very soon.

Go Oilers


So Long, Farewell (updated!)

As I sit on the train heading up to Montreal, my mind turns to hockey.  I am heading to the funeral of my late Uncle.  This man was a fan; not a fair weather fan like me (that can barely stand to watch this years version of the Oilers, and who's blogs are a hopeless failure), but a real fan.  He moved out west to get a job like a lot of folks my parents generation but never was at home out west.  He never embraced the Boys on the Bus; for him they always were the enemy.  As a child, I never quite got not liking the Great One, but I am starting to understand (I have similar feelings about 'the Kid').

One day after the 1993 cup, my uncle decide to move back to Montreal.  He could not live without the Habs anymore.  Living in Edmonton was like living in your own personal hell: having to watch the blue and orange win cup after cup, then he missed the last cup the Bleu Blanc et Rouge won.  It was heart breaking for him.  So he packed his bags and returned to watch them twist and turn in the wind for the next 15 years.

The last time I spent with him was two Christmases ago.  I was living too far from Edmonton to go home, so I went to visit him.  We spent most of our evenings watching either his Habs or the junior Montreal team on TV.  These moments of hockey (and drinking port) were the highlights of that Christmas.  I will always remember him like this.  One thing that my Uncle taught me about hockey and life is: 

"Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau,
 à vous toujours de le porter bien haut."

 Note: I stopped to see shepso, and we are watching Oilers, eating swedish meatballs, and cooking bison.  Umm . . . reprieve.

(last meal) Ingredients:
  • Two Bison Steaks rested in Marinade for 3 hours.  Fried on all sides. Wrapped in 2 strips of bacon, baked till crispy.
  • Marinade:
-1 Pasbt Blue Ribbon
- 2 table spoons of Honey-Hoisin Sause
- 3 dashes of pepper
- 2 oz. left over of swedish meat ball sauce
  • Veg: cooked in one once of olive oil and about 3 oz. of marinade.  Green beans and potatoes boiled in water till soft and then combined with the other vegetables (the green beans were left out for a while) in a wok and then cook till we liked them.
- 4 potatoes
-one piece of baby bok choy
- 4 oz. of chopped green onions
- 1.5 oz. chopped red onion
- about 2 fluid oz. of garlic
- one hand full of green beans
Meat Sweats!