Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract

The statistical revolution is coming to hockey whether you like it or not, and the Bible has been published.

Rob Vollman, tired of waiting for someone else to write hockey's version of The Bill James Baseball Abstract, the seminal work that ushered in baseball's sabermetrics revolution, has published Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Franson Squeezed Out of Toronto?

cody franson leafs trade
The little deals add up, and for Dave Nonis and the Toronto Maple Leafs, that might mean Cody Franson is firing slap shots from the point for another team next year.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Leafs might not have the cap space to give Franson the deal he wants.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Analyzing the 47 Players Invited to Olympic Camp

Team Canada orientation camp
On Monday, Steve Yzerman and his staff released a list of 47 players invited to Olympic orientation camp being held Aug. 25-28.

The decision on who makes the team, as always, will be difficult, as Canada is loaded at all positions. But as the Olympics are in Sochi, Russia this year, the international ice will be a huge factor, so skating ability will be a major selection criterion.

"Ultimately, we'll pick the best players available to us," Yzerman said on a conference call. "But playing on a bigger ice surface, I believe there is a priority on being able to skate."

Olympic camp will give the Team Canada brass a closer look at the Olympic hopefuls. There is a chance for a player snubbed from orientation camp to nab a roster spot, like Patrice Bergeron in 2010 and Bryan McCabe in 2006, but it isn't likely.

Here's a look at the camp invitees and how good of a chance they have at making the 25-man Russia-invading squad.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Why We Still Love NHL 94

Video game technology has come a long way since EA Sports released NHL 94 in March, 1993. But the nostalgic death grip that NHL 94 holds over a generation of fans won't subside.

That's why EA Sports intends to recreate the classic game in its latest version of the NHL series, and not by simply slapping on an emulator like in NHL 06. In addition to NHL 14, the game's creators have made a completely updated version of NHL 94 that might just get more game play than the main product.

Greg Wyshynski took it for a test drive and came back with glowing reviews.

The best compliment I can pay EA Sports’ new ‘NHL 94’ anniversary edition: I wanted to bring it home, call my friends, get some six packs and play until dawn.

And by the looks of the trailer, he's not lying.

It's amazing the cultural relevance NHL 94 still has 20 years later. Fans unconditionally love everything about the game, to the point that ran highlights with an NHL 94 twist this season and I was sad it wasn't a permanent switch. There is even an online community for the game, with links to emulators and online leagues.

And it's not difficult to see why the love persists. It was a great game to have friends over for a tournament and its easy-to-pick-up, hard-to-put-down quality might have even helped you first fall in love with hockey.

Puck Daddy, with the help of Scotty Wazz, counted down the 10 greatest things about NHL 94 earlier this year, and I wanted to add my own fond recollections to get pumped for the game's modern update.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dave Nonis Kills Leafs Cap Space

dave nonis leafs clarkson cap space
It took me less than six months to turn on Dave Nonis.

I initially called Nonis a "good hire" in January—despite believing Brian Burke deserved at least one more year at the helm—based on his conservative approach in Vancouver. Nonis didn't sign any albatross contracts in Vancouver, letting a declining (yet still popular) player like Ed Jovonovski walk and balking at Anson Carter's inflated demands even after he finished a (Sedin-created) 30-goal season. He stole Roberto Luongo from Florida and refused to gut the farm system (Alex Edler and Ryan Kesler) for Brad Richards, ultimately costing him his job.

But that conservative approach has been replaced by pure insanity in Toronto.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Leafs Stupidly Buy Out Mikhail Grabovski

mikhail grabovski leafs buyout
Living through the JFJ era was torture for Leafs fans, and it appears the misguided, mismanaged ways of the past are returning.

Dave Nonis has used the Leafs' final compliance buyout on Mikhail Grabovski, ridding Toronto of Grabovski's $5.5 million cap hit. The buyout will cost the Leafs $14.33 million in real dollars over eight years, but nothing against the cap.
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