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Friday Miscellany

Another week in the books, another round of free-floating hostility.

-Kevin Hayes finally landed with the New York Rangers, where conceivably he will get a chance to play sooner rather than later after losing some forward depth this offseason. Hayes threw everyone for a loop by not choosing Calgary where his college bros are or Florida where his actual bro is, but he gets to stay close to home in the northeast. But with the Rangers’ lack of real playmaking centers who can’t even seem to get rumored wiener tucker Rick Nash going with any consistency, everyone will see just how effective Hayes can be on his own in short order.

-Given the cantankerous way that Joe Thornton has behaved towards various Blackhawks over the last five or so seasons, it would have been difficult at any point to view him as a sympathetic figure. Yet Doug Wilson and Todd McLellan are doing their best and are pushing Thornton towards Luongo levels of likeability after having done basically nothing wrong. In an offseason where Wilson promised seismic change and Thornton was very loudly on the trading block, the Sharks have done little to produce the overhaul they spoke of other than sign a bunch of marginal NHLer turds, and are now instead going through a media smear campaign with Thornton. Both Thornton and the alternates have been stripped of their captain’s letters, and an open competition will be held for the spots, whatever the hell that even means. Additionally, Darren Dreger relayed statements from Todd McLellan that Thornton will have to “earn” whatever ice time is commensurate with his play.

While Thornton is an easy subject of ridicule for a variety of reasons, that he is a generational offensive force cannot be denied, and the Sharks entire style of play hinges on him. Perhaps they’re trying to shame him out of town to get him to waive his no trade clause, but even at 35 there is next to no return the Sharks could get for him that would even be a lateral move for the team, let alone an improvement. Not that Hawks fans should lose any sleep over a Western Confernce foe with Cup aspirations punching itself in the dick for no reason.

-Speaking of punching, George McPhee is apparently in the running for the position vacated by Brendan Shanahan at the league office as the head of the Department of Player Safety. Notice that it’s “player” safety, and not “opposing head coach” safety, as McPhee would be screwed. One of the most bafflingly under-reported stories in hockey of the last twenty years is that McPhee decked then-Hawks coach Lorne Molleken (one of the most aggressively Canadian names ever) after a pre-season game, for basically no reason. Only the NHL could be as tone deaf as to even consider a man who basically committed battery to be in charge of anything remotely related to safety.

-This week featured another round of pantsless internet bloggers getting hired on by NHL teams, in the form of Darryl Metcalf, the mastermind behind ExtraSkater.com, and Cam Charron, who fans of the old stop back up the digital dial will recall as being a Vancouver referee conspiracy theorist before he started crunching actual numbers. Both were hired by the Maple Leafs, and in the wake these hirings and those of Eric T’s from Broad Street Hockey and Tyler Dellow (aka @mc79hockey) to an unknown team and the Oilers respectively, the peanut gallery of Twitter couldn’t wait to congratulate itself.

A few notes on this. Firstly, this site in its various iterations was getting its writers hired by NHL teams years before it became the cool thing to do, and long-time readers should know exactly who is being discussed. Secondly, a team hiring a blogger for its analytics department isn’t necessarily a indicator of being ahead of the curve. Look at the teams that are doing the hiring. That these clubs are reaching out to hobbyists- hobbyists who do fantastic work but are hobbyists nonetheless- shows just how badly left behind that they’ve been. And thirdly, these hirings do nothing to validate theirs or anyone else’s previous or forthcoming work, because the numbers speak for themselves. That’s the nice thing about numbers, and why they are now simply presented as givens here without meta-discourse on their merit.

But ultimately the only real downside of this movement is losing voices like Metcalf’s, whose site was heavily relied upon. Fortunately there are still places like NiceTimeOnIce.com to pick up some of the slack.

  • Joe Banks

    I just read that tropical storm Cristobal is struggling… why did that make me laugh?

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      Is it on the verge of being replaced by tropical storm Antii and then being relegated to Europe for 2 years?

  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    It’s sad, but I’m betting that a man with a brain like McPhee’s is likely the NHL’s ideal candidate. He’ll “understand where the players are coming from.”

  • 2883

    I may be in a boat of one, but if Thornton comes cheaply. I’m on board. Thornton’s still got a few years left in the tank.. and despite his being a giant prick, I wouldn’t mind his talent on the squad. I don’t know what it would take but the direction that Wilson/McClellan are headed a couple of knuckle draggers would suffice.

    • Joe Banks

      We traded Bollig too soon?

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      Thornton is making $6.75M against the cap for the next 3 years. Even if Thornton was willing to waive his NMC to come here there’d be absolutely no way the ‘Hawks could fit him under the cap.

      • 2883

        They could if San Jose agreed to eat a healthy portion of his salary.

        • MySpoonIsTooBig

          The maximum amount of salary a team can eat is 50%, so even if the Sharks did that he’d still cost $3.375M against the cap for 3 years which would kind of be a problem for a team that’s has to shed ~$2M to get under the 2014-15 cap still and has the 2 biggest cap-hit deals in league history coming onto the books in 2015-16.

          Also, the only way San Jose eats any salary on Thornton – who, unfairly earned playoff reputation aside, is one of the greatest playmaking centers of his generation – is if it gets a MONSTER return for him. Like “Sharp + TT + a high pick” monster (if that’s even enough). The kind of deal that Stan would, rightfully, be incredibly reluctant to make.

  • Graeme W

    Long time listener, first time caller (to this site, anyway). I knew SCH was offered credentials, but didn’t know any writers were hired by teams; is this how the Triumvirate-plus-one became the Triumvirate again?

    Secondly, I’m travelling to Chicago for the first time on Monday, and was wondering if the kind folks on this site had any suggestions. I’ll probably do the usual stuff like the Art Institute, various other museums, and hopefully Buddy Guy’s, but was just wondering if there were any less-obvious things to do that I might’ve missed. Cheers in advance.

    • YoAdrienne

      Unfortunately, the Jonathan Toews “pig nose” mural on the Eisenhower Expressway has been removed, so that’s out.

      The Oriental Institute at the Univ. of Chicago is a great museum that a lot of people overlook. That’s if you’re into ancient Egypt and the Middle East. I think it’s at least as good as the Field Museum in that regard.

      There’s a whole bunch of public art throughout the downtown area, a lot of it by famous artists like Picasso and Chagall. Just search “Chicago public art,” and you’ll find several sites that contain descriptions and maps.

      The city is also a great place for anyone who’s into architecture. You can get on a formal tour, or just walk around on your own. Again, the information is easily found with a search. Both the Sears/Willis Tower and the Hancock Bldg. have observation decks for a great view of the city.

      You can also rent kayaks and paddle the Chicago River. There are at least 2 or 3 places where you can do this. They even give tours. Google it. If you don’t feel like paddling, hop on one of the water taxis, or take a lakefront tour. There are also dinner cruises available.

      Wish I was going with you. I sure miss home.

      • Graeme W

        Oh man, I’d forgotten about the pig nose mural. That would’ve been good to see “in person.”

        Those are some great tips, I’ll be sure to keep them in mind when I’m over. Yeah, I’m hopefully going to see lots of Frank Lloyd Wright stuff when I’m over (I know he didn’t design it, but The Rookery looks awesome). Didn’t know you could paddle down the river, though, that could be interesting.

        Thanks again for the advice.

        • guest

          If you’re into frank lloyd wright, there’s a house he designed open to the public as a museum also in hyde park right next to the Oriental Institute (I’d second the recommendation to go there if you’re into middle/near eastern history, their collection is really impressive (also as a uchicago alum I am contractually required to recommend it as much as possible)).

    • OMFS88

      If you like pizza and beer, Piece pizzeria & brewery is about 5 miles northwest of downtown and has great… Pizza and beer… It gets a bit crowded for dinner, so expect a wait.

      • Graeme W

        Definitely sounds like my sort of place. Thanks for the tip!

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      If you’re a book person, the Seminary Co-op Bookstore on the U Chicago campus is one of the best bookstores in the nation. Whenever I’m in Chicago I head there and it steals an entire afternoon.

  • Nick

    I’ve been reading this blog (and previous iterations), I thought, for a long time. I don’t know who is being referenced.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      Pretty sure it’s Emerald Gao, who wrote as a fourth back at SCH as gmh (if I’m remembering the right initials). She interned a bit for the Hawks (I think) and now does some website stuff for them.

      • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

        Ding.

  • Scott Nease

    I agree that the most under reported story has ties to the “Department of Player Safety” but it isn’t McPhee. It was how Shanahan got the job in the first place. His predecessor Colin Campbell was bullying one of the referees because he was calling too many penalties on his son, Gregory Campbell. And worse, he turned a blind eye to Matt Cooke when he concussed Marc Savard, who he thought was picking on his son. Tyler Dellow broke the story and it was reported on TSN but the American media has ignored it. How Colin Campbell remains employed in the league office is beyond comprehension.