Grinds My Gears


Hello and welcome to my first crack at the soon to be renamed Grinds My Gears. I don’t care much for Family Guy plus if this is going to be my defacto spot, I might as well make it my own.

We’re very, very early into the hockey season and I’m not used to having the Cubs play baseball during this time of year. But here we are. Even with divided attention we hold a few truths to be self-evident:

    1. Artemi Panarin is pretty goddamn good
    2. Teuvo is still my special boy but now he’s getting jerked around by Joel “3 Cupz” Quenneville
    3. Everything in the NHL is completely predictable

Let’s expand on #3 for a second. How many seasons in a row have we been told things are different for the Oilers (2-4) and they’ve finally got what it takes to turn the corner? How many seasons have we seen the San Jose Sharks (4-1) come out of the gates as the NHL’s hottest team, slaying everything in their path with a searing hot offense? How many years have the Blue Jackets (all of the years) been an embarrassment? Are the Devils still so boring no one cares whether or not they exist? Is there a single good Eastern Conference team outside of Tampa? How many times have the St. Louis Blues won the October-March Stanley Cup?

The Blackhawks are probably really good again but are being slowed by their coach’s desire to tinker and experiment with myriad line combinations. None of that should rankle you, if you’ve been paying attention at all for the past 7 years. I don’t begrudge anyone for getting upset about the lack of cohesion but it’s way too early for any serious hand-wringing, isn’t it?

Besides, maybe it’s all part of some grand Stan Bowman scheme to ensure that Teuvo can’t pull the stunt that Brandon Saad and his agent did at the end of his entry level deal. Yes, we know you’re special Teuvo – so special we think you can re-animate the hockey corpse of Andrew Shaw Third Line Center even though it’s been killed over and over again. Although if there’s a combination like Anisimov and Dano to be had even Teuvo might have to taste life in one of America’s most boring cities.

Basically the 2015-16 season’s story is going to come down to finding a 3rd pair defenseman who can move, figuring out an effective third line to build around Teuvo, and finding someone who can make the most of playing wing with Toews and Hossa. It will take time and possibly a few roster moves. In the meantime, we’ll see a cavalcade of busing between Chicago and Rockford of young players who may turn out to be pretty fun one day. Unfortunately this year they’ll all be set up to fail based on how they’ll likely be used.


All that brings me to charts. Following hockey on the internet can be done in a number of ways:

  1. You can plot everything you see onto a graph or table and have a completely unreadable discussion about them
  2. You can watch the game, log on to the web and feverishly lob obscenities at your local beat writers, bloggers, and the players themselves.
  3. Both!

I’ve vacillated between the first two as not only do I enjoy some of the fancier of stats, I’m also blocked by half the media in this city on Twitter. That said I think we all agree that this very website has been one of the only sites that’s used those fancy numbers in a way that’s easy and fun to digest. I believe strongly in using facts to give context to your very serious hockey analysis.

I like knowing where the shots are coming from and knowing which lines are matching up well against the opposition. I’m glad we’ve been able to take what happens in the game and apply it to see who’s performing well outside of the very obvious. They’re great for finding inefficiencies and for better predicting what might happen in the future.

What I don’t like is, well…this:

  Great. Thanks for the insight. Where’s the legend for this bad boy?

Sorry to pick on this twitter account, a person who clearly thinks people don’t have hearts, but holy shit what is this. Let’s get some of those squares in the net, baby. I didn’t include some of the bogus charts that were floating around this summer such as “Looks Like Sidney Crosby Is Talented” and “I Guess Max Pacioretty Is A Good Goal Scorer”. 

Basically, hockey twitter (cesspool, that it is) has turned into two factions. One is people who I don’t think watch hockey anymore. The other is a bunch of weirdos so desperate to get hired by an NHL team they’ll throw the letter x or d behind whatever useless stat they can think of in the name of furthering the sport.

Throw a party because some Canadian team that absolutely sucks just signed a grindy forward that no one else wants and it’s an absolute STEAL because he’s highly ranked in this proprietary stat that I invented and hold the key to. Here’s the thing: if your team’s biggest achievement is signing a depth player on August 30th your team is horsecrap.

Also, and I’m looking at you Toronto – if you trade your best goal scorer why on earth would you want to sign effective depth forwards when you can sign bad ones instead and ensure you get the top pick. I mean look how well it’s worked for Edmonton. 10 years of being abysmal and they finally got McDavid. What’s another 10 years?

Feel free to tweet me your favorite new hockey charts so I can pound my desk into a fine sand and yell about them. I love doing it.


In non-hockey news, it’s election day in Canada. I don’t know if they’re going to stick with their beloved Stephen Harper or vote someone else in, nor do I care. I did enjoy noted dinosaur Steve Simmons bitching about people…voting? Yes, apparently exercising your right to vote is the latest thing bothering this dumb old bastard.

Steve Simmons should be monitored closely. Anyone who’s willing to get violent over people voting is clearly a detriment to society. Good luck knowing this monster lurks the streets, Canada.


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