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I'm Saving Hockey: A BTN March 13th Recap

What a week for Zdeno Chara: he makes routine checks all year, and then a check he's made everywhere else on the ice just so happens to be made right before a stanchion and "boom", undies bundled.  What made this hit such a tough sell were the approaches to defending his play: Chara went for the "he jumped into it" defense, Julien went for the "he's not dirty" defense, and the league ultimately decided for the "it was a hockey play" defense.  Chara's choice, obviously, was a good one, because even though Chara himself deserves the benefit of the doubt on knowing whether the stanchion was there, Max Pacioretty is a student of the game, and knows where every stanchion, crack, and Pierre McGuire is along the boards.  Julien's defense, I think, might be the strongest case, as we all know Chara's never had suspension issues, and he's pretty much the cleanest player in the league.  He never targets the head, didn't really have a history of issues with the Montreal Canadiens or Pacioretty, and...well okay, maybe sometimes he doesn't know his own strength, but he's a gentle giant.  The league's route, to me, is a respectable high road, because hockey plays cause concussions nowadays.  That's just because the heart's tougher than the head.

But really, the good people of the NHL missed a prime opportunity to come down on visors.  I mean, let's take a look at this puppy again; I'm pretty sure we can see the point of contact at least partially involves the visor.  With any luck, this can be a valuable learning lesson for the NHL and its fans: a.) Chara's hitting is a constant and legal, so if you get hurt it's your fault or your size, b.) Visors cause concussions and broken vertebrae, and c.) since the current level of physical play causes concussions, and I like the current level of physical play, either quit playing hockey or my boy Darwin will find you.  As my grandson says to me when we play Girl Talk: "Your bad."

This week's pestilent poop articles:

Monday: Bad News for Leafs Fans (and Good News for Habs Fans)

Grandpa's Analysis: First of all, how dare Gabe talk like that about an Original Six team.  You'd think he grew up rooting for some crappy WHA holdover.  He forgets that the tradition emerges in tough parts of the season like this, carrying them to the playoffs while other teams (that I won't name) are spending their off-days slapping on SPF 45 and sipping appletinis at the nude beach.

Monday: Malcolm Gladwell gets an 'F' in ranking methodology

GA: The more students in the class the better.  That means more students are being taught, right?  

Tuesday: The League of Extraordinary Statisticians: "Good" Penalties

GA: As I've said before, all penalties are good penalties.  A penalty is just a way of saying you had a bit too much heart at that moment.  One time, back in my playing days, I loved the game so much I slashed both goaltenders, slew-footed a referee, and personalized all my autographs after the game, "Dear [name], Don't sell this for less than 50 bucks, you f***in' groupie."

Wednesday: Pass Charting - The Way of the Intercepting Tablet

GA: Hey stat geeks, I think I see a message in the scribbles for says "Don't forget to make reservations for the Star Trek convention."

Thursday: How much is a shot from the point on the power play worth?

GA: Who cares? Grip it and rip it baby.  There's nothing greater than a big defenseman with a heavy shot who always puts it head-level so no one can tip it.  Sheldon Souray is worth his weight in wheat pennies.

Friday: Dion Phaneuf: Wha' Happen?

GA: Man, two Leaf-hating articles in one week?  What, you guys get a beach house or something?  Dion Phaneuf's only problem is that bird Elisha Cuthbert.  Never go steady before a game, son, if you know what I mean...okay, Dion, I mean, Dion, don't do sex before the game.  Even if she wears...wait, she wore what?  Okay, maybe that's worth a "healthy scratch", if you know what I...nevermind.

Let's face it, people, it's a Chara world and you all are just a bunch of Lilliputians trying to hold him down.