Senators News: October 10th; Ottawa 3 Los Angeles 4

-The Sens overcame a 3-0 deficit to lose to LA 4-3 in overtime.  I was unable to watch the game (alas), but from what I’ve been told the team struggled through much of the game (a lot of penalty trouble) before mounting a comeback.  Amelia L provides a thorough summary of the gameplay (there’s a shorter one from Travis Yost).  Here’s the boxscore.

Travis looks at the four-year trend in penalty-calling in the NHL and the Sens have the second worst ratio in the league, which illustrates the organisation has not sucked up enough to the people in charge of the officials (bravo Chicago!).  For those of you who think I’m being overly cynical…maybe, but given the roster (and coaching) turnover I’m don’t think trends like that should occur.

Sam Page says we don’t need to debate fighting because it’s dying already due to the evidence provided by advanced statistics.  There’s a lot of good stuff in this, but one thing Page says bothers me:

Most fans, I suspect, support fighting as the expression of a genuine and building frustration toward a rival team, or as a means of karmic retribution on the NHL’s worst pests.

I mean, do they?  That’s a huge assumption based on…nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Given his reliance on facts in his article it’s a bad slip by Page.  Regardless, the meat of his article is solid:

How much exactly does an enforcer cost a team with his fumbling play? Derek Zona calculated that in 2010 the average goon took his team down one whole win in the standings, which seems like a small number until you look at the standings. Zona’s calculation holds up today. Hockey Prospectus records a statistic called GVT (Goals Versus Threshold) that attempts to measure, essentially, Wins Above Replacement (to borrow a sabermetric concept). Just doing some quick back-of-the-napkin math — using last year’s results and knowing that the average forward GVT was about 3.5, and about three goals are worth a team point in the standings.

Don Brennan favourite Zenon Konopka is among the worst offenders costing his team 3 wins by this measure.

Everyone knows that supergoons can’t play, but GMs tolerate their presence on rosters because they think they can get away with it. The trick is that they were never really getting away with it. Now an increasing number of NHL fans and teams realize that deterrence doesn’t work when goons only fight other goons. Roster spots are too precious.

That realisation clearly hasn’t sunk in for the Sens.

Kevin Klein makes the point that players can have positive Corsi numbers if they are surrounded by others who are actually driving them.  This may seem simplistic, but it does illustrate how a coach can “hide” a mediocre player.

-It’s not hockey related, but the general celebration going on for Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize made me think about my approach to awards in general–which is that they are political (have fun reading through Wikipedia for how pervasive that is) and essentially irrelevant when it comes to determining the qualitative importance of anything (which makes Scott Reynolds approach on deciding on the greatest players futile).  Amelia L‘s post made me think the point is that the symbolic importance is what matters–that is to say, how people perceive an award winner (like Munro) is more important than any intrinsic value the actual award has:

This is such a big deal. It wasn’t until the 1960s that you could actually take a Can Lit class at a Canadian university. Today, despite numerous internationally recognized Canadian authors, Can Lit classes and Canadianist scholars are still looked down on by some in English Departments. I’ve attended universities known for their focus on Canadian literature and even at these institutions, when Canadianist scholars retire, they aren’t replaced by Canadianists. Canadianist scholars have to demonstrate their versatility in English departments, hired because of the other things they can teach and not their focus on Canadian literature. A Canadian winning the Nobel Prize for Literature should be celebrated news in those institutions. When I used to hold office hours at the University College building on the University of Western Ontario campus, I often thought about two things: that Alice Munro used to walk those same halls and that these cockroaches are gross. While Munro has long been a celebrated author, at Canadian universities we still deal with people who are “not interested in teaching books by women” in 2013.

I’ve always thought the problem for Canadian Lit were that the authors selected for study (as a long-suffering English major I’d like to punch Michael Ondaatje in the face for his pretentious garbage).  The attitude towards women authors is, of course, idiotic, but then there are people who don’t like to read at all–so Darwin award winners exist aplenty in the species.  But to go back to awards (which dovetails into my indifference for who gets them in the NHL) if this helps the perception of Canadian authors then bravo to The Swedish Academy for shining a light where it was needed.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. The refs spoil many good games and yes certain teams get the breaks ..

  2. As a fellow English major my take on Canadian Lit is that it was hi-jacked by the navel gazing ‘what does it mean to be Canadian’ twaddle-pushers from U of T in the 60’s and 70’s and has never recovered.
    Until Canadian literature is treated as literature first and Canadian second it will remain in this endlessly mundane loop.

    • There’s was (across the board, not just with Can Lit) a tremendous reluctance in universities to broaden their scope–the same kinds of modern “literature” is explored over and over again.

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