The delight that is Jared Cowen continues–he’s like the gift that keeps on giving. We know that Bryan Murray (and, one assumes, Dave Cameron) gives Cody Ceci and Mark Borowiecki a free pass on their play (which has been awful), but Murray has publicly criticised both the Man-Bun and Patrick Wiercioch. When asked about it today, the two players had very different responses. First, let’s go to the professionalism of Wiercioch:
I think that’s fair. I think my play last year probably raised the expectations of what everyone would expect from me on a daily basis. And that’s the level I’m trying to achieve and that’s what I’m working towards. … I think Dave [Cameron] and I have a terrific relationship. He’s understanding of my situation in Ottawa and what I’ve gone through and I think he’s been up front and honest. I think that communication is something that we’ve lacked here in years past. With him, there’s an open-door policy where you are watching video clips and even the negative ones, they are there to make you a better player and a better teammate
Now let us experience the wit and wisdom that is Jared Cowen:
I don’t hear it [Murray’s criticism]. I don’t pay attention to that stuff because it doesn’t really matter. I think you could say the same thing about a lot of guys, so I don’t take it too personal. It’s hard to play when you’re thinking about getting pulled out of the lineup and all that kind of extra junk. I haven’t missed a game yet so it’s not like it’s been bothering me, so I haven’t had to think about sitting out. So hopefully, this is a one-and-done thing.
It’s not surprising to hear how clueless Cowen is, but if somehow Murray hasn’t figured out what who this guy is yet he should by now. It’s time to pull the trigger on a deal–a pick, an asset, virtually anything. Hit the eject button and move on–there’s nothing worthwhile to be gained by trotting this guy out night in and night out.
One of the funny things that’s been going on the last couple of months is the criticism by the analytics community of NHL.com’s numbers. Pucky Daddy recaps this and what really stands out to me is Chris Foster (of NHL.com)’s repeated assertion that:
We’re not in competition. We’re not trying to take traffic away from other sites or shut down other sites. We want to be part of the conversation as well. And we have a big voice
Really? The official site of the NHL, the league’s own site, isn’t trying to compete? It just wants to be another blog? Millions of dollars spent to share the limelight with War on Ice–that’s what Gary Bettman approved? It doesn’t sound like their press release in:
The new NHL stats platform goes beyond data to offer insights that will help avid fans go deeper and help casual fans understand the game better. There are also unlimited storytelling opportunities as we provide our fans with a personalized and interactive experience.
The league wanted the broadest possible audience as well as to be the place to go for serious stats honks, so Foster’s assertion is more than a little ridiculous. Clearly he’s trotting out some face-saving rhetoric after being caught with innumerable errors which, while fixable, required Travis Yost and others from the analytics community to notice (Yost puts the blame on SAP and not the NHL, incidentally). I’m glad it’s being fixed, but I find the obfuscation amusing.
An embattled Luke Richardson (who I think should be fired–my post on that isn’t finished yet) trotted out a very lame excuse for his team’s poor performance:
We had a combination of some call ups, some injuries and a suspension and it just seemed to put us in a funk. That’s not an excuse
If it’s not an excuse, why bring it up? It certainly sounds like justification and it gives his players a way out–we’re not struggling, we’re just missing some key pieces and feeling a little down. It’s absurd. While the roster Richardson has will never light the world on fire, a lot of the blame for how its performed lies on his shoulders–player decisions in terms of who plays where and who sits have made no sense whatsoever. That said, I think there’s plenty of rope for Richardson to remain throughout the season even at this pace.
Evansville got blasted Wednesday night, losing 6-2 to Alaska as Deegan Asmundsen continues to struggle in net (the Aces were coming in on an eight game losing streak). A look at the goals:
1. Humphries launches a grenade up the boards that gets turned over and Asmundsen is beaten on a mini-break (five-hole)
2. Goal off a deflection from the point via a faceoff win
3. Asmundsen is scored on from behind the goal line as the puck is deflected in off himself
4. A wrist shot from the top of the circle (faceoff win) simply goes over Asmundsen‘s shoulder and he’s pulled
5. Off a faceoff scramble Carlson is beat on a rebound in tight
6. Fawcett bangs in Leveille‘s deflected pass on a broken play in front
7. Fawcett tips in a point shot
8. Lazy coverage in front by Brisebois leaves Traversa with a wide open net after Carlson over commits to a shot and winds up out of his crease
Evansville is a bad team, but one whose model is quite similar to Binghamton and Ottawa’s–great goaltending (when healthy) permits a lineup with limited talent to compete. The main difference is the IceMen don’t have any dominating offensive players–it looks like they got fleeced by trading Zarbo for Moon and their blueline remains something of a nightmare.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)