Fanshots

Something No Longer Readily Available

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"Whatever your feelings on Tyler Dellow the Internet personality, they are the sidebar today, not the lead. The lead is that a staunch Edmonton Oilers fan who made his resume with some groundbreaking advanced statistical work on his own website, then used Twitter to promote his expertise, has been hired by the Oilers to be their analytics guru. So you once had a Twitter battle with him? Who cares? No one criticized certain moves by Oilers management more sharply (or sarcastically) than Dellow. On Tuesday, after rumoured consultation with Dellow for months, head coach Dallas Eakins and GM Craig MacTavish have invited him into their inner circle. From Mom’s basement to Hockey Op’s. That’s quite a leap, and it couldn’t have happened to a more notorious guy. The fact that Dellow, a.k.a. @Mc79Hockey, has joined the growing cadre of analytics experts landing National Hockey League jobs is a serious milepost for the brotherhood. This isn’t poker player Sunny Mehta being hired as Director of Analytics by the New Jersey Devils, and it’s not the same as the Maple Leafs hiring of Sault Ste. Marie GM Kyle Dubas. Dellow was The Voice of analytics online and has spawned protégés. There are others who do what Dellow did when it comes to championing analytics, but nobody did it like he did, slathered in smarm and condescension, with an antagonistic side dish of provocation. He also wrote at Sportsnet.ca and for Sportsnet Magazine and made regular radio appearances across the country. His website, Mc79hockey.com, has gone dark, and it is highly likely his new job will coincide with a shift toward a public persona far lower in profile. He likely has fought his last Twitter war, at least until he finds a suitable pseudonym. As of this writing his hiring is confirmed by Sportsnet but not yet announced by the Oilers. The name of his position is unknown, but we predict he will report to and work closely with Eakins, who has long respected Dellow’s work. Here is what we know about the Oilers: Management, including president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, has been immersed in analytics for the past few months, a sign that the organization has concluded that it can create an advantage using this avenue. Hockey analytics are still in their infancy, and the Oilers are not alone in the belief that you can still get in on the ground floor. Like many examples of advances stats, the Oilers have quantified what on the surface seems obvious — that substandard goaltending submarined their season last fall. But it also puts a number on how many goals must be made up for Edmonton to be a team that scores more than it allows, more often than not. And with that comes possession stats, because as Dellow and others have sought to quantify, having the puck more means you are more likely to score more. Now we get to his personality. Full disclosure: I have had @Mc79Hockey blocked on Twitter for most of the last three years, so hostile was his approach to any conflicting view or mindset. Just as Dellow became the Pied Piper of hockey stats geeks, so too did his aggressive behaviour become a stereotype that has hindered popular acceptance of that community. Mc79hockey believed that any dissenting views should be targeted for ridicule, and if Dellow acts the same way in his new job, he won’t last. Period. I’ve had a few twitter conversations with the man, but Dellow found a way to make most of them personal. That is why when mainstream hockey writers like myself repeat that we don’t dislike analytics, just many of the people who ply the trade, we’re speaking of Dellow. He’s earned that. Now, he’ll have a chance to rehab his personality, if he so chooses. Like the scouts he’s hammered on for years, though, we suspect Dellow’s work will be difficult to assess in the short term. Nor will anyone go to an Oilers, or Leafs, or Devils game in the next while and see a visible difference in the on-ice product because of an analytics hire. He knew everything about the game from his spot outside the circle. Now he is inside, with a chance to prove how smart he’s always said he is. Godspeed, Tyler. This is where preparation and opportunity meet."

A Mark Spector article since ... evaporated from the Internet.

GMGM on his team

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"We feel, today, that if we can ever get everybody in at once, it’s a pretty good hockey team. That’s what’s been unfortunate; we just can’t get a healthy team. . . . But if we can get it together, we like this group. It’s a pretty good group. And if it makes the playoffs, there are going to be teams that don’t want to play us." - George McPhee

Via the Washington Post

GMGM on going all-in

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"If you’ve got a chance to do something, you’re all in and you get what you need. What you pay for it is secondary. You get what you need," McPhee said. "We had some real good clubs here for a number of years. And we paid a lot over the years to add to the club at the deadline. You owe that to your team and your fanbase."

Via ESPN ($)

From the "Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" file

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Malkin believed coaches catered to players who were members of his country's Kontinental Hockey League. He sensed a point was being made at the expense of star Russians — specifically, he and Washington's Alex Ovechkin — who have chosen to remain in the NHL.

Via TribLIVE, where there's much more.

Is Anyone Going to Ask McPhee A Tough Question?

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"I don't think it's too much to ask that when the GM of one of the most disappointing teams in the league--and one that has been in a steady decline for the last three years--speaks to you for the first time since Thanksgiving, he should at least spend that half hour on somewhat of a hot seat. And yet after watching that press conference, it appears McPhee didn't even really need to break a sweat."

Interesting thoughts via The Fingerman

The [Swedish] player that I personally have the highest expectations for is Nicklas Bäckström, that...

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The [Swedish] player that I personally have the highest expectations for is Nicklas Bäckström, that he takes that next step and really establishes himself as a top 5 or top 10 player in the NHL, and that he takes on a bigger leadership role in Washington. That would be great to see.

Mats Sundin talks about his expectations for Nicklas Bäckström this year with Swedish newspaper Expressen.

Breakdown of 48-game schedule

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Each team plays: 4 games vs. two Divisional opponents (8); 5 games vs. two divisional opponents (10); 3 games vs 10 Conference rivals (30).

@TSNBobMcKenzie

Not sure how these new fan shots work. I just want to weigh interest in a 11/17 bus trip to...

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Not sure how these new fan shots work. I just want to weigh interest in a 11/17 bus trip to hershey to see the bears against the baby pens, current quotes i have gotten are around $88 for the bus and a 100 level ticket.

"This place was great. When I first came here, when I first signed, I went to a Caps game. And the...

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"This place was great. When I first came here, when I first signed, I went to a Caps game. And the place was packed, and the people brought it. And I thought man, this place, this is what I want it to be. And it took almost two years to get it this way, but here we are. You’ve got to love these fans."

- Jayson Werth, after his walk-off homer, on the Nats' Game 4 crowd

"My legs felt good and I wanted to be dangerous with the puck every time," Galiev said."I'm just...

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"My legs felt good and I wanted to be dangerous with the puck every time," Galiev said."I'm just having fun and this will be a great memory. I've had three great seasons here and we're looking forward to the Memorial Cup."

Stanislav Galiev, speaking with reporters after his 3-goal, 2-assist performance as the Saint John Sea Dogs wrapped up their second consecutive QMJHL championship.
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