Notes on goalie drafting and “specializing in forwards”

I recently posted a long piece about goaltender drafting over at Raw Charge. In it I tried to rebut some of the common arguments against drafting goaltenders that have started to pop up among hockey writers. The gist of that article is that drafting for forwards is not a hugely less risky proposition than drafting goaltenders. Certainly the difference isn’t so great as to make ignoring goaltending worthwhile.

Something I simply didn’t have time to do in that piece is to explore the consequences of specializing in forwards, consequences that haven’t really been considered by proponents in any meaningful way. Continue reading

Going (sorta) dark

Human beings like myself make mistakes. We have lapses in judgment. We lose our tempers. We are at times prideful. I have been all of these things. I have behaved badly in the recent past and it hurt people. I’m not under any obligation to agree with people, but I am under an obligation not to hurt them unnecessarily. Continue reading

Hey Stamkos, click this!

So, Steven Stamkos favorited a tweet (or two) about him possibly “pulling a LeBron” and going home to Toronto when his contract with Tampa Bay expires in 2016. Naturally this set off an explosion among people who are so starved for hockey talk that we’ll manufacture it when we can’t find it naturally.

It’s now a war between Tampa Bay’s defensiveness over being a sunbelt team and Toronto’s defensiveness over being increasingly¬† irrelevant. Southerners insist that people go to games. Canadians insist that the scrutiny there is actually a draw, not a turn-off. Continue reading

Lightning are spinning madly with Nabokov

Backup goalies, the non-tandem kind, are insurance. The thing with insurance is that you don’t want to pay too much for it, but you don’t want crappy insurance, either. The worst of both worlds is paying too much for crappy insurance, which, frankly, the Lightning have done in signing Evgeni Nabokov for $1.55M for 2014-15. I understand that they may not have had much choice by the time they got around to working on goaltending, but it’s a bit frustrating to see goaltending shunted off to the back burner as something that isn’t really important. Continue reading

The Callahan prior: How perceptions affect choices

I think a lot about perception. I’ve written about it here before . I talk about it on twitter a lot. The question of perception looms large for me, both in my thinking about how to understand history and my thinking about how to understand hockey.

When it comes to making choices perception is a huge factor. As human beings we create patterns in the world, pulling order out of chaos. We create these patterns by digging to find out the causes of events, and this shapes our perceptions of the people and processes we encounter. Much of this is hidden even to ourselves, even while it’s happening. But these patterns become the framework into which new experiences are integrated, so they’re hugely important in decision-making. Continue reading

Your opinion is bad and you should feel bad–An analysis

So. It’s offseason and we’re having arguments about nothing important. Mostly because it’s offseason and we are all so hockey obsessed we can’t come up with any ideas for anything new to do, like “go outside and play.”

The argument du jour is about being dumb on the internet. If for instance, someone asks you who’s “untradeable” for your team and why you think they’re part of the core, and your answer includes defensemen who get healthy scratched and/or are UFAs on expiring contracts, you have been dumb on the internet. There is simply no scenario in which such a player isn’t traded if there’s any kind of reasonable offer at all. Such as a 7th round draft pick. It is the complete opposite of untradeable. Continue reading

What is NHL Average Goaltending?

There are a few reasons I’ve been meaning to write about what exactly “average” means in the NHL when it comes to save percentages. One of the main ones is that when it comes to talking about goalies it often feels like everyone has their own sense of who is average and who is elite (and who is terrible). Another is that there seems to be a sense that save percentages are skyrocketing–and a claim that this is a dire problem often follows from that. A little context can make a lot of difference in talking about these things. Continue reading

On hockey, analysis, and narrative

One of the first things I learned in graduate school was that history isn’t really a collection of facts about the past, although that’s the way it’s taught in American schools. History is really a method for finding new & better questions to ask about the past. Because the question you ask has a profound impact on the picture that emerges. Modern American historians have as their disciplinary bedrock an awareness of the explanatory power of narratives. Continue reading

Marty cried last night

“Have you seen this video of Marty St. Louis after the game? It’s amazing. Heartbreaking.”


“What’s the matter? Don’t you get it? He played to honor his mother. She died the day before. It’s sad.”

To be honest, I kind of feel like a voyeur here, trespassing on what ought to be a private moment. Continue reading