It’s Tuesday afternoon. Last Saturday, three days ago, a man massacred 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. I didn’t know any of them personally, but I grieve for them.

My words have been dammed up, closed up inside of me by a conviction that words are not enough. It took approximately thirty seconds for the typical American responses to kick in: mental illness, Islam, ISIS, radicalization.

It took about that long for people who politicized the existence of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people to claim we shouldn’t politicize their deaths when their deaths were so clearly political.

Of course what they mean by politicizing their deaths is actually holding them accountable for their words and actions. They don’t want anyone to look any further than the tissue paper excuses they have for this incident.

They don’t want anyone to see that what you say in this world, the hate you pour into this world, has real and tragic consequences. They spent all this time telling everyone, most especially themselves, that LGBTQIA are the danger. Now we’re all in danger of seeing that they are, in fact, innocent targets. So we have to erase their queerness.

They don’t want you to see that their gun culture is a culture of toxicity, a culture that worships the destruction guns can do. They want you to think that an AR-15 is needed to protect you from a burglar.

They don’t want you to understand that every time there’s a massacre like this gun sales go up. They want you to think there aren’t enough guns. There never will be, you know. Never.

They want you to think this was an Islamic thing, that the shooter was foreign, that the danger is foreign.

It’s not. Political violence is an American tradition. It happens frequently.

Not protesting. Not marching in the streets.

Real violence. With guns and bombs and knives and fists. With real blood and real death.

They want you to think that’s outsiders doing that. It’s not. It’s Americans acting with the full understanding of great swaths of American people.

If you won’t believe that, they want you to think it’s the left doing it. Not right now. There has been leftist violence in this country, but these days it’s mostly right-wingers acting on right-wing rhetoric.

Mostly, though, they want you to think there isn’t anything that can be done about it, that it’s the cost of living in a society. They want you to think that the fact that this doesn’t happen in any other country with a functional government is irrelevant.

This isn’t human nature. Mass murder should be an anomaly. We choose, actively choose, that it be common. We blame everyone else for our failings so that it can continue. We continue to elect the people who support it, who promote the conditions under which it can occur regularly.

The gun lobby, meanwhile, stands there smirking and counting their money.

The hate lobby is grateful that there’s an Islamic connection so that they can pin this on others. They’re about to elect a president on this lie.

And we mourn our dead. Over and over, we mourn our dead.

Words simply are not enough.

Kinds of Seeing

I tweeted this last night, but as Kris Martel so “helpfully” pointed out, I could have blogged it. I guess this way it sticks around for a while, for better or for worse.

Context: Andrei Vasilevskiy started for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes aren’t a great team (they have some interesting players but they’re not good as a team yet.) The Lightning were mostly able to control play until the third period. Then they started to sit back. Eventually Vasilevskiy let in a goal off a faceoff.

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Why Women Should Matter to the NHL 

This post was written by Robyn Pennington (@robyn_jftc) as a guest contribution for Puckology. It represents both how deeply the NHL’s attitude towards women is hurting their customers and how personal the choice is to remain engaged with the league.  Welcome, Robyn.

Content warning: Domestic violence, sexual assault.

Why Women Should Matter to the NHL

I wrote this piece partly inspired by Sarah Connor’s amazing article at Stanley Cup of Chowder and partly in light of the NHL’s and Blackhawks’ lack of response to the Patrick Kane case.

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I confess. I do not like math or statistics. This is why it’s a little uncomfortable to me that I have in any way become considered part of the “stats crowd.”

I don’t enjoy statistics. I don’t enjoy doing it and I don’t enjoy reading about it. I don’t enjoy thinking about it. This is not my bailiwick. I’d rather be learning something else. It is very hard to be creative in a field you find a chore. Continue reading

The Thing About Stamkos

The Boltosphere is all in a tizzy these days because Steven Stamkos, who’s in the final year of his last RFA contract, hasn’t signed an extension.

This is not the first time this has happened, of course. We all bear the scars of the last #Stammergeddon in 2011. When he signed in July. It is now the latter part of August. So it’s getting a little antsy in here.

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On Women, Sportwriting, and “Just Keep Writing”

People like to give advice. People who have become successful at something love to share their wisdom about how to end up where they are. It’s a kind of humble brag: I did this (I’m special and worth listening to) and you can, too! (but not too special.) It’s also a way of saying that the actions a person took are more important than the context in which they took them.

Recently, a successful hockey writer gave some (as far as I know unsolicited) advice to women and people of color who wanted to become successful at–and get paid for–writing about hockey. It was well-meant but naive and more than a little arrogant. If you don’t like the rules at one site, start your own. Create great content and people will find you. Just do it. That kind of thing. Continue reading

Oh, Captain! What a Day This Could Have Been

Marty St. Louis retired yesterday. It ends not with a bang, but with a whimper, to use a cliche. Everyone knew it was coming. He’d become something of a liability on the ice recently and no offers appeared to materialize on July 1. So the next day, he retired.

When I first heard the news, I simply stopped. I didn’t know what to think or what I really felt. Sadness? Nostalgia? A little bit of schadenfreude–some “serves you right!” ? How about regret? Continue reading

Observations on Drafting Goaltenders

Over the past few years, I’ve been spending my summers immersed in NHL goaltending draft data. In light of the upcoming draft I’ve pulled together some general observations that fans of drafting teams might find interesting. All of this has been published before, mostly at Raw Charge or here at Puckology, although in one instance it was published in Justin Goldman’s latest book, Between Two Worlds. Links are provided below. Continue reading

The Montreal Canadiens Really Are the Underdogs. But….

I find it fascinating how winning changes people’s perceptions of a team’s actual strengths. Take the 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens, for instance. They won 50 games, the Atlantic Division title, and a first-round series. And somehow, it gets forgotten that they have been, at least over the long haul, not very good as a team.

You’d think they were good, looking at their roster. They should be good. And yet, there is virtually no measure by which the Montreal Canadiens are actually a better team than the Tampa Bay Lightning. In every single measure of process, they are worse. [All data and graphs are from War On Ice and are 5v5 Score-Adjusted, including playoffs.]

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CWHL/NWHL: Competition is Good, War is not

Not even a month ago, on March 26, a new women’s professional hockey league was announced: the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). The arrival of this new, US-based league had sparked intense interest and discussion among women’s hockey fans. It has also sparked anxiety and hostility in some quarters. While the former is positive, the latter is not.

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