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Friday Funbag: Press box vs. TV, what tells you most about the game?
We also tackled questions about the NHL's mishandling of tape and much more.
Gonna jump straight into the questions this week. We’ve got some good ones.
Ben Wylie Prompted by one of your photos in a post from earlier this week - what parts of the game do you feel you understand better watching from the press box rather than on TV? And is there anything you find easier to track watching at home?
Good question, and I want to nerd out on this question for a bit.
For starters, I think you get a more complete picture of the game if you watch it both from the press box and on video. I don’t do it from every game I cover, I simply don’t have the time, but whenever possible I try to re-watch film from a game I covered in person to if I missed anything.
Up high in the press box you get a much better grasp on the play away from the puck and the transition from zone-to-zone. Your eyes are able to take macro view of things, while the TV view is more of a micro concentration based on play more directly around the puck.
How defenders handle an oncoming rush, the routes on a forecheck, and how the goalie handles an entire situation are much easier to observe and note from the press box.
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TV viewing has its benefits, we get angles and camera shots that teach us more about small details that are easily missed from the press box. And in a chaotic game, like hockey, you need to find time to focus on the things that create the finest of margins.
There is also the built-in benefit of controlling the timeline of how you watch on TV. Even when I’m watching a game “live” on TV, I’m rarely live. I typically pause and re-watch zone entries, stop to double check how a play developed, or any other thing that grabbed my attention in the moment.
I typically catch up to the live action by fast-forwarding through commercials and intermissions. It’s also the reason I mainly avoid Twitter during games now, because I’m often three to five minutes behind the action when I’m watching on TV.
Certain press boxes are also better than others.
For example, I feel pretty lucky that I get watch most games in Detroit from the press box at LCA. It’s high up there, it’s a gondola setup, and you are basically hanging above the ice. It’s perfect for watching the flow of a game and there isn’t a photo or TV shot that does it justice.
I love watching games from rinks that have a gondola setup, ever the dangling deathbox in Calgary. Where you have to walk over the ice and the scoreboard to get to the other side.
Earlier this week I was in Columbus, and that press box isn’t a gondola, it’s built into the natural rise of the stadium. In those arenas you are farther back, not exactly on top of things, and don’t get the same view you get from a Detroit, Calgary, or Winnipeg.
Overall, I’ll reiterate what I opened with. I think to get a true view of the game you need to use both the in-person and TV viewing to your benefit.
Hannah I don’t know if this is quite an answerable question for you, but I’m so disappointed by the league’s seemingly blatant steps backwards on LGBTQ+ inclusion (and taking a whole bunch of other initiatives out with it in the process). I guess do you think there’s still hope for progress (from an overall league stance, I do know there are individuals that will try to make a positive impact) in these areas and making the sport a more welcoming place in future or is this a line that they won’t come back from?
The NHL’s decision to ditch all specialty jerseys was a mistake. The decision to ban pride tape was also idiotic.
It’s amazingly backwards how the NHL said it would honor the beliefs of certain players by taking away the power to express beliefs from all players.
It is encouraging that there was immediate pushback from some players and the fact that the makers of pride tape have been swamped with orders, and support, since the NHL news dropped.
But, I’m also discouraged that the NHLPA to this point hasn’t said anything or stood up for players to make a choice on things like this. Whether you like pride tape or not, the NHLPA should be standing up for players in this situation.
I also feel most NHL players aren’t willing to rock the boat one way or the other on this. The typical NHL player has that team-first, blend-into-the-background public identity. And without the door open for them to support certain initiatives, like pride or military night or whatever, they will simply be content to be part of the status quo.
Michael Hoffman Who on the Wings has had the most surprising and most disappointing start of the season?
It’s hard not to point to Alex DeBrincat’s homecoming as one of the best early stories in the NHL.
I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but he’s highly outperforming already high expectations.
Heading into Friday night he’s tied for the league lead with eight points (five goals, three assists) and he’s already turned the 40-goal conversation into a 50-goal conversation.
His connection with Dylan Larkin is both fun and dynamic, and while I tried to tap the breaks on any Detroit hype to start the season, they are making it easier to move that foot to the accelerator.
As for the flip side, David Perron has struggled to find a role and has looked slower this season. He started the year with Larkin and DeBrincat but was quickly replaced by Lucas Raymond.
Perron knows he isn’t fleet of foot, and he’s been able to stay effective despite that in the past. But this season, so far, it’s been concerning (and overshadowed by Detroit’s success) that he has looked a step behind.
Terry Green Of the Stars young forwards (Johnston, Stankoven, Bourque) who has the highest upside potential career wise and what do you think is that cap (All Star, Top Line, Middle 6?)
This is an interesting question.
When I look at those three forwards, Wyatt Johnston, Logan Stankoven, and Mavrik Bourque, I see a sliding scale of potential excellence.
For me Johnston has the lowest ceiling, but the highest floor. He will have the longest NHL career of the trio, play more games than the others, and probably do so in a top/middle six role the entire time.
While I believe the Stars already have their future captain in Jason Robertson (and if not him, Miro Heiskanen), Johnston has strong future captain vibes as a player that becomes part of the fabric of a franchise.
But he’s not a potential all-star, which I think both Stankoven and Bourque bring to the table.
Stankoven and Bourque have all-star potential, you can see it, but they also have a higher potential burn-out rate than Johnston. I could easily see things playing out in Dallas in the long run where Bourque and Stankoven have the better “high-water” mark seasons, but Johnston has the better body of work over time.
Christian Oliveira After last night’s game, do you see a bit of a rivalry developing between Vegas and Dallas? Felt like there was some lingering nastiness from last year, and both teams seem likely to meet up in the playoffs again in the near future.
I’ve always believed a rivalry needs a playoff series to spark it.
A lot of the forced geographic rivalries lose any muster, and without a playoff series you lack the true nastiness to even ben considered a “rivalry.”
So, yes, Dallas and Vegas are building a rivalry. It dates back to the 2020 Stanley Cup bubble, where the Stars eliminated Vegas, and really hit a maximum threshold in the 2023 Western Conference finals.
Rivalries also need villains, and Jamie Benn made himself a life-long Vegas villain with his cross-check in Game 3 against Mark Stone.
Both teams are also built to be good for awhile, a key to a rivalry, and they also have off-ice rivalry elements as well. Both Vegas and Dallas play in tax-free states that allow players to golf all-year round, they are often in the running for similar free agents.
Add in the fact that Pete DeBoer coached in Vegas before, and you have the makings of a solid rivalry.
Andrew Sigman Who would you say are the Stars top 3 Hockey IQ players? Is go with Miro and Pavs. Not sure of #3
Joe Pavelski’s entire career is built on hardworking and hockey IQ. You don’t play into your late 30s without that hockey IQ, so if we had to rank things he’d be an easy No. 1
Miro Heiskanen is a strong No. 2, and probably would be No. 1 on most lists, but because of his physical tools — his skating in particular — his hockey IQ isn’t as necessary for NHL success. Basically, only a player like Pavelski would be higher than him on this list.
For me my No. 3 on the list would be Jason Robertson. Robertson is a hockey nerd, he takes in thousands of data points each day and translates them to NHL success. The “Robot” nickname is fitting because he processes things like a computer. He also has that knack, or hockey IQ, to be a 100-point player despite not having some of the skating tools that others bring to the table.
JERRY GANTT Why don't we see more physicality from Hakanpaa who is certainly the biggest defenceman on the Stars?
Hits aren’t the greatest stat, some arenas count them differently than others, but it’s the best metric we have to discuss this.
Jani Hakanpaa leads the Stars with seven hits in three games. Mason Marchment, with six, is the only other Stars averaging more than a hit-per-game.
The Stars aren’t a physical team, Connor McDavid, for example, has more hits than any player on the Stars. Hakanpaa’s physicality, or lack of it, gets pointed out even more because no one else on the team plays physical, so more pressure falls on him to be a full-time battering ram.
Could he be more physical? Of course. But I also think we have to be fair to the player, because stylistically his team isn’t built to grind others down, and Hakanpaa’s play through three games has been solid enough.
Michael Allshouse A lot of predictions for the season have Miro and Otter up for individual awards. Robo picked up votes last year. What would you place the odds of each player winning an individual award during their career with the Stars? Has a team had multiple individual award winners that they drafted come from the same draft?
I wrote an extended piece about Miro Heiskanen and the Norris Trophy on Thursday, you can read that here:
As far as the odds of winning individual awards in their career overall, I would place the best odds on Heiskanen winning a Norris Trophy at some point. I don’t know if it’ll be this season or next, but at some point he’ll get his due with that piece of hardware.
Jake Oettinger could also be a future Vezina Trophy winner, but because that stat is so heavily voted on based on win-loss record by GMs, he’ll have to be great in a year the Stars are also close to or winning the division.
However, I have a hard time seeing Jason Robertson’s path to an individual award other than maybe the Rocket Richard at some point for leading the league in goals. Playing his side-by-side in his career with McDavid and Auston Matthews and eventually prime Connor Bedard, make it hard to believe he’ll ever have a chance to win a Hart Trophy or an Art Ross.