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Shap Shots Mailbag, Vol 5
You had questions, I tried to provide answers.
Saw a stat the other day that said Ryan Suter ranks 250 out of 250 for X/g on the power play as he has a single secondary assist all year.
Why does he continue to get looks and time when he doesn’t preform? (From Justin Schmidt)
Because hockey coaches and management believe so much in “resume” and while it’s nice to think that jobs are earned, contracts often make jobs and not the other way around.
Suter was signed to play a key role, so they will play him in a key role.
Not playing him in such a role reflects more poorly on the GM, as them admitting mistake almost, then it does on the player.
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Thinking back to your Ryan Reynolds, Ottawa Senators article... I'm curious: What makes a good hockey owner? What makes a bad one? (From Chepey)
A good owner is one that cares about winning, but also understands delegation.
If they can check off those two boxes, the owner is probably going to be a good one.
There are owners that are passionate about winning, but can’t delegate well. There are others that aren’t passionate enough about winning and overly delegate.
I think a perfect example of this is Nashville, where the ownership is more of a consortium and the delegation has gone so far that general manner David Poile is essentially able to operate unchecked.
When you look at the Tampa Bay Lightning, you see what’s happened with Jeff Vinik where he is passionate about winning and building, but also hasn’t imposed or gotten in the way of his hockey people making hockey decisions.
Favorite Matthew DeFranks moment/story you’ve had? (In honor of his upcoming change of team coverage) (From Braden B)
Matthew DeFranks is a good reporter and more importantly a good person. He’s a good friend who I miss traveling around the NHL with and I’m happy for him and his family that he’s been able to find good landing spot in St. Louis.
When I was on the Stars beat we pushed each other to be better, it was competitive but respectful. We, or at least I, would get pissed when he’d beat me on something and it pushed me.
But even with the competition, we’d always get a beer, we’d talk about life. It was a wonderful relationship still built on discussing both nothing and everything at the same time.
From a voter’s perspective when it comes to awards, do McDavid and Draisaitl playing on the same team diminish the accomplishments of the other? (From Jason)
Gonna assume Jason is talking about the Hart Trophy for this question.
We have a problem in general with the Hart Trophy, because it’s an MVP award and not a best player award. Many writers/voters feel the two are the same, and I think that’s faulty.
There is already best player award, the Ted Lindsay Award, which players vote on, so using that same criteria for the Hart Trophy is missing the assignment in my view.
For me, and I’m not even sure if get a vote this year, I have a hard time looking at Draisaitl as an MVP candidate when McDavid, in my view, is clearly the MVP of that team. If you aren’t the MVP of your own team, you can’t be the MVP of the league.
I don’t think Draisaitl’s achievements take away from McDavid’s, in fact I look at them as a testament to McDavid who has helped elevate his teammate to that stature.
As a Star’s fan who was disappointed that Jim Montgomery’s tenure with Star’s had to end abruptly, I am curious how much you think his coaching style and philosophy are contributing to the Bruins early success this season. (From Ged Erwin)
That Bruins team is loaded with talent, let’s not forget that.
But Montgomery has done his part in allowing the team to play to its strengths and he hasn’t committed one of the cardinal coaching sins of over-coaching when things are going well.
It’ll be interesting to see how Montgomery handles things when the Bruins aren’t rolling. With a good team that starts strong, coaching is easy, truthfully. It’s when teams falter and star players don’t deliver where a coach actually faces challenges.
Montgomery is still in the honeymoon phase in Boston, let’s see what happens when the Bruins finally hit a stumbling block.
I've only been watching hockey since the 2019 playoffs. What's the deal with the escrow stuff I read about? I've never heard of this with MLB, NFL, etc. Dumb it down for me, would you? (From Chris)
NHL players complain about escrow all the time, and most of the ones I’ve asked to define escrow can’t do it.
So don’t feel bad about not understanding/grasping escrow.
To simplify it, the NHL players and owners split revenue 50-50. If 50 percent of the revenue doesn’t cover player salaries, then the players have a debt back to the owners to get back to that 50-50 split.
This is where escrow comes into play, and it’s basically a tax that comes out of the player checks and goes back to owners to cover that debt. Escrow for example is at 6 percent this season, so six cents of every dollar for NHL players goes back to owners.
Thoughts on the PHF? I try to watch games (via ESPN+) but I feel like the whole setup is lacking professional quality (video feed/arena/etc). I want to support women's hockey but it seems like they need to invest more in the product. (From Tiffany VilchisParks)
Good timing on this question, the PHF just moved it’s salary cap up to $1.5 million per team for the coming season, which means if spread evenly there is enough in the pool for 23 players to actually make a living playing professional hockey.
I don’t want to pretend to be a women’s hockey expert, because I’m not. I also don’t want to rip how they are building the game, because I think there’s only so much you can do with limited funding.
It’s also difficult with the PWHPA situation where the world’s best players aren’t in one league, and without the biggest names and best players in one league, it’s hard to get further funding and sell backers on investing.
Woman’s hockey needs a business backer to make it work and as you’ve noticed in your viewing, more financial investment is needed to knock down some of the barriers for viewers who are trying to seek it out.
I never played hockey (or any other sports) growing up, and I got into hockey about a decade or so ago when my brother in law got me into it. It took me a while to start to see plays develop and the varying team strategies beyond just following the puck all the time. How do you watch the game? How do you see the things you do in order to write about hockey? (From Stoldney)
I should put together a longer post at some point about how I watch hockey, because this is a great question that I don’t have the best answer too.
I’m a goalie at heart, still try to stop pucks on beer league on Wednesday nights, and a lot of my viewing comes from that perspective. Obviously saves and goals are important, but I’m always interested in tracking the minor details and schematics of how the game flows, which isn’t always well reflected on television.
If I were introducing a new fan to the game, and money was no object, I would want to watch two games with them. One where you sit closer, can hear the sounds and appreciate the speed of the game. Then watch a second game from up top, just to watch the flow of the game and how plays develop or break down.
The more I think about this, the more I’m going to write out a longer post on this, thank you for the idea.