In the past week or so, I’ve noticed that some people need to be re-introduced to this great concept called sample size. In sports, throughout the course of a season, players go through ups and downs, highs and lows, streaks and slumps.
Hockey is no different. If a player hasn’t played well in a span of five games or so, he does not, therefore, suck beyond all comprehension. Oppositely, if a player has an unbelieveable stretch of games where he pots nine goals in six games, he is (most likely) not the second coming of Gretzky. By the end of the season, players’ statistics will, more often than not, reflect their career numbers.
So, Tim Sassone, just because Martin Havlat hasn’t scored a goal in his last six games doesn’t mean he is no longer a threat to score every shift. And that -3 +/- rating he has in last six games, it all came from a game (Boston) where he was arguably the best player on the ice.
He doesn’t stop there.
Only recently has Kane looked like the player he was early in the season when he was among the NHL’s scoring leaders.
Kane has 4 goals and 4 assists in the last seven games and has re-energized the power play with his passing and mobility.
With Jonathan Toews playing some dominating hockey, Kane needs to be a force with his linemate down the stretch.
I would give him the benefit of the doubt on his definition of ‘recently’, but after this blog entry of his from the other day bemoaning Kane’s general ineffectiveness, I think otherwise. Kane has at least one point in 15 of his last 17 games. In that stretch, he’s had two five game point streaks, including one that is on going. There’s plenty of other players, some even playing on the same line as Kane and Toews, who could never dream of having output like that.
So even when a sample size works in a player’s favor, it’s still not good enough for some people.
Of course, he also mentions Brian Campbell in the same article. I don’t want to get to into this because Bobby and I are working on something for Sunday’s Committed Indian on this very subject, but when did everyone think Campbell was supposed to be Larry Robinson? Here’s a quote from Tallon the day Campbell signed:
“He can move the puck, skate up ice and get you out of trouble,” Tallon said. “The power play, at the point, is what he does best.”
Notice how there’s nothing in there about shutting down a team’s top line or stellar defensive play. Considering he was brought here to provide offense and has done just that, (he’s three points from having his 2nd best season) I guess I’m kind of flabergasted as to how he became the reason for everything that’s wrong with the team. Yes, his last 13 games have been ugly, but games 46 to 55 were far from it. Just remember, sample sizes, people, and in the end, everything will be fine.
–It’s hard to tell which is the bigger mancrush: Joel Quenneville’s of Matt Walker or Barry Rozner’s of Quenneville. You’ll see Rozner call Dale Tallon a competent general manager before you ever see him say something negative of Coach Q. (It’s amazing that he still holds a grudge over Billy Gardner getting fired because Tallon wanted his color commentator job back. Billy Gardner doesn’t even care anymore.) There is so much to love from today’s sampling but my personal favorite was this gem:
In the meantime, Quenneville – who Dale Tallon told me is the best coach the Hawks have had since Billy Reay – has the invaluable opportunity to break down the kids and build them back up, getting the ear of those players who make themselves available
So the same Dale Tallon who has been fleeced by Bob Murray is now supposed to be an authority on who is the best coach an organization has seen in 40 some years. Only Rozner could completely insult someone’s competence in one breath and then use that same person as an authoritative quote to prove his point.
–Alright, time for the good stuff. Our idea for starting the Fifth Feather was borne out of a Saturday afternoon phone conversation where we spent 45 minutes breaking down just how Andrew Ladd was a 4th overall pick of an entry draft. So when Puck Prospectus dedicated a whole article to the 1998 Entry Draft, let’s just say I was a bit too excited.
If you ever wanted to know how stupid some NHL general managers can be, check out that article. Each team had more than a couple chances to draft future stars Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards but instead chose to pick big oafs who haven’t done much in the league. Well, each team except the Blackhawks. After selecting Mark Bell with the 8th overall pick, the aforementioned Bob Murray, for some reason, got rid of his 2nd, 3rd, and 5th round picks. Don’t worry, though, I hear that Tyler Arnason is still going to be a heckuva player.
Editor’s Note–After sleeping on it, I may have been too harsh calling some GM’s stupid. It’s just that they drool over size and don’t give a damn about anything else, like talent. Maybe blinded by size would be a nicer way of saying it. So just remember, if you’re 6″4 and can skate, you may be a first round pick some day, regardless of whether you have no other skills.
Finally, some perspective on the current slump. One way or another, the Hawks will make it in. Deep breath, everybody. Deep breath…