Bring Back The Electric Norseman!

Jonathan Willis
February 07 2011 01:29PM

Once again, Patrick Thoresen wants to return to the NHL. He tried to land an NHL job last year and was unsuccessful after a spectacular KHL season, so this year he went out and had a more spectacular KHL season. This is a guy who deserves another crack at an NHL job.

Normally, for a player like this who was a defensive specialist the last time he played in the NHL, I’d be busting out the advanced statistics. For Thoresen, I don’t need to (although his are superb); I watched nearly every game he played as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Defensively, his positioning was as good as any player on the team. He never backed down from a physical battle, he forechecked like a demon, and there could never be any doubt about his work ethic or intensity. Aside from his size, he was the kind of fourth-liner every coach dreams of.

Thoresen’s problem at the NHL level was producing offence. At 17, he came over to the QMJHL and spent two seasons playing major junior hockey in Canada, scoring 73 points in 60 games as a rookie and following that up with 108 points in 71 games the year after. Along the way he was stellar for Norway’s U-18 and U-20 international teams. He went over to Sweden, starting in the Allsvenskan before moving up to the Swedish Elite League for two seasons. In his second year he scored 36 points in 50 games, which was enough to convince the Edmonton Oilers to bring him over and give him a shot at an NHL job.

Thoresen produced relatively well at the AHL level, but managed only six goals and 24 points in a little over 100 games in the NHL. After two seasons, he couldn’t get another NHL job and was forced over to the KHL.

Thoresen’s been a revelation in the KHL. In 107 points in the world’s second-best league, he’s scored 51 times (remarkably, 42 of those goals came at even-strength) and added 66 helpers for a total of 117 points. Along the way, he went plus-63. He’s turned into a faceoff-winning machine over there; with a 55.2% success rate on 754 face-offs. He’s playing in all situations, and finished with a little under 18:00 per game this last season. He’s also been a staple for international Norwegian teams, managing a point per game at last year’s World Championships and five assists in four Olympic games in 2010.

Despite all the success Thoresen has had in the KHL, that’s not where he wants to be. In May of last season, Thoresen explained why he’d be willing to take a massive pay-cut to return to the NHL:

“I know I can score 20-25 goals in the NHL. If so, I’m going to earn the lost money and play in the NHL for many years. I have faith in myself and know what kind of potential I have.”

At 27 years of age, Thoresen’s been a bit of a late-bloomer offensively but he’s still a young man. He’s shown drive, grit and defensive responsibility at the NHL level before. His scoring has shot off the charts since his jump to the KHL, and could represent a major step forward from his last stint in North America. He’s added faceoff ability to his repertoire. Beyond that, all it will take to get him over here is a one-way deal near the league minimum.

This seems to me like a no-brainer. It’s time for someone to take a chance and bring back the Electric Norseman.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 baggedmilk
February 07 2011, 01:55PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ baggedmilk:

Well, thank goodness Paajarvi made the jump this year. Can you imagine where the Oilers would be if he'd spent a season playing top-line EV, PP, and PK in another league rather than helping out the NHL team?

Gosh, I mean the Oilers might be in 31st or 32nd! Maybe even worse!

You're right, he could have spent another year playing the European game rather than getting used to the NHL. THAT WAY we could have watched him struggle with the same things as a 20 year old rather than as a 19 year old. Oh those would have been good times there.

On next week's episode of Willis-watch 2011, why Marc Pouliot's AHL numbers should land him back with the Oilers.

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#2 baggedmilk
February 07 2011, 01:45PM
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The Oilers should definitely give a small plugger like Thoresen another chance while making Paajarvi sit another year. Makes sense. Thus concludes another episode of Willis-logic 2011.

*face palm*

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#3 The Towel Boy
February 07 2011, 01:47PM
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Always thought he was a great player. Not to mention he took a shot in the sack when he was in Philly. Ouch.

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#4 Zamboni Driver
February 07 2011, 03:26PM
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I'm absolutely stunned that an article about

Patrick

Freakin'

Thoresen

can cause so much animosity. I think some of y'all might be holding on a little too tight out there. It's a reasonably nice day.

Consider fresh air.

Perhaps exercise.

Certainly grasping a bit of perspective.

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#5 TigerUnderGlass
February 07 2011, 04:13PM
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@John Chambers

avoid making statements such as "This guy deserves another crack at an NHL job"....you're a much more intersting read when you cite facts as opposed to sensationalizing your point of view.

I think what generally irritates me about this article and your banter with BM is that you state your opinion as if it's fact...you're not in an "expert" position to make such bold statements, and therefore should refrain from doing so.

Doesn't questioning the logic of an article make one the antithesis of an automaton?

1. Stating his opinion that he deserves another crack is sensationalizing his point of view? You must have seizures when you accidentally see a tabloid cover.

2. That something is a matter of opinion does not require the words "I think" or "in my opinion" to precede every statement. After all, you're sitting there telling JW he is much too bold rather than suggesting that it might be possible in your humble opinion that as long as the experts agree he could possibly maybe be a little too forward in his suggestions.

3. Why does someone need to be an "expert to have a strong opinion? If I break a finger am I not allowed to tell anyone it's broken without a doctors opinion?

4. You didn't question the logic of the article. You questioned how JW chose to phrase his opinions. One makes for interesting debate, the other makes you look like an a$$.

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#6 The Towel Boy
February 08 2011, 08:25AM
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My pants have two tubes made of pant that my legs go into!

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#7 Harlie
February 07 2011, 01:39PM
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this guy was the original Reddox 1.0. No need for him at this point I'm afraid.

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#9 Ales Hallsky
February 07 2011, 02:24PM
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All I see is 55% in the circle.

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#11 baggedmilk
February 07 2011, 02:44PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Obviously, I said I hate having Europeans on the team. It must have been somewhere in the my past three posts I spent defending a Swede. Congratulations, you have successfully stomped your feet and ran to your room.

I'll wait here for the bedroom door to slam. Do you have your ears plugged? I might be speaking.

NA NA NA NA NANANANA

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#12 Dman09
February 07 2011, 03:05PM
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First off, if any of you have an issue with the article DON'T READ IT AND PISS OFF SOMEWHERE ELSE. Hassling a guy because he wrote an article that happened to have his opinion in it is like bitching about your hot chocolate being too hot, find a corner and shoot yourself.

Now to the article:

I liked the article and in all honesty I would be willing to switch out either Brule Or Cogs to see what Thor's got. If he can win faceoffs better than cogs, then by all means he deserves the job. They are similar players so I see no problem with considering it. Cogs could turn some value at trade deadline even if is a draft pick.

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#13 Captain Obvious
February 07 2011, 04:34PM
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"It’s time for someone to take a chance and bring back the Electric Norseman."

That's his thesis. This is a thesis that is supported by all of the facts in evidence. You have introduced neither a logical reason to dispute the links between these facts nor any countervailing facts. Hence your objection to this thesis is supported by neither evidence nor reason. It is obstinacy born out of an instinctive reaction and nothing else.

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#14 Clyde Frog
February 07 2011, 05:10PM
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We are a last place team, losing twice as many games as we win. How anyone could possibly say NO! to any player who is performing well or has an upside that we can aquire for NOTHING is well beyond me...

But there are enough of the aformentioned posts to make me smash my head into the keyboard.

How the Oilers are so quiet on the waiver wire is beyond me as well, but then again I am not being paid in giant bags of money to make decisions for a national hockey league franchise...

If the opportunity cost is non-existant how can anyone say "not my team!"? Is our 2nd, 3rd or 4th lines winning so many games that we just can't demote ANY of these superstars?

/facepalm

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#15 Archaeologuy
February 07 2011, 05:20PM
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John Chambers wrote:

I thought the "Paajarvi Should've Been Held Back a Year" reference was appropriate for one reason:

When constructing an article based on opinion, it's important for the author to make explicit what is their opinion, and what is fact. Framing your point of view with phrasing such as "In my opinion", "based on these facts I conclude", or "the evidence suggests", posits that you are conveying your point of view.

However, boldly stating things like "Penner is fat", "Tambellini is dumb", "Chinese Walruses can't play hockey", evidenced by the title to your Paajarvi article, or several points that appear in the above article, you display your opinion as being a fact. This is why myself and BaggedMilk seem so compelled to debate your "facts".

I like your articles, Willis. Several of them have made me re-think the way I see the game or evaluate players. But I think you can be a better journalist by staying clear of broad-sweeping claims like "Paajarvi should've ...", and rather pose a question such as "Should Paajarvi have been held back", then provide support for your position.

"Could we see Patrick Thoresen back in the NHL based on his performance in the KHL?" would've been a better thesis.

You keep on suggesting that Willis is a Journalist as if he is a credited member of the media, or went to J-School, or even claims to be a Journalist the way Dr. Phil claims to be a Doctor.

He isnt, he didnt, he doesnt. He is a blogger, and a damned fine one. That is all.

Interestingly, you also appear to be giving a man who writes proffesionally a lesson in writing. I find this about as hilarious as me teaching Roy Halladay how to throw curve-ball.

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#17 Clyde Frog
February 07 2011, 08:02PM
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Seriously?

So a 30th place team has NO room for trying a player that is having incredible success in another league... What can the team possibly lose by signing him and giving him a shot, oh wait... NOTHING... I can totally see the logic in avoiding trying new players, cause you wouldn't possibly want to lose out on NOTHING.

We need more grit? That is the only solution?

Too bad games aren't won by scoring more goals... Oh... wait...

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#18 Clyde Frog
February 07 2011, 09:13PM
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@Crash

Lol, spoken like a true internet hero.

You don't lose anything, if he doesn't play his way onto the team he is in the AHL or claimed off waivers. Again, you can't actually lose anything by giving him a shot.

To take an obstinate stance that for him to be on the Oilers we MUST drop our future to AHL which would only destroy our team is a joke. If he didn't make the team better why would they keep him and put down Paarjvi, fraser or Jacques?

We are a 30th place team, our 4th line is a joke, our 3rd line is a joke and on certain nights our second line can be a joke. Our Powerplay is worst in the league, our Penalty kill is right down there as well...

So again, taking ANY player that is fighting for top spot in a professional league with out actually giving anything up except a possible spot on the 30th place roster in the NHL cannot be a definition of a loss at all. Either you sign him and let him play his way onto the team thus improving the club OR you sign him, he doesn't crack the squad and you have someone in the AHL with NHL experience waiting for an injury call up. Yeah thats all kinds of horrible right there....

We are the worst team in the league, that does mean there is something disfunctional with our roster... You don't get last place 2 years in a row by being having a great line-up that is working well together and you don't get out of it by passing on opportunity.

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#19 David S
February 07 2011, 11:15PM
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StrangePhD wrote:

And all this time I thought we remembered Thoreson with some fondness... Let's be reasonable though, if he were to find a spot on the Oilers, it would not be at the cost of an Omark or Paajarvi, but of a Jacques or Fraser. I see little reason to doubt that Thoreson is a better player than those two.

Any guy that proves himself to be better than Jacques, Fraser, SMac and (dare I say) Reddox deserves a shot at those positions. Doesn't matter where he's currently playing.

And this idea that once you're "banished" to the KHL, you'll never, ever be able to redeem yourself by simply putting in the time and effort to improve is beyond simplistic. All athletes mature at different rates. The idea that improvement and redemption is impossible is ludicrous. Tell that to Dan Cleary and see how far you get.

Guys like Thoreson get walk-ons into camp. You play them for a few exhibition games and let the chips fall where they may. What have you got to lose?

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#20 Bank Shot
February 07 2011, 11:43PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

You're right, he could have spent another year playing the European game rather than getting used to the NHL. THAT WAY we could have watched him struggle with the same things as a 20 year old rather than as a 19 year old. Oh those would have been good times there.

On next week's episode of Willis-watch 2011, why Marc Pouliot's AHL numbers should land him back with the Oilers.

Hey baggedmilk, can you find a shred of evidence to support your theory that Magnus would have ran in place regarding development by spending another year in an inferior league?

Because it sure didn't seem to hurt Lindros, anyone drafted by the red Wings, or the entire 2003 draft class.

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#21 Doug Sorensen
February 08 2011, 12:57AM
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Wow people are retarded. Quit jumping to conclusions already! Willis can write about Barney if he wants to.

With that being said....lol....Willis views Thoresen (spelt SEN at the end so many retards spelt it SON) as being worthy to make another comeback to the NHL, not Edmonton in particular.

It's hilarious, the first three comments to this blog all referenced the Oilers having enough small forwards and 3rd & 4th liners. Do you people even read the material?

Thoresen is a capable winger that may earn a spot with a team like the Penguins, who lack top 6 quality wingers with the exception of Kunitz.

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#22 grantload
February 08 2011, 10:54AM
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I am sorry, John. If you can't figure out what the author's opinion is in the piece, then it's a failure of comprehension not writing.

Offering advice like adding prepositions like "It is my opinion" or "My conclusion is thus" is rediculous and only demonstrates your lack of knowledge. In any university class they would NEVER tell you add such nonsense. Succinctness is the hallmark of good writing, we know what the author's opinion is because HE'S WRITING THE PIECE, we do not need him to make that explicit.

JW clearly stated the 'facts' in the piece; Thor is a scoring well in a good league, he's scoring at EVs, he's defensively responsible etc etc.

His opinion is also VERY clearly stated; someone should think about giving him another chance in the NHL.

You are the one that cannot distinguish between the two, so please keep your tips to yourself as it's clear that you don't know what you're talking about.

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#23 Bar Qu
February 08 2011, 12:27PM
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Guy states an opinion on ON.

ON blows up because they have issues with something he said 2 weeks ago, and not with anything he just said.

ON then goes on to protest how wonderful a site it is for discussion and ideas. And how it is not simply a frat-boy waste of time.

Riiight.

For the record - any team in the NHL would improve with Thoresen on its roster.

Any. Team.

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#24 Ender
February 08 2011, 02:22PM
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Dennis wrote:

what a garbage post by JW.

I don't think the Oilers brass needs to be looking outside of North America for players that might be able to help them win.

You forgot your tildes. I hope.

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#25 Dodd
February 07 2011, 01:36PM
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Do we really need another "kind of" exciting forward?

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#26 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
February 07 2011, 01:44PM
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I don't think loading up on 3rd and 4th liners is going to help much.

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#27 John Chambers
February 07 2011, 01:47PM
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I don't know, Willis. If Patrick O'Sullivan scores at a point-a-game pace in the KHL next season, does he deserve another look as well?

Who does Thoresen play for in the KHL? Are they a good team, or does he get lots of pp time on a bad team? Can you offer any Desjardins equivalencies or whatever to support your argument?

Journalistically, it would seem more prudent to offer up the idea that we may very well see Thoresen return to the NHL soon, and avoid making statements such as "This guy deserves another crack at an NHL job", or "This seems to me like a no-brainer".

Really? You are literally suggesting that all 30 NHL GM's are behaving irrationally by not signing this guy. That's a bold argument.

Thoresen may have improved as a player and may deserve another NHL shot, but with all due respect you're a much more intersting read when you cite facts as opposed to sensationalizing your point of view.

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#28 NastyNate
February 07 2011, 01:50PM
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I don't JW is suggesting the oilers should sign him. I believe he is suggesting his talents could be put to use by a plethera of NHL teams. I remember his preformance for Flyers in the playoffs a few years ago and liked what i saw. Is there any chance of him being released by the KHL, this season, to join a NHL team for the playoff run?

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#29 SumOil
February 07 2011, 01:50PM
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wow...that is actually impressive. As far as I remember, when he left for the Khl, he had a contract with Philadelphia, so is he obligated to play for them when he comes back or will he be a FA?

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#32 Zamboni Driver
February 07 2011, 02:01PM
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I'd actually just like to point out that nowhere in his piece does JW suggest the Oilers should bring him back, just that he deserves a shot.

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#34 Harlie
February 07 2011, 02:06PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

I'd actually just like to point out that nowhere in his piece does JW suggest the Oilers should bring him back, just that he deserves a shot.

uhh...the TITLE of the article says "Bring Back..."

That pretty much says that the Oilers should bring him back. And the article supports that.

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#35 NastyNate
February 07 2011, 02:11PM
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@Harlie

I don't know what "pretty much" implies. Your arguement is "pretty much" based upon assumptions. Why not just ask JW? were you suggesting the oilers should sign him? Or any NHL franchise in general?

Problem solved you bully....

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#36 jdrevenge
February 07 2011, 02:15PM
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Lolol. Give the guy a break. I'm with Willis in that SOMEONE should give Thor Jr. a shot. I don't think it'll be in Edmonton as he's another smallish FW but.... his stats warrant another crack.

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#37 baggedmilk
February 07 2011, 02:26PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Oh how silly of me, naturally I should have compared Magnus Paajarvi coming to Edmonton as a 19-year old to the development of two potential Hall of Famers. My mistake. Oh and no pressure Maggie.

But while we're at it, aren't the Canucks stupid for bringing the Sedins over as 19-year olds? They might have developped into great players had they only stayed in Sweden a little while longer.

Please.

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#38 Bucknuck
February 07 2011, 02:26PM
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i wish we could find a guy like Thoreson with some size. Even though Thor is small I would still love to see him get a shot here, and he would probably be an upgrade on anyone who is cycling into our fourth line. I would love to watch him in an oil uniform, since he is pretty gritty and can actually win a faceoff.

Guys who play a tenacious style can be on my version of the Oil every day. Sometimes it's the size of the fight in the dog, but you also need some big dogs. If the Oil trade Hemsky I hope they get some good size when they do.

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#39 Harlie
February 07 2011, 02:27PM
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@NastyNate

what in the hell are you blathering about? And I don't give a rat's A double S about Thoreson and I already stated that I don't want him back. Why don't you learn how to read before you go spouting off? Idiot.

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#40 OilBro
February 07 2011, 02:31PM
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Jeez, BaggedMilk is bitter. Don't get all emotional over the fact Willis' IQ is superior to yours, bud.

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#41 Horcsky
February 07 2011, 02:32PM
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I know I'd rather have Patrick Thoresan than Colin Fraser, or Steve Macintyre (based solely on the fact that the coach refuses to play big Mac). He's probably also better than JF Jacques and Ryan O'Marra.

Not sure what's with the outrage. It's not like you sit Magnus if Thoresan comes back.

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#43 Ales Hallsky
February 07 2011, 02:35PM
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@Jonathan Willis

All the most recent champs have had a token euro or two. It helps in the "creativity factor".

Whats with all the hate today?

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#44 John Chambers
February 07 2011, 02:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ baggedmilk:

Right, because than Paajarvi would once again be one of three rookies trying to break into the big league, and once again Tom Renney would give him the lousy linemates in order to prioritize 2011-12's equivalents of Hall and Eberle.

Lord knows, no player has ever polished their overall game in Europe and showed up in the NHL almost fully-formed.

And while we're at it, saying that Thoresen ought to get an NHL job on the fourth line as a replacement for Jacques, Reddox, Stortini, MacIntyre, or Fraser is totally the same as saying he ought to get Paajarvi's spot. Absolutely the same.

I think what generally irritates me about this article and your banter with BM is that you state your opinion as if it's fact.

At the end of the day, even though you disagree with BM about whether or not Paajarvi should have played in the SEL, or whether Patrick Thoresen will win the Art Ross trophy in '11-'12, you're not in an "expert" position to make such bold statements, and therefore should refrain from doing so.

Good journalism is about proposing an idea, supporting the idea, and allowing people to think. Stop telling us how to think. Given that this is an "opinion" piece, be prepared to defend your opinion rather than getting defensive, because people will always disagree with you. After all, didn't you recently write an article about how much you dislike player haters? Stop stoking the fire.

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#45 Spydyr
February 07 2011, 02:43PM
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Why not bring him back for a look see at training camp.That is the time. He is still under contract? No? He might surprise and turn into another Jones. If not what have you gave up....that is right nothing.

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#46 freeze
February 07 2011, 02:45PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

I don't think loading up on 3rd and 4th liners is going to help much.

In fairness, that is what people said about Omark. "yeah, like we need another small winger." Not saying Thor will turn heads like Omark but he might give guys like Jones or Brule a run for their money.

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#47 Ender
February 07 2011, 02:53PM
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Stating my opinion (so as everyone can clearly see it is such and not ride me), the last six months of going over Thor's numbers in depth have really made me want to see him back in Edmonton. Yeah, he's a smaller forward and I get that they haven't done a ton for us. I don't care; the guy's numbers are solid. I also get that those numbers are primarily from the KHL and that you need to do an adjustment for quality of comp, but I still believe he'll do well when he comes back. I'd like it to be for us.

JW, I'm not afraid to call you out if you're hopeless in an article, but I don't think this is a bad idea at all. I'm on board and have been for awhile.

Thor: Coming 2011 to a venue near you. Check your local listings.

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#48 common sense
February 07 2011, 02:56PM
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Pretty impressive KHL numbers. I would hope that Tambo has some scouts looking at this kid because this team should scour the earth and leave no stone unturned for hockey talent, even retread Oiler talent. Tambellini are you listening???

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#49 Jamie B.
February 07 2011, 02:56PM
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freeze wrote:

In fairness, that is what people said about Omark. "yeah, like we need another small winger." Not saying Thor will turn heads like Omark but he might give guys like Jones or Brule a run for their money.

No. No, he won't. You know how we know that? Because we watched him play 80 games here already, on a way better team than the one the Oilers are icing today, including an extremely painful stretch in 06-07 when Hemsky was out and Thoresen was playing on a higher line than he should have been and didn't score a goal for about 40 games in a row. (Note: may be an exaggeration but not by much.)

All the love in the world to Thor, it'd be great if some other team had a spot for him, but there are a lot of guys like Thoresen out there, yes, even the ones willing to literally put their balls on the line for the team. The Oilers have one, his name is Liam Reddox.

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#50 Captain Obvious
February 07 2011, 03:06PM
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John Chambers wrote:

I think what generally irritates me about this article and your banter with BM is that you state your opinion as if it's fact.

At the end of the day, even though you disagree with BM about whether or not Paajarvi should have played in the SEL, or whether Patrick Thoresen will win the Art Ross trophy in '11-'12, you're not in an "expert" position to make such bold statements, and therefore should refrain from doing so.

Good journalism is about proposing an idea, supporting the idea, and allowing people to think. Stop telling us how to think. Given that this is an "opinion" piece, be prepared to defend your opinion rather than getting defensive, because people will always disagree with you. After all, didn't you recently write an article about how much you dislike player haters? Stop stoking the fire.

Is there any evidence that you, or any of the other automata here, are capable of thought?

Comments are closed for this article.