Bromides

Moreau

Certain bromide salts were once used medicinally as a mild sedative. It’s an apt description for the vast majority of interviews with players in professional sports, although it’s particularly applicable to the NHL.

The quest for “consistency” is one of these banalities that are trotted out for the media; very rarely after a win of course, because consistency isn’t actually what these teams are looking for. Matt at Battle of Alberta made this point very well awhile back so I’m not going to get into it any further; suffice to say that when most players say they want consistency they mean that they want to consistently be better than their average performance.

Jim Matheson reaches for the consistency label in his latest piece, although he uses it in the context of the team consistently being hard to play against:

But were they harder to play against, consistently, with less skill? Yes, they were, although Moreau qualifies it.

“We’re in the same position as we were then, but we just looked better. In the past we had a bit different makeup, more experience up front, guys who could elevate their games, but having said that, we were still in the same position then with a less talented, more physical, hard-working team.”

(bolding mine)

That quote’s both good and bad; a frequent thing for Moreau. I’ve seen him say incredibly insightful things, and been mystified by other comments. I have two mild issues with that quote, both of which are bolded:

1) guys elevating their games
2) less-talented team

On the first point, one of the many problems with the platitudes we discussed earlier is that they occasionally contradict each other, or (as in this case) reveal that neither platitude is sincerely meant. In this case, the question becomes: which is a greater virtue – a player elevating his game or being consistent? Because if a player elevates his game for the playoffs, he’s been playing at a lesser level during the season. Do general managers really want to see players at less than their full effort level over the 82-game schedule? On the other hand, a player who consistently shows the same level of performance is not a “clutch” player – he doesn’t elevate his game when the playoffs are near. Do general managers really want their players to be unable to take that next step?

It’s a fun paradox, with the simplest explanation being (in my opinion) that people tend to put far too much weight in hokey theories about “clutch players”, “consistency” and a thousand other oft-repeated adages. Some of those adages have a basis in reality; others have just become so traditional that they’re repeated and believed without thought.

On the second point, were the Oilers of the past really less talented? There isn’t a forward on the team (including Ales Hemsky) with a career that matches Doug Weight’s. If, on the other hand we jump past Weight’s time with the team, we’re left with only a span of 2002-04; a time span where the team included Anson Carter/Radek Dvorak, Mike Comrie, Dan Cleary and Mike York. The argument could be made that Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Robert Nilsson are more talented players right now than Comrie, Carter, Dvorak and York were then, but that argument is clearly wrong. It’s a narrative, and an inaccurate narrative at that.

On the other hand, Moreau does point to experience, and there he is on to something. The Oilers of those years didn’t boast a lot of top-end talent, but they did have a lot of older players; veterans who cheated to defense, players who made a career out of playing good positional hockey. That point is what illustrates the chief problem with the bulk of the Oilers’ roster:

Youth.

  • Hippy

    This is how the new stat has flushed itself out Willis.

    Jay wrote:
    hitting = cheering
    scoring = cheering
    scoring chances = cheering
    sweet dangles = cheering

    missed passes = silence/groans
    giveaways = silence/groans
    penalties = silences/groans

    Judging by this scientologically approved formula, one can see exactly why there is little cheering at Rexall these days

    Wanye wrote:
    @ Jay:

    I have taken a preliminary look at your calculations and they seem to be valid. We will need our resident scienticians to give this a read:

    Archaeologuy, Iamascientist! thoughts on this?

    I chimed in:
    I’m sending this one through I’m a Scientist!’s binary translation devise, to give it more credibility.

    And again:
    The only other thing I could add to the formula is that any of the items on the list of the same Groan/Cheer value (from here on out understood as the symbols Ch or Gr)executed consecutively increases the value of Ch or Gr exponentially.

    I'm a Scientist re-calibrates the equation:
    *adjusts glasses*

    Well, after running the formula through my computer, and crunching the numbers i find that there is one missing part of the equation. Mostly Jay was correct, but he must have forgotten to carry the one.

    *clears throat and adjusts glasses nervously again*

    The missing part is this:

    Monkeys = cheering

    *awaits applause*

    I make some claims that likely cant be followed through on:
    sir, wait no longer because you’ve earned it.
    I’m faxing this work off to the Nobel commitee of Hockey statistics.

    WE FINALLY BEAT WILLIS ON A STAT!

    Nevermind Corsi, +/-, G, A, P, SO, or even W, L, OTL. Ladies and gentlemen, we have developed a trackable stat that appeals to the whole world. These stats will even make it possible to compare players from different sports to each other (once we develop Ch/Gr values for Baseball, Soccer, and Football).

    I'm a Scientist agrees that we're the smartest people on Earth:
    @ Archaeologuy:
    Make sure you name is included in the nobel prize application form. The creation of the Ch/Gr factor is pure and simple genius. I knew there were smart people on this site before, but this is beyond my expectations.

    I make sure that credit goes around as long as I dont have to share a statue:
    @ I’m a Scientist!:
    We cant leave out Wanye or Jay either. Well we could and people would take our word over theirs, but I can share a Nobel prize…unless they only give one medal to share. It better be like the Oscars where they make enough statues to go around.

    I'm a Scientist! agrees:
    *grabs some paper, an erasable ink pen and starts to compose his speech, making sure to thank both Wayne Gretz and the Academy*

    I hope the prize includes monkeys that are trained to shoot imaginary AK47’s in the air as a celebration. It would be difficult to share that with the others because it would just be so damn cool. Sacrifices I guess. Jay DID build the foundation and 4 of the walls, all we did was put a roof on it and let it roll.

    And that's how the Ch/Gr factor came to be

  • Hippy

    Less talent than average and still up against the cap for the forseeable future… Young players without any meaningful playoff experience or the hope of any in the near future… I think I must have taken some of this bromide stuff…

    Of course, a big win tonight and my attitude could do a 180, unless Nashville also wins…

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:
    Dude, the U of A hands out degrees like beads at Mardi Gras, I cant be held responsible for the cheap education that I received.
    Truthfully, I knew all those words (minus Platitude) but it seems like forever since I've read any of them on the site. Welcome back.

    ps. A Master's Degree in the Arts is relatively useless. If you apply for anything that does not specifically request a MA people look at you like youre from the moon. The dead look in their eyes as they look over my resume is only rivalled by the dead look in the eyes of the Oilers these days.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    FFS, Jon.
    Wanye's world is imploding in front of us. He's torn between locking the garage door, firing up his 1984 Dodge Diplomat and slipping Don't Fear The Reaper into the 8-track or showing up at Rexall Place with C4 taped to his backside and his finger on the button and you're going all egghead on us? Bromides?

    If you found yourself at Bike Week in Sturgis at a party with the Hell's Angels and people were doing burnouts inside the local tavern, drinking quarts of beer and every hot chick in the joint was flashing her breasts, would you get into it, or crack open the Encyclopedia Britannica and treat everybody to a narrative on the history of the two-stroke engine?

    This is no time for reason.

  • Hippy

    I'm a Scientist! wrote:

    I guess Jonathon Willis missed the smarty pants new stat of Ch/Gr.

    I did… I haven't been following ON at all this weekend (buddy's wedding).

  • Hippy

    @ Archaeologuy:
    @ Jonathan Willis:
    I guess Jonathon Willis missed the smarty pants new stat of Ch/Gr. Masters degree is totally more than wall art today Arch!

  • Hippy

    this is probably the world's worst place to do this, but does anyone wanna buy tickets for Thursday's game? I figured I'd offer them to the Nation before trying stubhub or something…they are nosebleed seats – section 301, top row, but center ice – certainly not the worst seats in RX1. $48 / each…I've got seats 1&2.

    call or txt
    four oh three eight three five zero five sixty six

  • Hippy

    *furrows brow, searches his library for now dusty Dictionary, Bromide…Platitude…Banalities*

    Willis youve been gone and I'm used to reading Wanye. You should have re-entered the Nation slowly and kept the words to 2 syllables or less. My thinking pants are in the laundry.