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News And Notes From Around The NHL, 9.17.2011

Oh clutch. On the heels of one great op-ed about the subject comes a great statistical analysis of the most sacred trait in hockey. Eric from Broad Street Hockey took clutch to task. Using a definition suggested by a reader who very strongly believes in clutch, he combed the game logs:

Defining 'clutch' play: Does it exist? - Broad Street Hockey
"I went through every goal in the league in the last two years and marked off how many met [my reader's] definition of clutch: scored in OT or the last 10 minutes of regulation, to tie the game or give their team the lead. The results..."

The definition is an interesting one, and probably one that many people would agree with. However, I'm sure there will be criticisms of the definition, so if you do choose to criticize, make sure you have a measurable, testable definition ready to go.

As for my personal view on clutch, there aren't nearly enough situations that meet the definition of clutch as described in the common parlance over a short term basis. Clutch is also far too transient to exist as a repeatable skill. Men like Fernando Pisani, Ruslan Fedotenko, Sean Bergenheim, and Wes Walz prove just how fleeting clutch really is.

Jack Johnson Since His New Contract - Houses of the Hockey
"...I’m not here arguing that Johnson’s contract extension inspired insipid play..." Especially since his play was insipid before the contract extension.

Can you win with the worst offense in the league? - Arctic Ice Hockey
As the 2011 Giants implode in front of their disbelieving fans, I wondered if any NHL teams with San Francisco's signature talent - being the worst offensive team in the league - had ever been successful.

Courteau to push ban on fighting - The Chronicle Herald
"Courteau has recently made noise about taking the ultimate step — outlawing fighting. He believes such a move would be healthier for the players and would fit better with the league’s desire to offer family-type entertainment." Banning fighting would be an enormous step forward for the QMJHL. Kids don't need to risk turning their brains to mush.

Know Thy Enemy: Edmonton Oilers - Winging It In Motown
"...the team signed a pair of depth defensemen to deals, Andy Sutton and Cam Barker. Sutton is a stay-at-home defenseman who has little-to-no offensive talent, but can eat up minutes and play with physicality. Barker is a former first round pick who has struggled in his career to this point, never living up to expectations in Chicago or Minnesota." And you want to be my latex salesman?

Dustin Penner Obliterates All Doubts About His Physical Conditioning - Frozen Royalty
"I’ve gained lean muscle mass—that’s probably from doing 2,000 yards of lunges every day in the summer." The author really goes after David Staples in this. It's wrong-headed to attack Staples for this; if it was such a poorly referenced picture, why didn't the author take the time to dispute it when it was released and ascertain the origin?

Comparison: Montreal vs. Edmonton - bringing back the glory
"First of all, the Oilers only have one actual right defenseman on this list (the other two are left defense masquerading as being able to play their off side: I am betting $25 that at least one of Baker or Sutton cannot). The second is that we are spending more per player (than Montreal) in our biggest position of weakness..." Ah, so you've noticed that the team has no one on the right side. If Petry is sent down, it could get even uglier.

Driving Play: Driving Play Season Preview - Teams 30-27 - A Journey Through The NHL Underworld
"Bad Idea(s): Signing defenseman Cam Barker to do anything. Barker's been a terrible player for years, and it can only be his status as a 3rd overall pick in 2004 and his 40 point season in 2009 that keeps a team like Edmonton thinking he's worth a roster spot." I sense a theme, re: Oilers defense.

Highlights Of, and Reaction To, the Proposed Arena Deal - The Cannon
"Yes, the local governments are now buying the arena. But, no, you're not being asked to pay more taxes. The local governments will be using a share (25% in year one, increasing 1% each year to a cap of 32%, according to the plan) of the casino money--not ALL of it--to finance this purchase. And, at the end of the day, the local governments get to keep the tax money from ALL of the businesses that rely on the Blue Jackets for survival, and they get to keep ALL of the revenues generated from ALL of the events hosted at Nationwide." I was under the impression, at least from the local media, that an arena without tax dollars was not a possibility.