Things I Wrote This Month

October is wrapping up, and my last article of the month will be a weekly mailbag post that won’t exactly re-invent the wheel. There are no NHL games tonight, so with that in mind, here is some stuff from the past month that I particularly enjoyed writing and hope you’ll enjoy going back to read.

On Penalty Differential and the Leafs
I haven’t gone back to this one yet to see who have been Toronto’s best penalty-drawing players this season (the sample should preferably be a bit bigger first), but the beginning acts as a good primer on the benefits of worrying about penalty differential.

Rich and Matt: A Tale of Two Fourth-Liners
Matt Martin’s been about what he was expected to be for the Leafs this season and Rich Clune is doing the same for the Marlies, but with people already talking about kids being NHL ready with nowhere to jump to, it really does bring the contract responsibility part of this back into question.

Why I Believe in Frank Corrado
Just get him into a game, I swear.

Believing in Connor Carrick, the Crown Jewel of this rebuild’s seminal trade
Carrick has looked very good in some difficult minutes so far this season. Not overly surprising, though; he’s been waiting for his chance for a bit now.

On the “Kid vs. Vet” tiebreaker, and things to consider while doing it
I actually thought Babcock would lean to his veterans here, at least as far as forwards did, but sure enough, Greening, Laich, and Michalek are all hanging out on the Marlies now.

The Leafs are at the Jays game and I have many questions
This one is more of a goofball post, but it was still entertaining to write.

Maple Leafs claim Seth Griffith off waivers from Bruins
A breaking news post by nature, but a lot of info on Griffith, who I think will prove to be a great claim by the blue and white.

The Night Toronto Turned a New Leaf
Sure, the Leafs have lost 6 of 8 games since, but things are still looking up, on the whole, and that was a very special night as far as setting the tone of the franchise moving forward.

Andreas Johnsson answers health concerns with huge weekend
I was initially very worried about his concussion when it happened in May, and to see him make noise on the scoresheet right away was fantastic.

Making sense of what happened yesterday
A breakdown of Toronto’s 4-0 collapse to the Jets a few weeks back, including a decent primer on Score Effects, which played a big role in many of the collapses that the team faced in the first few games.

William Nylander’s time will not come, for it is already here
It’s become more apparent by the day that Nylander is a special, special talent already. At the 9-game mark, he’s up to 11 points on the season.

The Leafs need to get Frederik Andersen out of the net right now
In this case, it’s looking like my conclusion fell flat; Andersen was solid in the two appearances that followed. Maybe he’s finally coming around from whatever was bugging him. But the backing behind the final statement is still worth the read.

Mitch Marner’s skillset is too big to worry about him being small
Marner has been getting the least fanfare of the “Big 3”, probably because he plays on a less important line. But he’s already looking like a stellar player himself.

Re-Imagining the Leafs’ defensive struggles
From just a couple of hours ago, I went into the misconceptions about the Leafs being a poor defensive team, and how the TV “eye test” can be deceiving, short and long term.

As a new season approaches

Hey all,

Tonight, the 2016/17 NHL season will get underway (joining all the other leagues out there that are way ahead of them), and that’s fantastic! After months of arguing with each other about the decisions that are being made off the ice, we can now get back to our true passion, which is arguing with each other about the decisions that are being made on the ice. In seriousness, a new season comes with bright beginnings for young players, graceful endings for veterans, renaissance for some teams, declines for others, highlight goals and hits and saves and all the fun stuff that eventually leads to one of these thirty teams being declared the best of the bunch, at least for now.

But you already know that. If you’re reading this post, you already pay more attention to the game than most people. You probably frequent blogs, social media, listen to podcasts, and all that fun stuff that goes a bit beyond turning on your TV to see how the local sports team is doing. So I don’t need to explain this stuff to you.

If you’re a more-than-recent follower of mine, you’re also probably aware that digital hockey journalism (for lack of a better name) has morphed into my “career” in the past couple of years. Most people kind of saw that coming before I did, and eleven years after jumping into the hockey internet scene with no idea what I was doing, I’d like to think I’m starting to have a general grasp of direction now.

Speaking personally, I plan on going all-in to a degree that I haven’t in previous years. This will be my first full season in a management role at the Nation Network, on top of overseeing The Leafs Nation and writing my usual 2-3 articles a day. To supplement this, I’ve also taken on a behind-the-scenes role that you probably won’t notice because it doesn’t come with bylines or any of that fun stuff. Realistically, I expect to be at my desk for a solid 16-18 hours a day from now until June, only breaking to go to rinks to cover games or to sleep. That sounds dull and soulless, but it’s a way for me to continue doing my hobbies for a living and hopefully, it leads to me continuing to climb up the hierarchy. That is the end goal, after all – to find a way to make being myself for a living a sustainable, safe career decisions. With that in mind, I need something from all of you.

No, this isn’t where I link you to a paypal or a gofundme or a patreon or whatever. No disrespect to those who do the crowdfunding thing, but from my own personal perspective, I do the bulk of my work on a platform that relies on advertising as a revenue generator and earn my pay from the windfall of that. Along with being the content consumer, you are technically also our “product”, so to double dip there would be completely and totally unfair of me to ask. (However, if you’re an editor looking for a freelance or part-time hockey contributor, I’ll gladly take your money in exchange for side work).

What I’m here to ask for is a bit simpler than that. All I ask this year is that if you like the work that I’m doing, help me ensure it gets in the view of as many eyeballs as possible. Whether that means retweeting a link, sharing it on Facebook (I’m going to start actually linking to stuff on my personal page as of today, I promise), or just telling a friend or two that I’m worth following on a social platform or that the sites I write for are good reads, all of that would be greatly appreciated. Obviously, don’t feel forced and don’t exaggerate; I should only get as much attention as the associated work deserves, but it’s something I’d appreciate for you to keep in mind.

In exchange, I’ll continue to take the hockey thoughts that keep me up at night and turn them into work that may or may not be good.

In fact, I’d suggest that you extend that philosophy to others that you enjoy and follow, not just me. If you want to see the sports media ecosystem change, you’re better spending your time endorsing the up-and-comers that you enjoy, rather than tearing down the ones you don’t. The former gives the good people a shot at being noticed; the latter can be interpreted as “any publicity is good publicity”. I’m going to make an effort to practice what I preach here too and focus on sharing lower-profile work that I enjoy throughout the year as well.

I’m rambling at this point, so we’ll cut this off at this paragraph. I aprpeciate all the support that everyone has given me over the years, and hopefully, I won’t let that support down. In the meantime, though, here’s to another exciting hockey season!

A Couple of Apple Thoughts

photo via engadget

photo via engadget

Yesterday, Apple took the attention of the consumer electronics world, as they usually do, to make a grand announcement. Not earth shattering like some of their previous efforts, but it’s still a year of refreshed mobile product from the trendiest tech company on the planet, so it’ll get your attention no matter what.

The three “key” announcements were refreshes to the iPhone and Apple Watch, along with a new accessory tailored towards users of the iPhone. Read more of this post