Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Anthology of Interest

Five things I’ve enjoyed recently, because link dumps are the blogosphere’s way of paying it forward.

1. Wyshynski on Taunting
Like most general NHL blogs, I’m always a little ambivalent about Puck Daddy. It’s nice to have a one-stop-shop for what’s happening RIGHT NOW, especially for those of us who don’t get TSN and can’t deal with sports radio because we just don’t care about the Leafs and their large collection of apes and proto-hominids. But, like anything that has to update multiple times a day, there’s a lot of workmanlike filler on the blog, which means I often end up just skimming the headlines and missing some quality hockey writing in the process. Wyshynski himself, for example, is a smart dude with an effortless way of working humor, evidence, and Big Ideas into short pieces.

2. Richardson on Escrow
I got into hockey thinking it would be all about grace and blood, and it turns out that it’s really about numbers and paper. Whenever I can get over feeling disappointed by that, I’m going to have to put some real study into the business side of the game. Until then, I’m grateful for people who can explain the doings of the besuited men with the big desks in layperson terms, and also put comforting reassurances at the end.

3. Bourne on Defensive Breakdowns
One of my dreams in life is to have my very own video coach. If I were a billionairess, I would steal one from one of the cheaper teams and have him do nothing all day but break down video for me, because my eyes are still not so very good, as hockey-watching eyes go. Thankfully, since I’m never going to be a billionairess, or even a hundred-thousand-airess, more and more blogs have started doing this for free. Insha’allah, this trend is going to do a lot to help fans who think they understand hockey really understand it. Online discourse improves tremendously when everyone can rewatch a play as they discuss it, rather than referring to their various individual memories of what they thought they saw last night. The Copper and Blue has been doing a similar series, going tactic by tactic rather than according to current events. Either way, I very love it.

4. Likens on the ‘Best’ Team Winning
Okay, this is really old, but I just found it this week. I’ve been abroad, people, it takes the internet longer to get over there! Anyhow, it will take some time for me to get my head around the mathematics here, so I have no idea whether or not I agree with it yet, but it’s a great example of how rich some of the work coming out of stats-world can be. Whether or not you support the conclusion, whether or not you like the methodology, to understand this piece you really have to put in some serious thought, not just about the data itself but about how one defines ‘best’ and what is the truest observable evidence of whichever definition one comes up with. It’s the sort of conversation you really have to up your analytical game to participate in.

5. Smith on Overcoaching
Apropos of two recent posts, the one on clutchery and choking and the one of goaltending and technique, this essay from a goalie coach on how the focus on the technical game can induce choking in netminders. It makes absolute perfect sense, and problematizes somewhat my valorization of ‘technique’ in the earlier article, since apparently a focus on technique can fry goalie-brains as sure as a lack of control can. No wonder this job turns people into stress-baskets. Many thanks to Clare-of-the-Comments for directing me to the site.

Are there any blogs I’m not reading and ought to be? Tell me of them! I am woefully out of touch with what the kids are into these days.

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