Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Under The Bus With You

I don't understand, I really don't.

Auld ends up being in goal when the vastly better Boston Bruins come in to town and, horror of horrors, manage to beat the inferior Ottawa Senators. And somehow that's Auld's fault, and he should be banished forthwith for failing to steal a game against the better team.


For once I actually watched the game. I wanted to watch it so much, I watched it in french while I was in Montreal this weekend. Thank god the Canadiens were not playing or I wouldn't have gotten to see it. I even manage to watch the whole game, even sticking it out when it was 4-1 with ten to go.

Frankly the only goal I blame Auld for was that weak one -- Marchande's one in the first. The rest of them I blame on the rest of the team for A) poor defensive coverage and B) only turning the offense on in the last quarter of the third period.

You want to talk about defensive coverage? Fine, let's talk shots on goal:

BOS 13 16 9 38
OTT 9 6 15 30

...I don't wanna talk about it any more.

And about the last period: look, guys, these games are 60 minutes long, not five. It's fun and all watching the heart-attack-inducing last gasp desperation plays and all, but this is about winning, not trying really hard.

So in summary, yes, Auld was the losing goaltender. But no, he wasn't the problem. The problem is a little further up the ice, and the sooner we recognize that and start dealing with it, the sooner we can start having a honest discussion about goaltending.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Cut Above

Craig Anderson cuts his hand making dinner after last night's whooping of the Washington Capitals.

...you can't make this stuff up, can you.

The team has been pretty lucky, injury-wise, so far this season. Michalek was out with a concussion, and both Phillips and Gonchar spent some time on the injury list. But if there is one player who has been single-handedly carrying this team so far this season, it's Erik Karlsson. No wait, I mean Craig Anderson.

Look at last night. Craig Anderson stopped 33 of 35 shots on goal. The two Washington goalies combined to stop 19 of 25 (with one empty-netter at the end of the game). So yes, "Mister" Anderson was the man last night. But let's review: Ottawa gave up 35 shots on goal. Unless the goalie is the man, the end result could have been much, much uglier.

With all respect to Alex "back from the goalie graveyard" Auld*, the problem in Ottawa has not yet settled down to something you could call weak goaltending. Even if Auld is only average, it is going to get ugly. If he's merely human, we'll probably get the opportunity to watch "Goalie Of The Future" Lehner get lit up like a pinball machine a couple of times again.

This team has got to play better in front of their goalies. Only then can we start appreciating** how good the goaltending we have actually is.

As far as the standings go, however, I feel pretty good. The only teams with genuine chances to catch Ottawa are Toronto, Winnipeg, and Washington, and I think the gap that Ottawa has now will permit them to retain a place in the playoffs by playing only .500 hockey through Anderson's absence. It pains me to say it, but Toronto isn't as bad as the last-10 makes them look, while I think Winnipeg's last-10 numbers of 5-4-1 are probably a bit above where they should be.

* = stupid nickname, I know, but what you going to do?

** = although it is nice to watch Toronto demonstrate that they are no better than Ottawa at refraining from fitting goalies under the bus at the first sign of trouble.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fan Tab III

So I have to say, FanTab is pretty amazing as a website.

After my last post, and the re-tweeting of my pointer to them complaining, I got an email from one of the guys at FanTab. I sent him my tale of woe, and he figured out that my account was on hold. He undid the hold, and my access was immediately reinstated.

Gotta love that.

He asked for some feedback on the site, and so I thought I'd write up my thoughts, brief as they are, here.

I do enjoy playing with FanTab. I think the main problem is: there's no community surrounding the hockey clubs -- or at least, the hockey team I follow (and those other teams in the East that the Senators end up interacting with). Right now it is just me talking to myself. Which is kinda weird because I found the link to FanTab on another 'blog, and assumed that its presence meant that at least the site admins participated.

I notice that the published web gadget has changed -- it just shows the slider, rather than the graph. Personally I thought the graph was the hook, that you could see how confidence changed up and down over time. Having the slider under the graph that anyone could grab, and then get directed into creating a site account, was the gateway into getting a participant to sign up. (Disclaimer: I'm a sysadmin and so am unreasonably fixated on graphs.)

One thing which might be nice is a RSS feed for individual users, something I can throw into the planet. But that is just my desire to aggregate all my personal content generated into a single place.

Beyond that I think that one would have to be careful what one did to FanTab -- it would be too easy to add too many knobs and bells and whistles. You'd end up with people getting fixated on the mechanics of the thing, rather than just using it as a fun gauge to stimulate conversation.

Growing the community around the hockey teams, though, I'm not sure how to go about doing that. I'm not exactly an opinion leader here. (See also Sturgeon's Law.) A healthy community is key to getting, and keeping, things going, even if it does mean it will grow to the point that community management will become a problem. But that's the cart before the horse.

FanTab is fun, and I'll keep playing with it while it (and hockey) continues to be fun.

Anyway Rob, thanks for listening.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fan Tab, Again

So irony of ironies, as soon as I mention Fan Tab, it takes a dump on me.

Not content to merely lock me out of my up-until-then-working account -- and I know the values I am logging in with were correct because A) LastPass had them saved and B) the web site had accepted them before -- it's crapped on my attempts to create a new account.

Memo to FanTab, if you are listening: something's broken. If your site is dumping users, no wonder nobody sticks with it.

Update, 11 February 2012: ..and then this happened:

They re-tweeted my tweet telling them they had a problem, by pointing to a link that only criticized them. That's deeply ironic.