Friday, March 18, 2011

Avs Mailbag: Draft questions and more!

Dater's workload seems to be light this week... other than this Mailbag, an Adam Foote retirement article, and a couple blogs, most of the game writeups have been from outside sources... which has been a refreshing change. So without much actually coming from the Denver Post (and with a car needing a new transmission put in this week), I've allowed myself to get a bit behind. Hope to play catchup today on both the blog and the transmission, and I will start with this Mailbag.

Larsson sports my high school hairstyle.
The first question deals with the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. The Avs' freefall makes it more and more likely that they will be in line for a very high pick, and this question asks about the players who might be selected with one of those high picks. Dater offers two names, both Swedes (and both, coincidentally, the same two he discussed in an All Things Avs blog entry): Landeskog and Larsson, and gives a very small bit of information for both of them.

I'd like to have seen a more thorough answer here... first of all, while Larsson is pretty much universally ranked #1 or #2, and Landeskog appears to be a top-five pick, there are a couple others whom Dater fails to mention, but should have. Sean Courtier and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are both ranked ahead of Landeskog by the Hockey News, and Nugent-Hopkins us currently ranked first overall by ISS. Dater could have done a bit more research and provided a much better answer, but he didn't. He does, however, admit that he doesn't really know anything about the players in the draft to begin with, and even teases himself about it... saving me the trouble.

The second question concerns the draft itself. I've been critical of Dater's apparent lack of understanding of how the draft works in previous entries... not that I figure he's responding directly to me, but I think he included this question to make sure people know he understands the process.

After reading the answer, though, I'm still not sure. He acknowledges that, rather than teams picking in reverse order of their regular season finish, there is a draft lottery, but when he writes "here are the odds of teams getting the top pick," he's 100% wrong. The odds he lists are the odds that each team will win the lottery, but only the top (or bottom) five teams can actually move up enough to claim the top pick... the 14th ranked team does NOT have a 0.5% chance of getting the top pick, they have a 0.5% chance of moving up to pick 10th, in the first round only.

So nice try on this one, Dater, but you're still offering incorrect information to your readers on this subject. Either do your homework, or stay silent on subjects you don't understand.

The third question is a kind of fun question, asking if a team made up of ex-Avs could beat the team made up of current Avs. Frankly, I think a more balanced question is whether a team made up of retired Avs could beat the current squad, because a team of ex-Avs-but-current-NHLers would wipe the floor with them, as pretty much every NHL team has done the last two months.

This question does link up to one of Dater's common complaints: how often players the Avalanche have gotten rid of have scored against them. And of course, it gives Dater yet another opportunity to repeat his opinion of the Craig Anderson trade, which at this point is starting to resemble nails on a chalkboard.

Dater doesn't really give an answer to this question, but because it was one of those "sitting at the bar making up hypothetical stuff to argue about" questions, I suppose his lack of answer doesn't really matter, so I won't knock him down for it.

The next question addresses the Avalanche penalty kill, and why players like Duchene are not on the PK unit. Asking Dater an Xs and Os hockey question is always an iffy idea. I think Dater knows that a detailed answer to this question is beyond his depth, so he keeps his answer very basic here. Dater basically explains that most coaches don't often have their best players kill penalties because it's tiring, and that McClement may be a decent PKer next season once he gets used to the Avs system. This is a pretty good -- although brief -- answer to this question.

The penultimate question here is about Craig Anderson's play in Ottawa since he was traded from the Avalanche. Does anybody else get the feeling that if somebody didn't write in with this question, Dater would have created a fake name and just asked it himself, so he could answer it? AD is completely hung up on the Anderson trade... he has clearly lost the perspective of a reporter (if he ever had it to begin with) and is just ranting like a fan.

I'm not sure why Dater dwells so much on goaltending, which is the position in hockey he obviously understands the least. His mancrush on Anderson, running concurrent with his hatred of Peter Budaj, despite the fact that they had essentially the same stats playing for the same team, is proof that Dater judges goalies emotionally rather than empirically, and that's kind of the opposite of what a reporter is asked to do.

Dater's answer to this question isn't really that important, because he's just using this question as an excuse to once again say "Anderson was great last year, I don't think he gave up on the Avs, blah blah blah." Enough already!

The final question today deals with Sheldon Souray, and whether AD would have liked to see the Avs pick him up. Dater answers that last year he would have liked to see them get Souray, but he did not think that this year, and leaves it at that. That answer alone raises some questions: what changed between last year and this year? Why did you change your opinion? Why would he have helped last season, but not this season? ...but Dater doesn't go there. So while he did, in fact, answer the question, it still seems very rushed and incomplete.

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