Thursday, January 31, 2013

Avs lose, O'Reilly celebrates?

Hello! Today Grading Dater will take a look at a recent game review from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.

Colorado Avalanche loses 4-1 to Edmonton after giving up four power-play goals

This article is a bit of a hybrid: one-half basic and decent recap of the game, and one-half commentary on the Ryan O'Reilly situation. The recap part of the article is fine: quotes from players and Sacco, critical of the Avs as a team where they were soft (special teams), mention of how Landeskog's absence isn't helping, and an acknowledgement that the Oilers are a very tough team right now. The only real beef with the recap side of this article is that Dater calls out Stastny in particular, only later mentioning that his linemates have also been ineffective. Yeah, Stastny being the highest-paid player makes him a target for such criticism, but Stastny has always been a guy who looks great when his line is clicking but never really carries anybody on his back. Calling out "the Stastny line" is probably more constructive and accurate than singling out Stastny simply because he's paid a lot of money, but it's a minor quibble.

The other half of the article is Dater's way of making this game relevant to the Ryan O'Reilly saga, and to a point I do get it: the PK was awful (two straight games with three or more PP goals allowed), and O'Reilly is a very good penalty killer. The pieces do fit. AD writes that the more the Avs lose, the better "O'Reilly's leverage" against the Avs becomes... whether that logic tracks or not I'm not sure, but Dater makes a decent enough case for it. The part that really doesn't work, though, is this:

Wherever he was Monday night, Ryan O'Reilly might have sat back with a smug grin and thought to himself, "That's why I'm worth the money."

Unlike most of his readers, Dater has actually met and talked with Ryan O'Reilly. He knows a bit about the man's personality and how he treats others. And while I understand that this is just a winking attempt at a clever intro, the impression created here about Ryan O'Reilly is that he's, well... kind of a dick.

Maybe Ryan O'Reilly is a dick, and is just cackling with glee as he watches the Avs get trounced, making this just great, factual reporting from Dater. However, my gut feeling is that even if O'Reilly is a huge dick, he doesn't appreciate the Denver Post -- even jokingly -- making it sound like he wants his Avs teammates to continue getting BF'ed just so he can get his money. All in all, a decent write-up of the game, but with an O'Reilly tie-in that misses the mark.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Suspension for Brad Stuart

Hello! Today we will be taking a look at a recent All Things Avs blog by Adrian Dater. This blog deals with the lack of disciplinary action taken by the league over the hit by San Jose's Brad Stuart that knocked Avs captain Gabe Landeskog briefly out of that game, and caused him to miss the following game in Edmonton. Not only will we take a look at the blog entry, but we will have a little discussion about NHL rules and the Laws of Physics, to boot!

No Suspension for Brad Stuart

There is very little to this blog. Short and sweet, it's basically a quick update on the situation in which Dater informs his reader that the league has elected to take no action against Stuart for the hit, which also received no in-game penalty. My take (which will be evident by the time you finish reading the blog) is that while an in-game minor wouldn't have been out of order (Stuart's elbow made contact, but it wasn't extended, it was in the follow-through... so in my view that aspect is borderline), this was a fairly clean hit. The reason Landeskog got hurt was not a dirty play by Stuart, but because Landy skated head-first into a monster open-ice hit, the sort we Avs fans would love to see somebody in maroon -- say, Erik Johnson, for example -- dishing out to people.

Brad Stuart explains to reporters about how his strict diet
of infants and kittens has helped prolong his NHL career.
Things like this are when the All Things Avs blog is at its best: delivering little bits of information that are either too small or too trivial to create an entire column for them. So in theory, this is a good blog entry. Dater writes that he's not surprised there was no suspension because "Landeskog emerged OK." Fair enough, I guess... although I think it's more because it was a legal hit AND Landeskog emerged OK (or so we thought). It goes off the tracks, however, when Dater chooses to add in this sentence.

The head was the initial point of contact and Stuart left his feet delivering the hit – which Todd McLellan and the laughably homer-ish Sharks TV announcers said didn’t happen (might want to get your eyes examined boys, cuz he clearly left his feet)

To discuss the problems with this sentence and this blog, we can first look at the video of the hit. Landeskog approaches the collision with his body held much lower than Stuart's, there isn't enough height difference to cause this so it's either invisible stilts for Stewart, or Landy is crouching, having reached out a bit for the puck. It appears (although this is difficult to discern with 100% certainty) that Landeskog's head and shoulder are actually the initial point of contact with Stuart's shoulder, immediately followed by pretty much every part of Landeskog's body north of his shins (as opposed to the last time Landeskog got clobbered at the blueline, in which Andy Sutton hit almost nothing but his head).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Avs Mailbag: Landeskog a superstar in the making?

Hello! Today we're going to take a look at the latest Avs Mailbag by Adrian Dater. In it, Dater tackles seven questions from readers, ranging from the future for Calder-winning forward Gabe Landeskog to the relative ugliness of the Avalanche jerseys.

Avs Mailbag: Is young captain Gabriel Landeskog a superstar in making?

First of all, let's discuss the headline: Landeskog either is, or is not, a superstar in the making. It's entirely possible that someone other than Dater wrote the headline, but whoever did write it should be made aware that "the" is a part of speech called an article, and they're free, so let's go head and use them. In the old days of printed newspapers, articles were often dropped in order to fit a headline into its allotted space, but since the Avs Mailbag only appears online, this is not a valid excuse. It may seem like nothing to quibble about, but seeing as how this entire blog is about quibbling, I might as well do it right.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hockey is Back!!!

At long last, hockey has returned, and so has Grading Dater! With the lockout wiping out half the season, there hasn't really been much reason to update the blog.  Why? Two reasons:

1. I found it difficult to get motivated to get online and write a blog about hockey (and hockey reporting) when there is no hockey. Just seemed kind of pointless, and with the Broncos being very interesting/heartbreaking this year, the NHL became very easy to ignore.

2. I realize that the DP's writers probably feel exactly like I do about writing when there's nothing to write about, but unlike me they're actually required to write even if they have nothing to write about. So in sympathy with their situation, I was more than willing to cut them the same slack I cut myself.

What articles and blogs the Post's writers (even Terry Frei popped his head back into the NHL to contribute an article or two) did offer were few and far between, and consisted of two general types of article: the Dry & Boring Update Article ("After two weeks of no contact, the NHL and the union are set to meet again today. ZZZZZ") and the Gripefest Blog. Even though I have often stated my distaste for using the All Things Avs blog for such blatant opinioratory (I'm pretty sure I just made that word up), I wasn't too bothered by these because, as I said before, the poor bastards have got to write something.