Mail time, mail time, maaaail time! Here’s the mail it never fails, it makes me wanna wag my tail, when it comes I wanna wail: MAAAAAAAAAAAAIL. Eh? Eh?? (I have spent way too much time babysitting in my life.)
Another Two Bearded Ladies mailbag! Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. We love you!
If y’all could have any players from any time period to make a starting line up, who would you pick and why?
C: This is the question from our podcast that I couldn’t answer then, and I have to confess I don’t have a much better answer now. I mean, first, are you trying to assemble the “winningest” starting line up? Or just your favorite players from each position? I’m assuming they’re all at the height of their careers.
My picks come from a place of curiosity, really. I’m a relatively new hockey fan, and none of my family watched hockey, so I don’t have any context for a lot of the older players. After reading this article on the Player’s Tribune (and of course, having watched Miracle like 80 billion times) I’m really kind of sad I missed out on watching Soviet hockey, so I’d have to throw in at least one of those guys – Kharlamov probably. Then put Gretzky at Center because, well, you have to. And honestly, I’d probably put Patrick Kane at right wing because HOW FUN WOULD THAT BE??? (if you haven’t seen the new Go Pro video yet, you need to go right now).
I’d love to see Zubov play, because this is a Stars blog and I feel I need to know what the fuss is about more than just watching highlight reels on youtube. And for my other defenseman…Klingberg. Because they get compared a lot, and it’d be cool to see if they really are as similar as people say.
And thennnnnnn…Jacques Plante in net. Because why not. He’s an icon.
M: My issues are Carolyn’s issues, honestly. I just watched Red Army on Tuesday night (GO SEE IT IMMEDIATELY IT’S AMAZING), and I’d honestly really love to watch that reunited Russian line that took the Red Wings to back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in the 90s. Like all five of them.
That said! My picks will also be coming from a place of curiosity. I’ve heard enough about Paul Kariya to know that I’d like to have seen him play, so we’ll put him at left wing. Center is gonna have to be Wayne Gretzky because. Well. It just is. Gordie Howe at right wing in hopes that he gets his own hat trick.
On defense, Tim Horton so I can tell him his donuts are delicioius, especially those maple ones, and Bobby Orr, because one of the things I do remember from hockey before I actually followed it (along with Wayne Gretzky) is that picture of him flying across the ice after he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal. Plus every time I google him I’m linked to a million articles about how he revolutionized the defensive position, and who wouldn’t want to see that in action?
I have no idea how any of these people would play together, obviously.
In net I’d like to see Jim Craig, because sometimes I root for USA hockey. (Just not when they’re playing against Jamie Benn.)
My friend wants to start to watch hockey, which team would you recommend her to start watching? ([right now] she likes the faces of Patrick Sharp and Brent Burns.)
C: Oh god. Brent Burns is just no. I mean, he sounds like a lovely guy and all (and he has a Harry Potter tattoo!) but…
For me, the most fun teams to watch are ones who play fast, skilled games, which is why I started watching the Blackhawks, and then later the Stars. I also think there’s no like, one reason why people should like a certain team. I resisted liking the Stars for a long time because I really dislike driving in Dallas. (WTF WITH ALL THE LEFT EXITS???) But their hockey (and their personality) won me over. In my opinion, the best way to enjoy hockey, especially as a new fan, is live. So maybe drag her to a game if you can, even if it’s just minor league.
But if her favorite color is orange, let her like the Flyers (don’t let her like the Flyers). If she likes bearded men, let her like the Sharks (don’t let her like the Sharks). If she likes hitting, let her like the Kings (DON’T LET HER LIKE THE KINGS). If she likes funny bloggers with fake beards, let her like the Stars (Let’s be real, this is the only correct answer).
M: I recommend she like all the teams I like, and hate all of the teams I hate. So she’s allowed to like the Stars, the Blackhawks, or the Oilers (don’t let her like the Oilers, that way lies pain). Also allowable: any team in the east that isn’t the Flyers. Or the Devils (unless she likes boring hockey). Or the Panthers (whaaaat they have Kulikov on their team). Maybe not the Canes either for the aforementioned misery reasons. Or the Leafs. God, don’t let anyone like the Leafs.
If she likes orange, let her like the Stars, Cody Eakin has orange hair. If she likes bearded men, let her like the Stars, Jordie Benn has a magnificent beard that is frequently overlooked on top ten lists. If she likes hitting, let her like the Stars, Jamie Benn is a wrecking ball and Jason Demers is excellent at hip checking.
Let her like the Stars.
You pilfer a player’s cell number. You can send one text before he blocks you. Which player? What does the text say?
M: Hey Jamie who’d you room with in Sochi?
C: Hey PK, What kind of martini do you like best? Please say chocolate.
Hi! So this is the anon that asked about what your dream starting lineups would be and why, and I have an extra questions that is kind of an addition. What do y’all think of line juggling when it messes with established chemistry if it also spreads out top scorers on different lines? Good, bad, or depends? Thanks!
M: Depends depends depends. Sometimes juggling the lines and messing with established chemistry can give the line a good (and needed) jolt of production. Jamie had been on a long and terrible pointless streak prior to Lindy separating them for a period in February. (Early March? Whatever, we all remember that happening, it made Dallas headlines.) Since that split, Jamie’s gone on a point streak (although that also includes ten games without Seguin in the line up) that currently has him sitting at 6th in the league for points.
So there’s an argument for. Another argument for is that you don’t really want players to get dependent on playing with the same lines all the time. Trades, injuries, illness, etc can knock a guy out of the line up, and you still need your remaining players to be effective. There have been a couple of games this year where Lindy has shuffled lines mid game, because opposing teams have just been able to shut down our lines so well. So having your top scorers spread out a bit on multiple producing lines is definitely an advantage.
All that said, sometimes there’s no replacement for chemistry. We’re all familiar with Jamie and Tyler, but think about other top duos right now. I hate them, I hate them to death, but Perry and Getzlaf are actually good hockey players (dirty dirty good hockey players, but they produce points and that’s the definition we’re going with). I don’t watch Ducks hockey unless they’re playing one of my teams, but I rarely see them split up on a line. One of the biggest problems facing the Penguins right now is finding Sidney Crosby a winger that isn’t Pascal Dupuis, while Pascal Dupuis isn’t available. And that’s, like, Sidney Crosby, current points leader in the NHL, who is having what could be termed a disappointing season for him. (Compared to himself, being the important thing to note here.) His chemistry with Dupuis hasn’t been able to be duplicated by anyone they’ve brought in to play with him.
Oh! And think of Spezza last season. Bobby Ryan was brought to the Senators to play with Spezza, but that didn’t work out. They brought in Ales Hemsky, and that was more successful, and part of the reason we ended up bringing Hemsky to Dallas along with Spezza.
C: From a stat perspective, I love looking at what are called WOWYs (With Or Without Yous), and the best site you can find them on is puckalytics.com. http://puckalytics.com/superwowy.html
Basically you can measure things like Corsi, Fenwick, Goals For, etc based on Time on Ice together and apart. For instance, Klingberg and Nemeth have only played a total of 55 minutes together (5v5) so far, but their CF% is 61.8%. Seperately, they’re at 53.1% and 50.9% respectively. That could be coincidence based on the small sample size, so lets look at Jordie Benn & Demers, defensive pairing of my heart. They’ve played a total of 538 minutes together, with a CF% of 57.5%. Seperately, they’re 51.6% and 50.8% respectively. And you know they have chemistry.
I think Lindy (and most coaches) take the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to line juggling, which is why you tend to see a lot more switching around when teams are losing (even mid game, like the Blackhawks playing the Flyer’s last night). I do think this can lead to complacency (see the use of the Pitbull line, who hasn’t been anywhere as good this year as it was last – their CF% last year was 54%, this year 49.9%), but for the most part can help players maintain a sense of stability that is needed to keep their focus on the task at hand.