Podcast Episode 26 – 1.1.16 (The One Year Anniversary Special!)

In this One Year Anniversary Special of the 2BL podcast, the Ladies talk the Stars’ Year of Winning, Carolyn lives her best life, Merrin sits atop the sober throne of judgement, the Winter Classic is a thing that happens, and we reveal truths about Toboggan Moen that may shock you. Happy New Year!

 

You can also find us on iTunes! Please rate & review!

Supplemental Materials

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Podcast Episode 16 – 7.21.15 (The One Where Merrin Falls On Her Face)

In this episode, we crack Jamie Benn’s secret code, talk about our new favorite team, the Dallas Starhawks, Merrin nearly kills herself, Carolyn waves her arms around, and everybody wants to see more of Johnny Oduya.

Supplemental Materials

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6.23.15 Podcast Episode 14 (The One with All the Nudity)

The Ladies discuss Tyler Seguin, nudist, give a nod to the two big topics in hockey today, the Awards and the Draft, and ask for your help in solving a serious debate.

We can also be found on iTunes! If you have a second please rate & review!

Supplemental MaterialsRead More »

Why So Star-ious Tournament of Heartbreak and Elation: The Final

It’s here. The moment we’ve all been waiting for: the final vote in the Why So Star-ious Tournament of Heartbreak and Elation.

It has been a long and rocky season, full of the highest highs and the lowest lows, which is why we felt the need to name the tournament thusly. And you, good readers, came through for us, picking one of the best moments of the season to pit against one of the worst.

Remember, you’re voting here for the moment that best encompasses the Stars season as a whole. A moment, frozen in time, that we’ll be able to point to as we sum up the season for our grandchildren. Voting closes on Wednesday at 12pm Dallas Stars time.

 

The Facial Hair Final

On February 17th, the Dallas Stars took on the St Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center. They were only 5 points out of a playoff spot, and if the Stars were going to take a stand and make that final push, someone had to step up and be that leader.

To no one’s surprise, that person was Captain Jamie Benn. Even veterans like Shawn Horcoff and Jason Spezza, both captains themselves at one point, have been impressed with Jamie’s leadership off the ice, but that night Jamie silenced his critics by scoring not one, not two, but three goals in the 4-1 victory, and helping the Stars stay in 2nd place in the league in goals per game.

That’s right, Jamie scored a hat trick, his first ever in the NHL. Unfortunately, there was no rainfall of caps because it was an away game, but we were treated to this:

I imagine Tyler “Hat Trick Machine” Seguin probably knows what he’s talking about. Here’s the video if you want to bask in the glory of Jamie’s hat trick. Which you do. Because it was awesome.

But this isn’t the story of just the one Benn, no. Jamie’s hat trick is going up against the deflection heard ‘round the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. That’s right, this match up is the battle of the Benns.

On March 3rd, the Stars took on the Islanders at the AAC. Tyler Seguin still hadn’t returned from his injury, but for the first time since October, Patrik Nemeth would be donning the Victory Green. Ruff dressed 7 Dmen for the game, intending on sheltering Nemeth with some easy, low minutes in the offensive zone. But on the first shift of the game, Matt Martin kneed Trevor Daley, and that plan went to pieces.

Daley, as most of you know, plays extensive minutes on both the power play and the penalty kill, in addition to being a potent offensive weapon. Someone was needed to step in and play that role, and quickly, because their playoff chances were slipping through their fingers.

Who could possibly do that for us?

Jordie Benn.

Yeah, you heard me. Jordie Benn stepped up, played the most 5v5 minutes on the team, and even played 4.5 minutes on the power play, an unusual assignment for him. Jordie led all defensemen with a 62% CF% and blocked two shots while generating as many individual shot attempts as Jason Spezza. It was one of the best games of Jordie’s career so far.

Until the Islanders, in an attempt to force OT, pulled their goalie and put the extra attacker on the ice. The Stars handled the first 1:24 with aplomb, blocking shots and helping Kari, but with 1.1 seconds left and Tavares streaking to the net, Anders Lee desperately centered the puck, hoping their captain could save the game. Instead, it bounced off Jordie’s skate and right past a flummoxed Lehtonen.

The Stars did go on to win in OT, so they kept the dream alive for another few days, but this image of Jordie will be burned in our minds forever.

source: Rose Baca/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer
source: Rose Baca/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer

So, it’s come down to this: which Benn brother had the Most Star-ious moment of the season? You decide.

The Style and Essence of a True Bro

It’s no secret to anyone who has watched hockey for any length of time (including, like one day) that a staggering majority of these boys are—how should I put it—flow challenged? This quote comes from the subject of this article but could be styling advice from literally anyone in the NHL:

“How about hair products? What do you use to get that perfect flow?”

“I mix it up a lot. Gels, hair spray, whatever it takes to make it look greasy and slicked back.”

source

*gags* A later article will take a broader look some of the hits and misses on the entire Stars roster, but with this first flow article I wanted to go in depth on my favorite flow in the NHL: Jamie Benn.

(Now come on, are you surprised?)

This retrospective will hit highs and what Merrin considers to just be just slightly lower highs.

We start strong:

OH MY GOD

18-year-old Jamie Benn with the Kelowna Rockets kept it short and neat.Read More »

Podcast Episode 3 – 1.20.15 (The Bonus One!)

This episode we provide hot takes on Tyler Seguin vs the Boston Media, Jamie Benn’s recent play, why we think hockey players are kind of dumb sometimes, and Carolyn gets long-winded about hitting. You know, the usual.

Extras from the Podcast:

Normal-ish Story on Tyler Seguin and the Great Boston Break Up

The “I Don’t Need Him Anymore (But I Do Miss His Abs)” Story

The “How DARE He Look That Good Without Me, I’m Over It I Swear, Why Am I Crying” Story

Update: I looked it up, and Brent Seabrook’s contract is currently 5 mil through next season, and Phaneuf is 8mil currently, going down to 7mil over the next three years

Update 2: Have some charts that show that hitting doesn’t correlate with possession (and possession is the only stat so far that correlates with winning). CF% in these charts is all skating situations, score adjusted. 2013-14 is the best graph as that was a full season. 12-13 only had 48 games, current season has 46-47 for most teams.

Hits v CF 12-13 Hits v CF 13-14 Hits v CF 14-15

Other Extras You Should Read

High Heels, High Sticks is running a great series that’s filling NHL teams’ needs with women. What do you think of their suggestion for the Stars?

Last Night’s Game Chart

So grain of salt here, Cole went out early in the game and the 2nd line had to be filled by someone else, mostly Horcoff, though I believe Seguin took a few shifts with them. Also, as we know, these numbers are 5v5, and we had a lot of (ineffective) PP time. Not to mention, while the Stars’s final possession number ended up at 56%, we were actually losing the 5v5 battle through the second period. Numbers from war-on-ice.com.

1.20 Stars vs BOS Corsi_ZSO

Don’t Worry Kids, Daddy & Daddy Aren’t Getting A Divorce

But they probably should spend some time apart.

In practice Wednesday, Ruff had split Benn and Seguin up: Benn on a line with Eakin and Ritchie, and Seguin centering the other Pitbulls. While Ruff was characteristically taciturn about his reasoning, he said he wanted the option to split them up in games for a period, and that he thought a change could be good for them.

I agree. But probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

Tyler has been having an unbelievable season, still leading the NHL in goals (tied currently with Nash) with a 31% increase in Goals per 60, and a 17% increase in shots. Jamie, on the other hand, has had a sharp drop in scoring this year, going from 1.4 G/60 down to just 0.8. His assists have gone up, and his shots down, leading people to believe that because Tyler has been so hot this year, Jamie is passing first and just not shooting.

This is true, but only part of the story.Read More »

’14: The Year of Benn – A Look Back at the Highs and Lows

Why shouldn’t my first piece on our new blog be entirely about Jamie Benn? After all, in my small corner of the internet, I’m rather well known for being unable to carry on a conversation that doesn’t involve him somehow, even when the conversation is about something else entirely. (Side note: I’ve been asked by several people if I could go 24 hours without talking about Jamie Benn. I still haven’t tried, but I probably could? Why would I want to, is the question.)

The Dallas Stars declared this year to be the #YearOfTheBenn


Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Do you get it?

Do you get it now?

And because it’s the #YearOfTheBenn, that means there must be a year end review, right? *crickets chirp* Excellent, let’s get started.

January:

Highlight: After being snubbed by Team Canada’s Olympic training camp, Jamie played his way into a coveted spot on Team Canada’s roster. Ahead, by the way, of veteran Martin St. Louis, who ended up going anyway when Stamkos hadn’t recovered from his broken leg in time.

Lowlight: Jamie elbowed Matt Cooke in the head. He wasn’t, and shouldn’t have been, suspended for the offense, but it’s still a move no one wants to see, especially from a captain. While many Stars fans (myself obviously included) love to see Jamie Hulk out and use his big body like a wrecking ball on the debris of the opposition, he needs to exercise more caution in doing so. [1]

 

February:

Highlight: Jamie won gold with Team Canada! After bouncing up and down the lines, Jamie found a sweet spot with the Anaheim Ducks’ Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. He scored two goals in the tournament, both game-winners, including the lone goal in a harrowing 1-0 win over Team USA. [2]

Brian Casella/Chicago Tribune

Lowlight: Idk, he scored the lone goal on Team USA? *waves American flag*
Phil Noble/Reuters

 

March:

Highlight: In an emotional game following Rich Peverley’s collapse on the bench, Jamie scored in overtime to carry the Stars past the Blues.

Lowlight: Yes, this is a Jamie Benn list, but can anyone pick anything but Rich Peverley? The aftershocks of that game echoed up and down the roster, and many looked to the captain for a way to move forward.

 

April:

Highlight: Leaving it till the 11th hour, the Stars clinched the playoffs for the first time in Jamie’s pro career (and in his first year as captain!) in a shutout game against the Blues.

Lowlight: Stars didn’t make it out of the first round. While they took the Ducks further than many expected, a full six games, the Ducks scored in overtime to carry themselves into the second round. (A round of “can both these teams lose” against the Kings. Unfortunately, neither the Honda Center nor the Staples Center were struck by falling space debris, and the Kings beat the Ducks in who-cares-number-of-games.)

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

 

May:

Highlight: Slow month for news not regarding the ongoing playoffs, but multiple Stars media outlets gave Jamie glowing reviews for his first year as captain. [3] [4] [5]

Lowlight: No more hockey. (Because the Blackhawks were jinxed by several key cursed media outlets, the Kings beat them in overtime in game seven. I was watching the game on Gamecenter Live and twitter simultaneously. The beauty of this set up? I was spoiled for the OT goal and never had to watch it. Therefore: it never happened.)

 

June:

Highlight: Jamie named First Team All Star by the NHL, first time ever for him, first time ever for any Star to be named to the first team. [6] [7]

Lowlight: Still no hockey. Kings won the Cup. (I had to go on the Kings website to find out what day this happened, I hope you appreciate my sacrifices.)

 

July:

Highlight: For at least the second year in a row, Jamie Benn (along with other local to Victoria NHL stars) coached at the Ryan O’Byrne Charity Hockey Camp. My feelings for Jamie Benn are well documented, so I don’t mind saying that he looked hella fly coaching these tiny hockey players. [8] [9] [10]

Bruce Stotesbury/Times Colonist

Lowlight: I couldn’t even remember what hockey looked like.

 

August:

Highlight: Jamie Benn answered Tyler Seguin’s Ice Bucket Challenge: [in fine fashion] and revealed a new tattoo sleeve and a pretty nicely defined torso. Also revealed: a nice new haircut. Yes, the summer of 2014 was also the summer of a Benn Makeover. Idk, maybe it gave him a sense of control in a world full of chaos.

source

Lowlight: The ice bucket challenge was released while I was at my sister’s house babysitting my infant nephew, and all of my squealing had to be internal. It was painful, y’all.

 

September:

Highlight: Preseason was kind of a bust for Jamie (though the Stars as a whole did well) so I’m going with Jamie playing sled hockey with Team USA, Tyler Seguin, and children from the MS Society. Jamie contributed to a worthy cause, had fun, looked adorable. The internet doesn’t want me to embed this, so have a link instead.

Lowlight: Jamie Benn revealed that he’d rather be staked to a fire ant hill than ride a rollercoaster. Not much of a lowlight, but I’m unimpressed all the same.

 

October:

Highlight: Jamie went on a five game goal streak, 10/14-10/24 (October His Jersey Number to October His Brother’s Jersey Number; Sidney Crosby isn’t the only one with a weird number thing, apparently). It was his longest goal streak since February, which was also a five game streak. Honorable mention goes to the Dude Perfect video, where Jamie and Tyler revealed that their trick shots are kind of amazing. And also that they’re giant dorks, but we already knew that.

Lowlight: Stars start the season 4-4-2, which was underwhelming after all the preseason hype.

 

November:

Highlights: Jamie had a big first period, scoring twice and assisting once against the Kings on 11/22 to lead the Stars to a 5-4 victory. While the third period collapsed almost entirely (if this were a Stars review, the third period collapse this season would be lowlight number one on anyone’s list), the Kings weren’t able to overcome Jamie Benn’s (notice I didn’t say the Stars) early lead.

Lowlights: Jamie went streaking again, 11 game goal drought that didn’t end until November 16.

 

December:

Highlight: Still in the making, but man last night’s game has to be high on the list, right? It was ugly in goal and sometimes on defense, but for once Jamie’s line had good possession numbers AND we still won the game. (Granted, in an eight round shootout, but STILL.) Jamie had a goal and an assist and generally beasted like he does when he’s pissed about his team losing. But, like, safe beasting and not potentially injurious beasting, which is always appreciated.

Lowlight: Yet another goal drought, this time for 9 games. I’d like him to stop those. As this rather unimpressive season continues, there’ve been rumblings of whether Jamie is a fit captain for the Stars, and I’d kindly like to tell all of those people to gtfo.

 

End of year report:

 

Jamie started the year strong with a gold medal and a trip to the playoffs and while this season has been less impressive, we’re still only halfway through. Instead of the Olympics this year, we have an All Star Weekend to look forward to (your daily reminder to vote for Jamie to represent the Stars at the 2015 All Star Game!). (Reminder that in 2012, Jamie won the target shooting challenge.) The playoffs still FEEL like a long way off, but we’ve played more than a third of our games and are still 7 points out of a playoff spot. Maybe Jamie likes being an underdog, and maybe part of the problem is that he isn’t anymore. Whatever it is, I live in hope that next spring is as impressive as last spring was.

Jamie Benn and the Sophomore Slump

I, and the rest of the Dallas Stars fans, seem to have to have a lot of opinions about the Brothers Benn these days. If we’re not bemoaning the play of Jordie Benn (though that seems to have quieted after Saturday’s win against the Devils), then we’re questioning the commitment of our captain, Jamie Benn.

After all, he’s hardly seemed like the player that was given the C last year. The one who went on to score 34 goals and helped the Stars make it to the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. Where is that guy? Should we be worried? Should we be worried enough to strip him of his captaincy?

To level set my expectations of a new captain, I wanted to look at other captains’ sophomore seasons. Because I had to set a time limit on the data, I only looked at current captains, and because of the particular concern around Jamie’s goal scoring this season, I decided to only use Forwards in the analysis. This gives us fifteen other captains around the league to use as a baseline.

Hoo boy, that’s a colorful chart. All data is from the regular season, taken from all play situations (including PP, PK, 4on4) and all scoring situations.

There are two colors to focus on primarily. The first is Jamie Benn, in victory green. The second is the Captains’ Average, in bright yellow. Both of these are helpfully outlined for you.

So yes, Jamie is down in goals by a larger margin than the average second year captain, but he’s up in assists, bringing him to a -0.3 Points per 60 minutes vs the Captains’ Average of -0.2 P/60. With that context, his season isn’t looking like a crash and burn.

There are two other names on this list you should look at – Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews. Crosby ended at the same -0.3 P/60, and Toews ended at a 0.0 P/60 delta because his -0.3 G/60 was offset by his +0.3 A/60.

And then they both won Stanley Cups.

I’m not saying this means that the stars have aligned for The Stars to win Lord Stanley this year, but hopefully it should temper some fears.

That said, our expectations of Jamie’s second year were probably set too high.

One of the common ways to make sure your averages are correct is to throw out your top and bottom data points, so that the outliers aren’t having undo influences. From the year prior to captaincy to the first year of captaincy, the top outlier in Goals/60 and Points/60? Jamie Benn.

This graph charts the same deltas but between the year prior to captaincy and their first year. Conveniently, there were three other forwards named as captain in 2013, so to remove some clutter, I’m using them as compares. Two of the three also pushed their teams to the playoffs only to have first round exits, so these guys are probably a better compare than I really would like.

Again, we have Jamie Benn in victory green – and those deltas are significant. All 16 Captains’ Averages for all three stats in this timeframe is -0.1. (Yes, Tavares is the largest A/60 Delta of them all. It’s crazy high).

Now, while I’m still not advocating panic, there are some metrics that Jamie is well below average in for a second year captain, most concerning: Corsi For % and Shots For Rel %.

The Captains’ Average Corsi For % Delta First to Second year is -0.3%, which is fairly negligible. Typically this means that guys are playing the game they’ve always played and there has been some minor fluctuation in possession. Jamie Benn’s Corsi For % Delta is -4.8%, which is second worst of all captains.

While I dislike using Zone Start % as an argument against Corsi For %’s usefulness, I think in this case it has to be said – Jamie Benn’s ZSO% Rel (Offensive Zone Start % relative to the rest of his team) is down 4% year over year, and down 10% over the last two years. This speaks to the Stars recent defensive and penalty woes, and means that he’s being played very differently than the year before his captaincy.

For me, the metric that is most concerning is Shot For % Rel (Shots taken by Dallas when Jamie Benn is on the ice relative to when he’s off-ice). Overall, he’s down 5.9% last season to this season. Again, that metric is being pushed down by the sheer amount of penalty killing he’s done this year, but even at 5v5, he’s down 1.9%. Using his current TOI % delta and G/60, he’s on track for a mere 21 goals by the end of the season. If you switch the methodology to goals/game delta, he’s still hitting a high of 23. If he wants to be anywhere near 30 goals again this year, he is going to have to start taking more shots, period.

Stats aside, Jamie Benn is a good captain. His line has been the key to winning games. Lindy can play him in any scenario and know that Jamie is going to give him the best game he can give. In wins, the media loves his humility, and in losses, they praise his ownership of the issues. This dip in performance isn’t unusual, but as fans, we wanted too much too fast.

In the end, Jamie Benn is still our captain, as it should be.