TIM PANACCIO: LET’S TRADE CLAUDE GIROUX

This weekend, Comcast SportsNet’s Tim Panaccio practiced the dark arts of hot takery, suggesting that the Philadelphia Flyers should trade Claude Giroux.

In a post on noted piping hot take website HockeyBuzz, Panaccio expressed outrage at the Flyers captain, who was arrested on July 1 for grabbing a cop’s butt (an incident known widely as “buttgate”). Panaccio really made sure this take was piping hot. Seriously, look at this:

Pinching a cop’s butt may be funny and lead to all kinds of double entendres, but this is not what the Flyers need right now.

Obviously, Giroux was misguided in hit butt grabbage — and he admitted as much — but Timmy is totally right here. The right thing for the Philadelphia media to do in this circumstance is to blow it totally out of proportion. That’s what hot takery is all about.

And in case you were wondering whether or not Panaccio was suggesting that the Flyers try to trade Giroux, fear not. The noted hot takist later took to twitter to provide some clarity:

 

Travis Hughes over at Broad Street Hockey tried to stop this piping hot wildfire from spreading (in a take-by-take fashion), but the damage had been done.

Kudos to Panaccio for filling the internet with a steaming pile of words.

PIONEERS IN HOT TAKES: STEVE SIMMONS

When we were mulling over what #hot #content to feature on the site for launch day, it became clear that we probably needed to provide our readers with a primer on some of the people that are doing really great work in the piping hot take department. For our inaugural post, I can’t think of anybody better than The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons.

Simmons, like most hockey writers in Toronto, is a genius. I mean, just look at the guy. Standing proud, arms crossed, ready to serve up piping hot takes for anyone willing to listen. Make no mistake, this is a man on a mission. He even looks somewhat inviting with that (what I assume is an) attempted smile.

The thing that sets Simmons apart from his hot take compatriots is that his piping hot takes serve a greater social purpose. Simmons fancies himself a warrior in the battle against creeping nerdism in hockey (that is, the use of “advanced statistics” that aren’t so much “advanced” as they are unfamiliar). Indeed, this brave soldier thwarts any attempt to analyze hockey in any substantive way that deviates from pre-constructed narratives, and his weapon of choice is the piping hot take.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Simmons is that he doesn’t let pesky facts or truth get in the way of dishing out a piping hot take. Take this recent example, in which he lists a number of things that so-called “advanced statistics” in hockey can’t measure:

WHAT THE STATS DON’T TELL YOU
Why hockey doesn’t lend itself to statistical analysis the way other sports do:
There is no statistic to accurately quantify neutral-zone play.
There is no statistic that tell you which wingers gets the puck off the boards and out of their zone and which wingers do not.
There is no statistic that defines vision and creativity: That is pure subjectivity.
There is no statistic that measures play without the puck, a most important factor in most games.
There is no statistic, outside of individual team stats, that measures scoring chances which, again, is a subjective stat.
There is no statistic that separates a good dump-in from a bad dump-in. There is a difference, just as there is for a good line change and a bad one.
There is no statistic that indicates individual ability to win loose puck battles, especially in close games or the last minutes of periods or late in shifts.

Now don’t tell Steve, but pretty much every thing he listed actually can be measured by statistics that currently exist. And while the entire premise of that article is most likely made up, these facts are beside the point. Simmons, in trying to promote the social good of keeping people from understanding things better, had to stretch the truth a bit. And who cares? One of the principles of solid hot takery is to never let the truth stand in the way of dishing out a piping hot take.

You might be asking, “well, doesn’t stretching the truth leave him vulnerable to criticism?” I’m glad you brought that up, thanks, great question.

See, what makes Simmons a true pioneer of hot takes is that when some nerd confronts him with the truth, he doubles down. Listen to this recent exchange between Steve and probable basement dweller Tyler Dellow. When Dellow brings up that Mikhail Grabovski is an objectively better player than Dave Bolland, Simmons confronts him with shouting, straw men, and ad hominem attacks.

A true piping hot take pioneer does this when he’s wrong. Luckily for Steve, he’s wrong so often that he’s gotten plenty of practice and has pretty much mastered it.

(side note: both Bolland and Grabovski recently signed multi-year contracts, and Bolland gets paid more per year. Who’s the better player now, Dellow? You tried to get Steve to admit something false – Steve would never ever say that Grabovski is even worthy of playing in the NHL.)

Besides his tenuous grasp on truth and facts, Simmons’ also solidifies himself as a true pioneer in hot takes for his ability to make premature judgments that are almost always proven wrong.

See, a true hot take artist doesn’t wait for things to “pan out” or for “all the evidence to be presented” to serve up a piping hot take. Hell, sometimes the demand for hot takes is so strong (we have seen lines around the block here at The Hot Takery) that you can’t even spend time asking yourself “does this hot take sound like it was created  by someone with the the typical mental faculties of an adult male?” Simmons knows and practices all this, which makes him such a valuable member of the hot take community.

Take this piping hot example, in which Simmons asks, “Where are the critics of [Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Dave] Nonis’ off-season moves now?” on the twelfth day of the 2013-2014 NHL season. Simmons doesn’t need stupid stuff like time and evidence to hold him back from dishing up a piping hot take — the six games that the Maple Leafs had played up to that point were more than enough for him to deem Nonis’ off-season transactions a success. Nevermind that the newly acquired Dave Bolland would be limited to just 23 games, and that David Clarkson would regress to the point where his contract is pretty much a cruel joke. Those things weren’t true when Simmons wrote that piece, so you can’t really fault the guy.

And let’s not forget the now-infamous “Corsi Hockey League” tweet, in which our brave soldier boldly predicted that the Toronto Maple Leafs were doing just fine despite what nerds with calculators were saying. Of course, the Leafs ended up missing the playoffs due to a plummeting drop in PDO, but they were doing just fine on October 29. Steve was the only one out there with the cojones to say it, and that’s an attribute of a true hot take master.

Good thing the Leafs don’t play in the CHL. The CORSI hockey league. They’re doing just fine in NHL, though.

— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) October 30, 2013

So here’s to you, Steve Simmons. Your penchant for ignoring facts and shoddy analysis places you squarely in the hall of fame here at The Hot Takery. May your takes continue to be piping hot.

JAMES REIMER GETS VASTLY OVERPAID

The Toronto Maple Leafs have just announced that they have extended goalie James Reimer for two years. I know, terrible, right?

Of course, all the firemen on Twitter were pretending like this was a good thing. Luckily, Sportsnet’s Damien Cox was right on cue with a piping hot take to remind us all how truly terrible this deal is:

Cox knows the truth — those coaches and front office guys didn’t get nixed because they horribly mismanaged the team over he course of years. Nope, it was all because Reimer couldn’t stop the puck while the indisputable best team in hockey skated in front of him.

This signing, when paired with the hiring of Kyle Dubas, is just another sign that dark days are ahead for the Leafs.

LEBRON JAMES IS TAKING HIS TALENTS TO TORONTO

Good, I got your attention. Let me just admit that I was being a little misleading in my headline, but you probably understand that given that misleading headlines are a principle of hot takery. And don’t worry, I have the hot takes to back it up.

All this week the sports news media world was fixated on basketball ruiner LeBron James and where he would eventually land in the NBA. You might think that the hot takes were confined to the basketball scribes, but hoo boy that is not the case.

While many takists assembled a ton of words about what this meant for the NBA, a few out-of-the-box thinkers were asking the really important question — what does the LeBron signing mean for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

If that sounds slightly insane, allow me to explain in the form of hot takery. First up, we have this gem from The Hockey News:

I know, steaming hot right? Unfortunately, the take within this tweet cools off a little, but the gist is that the Leafs should try to lure some Tranna boys back home, or something. Why the Toronto Maple Leafs would want a basketball player on their team is beyond me, but I’m not about to pour water on this flaming hot take.

(side note: if the Leafs need basketball players on their roster, why wouldn’t they go after the 1996 Chicago Bulls? That makes a bit more sense, in my opinion. Makes you think.)

If that Hockey News tweet wasn’t smokin’ hot enough for you, allow me to present this steamer that was dished out shortly after LeBron announced he was going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers:

ARE YOU LISTENING, TORONTO? All you have to do to change the culture is draft a generational player, have him leave during free agency, and then come back. It’s practically a mathematical formula for Stanley Cups, and I’m at a loss as to why you haven’t done it yet.

Sometimes slow news days in the hockey world can be landmark days in hot takery.

WILL THE REAL MARK MADDEN PLEASE STAND UP?

Noted hot takist and veteran good-opinion-haver Mark Madden seems to have taken a dive into an ice bucket of cold takery today.

At least that’s what I thought at first.

In a seemingly ice cold take posted at TimesOnline.com, Madden criticized one of the most important characteristics a hockey player can have — GRIT.

Now, if you’re an avid reader of the Takery, you know that I hold things like grit, leadership, and compete level in the highest of regard. Hell, those are the kinds of things that win hockey games. So imagine my surprise when I saw that Madden had written these words in reference to the Penguins’ unwillingness to ditch the gritty Craig Adams:

It’s mostly because the importance of “good” grinding-style third- and fourth-line forwards is a myth, promulgated by the Canadian mentality that grit is as important as skill and put into play by the grotesque over-expansion of the NHL, which necessitates that at least one-third of its players aren’t very good.

That is a very kind estimate, by the way.

Let’s say the NHL contracted to 12 teams, the size it was after the 1967 expansion. Let’s say the league would have today’s scouting capabilities and global player availability. Each team could have three scoring lines, maybe four.

Would teams bypass skill for grit? Would better players be excluded for the sake of the “intangibles” today’s third- and fourth-liners allegedly have?

By some teams, maybe. Those teams would lose. Eventually, the myth would disappear. So would the less-talented players.

Now, this had me all hot and bothered. Madden seemed to have taken a turn to the darkside — a place where logic, intelligence, and rationality rule the day. That kind of shit has no place on the internet, especially from someone who is an expert on the subject of hockey.

And then it dawned on me: there’s just no fucking way that Madden actually thinks what he wrote. It must have just been a way for him to rationalize why the Penguins are dropping turds on the ice right now. Now, he could have criticized anything about the Penguins without the need to back it up (he is a takist after all), but this time the wheel of blame landed squarely on “too much grit.”

How do I know this? Well, you see, while Madden claims above that the value of grit is a “myth” based on a “Canadian mentality,” you’ll never believe who has gone to great lengths to perpetuate this “myth.”

Yeap, you guessed it: Mark Madden.

First, let’s take this steaming hot take from December 2014, in which Madden argues that veteran somewhat-hockey-player Bobby Farnham should be in the Penguins lineup. The reason?

He has zero pedigree. Undrafted. Didn’t even score much in college hockey, at Brown. That works against him.

But players like Farnham help good teams. ADRENALINE. Enthusiasm, heart and team-first are contagious.

Farnham and Steve Downie provides bookends of aggravation. Farnham should be rewarded for what he’s done so far. Dress Bobby Farnham.

“But Dr. HT,” you might be saying, “Mark Madden didn’t specifically reference grit.” While I could argue that things like ADRENALINE (all caps), heart, and aggravation pretty much convey the same sentiment as grit, you’re right. So what has Mark Madden specifically said about the value of grit in the past?

We only need to go back to March 2013 to see Madden write a staunch defense of grit. In an article titled — I shit you not — “Pens need to get their grit together,” Madden argued that what the Penguins needed to make a deep playoff run was not skilled Corsi-padders like Jerome Iginla, but rather a healthy dose of grit:

But what the Penguins need more than anything is third- and fourth-line size and grit. Especially grit. Grit breeds accountability. Grit prevents first periods like Thursday night’s. Grit tiptoes through rough patches without the scoreboard exploding.

More grit could bring the Penguins a Stanley Cup.

Just look at that whimsical as fuck description of grit leading to the denouement that more of it will win the Penguins a Stanley Cup. It’s just. So beautiful.

Bonus points: in the above article, Madden urged the Penguins to not “collect stars” and instead “build a team” by picking up extra grit. Who was it who — on this very day — said that teams that bypass skill for grit are teams that “would lose”? You might want to scroll up to find out the answer (it was Mark Madden).

But wait, it gets better. At the end of last season, everyone was scrambling to figure out what exactly went wrong with the Penguins. Well, Mark Madden, being an opinion-haver, gave up his scorching hot take. Let’s just peep what he thought was wrong with the Pens not twelve months ago:

In trying to set an example for how hockey should be, [Former Penguins General Manager Ray] Shero constructed a team that is infinitely removed from what’s needed to win.

The Penguins had zero grit. Most of their players are wimps by birth, never mind choice. Lack of grit means the opposition has no accountability.

Before every game, I guarantee the Rangers were in their locker room saying, “Go after Crosby. Go after Malkin. They won’t do anything about it.” The Rangers tortured those two, especially Crosby. The Penguins had no remedy.

Get it? Last season the Penguins didn’t win because they didn’t have enough grit. Now they might just miss the playoffs because of too much grit. Makes you think, huh?

And what about Craig Adams, the guy who inspired Madden to write his screed against grit. Well, it seems Mark wasn’t always counting Adams’ grit against him:

So there you have it. While today’s Madden piece may have you thinking that he’s one of those Corsi-heads hell bent on ruining the NHL, he has a long documented history of just saying whatever the hell he feels like without backing it up. And given the fact that he’s written loads on the merits of grit and only a tiny bit on why it’s bad, I think it’s safe so say that he still falls under the classification of smoking hot takist.

Oh, and if you think that maybe he just had a change of heart, I wouldn’t put much stock in that. See, when I noticed the inconsistency in Madden’s thought (or lack thereof) process, I politely notified him. He had the opportunity to explain that his thinking had evolved, but instead he resorted to telling me about how he makes money and I don’t.

Now that’s the reaction of a bona fide takist if I’ve ever seen it.

PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HIRE AN EDITOR FOR RANDY MILLER

Randy Miller is no stranger to being featured on the Hot Takery. Usually we write about him because of his ability to dish out piping hot takes. But today, we have a different purpose.

Randy Miller needs an editor.

Now, I don’t fault Randy for not having the time to look over his posts on NJ.com. The people need their takes, and they need them hot. Spending time to look over your writing will undoubtedly cool them down.

But it’s gotten out of hand. I’m starting to believe that Randy has perhaps forgotten how to speak English. Take this, which I tweeted out two days ago:

Randy Miller posted 4 articles today. I found 6 typos. Stunning. pic.twitter.com/8wlBNPQbr2

— The Hot Takery (@hottakery) March 13, 2015

That’s pretty bad. And it’s even worse when you consider that there are actually eight typos in that sample.

I’m concerned for Randy, so today I decided to take a look at everything he wrote on March 18th. According to NJ.com Ol’ Rando filed nine stories that day. I looked over every single one with a fine tooth comb, and the results I found are nothing short of shocking.

RANDY IS JUST ASKING: SHOULD CLAUDE BECOME _LAUDE?

The Flyers stink this year, there’s no doubt. But their best player just might be the one thing holding them back.

That’s at least what Master Takist Randy Miller of NJ.com suggested today with some piping hot words. Good words like #leadership and shit. And with #leadership in sight, Miller placed the blame for the Flyers woes squarely on one Claude Giroux.

Sorry, I meant _laude Giroux.

Now, Randy is a Seasoned Hockey Person, so he didn’t do anything ridiculous like suggest that Giroux is anything short of a spectacular hockey player. Here are the takist’s words:

No one can debate Giroux is an elite player. He has more points than any player in the NHL over the last four seasons. He’s a good faceoff man, he kills penalties and he’s far from a defensive liability.

So why, then, would Randy even suggest that the Flyers struggles are Giroux’s fault? Well, if you’re a takist criticizing an elite talent, you can always point to one super relevant thing — how that talent treats the media:

For whatever reason, Giroux just doesn’t seem comfortable answering tough questions during tough times.

Giroux’s take usually is “we did a lot of good things out there” or “we made some mistakes, but we’ll go watch the film and try to get better.”

Get it? The platitudes that every single hockey player dishes out just aren’t good enough when Giroux does it. No, Randy wants a fucking breakdown of tape, a sublime explanation of everything that happens in the game, or at the very least a back rub. And being the head honcho at such a prestigious outlet like NJ.com, you damn well better believe he deserves it.

But Randy didn’t stop there. He took it one step further by noting that when it comes to giving bad quotes to takists, good captains just don’t do that:

That’s not how Chris Pronger or Bobby Clarke would handle these types of issues.

Game. Set. Match. Chris Pronger never ever had a bad relationship with the media, and Bobby Clarke, while being a terrible hockey player (I don’t know if that’s true, because I’m not #old), was always willing to shoot the shit with takists after going on a losing streak. Giroux just brushes them off. In the words of the great Sam Carchidi, “good captains don’t do that.”

It gets better. Suck on this, _laude:

During Giroux’s first season as captain he blew off the media after a frustrating road loss. He vowed it wouldn’t happen again. It did.

It’s at a point now that now where beat writers sometimes don’t even request to add Giroux to the post-game interview list because his quotes often as unusable clichés. More often than not, Giroux gives short answers that doesn’t come close to matching the kind of honestly [sic] that Mason, Simmonds and Streit usually provide.

Leaving that task to others isn’t a sign of strong leadership.

What decent captain wouldn’t want to spend time with a bunch of old, pudgy white dudes who criticize him constantly after a loss? No one, unless you’re _laude Giroux.

Let’s take a closer look at what was just said. _laude doesn’t talk to media the way Randy likes = _laude is a bad captain. That’s a balanced ass equation if I ever saw one, and like I always say, it makes perfect sense if you don’t think about it too much.

While we’re on the topic of #leadership, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that _laude grabbed a butt that one time. Now, some of you might be scratching your head as to what that could possibly have to do with hockey, but Randy went there:

Then there was the drunken butt-pinching-the-cop episode in an Ottawa bar last summer which landed him behind bars for a night.

How this has anything to do with how the Flyers have performed this year, I don’t know. Answering something like that would require analysis, but we’re not in the business of reasoned logic, we’re in the business of takes.

And if this take couldn’t get any hotter, Ol’ Randy finishes it with a punch:

Dealing with the media is only part of a captain’s job, but all those quotes this season about the Flyers not competing partially is an indictment on Giroux. On the other hand, Giroux still piles up points and he’s as much of a worker on the ice as anyone in the NHL.

“On the one hand, he’s undeniably a great hockey player….on the other, he doesn’t give me good quotes. TEAR THE C OFF HIS FUCKING CHEST!”

This is some Steve Simmons level stuff, right here, budding young takists. Take note.

PHIL KESSEL RUINED TYLER BOZAK AND NOW THE LEAFS SHOULD TRADE HIM

There are some players in the NHL who are straight up teflon — no matter what they do, the takists will always praise them as Good Old Hockey Boys. That is unless Phil Kessel Ruins them.

In his steaming hot Sunday rambling, master takist Steve Simmons argues that just that happened with one Tyler Bozak. The “star” Toronto Maple Leafs forward and once media darling has descended down the path of Kesseldom, and now it’s time to throw him under the bus.

Consider the title of Steve’s sub-section detailing just how bad Kessel has made it for Bozak:

KESSEL DRAGGING DOWN BOZAK?

Now, those of you who look at garbage nonsense like C.O.R.S.I. stats and the like are probably laughing pretty hard at that. Like, really really hard. And it’s probably because if you actually look at the numbers, watch the game, etc. etc. you’d be able to come to the conclusion that the above statement is piping hot bullshit.

But it’s actually not.

So what does Steve provide to support his case? Not stats of course — that would be breaking one of the tenets of piping hot takery. No, we don’t need any research to prove why Kessel is making Bozak bad. We can just infer it based on how he’s been treating the Toronto takists lately:

This is among the reasons the Leafs would like to rid themselves of Kessel. He is different and works differently than most NHL stars. If it works for him, so be it and most of the time it has. But when it begins to influence others, negatively — Bozak has also turned into an interview malcontent when once he was a reasonable subject — then the Leafs realize why they must move him in a rebuilding time.

Now that is a steamer if I’ve ever seen it. This is pretty much the only evidence that Steve presents, and it of course inserts himself into the story. If you don’t think this is a piping hot take then I don’t know what to tell you.

And notice that Steve isn’t just saying that Bozak is bad now because he won’t talk to the media. He’s also suggesting that the Leafs trade Bozak because of this. Sit there and think about that for a minute, but watch out — this takes is so scorching that you might catch a fever.

We at the Hot Takery haven’t seen much out of Steve lately, but we’re happy to see he’s still cranking out the steamers.

MARK MADDEN: BROOKS ORPIK IS A LEGEND AND ERIC LINDROS WAS A #BUST

If you read the Takery a lot, you know that we have a soft spot for Mark Madden — and today, he provided some nice warmth for the holiday season.

Tonight, Brooks Orpik will make his return to Pittsburgh for the first time since the Penguins stupidly decided to let him walk in free agency.

As we all know, Orpik is a true leader with tons of grit, truculence, and intangibles. Perhaps you recall that he was a key cog in The Hot Takery’s simulation of Team Heart vs. Tearm Corsi. Without him, that pernicious statistic could have possiblY won the game.

Anyway, Pittsburgh-area takist Mark Madden took to twitter to make sure the world knew just how epically significant Orpik’s return is:

Penguins. Legend. Brooks. Orpik.

Everybody knows that hundreds of years from now when we look back on the Penguins, we’ll remember the big names. You know, Lemiuex, Jagr, Crosby, but most imporantly, Orpik.

As if that take wasn’t steaming hot enough for you, Mark Madden took it to new heights, using his twitter rant to take a jab at Flyers fans:

Get it? Brooks Orpik is a fucking legend, and Eric Lindros was a total bust. Makes you think….

And if you disagree with what Madden says here, let me ask you one question: Have you ever seen the Flyers win the cup?

ROB TYCHKOWSKI THROWS TYLER DELLOW UNDER THE BUS SO TODD NELSON DOESN’T HAVE TO

Sometimes hockey coaches just don’t say what they mean, or rather don’t say what their audiences want to hear. That’s when a piping hot takist needs to step up his or her game and fill in the gaps.

And that’s just what the Edmonton Sun’s Rob Tychkowski did.

Last night after the Edmonton Oilers won in a shootout against the Florida Panthers thanks to the talents of one Nail Yakupov, many takists in Edmonton were wondering why Yak had never been used on the shootout before.

And then Tychkowski found the answer: fireman extraordinaire Tyler Dellow had been forcing the Oilers coaching staff (at gunpoint, maybe?) to bench Yakupov in shootouts.

Here’s Tychkowski’s take:

Todd Nelson reveals that Oilers analytics guy had been the one advising against using Yakupov in shootouts.

— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) January 18, 2015

Now, Tychkowski doesn’t mention Dellow by name here, but we all know who the “Oilers analytics guy” is. After all, he is the original shill for Big Corsi, perhaps only matched in the blind advocation for that flawed stat by Eric Tlusty.

Remember how I mentioned that sometimes a takist needs to explain things that coaches aren’t willing to say? Well, that seems to be exactly the case here, because video of Nelson’s press conference from last night reveals, well, that he never said anything that Tychkowski said he did.

But don’t believe me — take a look at the video:

Hmmmmm, that sure is odd. Now, after thinking about this for a while, I realized that Tychkowski is doing Nelson a solid here. We all know that he probably wanted to throw Dellow under the bus, but just couldn’t bring himself to do it for one reason or another.

So Oilers fans should be thanking Tychkowski for helping them out, because that makes sense.

Speaking of things that make sense, the supposition that Dellow is behind the non-use of Yakupov in shootouts really makes you think, especially considering Yak spent two shootout-less years in Edmonton prior to the arrival of Dellow. Wow.

I know what you’re thinking — those are some pretty ridiculous missteps by a member of the mainstream media. That may be true, but I believe I found the real scandal in all of this, and it was right on Tychkowski’s Twitter bio for all the world to see:

Now that, my friends, is a tragedy.