PREDICTING THE 2014-2015 NHL REGULAR SEASON

It’s that time of year again, when all the hockey bloviators of the world put out their predictions for the next season. And given that The Hot Takery is your one stop shop for hockey bloviation, we figured we should follow suit.

Now, of course the stats nerds of the world have their own ways of predicting things (hint: it’s Corsi and only Corsi), but they are always wrong. It’s not like a nerd like Eric T. was able to predict the Stanley Cup Final (and winner) before the season even began last year.

And that’s why we’ve developed our own system for ranking NHL teams. Obviously things like heart, grit, and leadership are the main determinants of success in the NHL, and we’ve tried to build a predictive model that takes those intangibles into account.

The Model

In order for the model to be entirely accurate, we had to include a shit ton of variables (more variables = better than) that at least proxy the intangibles listed above. It was a tough task, but I’m pretty happy with what we settled on.

Here they are:

 

Fights – Obviously fights serve as a good guide for truculence, grit, and respect for the game — all qualities necessary for a winning team. We took the number of fighting penalties each team took, and properly weighted them by multiplying by 15 (cause that’s just how fucking awesome fights are). The team with the highest fighting rate was the Toronto Maple Leafs, because they are super duper truculent. The team with the lowest fighting rate was the Detroit Red Wings, because they are filled with a bunch of aging pansie (read: European) Lady Byng winners.

 

Hits – It should be fairly obvious why we decided to include hits here. Guys who are willing to take the body and rile their teams up are essential for any franchise. The LA Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets tied for first in this category, which is interesting (didn’t one of them just win the cup? Yeah, try to argue that I’m wrong). The Chicago Blackhawks had the fewest number of hits, which helps explain why they haven’t seen a Stanley Cup in literally hundreds of days.

 

Blocked Shots – Just like hits, blocked shots show whether or not a guy is willing to take the body. Blocked shots are so important, that the Philadelphia Flyers felt Andrew MacDonald deserved half a billion dollars (which no one could possibly disagree with). The Montreal Canadiens led the pack here, which makes sense given that they had guys like Josh Gorges and Douglas Murray, both of whom probably blocked like a million shots last year. The New Jersey Devils were last in the category, and they didn’t even make the playoffs, so….

 

Penalty Minutes – Teams that find themselves on the penalty kill often are teams that win, simply because they have to be that much better to even the score, or something. That’s why it’s always important to include the number of penalty minutes a team takes as a predictor of success (the more the better).

 

Game Misconducts – Of course, not all penalties are created equal. The way you really rile your team up is by doing something so batshit insane that you get kicked out of the game. I mean, the Flyers had Zac Rinaldo on their team last year, and they made the playoffs. Point made. We took the number of game misconducts each team took, and weighted it by multiplying by 200 (again, because game misconducts are the fucking best). I’m a little surprised here, because the Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks led the pack. I can understand the Canucks topping the list because of superstar Tom Sestito, but the Hurricanes don’t even have any players that made Team Heart. The Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, and New York Islanders didn’t have a singlegame misconduct last season, which doesn’t bode well for their future.

 

Enigma Factor – Unfortunately, some NHL teams have been misguided lately, keeping players that they think are good but are actually bad because they don’t talk to the media or maybe they are a little too “urban” or something. We went through the list of teams and deducted points for each enigma player they had. The biggest deduction was doled out to the Winnipeg Jets, who have Evander Kane, a guy that has held money up to his head and gotten funny haircuts. The second biggest deduction went to the New York Islanders for signing the moron twins (and former Toronto Maple Leafs) Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.

 

Cup Clinching Goals – Just ask expert Steve Simmons, and he’ll tell you that guys who are able to score cup clinching goals are better than any other players in hockey. So we decided to give bonuses to teams that have these players. The Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche were the biggest winners in this regard, each possessing two undeniably elite players (Jeff Carter and Alec Martinez for the Kings, and Maxime Talbot and Alex Tanguay for the Avalanche).

In the end, we took all these variables, added them up, and ranked teams by this new super metric.

Now, of course the model isn’t perfectly accurate, as all intangibles can’t be quantified — I just tried my best. And since we’re using last year’s data, some of this will be a little off. Teams like Calgary and San Jose will have gotten better because of their respective acquisitions of Deryk Engelland and John Scott (with San Jose getting an extra boost for stripping the “C” off that bum Thornton’s chest).

However, I’m not too worried. Remember, accuracy is the enemy of the hot take, so I’m not about to bend over backwards trying to achieve that misguided ideal.

The Results

 

Rather than go through each individual team, I figured I should just point out some highlights:

  • Probably the most shocking thing is that the Los Angeles Kings will claim the President’s Trophy next season. Everyone thinks that they’re this incredible team because of “possession” and “Corsi,” and that made me think that they must have been a bad team. But my model of grit, heart, and truculence ranks them as the best team in the league. Suck it, nerds.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs, as expected, will win the Atlantic Division, and deservedly so. They’ve gotten remarkably more gritty this offseason with the acquisition of Roman Polak, and Colton Orr is still on the roster, which can only help. David Clarkson will return to doing the things he does, and all will be peachy keen in Toronto. Of course, the nerds will credit this the hiring of the analytics guys, but we all know that’s a bunch of bullshit. No, next year, the truculence will finally pay off with a division win.

 

  • All the stats idiots who think that the Colorado Avalanche are due for a hefty regression next year are going to look so stupid when the Avs win the Central Division.
  • Some teams that the nerds like are just going to flat out miss the playoffs next year. The Blackhawks, Stars, and Sharks are darlings in the world of Big Corsi, and we’re all going to have a big old laugh when Kane and Toews are playing golf in April (their lack of success will be widely blamed on their greed, which is totally accurate).
  • The Edmonton Oilers still suck.

What do you think of our predictions? Totally makes sense, right? We’ll be back a little later to predict how the Stanley Cup Playoffs will go, so stay tuned budding takists…

BREAKING: LEAFS HIRE WEASEL WHO CAN’T BE TRUSTED

It’s the beginning of the end.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, who were undoubtedly the most truculent team in the league last year, have gone full Corsi.

As if the hiring of Kyle Dubas weren’t enough already, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy has reported that the Leafs have started their own analytics department. The two people selected to man that awful team are Darryl Metcalf of ExtraSkater.com and Cam Charron.

On days like these, it’s important to step back and listen to what the experts have to say. How are we, lowly hockey fans supposed to know whether this was a good move for the Leafs?

Well, of course, the absolute master of hot takes Steve Simmons was ready to dish out the piping hot take that we all needed:

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So. Fucking. Spicy.

See, it doesn’t matter whether or not Charron will bring anything positive to the table. We don’t even know if he’s good at his job (because Steve doesn’t want to discuss nonsense like that).

What we do know, however, is that he probably pissed off Steve at one point, and that’s enough for me to agree that this is a terrible hiring. Fuck that guy.

And for those of you who think Steve is just having a little sour grapes, shut up. He’s going through a rough time right now, having to watch his beloved Maple Leafs go full Corsi. It’s a shame.

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Where are the critics of Nonis’ offseason moves now?

STEVE SIMMONS AND THE ART OF LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS

Steve Simmons is having a really bad day. He is literally watching his favorite hockey team fall into disarray as it embraces the evils of Big Corsi.

When the Maple Leafs hired stats nerd Kyle Dubas, Simmons was at least able to point out that Dubas had a hockey background and wasn’t a true analytics guru. But with today’s news of Darryl Metcalf and Cam Charron both getting jobs with the Leafs, there are only a few tactics our master takist can employ to deliver piping hot takes.

Of course, Steve Simmons is a master takist, and utilized perhaps the most effective tool — a complete lack of self-awareness.

Take, for example, these tweets from earlier, in which Simmons calls Cam Charron a “weasel who can’t be trusted” because he published some private email conversations or something:

Now, clearly Charron is completely useless because of this, so there’s no reason why the Leafs should have bothered hiring him. And what kind of monster would publish private emails?

OOPSIE DAISY.  But seriously, we have to commend Simmons here — if he showed even the tiniest bit of self-awareness, he probably would not have tweeted out his original piping hot take. And we all would have been the real losers in that situation.

Regardless, Simmons wasn’t going to back down when some fireman like Mirtle confronted him. After all, Mirtle used to be a blogger so he’s not an expert like your typical mainstream media guy.

The above is exactly why Simmons is considered a Pioneer in Hot Takes. Notice how when Mirtle confronted him and tried to inject some self-awareness into our takist, Simmons fired an insult right back at Mirtle. Ad hominem attacks directed at the manhood of others are always steaming hot takes.

Simmons, being on a lack of self-awareness high, wasn’t over, though. Throughout the evening, he continued to dish out some of the spiciest takes the hockey world has ever seen. Take a look at this bad boy, courtesy of @HopeSmoke:

Now that’s a pretty strong take. And if Simmons had bothered to read his own column from a month ago, it may have interfered with the delivery of it. See, back when Simmons was waging a different battle against Big Corsi, he argued that the statistic had to be flawed because Jake Muzzin had the second-best Corsi percentage in the league last year. Jake Muzzin is obviously not a good player, so Corsi must be inaccurate.

But now, according to Simmons, Corsi just confirms what his eyes see. That is some steaming hot lack of self-awareness.

Wait! There’s more! This tasty nugget has to be one of the top ten hot takes of all time:

The fact that Steve Simmons thinks he is an authority on determining which kind of person is overly defensive is absolutely stunning. I honestly don’t think he even bothered to think about saying those words before he spit them out of his fiery mouth. Aces hot takery right there.

It may have been a terrible day for the NHL, but it was a banner day in hot takes. Thank you, Steve.

PHIL KESSEL DOESN’T LIKE BAD REPORTERS AND MAYBE DID SOME CHARITY

If you’re an avid reader of The Hot Takery, you know by now that we hold establishment media types in high regard. They are absolute experts in the sport of hockey, and know more about the game than the players themselves.

And that’s why Phil Kessel must be destroyed.

Writing a steaming hot take in the Toronto Star, master hot takist Curtis Rush leveled into the Maple Leafs star for his distaste for talking to reporters:

But it’s not good news for the media, who are starved for more insight and comment from the team’s biggest star.

The notoriously aloof Kessel said he is not interested in opening up more to the media after games and practices, although he made improvement in that area toward the end of last season.

Absolutely terrible news. It’s nice that Kessel scores goals by the truckload, I guess, but we fans crave so much more. Where are the platitudes about how his teammates are the real hard working guys? Where are the constant reminders that you need to score more goals than the opposing team to win? Kessel just doesn’t think giving this information to fans is worthwhile, and that’s a damn shame.

Now, you wouldn’t be able to tell at first glance, but the event that led to this piping hot take was Kessel being involved in a charity for sick children. That completely minor and uninteresting detail came in at the 11th paragraph, and occupied only three of the article’s 26 paragraphs.

This is why Rush is such a master takist. He used some minor event as the impetus for dishing out a take in which he (as a media figure) became the focus. The real lead of the charity event is so buried here that it almost doesn’t even exist.

Thank you, Curtis Rush, for making this about you. Who cares about sick kids, anyway?

ht @HappyCaraT

MARC BERGEVIN DESERVES AN APOLOGY

Over the past few days, a lot of people have been visibly upset with Montreal Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin, but now those people need to shut the hell up and apologize to the man.

Today, the Canadiens announced that they finally came to terms with P.K. Subban over an eight-year contract extension. Fans had been making fun of Bergevin and his inability or unwillingness to sign the star sooner, but now it has been put to rest.

And Bergevin deserves an apology, according to Sirius XM radio host Jimmy Murphy:

Murphy has a really good point — Bergevin got the job done. It doesn’t matter that he needlessly dragged an elite player through an unnecessary arbitration hearing that made his team the laughing stock of the league for a few days. It also doesn’t matter that he eventually ended up giving the player more money per year than he initially asked for, anyway.

What matters is that he got P.K. Subban to accept a long-term contract that makes him the highest paid defenseman in the league — no doubt an incredibly hard task.

Of course, the firemen think that other crap matters, and you better believe they made sure Murphy heard it:

Sigh. Some people are never satisfied.

SHAWN THORNTON IS BASICALLY JESUS

As Big Corsi slowly tears the very fabric of our beloved NHL, it’s important that we eulogize the high compete level players who have been tossed to the wayside. Luckily, hot takist Joe Haggerty is up to the task.

In a post on CSNNE.com, Haggerty lamented the passing of one Shawn Thornton — a hero in the community of intangibles — from the Boston Bruins. According to Haggerty, Thornton was a key cog in the Bruins march to success the past few years.

Was it due to Thornton’s ability to play hockey well? Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. It was due to other….things. Here’s a taste of Haggerty’s hot take:

He played with a toughness and swagger that raised the confidence level of players around him, and made Boston’s skill players feel like they were protected from the league’s predators. It didn’t make the B’s bullet proof, obviously, as evidenced by the hard head shots that guys like Marc Savard, Nathan Horton, Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron have taken over the years.

But it could have been worse if No. 22 wasn’t glowering at the cheap shot artists from the end of the bench.

Notice how, like a master takist, Haggerty brings up numerous intangibles here. “Toughness” and “swagger” can’t be quantified, of course, but we still know that they are qualities of truly great hockey players. And boy was Thornton absolutely swagtastic, never afraid to YOLO it up on the ice every night.

If Haggerty had taken time to do some research some quantifiable statistics on Thornton (a big no no), it would have just impeded with his delivery of this piping hot take.

And Haggerty is right about how much worse it could have been without Thornton. We can’t really quantify the effect per se, but it’s fun to wildly speculate so why the hell not? Without Shawn Thornton, the Bruins probably wouldn’t have won a Stanley Cup in 2011. Without Shawn Thornton, Bobby Orr never would have even been a Bruin (it works retroactively). And as Dimitri Filipovich rightfully points out, “if not for Thornton a meteor could’ve rained down on the TD Garden and wiped all 20k away.”

Thornton literally saved the lives of thousands — many of whom were undoubtedly children. The dude is basically Jesus.

Not to be outdone by his earlier piping hot take, Haggerty one upped himself, closing the column with this scorcher:

At this point the Bruins only seem to be losing two key players from last season’s squad in Jarome Iginla and Thornton. While Iginla’s 30 goals scored will be missed, they can be replaced on a line with a skilled playmaker like David Krejci.

What isn’t so easily manufactured is Thornton’s force of personality in the B’s dressing room, and life without No. 22 will be one of the narratives for next season whether people like it or not.

We all know 30 goal scorers are a dime a dozen in today’s NHL. What isn’t so easy to find are guys that punch people a bunch and do pretty much nothing else. Nope — you can’t even construct an entire team of truculent guys who probably shouldn’t even have NHL contracts.

RIP Shawn Thornton, and may you find success beating the shit out of people in Florida.

h/t @DimFilipovic and @petbugs13

MAINSTREAM MEDIA KNOW MORE ABOUT HOCKEY THAN BLOGGERS, DUH

The Edmonton Sun’s Derek Van Diest was finally brave enough to say what we all believe — mainstream media figures just know more about hockey than bloggers.

Discussing the recent hiring of fireman Tyler Dellow on the radio, Van Diest dished out a ton of really piping hot takes on why the blogger is ill equipped to help the Edmonton Oilers. You can listen to the audio here (around the 29 minute mark).

The spiciest take, however, was about how bloggers are inferior to mainstream writers when it comes to hockey because they don’t watch the game. And, according to Van Diest, even if they do watch the game on TV, it isn’t the same as watching it in person.

Why? Well, according to Van Diest, a whole bunch of shit happens during the game that they don’t show on TV, like something something Ales Hemsky something something. Take that, Big Corsi.

Van Diest’s point is really good here — how do we know if Hemsky is a good player if we can’t see how he reacts to the free t-shirt givaways that happen during commercial breaks? Does Hemsky even try to get a t-shirt, or does he just sit there with no heart and grit in his t-shirt grabbing game?

Van Diest knows that bloggers never ever have press credentials, and Tyler Dellow probably won’t even be allowed in an NHL arena now for some reason. Because of that, how can you even trust them? You can’t.

Van Diest also made the really spicy point that Corsi is just a fad and that teams should just dump money into their scouts. See, scouts will just confirm what the Corsi heads say anyway, but they have the upper advantage of actually watching the game. Hell, we all know that scouts are never ever wrong and encourage terrible acquisitions that a Corsi head would never even touch, so Van Diest is again right in his analysis.

Van Diest simply fired off too many hot takes for us to address them all here, but take a peek at these notes for more.

h/t @YakovMironov

CORSI IS JUST A FAD

Today the hockey world was rocked when Bob McKenzie broke the news that noted fireman Tyler Dellow was hired by an NHL team. I know it seems like Big Corsi is gaining strong ground in the NHL, but don’t worry too much — it’s just a passing fad.

Of course, all the firemen on Twitter were celebrating the news like it was the second coming of Jesus. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski even went as far as to claim Dellow’s hiring ushered in a true “Summer of Fancy Stats.”

In a time like this, the hot take community needed a hero. And that’s just what we got in The Edmonton Journal’s Dave Staples.

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Staples made a bunch of really good points that totally didn’t make him look like a jealous baby. Take a peek at these scorchers:

 

 

See, Corsi is totally flawed, and Dellow constantly overstates its findings. The fact that an NHL team thinks the stat and Dellow himself could provide some value doesn’t matter. The experts in traditional news media are the ones who really understand what’s going on.

But it doesn’t even matter. About a decade from now, teams will abandon Corsi altogether:

 

See, Corsi is just a passing fad like pogs, Beanie Babies, and Crystal Pepsi. It won’t be around for long, and eventually guys like Dellow (who just stick to Corsi and never ever try to find better ways of explaining things) will become obsolete.

So don’t get too worried. Staples knows that Corsi is just a fad. Once it’s trashed, NHL teams will be lined up around the block trying to buy his analysis.

BIG CORSI IS NOW CENSORING WHAT YOU READ

It was only a matter of time.

After infiltrating our beloved National Hockey League, it seems that the pernicious beast that is Big Corsi has set its sights on censoring anyone that questions its leaders.

Shortly after the news broke that Tyler Dellow was hired by the Edmonton Oilers to poison their hockey operations with Corsi, Sportsnet columnist and friend of The Hot Takery Mark Spector laid some words on the young Dellow. Here’s a pretty hot bite:

From Mom’s basement to Hockey Op’s. That’s quite a leap, and it couldn’t have happened to a more notorious guy.

[…]

Dellow was The Voice of analytics online and has spawned protégés. There are others who do what Dellow did when it comes to championing analytics, but nobody did it like he did, slathered in smarm and condescension, with an antagonistic side dish of provocation.

Note the complete lack of self awareness — a perfect ingredient for any hot take — that occurs between these two paragraphs. Spector is allowed to suggest that Dellow was blogging from his Mom’s basement, but Dellow is the one who is condescending. Why? Well, probably because Spector is right. I haven’t done any research on what Dellow does for a day job, but it’s probably safe to say he mooches off Mommy to keep the supply of Cheetos flowing.

But that wasn’t the end of Spector’s piping hot take. Get a load of this:

Just as Dellow became the Pied Piper of hockey stats geeks, so too did his aggressive behaviour become a stereotype that has hindered popular acceptance of that community. Mc79hockey believed that any dissenting views should be targeted for ridicule, and if Dellow acts the same way in his new job, he won’t last. Period.

Notice how Spector leaves any criticism of Dellow’s actual work or insights on hockey out of the conversation and instead focuses on his personality. Aces hot takery, right there.

Of course, if you wanted to read this scorching hot take down of Dellow, you’ll have to rely on a cached version of the article. One can only assume that the jack booted thugs that work for Big Corsi called up the internet and demand that this super insightful column be taken down.

That’s right — they’ve infiltrated your favorite team, and now they have control over what you read. It’s only a matter of time before they enter your home….

TEAM HEART VS. TEAM CORSI: AN NHL14 SIMULATION

If you’re anything like me, you know that heart matters more than Corsi in the NHL. There’s a problem, though — when you’re having a civil shouting match with a fireman, there’s no definitive proof that you can throw in their face.

Until now.

Ever since the Leafs hired that guy from the Doobie Brothers, I’ve been searching high and low for a way to tear down Big Corsi once and for all. Finally, after a largely futile effort, I finally realized the answer was right in front of me — NHL14.

What follows is my account of designing and building two teams shaped around the heart and Corsi identities, and squaring them off against one another. The goal was to see which team, in this super accurate hockey simulator, would emerge victorious.

The Jerseys

Everyone knows that the most important part of any hockey team is how it presents itself aesthetically. I had to make sure that the essence of each team was captured by how it looked on the ice.

For Team Corsi, I chose to make the primary color brown, because that is the color of poop. The secondary color is yellow because not only is it the color of pee, but it is also the color most commonly associated with cowards.

 

Team Heart obviously had to have a better looking jersey, especially considering that supporters of Corsi think that only the stats matter and tend to shun anything else. The primary color is red because, well, it is Team Heart after all. For the logo, I chose this badass demon dude with a huge bicep because this team was going to beat the shit out of the opposition. I also opted for the old Minnesota Wild number font, because it’s sharp and also totally rad.

With the jersey’s set, I moved on to the next logical step…

The Rosters

Building Team Heart was quite the task — there are so many players with so much truculence and grit in the league, it was hard to narrow it down. I counseled with a few other master hot takists, who helped me build the following lineup:

Dan Carcillo – Dave Bolland – Shawn Thornton
Zac Rinaldo – Mike Brown – Tanner Glass
Krys Barch – Tom Sestito – Colton Orr
Luke Gazdic – John Scott – Cam Janssen

Brooks Orpik – Douglas Murray
Matt Carkner – Deryk Engelland
Jay Rosehill – Sheldon Brookbank

Pretty amazing, huh? The compete level of this team is through the fucking roof, and each forward line has at least three guys who will throw punches if necessary. I decided to designate Dave Bolland as the captain for obvious reasons, with Zac Rinaldo and Dan Carcillo as alternate captains. But honestly, any of these guys would be worthy of the “C.”

In net I went with the obvious choice — Ray Emery. Just in case all five skaters were fighting on the ice at the same time, I wanted to make sure there was an extra man willing to skate down the ice and beat the shit out of an unwilling opponent. Emery is the only goaltender willing to do that.

By the end of building the roster, I was confident that I had a team that could win. And with a little wiggle room in cap space (~$40 million), I would be able to pick up some free agents if necessary.

I initially intended to build Team Corsi by just assembling the top 18 players in terms of Corsi Rel from last season. The problem is that these players are so selfish and have such a lack of respect for the game that I couldn’t do this and stay cap compliant. But I did my best, and this is what I came up with:

Max Pacioretty – Patrice Bergeron – Jakub Voracek
Brad Marchand – Mikko Koivu – Jaromir Jagr
Brendan Gallagher – Mikael Backlund – Vladimir Tarasenko
Tomas Tatar – Jussi Jokinen – Reilly Smith

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Mark Giordano
Kimmo Timonen – Matt Niskanen
T.J. Brodie – Jake Muzzin

Ick. The fact that a guy like Jake Muzzin made this team is a testament to how flawed Corsi really is. I didn’t even bother to designate captains because quite frankly, none of these players has enough leadership qualities to fill the role. Just a bunch of low compete level Corsi padders.

Apparently goaltenders don’t have Corsi stats, so I randomly just threw Tuuka Rask in net. He kind of looks like an elf so you know he lacks truculence, and I bet if he were a skater his Corsi would be sky high.

The Game

With the jerseys and lineups all set, it was time to take to the ice. I set the game to its highest difficulty level and played as Team Heart against the computer, who represented Team Corsi.

I decided that the venue would be Team Heart’s barn as I knew none of Team Corsi’s fans would show up if the game were played at theirs — after all, their fans don’t watch the game.

Shortly after the puck dropped, I knew the gloves were going to go flying. About three minutes in, Dave Bolland checked one of the wimps into the boards like the leader he is, and Mark Giordano came over to challenge him to some fisticuffs. Unfortunately this game is a rigged piece of shit because somehow Giordano won. I reacted appropriately, though, by throwing the controller across the room.

Team Corsi unfortunately got on the board first, which was also bullshit that resulted in me breaking the second controller of the evening. And if that wasn’t frustrating enough, by the end of the first, Team Heart was trailing in goals AND hits. I was starting to believe that maybe I had a defective version of the game, but I soldiered on.

Team captain Dave Bolland really turned up the leadership and grit at the beginning of the second, rocketing past loser Marc-Edouard Vlasic to beat Rask one on one.

 

Bolland doubled down on the leadership shortly thereafter by beating the shit out of Matt Niskanen. Dave Bolland is amazing.

Unfortunately, sometimes momentum goes the other way, because Patrice Bergeron somehow slipped one past the truculent Emery just a few minutes later. That didn’t matter though — Bolland’s leadership roused his teammates to score, with both Zac Rinaldo and Tom Sestito getting tallies at the end of the second.

Team Corsi really fell off the rails in the third period. They looked absolutely awful, and it’s probably because they truly are. Team Heart, however, got the blood flowing big time. Two of the other leaders on the team — Dan Carcillo and Shawn Thornton — were able to score, with Thornton’s being an empty netter.

All told, Team Heart was the clear winner here. Not only did they beat Team Corsi 5-2, but they also led in shots, hits, and time on attack. You read that right — Team Corsi couldn’t even win the possession game. HA!

Of course, the most exciting part of any game is when the three stars are awarded, and I think NHL14 chose some real winners:

 

The only change I’d make to that is that Dave Bolland probably should have been the 0th star, because, yeah, he really is that good.

So take that Big Corsi! When you’re matched up against guys who have real grit, character, and leadership, you have absolutely no chance.