THE SCORE INVENTS A NEW HOT TAKE

If you’re a dedicated reader of The Hot Takery, you know that checking your facts is a big no no in the world of hot takes. Today, sports app/website/whatever The Score took that principle to heart and created a brand new type of hot take.

It all started when Pittsburgh Penguins blogger (and noted fireman) Mike Darnay sent out this retweet:

Wow. That’s pretty shocking, and 100 percent believable. There’s no need to check the Penguins’ Twitter feed to see if they actually said this, because it just feels like it’s right.

And that’s exactly what the genius reporters at The Score did. Being an appsite that needs to keep apace with what’s going on in the world of sports, they knew this story needed to hit the presses immediately. There simply wasn’t any time to fact check:

Of course, Darnay was just having a little fun here — the Penguins never actually tweeted that out. But that’s not the point. The point here is that The Score is simply too lazy to spend 20 seconds researching, which undoubtedly earns them a spot in the Hall of Hot Takes.

Being newly anointed hot takists, The Score, shortly after noticing its error (oops!) pulled the story.

Big kudos go out to The Score for showing literally no principles of journalism, and instead opting for hot takes.

FOX NEWS USES NFL CONTROVERSY TO ASK THE REAL QUESTIONS

A lot of really interesting words have been written about the NFL in recent weeks, but it appears that we’ve all been focused on the wrong issues.

At least that’s what the master hot takists over at Fox News think.

Ever since video was released showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice physically abuse his then-fianceé, the internet has been filled with commentary about what this means for how the NFL — and more importantly, our entire society — deals with the issue of domestic abuse. The criticism of NFL policies intensified with the recent allegations of child abuse against Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

But while we were all wondering what this meant for those particular issues — namely domestic abuse and child abuse — it appears that we were all too short-sighted to see how this plays into the bigger picture.

I’m talking, of course, about #Benghazi.

But never fear. Veteran hot takist and host of the highbrow intellectual debate show Fox & Friends Elisabeth Hasselbeck was happy to bring this all to our attention:

This is a really great point — what does the NFL say about #Benghazi? Probably a lot.

And Hasselbeck is further right in her analysis to suggest that no one has been laser focused on Benghazi for the past two years. Nope. It’s not like one “news” network has spent over 1,000 primetime segments to discuss how the tragedy is evidence of the anti-christ Obama’s devious ways.

But the NFL controversies don’t just teach us about #Benghazi. No no no — there are MANY lessons to be learned here, and steaming hot takist Sean Hannity brought up the stellar and not-insane-at-all point that if Adrian Peterson is prosecuted for child abuse, it might prevent parents from teaching their kids that “being gay is not normal.”

The horror!

So take note here, budding young takists — don’t ever let tragedies, no matter how irrelevant, prevent you from making points that advance your political agenda. ‘Tis the Fox News way.

h/t Media Matters

DARREN DREGER: DON’T EXPECT THE LEAFS TO GET BETTER

If you’re anything like me, the establishment of an analytics department at the Toronto Maple Leafs had you shaking in your boots. But fear not — TSN’s Darren Dreger knows that not much is going to change.

Why? Well, according to Dreger, the leafs have been dipping their toes in the Big Corsi pool for years now:

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Hmm, interesting. To be honest, I always thought this was the case. You don’t go out and get Roman Polak, David Clarkson, and Tim Gleason without a careful examination of statistics, no matter how flawed I think they are.

And it’s not like management at the Leafs have repeatedly stated that they think Corsi is a useless stat or that they haven’t spent any money out of their analytics budget. It’s not like Dave Nonis has gone on the record as saying Corsi has no use in building a winning team, either.

Nope, this isn’t another instance of Dreger just carrying water for an unsuccessful general manager. He’s just stating the facts.

So don’t worry, guys. There may be a few more nerds at the Air Canada Centre, but nothing is going to change.

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