August 15, 2014

Darren Kennedy



Thoughts on Ken Holland, John Carlson, and Reggie Dunlop




I made the mistake yesterday of letting it slip on twitter that I've never seen the movie Slap Shot. Now, this didn't strike me as that BIG of an issue. There are a lot of films out there in the universe, and Hollywood has the annoying tendency of pumping out more and more before you've had a chance to catch up.


As one man, and being subject to the physical constraints of being one man, it seemed reasonable that I wouldn't have seen every hockey or sports movie ever made. Apparently not everyone agreed – I actually lost followers yesterday! With some citing that they could no longer trust my advice.


Of course there are plenty of other classics that helped create plenty sports cinema nostalgia – Youngblood, Mighty Ducks, and more recently, Miracle. My parents literally had to ban my brothers and me from watching the Ducks' VHS. For a number of years my favourite hockey player was Gordon Bombay.



In any event, I'm going to trudge out into the retail world and find myself a copy of Slap Shot. Sometime in the next few weeks I'll check back with a review, and maybe some fantasy analysis on Reggie Dunlop and the fellas.


Let us ramble…




Ken Holland had his contract extended by the Red Wings, taking him through the 2017-18 season. The folks over at Winging it in Motown provided a balanced article on what Holland's challenge will be.


Personally, I've always had mixed feelings on the adoration often heaped upon him and his staff over nearly two decades. There's no denying the results – they're spectacular. Their playoff streak and cup rings speak for themselves. But I can't help but wonder how much the presence of Lidstrom – arguably the second best defencemen of all-time – impacted Holland's trajectory as a manager. Being able to build your roster around 25 to 30 minutes a night from the future Hall-of-Famer afforded Holland a luxury that virtually no other team had.


I'll concede that he still had to do his due diligence in putting together a supporting cast – no easy feat.


With Lidstrom now retired and the NHL marching towards the inevitably of advanced statistics and more complex scouting techniques, I wonder how much of an advantage Detroit will carry forward. Despite his resume, we may learn more about his managerial abilities over the next four years than we did in the previous twenty.  




I've been on a bit of a John Carlson kick these past few days. Finished fourth among blueliners in shots (208) and tied for 25th in the entire league for powerplay points (22). Don't get over zealous and draft him in the top 10 or something, but there's value to be had here.




There is a tonne of fantastic work being done on the impact of zone entries in hockey. Much of it is changing the fundamental way we view the value of dump-ins versus controlled possession when entering the attacking zone.


From a fantasy perspective, this could be an important tool when evaluating players in the future. Since, at least from what I've read, the best off