Random Thoughts - Toughness And Monahan

Kent Wilson
September 16 2013 10:55AM

 

 

Usually my random thoughts missives feature a number of items, but this one is on just two that have cropped up recently: the value of toughness or "grit" in hockey and whether or not Sean Monahan should spend the year with the Flames.

First we'll take on toughness. This issue was brought to my attention by frequent commenter (and antagonist of mine) Clyde when he said this after a Michael Ferland fight during the young stars tournament:

But, you can't measure the impact Ferland's grit made so it isn't useful. Lol

Two things, but I'll be particular first - attributing the Flames resurgence in the Canucks prospect game specifically to the Ferland fight is post hoc ergo propter hoc, or "after this therefore because of this". It's tempting to applaud fights when good things happen after them, but to be honest one should keep a tab of how often that actually happens in order to derive a true effect from fisticuffs.

This has been looked at - from a number of angles - and overall the effect is not quite nothing for winning a fight, but it's as close as nothing as to be generally unimportant.

Which is the reason that most fights in hockey occur when the score is out of reach. To be sure, if fighting guaranteed a significant swing in shots and scoring chances, goons would be some of the most valuable players on any given club, rather than minimum wage, 4th line guys.

Secondly, and more generally, my position in regard to grit overall isn't that it's worthless, but rather, that it's grossly overvalued and weighted incorrectly in traditional hockey terms. Like any other physical tool, grit is a boon if it leads to positive outcomes for the player and team on the ice, but not terribly useful otherwise. Just like skating, shooting and hockey sense, grit is potentially a means to and end but not an end unto itself.

Unfortunately, toughness seems to be the lone ability that can keep a guy in the show, absent any other NHL level qualities. You'll usually see highly skilled but defensively disinterested forwards smeared as "one dimensional", but the truly one dimensional creatures in this league are the guys who are only around to crash and bang or chuck fists; the guys who are gross liabilities under almost any circumstance, who bleed shots and goals against and take more penalties than they draw, because the only NHL level skill they have is to absorb and dish out pain. As a result, they are eaten for breakfast by the actual NHLers they face each and every shift.

There are plenty of good hockey payers who count grit or toughness as a primary tool: Dustin Brown, David Backes, Milan Lucic, etc., etc. And there's not doubt that every potential NHLer needs a certain threshold of "toughness" to make it into the show given the size, strength of the players and the inherent violence in the game. But grit as a stand-alone asset - toughness for toughness sake - is an inherently self-defeating strategy. The point of the game is to score more goals than the other guys, not merely prove you have the biggest balls.

It's interesting to see how this misconception plays out across the league, particularly on bad teams whom convince themselves that at least some portion of their struggles can be attributed to not being gritty enough. This idea has afflicted the Oilers for years during their rebuild, resulting in the fruitless churn of relatively useless players through their bottom-6 rotation (Zack Stortini, Steve MacIntyre, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Mike Brown), ironically making their club worse and extending their stay at the bottom of the league.

A metaphor for that style of management, I think, is making a stew and then adding rocks for texture: while it might be entirely true that your stew is rather mushy and that rocks are indeed "crunchy", the addition does nothing to actually improve the meal.

Send Monahan Back to Junior

As of this writing Sean Monahan has had a strong training camp, which means the number of fans agitating for him to stay with the parent club all season has increased. I've gone on record before about this topic, but it bears repeating: burning a year of Monahan's ELC at this point would be a mistake.

Firstly, because the chances of Monahan actually helping the Flames do anything meaningful this year is almost zero. The kid is too young and the team is too far away from competing for that to be realistic. Since the lock-out, only 29 forwards between the ages of 18-19 have played 65 games or more in their rookie season. Only 10 of them scored more than 50 points.

Secondly, as mentioned, it would be a poor allocation of a precious, limited resource. Entry level contracts are artificially capped by the league and the best potential value deals a team has. Most kids aren't good enough during their first 3 pro years for that to matter much, but when potential stars come along, it makes sense to horde their 3 ELC seasons as long as possible - or least try to position them closer to a time when the team will be competitive in order to leverage those deals as much as possible.

Let's put it this way - would a season of cheap Sean Monahan be more useful to the Flames now? Or to the Flames in 2016-17, which would be the last year of his ELC if Calgary were to send him back to junior this season? Because that's the trade-off you make if Monahan sticks as an 18-19 year old.

It's true that rebuilding clubs have a habit of keeping their recent high draft picks around even as teens, and sometimes it might be warranted on merit, but mostly it seems to be a PR and marketing tool used to mollify a fanbase eager for something to cheer about. And although I'm personally excited to see Monahan strut his stuff in the NHL, it strikes me as short-sighted at best to toss him head first into year 1 of the Flames probably lengthy rebuild effort.

I'm in this for the long haul, the bigger payoff, so I'm willing to suppress the wish for instant gratification so the team has a better chance of winning later.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Parallex
September 16 2013, 05:39PM
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Y'know what I'd like... I'd like a new agreement between the NHL, NHLPA, AHL and CHL that allows one 18 or 19yo player per AHL team to play in the AHL under a Special Player Contract (with the AHL club) that won't burn a year off their ELC.

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#52 Kevin R
September 16 2013, 07:31PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Skinner earned and played top 6 minutes all season long, in his rookie year. Monahan will be a 4th liner behind Backlund, Stajan and Knight. Calgary isn't winning anything but a lottery pick this year. Let him develop with more playing time.

Well if his play is that, that garners 4th line, I totally agree & send him down. I don't think Knight has been playing better than him & I would rather put him on the #2 line & Stajan on the 3rd line. But only if he plays better than Knight, Horak or Reinhart. I'm not advocating keeping him up just because, he needs to play well enough. Skinner did earned & played top 6 minutes that year, why couldn't Monahan do the same?

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#53 Baalzamon
September 16 2013, 07:42PM
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I'd say it's entirely reasonable to say Backlund, Stajan, and Horak are all currently better than Monahan, and it's likely that both Reinhart and Knight are more NHL-ready as well.

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#54 Jack Woman
September 16 2013, 10:23PM
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McGrattan can't skate, can't keep up to the play and has zero Hockey Sense!!!!!! what a waste of a roster spot!!! BRING BACK IGINLA!!!

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#55 Craig
September 17 2013, 08:45AM
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On the topic of fighting, I think looking at last nights game in Saskatoon puts forth a nice example of the opposite.

In the game against the Canucks in which the Ferland fight sparked the team enough to win, we saw a fight tip the scales and create momentum.

In the game last night we saw four fights, and tons of "Grit" that didn't translate into a win or really into a significant push back.

If these guys need to see a fight every game to get them sparked and excited and ready to go, then that effect will wear off pretty quickly.

It seems like there are a ton of players fighting and being gritty to make this team, but there aren't a lot of guys scoring goals to make this team...

Which one means more.

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#56 Justin Azevedo
September 16 2013, 11:16AM
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everyone keep in mind that blair jones broke his damn leg blocking a shot in ot soooooo

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#57 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
September 16 2013, 12:31PM
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seve927 wrote:

The other side of the argument on Monahan would be, with the tendency toward bridge deals, the value contract is getting extended to 5 years before the big payoff. Delaying him a year makes it more likely that he demands a big payday at the expiry of his ELC, meaning that you actually get less value at what might be the most critical time: 2016-2018.

I think you just do what's right for the player. I'd personally rather not see him play this year. I have no idea what will be better for his development (I'd guess junior), but I think the Flames do, and I'd rather see them do what's right for him, than try to get cute to squeeze out an extra year of cheap labour. That to me seems shortsighted. Just do whatever you can to allow him to be the best player he can.

I also concur with this! Very good counter-point.

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#58 Parallex
September 16 2013, 12:37PM
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@icedawg_42

I would assume that so long as the 67's front office isn't composed of raging lunatics that they will trade him. They probably won't get a 20yo season out of him and as a 19yo star center he'd be the most valuable 1 year rental player in the OHL since he won't eat an overage slot.

My guess would be that he'd go to Barrie. I figure that Barrie is probably losing Scheifele but they still have Ekblad so I imagine they'll want to go for a run while he's on roster. I think that's the case to since they bid to be the Memorial Cup host city (losing out to London). They'll need a replacement for Scheifele and Monahan would slide right in.

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#59 Ed Wailin'
September 16 2013, 12:45PM
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Finishing checks is the only grit chart stat I choose to acknowledge. That said, the confidence gained by having one of the toughest dudes in the league on your bench is huge, albeit immeasurable, it's whether or not the rest of the team takes advantage of it is the real question.

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#60 TRAV
September 16 2013, 02:27PM
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I'm in the camp of if he has earned a position on the team (top 9) it would be wrong to send him down. I believe that sends the wrong message to him, his teammates and quite frankly the fans. I also totally agree that if he does not look like he can play top minutes then it is best for his development to send him down. (been great discussion already on this point)

In terms of toughness this is a hard one for me. I would agree that having a one dimensional player who hurts the team when he is on the ice likely is a net loss for the team. Having said that I also know that it is a great feeling when the toughest guy in the league is sitting next to you on the bench. You walk taller, you finish a check that you otherwise might not have and you play with increased confidence. I remember trying out for a team in Moose Jaw and my line mate was a tough guy. The tough guy... The game was getting chippy and the other teams vets were starting to run our show. Literally guys on our team were making quick passes, taking quick shifts and were generally intimidated. My linemate looks over at me and says, "anything happens out there I got it..." I line up on left wing and a twenty yr old starts popping off. (I'm 16 and not tough:) My linemate points at me to switch wings and he proceeds to tune this vet. The game, the mementum, the energy on our bench immediately changes. I am not saying that this one incident proves a point, I will say though that I always prefer playing on teams where I know we have a tough guy who can settle things down. I bet most guys who play rec would echo the same sentiment. I play better when some of our tougher guys walk in the room.

What I would really like to know is what guys who have played in the NHL think. If a survey was done would most guys rather play on a team with a tough guy or is it irrelevant. I may be wrong but I think that the tough guy is usually one of the most respected guys and best loved guys on the team. Does this result in more wins? Can this be measured? Perhaps not but I know what my experience has been...

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#61 TRAV
September 16 2013, 02:59PM
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@Parallex

Hmm.. Fair enough. The reason that I suggested that the third line is a logical bar is because of playing time. For Monahan to improve and help the team, he needs to see the ice. Perhaps if we dress a fourth line with increased skill they will play more, in which case I would be okay with him playing fourth line. What I think we can agree on is if Monahan is spending his time watching from the press box, this will hurt his development. (and in no way help the team)

If I were to bet I would suggest that Monahan breaks camp with the big squad, plays in a variety of situations and the decision is made after nine games. It is really difficult for me to know if a fourth year of junior or time in the NHL will be the best. I actually don't think that anyone can say with absolute certainty what will be the best for the team and Monahan's development.

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#62 Clyde
September 16 2013, 04:08PM
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SeanCharles wrote:

Fighting is like a goal to get within one, like a bit hit, like a huge penalty kill, like a PP goal when you need it most.

Its something that shifts momentum in a game.

It most certainly injects emotion into teammates and in turn has on ice effects.

Fighting, and grit in general is a useful tool in hockey..

Grit doesnt mean we gotta have a bunch of guys who cant play the game. There are gritty superstars and gritty top 6 forwards and top 4 dman in the league.

Just because management wants to get grittier doesnt mean more fourth line players will be on the team.

Players like Galiardi, Cundari, Kanzig, Sieloff, Porier, Ferland, Agostino, Glencross and Gio are players that have grit in their game and they are good upside youngsters or our core vets.

Teams like LA, NYR, PHI, BOS, CHI all have gritty players up and down the lineup. They are some of the better teams in the league also.

Managements mandate to get bigger and grittier doeesnt mean they will compromise skill just to acheive it.

Skill and Grit are not two totally remote attributes in hockey. Players can have both..

Well said. Verbeek, Simpson, holmstrom, tocchet etc were great goal scorers because they went to the hard areas to get the goals. That is grit. I hope Ferland develops into that type of player. We need guys in those greasy areas battling as it will make our skill players that much more effective

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#63 FireOnIce
September 16 2013, 04:22PM
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Question:

Where does Monahan rate on the #gritchart? I only care if he's truculent, and able to take PIMs.

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#64 Parallex
September 16 2013, 04:29PM
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@SeanCharles

What if we have three guys (not including Backlund and Stajan) who are good enough to play 3rd line mins in the NHL?

Say Horak, Knight, and Monahan all meet that bar, what then?

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#65 SeanCharles
September 16 2013, 04:41PM
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Parallex wrote:

But it doesn't (shift momentum in a game). League wide scoring rates in the aftermath of a fight don't vary to a significant degree.

Think about it... if a fight could change the momentum of a game (beyond some measure of random variation) why would the member of the team that already had momentum agree to engage in one? It doesn't make any sense for him to do that.

Ive watched enough hockey to know it has an effect on players compete level. Im not saying every fight results in a huge sway in momentum and thus goals. But sometimes it definately does sway this.

A spirited fight, along with abig hit, can spark the fans and manufacture an emotional boost within teamates.

Hockey is a competative game and sometimes in the heat of the moment players fight even though it might not be in the best interest of the team.

Im sure in close, physical, scrappy games when the game is on the line the coach has instructed players to under no circumstance fight.

You can see in some games losing teams try to manufacture a fight but to no avail. Usually in blow out games. Thus sometimes teams choose not to fight because they know it can change the complexion of the game.

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#66 SeanCharles
September 16 2013, 05:00PM
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Parallex wrote:

What if we have three guys (not including Backlund and Stajan) who are good enough to play 3rd line mins in the NHL?

Say Horak, Knight, and Monahan all meet that bar, what then?

Well I would say there are a couple centre spots open and Knight wouldnt be hurt by playing 4th line mins. Throwing Horak into the mix makes it more difficult.

Well your not gonna keep Monahan as an extra forward so either make room for him and Horak or send him back.

I dont see him playing in the NHL this season as a waste so long he gets playing time(If he is indeed ready).

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#67 Danger
September 16 2013, 05:11PM
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Parallex wrote:

...and the year before they played 9:30ish and in 08-09 Glencross played 14:40 almost exclusively on the third line. Like everything it varies year to year.

I'm still waiting to hear what people think ought to happen if all three of Knight, Horak, and Monahan all play well enough to credable hold the 3C spot.

Interesting question (what if all three play well enough to stick). I think the likely result in that scenario, all else being equal, is Knight and Horak take turns playing 3C with the other guy playing on the wing in Calgary or 1C in Abby, and Monahan goes down. I think this is likely because Monahan is the youngest and furthest away from free agency.

As for what ought to happen, I think the best player should stick, regardless of who that turns out to be.

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#68 piscera.infada
September 16 2013, 05:28PM
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@Parallex

"Who are the accounts that determined "earned"?"

This would be the management and coaching staff - not the fans, not the player 'feeling' he's ready. I really think this is fairly cut and dry. Management and the coaches know what's at stake here, likewise they've spent much more time around the likes of Monahan, Knight, and Horak - one could almost say they would know their games intimately well. As such, I don't think it's right to question their decision either way simply on the business aspect of the game (ie. ELC years)*.

I would like to see him go back to junior (assuming he is "ready") only because of the WJHC. That said, I have a hard time believing Monahan would get to stay with the big club as a bench-warmer - seeing as how we've heard all offseason that the management group sees that scenario as extremely counter-intuitive.

*[Read: simply on the business aspect. If, in fact, there are maturity, physical, emotional, etc. issues, and they choose to keep any of them up, by all means question.]

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#69 Parallex
September 16 2013, 05:41PM
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@jai kiran

Balderdash. Once a players in your system where they were drafted is irrevelant. Also: What piscera.infada said above. Monahan shouldn't get any special treatment at the expense of other prospects.

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#70 EugeneV
September 17 2013, 01:25AM
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@ChinookArch

Skinner played on the wing. Vastly different situation wouldn't you say?

If Monahan is to make the team it should be in the role he should be playing in the NHL from the start.

First or second line center.

No use him playing on the wing. He needs to be playing what he should be.

1st or 2nd line.

NHL or OHL.

Even if he is in the NHL the Flames owe it to him to release him to the WJHC over christmas.

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#71 Danger
September 17 2013, 06:54AM
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DoubleDIon wrote:

I'll more than insinuate. I know it won't be popular, but Iginla completely ignored his defensive responsibilities for his final 2-3 seasons here. He was a pretty big liability defensively. He basically became a better, nicer version of Dany Heatley.

That said, I love Iginla and hate JBo. But there's no doubt in my mind that we'll miss JBo on the ice this year a lot more than we'll miss Iginla.

His final few years Iginla was more concerned about his stat line than he was about the overall success of the club.

Maybe Iggy did worry more about his personal stats than the success of the club the last few seasons - let's assume for a moment that this was intentional and not just natural decline with age. Would that have been so wrong? I'm not sure.

The club was fundamentally not good enough the last few years, and a defensively responsible Iggy wouldn't have been the difference between success and failure. He wasn't 26 and able to carry the team on his back anymore.

He was, on the other hand, still able to pot a decent number of points. So if he chose to focus his energy where he could make a difference (his stat line) instead of where he couldn't (the team's fortunes), I can't really fault him for that.

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#72 Justin Azevedo
September 17 2013, 09:37AM
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good discussion here but keep it out of the realm of personal attacks boys

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#73 Chico Santana
September 16 2013, 11:10AM
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I think you meant to say Mike Brown. Curtis Brown was a decent player back in the day.

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#74 icedawg_42
September 16 2013, 11:23AM
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I don't disagree with your points on hoarding Monahan's ELC. I fully agree that he'll be more value when the team is ready to compete once more. When you say you have no problem with kids sticking on merit - don't you see his strong camp as enough merit to warrant having him stick for the time being?

- let's say you were making that decision at this moment. (leaving out of the equation the 9 game window in the regular season, and what he does with it)

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#75 Parallex
September 16 2013, 11:46AM
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Christian Roatis wrote:

I'm in the keep him if he's ready, send him if he's not camp. Makes the most sense IMO.

Why? What sense (or tangible benefit) is there in having the team burn an artificially cheap year off of his contract in order to have him play in what is almost assuredly a gap year regardless of his presense?

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#76 Reidja
September 16 2013, 12:47PM
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Re Monahan, I completely agree even though it sucks that we will have to wait to see him in the lineup.

In fact (quoth Wilson):

"Firstly, because the chances of Monahan actually helping the Flames do anything meaningful this year is almost zero. The kid is too young and the team is too far away from competing for that to be realistic."

Replace Monahan with Baertschi in this statemet and I think it still stands. I hope Sven can survive this season without either 1) getting badly injured or 2) sent to the minors with more ego-crushing disappointment.

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#77 the-wolf
September 16 2013, 01:14PM
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Bravo! Great article.

But I still believe in chemsitry.

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#78 Jeff Lebowski
September 16 2013, 01:50PM
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Oh, and about toughness. I'm not a fan of goons but I do like competitiveness.

Perhaps I'm not grasping the point you're making about toughness and grit but what I do know is that during a fight (be it hockey or elsewhere) there is a change in 'feeling' after watching (or doing haha). One on one confrontations stoke the competitive juices. They do for me.

There is an increase in primal 'willingness'. So it matters not if you win a fight, it matters that you are willing to compete that way. And if that willingness is then inspired in your team mates then it means things like taking a hit to make a play, pushing back. Essentially your overall play picks up. The effects are temporal and you still might ultimately lose the game (and the fights) but denying this fight or flight impact within intense competition (hockey, warfare) is looking at the forest before the trees. Little things matter and can have huge effects on performance.

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#79 cccsberg
September 16 2013, 02:24PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Keeping Monahan for PR reasons OR sending him down for future 'cost savings' are two terrible, and IMO, laughable justifications.

The outcome is not how many wins will Monahan add to Calgary this year. The desired outcome is for Sean to play in the place that allows him to grow the most.

If you look at this through the rather myopic lens of on ice growth only you could easily convince yourself that junior is best. However, think of EVERYTHING that goes into maximizing human potential (how do you make an elite athlete)?

Take it out of the context of hockey and examine it a different way:

If you had a child that demonstrated 'giftedness', what would you do? Keep him/her in a regular school and expose them to convention or find an environment that accelerates their learning? Will cost win out, especially when you can afford it but in the lifetime of your child you would prefer to save money for a few years.

Now, if you can't look at Monahan and IMMEDIATELY see his giftedness then this is a pointless exercise. To me, it's gob smackingly obvious. Just watch him. I'm not saying he's Crosby or that he flashes obvious skills. What I see is an 18 year old who can control the play (sometimes that means making a routine play or an amazing play - what is the quality of your decision making?) at the NHL level. His mind is his gift.

Another point I think about is the young players who are no longer prospects but established but still growing NHLers like Brodie, Backlund, Sven and the WOWY stat. When I watch Monahan play he just screams WOWY monster (he makes people better - perhaps in more ways than shots). I think it serves the Flames better to have that happen with Flames' assets rather than unaffiliated players (junior).

Finally, in terms of organizational behaviour/psychology what impact does telling employees that we need to see A,B,C progressions, your employee does them and you tell them it's not good enough (because you're thinking of future earnings reports). You will never get greatness that way.

This idea that tomorrow will be a better time is garbage in the realm of professional sports. Maximize now. Do what's best now (for growth) and the transactional details will get sorted. Especially if you (Flames) can be disciplined and show integrity by acting in the best interests of your players.

Of course, my assessment could be wrong and he's not that player...yet. Then by all means send him down but if the decision is pre determined on cost savings?? Bad.

Excellent comments Jeff. Do what is in the best interests of the person, and if he's good enough and accomplishes what they ask of him he should stay. It will further inspire him and others around him. If you go back on your word (meritocracy) you're sending a message to far more than that single player...

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#80 thymebalm
September 16 2013, 02:32PM
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I really don't think this is an issue at all. Monahan will likely be on the team for the majority of his career. After his ELC is over, he will have a few years of RFA status contracts that will curtail spending, and this is while the cap continues to rise.

Can you name 4 better centers playing for the Flames? I can name two.

Stajan and Backlund.

Why would we dress less than our best roster? Just because we are going to lose anyway? Would anyone actually in charge of a hockey team think this way? I doubt it.

edit: I know you have a real issue with toughness. But my god. If you watched Vancouver play Boston in the finals, you can't deny that toughness makes a difference. That Chicago team that won the cup the first time was pretty frickin tough too.

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#81 Parallex
September 16 2013, 02:33PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

"it matters not if you win a fight, it matters that you are willing to compete that way"

Which means that in terms of comparative value it's worthless because in order for a fight to happen you require two participants. Meaning that any effect (however marginal or otherwise) gleaned is shared equally (if winning doesn't matter).

If people like the sideshow (are entertained by it) I'm happy for them but there is all sorts of evidence to suggest that there is little to be gained by it.

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#82 Parallex
September 16 2013, 02:42PM
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@TRAV

There it is again... why is "Top 9" the bar to set? Why not "top 6" or "top 3" or #1/#2 Center?

That's all very arbitrary. I would argue that there is nothing that makes sending him down if he's the 10-13th forward any more moral then if they were to send him down if he were the 7-9. IN both cases you're sending an NHL quality player to a league that isn't the NHL (and costing him significant dough).

Like it or not there is more to consider then whether just Sean Monahan is good enough to be a #3C.

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#83 T&A4Flames
September 16 2013, 03:14PM
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Kent, I think you're leaving the psychological side out of this. If players, including prospects, are told reward by meritocracy, and they, by all accounts earn the right to play, but are not rewarded with a roster spot, what does that do to the long term psyche of a player? Especially a young kid? Do thoughts of no faith creep in?

Don't get me wrong, I would rather see Monahan returned to junior for 1 more year. I really want to see him at the WJC. I would like to see the Flames retain that year on his ELC. But I think you have to consider his long term psyche as well as the possible affect on his progress.

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#84 Parallex
September 16 2013, 03:49PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Kent, I think you're leaving the psychological side out of this. If players, including prospects, are told reward by meritocracy, and they, by all accounts earn the right to play, but are not rewarded with a roster spot, what does that do to the long term psyche of a player? Especially a young kid? Do thoughts of no faith creep in?

Don't get me wrong, I would rather see Monahan returned to junior for 1 more year. I really want to see him at the WJC. I would like to see the Flames retain that year on his ELC. But I think you have to consider his long term psyche as well as the possible affect on his progress.

Who are the accounts that determined "earned"?

What if Monahan & Knight & Horak think they earned the right to continue playing? There's a limited number of spots you can't put everyone that thinks they should have a spot on the team because most likely they all think they earned a spot.

Someone/s going to end up playing for a team they think they shouldn't be playing on and ultimately they'll be fine with it because they all know they have to pay their dues on the way up.

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#85 Parallex
September 16 2013, 04:06PM
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@SeanCharles

But it doesn't (shift momentum in a game). League wide scoring rates in the aftermath of a fight don't vary to a significant degree.

Think about it... if a fight could change the momentum of a game (beyond some measure of random variation) why would the member of the team that already had momentum agree to engage in one? It doesn't make any sense for him to do that.

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#86 Parallex
September 16 2013, 04:31PM
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jai kiran wrote:

Why? Because he's been goaded into it. Because he thinks he'll look gutless if he doesn't. Because he's right into the moment and not thinking about logic and consequence.

So in other words he'll do it because he's an idiot?

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#87 jai kiran
September 16 2013, 04:55PM
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Parallex wrote:

So in other words he'll do it because he's an idiot?

Well, he's definitely making a mistake: but, you know, athletes make mistakes. Like SeanCharles says "Hockey is a competitive game and sometimes in the heat of the moment players fight even though it might not be in the best interest of the team."

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#88 Danger
September 16 2013, 05:22PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Great post. Now I finally get your point, wasn't quite following you before. So you're saying that fighting has an effect but it's a smaller effect - we'd need much more fine-grained statistics to be able to observe it. I don't know if your theory is right, but is interesting and it sounds like the sort of thing that could be tested (at least in principle).

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#89 chillout
September 16 2013, 05:28PM
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@Parallex

The difference is we're using a "meritocracy" so if Monahan earns the spot that means he will be playing 3rd line or better. They've been preaching the meritocracy big time so they better follow through.

I've competed at the highest levels of sport myself and also coached so I've seen and experienced it that when you're physically and mentally ready you are better served to step into a challenge rather than mess around with something easy. wasting a year on easy hockey I think would hurt him more than being forced to elevate his game. a thinker like him will see whole new ways to play and improve.

If he earns it he stays! Besides his bridge contract as a younger guy will be cheaper than the bigger payday if he was a year or two older.

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#90 jai kiran
September 16 2013, 05:32PM
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Parallex wrote:

So Monahan would be hurt playing fourth line but nobody else would?

Uh huh, If this arbitrary "#3C or higher" bar applies to Monahan then I don't see why it shouldn't apply to Knight and Horak. Neither of them are muckers (they actually both have the same basic profile as Monahan... 2-way north/south Centers) neither of them strike me as finished products.

Yeah, there's a difference between the way you develop a 6th overall pick and the way you develop two 5th rounders.

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#91 piscera.infada
September 16 2013, 05:40PM
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jai kiran wrote:

Yeah, there's a difference between the way you develop a 6th overall pick and the way you develop two 5th rounders.

I don't really agree with this. If Knight and/or Horak beat Monahan out for 3C and Monahan is "ready", but not "as ready", you send Monahan back. The point is that we're trying to properly develop as many prospects as possible - not one at the behest of all the others.

Oh, and Parallex, the opportunity to send Monahan to the AHL would be music to my ears.

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#92 exsanguinator
September 16 2013, 06:04PM
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Parallex wrote:

5 Minutes a night I figure. 4th liners of Jackman's ilk play 8-9 minutes a night and 3rd liners 13-14.

In the CHL he'll be playing probably 20-25M in all situations. He'll probably be served developmentally just as well if not better by playing in the CHL as he would the NHL.

If he's playing 13-14 minutes a night on a third line that is deployed as defensibly responsible and drives play he's going to develop a lot better than playing 20-25 minutes against opponents that he's going to run roughshod over.

I think that the more time spent at a higher level with the expectation of being a competent 2 way center will do a lot more for his development than the CHL would.

At the very least give him an AHL contract. Troy Ward will work wonders with this kid.

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#93 piscera.infada
September 16 2013, 06:08PM
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@exsanguinator

They can't give him an AHL contract. It's CHL or NHL for the kid. Thus, the issue (if he could play in the AHL we probably wouldn't be having this conversation).

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#94 chillout
September 16 2013, 07:39PM
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@jai kiran

boy am I glad you are not in charge of developing players for any sport anywhere....well at least I sure hope you're not.....politics anyone??

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#95 Jeff Lebowski
September 16 2013, 08:08PM
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Danger wrote:

Great post. Now I finally get your point, wasn't quite following you before. So you're saying that fighting has an effect but it's a smaller effect - we'd need much more fine-grained statistics to be able to observe it. I don't know if your theory is right, but is interesting and it sounds like the sort of thing that could be tested (at least in principle).

Yes. So off the top of my head, teams practice battle drills. One on one board battles or other effort plays. If you tracked individual and team winning percentages ie board battle winning percentage, like with faceoffs, you could see if those change after a fight.

Moreover, it seems the analysis was to find a difference in shot rate. The analysis presumably shows no change in shot rate. The key being what constitutes a shot.

What I mean is, a team's rate or raw number might not change, say it's 15. However, the quality of the shots that make that number might be vastly different. A fight makes your team play harder, you get to the 'dirty' areas more and shoot higher percentage shots (scoring chances). Their goalie still stops those shots so it doesn't affect goals. Your shot rate is still 15 but it's composed of high percentage shots compared to low percentage shots.

So 2 identical shot rates: 15. One with high percentage or scoring chance shots and the other with low percentage. Can you say both games were played the same? You may not score, you may still lose but how you played is night and day.

A digression about fighting and an illumination about discerning nuance from aggregate stats: A memorable goal in Flames history is the Steve Smith scoring into his own net. Some player X on Calgary got credited with the goal. Looking back at the data and having no knowledge of what happened it would be rational to think player X made a great play, I mean he got credited with a shot and goal. The stats don't describe what Steve Smith did.

If that is how you are going to look for something (effect after a fight) you will never see its signal because your method is not discerning enough.

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#96 exsanguinator
September 16 2013, 08:18PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

They can't give him an AHL contract. It's CHL or NHL for the kid. Thus, the issue (if he could play in the AHL we probably wouldn't be having this conversation).

I was not aware of this. Thank you.

Is he not old enough or something?

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#97 Dr. Philosophy
September 16 2013, 09:45PM
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Pizzaman wrote:

WOW Dropping Latin phrases into a discussion of grit followed by distinctions and clarification of the definition of grit (does not only equal fighting). If UofC wants to save their Philosophy program they should start at Flamesnation! Let me complicate by adding individual grit versus Team grit. Being tough to play against means skill, desire, speed And grit. My only Latin phrase is "Semper ubi sub ubi" which I believe is "non-sequitur".

Yeah, you're right: clear thinking and useful distinctions are such a ridiculous waste of time. Save such fiddle-faddle for the soon to be extinct philosophers. It's like survival of the most fit, right?

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#98 piscera.infada
September 17 2013, 11:09AM
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@the-wolf

Agreed. My point was simply that I don't care about the ELC year. If they send him back it should be based on the need for development only. I'm not going to sit here and say the ELC argument doesn't matter, I personally just don't care about it - I just want all our prospects to develop correctly.

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#99 Parallex
September 17 2013, 02:13PM
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@DoubleDIon

Just like when Billy Beane stood in front of a blue ribbon committee and told them that the Oakland A's only won by luck. If Detroit has a better way of doing things do you really think they'd encourage the competition to emulate them or do you think they'd tell them something else.

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#100 piz
September 18 2013, 10:10PM
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@Dr. Philosophy

Well you sure don't see it in the twitter-verse or the blog-o-sphere. Save the philosophers!!

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