Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Neighbourhood Watch

Dang - my favourite sports column is out of business. Cosh is a good friend of Andy's and mine, and while I'm glad to hear that the demise of the Western Standard won't have an effect on his ongoing financial viability, I'm disappointed nonetheless that this ultra-unique corner of sports punditry is gone.

Hockey fans who are relatively new to following the blogs (or at least this one) probably only know Cosh from the occasional comment thread, or from references to the aforementioned column. Slightly more veteran followers will also know him from a few beauty guest pieces here last preseason, or from his fantastic pieces at his own site on the Oilers' run to the SCF (Rd1, Rd2/3, Finals).

And only if you've been in this part of the Web for a long time will you have read his near-daily coverage of the 2004 playoffs. I was combing through it looking for a link a couple of weeks ago, and it's a remarkable accomplishment. Here's an idea: next time you have a free hour to surf and plan on going through the Opinion pieces on TSN, ESPN, and wherever else, go read Cosh's '04 playoff page instead. It is no exaggeration to say that you'll gain more insight into the NHL in October 2007 there -- and be more entertained -- than at the big sites, despite the material being 3+ years old (and from the pre-New NHL era).

My personal favourite elements are his agonized, grudging chronicles of the Flames marching toward the Cup, but there's all sorts of good stuff. One example, after admiring a piece of technical analysis by Kelly Hrudey:
What's most shocking is how rarely ex-jocks provide this kind of understanding, and how superficial their apparent feel for the game they played can be. The theoretical benefit of having them in the booth is usually more than neutralized, if it's present at all, by their grudges and biases, their need to reassert their hard-won insider status, and their tiresome espousal of cliches originally developed to ward off reporters. Since most booth athletes were winners on the field of play, they share a general interest in favouring disingenuous character-based explanations for losing and winning rather than technical ones.

Anyone who ever watches Oilers games on Sportsnet should, per that last sentence, probably be grateful that Ray Ferraro only reached the 3rd round of the playoffs once in his career: that may go a ways to explaining why he's so listenable (and in relative terms, stupendously enjoyable). One other clip, just for fun:
You know I have trouble figuring Vancouver out. For starters, how does Marc Crawford style his hair in a way that seems to perfectly accentuate what a tiresome prick he is?

Whole thing here.


Argh, I'm pretty torn. I mean, I hate the Western Standard's brand of politics, but Cosh's hockey talk is superb.

but Cosh's hockey talk is superb.

His pillow talk is even better. He whispers sweet hayeks in my ear.

Reading Colby's 2004 posts (great stuff by the way) led me to watch a few old highlights. This one, of the Canucks' game 7 game-tying goal got me thinking:


It's fascinating watching Naslund skate around Leopold and get right to the net because Leopold tried (and failed) to hold, then hook him. Off the top of my head, it seems like there's way less of these kinds of plays by skilled forwards now. Maybe it's because of the "new NHL" officiating standards. Defencemen don't go chasing these guys to hook them anymore, which gives the forwards fewer chances to blow by them.

That overhead shot tells it all. There's no way Naslund should have got through that line. They had four guys standing at the blueline.

I can't believe how ill that still makes me, even knowing how things turned out.

His pillow talk is even better. He whispers sweet hayeks in my ear.

Yeah, we picked that up from this post.

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