Thursday, December 29, 2016

And Another Thing: Fuck Off, We're Full!

I saw that lovely sentiment plastered onto the back of a lifted GMC truck today. Wanna guess if it had a 146 decibel exhaust?

I mean, I get it. We as a country go through this fit every couple generations: Italians, Irish, Chinese, Mexicans. I also get that you're a pathetic, scared little boy or girl, terrified of change.

But guess what? America changes, it's what we do. America is awesome because we adapt and change. America is great because we take the best of those who come here to ply their trades and we are greater than the sum of our parts.

"Fuck Off, We're Full?"

How about: "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

These are the words on the most iconic monument to freedom in the world. America is great not because we refuse entry to the poor and downtrodden, America is great because we accept all comers.

No, sir, fuck you. Your slogan is the antithesis of what makes America the greatest country on Earth.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

And Another Thing: Happy Holidays? Shut up.

By Nick Henry

I'm over political correctness.  You want to know why?  Because it's stupid.  I can identify someone by an obvious identifier tag without impugning their character or casting aspersions on them, or the group behind that identifier.  And I do not have to choose - and yes, it's a choice - to be offended when someone does the same to me.  "You know, Nick.  Asian fella.  Likes hockey."  If those qualifiers separate me from other Nicks in your circle of friends, what's wrong with using them?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

You know what else is needless babying of people? Having to worry that I might offend someone by saying "Merry Christmas" if they don't believe in the nativity of the Christ Child.  Unless you walk around wearing a sign that identifies you as a believer of a different religion - and I think we can all appreciate the dark history of that kind of campaign - then how am I supposed to know?  You know what would be offensive "Hey you LOOK like you might be Hindi, so I'm going to make sure I say 'Happy holidays' instead."  If you think about it, it's far less-offensive to think "I didn't want to profile you, and I wanted to spread the positive feelings appropriate to the current season, so I just said 'Merry Christmas' and trusted that you weren't some kind of religiously insecure baby."

To be fair, there are words and phrases to which we have generally accepted some ascribed pejorative value to over time, that should probably be respected.  The N-word, when directed at an black person, should be a no-fly zone for most of us.  The F-word, when directed at a homosexual, too.  And, if you're using those words not directed at a black person, or a gay person, you need to recalibrate your "cool" meter.  So, I'm not saying there aren't exceptions.  But to me there's a difference between politically correct and being an anti-social asshole.

And that's the crux of it for me.  I was talking about this with a friend of mine recently, and I realized that I really have one metric for whether or not I want to hang out with someone: the asshole factor.  I don't care what color you are, what religion you are, who you love, what your IQ is, what your job title is, how much money you have.  Just don't be an asshole.  If you're a non-asshole gay person, I'm happy to hang out.  If you're an asshole straight person, go away.

The beauty of this attitude is that it allows me to be judgmental of my fellow man.  Let's face it, we're all judgmental.  Why try to supress it?  There's a difference between thinking something negative and acting on it, no?  Sure, that's a fine line and a slippery slope.  But instead of wasting your energy pretending you're not thinking those things, or trying to stop thinking them, how about spend your energy making sure you don't act on them?

This post is getting a little big for its britches.  So let me go back to the main point: don't be an asshole.  Don't be a baby.  Treat each other like rational people.  Respect will flow from that.

Merry Christmas.

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The Game: Wild Youth Showing Up

By Nick Henry

Anyone who's been around the Wild for more than this season knows the overall strategy has been "Vets perform to their expected level, and hope the kids take the next step."  And we have sat here waiting, patiently for those kids.  To the point that we have thought "Maybe we just don't know how to evaluate talent?"  It's been depressing.

Then I saw a tweet from @robvollmanNHL the other day that said:
"For about a decade, Minnesota's top 5 scorers had an average age close to 30.  Right now, it's 26.2 -- four 24 year olds and Staal, 32."
Which got me thinking, "huh, is that true?"

So, I checked for myself.
© Brad Rempel 2016 Dec 11

All the data is right there in (which is an awesome site for historical stats).  I looked back at the top 5 and top 10 scorers for each of the past five completed seasons, and this season-to-date.  I ranked them by goals and separately by points, averaging the ages of the T5 and T10 for each season, on both metrics.  Here's the output:

Top 5 Top 10
Season Goals Pts Goals Pts
2011-2012 27.8 29.2 27.7 27.9
2012-2013 28.6 29.4 28.4 28.0
2013-2014 25.6 28.0 27.6 27.4
2014-2015 27.6 29.2 26.7 26.7
2015-2016 28.2 28.0 27.1 27.8
2016-2017 27.4 27.4 28.5 28.2

So, if the formatting makes your eyes bug out, the bottom line is that the average age of the top five scorers has been on a general declining trend since the 2011-2012 season.  Of the four sets of data, that's the most-conclusively declining trend line.  The average age of the top 10 goal scorers is actually higher so far this year than it was in 2011-2012.

Keep in mind, Koivu has been in the top 10 for every one of these seasons, for both goals and points.  And obviously he's only gotten older.  Parise has been top 5 for both goals and points each of the past 4 seasons, since he signed here.  Also aging.  On goals, Coyle has been top 5 three times and top 10 the other 2 times, since he got to the bigs in 2013-2014.  

Top 10 goals in 2013-2014
1. Pominville (31)
2. Parise (29)
3. Niederreiter (21)
4. Fontaine (26)
5. Coyle (21)
6. Heatley (33)
7. Koivu (30)
8. Cooke (35)
9. Suter (29)
10. Granlund (21)

Top 10 goals in 2016-2017
1. Coyle (24)
2. Staal (32)
3. Niederreiter (24)
4. Koivu (33)
5. Granlund (24)
6. Zucker (25)
7. Suter (32)
8. Parise (32)
9. Pominville (34)
10. Haula (25)

In the final analysis, yeah it does seem like the Wild is less-reliant on the same old 30+ year olds for offense, and is getting greater contributions from the "kids" than it was a few years ago.

Good on Fletcher, I guess.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

So What The Hell Is This?

Collectively, we have nearly thirty years of MN sports blogging experience.  And we've been fans of MN sports teams our whole lives.  It's a great scene, vibrant and rich.  But that's because the teams give us so much agita.  It builds character even as it tears at our heart strings.

But we started realizing that there was more we wanted to talk about than the teams' most-recent devastating loss.  We've grown up since we started blogging.  We have careers, and relationships, and kids, and all kinds of other stuff.  Now, when we're at a game, we spend the down time talking about that stuff, as much as the game itself.  Hey, wait a minute...  Boom.

We hope this will be a place where we can stretch out and riff on a wide array of topics.  And interact with others - that's really the goal.  The shared sacrifice of fans of MN sports teams has always been a good environment for commiseration.  We promise we won't be afraid to go into the corners of social topics, and all we ask is that you engage us in civil, if heated, discussion when so moved.

See you out there, in the concourse.

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