Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jay McKee? or: How I Look Up Random Players

The Kings have been rumored for a lot of random defensemen this off-season and now it's Jay McKee's turn. When I first heard McKee's name I thought, "I wonder what it would taste like if I took a bite of a pizza roll and a corn dog at the same time." Then I thought, "Wait, who's Jay McKee again?" The name was familiar and I was pretty sure he was on the Blues, but I wasn't positive. If you're like me, you're horrible at scouting other players when they're playing the Kings because you're too busy yelling, "Goddammit, why is Ivanans playing with Kopitar?!?!?" In these situations, I have a quick and easy routine that I do to get an overview of a player. It's not meant to be comprehensive or definitive; it's just a quick look to see the player's value to his team. I'll share this with you, but you have to promise you'll pretend I have great abs every time you read my stuff.

Lesbian abs.

1) Wikipedia! I like Wikipedia as a starting point because it gives you a brief overview of a guy's career and if he's gotten a DUI or been arrested for beating his wife or anything like that. Plus, you can check out his career stats and check to see if the guy scores a lot, has been injured, takes a lot of penalties, etc.

What I learned: McKee is a noted shot blocker in the league and he gets hurt all the time. He played for Buffalo for a while (now I remember!) and then he signed a 4 year deal at $4 million dollars a year with St. Louis. His first season he only played 22 games due to a knee injury, a broken finger, and 2 lower body injuries. (Jesus.) Last season he played 66 games. Given his contract and his injuries, I can probably assume that St. Louis isn't too happy with McKee and might be willing to move him for fairly cheap. He doesn't score a lot so I assume he plays a more defensive role.

2) Youtube! I like going to Youtube because it gives me a chance to see the guy play, if only for a little bit. Is the guy a big hitter, does he have a particularly nice goal, etc.

What I learned: McKee got lit the fuck up:

Haha, Dustin Brown is awesome.

(The best part about that hit is that Baby Arm had to turn sharply and only took one step before he hit McKee, and he still knocked him into the bench. Wait, no, the best part is that McKee tried to get back on the ice to get back at Brown but the guys on the bench were just like, "Dude, let it go, you got rocked." Yeah, that's the best part.)

3) Time on Ice! I like looking at Time on Ice because it lets me see both how often a guy is playing and in what role. It lets you know which defensemen the coach counts on in what situations and how often the guy takes even-strength time. It's important to know that it doesn't tell you how good the guy is in his role, just what his role is.

(Hey, is there anyway to find ToI broken down by period? I'd like to see who gets ice time in the last five minutes, stuff like that.)

What I Learned: Jay McKee basically tied with Erik Johnson as the Blues' 3rd defenseman last year. McKee was 5th in total ice time amongst Blues' defensemen because he can't play on the power play, but he was 3rd in ice time at even strength and on the penalty kill. However, he was 3rd by a fairly healthy margin behind Eric Brewer and Barret Jackman.

The ol' "Distract the shooter with a stupid face" technique

So, in 3 steps I've learned that McKee is basically Aaron Miller from a couple of years ago. If he were on the Kings, he'd play on a stopper line with either Jack Johnson or Matt Greene and play on the 1st penalty kill unit. The Blues weren't a good defensive team last year and were breaking in a lot of defensemen, so McKee probably got more time than he deserved just because he wasn't going to kill you with a mistake. This doesn't bother me too much, though, because the Kings were worse defensively and will be breaking in a lot of defensemen this year. McKee could play the exact same role on the Kings this season.

I don't think the Kings have anything the Blues would want (although I think Andy Murray would trade Erik Johnson to get Derek Armstrong back), and if the Kings are going to trade for someone I'd rather it be Mathieu Schneider or someone else who's, you know, good. Still, this was worth it just to know a little bit more about McKee for the next time the Blues are in town. This took me 5 minutes and I know more about hockey. What else am I going to do, my job?

Of course, Earl will tell you to just look at that one crazy stat he looks at and save your time, but I don't know how to use that and I'm stupid so I can't understand it. Besides, this is more fun.


WufPirate said...

I actually use the ol' "Stupid face to distract people" all the time in everyday life.

Nut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jamestobrien said...

Whenever I think of Jay McKee, I picture him being the guy an action hero uses as a bullet shield.

It would be fun if Erik Johnson came to the Kings: pun masters everywhere would thoroughly enjoy the Johnson & Johnson era. Too bad 'ol J.D. ushered in a new era of semi-competence in STL.

Earl Sleek said...

Of course, Earl will tell you to just look at that one crazy stat he looks at and save your time

Of course, I just look at his salary and then watch one shift and say "too expensive!"

Cheechew said...

Signing Mckee will make you forget Modry.....ok maybe not

RudyKelly said...

I will never forget Jaroslav Modry. In the same vein, I will never forget when I got tuberculosis.

Ian said...

Who in the hell signed Jay McKee to a $4 million dollar contract? I mean, good for him and all, but that's just dumb money for an ok defensive D man. See also Hannan, Scott.

I just don't see why the Kings wouldn't overpay for, like, 3 journeymen free agents to get over the cap floor than trade for a big, stoopid contract.

Earl Sleek said...

BTW, if anyone's interested in higher-level hockey stats, nothing is set in stone yet, but I may be starting a weekly column for AOL Fanhouse next season where I take a look at various number-crunching techniques across the internet.

"Stat Junky Sunday" or something. I'll write more about it if and when it becomes a reality.

RudyKelly said...

That sounds awesome. I was thinking about it today and I was wondering why there wasn't a "goals deflected" stat? Wouldn't you want to know 1) which guys are best at deflecting shots and 2) which shooters are potentially getting lucky each year?

Earl Sleek said...

I was thinking about it today and I was wondering why there wasn't a "goals deflected" stat?

That probably can be done (not by me, though). Just count who had the most goals with shot type "TIP-IN".

They track and publish a lot of things about every shot attempted -- what type of shot (wrist, slap, etc.) and how far from the net, but there's two things I think should be also recorded about each shot:

a) was the shot taken on an odd-man rush? Y/N
b) was the shot taken through a screen? Y/N

I think if we knew these things, we'd better understand shot quality. Right now I think they distort shot analysis.

jamestobrien said...

Sleek's last comment made my brain leak from my ears a little bit.

Doogie2K said...

Sleek's last comment made my brain leak from my ears a little bit.

Whereas it made perfect sense to me. Clearly, I've spent two and a half years too long on the Oilersphere.

tulsi said...

Professional hockey- as it exists now- might be destroying itself. it's eerily similar to the sugar industry & ethanol situation in this country. by clinging desperately to the existing system, the NHL is ironically strangling the life out of itself long-haul. if you aren't a nerd, you can think of it this way: only the strong teams should survive.

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