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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Humble Request on Behalf of Anze Kopitar

Get your head out of your asses, NHL.

How in the name of holy hell does Kopitar not at least get nominated for the Calder Trophy? I’m fine with the fact that Malkin will win the Calder (I mean, he had 85 points this year), and Paul Stastny getting nominated is cool, too. (He played with Joe Sakic, but still, he’s pretty good.)


Jordan Staal getting nominated for the Calder over Kopitar is one of the greatest tragedies ever instituted in the history of the world. Not to be hyperbolic, but the Indians who sold Manhattan for beads think Kopitar got screwed over. People are made saints for suffering lesser acts. To the stats!

Kopitar had 61 points in 72 games. Jordan Staal had 42 in 81. That’s all you really need to know, so if you’re short on time, you can stop reading. (Make sure you tell your friends about my great Indian joke, though.) For those who have time, keep going.

Kopitar got beat out by this guy? Jesus...

Jordan Staal had 7 short-handed goals, which some people say probably gave him the nomination over Kopitar. I don’t want to hear that jibber-jabber. That’s like giving the Silver Slugger Award to the player with the most inside-the park home runs. It’s not like Kopitar didn’t play short-handed; he had 2 short-handed goals himself. Here’s a question: who led the league in short-handed goals last year? I rest my case.

Wait, no I don’t! There’s also the matter of assists. Kopitar had 20 goals and 41 assists. Staal? 29 and 13. That’s not a point total, that’s a pitching record. I would personally have a player on my team that was primarily an assist man (like Thornton or Crosby) than a person who primarily scores goals (like Cheechoo or Selanne). There are countless examples of guy who score a lot of goals one year (Petr Prucha, Glen Murray, Rick Nash, etc.) and then have trouble repeating their success the next year. Any asshole (read: Ryan Smyth) can stand in front of the net and score a few goals. This is all a round-about way of saying that a 19 year-old who gets 40 assists is much more impressive than an 18 year-old who gets 30 goals.

Furthermore, Staal played with Ryan Malone and Mark Recchi while Kopitar played with Dustin Brown and some guy. I love Dustin Brown, but anyone who’s watched him play knows that he’s basically a moron; he doesn’t know what the fuck is going on out there. Kopitar played against a team’s best opposition and quite often made them look foolish. He single-handedly fucked Chris Pronger in his first NHL game! I mean, God dammit!

I know how you feel, Al.

The only, and I mean only, reason Staal was nominated over Kopitar was the fact that Staal got more national exposure at the end of the season. (And you have to love a league where some dude from Pittsburgh gets more exposure than the star of a team in LA.) Kopitar got a lot of hype at the beginning of the season, and then he slowed down a little bit and got hurt at the end of the season. I’m sure the fact that Staal has a famous brother (and thus a cute little story for people to write about without actually having to watch hockey) helped too. Everyone seems to have forgotten about Kopitar in that time; apparently, the voters for the Calder are goldfish.

I can’t possibly describe how unfair this is. I can only hope that Kopitar uses this as motivation for next year; a guy who wears #11 after 10 teams passed him by on draft day has to have a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. Jordan Staal seems like a nice kid (if a bit of a doofus), but I officially hate him.

(In a completely unrelated note, the Canucks are sponsored by Smirnoff Ice? I bet the Sedin twins were thrilled when they found out.)


Anonymous said...

I can’t possibly describe how unfair this is.

Well, you hit most of the high notes, a minor demerit for not mentioning how hard the travel is on the West Coast, other than that your whine is a resplendent bleat. Our stars ignored by eastern based and biased media? Check. Stupid schedule that eliminates said media from even SEEING said stars? Check. NHL decisions that make hockey hard to find in the US, but still manage to piss off viewers in Canada! Check. Welcome to the Western Conference. Oh and Go Ducks.

Earl Sleek said...

I don’t want to hear that jibber-jabber.


Yeah, you probably are getting jobbed by the league, but there is upside. Some day, the Kings will be signing Kopitar and the Pens will be signing Staal and the nomination bias will make Lombardi's job a bit easier.

As I say about Pahlsson and the Selke: I'd rather have the Calder-worthy performance than the actual Calder trophy itself.

Mike said...

Nuts, Earl beat me to it with the jibber jabber reference. But, that kickass reference aside, I agree with your entire post down to the Smirnoff Ice thing which, I'm sure, the Sedins love and quite possibly were drinking between periods last night.

Kopitar did get screwed; to take nothing away from Staal but Kopitar was far better and much more of an offensive threat on a team that had, well, none really. What can you do? The Pens are like the teacher's favorite science experiment of the post-lockout era.

Jibblescribbits said...

Kopitar got screwed royally. To be honest I think it's more of a symptom of an East Coast Media Bias more than anything. Look at the awards all the way down the list, and unless a someone west of the Mississippi had a phenominal year they weren't really recognized (and not likely to win).

Another case for Kopitar is that the Western Conference is much stronger, top-to-bottom than the Eastern Conference, especially defensively. Kopitar was seeing better defenders than Staal and Malkin all season and still managed to get more points than Staal.

I think the biggest compliment I can give Kopitar is that he had 41 assists, and I can't name one player who I can think of that he would have passed the puck to to score.

Mike said...


Your best post to date. A well-placed rant.

Unknown said...

Well as much as Anze accomplished this season, and yes those point totals do count for something, Jordan Staal earned his points playing mainly third line duties.

He saw limited ice time and didn't play with the likes of Malone and Recchi the majority of the year, instead those two were mainly riding shotgun with Sidney Crosby.

Statistics back up the case for Staal garnering a nomination. Behind the Net's numbers point to better quality of competition and team plus minus in Jordan's favor.

On Ice/Off Ice +/-
Staal : 0.71
Kopitar : 0.05

Quality of Competition
Staal : 0.051
Kopitar : 0.017

So the Pens are better off when Jordan is on the ice as opposed to the time Anze is for the Kings and that's while facing stronger overall competition.

And as much as you might be in love with Anze, and hey, its with good reason, he's a great player, Jordan has grit, speed and scoring touch. You'll come around once Jordo is playing a full year at second line and consistently ranking higher in the stat columns than his Slovenian friend from the West Coast.

Earl Sleek said...

You'll come around once Jordo is playing a full year at second line and consistently ranking higher in the stat columns than his Slovenian friend from the West Coast.

Good comment, but this last part is baloney. Calder trophy has nothing to do with projected future returns, but should be rewarding the best season that already happened.

But again, go ahead and pride yourself in the nomination; deserved or not, Pittsburgh will be paying for it later.

JavaGeek said...

The awards generally dont go to the most deserving players and so I care little who gets them. Sheesh the best penalty killer wasn't nominated for the selke (wasn't expecting him to be though).

Kopitar's accomplishments are more impressive to me compared to Staal's.
A. He has the correct goal to assist ratio showing it's not an anomoly. (as noted)
B. 21 minutes/game vs. 15 minutes/game (fatigue)
C. Would the top line on L.A. be as effective without Kopitar?

dbushik said...

Not sure I agree with the comments on some of the other players (Brown, Smyth), but do think Kopitar got jobbed. emailmike, I kind of think the level of competition and the ice time each guy saw relative to their production is certainly worth talking about, but the +/- differentials are very deceptive. Main reason is because goaltending pretty much made the impact everyone else on the team had on +/- noise in the signal. I'm sorry, Carle and Vlasic and Wolski and Staal all did deserve consideration, but it's ridiculous that Kopitar didn't get the nomination. The east coast bias is in full effect here, not only amongst the media. Simply, people saw Staal but not Kopitar.

Unknown said...

The goaltending woes were a big omission in my little analysis. Barry Brust and Fukafuji and whatever other obscure tenders logged minutes in your cage certainly had an effect on all of the Kings plus minus numbers.

I just think, and maybe that would change with more airtime for Anze, that what I saw out of the 18 year old Staal was incredible. He has amazing speed, great hands, he's not afraid to take the body, excellent stickwork.. The list goes on...

Maybe since Malkin is taking home the hardware all of this is moot.. I think it's all very similar to the arguments some tried to make for Crosby last year. He was doing all this ridiculous things when Ovie had a few years on him.. Anze did what he did with a year on Staal.. I think I bring the argument because I've seen a lot of Staal, and not in the sense that I'm biased, but perhaps people out on the West Coast haven't gotten to see enough of him to really make the assessment either.

dbushik said...

Well, to your point, there are actually Kings fans who I talk to, who otherwise I would consider knowledgable and reasonable about hockey, who for some unexplained reason think Malkin is a bad choice relative to either Kopitar or Stastny Now that too is ridiculous. I actually have been really interested in Malkin and spent a lot of time this year watching Pens games on my DVR. I think Kopitar is going to be a great player, but if I had to choose between the two, I'd take Malkin. Staal has also been exceptional and done some amazing things, but he did not have the same presence or play as important a role as Kopitar did.

To boot, he didn't produce as much, and a lot of these trophies to me should be about what a guy does, not what he has the potnetial to do. Gretzky is the greatest player ever, period. Mario could have/should have/would have done more if... Well, okay, but he didn't, his fault or the fault of cancer doesn't matter... You see where I'm going.

I mean, if we're seriously talking about Staal, where are the Quacks fans screaming about Penner? He had better numbers, including more PIMs, than Staal, and did it with less ice time.

Kopitar just prouced more and made a bigger jump than Staal into the position he earned in this league. He earned his roster spot out of camp when he wasn't expected to make the team initially, and then earned a top line spot. Staal didn't. He was great and proved he will be more so in the future, but he didn't earn a spot with Crosby on the top line or Malkin on the second one.

Anyway, there are a number of guys out there that had wonderful rookie years and deserved to be considered (Penner, Staal, Vlasic, Wolski, Carle), but three guys stood out from that group, and only two got nominated.

At least IMHO. :)

Anonymous said...


Let me do the math for you:

(East Coast bias) + (West Coast stupidity) = Waaaaaaa!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a rabid Kings fan, and I have to say that while Kopitar is a great player, he does not deserve the Calder over those other players. It doesnt mean that he isnt an awesome player, it just means that there are other rookies that earned it over Anze. Its all good. Go Kings!

Anonymous said...

Not to be a buzz killer but the stats clearly point to Jordan Staal. Kopitar played 9 less games, yet played 4 1/2 hours more of ice time through the season. On top of this Kopitar averaged 4 1/2 minutes of pp time a game compared to Staal's 1 minute per game. Comparitively, staal played 1 minute more of pk time per game than Kopitar. So Kopitar spent 3 1/2 minutes more ES and 3 minutes More PP time than staal a game. Kopitar had 30 pp points while Stall had 6. Had Staal had the type of pp minutes Kopitar did, you could expect him to have outscored him on the season.
As for the comment about Staal not earning a top 2 line spot, he is a CENTERMAN, as is Malkin and Crosby, so that is why he was third liner, not because he didn't earn a spot on the top two lines. Staal is not only worthy of the nomination, he should win the trophy as he was the best rookie player, even better than Malkin. Points are not everything. Let's Go Oilers. Calgary Sucks. (and I am a westerner that saw more of Kopitar than Staal.)

Anonymous said...

To the poster above me...

You are seriously on crack. Staal does NOT deserve the Calder, Malkin does. And this is coming from a West coast fan. Seriously. You guys are so fucking hung up on his age and shorthanded goals, that you can't see straight. Staal reminds me of a Nash/Prucha with a bit more defensive grit, as someone said. Kopitar, of Joe Thornton. I'd take the guy who can create scoring chances coming out of his ass to some guy who has seven shorthanded goals, and a better +/- on an arguably better SC contending team. I wonder how his stats would have looked with Cloutier/Fuku/Brust in net...not so sexy.

Anonymous said...

If I can correct a minor point:

Kopitar, as well as every skater under 26 on September 15 that played less than 25 NHL games last year was 'NOMINATED' for the Calder. He is not a FINALIST because he was not in the top 3 vote getters as voted on by hockey media. Suggesting the NHL needs to get their heads out of anywhere is ridiculous.

For some reason, the media didn't vote him top 3.

Anonymous said...

Some of you guys have to be f'n kidding me. Kopitar played on LA's top line. This means that he was playing against the opponents, mostly west coast teams which are harder to play against then the east coast teams, top D-men. Let's not forget that while he was playing against the opponents top D-men he was often double and trippled teamed and still made plays to players that no one other than a kings fan would even know the name of. Put that in your east coast pipe and smoke it....

Anonymous said...

Saying that Staal deserves the nomination because he scored his points in a limited role and would have scored more if he was given PP time is quite ludicrous. Kopitar came in as a rookie and was immediately the teams' best player, meaning he got more ice time in every situation. Staal is not going to play over Crosby and Malkin, but if his skill truly warranted first or second line duty he would have (as a winger or one of the other two as a winger). Same for PP. I bet if you ask 30 NHL gm's who'd they rather have between Kopitar, Staal, and Stastny, you would get 30 of the same answers. The circles under Anze's eyes just got a little darker.

Brushback said...

Great post. Freakin' hilarious all the way through, too.

Alexander Dubcek said...

Perhaps a minor point hinted at elsewhere, but Kopitar was in many ways the focal point in LA this season (even if Cammalleri and Frolov scored more goals), which not only meant drawing the top checkers and defenders from the other team, but also carrying the weight of expectations as the obvious franchise player in the making.

Malkin, and perhaps Staal as well, could well be franchise players in their own right, but neither will be in Pittsburgh, for obvious reasons. You can say playing for a playoff-bound team that had thoughts of making a deep run added to the pressure (whereas it was pretty obvious from training camp that LA was going to be playing the lottery in April), but there's a lot of added media and fan attention that comes with that, and Kopitar handled that really well.

Besides, I still think Anze is going to be the better, more complete, and more valuable player in the long term.

Here's hoping he uses not being a finalist as motivation and makes this whole discussion look silly next year.