in Personal Rambling

New Hopes, New Demonstrations


Let’s talk about where I am now and what the h*ck this is. I’ll keep it short and sweet.

In July, I left the Nation Network and made the decision to join Hockey Graphs full-time. I have a few projects on the burner there and we’re working to start developing more fantastic content to grow the entirety of the hockey community. Besides all of that I took most of the summer off from hockey, something I desperately needed.

But during that downtime I circled back on wanting to do a full-time penalty kill tracking project. Work, personal life, and lord knows what else got in the way last season so now seems like the best time to do it.

Mike, why don’t you just do this on FlamesNation?

Great question, astute reader! I left for obvious reasons and not so obvious reasons which is a super vague way of not explaining why, but Jeff Veillette summed up quite a bit of my feelings in why he left. I’m sure in due time I’ll explain anything that hasn’t been detailed.

Update: I’ve published some updated work on FlamesNation on this work, simply because Ari needed content.

A quick aside: it wasn’t intentional but the same theme Jeff uses is just really good. Don’t sue me for appreciating good minimalism design.

None of this is to say I don’t appreciate the team at FN, I owe a lot to my friends and family there.

Ari Yanover is a literal unsung hero in the community and without her I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thomas Drance for bringing me on, Kent, Ryan, Christian T., Pat Steinberg, Christian R., Taylor, and everyone else who wrote before me all supported me and are some of the best peers to have in this bizarre little world we call home.

For now, besides Hockey Graphs this is my new home.

This is a place where I can track, dissect, and breakdown how the Flames’ penalty kill (and power play soon enough) operate. There isn’t a lot of publicly available special teams work relative to work that encompasses even strength play, theory, statistics, and god knows what else.

So now I have a chance to shape my own legacy (which is a weird thing to write) and hopefully contribute some meaningful work to the public sector. Right now what’s important is building something myself, from the ground up, and seeing what comes of it.

“Do you have a mission statement or something dumb like that, Mike?”

Yes, I have a dumb list of things I want to accomplish with all of this:

  • Free, publicly available data from all my tracking.
  • Build upon Charlie O’Connor’s 2015-16 Flyers PK work. It was eye-opening for me and a big reason behind this project.
  • Everything that I’m doing is because of him and anything new I add is an extension to his work.
  • Personal improvement and personal growth in what I can provide to the community.
  • Make Rachel Doerrie and Jack Han proud.
  • Video and tracking of each game’s penalty kills, power plays*, and anything else required up in short order**

* – Honestly, I’m still reading tonnes of articles, watching lots of video from coaches, and reading books on the power play. I don’t feel like I’m ready to offer anything tangible here yet, but it’s coming eventually.

** – Within the next day or so. I have a career, a personal life, and so forth but I’m not going to neglect anything I love as much as these sorts of things.

“Mike, what can we expect here?”

A lot of ┬ásimilar things to this and then some. At this pont I’m looking to have every penalty kill along with a summary of tracked events and anything of significant interest to draw attention to. If things go well I’m hoping to have weekly summaries breaking down any themes I spotted as well as monthly breakdowns.

If particular players or units really do something great or incredibly poor I’m going to explore why.

Let’s wrap this up with a brief FAQ

  • If you like what I do or hate what I do (or hate me) just retweet stuff I write or share stuff. Or don’t, I don’t have any control over that, yet.
  • You don’t have to give me money or buy stuff I make or anything like that. Everyone knows that I’d rather just donate money to charities like Kids Up Front Calgary and local animal charities. So if for some stupid reason you decide to spend money on anything I do at all please just donate it instead.
  • This weird belief that I’d stop tweeting or talking about the Flames popped up this summer which isn’t true. Having the freedom to watch the games without live tweeting them for the FN’s social media is going to be a blessing. If anything I’ll be posting more video and stuff on my Twitter account.
  • The door was left open with Ari and the team at FN to maybe guest-post in the future. So who knows!
  • Hockey Graphs is not a cult.
  • There may be large summary style or breakdown posts on the work I do here appearing on Hockey Graphs. Again, who knows!

Yell at me here