Quick Hits: A Good Loser is Still a Loser

Phil Kocher
@ me

Phil Kocher

Managing Editor at Cleared for Contact
I believe in Nate Silver, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Christopher Hitchens, and hockey analytics.
Blogging between diaper changes.
Phil Kocher
@ me

Welcome to a new feature (well, an old feature made new again) here at ClearedForContact: Quick Hits. Each Sunday, we’ll cover some of the recent happenings, statistics, and anecdotes from the previous week’s games, as well as touch on important goings-on around the NHL as a whole to cap off the week and to get your Monday mornings started.

If You’re Not First, You’re Last

My initial reaction to Lias Andersson throwing his silver medal into the crowd after Sweden lost to Canada in the World Junior Championship was “wow, that’s awesome”. Hours later, nothing has changed. If anything, I’ve grown even fonder of his attitude after reading he told a Swedish reporter who told him they got his medal back that he didn’t want it. “I don’t want a medal for losing”, he said. Fuck, that’s great!

Say what you will about sportsmanship, but the fact Andersson could be this bothered by losing a tournament like this speaks volumes about his passion for the game, and his passion for winning.

So, while he’s probably still getting dragged on social media as you read this, let’s all ask ourselves the same question — do we actually want players who show the kind of emotional fire it took for Andersson to do that, or are we just going to pretend we do so we can complain without conflict about all the good soldiers making up the league?

“Everyone says you should be a good loser. If you’re a good loser, you’re a loser.”
– John Tortorella


Instant Classic

It’s a shame the NHL oversaturated its own market by giving out outdoor games like candy on Halloween these last number of years because poor ratings ruined what was otherwise a phenomenal Winter Classic game. Sure, the matchup lacked the punch that a natural rivalry might have helped in drawing a bigger national turnout, but so too would not hosting half a dozen outdoor contests a year. If the NHL wants to try and get the toothpaste back in the tube here, a dramatic slash in frequency is required to try and increase the drama for the annual New Year’s Day event.


Hard Pass

If the best offer the Rangers receive for Rick Nash at the deadline this year is the 56th and 95th selections, as Larry Brooks used as an example earlier this week, I’d hope my gut instinct isn’t the only one wholly unimpressed with that kind of return for someone with the pedigree of number 61. The answer to whether or not to deal the 33-year old, in the final year of his deal ahead of Unrestricted Free Agency (UFA), isn’t one we can actually answer yet. It will all depend on the team’s playoff position close to the deadline, and just what kind of market Gorton can drum up for the former All-Star. But surely he’s worth more than a second- and third-round pick given the tremendous reputation he has around the league, no?


It’s the Knife for Kreider

I guess the good news on the Rangers’ announcement that Chris Kreider, who was already on the mend with a blood clot in his arm, will go under the knife to have his rib resected, is that the two are likely related. His timeline will remain indefinite, but whatever the actual definition of that is should hopefully not change much in light of this added procedure. Perhaps a return for the playoffs is still in the cards?


Gamble on Grabner

Late this afternoon Larry Brooks also broke the news that Rangers’ GM Jeff Gorton will again be foregoing Glen Sather’s trade deadline ultimatum policy that forced the hands of Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, and Mats Zuccarello in recent years. Instead, the Blueshirts will allow the pending UFA to pass the deadline still a Ranger, even if he doesn’t re-sign with the club before then. The best news of all, however, indicates that both Grabner and the Rangers are quite amenable to an extension:

“Jeff and I have had several conversations but we haven’t gotten into negotiations,” Buckley told Slap Shots on Thursday. “I don’t have the sense that there’s urgency attached to this because of the deadline.

“There’s time between the end of the playoffs and [July 1] for us to talk and reach a deal. Michael loves New York and playing for the Rangers, and I have to believe the feeling is mutual. When the time is right, we’ll get down to negotiating.”

Brooks goes on to suggest it may take a deal somewhere in the vicinity of four years, $14M ($3.5M AAV) to keep the Austrian Express in New York. That’s a price management need not balk at. Even at the age of 30, Grabner—who leads the Rangers in goals this season—is a magnificent unicorn worth his weight in salt.


The Duke of Do Not Want

With just 12 goals split across 88 games from 2016 to date, is it any wonder there’s such little interest in Arizona Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair? At this point, any team picking him up would almost certainly be doing so in the hopes that he’d find the game he lost, likely in the AHL. And for pennies on the dollar, too.


By the Numbers

  • With six goals and an assist, Lias Andersson was selected as one of Sweden’s top-three players of the World Junior Championship.
  • Though he’s without a goal in his last nine games, Pavel Buchnevich still leads the Rangers in points at home this season with eight goals and 13 assists in 25 games.
  • Mats Zuccarello’s next assist will be his 200th in his career.
  • The Rangers’ plus-16 goal differential when trailing is tied for the best in the NHL this season.
  • Speaking of goal differential, no team has a worse one than the Rangers’ next opponent, the Arizona Coyotes (-51).
  • Lastly, congratulations are in order for Henrik Lundqvist who in his Winter Classic victory tied Tony Esposito for eighth all-time with 423 wins.

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