When I was a kid, we’d drive from Haney (we lived in Maple Ridge, up in Whonnock) to Penticton for summer holidays. It’s a long drive—5 hours—but we’d arrive late morning/early afternoon because my Dad was bound and determined to arrive in Penticton before the day got away from him. These years later, I’m almost identical (we drove from Vancouver to Valemount this year—7 hours—but I wanted to drive right through because I missed the dog. I was outvoted—no one really loves the dog but me. They say they do, but the dog and I know better).
Last year’s first day of TC story is here, the talent on this year’s team is miles better than last year. Craig MacTavish rid the team of some real pylons, and that’s the truth. I’ll have the GDT up later today, but if you’re a hockey fan there is a grand evening ahead with pucks hitting sticks, skates cutting ice and (in the immortal words of Roberto Luongo) cries of “how did that go in?” from both sides.
You’re going to have to remind me from time to time that engaging in conversations about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a loaded equation. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the injury season, but a lot of people I talk to online—including Oilers fans—think Nuge is not a worthy member of the No. 1 overall club. The most recent conversation came yesterday, and the thrust of the issue was this: RNH is not a good offensive player, he started out behind Tavares and Hall and was so far behind the other top picks he was doomed by the end of his rookie season. Role player, future No. 2 center, lacking the offensive ability to be considered among the game’s best young players at any time during his NHL career. Let’s have a quick look at the points-per-game for recent No. 1 overall picks as rookies:
|1||Patrick Kane, 2007||82GP, 21-51-72 .878|
|2||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011||62GP, 18-34-52 .839|
|3||Nathan MacKinnon, 2013||82GP, 24-39-63 .768|
|4||John Tavares, 2009||82GP, 24-30-54 .659|
|5||Taylor Hall, 2010||65GP, 22-20-42 .646|
|6||Nail Yakupov, 2012||48GP, 17-14-31 .646|
|7||Steven Stamkos, 2008||79GP, 23-23-46 .582|
Each year of a career is a quick snapshot of progress, and as the years roll along we get a clearer view. The Nuge’s second season was marred by injury and lockout, and last season he got a late start and a coach who played the hell out of him. This is a tremendous young player, if you’ve already buried him, reconsider baby.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We begin the day with Mr. Steve Lansky from Bigmouth Sports, and then talk Eskimos with Brian King (PDO, he has yet to confirm but I’m hopeful!). At 11, Rob Vollman previews the Alberta Analytics Conference this weekend and I’ll ask him some Oiler questions about the season. Paul Almeida pops in (he’s seen some of the action over at Perry Pearn and has an interesting take on Bogdan Yakimov and then we preview the football weekend with Dave Jamieson at 11:45. See you on the radio!