THE DEVELOPMENT CURVE

“I was also fortunate in one other area. Today’s system of drafting 18-year olds wasn’t around in 1973. I was 22 years old before my pro career began to blossom and if I’d been drafted at 18, I don’t think I’d be in a position to write this book today.”

-Lanny McDonald, from LANNY.

Let me ask you a question: How many players drafted by Edmonton since 2006 proceeded along a traditional developmental timeline before becoming NHL players. How many established themselves as being bona fide at one level, were elevated and then clicked in and rolled on down the line? Here’s my list:

  • Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham (2006 draft)
  • Riley Nash and Linus Omark (2007 draft)
  • Jordan Eberle (2008 draft)
  • Taylor Hall and Martin Marincin* (2010 draft)
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom* (2011 draft)
  • Nail Yakupov (2012 draft)

*not yet established but trending in that direction.

Does that look fair? I think it does. You might argue RNH wasn’t ready, but he impacted the power play in a big way and despite his youth played an ever increasing role (when healthy) with the team.

Now, how many of these draft picks since 2006 were elevated, and at some point could have used some junior or AHL time? Here’s my list:

  • Sam Gagner (2007 draft)
  • Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander (2009 draft)

These three players may have benefited from a more traditional developmental timeline. That’s my opinion, but it’s also true two of these men are in new NHL cities and the other one has not yet established himself in the NHL five years after he was drafted.

ABOUT LEON

  • Dallas Eakins: “He’s just a very, very young player and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to the weight of the market, or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.” Source

Yes. Yes indeed. Let’s all remember this in September. Agreed?

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

54 Responses to "THE DEVELOPMENT CURVE"

  1. Mr DeBakey says:

    I’ll remember for sure.
    Leon [the Neon] should be lighting up the WHL again next season.

    In anticipation
    We must prepare a list of rostered guys the Oilers could/would play at Center instead of Draisatl.
    I’ll suggest…

    You go first.

  2. jp says:

    From what i understand “Steve Smith” has compiled a long list of candidates…

  3. Bank Shot says:

    Dallas is saying the right things but I think we all know what will happen come training camp. Leon will play all his preseason games between wingers like Hall and Eberle and score at a ppg pace.

    With a hole in the center depth you could drive a truck through, and Leon performing well it will be impossible for the Oilers to send him back.

    Leon will look alright for the first 10-20 games and then he will fall behind as the good teams start getting geared up.

    If they don’t want to push the kid then they should get a vet center before camp and play Leon with the other kids and see if he stands out then.

  4. Woodguy says:

    Good luck with that.

    Let Terry Jones and Marc Spector know.

  5. cdean says:

    How about Nilson brought in too early? I know he was drafted before Gagner but it fits your criteria of when he we brought in.

  6. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Bank Shot:
    Dallas is saying the right things but I think we all know what will happen come training camp. Leon will play all his preseason games between wingers like Hall and Eberle and score at a ppg pace.

    With a hole in the center depth you could drive a truck through, and Leon performing well it will be impossible for the Oilers to send him back.

    Leon will look alright for the first 10-20 games and then he will fall behind as the good teams start getting geared up.

    If they don’t want to push the kid then they should get a vet center before camp and play Leon with the other kids and see if he stands out then.

    Where does this idea that good teams play better later in the season come from? These are pros, they tend to show up ready for work on day one. Have you seen San Jose’s record the first 10 games the past two years?

  7. Lowetide says:

    cdean:
    How about Nilson brought in too early? I know he was drafted before Gagner but it fits your criteria of when he we brought in.

    Nilsson was an itch Edmonton needed to scratch, but he was 20 when he arrived in the NHL (with the Islanders).

  8. 8p0intgame says:

    jp,

    My favourite was “cut out the middle man, I’m willing to give a million dollars a shot a 2C!”

    Anyway, remember that movie where that NFL team has an open try out and that bartender showed up and was kind of awesome? Maybe the Oilers should that?

    It’s a Netflix commercial in the making!

  9. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Good luck with that.

    Let Terry Jones and Marc Spector know.

    I swear I’ve read this 20 times and have no idea what it means.

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: I swear I’ve read this 20 times and have no idea what it means.

    I think he means something about having reasonable expectations of young players and holding the mgt. accountable for their development rather than the players themselves… or some part of that.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I think he means something about having reasonable expectations of young players and holding the mgt. accountable for their development rather than the players themselves… or some part of that.

    Ah. Should have been more clear. It isn’t Leon’s fault he’s in this position, this is on Craig MacTavish.

  12. Woodguy says:

    You implored everyone to remember Eakins’ words about DrySaddle being young and to temper expectations.

    Many Oilers’ fans don’t have a history of patience with young players.

    Mr. Jones & Mr. Spector have a history of judging young players very early in their career and coming to an early conclusion on them.

    Especially when they hold a passport from the European Union.

    I am wishing you luck with your earnest and needed work in pushing the crowd the other way.

  13. rickithebear says:

    Young players do not make the team if there is veteran depth keeping them off.
    )6-07 to 13-14 there were none keeping them off.

  14. Bank Shot says:

    Ca$h-Money!: Where does this idea that good teams play better later in the season come from?These are pros, they tend to show up ready for work on day one. Have you seen San Jose’s record the first 10 games the past two years?

    The hockey in general gets better and faster as the NHL season goes on.

    Pros or not, there is rust that needs to be shaken off in terms of team play. Most teams have like 10-20% roster turnover in the off season.

    Teams are trying out their bubble players earlier in the season as well.

    So I guess I say good teams step it up because they get rid of their early sloppy play and teams like the Oilers don’t.

  15. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    You implored everyone to remember Eakins’ words about DrySaddle being young and to temper expectations.

    Mr. Jones & Mr. Spector have a history of judging young players very early in their career and coming to an early conclusion on them.

    Especially when they hold a passport from the European Union.

    Ah, I understand now. Yes, agreed. My wife has actually banned Don Cherry from Saturday night at my house, because I get so mad when he starts talking about soft Swedes and Russians. It’s beyond stupid, and Draisaitl being German may make him a target.

    In the city where Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen and BoBo played, people should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting a country of origin dictates gumption. Borje Salming put this to bed 40 years ago, Juha Widing and Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson too.

  16. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Ah, I understand now. Yes, agreed. My wife has actually banned Don Cherry from Saturday night at my house, because I get so mad when he starts talking about soft Swedes and Russians. It’s beyond stupid, and Draisaitl being German may make him a target.

    In the city where Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen and BoBo played, people should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting a country of origin dictates gumption. Borje Salming put this to bed 40 years ago, Juha Widing and Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson too.

    And it still didn’t stop Spector from saying that PRV was useless as a hockey player and that “if you have Europeans on your 3rd line, you won’t win”

    He said this the summer after Chicago won the Cup with 2 Euros on their 3rd line line.

    True story.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: And it still didn’t stop Spector from saying that PRV was useless as a hockey player and that“if you have Europeans on your 3rd line, you won’t win”

    He said this the summer after Chicago won the Cup with 2 Euros on their 3rd line line.

    True story.

    Haha. Oh man.

  18. Lois Lowe says:

    Derek van Diest knows that Drysaddle is a player after two viewings so I’m sure he’s ready for the 2C in the NHL.

  19. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Bank Shot: The hockey in general gets better and faster as the NHL season goes on.

    Pros or not, there is rust that needs to be shaken off in terms of team play. Most teams have like 10-20% roster turnover in the off season.

    Teams are trying out their bubble players earlier in the season as well.

    So I guess I say good teams step it up because they get rid of their early sloppy play and teams like the Oilers don’t.

    At the same time more players are hurt by mid season than at the start of the season. I’m not convinced the idea that the game gets faster is anything more than commonly accepted narrative.

  20. Johnny says:

    The vets know it’s a long season. See L.A. They ramp it up.
    I look back to 2006…I couldn’t believe how fast the hockey was by the time the finals rolled around. The speed of the game is not even close if you compare game 1 to the last game of the SCF.

  21. RexLibris says:

    I’d even be alright with Draisaitl playing the wing for the season and easing in. Seguin and Galchenyuk have both done that recently and, provided you have the depth (pause for laughter) it is a rational approach to take.

    Now, when it comes to the Oilers, keeping Draisaitl on the wing would mean playing Arcobello in the middle even when he appears outsized and the team is struggling, or pushing a winger into the middle like Pouliot.

    Draisaitl has the bad fortune of being exactly what the Oilers need at almost exactly the wrong time (at least they have Nugent-Hopkins and Arcobello).

    As for Spector and Europeans, go back to the Red Wings’ Cup win in 2008 and the hullabaloo over Lidstrom being the first European to captain a Cup-winning team. This seemed like more of an historical triviality to me than worthy of serious mention, and yet…

    Oh well, small minds are often the last to open, case in point – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/22/spanish-mayor-lifts-women-claim-assault

  22. Johnny says:

    Is Anton Lander not at the perfect point to get a legitimate chance between two decent wingers??
    A point a game in the A. Playing two way hockey. Age 23, and besides the Oil screwing him around, should be primed for action.
    Is he that slow, and his shot just not good enough?
    It’s not fair to judge him on his play as a winger on the fourth line.

    For a team so desperate for centres, it seems we are quick to throw this defensive center, who just scored at an impressive clip in a tough league, on he wing or away all together.

  23. VanOil says:

    Yes. Yes indeed. Let’s all remember this in September. Agreed?

    I REFUSE TO TEMPER MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS!

    He will win the Calder and be the best 2nd line Center in the Pacific division, book it.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Johnny:
    Is Anton Lander not at the perfect point to get a legitimate chance between two decent wingers??
    A point a game in the A. Playing two way hockey. Age 23, and besides the Oil screwing him around, should be primed for action.
    Is he that slow, and his shot just not good enough?
    It’s not fair to judge him on his play as a winger on the fourth line.

    For a team so desperate for centres, it seems we are quick to throw this defensive center, who just scored at an impressive clip in a tough league, on he wing or away all together.

    I think the Oilers like him enough to have him as a winger who could slide in. We don’t know exactly what they’re thinking, but for me Nuge-Arco-Gordon-Lander is inferior to Nuge-Arco-Draisaitl-Gordon.

    jmo.

  25. VanOil says:

    Furthering my Unrealistic Expectations; I predict the Oilers 2016-17 bottom 6 forwards to be

    Roy-Yakimov-Chase
    Kharia-Lander-Moroz

    Because development is a straight line and all prospects work out.

  26. D says:

    Don’t know if this would violate the CBA. But if they do slot Leon on the big team, the Oil should tell him from the outset that he should expect to play less than 82 games this season. And Leon should be made aware of the games he has off at the beginning of the season – that way expectations are set, and no hurt feelings when he’s scratched. Asking him to play 82 games under the current circumstances with the Oilers may be asking too much.

  27. RexLibris says:

    My take on the Dellow hiring as it relates to sports journalism.

    http://flamesnation.ca/2014/8/22/the-changing-world-of-sports-journalism

    LT, you’re cited in there, as well as John Short and Peter Gzowski. Good company, I think.

  28. Bank Shot says:

    Ca$h-Money!: At the same time more players are hurt by mid season than at the start of the season. I’m not convinced the idea that the game gets faster is anything more than commonly accepted narrative.

    Are more players hurt by mid season? Seems like lots of players start the season on the IR every year.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2011/10/05/the-quiet-room-the-worlds-most-comprehensive-review-of-injuries-in-the-nhl/

    I know for a fact that scoring drops as the season progresses every single NHL season. To me that means mistakes are lessening as the season goes on. Technically its “better” hockey.

    That’s really the only proof I have, but its good enough to make me believe its a real thing rather than a narrative.

  29. Johnny says:

    Lowetide,

    It will be interesting to see who can play better hockey…. a 23 year old Lander or an 18 year old Draisaitl. Unfortunately we know the 18 year old is going to get the push.

    It should be the 23 year old getting every opportunity to succeed.

    I am anxious to see if this franchise disappoints me…..again.

  30. spoiler says:

    Very interesting article, LT, seems like a response to the That’s Hockey segment today: “Which Picks Will Start in NHL?”

    If you haven’t seen it, TSN has it on top of the video list on their Main Hockey page.

    Struds steps up to the mic and says no way. The Oilers are too young and inexperienced to insert an 18 year old at 2C. Can’t shelter him with only Gordon and Nuge as the experienced Cs.

  31. VanOil says:

    Marincin has gained 5lbs this summer, which is good for him. For me it is ruffly the weight I have gained from Big Rock’s Rhinestone Cowboy Kolsh since this blog was posted, the Steak and tres leches chocolate cake mean 5kg is more likely.

    Marincin and Lander have new video’s up at the Oilers site.

  32. HiddenDarts says:

    Just curious about Robert Nilsson. Was he a heroically bad player? It looks like he went on to score about .8 points/game in the KHL. Why did they want to get rid of him? Size issue?

  33. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    LT, I think you corralled it.

    Johnny: Arcobello (not Lander) is an intelligent and road worn player. He will play it smart to fill the void on 2C short term and give Leon time to mature. The AHL vet gets the tip on this one for this season. Just give him some endorsement to do the job (and make some mistakes) and he will get it done.

  34. Lois Lowe says:

    RexLibris,

    Really great post, Rex. Bravo.

  35. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RexLibris,

    interesting piece. thanks for posting.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Enjoyed that, Rex. And you’re right, that’s fabulous company. I’d completely forgotten about writing that item.

  37. wheatnoil says:

    I think the Lander / Paajarvi mistakes are more galling than the Gagner one. Neither Lander nor Paajarvi were “bona fide” at their level before moving to the NHL and both had trouble off the get-go in the NHL (with Lander more so than Paajarvi).

    I think our memories of Gagner are swayed by his lack of development in his 2nd and further seasons (the whole “one year’s experience 5 times” thing). Gagner really did rock the juniors in his draft year (118 points in 53 games is no small feat, even if he may have been zoomed by someone else) and if Dr. Drai gets 49 points this coming year like Gagner did in his rookie season, even if it’s against soft comp, it will be hard to argue he wasn’t ready.

    Obviously in hindsight a slower development path would have been preferable for Gagner. However, at the end of his rookie season, he looked pretty damn bona fide.

    Hall scored 0.65 points/game in his rookie season and 3 years on, it’s pretty clear that he was ready and sending him back would have served little developmental benefit.

    Gagner scored 0.62 points/game in his rookie season and the general consensus is that he wasn’t developed well.

    Obviously there’s more to this than points per game. However, if we’re preaching taking it slow with Dr. Drai unless he’s ready (which I agree with, by the way), and the Oilers do decide to keep him, how do we know that they were right? Or is it a foregone conclusion that sending him back is the only option?

    What does he have to achieve this year in the NHL for keeping him to be the right decision? 0.65 points per game? Positive rel-Corsi? No injuries and 16 minutes/night even-strength and powerplay time?

    I think, whatever the answer, the lesson of Gagner is that just because he has a good rookie season, does not mean he’s ready. That’s something we need to keep in mind with someone like Marincin.

  38. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris,

    Really interesting read! I’ll echo the people who’ve already said it… great work!

  39. godot10 says:

    //Dallas Eakins: “He’s just a very, very young player and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to the weight of the market, or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.” Source//

    Sure Dallas. We all saw the way you handled Nail Yakupov.

  40. wheatnoil says:

    godot10:
    //Dallas Eakins: “He’s just a very, very young player and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to the weight of the market, or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.” Source//

    Sure Dallas.We all saw the way you handled Nail Yakupov.

    You mean by giving him the largest offensive-zone start push among all forwards? I think that’s exactly the way to handle Draisaitl! ;)

  41. art vandelay says:

    Lowetide: Ah, I understand now. Yes, agreed. My wife has actually banned Don Cherry from Saturday night at my house, because I get so mad when he starts talking about soft Swedes and Russians. It’s beyond stupid, and Draisaitl being German may make him a target.

    In the city where Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen and BoBo played, people should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting a country of origin dictates gumption. Borje Salming put this to bed 40 years ago, Juha Widing and Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson too.

    Remember Hakan Loob. That guy was nails.

  42. RexLibris says:

    Lois Lowe,

    And LT and Rom,

    Thanks. It had been brewing since I read the reaction to Dellow being hired, but I needed to cool down and take a more objective look. It has been bugging me for awhile, the seeming lack of professional pride that I’ve noticed creeping into the sports coverage these last ten or so years. I get narrative and telling the story of the game. That’s the romance and we all watch 42 or Rudy and get misty-eyed because of the beauty that these men can evoke by telling a story. But there is also a time for getting things right and respecting that while the romance is there, there are other things too and they have value. You don’t have to write about them, but neither do you have to defecate on them just because they aren’t your bag. It comes down to respect, for yourself, your profession, the game and the people sitting next to you who may see things a little differently.

    And LT, you may not feel like it, but in the constellation of Edmonton sports voices, you rank, sir. You rank highly.

  43. RexLibris says:

    wheatnoil,

    Thanks. I appreciate the kind words.

  44. Lowetide says:

    art vandelay: Remember Hakan Loob. That guy was nails.

    I loved watching that guy. Unlike Bruce, I never hated the Flames, and Loob was terrific. I think he left right after the Stanley, used to know but time fades.

  45. 8p0intgame says:

    wheatnoil,

    Or do the opposite? Give him the most difficult zone starts and save money on his second contract?

  46. Hammers says:

    Woodguy: And it still didn’t stop Spector from saying that PRV was useless as a hockey player and that“if you have Europeans on your 3rd line, you won’t win”

    He said this the summer after Chicago won the Cup with 2 Euros on their 3rd line line.

    True story.

    Someone introduce him to Pouzar & Lidstrom on Oct 10th .

  47. Deadman Waiting says:

    RexLibris:Rex

    I hope you don’t mind if I take the opportunity of your piece to engage in some close reading. Every book I’ve read recently on self-publishing positively shrieks about the importance of a competent copy editor. If you expend a single dollar on professional services, at the top of every list is the copy editor and cover design (though even this can be done by someone with a modicum of artistic talent if given the full measure of attention it deserves). This is another angle on same subject: achieving escape velocity (and its outward vestments) from mama’s subterranean Cheetos emporium.

    On my first reading of your piece, my reaction distilled down to a comment by Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, that the purpose of the second draft is to remove 10% of the original text. Before he learned this hard lesson—by his own confession—he was a natural-born sofa stuffer: his second draft almost always came out 30% longer than the original composition. Then some project came along where he just had to remove 10% and he was shocked at how much this benefited the tension and pace, so he made it his fixed goal for every subsequent book to remove 10% in the second draft. I had a strong sense that your piece would stand on its merits so much better if you gave it a 10% tummy tuck in the spirit of Stephen King.

    One problem with this advice is that it works best if you set the piece aside for six weeks between drafts. It’s much easier to subtract the right 10% when you come back to a composition cold. Stephen says this is his favourite part of the writing process. In the second draft, he’s eager to find out what he actually wrote—and whether it’s any good. By the twelfth draft—at which point he can recite entire pages by rote—the joy of revision has left the building. With short-order cooking, the risk looms larger that one subtracts the wrong ten percent.

    That’s all I’m going to say in general terms. I’m more interested in tackling individual sentences. What nutritionists say about developing a prominent six-pack is that it’s more about diet than sit-ups. Even if you crunch like Judah Ben-Hur at a speed-metal drumming demonstration, your six-pack won’t emerge in its quilted glory until you lay off the Captain Crunch.

    To reveal the underlying physique, one must chisel.

    ———

    He ran his blog, mc79hockey, for a long time and used advanced stats to answer questions that would honestly make most everyone else’s eyes glaze over.

    Use of short words is all to the good, and as such often forgives a loose phrase, but this loose phrase conceals lazy. You expended ten words to reference a trite commonplace. Here’s a version with more cast of character:

    He ran his blog, mc79hockey, for a long time and used advanced stats to serve up catnip to Don Quixote, Diogenes, the Knights of the Round Table, and anguished Alberta hockey fans that would honestly make a Swiss banker’s eyes glaze over.

    After my own fashion, I spiced that up with some alliterative homerism.

    I also read a book about public speaking. This book stated that the worst sin of public speaking is not boring the audience, it’s boring yourself. Somehow I don’t think you were chortling on the edge of your chair when you penned “that would honestly make most everyone else’s eyes glaze over”. If you’re boring yourself, blow it up. Whether you prefer Robocop’s M136 AT4 rocket launcher or MIB’s Noisy Cricket defers to your own dress code; maybe, for this piece, an anguished Bang Bang.

    He’s also the one who broke the story on Colin Campbell …

    How about: “he’s also remembered for breaking the story …” or “he added to his pugnacious reputation by breaking the story …” if you want to run that angle all the way into the end boards.

    Rather, I’d like to bring up the issue here because of what it means in relation to the world of hockey,

    You’re twenty-one words into your sentence, and not a power word in sight. It’s nicely framed, but at the same time you’re asking a lot. An eight-grade reading level was described in one of my books as “comfortable with fourteen-word sentences”. From the eighth-grade perspective, your sentence hits the inhalation comma halfway through 2OT, whence to continue on with a thirteen word coda.

    They have tended to frame the conversation as being an existential struggle between the traditional media members who have access to the team and see all the practices and games versus an antagonistic, arrogant blogging community who don’t see the game for what it is and would operate the sport based entirely on arcane metrics and vague mathematical terms prone to self-replicating errors.

    I get that as sixty-three words. I actually think that sentence works well enough because something is being said here. Subtracting ten percent would take it down to fifty-six words.

    For the most part those participating in the discussion have a measure of respect for the work being done and the potential value in the data gathered.

    After the word “and” you’re too deep into this sentence to get away with the abstract noun “potential value”. The reader is approaching abstraction gas-lock. Merely starting your sentence with “for the most part” costs you 1/3 of the reader’s first breath. There’s also a cadence problem, where this treads on becoming sing-song.

    For the most part
    those participating
    in the discussion
    have a measure
    of respect
    for the work
    being done
    and the potential value
    in the data
    gathered.

    Your primary verb here is “have”. If you reduced this sentence to it’s subject–object backbone it would read “Those have.” “Gathered” is particularly strong at the end of this sentence because it resembles the strong verb the reader wished to encounter much sooner.

    They construct a narrative that tells the story of sport using tools they have learned from experience and professional training.

    Let’s tighten that up, by shedding the obvious baggage.

    They construct a narrative from experience and training.

    The shorter version sacrifices no great semantic nuance. What you have done, though, is revealed that this sentence isn’t pulling its weight. Were you sitting on the front of your seat when you wrote this?

    The best of these journalists can raise the level of discourse and inspire respect

    “The best journalists raise the level of discourse and inspire respect …”

    One or two excess words, no matter how small, take all the weight off your punching foot.

    It is generally when the less-admirable aspects of the two differing perspectives of traditional media and blogging collide that trouble occurs.

    “When the less-admirable traits collide, trouble occurs.”

    I think we know by now (or we should) who is wearing the red trunks and who is wearing the blue trunks. You’re not trusting your own set-up.

    that the blogging community had its roots in being an ombudsman to the mainstream media, calling them out when they eschewed logic and facts for convenient narratives or lazy reporting

    I’m thinking something more like this: “the blogging community has long served as a side-line ombudsman, calling out the mainstream media when they eschew logic or facts for convenient narratives and lazy reporting”

    I switched the “and” and the “or”. Generally, the MSM eschews either logic or facts, as eschewing them in tandem carries a risk of awakening even the dimmer bulbs.

    It struck me how appropriate that description was, and while I would suggest that advanced analytics can provide a measure of predictive value to a team’s decision-making process, they are at their best when they are being used to dissect trends and provide supplementary information to improve player deployment/situational strategy.

    Here you have become interesting to yourself, but you’re not getting your full value across. Let’s step back to your jumping off point:

    excellent diagnostic tools, but poor predictors

    This is both great language and intriguing as hell to the reader because clearly these two arts are joined at the hip, and yet, somehow—in this formulation—they don’t trade. What the reader is leaning forward to glean at this point is a concrete image to reinforce this incisive paradox, but then you lean back and puff your cigar, rather than exploit your best set-up to drive your unique perspective home to the reader. It’s never too late to puff. Keep your cigar safely tucked in your breast pocket. It shouldn’t be your first tool.

    In all the years I have been reading sports blogs, especially those that make regular use of advanced analytics

    “As an anguished Albertan since the days of Diogenes, I’ve been reading sports blogs for a long time. I have yet …” I think a call-back would work here. But note that the reader can’t call back what wasn’t vivid at the get go.

    Well, that’s enough for the purpose of this exercise.

    ———

    Mark Twain is oft cited for his observation that “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug”. Reframed in the calculus of Stephen King, trimming the right fifteen percent is the difference between sex machinery and sex machine.

    Think of it this way: you’re already twelve tenths of the way there.

    PS: I was certainly sitting on the edge of my chair as I wrote this. You might hate me forever. I hope not.

  48. Lloyd B. says:

    Deadman Waiting,

    Really DMW?. You believe this is a class in story writing? I don’t understand why you believe it is any where near appropriate to take anyone here to task for their writing style. Never mind one of the great contributors to not only this site but to his own blog.

    Fire away. I’m sure my prose is filled with enough misteaks for you to write another lengthy tome.

  49. hunter1909 says:

    Deadman Waiting,

    Irony. The most self-indulgent, verbose, flat-out silly writer on Lowetide, offering writing advice.

  50. VanOil says:

    Deadman Waiting,

    Thank you I learned a considerable amount from your post. In my own writing for work and public speaking I struggle to find editors that will take me to task, let alone provide constructive feedback. I appreciate your blunt assessment and skill. If I were Rex I would be honored you took the time to provide such feed back.

  51. RexLibris says:

    Deadman Waiting,

    PS: I was certainly sitting on the edge of my chair as I wrote this. You might hate me forever. I hope not.

    Not even remotely.

    I’ve been working on improving my writing style for the blogging medium for a few years now and, like most endeavours, it requires constant work.

    This piece could have used ample editing, unfortunately time and logistics meant that was not to be, so I just had to give it the once-over and run with it.

    Ask any FlamesNation regular (or Kent Wilson) and they will tell you, brevity in this medium is not my strong suit.

  52. Lynas1 says:

    Draisaitl hasn’t played a single game in the NHL yet. Why has every fan since before draft day insisted on giving him forced nicknames? If/when he makes it, the locker room’s going to slap the most boring one on him anyway.

  53. spoiler says:

    Deadman Waiting: I hope you don’t mind if I take the opportunity of your piece to engage in some close reading.Every book I’ve read recently on self-publishing positively shrieks about the importance of a competent copy editor.If you expend a single dollar on professional services, at the top of every list is the copy editor and cover design (though even this can be done by someone with a modicum of artistic talent if given the full measure of attention it deserves).This is another angle on same subject: achieving escape velocity (and its outward vestments) from mama’s subterranean Cheetos emporium.

    On my first reading of your piece, my reaction distilled down to a comment by Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, that the purpose of the second draft is to remove 10% of the original text.Before he learned this hard lesson—by his own confession—he was a natural-born sofa stuffer: his second draft almost always came out 30% longer than the original composition.Then some project came along where he just had to remove 10% and he was shocked at how much this benefited the tension and pace, so he made it his fixed goal for every subsequent book to remove 10% in the second draft.I had a strong sense that your piece would stand on its merits so much better if you gave it a 10% tummy tuck in the spirit of Stephen King.

    One problem with this advice is that it works best if you set the piece aside for six weeks between drafts.It’s much easier to subtract the right 10% when you come back to a composition cold.Stephen says this is his favourite part of the writing process.In the second draft, he’s eager to find out what he actually wrote—and whether it’s any good.By the twelfth draft—at which point he can recite entire pages by rote—the joy of revision has left the building.With short-order cooking, the risk looms larger that one subtracts the wrong ten percent.

    That’s all I’m going to say in general terms.I’m more interested in tackling individual sentences.What nutritionists say about developing a prominent six-pack is that it’s more about diet than sit-ups.Even if you crunch like Judah Ben-Hur at a speed-metal drumming demonstration, your six-pack won’t emerge in its quilted glory until you lay off the Captain Crunch.

    To reveal the underlying physique, one must chisel.

    ———

    Use of short words is all to the good, and as such often forgives a loose phrase, but this loose phrase conceals lazy. You expended ten words to reference a trite commonplace. Here’s a version with more cast of character:

    After my own fashion, I spiced that up with some alliterative homerism.

    I also read a book about public speaking.This book stated that the worst sin of public speaking is not boring the audience, it’s boring yourself.Somehow I don’t think you were chortling on the edge of your chair when you penned “that would honestly make most everyone else’s eyes glaze over”.If you’re boring yourself, blow it up.Whether you prefer Robocop’s M136 AT4 rocket launcher or MIB’s Noisy Cricket defers to your own dress code; maybe, for this piece, an anguished Bang Bang.

    How about: “he’s also remembered for breaking the story …” or “he added to his pugnacious reputation by breaking the story …” if you want to run that angle all the way into the end boards.

    You’re twenty-one words into your sentence, and not a power word in sight.It’s nicely framed, but at the same time you’re asking a lot.An eight-grade reading level was described in one of my books as “comfortable with fourteen-word sentences”.From the eighth-grade perspective, your sentence hits the inhalation comma halfway through 2OT, whence to continue on with a thirteen word coda.

    I get that as sixty-three words.I actually think that sentence works well enough because something is being said here.Subtracting ten percent would take it down to fifty-six words.

    After the word “and” you’re too deep into this sentence to get away with the abstract noun “potential value”.The reader is approaching abstraction gas-lock.Merely starting your sentence with “for the most part” costs you 1/3 of the reader’s first breath.There’s also a cadence problem, where this treads on becoming sing-song.

    For the most part
    those participating
    in the discussion
    have a measure
    of respect
    for the work
    being done
    and the potential value
    in the data
    gathered.

    Your primary verb here is “have”.If you reduced this sentence to it’s subject–object backbone it would read “Those have.” “Gathered” is particularly strong at the end of this sentence because it resembles the strong verb the reader wished to encounter much sooner.

    Let’s tighten that up, by shedding the obvious baggage.

    The shorter version sacrifices no great semantic nuance.What you have done, though, is revealed that this sentence isn’t pulling its weight.Were you sitting on the front of your seat when you wrote this?

    “The best journalists raise the level of discourse and inspire respect …”

    One or two excess words, no matter how small, take all the weight off your punching foot.

    “When the less-admirable traits collide, trouble occurs.”

    I think we know by now (or we should) who is wearing the red trunks and who is wearing the blue trunks.You’re not trusting your own set-up.

    I’m thinking something more like this: “the blogging community has long served as a side-line ombudsman, calling out the mainstream media when they eschew logic or facts for convenient narratives and lazy reporting”

    I switched the “and” and the “or”.Generally, the MSM eschews either logic or facts, as eschewing them in tandem carries a risk of awakening even the dimmer bulbs.

    Here you have become interesting to yourself, but you’re not getting your full value across. Let’s step back to your jumping off point:

    This is both great language and intriguing as hell to the reader because clearly these two arts are joined at the hip, and yet, somehow—in this formulation—they don’t trade.What the reader is leaning forward to glean at this point is a concrete image to reinforce this incisive paradox, but then you lean back and puff your cigar, rather than exploit your best set-up to drive your unique perspective home to the reader.It’s never too late to puff.Keep your cigar safely tucked in your breast pocket.It shouldn’t be your first tool.

    “As an anguished Albertan since the days of Diogenes, I’ve been reading sports blogs for a long time.I have yet …” I think a call-back would work here.But note that the reader can’t call back what wasn’t vivid at the get go.

    Well, that’s enough for the purpose of this exercise.

    ———

    Mark Twain is oft cited for his observation that “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug”.Reframed in the calculus of Stephen King, trimming the right fifteen percent is the difference between sex machinery and sex machine.

    Think of it this way: you’re already twelve tenths of the way there.

    PS: I was certainly sitting on the edge of my chair as I wrote this.You might hate me forever.I hope not.

    Stellar post, ansibled down to earth by one of the constellation’s brightest writing stars. Thank you, sir.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca