The Five Stages of Grief, or a Mason Raymond Shootout Attempt

Thomas Drance
February 29 2012 10:14AM

 
You'll never guess what happened next... Well, that is unless you guessed "he didn't score and then fell down."

I remain convinced that Mason Raymond is a valuable forward for the Vancouver Canucks. Holding that opinon puts me in the extreme minority of Canucks fans, bloggers and observers, however. Basically for me to be correct on this one nearly everybody else who covers the team, and 98% of the team's fans have to be completely and totally wrong. Put another way, if Raymond is as valuable as I think he is, that would have to make him the most under-appreciated and misunderstood athlete in the history of the Canucks franchise.

Well, I am right about Raymond. Even though everybody hates the guy, he's a quality contributor and had a big game last night (despite his woeful shootout attempt and collection of pratfalls). Raymond consistently drive possession, helps the Canucks outshoot their opponents and plays stellar defense. What a bum. 

Anyway, I'm not going to do what you think I'm going to do - I'm not going to use objective data to prove that Raymond is a valuable contributor to the team. Instead I'm going to explore the psychological damage Raymond's mere presence on the team and in the shootout is causing Canucks fans. Click past the jump to find out more!

Have you heard of the Kübler-Ross model? It's more commonly referred to as "the five stages of grief" which describe the feelings one goes through when forced to confront their own mortality. These five stages are , in order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The five stages of grief have become relevant of late for Canucks fans, who collectively are experiencing these five stages of extreme emotion on a regular basis, and in quick succession, whenever Mason Raymond gets a shootout attempt.

Local doctor Mike Rotch M.D. is concerned that Raymond shootout attempts are having a massive, negative impact on the psychological stability of Canucks fans. "I know Alain Vigneault isn't paid to offer emotional support to the fan-base," opined Dr. Rotch. "But if the team continues to put Raymond out as one of the first two shooters in the shootout, I think the Government should impose an excise tax on the team to offset the medical costs incurred by his coaching decisions."

Clearly this is a grim situation, and one worth examining further. With that in mind, let's look at the exact nature of the symptoms Canucks fans are experiencing.

The first stage is denial, but for Canucks fans going through the trauma of watching Mason Raymond shootout attempt, the denial stage is modified. This is because there's never any real doubt that Raymond is going to get a chance - he always gets a chance. As a result of that, the denial is replaced by a cold fatalism lamenting the preferential treatment Raymond gets from Vancouver's head-coach. Here are some examples:

The next stage is denial, which takes a number of forms. It's worth remembering that everyone goes through these "stages of grief" in a unique way, and that's especially evident during the denial stage. Some fan are quietly hopeful, but that in itself is a form of denial. These fans are fooling themselves, there's no chance Raymond is going to score:

Other fans experience the denial stage as simple anxiety:

Still others, deal with the denial with an affectation of harsh realism. While fans who behave in this fashion in the denial stage are technically preparing themselves for the inevitable, their approach in no way softens the blows of the final three stages:

Now we get to bargaining. As Raymond approaches center ice to begin his shootout attempt, Canucks fans begin to plead. "At least if you're going to be in the shootout Mase, please, please for the love of god use your one go-to move!"

Finally, Mason Raymond takes and misses the shootout attempt to the surprise of no one. Raymond's miss ushers in the depression stage.

And then, the emotional trauma is resolved as Canucks fans accept that what they've just experienced was, in fact, totally inevitable:

And there you have it. Mason Raymond shootout attempts: having a deleterious impact on the psychological health of Canucks fans since 2009.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Scott
February 29 2012, 10:23AM
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You say he drives possession and helps his team outshoot his opponents -- not entirely sure how those stats work but could that just be because he's playing with really good players?

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#3 Cam Davie
February 29 2012, 10:27AM
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Brilliant.

He clearly has a much more negative impact on the psyche of the average Canucks fan than he does on the ice.

But we Canucks fans are a neurotic, hypersensitive lot with a propensity for firebombing our own city when we lose a hockey game.

I think for the good of THE CITY (not for the good of the team, but for the good of the CITY), the Canucks should consider sitting him down for a couple games.

As they say, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Maybe we'll appreciate Raymond more when we miss him for a while.

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#4 Cam Charron
February 29 2012, 10:49AM
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Thing with Mason Raymond is that he falls down and makes really weird decisions in the offensive zone, but his time on the ice almost exclusively takes place on right side of centre.

There's value, somewhere, in that guy's play, but it's so difficult to catch up on.

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#5 RJ
February 29 2012, 11:20AM
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I'm glad there are still some people out there who believe Raymond is an effective contributor like I do.

Actually, if you look at Raymond's point production compared to his salary, the notion that he had a bad year last season is a bit of a myth. And when you look at the circumstances surrounding this season, a points per game drop of ~0.15 p/g is nearly identical to what both Kesler and Burrows experienced after they spent the offseason and some of the regular season recovering from a late injury, so this "down" season should have been completely expected.

The falling down is probably a symptom of weak leg and core strength. Remember, he broke his back late in the summer, so I suspect that he didn't exactly spend a lot of time doing crunches and squats.

My feeling is that he'll be fine next year, if he remains a Canuck.

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#6 Andrew
February 29 2012, 03:02PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

Thing with Mason Raymond is that he falls down and makes really weird decisions in the offensive zone, but his time on the ice almost exclusively takes place on right side of centre.

There's value, somewhere, in that guy's play, but it's so difficult to catch up on.

As I said on twitter last night this would be great if he was relied on as a bottom 6 checking winger (ie drive the play into the offensive zone) but when he is a top 6 scoring winger to have so many scoring chances die on his stick is unacceptable. I'd rather have him be worse defensively (especially now that we have to checking lines) but be able to generate more scoring (chances). The Sedins arent great defensivly but they either keep the puck in the offensive zone or are able to outscore the mistakes they do make (thus their positive +/- unlike a lot of other top point produces in the NHL.

At this point I'm done with Raymond. Luckily for him he has another month to convince me otherwise because come playoff time I'd rather see Kas/Kes/Booth, Hansen/Pahlsson/Higgins, Max/Manny/Reinprecht (that should tell you how done I am with him).

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#7 VBS6935
February 29 2012, 04:19PM
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The good thing about Raymond is that he drives possession numbers for the Canucks. Thus I have no problem when he is out there and the Canucks are leading, or perhaps even tied.

The bad thing is that by and large I don't think he helps when the Canucks are behind. When he has the puck Vancouver is less likely to score as far as I can see. Because he is so weak along the boards and in the corners, I think this will be worse in the playoffs.

If possession numbers are improved by being on the ice when your team has the puck, then everyone who is on the ice with Raymond will have their numbers improved by him and one would predict scoring wise everyone would be better. But Raymond may be the statistical aberration of a player who helps his team have the puck more than 50% of the total time in 10 possessions (ie high possession number) but with a lower chance of them having a scoring chance let alone getting a goal*.

It is after all goals that win games.

*“Implication of Puck Possession on Scoring Chances in Ice Hockey” by Laura Rollins

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#8 Matthew Henderson
March 06 2012, 08:24AM
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