Intangibles

“I love the physical intangibles he brought to the game.” – Pierre McGuire, explaining why Ed Jovanovski is A MONSTER!

That quote is lifted from this rather amazing Covered in Oil post from April 2008, which does a great breakdown of Pierre McGuire’s 2008 Monsters of the Year list. It’s a good read, and taken in conjunction with this rumour it just makes me smile.

Anyways, Covered in Oil responded with the dictionary definition of intangible: “not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things; impalpable.”

As a guy who likes statistics, I get knocked a lot as not caring about intangibles. That’s not true. Obviously, things like leadership, guts, heart and the like can be important things in team-building. The psychological side of the game exists and undoubtedly influences outcome, but it can’t be measured by us. A coach may have a good grasp of these qualities in his players, but of course that’s biased by his own experience and perception. We can guess at the character of players, but it’s only a guess.

Physicality is not an intangible. Aside from the fact that certain aspects can be measured (size, strength, total hits) physicality is obvious to anyone who watches the game.

Even defensive ability, which isn’t easy to measure, doesn’t qualify as an intangible. A competent observer can grade any player’s positioning after a sufficient period of time; and count battles won and lost. On the statistical end of things, NHL teams have been counting scoring chances for years (and over at mc79hockey.com, Dennis has been tracking scoring chances all year), and other statistics like QualComp, ZoneShift and Corsi are helping us craft a better picture all the time. But I digress.

The point of this article is that intangibles really don’t belong in the conversation. We don’t know them; if we knew them, they wouldn’t be intangible. When someone says, ‘yeah, but he has/doesn’t have intangibles’, they’re arguing from a position of ignorance – effectively saying: ‘well, I think there’s some other, unmeasurable quality that makes X a good or bad hockey player’, and that’s simply wrong. X is a good or bad hockey player based on what he does on the ice. Saying something to the effect of “X doesn’t win puck battles” or “X doesn’t go into traffic areas” may be accurate or not, but a competent observer can watch the game and confirm or deny the statement – and that makes all the difference.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    Replace the word LeCavlier for Hemsky… and we have a statement we can both agree on. *wink*

    I did.

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Lecavalier is a “Superstar” and he just isnt. That said, neither is Hemsky.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    @ kingsblade:
    I don’t think this is th right site for you.
    Try going to: http://forum.psychlinks.ca/anger-management/3315-eight-simple-anger-management-tips.html
    Have a nice day.

    Far from angry. I'm not even sure what part of my response to you suggests anger. Perhaps you could explain. I simply find it a waste of time when your responses don't even apply, so I told you why I thought you didn't make particular sense. That hardly requires anger.

    If I was angry I would just quit the conversation. You, on the other hand, apparently react with snide comments and insincere arguments.

  • lj

    @ kingsblade:

    Anger defined: An emotional state that can range from minor irritation to intense rage.

    It's clear I irritate you. It WAS unintentional. I had you pegged for a Hitman fan who was having a bad night… Clearly I was mistaken. I don't know if you still live in Calagary; but you do still have the stink of Calagary arrogance for which that city is so famous. Take a shower and chill. Also, in the future, please refrain from interrupting conversations that involve myself and more civil posters.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    @ kingsblade:
    Anger defined: An emotional state that can range from minor irritation to intense rage.
    It’s clear I irritate you. It WAS unintentional. I had you pegged for a Hitman fan who was having a bad night… Clearly I was mistaken. I don’t know if you still live in Calagary; but you do still have the stink of Calagary arrogance for which that city is so famous. Take a shower and chill. Also, in the future, please refrain from interrupting conversations that involve myself and more civil posters.

    Really? You are using the wikipedia definition? It isn't too hard to find a definition to suit. For example: From reference.com: Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure or belligerence aroused by a wrong, wrath, ire.

    You found one to suit you, I found one to suit me. I wonder which definition suits the idea most people have of anger. Claiming I have strong feelings about you either way is giving yourself way to much credit 🙂

    What made your responses more civil than mine? I've been reading over the thread to see where I treated you with incivility and I just don't see it unless you are a guy whose feelings get hurt by nothing more than a contradictory opinion or a direct response to your own statements. I did not have you pegged for that I will admit.

    Look, all I said was that I think you're making things up with your supposed Getzlaff prediction, which is when you decided to spring a bunch of unrelated crap about Schremp and Omark. At no point did I insult you, ad at no point did I stray from responding directly to your posts, so before accusing me of incivility you might want to check your own tone.

  • lj

    @ kingsblade:
    How about if the both of you put an end to pulling your puds because, while that's the lifeblood of some fanboy sites, it's not the MO here. Besides, you're both coming up short.

  • lj

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    @ kingsblade:
    How about if the both of you put an end to pulling your puds because, while that’s the lifeblood of some fanboy sites, it’s not the MO here. Besides, you’re both coming up short.

    As though you haven't gone off on tangential arguments here because someone irritated you. Coming up short? What is that even supposed to mean?