Mathematics 101

Boy Counting On Fingers in Class

I don’t think I’m alone in this, but one of my greatest days ever was the day I realised that I’d never have to do math ever again. Now, I don’t mean that I never count, I’ve got 10 fingers and 10 toes for that. (Interesting sidebar, unlike Alberta, no one in Vancouver has more that 10 fingers or toes. As a condition of Mark Messier signing in Vancouver he demanded all people with extra digits have them lopped off. Only the Greatest Leader of All Time could lay claim to anything to do with the number 11, Wayne Maki and genetic freaks be damned.)  After I’d taken my last math class ever, I boarded up that part of my brain, hopefully to be never used again. But, of course as only a love of hockey can do, I’ve been pulled back in.

With the salary cap era in full effect, you start to feel like you have to be a mathemagician to figure out if something is a good trade, a great signing, or a franchise destroying contract. We no longer have the luxury of thinking of things on a purely hockey level. What Canuck fan wouldn’t be tempted to have Ilya Kovalchuk in a Canuck uniform. Imagine, one scoring line based around the Sedins, and then a second, built around Kovalchuk. So what’s the problem? Well, we just can’t do it. The amount of money that he’ll demand, the ability to fit in under the cap, the gutting that you’d have to do to the team to try and make it fit, and most importantly the fact that you have to consider whether Kovalchuk is worth it. There’s no doubt he’s good (I stop short of great), but is he a good enough player to take up 15% of your entire roster space. Does it really get us any closer to winning? Does it make up for our defensive shortcomings? Could the money be spent in better ways? What are the long term ramifictions of the contract? Will it force us to add young and cheap players to the lineup before they’re ready to play? The fact that these are the questions I’m thinking about is bizarre to say the least. I’m the guy who thought rapidly increasing credit card debt was the sure-fire path to financial security.

So this is how I’ll spend my summer, putting $10 lunches on my credit card that I’ll still be paying for 5 years down the road while fretting over which advanced economics text book will help me figure out the true value of Mason Raymond.