Would The Last Blogger To Leave The Basement, Please Turn Off The Server

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It’s kind of hard to tell around here, because he keeps posting more articles than anybody else, but Canucks Army overlord, Dimitri Filipovic, has gone dark on Twitter. No new tweets since August 19, which, if you follow @DimFilipovic on Twitter, is unheard of…

I noticed this right away, and made a joke or two, but let it slide since the Canucks Army posts were still coming on a regular basis.

But this weekend, his absence caught the attention of some bigger fish…

First, Pass It to Bulis’ Harrison Mooney suggested we play “guess the team” and then the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle came right out with it:

And when pressed, Mirtle confirmed that he knew Dimitri had been hired because he had looked into it. This is no longer idle speculation.

So it looks like we have indeed lost another prolific stats blogger, and not just any blogger, but another Canucks Army blogger.

Now, we still have no idea what team has snapped him up, but clearly NHL teams have started to go all in on advanced analytics. This is great news for the stats community and for hockey literacy in general, except maybe it isn’t:

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First appeared at The Sporting News.

It’s great that Sportsnet and TSN have hired some of these guys to add more analytics content to both their online presence as well as their broadcasts. But overall we have lost access to a lot of source data, quite a bit of historical analysis, and, more importantly, the inevitable insights that might have come from some of these guys had they kept publishing out in the open.

So yeah, congrats to all these guys getting hired. But huge loss for us out here trying to understand the game a bit more.

That being said, there are still some fabulous writers and analysts both here at Canucks Army and around the Interwebs. There’s already some promising stats sites popping up vying to be the next ExtraSkater. Heck, you could be the next Cam or Dimitri. If you’re interested in this stuff, just start doing it. Find your niche and fill the gap.

And it doesn’t have to be with the goal of getting hired by an NHL team. Maybe you just want to be a writer. There’s no shortage of people that started out on a blog. Our own Thomas Drance has himself a gig over at The Score thanks to his work here at Canucks Army. And even the aforementioned James Mirtle started out writing for Battle of California SB Nation. So whatever your motivation, if you have interest and you have something to say, find a venue and say it.

If you do feel so inclined, let me offer a free word of advice. There is quite a lot that advanced stats can tell us, but there is still much more that we don’t know, and probably never will know. So a little humility can go along way when it comes to both sides of the stats debate. As somebody much more literate than me once said:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.”
– Bertrand Russell

Or to put that in crayon version:

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I will say temper this request for humility and moderation with one additional thought, however.

For so long, most of the naysayers in the mainstream media would deride the proponents of advanced analytics with comments like, “Well the hockey people I talk to don’t use them.” or “If these stats are so insightful, why aren’t NHL teams using them?” 

Of course, now that some of the most prolific amateur analysts have been hired to work directly in NHL front offices, the tune has changed. Now, the common refrain is, “Well I was using advanced stats before they were cool.” Larry Brooks was the latest to pull that line just today. I’m not going to throw him clicks, so if you want the link you’ll have to search for it.

Anyway, my point is this: for all the years that these mainstream guys have been “analyzing” hockey and making pronouncements on what works and doesn’t work, I can’t think of a single one that has been hired to work for an NHL team. At least not one that hadn’t first been in hockey before becoming a media person. An yet, here we are after the summer of stats, with multiple teams hiring multiple “amateurs” that have been taking a different approach to hockey analysis on their own time and with extremely limited resources.

If that doesn’t say something about the relative merits of “I watch the games” analysis vs. both watching the games and throwing in a little number crunching, I don’t know what will.


<shameless plug>

Finally, if you really are still asking yourself #IsItOctoberYet, then you clearly need to get your hands on the new Graphic Comments 2014-15 Calendar featuring some of your favourite Canucks themed Graphic Comments from the last year. Not only that, but it includes the full Canucks home and away schedule, so you can track each and every “moral victory” throughout the season:

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</shameless plug>

RECENT GRAPHIC COMMENTS

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You can also check out some recent Graphic Comments over at The Sporting News, including:

  • ChickenSouvlaki

    Wow that is awesome, Dimitri. I always read DF’s blogs on here whether they interest me or not. He’s a great hockey mind and writer. All the best to him.

  • ChickenSouvlaki

    Don’t panic. We still have Yost and Burtch. Granted, they’re actual reporters now, not basement-dwellers, but their stuff is public. From what Yost has delivered so far it’s actually a step up in what we get content-wise with him at TSN instead of on his own.

  • Cale

    Dimitri, if it’s true, blink twice. If not, nod your head slowly…

    I got infected by the stats analysis of hockey-writing, which includes good writing, over at Battle of Alberta, when they started being converted, probably 7-8 years ago. When arguments about “Fenwicks” vs “Corsis” started. I kept reading Oilers blogs, and behind the net, and kept hoping some Canucks fans would start something similar. Glad it finally happened. And I’m hoping new writers come along to replace the ones exiting. Rhys and Josh are great. Those MoneyPuck_ pieces were outstanding.

    Speaking of which, I have noticed that NM00 is commenting less and less…could it be NHL teams are scooping up commenter talent too BEFORE THEY START THEIR OWN BLOGS??!!

    Pick me, pick me, pick me…

    • ChickenSouvlaki

      You will never see the NM00 persona with its own blog…

      My interest level has been waning for a while now and neither the Canucks franchise nor this blog are doing anything to reignite it.

      Rhys and Josh are great but they don’t write on here nearly enough.

      Drance is inconsistent and we’re fortunate if we get 3 stories a month from him…

      Dmitri was/is a workhorse who appears to be making the wise decision to jump ship.

      And Cam was always too good for this place.

      On April 8 I received my gold watch as what looked to be a three year project was accomplished in less than a year.

      Is there anything left to explore with the NM00 persona?

      Stay tuned…

  • ChickenSouvlaki

    Congrats to Dimitri. I’m happy for all the stats gang to find gainful employment doing something they love, but I’m selfishly bemoaning the loss here. I’m addicted to prompt and diverse statistical analysis and can’t help worrying that I won’t get to read as many great blog posts now. Sigh!