Week 19 Snapshot: Out Into Nothing

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From Capstagram, which is what I call it now.

I don’t know if what I’m doing with the snapshot is really “analytics.” Hearing all the buzz at the Sloan Conference and this mostly inane Deadspin piece, there’s a lot of stuff wrapped up in that term that don’t really apply here.

The snapshot isn’t about decision-making (we don’t make any decisions), and it’s definitely not a branding effort (it probably hurts the RMNB brand by being so stodgy). For me, these statistics are just new ways to understand the game.

My educational background is in literary criticism. In that field, people discuss writing using different frameworks (formalism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, queer, etc.). The goal isn’t to decide what writing is good or bad, but to appreciate the writing in new ways and learn more about it and ourselves by looking from different– and deeper– angles.

It’s not that much different for hockey. For some people, the only metric that matters is championships. It’s a simple binary: yes you won, or no you did not. Some go deeper: how far did you make it in the playoffs: zero rounds, one round, two rounds, or more (As a Caps fan, I suspect the “more” is a myth). More nuance, more understanding, but still nothing too deep. And then you can get down to wins. And then goals. And then shots. And then– and for some reason people resist this– shot attempts.

And there are layers of rich and complex data even further below, new angles from which to look. And when we acknowledge how that low-level information can bubble up to high-level results– like championships– we create an intellectual scaffold for richer understanding of the sport. It’s miles from the championship binary.

I see why some critics consider analytics to be a retreat from complexity: because it uses numbers, which are finite, instead of descriptions, which are not. It can seem reductive. But the spirit behind the analysis is quite the opposite: it’s a framework for looking deeper, and more closely– not to blithely draw conclusions.

In this week’s snapshot: No blithe conclusions. I’ll try.

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Ian and I got together on Saturday night instead of having social lives. We have assembled for you an hour and change of hockey chat. Maybe you can listen to it while you run errands today or while you’re stuck in traffic on Monday morning.

If you’re sick of us (and at this point, who isn’t?), we were joined by Katie Brown of District Sports Page to chat about the upcoming trade deadline. We also answered almost all your questions and accusations from Saturday afternoon and then we really went off the rails.

The RMNB Podcast is on iTunes. If you enjoy it, please subscribe and rate us.

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Photo: @nikkibrust

Last week, the Caps and Penguins played one of the most tense games of the season. It included a first-period brawl that spilled onto the Pens bench. For whatever reason, NBCSN showed us just one or two angles of the dust-up and then moved on. On Reddit, user beardyman22 shared a story that didn’t make it to air that night.

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Jack Hillen Gets No Respect (Photo)


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I’m busy baking mini-quiches in expectation of Ian coming over later tonight to record a new episode of the RMNB Podcast. We’ll be talking about the trade deadline, the playoffs, Ovi for Hart, and a lot more, but we need your input.

Please use the comments below to ask questions or share your thoughts on… well, anything really. If you like someone else’s question, please upvote it. Thanks!


Jussi Jokinen, Marcus Johansson,Troy Brouwer

Photo: AP

With just a few days left before a trade deadline, managers around the NHL are comparing their teams to the rest of the league and looking for the pieces needed for a playoff run. With the new playoff format, it’s especially important to overmatch the division rivals you are likely to face early in the postseason.

The Caps, despite sitting just fourth in the Metropolitan division, keep up with the teams above them in most statistical categories. But there is one area in which they are struggling: the second line.

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Caps Trade Jack Hillen to Carolina for Tim Gleason

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Photo: Washington Capitals

Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reported that Jack Hillen did not skate at practice this morning. Now we know why.

The Capitals have traded Jack Hillen and a fourth-round draft pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Tim Gleason.

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Casting Call: White, Female NBC 4 News Viewers Needed, Ages 30-40

Our very good friend Suzanne has requested a signal boost for a casting call. If you match the description below, please shoot her an email. If you know someone else who does, please pass this on to them.

These are usually pretty fun, so give it a try and have an adventure.

Carlyn Davis Casting is looking for two talent for an NBC 4 promo filming on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

We are looking for Caucasian females, early 30s and 40s, who are ACTUAL NBC 4 News viewers. You MUST watch NBC 4 news to qualify for this spot. Select talent will be asked to do either an in person or phone interview/audition on Monday, March 2, 2015.

For consideration, please email suzanne@carlyndaviscasting.com with

  • your current headshot (if you have one) and/or snapshot
  • “NBC 4 promo casting” in the subject of the email
  • your phone number

All submission must be received no later than 4 pm SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2015. No acting experience necessary. Union and non-union may apply.



Photo: Chicago Blackhawks

Towards the end of the Caps’ awful 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune tweeted this.

That’s exciting.

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Canes beat Caps 3-0, So Let’s Talk Trade Rumors


Bad Sasha

Upon hearing of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the Washington Capitals were too distraught to play competent hockey against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Instead of generating shots and suppressing the opponent’s offense, they did more of that butthockey thing we saw the other night.

The Caps couldn’t get anything going, and Brent Bellemore exploited Evgeny Kuznetsov’s turnover to put the Canes up. The doldrums continued in the second, when Jeff Skinner sniped two put the Caps in a two-goal hole. Third period was a chore, and then Nathan Gerbe got the empty netter.

Canes beat Caps 3-0. Shut-out city. Three losses in a row.

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