The October 3rd ESPN Magazine comes with this cover:
The feature “Why Boston is Better than You” notes that the Bruins (and most NHL teams in general) do not use advanced metrics as a statistical model for designing teams. My favorite part:
“The Stanley Cup they won last year, while a lovely capstone for Boston fans, is a useful reminder that sometimes sports is about lining your guys up and beating the hell out of the other guys.” [link]
After pieces on Red Sox scouting and how Tom Brady’s fame has changed his relationship with the city [great article: link], the Bruins are featured as “The People’s Champions.” With beautiful photos, Looch gets a haircut, Ference shops for pasta, Chara rides his bike. We’ve already discussed on Twitter the style magic of The Professor and Teen Wolf:
But what really seals the deal for the entire issue is this onephoto. Tim Thomas eats ice cream LIKE A BOSS. Tell me you don’t want this guy anchoring your team.
The issue also includes a feature on the NHL concussion problem, a huge picture of Crosby for my office wall, and a scathing piece on “The Roxy Flu” and all the trouble the NHLers have gotten into there over the years.
Finally, there’s the NHL 2011-2012 preview. The editorial centers around GMGM wooing Brooks Laich into his clutches for a 6-year deal to help shore up the Caps. But this is the picture:
Their computer-ranking system is unique – they rated how the team will do in regular season (yellow) vs. playoffs (orange). The Caps hit the 100% mark in both categories, predicted to win the Eastern Conf and the Cup. The Canucks turn it up a little in the post-season and win the West. The Blackhawks and Flyers play well all year only to fall apart come April. The Pens struggle but turn it up in the playoffs.
Interestingly, NONE of the six human experts pick the Caps to win, and only one thinks they’ll even make the Final. Guess the ESPN computer doesn’t save disappointment. One has the Canucks playing for the Cup, and three of their analysts pick the Sharks to win it all. Three have the Penguins in the Final, two have the Hawks. No love for the Lightning overall – guess the computer does save GAAs.
All things to consider before next week, when we ask your picks for Conference and Cup champs!