The ink is now dry on the new six year deal the Tampa Bay Lightning just signed with Forward, Ryan Callahan. I was on record that I felt that the organization needed to get this deal done. Then Steve Yzerman obliged.
Then social media blows up. There are those in Bolts Nation that rejoiced when the news of the deal became official. There are others in and out of Lightning Fandom that were saying what a horrible deal this is for the club.
I spent most of my night last night, watching Yzerman’s back. The attacks were coming in from all over. “Ryan Callahan’s best days are behind him”, “He’s already breaking down physically” and my favorite “Tampa Bay Lightning are going to regret this deal”.
The people firing off all this vitriol then began using acronyms that seem more at home on the Element Chart than in reviewing an NHL transaction. “His CF% 5v5 qualifies him as a 3rd liner” and “His Fenwick is out of whack for Right Wingers in Atlantic Division”. So, Ryan Callahan’s Corsi For Percentage is 2 points higher than his Fenwick on odd number days when the moon is in its final quarter. Believe it or not, stats geeks, not everything can be put into metrics.
There’s more: Zone Start Percentage; Corsi against; Penalty differential and my new favorite – QoC TOI% or as it sounds in my head – Kwok Toy. Like, “gotta love his Kwok Toy % tonight”. If I said that in my favorite watering hole, the boys would look at me like I was following the World Cup or something. Say it a few times in your head: Kwok Toy, Kwok Toy. I realize that Sabremetrics took over Baseball. I know that it is 2014, and it is a technological world, even if it seems more techno than logical. But as I said, not everything can be quantified into nice, neat statistical numbers.
I am sure there is a place for all these analytics. But sometimes you just have to realize that this beautiful game of Hockey is played at a breakneck pace. Pucks take funny bounces sometimes. I have said before that more than any other sport, the Captaincy in Hockey means something to the rest of the team. I realize that these stats have their place but there are times that one must look beyond the statistical past. Look towards the unpredictable future.
For those of you out there, that have said and continue to say that this is a “bad deal” for the Lightning. Stop. You make it sound like fact when you have no facts to support your statement. You are prognosticating. Time will tell if you are right or wrong. I chose to look to the brightness that the Tampa Bay Lightning’s future holds.
I am stating that I love this deal. I love that Yzerman re-signed Ryan Callahan. From the sound of it, I love the FACT that Ryan Callahan said from the moment he landed here in Tampa Bay, he has loved it. I love that Callahan says he “likes the direction of the organization”.
I know that in the NHL, a team needs leader. It’s good, if you have one. It’s great, if you have two. You will be contending if you have three solid leaders. Ryan Callahan is a leader. He was the Captain in New York. He, along with Captain Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman will lead by example.
Yzerman, in his press release after announcing the signing, said Ryan Callahan “fits a need on our team”. He does. There isn’t a statistic for toughness. Nor one for grit or even leadership. Ryan Callahan knows how to play this game. Yzerman is smart enough to know that will the stable of young, potential stars on this team, he needs someone other than Steven Stamkos to show these “kids” the way. The way to play. The way to win.
This is where Ryan Callahan comes in. You can tell me all about his Corsi, his Zone Start Percentage, or even his Kwok Toy. Doesn’t matter. When you tell me about his heart, his fire, his sheer determination to win a hockey game and come up with a stat for those things, then I’ll listen. I’ll give you my ears to hear how this deal is bad. Until then, this is a great deal for Tampa. Frankly, I don’t give a Rat’s Fenwick or a Corsi Cahoot about your stats. Don’t even get me started on where you can put your Kwok Toy.