Monday, June 15, 2009

Fronts: Doherty could slip, but where did you read that

Please do not hold your breath waiting for someone to make the connection between the Kingston Frontenacs management structure and OHL Prospects' view Fronts d-man Taylor Doherty is the league's biggest "faller" for the NHL draft:
"(Doherty) went into this season as a guy with the potential to go in the NHL lottery. But Doherty never took that step forward, as was expected. Offensively, he had a disappointing season, failing to match his stats from his rookie year. Defensively, he was exposed as a poor lateral mover and an undisciplined aggressor. In many cases, Doherty took a step backwards this season, rather than forwards. This caused his drop from potential lottery selection to possible third round selection."
(Click through, because somehow this Kingston Frontenacs post turned into a rant about Vernon Wells. That's the kind of weekend it was for the Blue Jays.)

Perish any thought that Doherty's development might have been impacted negatively by the last stint Larry Mavety had behind the Frontenacs bench, from the 12-game mark on in 2007-08 through the first third of last season. That probably did little very to aid Doherty's progress.

As a general point, it would be nicer to see more analytical coverage like the above one from Brock Otten making it into the traditional media when it comes to junior coverage, hell, any sports coverage in Canada, please excuse the gross generalization.

The NHL draft is approaching (June 26-27 in Montreal) It is good a time as any to make such a point. Chances are, in almost any city with a major junior hockey team, you will read the same rundown of which players with a tie to the area has a chance to be drafted, with the potential draftees saying the same extemporaneous comments about how it is a honour just to be drafted. It is in keeping with what a journo friend once suggested would be the ultimate headline, "Athlete hopes to win upcoming game." Sometimes it's as if the writer is looks at the player more the way a publicist looks at a client. (It can be stressed enough this is a general concern. The spur to say it didn't even come from a hockey story.)

Newspapers are limited by finite space, other priorities and cut-beyond-the-bone staffing levels (especially anywhere in Ontario, and you know who to thank). However, they should not turtle when it comes to trying to provide critical analysis, trying to increase understanding or provides a more cohesive picture of what's going on. People already know Big Bobby Clobber Jr. would like to be drafted, the higher the better, since that is why he has been playing hockey since age three. Having that in there, of course, is based on the false premise reality can only be shown through someone else's quotes.

There are piles of empirical evidence which show people want more detailed info. Instead, you can look forward to hearing the same-ol'-same-ol' draft hopeful clich├ęs over the next 11, 12 days. I'm excited ... it's pretty surreal ... I haven't really thought about what team I'd like to be drafted by.

With Taylor Doherty, there is more to the story than just him being drafted. There's the story of how he went sideways a bit as a player in the eyes of informed observers, which jibes with what TVCogeco's Tim Cunningham said on Kinger's radio show during the Frontenacs season.

(Incidentally, the Belleville Bulls traded former Front Luke Pither to Barrie for three draft choices. So Luke Pither and Josh Brittain, Kingston's first-rounders in 2005 and '06, have been reunited. Brilliant!)

(What brought this on? Blame it on one OMD's column about the Blue Jays' Vernon Wells which ran in a Toronto newspaper over the weekend. The writer, who shall remain generic, had plenty of quotes from Wells, saying how he needs to put in extra work in the batting cage to snap out of his horrid hitting funk (now 0-for-17 and 138 at-bats without a home run). Of course, there was no mention of something most sentient Jays fans have already contemplated, that maybe this is as close to as good it gets for Wells. Five minutes of reading The Hardball Times or FanGraphs combined with a willingness to reason will show anyone that 40% of the way into a major league baseball season, a player's production has usually close to finding its own level, just like water. Of course, that cannot be allowed to creep into the picture. Vernon Wells is confident he's going to come around and be a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy like he was in 2006, so by God, write what he said.)

1 comment:

Ian H. said...

Blue Jays fans have 5 more seasons of Vernon's (lack of) production to look forward too. Yay! (forced smile)