I’ve only ever rooted against one player wearing a Dallas Stars jersey. Sean Avery was gross the minute the late Ambassador of Fun made the deal happen for his former roommate.
I tend to not really root against any players anymore. I think even now being #Old and #Enlightened I wouldn’t even really root against Avery. I wouldn’t like him, but actively rooting against someone takes a lot of energy I can’t really spare any more with the mental and physical aches and pains of approaching middle age.
Jamie Oleksiak is no different. I never rooted against him. If he was successful it made the Stars successful and I like good hockey. Now, I DID root against his most fervent supporters who somehow couldn’t see him for what he was.
Did I root against him though? Never.
A Venn diagram of his supporters and those who bagged on John Klingberg was a circle. It drove me crazy in the way every Eric Nystrom goal made the ticking time bomb of his inevitable return to earth that more grizzly when it eventually exploded.
I didn’t get to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins fly (waddle?) into the American Airlines Center for their match up with the Stars live on Friday night for the “Return of the Rig” or whatever it was called. As with most things, I got to live vicariously through Twitter until recently.
I stumbled across this and cringed:
I came across this and laughed:
This made me laugh even more:
Despite all of the laughter and merriment, despite all of the schadenfreude, and despite the Stars eventually winning 4-3, Oleksiak was simply there. He merely existed in a universe with much bigger players who made much bigger impacts. You barely noticed him if you watched the game which is probably the best you can hope from him consistently.
Oleksiak was brutal at times for the Stars. Last season and the 21 games he spent in Dallas during the 2018 season he was just kind of there. He hovered around 50% Corsi, Fenwick, Shots, and Scoring Chance percentages while not producing much offense at all with 26 points in a career 162 games.
The snippet above from www.hockeyviz.com shows that defensively there are still a lot of chances coming from in close with Oleksiak on the ice. He’s just there taking up space.
And you know, there’s value in that. The NHL needs guys at the bottom of the roster. He was really bad early on, and developed into a back of the roster player. The outrage and fanfare over Oleksiak is overblown either way. He got treated like Alex Goligoski and John Klingberg after a rough start to his career, but at this point being Mad Online about him is a waste of energy.
Oleksiak may turn out to be a useful addition for the Penguins. I wish him nothing but the best. Sidney Crosby may be the best thing to ever happen for his career given that he’s humming along at 56% Corsi when on the ice with him (46% without). He hit what always seemed like the most reasonable ceiling he would hit, and then moved on. The nature of the draft being what it is, Oleksiak closed his story in Dallas as a successful pick.
Hey, click these
2/12/18 – Team USA Men Would Have Been Really Good
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2/6/18 – .insert(“Really Bad Chess Pun”);
2/5/18 – Mooterart From Around the Internet
2/5/18 – Tyler Seguin’s 25th goal