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Secret Santa 2018: Alan has some huge shoes to fill, but he’s up for the challenge

It’s Alan’s turn to be highlight in our 2018 Secret Santa.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

There’s nothing harder than following in the footsteps of a great leader. When Acha stepped down as the managing editor in May of this year, the site was left with a massive hole to fill. Acha had grown the site exponentially and had become synonymous with Raw Charge and the Tampa Bay Lightning fandom as a whole.

Who would be crazy enough to volunteer to follow that up?

Alan, that’s who.

Known to the world as Loserpoints, Alan has taken up the mantle of interim site manager for Raw Charge. Now, the site is in good hands as it moves into the new era - an era that will see their beloved Bolts lose to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the playoffs year after year.

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

More than anything, Alan is a level head in an environment that is getting more bogged down with hot takes the deeper we get into the offseason. During a summer filled with high-stakes trade rumors linking the Bolts to the best defenseman in the NHL, Alan is a voice of reason. He takes a more nuanced approach than some, writing about the team’s salary cap structure, the big picture around the team’s offseason activity, and expectations going into the 2018-19 season. Heck, Alan even used the words “Realistic Expectations” in a headline, Is that even allowed on a fan blog?

Alan is a smart man who takes a deeper look at the game while highlighting advanced stats and analytical techniques. He does this in an open way that isn’t met with the same push-back we often see when others in the hockey writing community delve into analytically based articles.

As great as Alan’s analytics writing is, there is one completely different piece of his that stands out as my favorite. It was an easy choice - especially for someone like myself who is based in Toronto and is constantly consuming the dreck that is put forth by some in the main stream media here.

Of all the bad opinions on Steven Stamkos, Dave Feschuk’s is the worst

What comes afterward doesn’t even matter. The headline itself is perfection.

Dave Feschuk is the Toronto-based writer that was made famous by Phil Kessel during a postgame scrum back in 2015.

He is also the man who once called the mother of James Reimer in order to dig up dirt on the goaltender’s injury history.

Phil Kessel is right - Dave Feschuk has “always been like this” - and Alan is right - Feschuk’s opinion on Stamkos is really really bad. It shows a lot about Alan’s confidence in his own analysis of the league that he was willing to write an article about the world’s worst opinion.

Let’s see if Alan took it easy on one of the laziest writers in hockey:

Feschuk’s article is a masterclass in hot takery. The headline is Nobel caliber click bait. The first several paragraphs establish a premise so absurd that I was incredulously staring at my laptop wondering how the rest of the article could deliver on the opening’s promise. And predictably, the second half is a weak retreat into hedging and qualifying as the hot take whimpers to a cold unsatisfying finish.

Bringing the heat.

Somebody please remind Dave that the Lightning had the best line in the world in 2015. Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson were one of the best lines in recent NHL history. That was the key line for the Lightning in that run and that’s why Stamkos wasn’t getting all the high leverage minutes. Not some imaginary “lack of faith” in Stamkos.

Don’t roast him too badly, Alan.

Stamkos just had his best season in years. That’s an indisputable fact. Maybe Feschuk doesn’t know what the word “decline” means? That’s the only conclusion I can reach here. Whatever the case, that sentence is a masterstroke of a whiff.

This is the point in the article where Feschuk starts to backpedal. For most of the next six paragraphs, he hedges against his own absurd take. He talks about Stamkos’ injuries. He talks about the small sample size. He talks about Stamkos taking ownership when the team loses games.

Oh dang!

The next paragraph is the peak of the article. I can just imagine him hammering out these three sentences in ecstasy. Raptured by his muse. Lost in the effervescent love of an infinitely creative universe.

A million fire emojis.

This article is incredible. Alan takes to task a main-stream media member that is either ill-informed, disingenuous, or both.

We all know that Alan is a smart guy. He does a great job of laying out the kind of analysis that we don’t always get from traditional reporters. He writes about stats and takes a more analytical approach than some, but he does so in a way that makes the topic accessible to all.

That said, if I’m going to pick my favorite article by Alan, it’s going to be the one where he spits fire and teas apart the incredibly lazy work of Feschuck 100 times out of 100. Alan’s a heck of a writer and a great (interim) leader for the site to have. One day he might even surpass the great Achariya in the annals or Raw Charge history...naw, that’s crazy talk.