As you may have seen in Friday’s Lightning Round, Alan (a.k.a. loserpoints) announced that he is stepping aside as the Managing Editor of Raw Charge. Despite spending an inordinate amount of time watching bad horror movies, he spearheaded a tremendous increase in viewership for this site. This metal-core aficionado has also been at the forefront of incorporating an analytical perspective on the Lightning’s performance. He’s done this as an editor, but more importantly as a writer.
One of the issues with analytical writing is that it can be hard to digest for fans not entirely familiar with jargon. Some writers get overly technical and their articles become a word jumble of acronyms and abbreviations and their point gets lost amid a tangle of icF%, GAR, iblk, and xsv%’s. Not so with Alan. He is able to present the data clearly (and often in chart form) and have it make sense in the context of the point he is trying to make.
As you will see from a couple of the links below, he also had a sense of humor about things as well. Which, at times as a Lightning fan, is definitely much needed.
So, in lieu of a normal Lightning Round, some of the staff at Raw Charge gathered together behind Alan’s back to come up with some of our favorite articles that he’s posted over the last few seasons. Cheers!
“Alan took a potential lackluster post and turned it into a hilarious commentary on the Atlantic Division as a whole. It showcases his self-deprecating humor, underneath which hides a hilarious and talented writer. It also shows his willingness as an editor to take over the days that can be rough for his staff, like the day after Thanksgiving, for the good of keeping up with content on the site.”
The Wings are bread rolls. Except they’re burnt. Someone forgot they were in the oven and now they look like charcoal and the fire alarm is going off. Don’t even think about tasting them. Awful. Can’t be salvaged. Straight into the garbage and try again next year.
This one stands out to me simply because he took a problem (why the Lightning were at the bottom of the standings) something we’d been discussing amongst ourselves, broke it down by looking at the data that was provided and then came up with a logical solution, even if it was one that we didn’t want to admit to ourselves (Andrei Vasilevskiy was struggling).
As an added bonus, Vasilevskiy went out and won 19 of his next 20 starts with the one loss being in overtime.
But this year is a particular kind of frustrating. Because most of the time, we’re not watching bad or even mediocre hockey. This team looks good, as would be expected from this lineup, often enough that it’s confounding how they can still be struggling to win games.
“Alan is an annoyingly prolific writer who is both thoughtful and perceptive. He has always managed to sift through the tides of both analytics and social consciousness to strike just the right tone for our site — compassionate and precise. It’s rare that a writer like this pours his energy into a hobby with very little return, but we were lucky to have him as long as we did. I hope to continue to read his ten-game reports (even if we won’t have ten games in a row in a while), and it was lovely to see him go from strength to strength here at Raw Charge.
“Here is some vintage content from 2016! It is also the start of Alan’s interest in analytics and shows the rise of Nikita Kucherov.”
As a Lightning fan, I was naturally curious about how Lightning players would look by this measure as well as how this measure would compare to other accepted offensive statistics. And as I always do when I’m curious, I made a graph.
Achariya has a second post as well.
“It was just a fun article that also doubled down on our universal annoyance at Jonathan Drouin.”
In this case, empty-calorie scoring appears to be a real thing. Some players pile up points but don’t do as much to help their teams win as would be expected based on those point totals. The interesting thing is which players fall into that bucket. In some cases, the names match expectations. And in others, they don’t.
“I liked this one because it was so simple and pedantic, but also really smart and useful.” [Hardev also suggested this one simply for the title — J.G.]
That’s why Evolving Hockey last year introduced Standings Points Above Replacement (SPAR). Intuitively, saying a player is worth 7 SPAR gives a more immediate sense of value than saying a player is worth 3.2 WAR. If you tell me a player takes a team from 41 to 44 wins, I know that’s useful but it doesn’t translate directly to the standings. If you tell me a player takes a team from 89 points to 96 points, I know exactly what that means.
“What I like about this article is that Alan is taking a term which is mostly used by fans as a slang and bringing it to the analytical level. Basically Alan created a new advanced statistic which might be very useful for people who’re trying to measure an impact of a specific goalie.”
But the advantage is that if we create a numeric version of that feeling, we can count it. And if we can count it, we can see who gives their team a chance to win most often and who steals games most often. That’s fun!
Igor also had a second article he enjoyed.
“Here is another article which I liked a lot. It’s written in a very accessible language, so if you have just basic knowledge of hockey stats, you will still understand it.”
I feel confident saying that Point is better than Stamkos. I feel less confident saying he’s better than Kucherov or Hedman. But his numbers over the last few years support the case that he is, especially when we consider his defensive impact on top of his offensive contributions. At the very least, the discussion around the Lightning shouldn’t be about a big three any longer. It should be about a big four. Point is every bit as good as the other three and possibly better.
Also, the subtitle on this article is *chef’s kiss.
“This article stands out to me because, as a certified Draft Nut here at the site, it was really interesting to read and learn about draft pick valuation, because teams often will trade mid-to-late-round picks on a whim - and also because I was incredibly attached to Nolan Foote and wanting to know if whether or not the Bolts trading for Barclay Goodrow right after they dealt Foote for Blake Coleman was worth it. It’s also another really solid example of the unique work that Alan did for the site and for fans who aren’t as familiar or well-versed in the analytics or numbers side to hockey blogging, this was an easily comprehensible and concise read.”
If the trade had been announced as the Lightning trading their second round pick, which will likely be in the range we’re discussing in terms of a blended value, would the reaction to this trade be different? Likely, yes. Trading first round picks leads to visceral responses as it always feels as if the team is trading away a future star. But the Lightning didn’t just trade a first round pick in this deal. The traded the difference between a late first and a mid-third, which is a different thing.
Lauren also enjoyed it when Alan took a slightly less analytical approach to his writing.
“There’s not much to explain for this one other than that it’s hilarious, full of the kind of sarcastic humor I love, and demonstrates how RC will always report on the good, the bad, and the Marchand-related of Bolts news.”
Another source who is definitely not the source above and also definitely not me described this incident as, “just really weird honestly.” The source continued when pressed, “The guy is a menace and should have to wear a full cage until he can learn to act like a human being.”
Thank you for all of your work as our fearless leader, Alan. Looking forward to more articles in the future (hopefully one breaking down how the Lightning made their way through the strangest playoffs in the history of the NHL).