Puck Daddy Countdown: Time to lay off the juniors

Lias Andersson knows that if you’re not first you’re last. (Getty Images)

8. Saying Winnipeg is a cold, dark place that no one in the league likes to go to

Have you heard, folks? It is not fun to go to Winnipeg in January, but it’s even less fun to say that!

Where would anyone get the idea that Winnipeg is dark and cold in January? I mean, its average temperature in January is a balmy 4 degrees (minus-16 centigrade) and you get a beautiful, wonderful, eight and a half hours of sunlight every day!

I recently read something about how half of Canadians suffer from some amount of seasonal affective disorder and I gotta tell ya: If the number isn’t 100 in Winnipeg, it really ought to be.

But you can’t actually say that or a bunch of really dumb people are like, “Uhh actually we have nice restaurants.” They do, from what I understand, and it’s easy to get the whole “civic pride” factor here. But do you know where else they have nice restaurants? Everywhere. And know what everywhere doesn’t have? A winter climate reminiscent of John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”

I have to imagine this is a “no one beats up my little brother but me” thing, because no one in Winnipeg is walking around like a minus-10 Tuesday where it’s only light out while everyone is at work thinking that’s, y’know, desirable.

But still, the Sharks video was very clearly just In Fun and anyone who was actually offended by this numbers in the single digits.

We all know this.

7. Being Cody Franson

Cody Franson being put on and subsequently clearing waivers highlights what we can now refer to safely as the Arcobello/Franson Corollary, which is to say that there are always going to be guys whose underlying numbers are very good — albeit against low-level competition — and whom internet statsmen lose their crap over, but whom NHL decision-makers just don’t care about.

The thing you have to understand about Franson is that he’s probably a pretty good third-pair guy but some people want him to be more than that and the people controlling the levers of power in this league are skeptical that he’s even that much of a player.

It creates an interesting dynamic of incredulity at how little he’s valued among one party, and dismissal of literally anything he provides if he screws up one (1) time.

The stat I saw was that Franson has played the majority of his minutes with Duncan Keith and they’ve dummied the competition (56-plus percent in just about every underlying category) but been outscored 8-3. Their on-ice PDO together? Buddy, it’s 93.7.

 Meanwhile, the underlyings are so good that online people are flipping out. Overall, his value is probably somewhere in the middle, which is to say that, again, he probably helps most teams’ bottom pairs but if you want him to do more than that, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get burned on it.

So I have a marketing pitch for players like this going forward:

“Cody Franson: He’s alright and that’s probably it!”

6. Being Brent Seabrook

In addition to Franson being waived, the other big funny thing that happened this week for Chicago’s blue line is that Brent Seabrook got healthy-scratched. Have a look at the numbers at any point in the past two seasons, and you’ll go “Ah yeah, that makes sense.”

What’s funny is this has been his best season, in a lot of ways, since 2015, but the idea that an old-ass defenseman who’s played a ton of games (almost 1,100 between the regular season and playoffs) and hasn’t been good for a few years needs to be healthy-scratched now? Yeah, it’s two years too late. Does Seabrook need to be better? Sure. Will he be? Probably not. Chicago’s married to this guy for SIX more years and it’s like, “Buddy, are you a mid-’90s hardcore comp? Because Tomorrow Will Be Worse.”

So if Quenneville is disappointed with his play now, why wasn’t he in 2015-16, or 2016-17? Because Chicago was winning and he was a Core Guy. Now Chicago isn’t winning and the answers aren’t in that room, and oh jeez, we’re making what people are framing panic decisions. Despite the fact that they shouldn’t surprise literally anyone, including the player himself.


5. Being an Oilers fan

I love that Peter Chiarelli went out there this week and was like, “I’m not gonna fire the coach,” and everyone looked around like “We didn’t think you were.”

Because obviously, as multiple people have pointed out this week, wow the roster isn’t good enough. Who could have seen this coming? Everyone but Peter Chiarelli. Let’s put it this way: When the entire — ENTIRE! — Edmonton media says the GM needs to go, that’s monumental.

But I can’t help think of the poor Oilers fans who were promised so much this season and are instead now saying to themselves, “Maybe we’re gonna get Dahlin.” Ahhh, sweetie, you don’t deserve this.

4. Being Marc Bergevin

Speaking of delusional GMs, Bergevin trying to get help for this team seems like a not-great idea. The kind of idea that, I don’t know, ends up getting a GM fired?

The fact that we’re probably going to have not one but TWO mid-season GM firings before any single coach gets canned is pretty incredible. I bet that’s never happened before.

3. Mid-season awards candidates

All those guys are gonna shoot 26 percent forever!

2. Travis Dermott

New Toronto Media Darling Travis Dermott got the call-up this week and is already earning his keep after scoring 17 points in 26 games from the blue line. And if the Toronto media is talking good about you, that means you’re going to cash in when it’s time for your next contract.

Problem is: Dermott is in Year 1 of his ELC. Well, just keep scoring, kid.

It’s only been 28 minutes over two games but the numbers are unreal and he’s not exactly playing the stiffs on the other team, either. Plus he’s getting power play time already. Like three more good games, max, and Mike Babcock might turn this kid loose.

The sky really does seem to be the limit on him right now, and if he shores up the Leafs D to the point that they’re Cup competitive — i.e. if he’s a top-four defenseman in his first year as an NHLer — then this kid is gonna get paaaaaaid…….. in three years.

1. Lias Andersson is my special boy

Second place is the first loser and Lias Andersson understands that better than anyone. Anyone who was mad at him is a crybaby.

But hey, the media really wants to be able to wail on children who displease them, which is why that picture of all the Canadian kids on their phones after winning gold was such a clicks-getter. “Can you believe these millennials ha ha ha!” Well first of all, kids born after 1995 aren’t millennials.

Second, yeah, imagine that, they want to be on their phones. But what if, and I know this is some truly twisted, stretched logic here, but what if they wanted to talk to their grammy and grampy and friends back home about how they just achieved this great thing. If they had cell phones in the 1985 Oilers’ locker room, do you think Jarri Kurri isn’t getting at someone halfway around the world about it? Think Gretzky isn’t texting his dad? Get outta here.

(Not ranked this week: Pulling a guy’s beard hairs out.

On the one hand: Gross and painful. Don’t do this to people!

On the other hand: It’s like that football thing, where anything a guy can grab is considered part of the uniform and totally fair game. So if you don’t want to lose some beard hairs in a fight, don’t get in a fight when you have a big long beard that frankly was getting pretty gross.)

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)