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Silliness From Steve Simmons

One of the motivations that keeps me blogging about hockey is seeing some of the nonsense that can be produced by the mainstream media.  That isn’t to say that everything they produce is nonsense but a regular amount of what comes out of the mainstream media is silliness that any good blogger would never even consider posting.  A clear example of this is the Steve Simmons piece up on Slam Sports.  He argues that the Columbus Blue Jackets must trade their first pick in the 2012 Entry Draft (which will more than likely be first overall).  How does that work?  He thinks last place teams can rebuild by trading their top draft picks?

He argues that the number one pick in the draft will be a Russian.  Nail Yakupov is top rated by Central Scouting and Mikhail Grigorenko and Alex Galchenyuk come next.  He argues that Columbus (and only Columbus?) cannot draft Russians.

Columbus has used two high draft picks to select Russians in Nikita Filatov and Nikolai Zherdev and since neither of them worked out for the Blue Jackets they must be incapable of drafting a Russian ever again.  Two data points are used to prove that Columbus cannot possibly draft any Russian and succeed with it.  Does anyone really believe that claim?  Had Columbus drafted Alexander Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin, does anyone believe they would have failed?

It is true that Columbus has drafted poorly in their history.  That is a big reason they have not been a successful franchise.  They haven’t done well developing their draft picks.  Is the solution to that to stop drafting?  Drafting is the most likely method that Columbus will acquire a good enough core to be a competitive team.  I don’t care what happened when they drafted Russians in the past.  Nail Yakupov is not Nikita Filatov.  Mikhail Grigorenko is not Nikolai Zherdev.  In all likelihood the 2012 players are better.  They will be drafted earlier in their respective entry drafts.

In the case of both of the Columbus drafted Russians there were problems with how the organization treated the developing player.  In both cases that led to the player wanting out of the organization.  That is the big problem that Columbus must fix.  They have to set themselves up as a place that players want to play. 

Steve Simmons is using a fallacy called special pleading.  He claims that Columbus and only Columbus cannot draft Russians.  Other teams can.  If Columbus trades the rights to Yakupov, he can succeed in the different organization, he just cannot in Columbus.  That doesn’t make sense.

The Columbus Blue Jackets need to rebuild.  Their best chance is to rebuild through the draft.  Steve Simmons may have a poorly thought out logically flawed theory that says otherwise, but the Blue Jackets will ignore him and they are intelligent to do so.  My big concern is that stories that are as poorly thought out as this one get regularly published in the mainstream media.  Shouldn’t we expect better?

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You are using one columnist to make a conclusion about the mainstream media not much differently than Simmons is using two Russians to make a point about Columbus.

Posted by Mainstream Media on 03/18/12 at 03:29 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Silly columns like this come out on a regular basis from the mainstream media.  I don’t write enopugh blogposts to point them all out.  That does not say that nothing good comes out of the mainstream media - a lot of what they produce is good.  That doesn’t change the fact that a regular stream of bad columns keep being published and no respectable blogger would ever have phoned in such a bad column.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/18/12 at 04:24 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The thing that scares me about Simmons is that he’s somehow earned a pulpit upon which to spew “silliness” every week—and his columns are indeed quite daffy in nature. Sometimes the assertions made by the most widely-read weekly columnists really amaze me in terms of what they can get away with because they’ve established themselves as media “heavies.”

At this point, I’m just so used to Simmons and several of his peers tossing off utter nonsense that I tend to ignore it or simply take their comments with a 100-lb bag of rock salt, but it does worry me that less-seasoned readers might take the Sunday morning bunch a little more seriously than those who are familiar with the weekly bluster from Simmons, Brooks, Garrioch, Cox, Fischler, Gleason, Dupont, sadly, Fisher, and disturbingly of late, more and more rambling from two of the best in the business in Duhatschek and Matheson.

Sometimes someone needs to state the obvious out loud, and I’m glad you did just that.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/18/12 at 04:52 PM ET


I don’t think it’s completely silly, although his reasoning might be. At the 2004 Entry Draft the TSN crew talked about Washington considering trading their pick because you can get back a useful player and picks. I imagine any deal would involve at least two firsts and either a mid-round pick or a roster player. As part of his dealing to grab both Sedins Brian Burke traded #4 and two thirds for #1 (all in a weak draft). There will be at least one top-end forward available at that point (don’t forget Forsberg, who some people have over Galchenyuk). There will be multiple top-end D available, too.

Columbus’ roster I don’t think is too far off from being competitive, just a real goalie and a first-line forward. I don’t think it needs a complete rebuild.

Posted by Ralph on 03/18/12 at 05:33 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


While your point that it is not necessarily a bad move to trade a top draft pick is correct, it is telling that your examples show that it is.  Washington did not trade their first overall pick and selected Alexander Ovechkin.  They would be calling it a mistake today if they did otherwise.  Vancouver traded up in the draft to get two of the top three picks and select the Sedins.  I am sure they are happy they did that.  It was Tampa Bay who traded away their first round pick and I am sure in hindsight they would like that back.

The point is most of the time when a team trades a top draft pick it comes back to hurt them.  Trading the Columbus first round draft pick because Filatov and Zherdev did not work out would be the height of stupidity.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/18/12 at 07:39 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

more and more rambling from two of the best in the business in Duhatschek and Matheson.

I was going to bring up Duhatschek.  He’s usually great, but I feel like the quality has fallen a lot lately.

I miss Bruce Macleod.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/18/12 at 07:41 PM ET


Simmons is crap, but you’re being a bit hard on him.

The premise of his column isn’t that Steven Simmons thinks the Blue Jackets shouldn’t draft Russians because they haven’t had success with them. The premise is that the Blue Jackets won’t draft a Russian because the Blue Jackets feel they can’t strike out a third time with one of them.

You’re right that this rationale is stupid, but Simmons is just the messenger here, not the decision-maker or consultant. Howson would be a more appropriate target for scorn in reading the column.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/18/12 at 09:48 PM ET


No problem Columbus:  I’ll give you Lupul and Schenn which is a win win for both teams.

Posted by BrianBurke from Toronto on 03/18/12 at 10:47 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


Howson doesn’t think that.  It’s something that came out of Simmons head and into his weekly column.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/18/12 at 11:06 PM ET


It’s something that came out of Simmons head and into his weekly column.

No, it’s something that was specifically quoted in his weekly column as being the thoughts of more than one league executive.

Simmons is a reported, he simply reported it.

Posted by Garth on 03/19/12 at 12:42 AM ET


The Jackets will trade the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft should the lottery goes their way, a bevy of sources say.

They can’t pick a Russian so they can’t use the pick,” an NHL executive insists and he’s not alone in his belief. “They’ll have to trade it.”

Like I said, the column isn’t Simmons telling the jackets what they should do. The column is Simmons saying what the Jackets plan to do and why, citing other people.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/19/12 at 02:49 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

When you quote unnamed league executives you are basically quoting a wild guess.  Its like quoting Eklund’s source.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/19/12 at 04:38 AM ET


The accuracy or inaccuracy of Simmons’ sources does not change that this column is about what those sources say Columbus will do, not about what Simmons thinks Columbus should do.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/19/12 at 04:05 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Let’s be clear here.  Simmons is in Toronto.  In all likelihood his source is in Toronto as well (if not then Ottawa, Montreal, Detroit, Buffalo somewhere close).  Can they really know anything reliable about what Scott Howson is thinking?  If this source says something silly about the Columbus Blue Jackets, that doesn’t make a justification for an article, it is merely something silly about the Blue Jackets.  The fact he uses his weekly pulpit to spead the something silly as though it is reasonable speculation is unreasonable.  Can’t he find something that actually happened to write about?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/19/12 at 04:33 PM ET


That’s an entirely different issue than what you’ve criticized him for. If you think Simmons uses bad sources, write about that, not this

He argues that the Columbus Blue Jackets must trade their first pick in the 2012 Entry Draft (which will more than likely be first overall)...Steve Simmons is using a fallacy called special pleading.  He claims that Columbus and only Columbus cannot draft Russians.

which is something he never did write about.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/19/12 at 04:46 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I criticize him for writing an article about a silly premise.  Whether he launders it through an unnamed source or not is not relevant.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/19/12 at 08:00 PM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

Zherdev was good.  Something about him turned people off but it wasn’t his level of production.  Even in PHI, his last stop, he was productive for the amount of ice time he was getting.  He was productive at every stop.  I’m not sure what it was about him that rubbed his coaches the wrong way (Laviolette seems to have hated him) but an objective look at his production shows that he was an asset on the ice.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 03/27/12 at 03:49 PM ET

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com