Monday, 22 December 2008

Franchise 101 - Part 05 - Objectivity

Part 5 of a series of posts regarding NHL (sports really) teams. The series will serve as a template by which a casual fan can better determine the present and future state of the team they love.

Each team enters each stage of the each annual cycle (a different post) in a certain competitive state or standing. The examination of this state, or standing, powers billion dollar industries (from bookies to sports writers to internet sports blogs... okay... maybe not billions) and those who win (read: bookies) are those who consistently exercise their ability to be objective about said state or standing.

A quick lesson on Objectivity and Subjectivity:


Yes. Halle Berry is better looking than my wife.


My wife is every good thing for me. She rocks my world in every way. Absolutely gorgeous. Get lost Halle.

The Goal

There is the rub. As long as the topic, or goal, is simply that of 'who is most attractive' then my example stands, if however, the issue is that of lifemate and compatibility then my example is stood on its head (pointed as it may be).

Does luck play a role? Of course. Is some subjectivity a good thing? Of course. Too much of either however is, typically, a bad thing.

The lesson - as important as it is to objectively classify the competitive standing of a team it is even more important to understand the goal at hand. Ostensibly this is to win the Stanley Cup.


In the NHL there are, really, only four categories needed to classify the competitive standing of each team: Play-off Longshot, Play-off Bubble Team, Play-off Probable and Cup Contender.

Play-off Longshot

The team, as currently constituted, won't be in the play-off chase. Too young, too injured, too dysfunctional, too short on talent in key spots and/or too much of any combination of the items already mentioned - it just isn't a play-off team.

Everything would have to break right for this team to make a run.

Play-off Bubble Team

The team, as currently constituted, has some issues but is strong enough in other areas to compensate. If the team can avoid the injury bug and/or long-term slumps from key players then they should be competitive most nights and right in the thick of it.

Throw in a career year from a key player and/or a rookie that blows the doors off and this team is in and may be making a run.

Play-off Probable

The team, as currently constituted, has few issues and a lot of strengths. Barring impairment caused by long-term injuries to, or unexplicable drops in performance from, key players or a total break-down in team chemistry this team will be 'in' the play-offs, not 'trying' to get in.

If a few things break right this team will be competing for a top-4 conference finish and can be considered a Cup contender.

Cup Contender

The team, as currently constituted, is a powerhouse that only total catastrophe can derail from a play-off berth. A solid team without any real weaknesses the roster will have players whose talent is undeniable, players whose performance is dependable, and players who know how to compete night after night. The team probably has a few players who have all three of those qualities.

These are strong teams that can survive the odd set-back quite easily and if players play like they should they will be in it to the end.


A GM who has an accurate gauge of the competitive standing of their team should have an advantage over the GM's who do not. I said 'should' because other factors may be in play; the most common being, of course, interference from higher management.

So again. Think about your team. Is it operating in a way that is consistent with what it's competitive standing is? What is the goal, or purpose to which, the management team is working towards? Are standing, actions and goal in sync?


The first was a bit of a trick question folks. Worry not, we'll get to another another day.

Franchise 101 - Introduction and Chapter Listing


Have a great evening everyone.

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