Pierre McGuire Endorses the Kings, and All of The West


NBC Sports analyst and Inside the Glass commentator Pierre McGuire was recently interviewed on NHL Network.  Pierre believes the Kings “have a legitimate chance to repeat . . .”  Sort of.

He continued on to say, “much like I said Chicago has a legitimate chance to repeat.”

“The problem you have in the Western Conference is Chicago and L.A. probably have to play one another at some point, so somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose.  Then you’ve got the improved Dallas Stars, who I think are going to cause a lot of problems for people in the Western Conference.  You’ve got an Anaheim team that’s added some key players, plus a brilliant young goalie in John Gibson, um, which I think is going to cause some problems for some people in the West, and Ryan Kesler, obviously, everybody knows moving from Vancouver to Anaheim.  And then the other thing is, is that, the St. Louis Blues, I think, are an anxious team and they’re a motivated team, and they’ve experienced a lot of playoff disappointment.  And quite frankly, I think the Vancouver Canucks in the West will be one of the most improved teams in the whole National Hockey League.”

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What an analysis Pierre.  In that mouthful of rambling Pierre only touches on the subject of the question he was asked.  It seems, after this expert analysis, we’re informed that one team is going to have to make it out of the Western Conference to play for the Stanley Cup.  Can you believe it?

Frankly I’m surprised that Pierre neglected to mention the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks; all have supremely talented rosters, and are considered Cup contenders.  Perhaps he’s just a fan of all the teams in the Western Conference.  The Arizona Coyotes, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers all have something to contribute.  Why not just preview the entire West?

Pierre could have just answered the question.  He didn’t have to compliment the Kings, he didn’t have to put anyone else down.  It was just an opinion question, does he think the Kings can repeat?  Yes, or no.  Simple right?  Nah.

“Everybody wants to pick L.A. to repeat but I think Chicago’s going to have a lot to say about that; Dallas is going to have a lot to say about that, St. Louis is going to have a lot to say about that, Anaheim’s going to have a lot to say about that, and I think Vancouver is going to have a lot to say about that.”

To which the chuckling dumbfounded NHL Network commentators could only reply, “A lot of people are going to have a lot to say about a lot of different things.”

It’s a lot of talk and not much doing.  But again, a lot of nonsensical talking is Pierre’s style.  And it’s well documented what other pundits think of Pierre.

Somehow this dunce has two Stanley Cup rings.  #Disgusting.

At the end of the interview, shockingly, Pierre got one thing right.  He was asked about the influence of the new hot-button, buzz-term in the NHL: Analytics.  Statistical and computer generated analysis, and metrics.

“I think a lot of guys are going to get hired that aren’t hockey guys that are computer guys that understand how to compile information. The problem is, is that, how do you judge how to compile that information.  If you’re not a hockey person you really don’t know what a good hit is, or a good shot block is or what a good scoring chance is, or what a good scoring chance against is.  So that’s going to be, the devil is going to be in the details; in terms of the people that are actually compiling this information.  Number one.  Number two is there is yet to be an analytic formula for grit, and one of the greatest things in our sport, is cause we have no out of bounds, is grit.   And until you can find a formula for that, I’d still think you need, and I, pardon this because I don’t mean to make this a war thing, but you need to have boots on the ground.  And I consider boots on the ground in the National Hockey League scouts.  Scouts are the most important people, they’re the life-blood of any organization.  If you don’t have good scouts, you cannot win.  So you can go out and hire all the analytical geniuses you want, if you don’t have good scouts you have no chance.  Zero chance.  Cause analytics don’t tell the story of our game.”

Mar 31, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) speaks with NBC

It’s counterintuitive to agree with Pierre but this is one of the few instances where he’s right on.  One of the greatest things about the sport of hockey is that there is no out-of-bounds.  You’re locked in with all the looneys running around on skates; unleashed in a six-foot-tall plexiglass and plastic boarded structure.  There’s no where to run.  There’s no where to hide.  Players have to be tough.  Players have to battle to survive.  No matter how skilled you are, you must be aware of the puck, the play, and your opponents at all times.

Nov 18, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Network broadcaster Pierre McGuire (left) interviews Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Gibbons (49) after Gibbons was named the first star of the game for scoring his first career NHL goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Stats are important in sports.  Over the past few years, the emphasis of stats has increased, to the point that stats are pushing the actual sport out of the way.  But if you want to properly assess the potential and skill-set of a player, you must watch how they play the game.  There are numerous ways to contribute to a team in hockey, and not all of them are obvious.  Not all of them can be computed.

There isn’t a more shining example than The Fearless Leader of the Kings, Captain Dustin Brown.  Brown has been criticized for his performance last season and his lack of numbers.  But Brown adds more value that just his stats.

Have you ever seen Dustin Brown play a bad game when it’s center stage and the pressure is on?  Whether it’s the Olympics or the NHL Playoffs, Brown is clutch.  He scores big goals, either to tie the game or take the lead, throws big hits, or grinds the puck out of the corner, setting his teammates up with opportunities to score – grit as Pierre calls it.

Brown is a leader.  You don’t have to be in the dressing room, yet it’s immediately evident.  We can see it by the way he plays the game.  Brown leads through his actions.  Brown’s a linchpin player; vital to his teams.  He’s not the most talented, or the highest scorer, but Brown will put the team on his back and carry them uphill through the mud to glory.

Play like that is the heart of hockey.  Heart can’t be quantified.

Pierre knows how to win in this game.  His unique and astute prospective is like betting on horse racing: if you bet on every horse, you win!