How Sports are like politics.

If you haven't turned on the TV in the last 6 months you may not know it, but we're in the middle of a presidential campaign. I know it snuck up on me too. Another thing you may be familiar with is that every political pundit in America can see the same thing, and have completely different opinions of what actually happened. Part of this is spin, their trying to get you to see the downside in the "other" candidate while showing the positive in their candidate. But I believe many times people aren't trying to spin, but are giving their honest assessment. It's just that honest assessment is completely biased. It's no secret, and it's nothing revolutionary, but people see what they want to see. We like to look at evidence that supports our opinions, but when there's evidence that opposes our opinion we gloss over it and don't pay any attention to it. It's the main (only) reason why websites like this and this exist, despite all evidence to the contrary.

How does this relate to hockey? Last season there was a big Theo- vs -Budaj debate among Avs fans. The Theo group scrutinized every goal Budaj gave up, looking for evidence that supported their opinion he was a better goalie. The Budaj group scrutinized Theo's every goal against. I will freely admit I was in the Budaj camp and put Theo through a level of scrutiny that exceeded the scrutiny I put on Budaj. It's natural to have a bias. (Coincidentally Quenneville is like the undecided voter who finally chose a candidate based upon which one wore a bigger lapel pin).

So this season the debate isn't between two goalies, but "Is Budaj good enough?" There are some of us who believe, almost fanatically, that he is, and there are those who had given up on him before the season even started, and the analysis of game 1 showed that bias from the start, as some ranged from the almost absurdly negative:
Was it all Peter Budaj's fault in his Avalanche team's 5-4 season-opening loss to the Boston Bruins Thursday night? No, just most of it.
to the moderately positive:
Honestly, I think you could chalk up most of Boston’s goals to lucky bounces or great execution rather than defensive lapses or bad play by Peter Budaj. The Bruins did get some early breakaways, but Budaj came up big to save his teammates’ proverbial bacon.

Personally, I think Budaj had a poor game, but it certainly wasn't the entire reason the Avs lost. The Ryder goal looked stoppable, and so did the Wheeler goal, but the defense certainly had quite a few miscues. On a few of the goals the Avs weren't marking the trailer, even though he was right in the slot, or closer. The Ryder goal is a perfect example, and on the game winning goal Kobasew was able to make a nice pass to Krejci because three Avs were going to the goal, and no one bothered to pick him up. The game winning goal was certainly not Budaj's fault, despite the implication from Dater's recap.

Most importantly, we need to remember to judge our team's play over stretches of games, and not just one game. Let's not get too worked up over one game. There was some poor play, and there was a lot of good play too. Let's wait a few games before ringing the panic button and getting the torches and pitchforks out.


  1. At first I thought the Flat Earth Society was a joke. But now I'm depressed.


  2. no.. it's real. Unfortunately completely real.