Welcome to the latest entry in Pension Plan Puppets' hard-hitting, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative series. I don't really like writing about myself, so I decided that instead of writing my own biography, I'd take this opportunity to answer some of the questions I'm most frequently asked, in a segment we will intriguingly title "Frequently Asked Questions".
[Note: We haven't actually won a Pulitzer. Yet! Because the 2015 nominations are still ongoing. But it seems inevitable.]
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Are you a real doctor? I've heard that Dr. Aglikepull is just a pen name.
A: This is a difficult one. It depends what you mean by "real" or "doctor" or "Aglikepull". Or if you think credentials from the University of Phoenix Online are "real" credentials. They assure me that my diploma allows me to practice medicine in at least 14 states and 2 provinces.
[Note: My lawyers inform me that I need to be clear that I do not actually have a medical degree from the University of Phoenix Online. But I do expect they'll be getting back to me about my admission any day now. Fingers crossed!]
Q: If you're not really a doctor what does "draglikepull" mean?
A: "Drag Like Pull" is a great song by one of my favourite bands. I can't actually find a streaming version of it online, but here's a live cut that's pretty close to the album version.
Q: You're the dumbest hockey writer I've ever seen.
A: I get this one a lot, and I want to clarify that this is not, strictly speaking, a question. But I do want you to know that your concerns have been noted and a customer service representative will get back to you as soon as queue times shorten.
Q: I'm sick of you stats guys taking our beautiful game and reducing it to math?
A: Again, not really a question. I see how you tried to sneak it in there, but you can't just put a question mark at the end of a statement and pretend you're adhering to proper Q&A format.
Q: If you were a character in High Fidelity, which of your own articles would you put on an All-Time Top 5 list?
A: When considering which of my articles were worth sharing again, it occurred to me that we're all going to die one day and everything we do is pointless. [Note: I have been instructed by my lawyers to clarify that it's totally possible that we'll discover the technology to turn ourselves into immortal cyborgs before death strikes.] But I guess these ones are interesting, as far as that sort of thing goes:
Hockey is Deterministic and Luck-Based: This is one of the first things I wrote here, and it's still one of my favourites. I used Texas Hold 'Em as an analogy to explain what exactly we mean when we talk about "luck" in hockey. Also I guess there's a bit about quantum physics.
Adjusting Salary Cap Expectations: Maple Leafs 2012 Edition: In this piece I explained why it can be helpful to express player salaries as a % of the salary cap rather than in raw numbers if we're comparing players who signed contracts in different seasons. This article lead me to write a quick web app that allows you to do exactly that.
Measuring Puck Possession: The End, Part 1: For 10 games in 2011 I manually tracked how long each team possessed the puck in the offensive zone. This article is a summary of my results. As far as I know, it was the first time anyone had ever compared zone time counted manually to Corsi. One of several articles where I urged teams to get rid of stay-at-home defencemen and make sure all 6D are good in transition. There is no Part 2 (there was going to be, but it was too much work and I abandoned it).
How The NHL's Big Markets Use The CBA To Bankrupt The Small Markets And Maximise Profits: Self-explanatory title. This is probably the most widely-read and shared thing I've ever written about hockey. I'm particularly proud of it, as I think it's one of the rare times I've managed to come up with a way of thinking about things that no one else seemed to have done yet.
How Long Do Attacking Zone Shifts Last?: I debunked a kind of ridiculous claim made by former Leafs assistant coach Greg Cronin about how long the Leafs kept the puck in the offensive zone. I found that the majority of times teams gain possession of the puck in the offensive zone, the defensive team gets the puck out again in under 10 seconds. This was compiled from the data I collected during my Measuring Puck Possession series (1090 individually tracked zone shifts).
PPP Story Time: Prince Kessel and the Captain of the Guard: I wrote a short story. People seemed to like it.
Randy Carlyle WOWYs: In this post I tried to calculate just how much Randy Carlyle drags down an NHL team's Corsi. The answer seems to be about 5-7%. Which is a lot. Crazy a lot.
Q: That's 7 articles. I asked for 5.
A: Again, I really need to be clear about the fact that if a sentence ends with a period, it isn't a question.