Hogging II: Son of hogging

by Michael Bérubé on April 25, 2007


Among the many reasons to love the late Pierre Bourdieu, quite apart from the range and quality of his scholarly work, is the fact that he was willing to appear in the 1977 film <i>Slap Shot</i> as the character of Moe Wanchuk. He wrote about the experience many years later in <a href=”http://www.homme-moderne.org/raisonsdagir-editions/catalog/bourdieu/contref.html”><i>Contre-feux</i></a>, but most English-speaking readers remain completely unaware of Bourdieu’s brief career as a Charlestown Chief. I mean, talk about putting your cultural capital at risk:

Only kidding! Moe Wanchuk was played by <a href=”http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076723/”>Brad Sullivan</a>. But I had you going for a second, didn’t I? A millisecond? A microsecond? A femtosecond?

OK, never mind. The important thing is that round two of the NHL playoffs begins tonight (it’s just after 5:30 pm Eastern (US) time as I post), and I’m here to explain why <a href=”https://crookedtimber.org/2007/04/11/hogging-time-at-last/”>I went a lousy 2-2</a> in my predictions for round one of the Eastern conference matchups. (And no, not all my CT posts will be hockey posts through the month of June. I have something <i>completely different</i> coming up soon, I promise.) Short version: triumph of hope over experience. Longer version: with the peppy young Penguins, I was torn between “they’re too young to go deep in the playoffs” and “they’re too young to know that they’re too young to go deep in the playoffs.” In the end, though, the problem with the Penguins wasn’t their youth; it was their lack of depth. Eleven different Senators scored for Ottawa; the Penguins got their goals from only five players. After the first three games, all eyes were on the Pens’ underachieving rookie phenom Evgeni Malkin, but I think the role players — guys like Malone, Talbot, Armstrong, and Christensen — bear a good deal of the burden as well. The Penguins actually did a decent job of shutting down the Sens’ big guns, and their defensemen (as well as their goaltender) answered their most severe critics; but the Penguins never managed to sustain the kind of three-line attack you now need for playoff hockey. As a result, they were outshot badly in almost every game (managing only 26, 21, 19, 24, and 20 shots — and getting outshot 37-21 even in the game they won), and almost every game had these debilitating seven- and eight-minute dead spots during which the Penguins never came anywhere near the Ottawa net. The Sens put their big defensemen (Volchenkov and Phillips) on the Crosby line, keeping young Sid’s offensive production within human limits, and the Penguins had little else to counter with. And then when the Sens won the pivotal game four, 2-1, <i>on a goal by that very same Volchenkov</i>, things were lookin’ bad for the plucky Pens. Volchenkov scored one other goal this year, in 78 games. His last playoff goal came in 2003. When your Volchenkovs are scoring, you know you’re ready for playoff hockey.

So, for next year: the Penguins need their second tier of forwards to step it up a notch. And though everyone’s saying they need more sinew on defense, I’d like to suggest that they need one more two-way defenseman like Sergei Gonchar: because when the chips were down in games four and five, and the Sens started playing some seriously stifling defense, the Penguins found themselves with only one defenseman capable of joining the play and creating odd-man rushes. Which is to say, the Penguins didn’t have many odd-man rushes. Or many shots. Or many goals. Or many wins.

About my miscall of Tampa Bay / New Jersey: look, if you will, at <a href=”http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=270422020″>the record of the ice time logged by the top lines of the Lightning and the Devils.</a> (Boy, they really keep good stats these days, don’t they?) The Elias-Gomez-Gionta line played about 17 minutes of the game for New Jersey. For Tampa Bay, Vincent Lecavalier played 26:44, Brad Richards 29:02, and Martin St. Louis an unreal 31:35. (A team’s best defenseman, like the Lightning’s Dan Boyle or the Ducks’ Chris Pronger, might log thirty minutes in a game. But forwards almost never do.) That’s not because Tampa Bay was on the brink of elimination and overplaying its stars; you can see the same pattern in <a href=”http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=270418020″>game four</a>, the game that salvaged the series for the Demonic Ones. It’s because, as I said two weeks ago, Tampa Bay only has a couple of scoring threats. I thought that the sheer talent of St. Louis and Lecavalier would be enough to overcome a Devils team that isn’t as solid as Devils teams of yore, and if Tampa Bay had pulled out the OT victory in game four, I might have been borne out; but the Lightning were so listless in that OT that I had to wonder whether the top guys weren’t depleted by overuse. I still think the Devils are weak and vulnerable. Their shaky defense coughs up the puck way too often, and the only reason this didn’t kill them is that the Lightning were, amazingly, even more generous — simply handing the puck, gift-wrapped, to some of New Jersey’s most skilled players at the most inopportune possible moments (as when, in game six, Tim Taylor threw a bewildering behind-the-back pass <i>into the middle of the ice in his own zone</i> just after Tampa Bay had scored to cut the Devils’ lead to 2-1; the Elias-Gomez-Gionta line immediately snapped up the loose puck and snapped it into the net, and that turned out to be the difference in a 3-2 game). Yes, Brodeur is still a great goaltender, and yes, he can still steal a series. But if the Senators play defense against the Devils the way they played against the Penguins, this series is going to be over surprisingly quickly. But for now, let’s just say <b>Ottawa in six</b>.

As for the Rangers – Sabres series: well, I picked the Sabres over the Isles in five, and that turned out to be my only dead-on prediction. For who could have guessed that the Resurgent Rangers would dispatch Atlanta in four straight? The Rangers don’t sweep people very often. In fact, they’ve managed only <i>two</i> 4-0 series sweeps in their entire franchise history since 1344. Then again, the last time they swept someone in the opening round, they proceeded to win the Cup. So I’m thinking happy good fun thoughts these days.

Now, I recently learned that a certain blog calling itself “Sabreocracy” has <a href=”http://www.nyu.edu/classes/siva/archives/004176.html”>already declared Buffalo to be the Stanley Cup champions for 2007</a>. And it did not escape my attention that <a href=”http://www.nyu.edu/classes/siva/archives/004178.html”>they have decided to call the Rangers are “a team we can all hate.”</a> That second link takes you to a completely unhinged post that says a number of truly vile things about fine young men like Jaromir Jagr and Sean Avery. What’s their problem with Jagr, you ask? Good question! They claim, bizarrely, that he’s “the most selfish player in the NHL,” but this is beyond ludicrous, since Jagr’s 66 assists in 2006-07 suggest that he is in fact the <i>fifth most altruistic</i> player in the NHL. No, selfishness has nothing to do with it. I think “Sivacracy/ Sabreocracy” is upset at the fact that Jagr wears number 68 in commemoration of the Prague Spring, because the bloggers at “Sivacracy/ Sabreocracy” have long been notorious for their unwavering support of the brutal Soviet crackdown against the Dubcek regime.

Therefore, the Rangers’ victory over the Sabres will also be a victory for the democratic left over the neo-Stalinist left of “Sivacracy.” And what will be really remarkable about that victory is that it will take <i>only three games</i>. The Sabres, demoralized by three consecutive routs at the hands of exemplary, upstanding, freedom-loving citizens like Jagr and Avery, will simply forfeit game four, giving the Rangers the very first three-game sweep of a seven-game series in NHL history — and, of course, the first in franchise history going back to 1344.

Actually, my better judgment says Sabres in six. However, since this would give Buffalo the decisive win on Garden ice, I’m going to ignore my better judgment and say <b>Sabres in seven</b>. But I want to point out that <a href=”http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2007/04/hogging-second-round-edition.html”>Infallible Scott says Rangers in seven</a>, and Infallible Scott, being infallible and all, went 8-0 in the first round whereas I went a very mediocre 5-3.

In the West, where I was 3-1: Sharks over Red Wings in six, Ducks over exhausted Canucks in five. Let the road to the Cup run through California!



Kieran Healy 04.25.07 at 9:47 pm

While not a hockey player, Bourdieu did appear in Sociology is a Martial Art.


Daragh McDowell 04.25.07 at 10:05 pm

Sigh… another First round Flame-Out…


Michael Bérubé 04.25.07 at 10:12 pm

Thanks, Kieran! The script looks very interesting:

Bourdieu: I often say sociology is a martial art, a means of self-defense. Basically, you use it to defend yourself, without having the right to use it for unfair attacks.

Chiefs announcer Jim Carr: I see. What is high-sticking?

Bourdieu: High-sticking happen when the guy take the stick, you know, and he go like that. [Demonstrating.] You don’t do that. Oh, no. Never, never.

Carr: Why not?

Bourdieu: Against the rules. You stupid when you do that, some English pig with no brains.

Carr: Pierre, what is slashing?

Bourdieu: Slashing is like that, you know? [Demonstrating, painfully.]

Carr: [Clutching his knee.] Mm-hm. And there’s a penalty for that?

Bourdieu: Yeah. And for trip also, you know.

Carr: Oh?

Bourdieu: Like that. [Demonstrating.] And for hook like this. [Demonstrating.] And for spear, you know, like that. [Demonstrating.] All bad. You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes by yourself, and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.


Dan Karreman 04.25.07 at 10:22 pm

What, no Lundkvist – Nylander love? According to the Swedish tabloid press, Jagr had nothing to with Ranger’s sweep. It was all about the axis of Swedish goodness. The Swedish tabloid press always tells the truth, stuck as they are in the ideal speech situation. No, really. Trust me. They are compulsive truth-tellers, like a Bizarro Bush administration.


JP Stormcrow 04.25.07 at 10:53 pm

I was actually optimistic when the Pens got out of Ottawa 1-1 after being on the wrong side of two of the most dominant periods in the history of hockey, three mediocre ones and one scrambling patented comeback period. After a lifetime of supporting underacheiving superior teams, I was thinking “Finally, an inferior team (for now) that is going to overacheive.” But alas, they had not yet plumbed the depths of bad periods. I also think that Emery should get credt for standing on his head when he needed to (start of Game 5 for instance), he did just enough to keep the fires of youth from ever really igniting. Pens need young gun augmentation for sure – I defer to your experience as to what form it should take. (You get consulting fees from several teams, right?)

Rangers in 3 vs. Sabres in 6, no 7! I solve this dilemma in March Madness by always submitting a “Head” and a “Heart” entry. (This year’s Pitt v OSU final was as close to respectability that “Heart” has ever gotten.)

Im not necessarily saying you are way out to lunch on Sharks v Red Wings, but your prediction is causing me to rethink all those “civic nationalism” posts back at the old place.


Michael Bérubé 04.25.07 at 11:10 pm

But alas, they had not yet plumbed the depths of bad periods.

Well, since we’re going into details, JP, let’s take this time to remind ourselves that when one’s team comes out of Ottawa 1-1 despite being outshot and outplayed, and then scores in the opening minutes of game three in front of a frenzied home crowd, it’s really useful to have a three-line attack that can keep the pressure on. You know, instead of letting that energy dissipate as the Senators score the next four goals and outshoot you 21-12 over two periods.

your prediction is causing me to rethink all those “civic nationalism” posts back at the old place.

Why? Those posts on “civic nationalism” took place during last year’s Cup finals, not the conference semis. So I don’t see the connection to Sharks-Wings.


John Emerson 04.25.07 at 11:29 pm

Do they have an aggregator that allows you to watch the good parts of all of the day’s NHL games in two or three minutes?

Curling. Now that’s exciting!


nick 04.26.07 at 12:28 am

“Hey, Bourdieu! two minutes for looking so good!”


Walt 04.26.07 at 2:17 am

I completely believed that it was Bordieu until I saw the post was by Michael Bérubé, at which point I knew every word was a lie, including “and” and “the”. I can only assume it was Bérubé himself who played the character of Moe Wanchuk, and is trying to pin the blame on Bordieu for his own sinister purposes.


eweininger 04.26.07 at 2:50 am

Actually, if I recall correctly, Bourdieu was something of a rugby player in his early years.


Issa 04.26.07 at 3:00 am

I cannot believe that Pierre Bourdieu suckered me into clicking on a hockey post.

In any case, now that I’m here and the subject is hockey, I’ve always had a fondness for this piece: a canadian lies dying on american ice


matt 04.26.07 at 3:23 am

You did have me going… As for the Sabres going all the way, here is another guy who thinks they are playing well this year, and he WAS in “Slap Shot”



SG 04.26.07 at 4:00 am

After the first three games, all eyes were on the Pens’ underachieving rookie phenom Evgeni Malkin, but I think the role players—guys like…

Did the role players fumble their skill checks? There’s got to be something wrong with hockey if they’re letting role players in – would never happen in rugby!


Navid 04.26.07 at 4:36 am

Totally had me going…manipulatively luring me into a hockey post puts your cultural capital on the line- no?



blah 04.26.07 at 4:39 am

Most gruesome hockey play ever:


Dr Paisley 04.26.07 at 4:45 am

Sorry, Herr Professor Doktor Bérubé, the reason for the Penguins failure was quite simple: they knew that no matter what happened on the ice, next year they would still be trapped in Pittsburgh, eating whatever hideous local “cuisine” (and cookin’) they serve there, instead of coming to the home of the best steaks and the finest barbecue in the known universe, Kansas City. Tease us, taunt us, leave us at the altar: this is your reward! May your three rivers run red with KC Masterpiece sauce*, and your imported cheesesteaks turn to ash in your mouths.

*Created in KC, but made for suburban yuppies with no taste. Go with Bryant’s or Jack Stack every time.


rev.paperboy 04.26.07 at 7:00 am

Dr. Paisley’s Kansas curse may or may not have anything to do with Pittsburg’s defeat by the Sens, but I think the fact that Sidney Crosby played the entire series ON A BROKEN FOOT should not be overlooked as contributing to keeping his scoring to a “human” level.


bill the turk 04.26.07 at 12:55 pm

‘Actually, if I recall correctly, Bourdieu was something of a rugby player in his early years.’

Are you sure you’re not confusing him with the academic in Tom Stoppard’s ‘Professional Foul’ who tells an interlocutor – who he takes to be a fellow academic but is in fact a footballer staying at the same hotel – ‘I used to be a left-winger when I was at Stoke, too.’ ?


FS 04.26.07 at 1:16 pm

and your imported cheesesteaks turn to ash in your mouths

Er, we don’t eat cheesesteaks in Pittsburgh, I’m sure you could find some somewhere but it would take some effort.


Michael Bérubé 04.26.07 at 2:39 pm

Dr. Paisley, since you all couldn’t keep a hold of the Kansas City Scouts (now known as the New Jersey Devils), you don’t get our Penguins. And Rev. Paperboy: oh yeah, Sidney’s broken foot didn’t help. That plus the fact that he scored two more goals that were waved off by officials, the second of which, in game three, would have changed the complexion of the game. Unfortunately, just as Sidney was forechecking in the Sens’ end, stripping a defenseman of the puck behind the net, and tucking it behind Emery (all with a broken foot, now), one of his teammates was engaged in a shoving match with a Senator about 80 feet away, and the referees had blown the play dead about a half-second before Sid scored.

As Bourdieu noted in The Field of Cultural Production, it’s the little things that kill you.


mrjauk 04.26.07 at 3:43 pm

I feel shame for having fallen for the ruse…

btw, did we ever learn the answer to the question “oo own da Chif?”


chris robinson 04.26.07 at 6:01 pm

And,in truth, Bourdieu’s memoir is full of tales about women pressing up against him, and his escapades poolside on his one trip to Florida. Thanks for the laugh.


Tim McG 04.26.07 at 6:27 pm

Bummer about them Rangers last night. Typical post-sweep play, though: come in expecting it to be easy and after that first goal, a fairly thorough collapse.


nnyhav 04.26.07 at 6:43 pm

(FX: swsssh-clunk-thump) “Well, hockey fans, there you have it! At 4:15 in the third period, Guy Joubert guillotined for high sticking. Let’s see that again in slow motion …”
— National Lampoon Radio Hour, circa ’74


Ritch 04.26.07 at 6:43 pm

Great post.

I actually knew Pierre Bourdieu. He took me out to one of his favorite bars, “The Palm Isle.”

I heard him critique one of his own works there once. He was sitting at the end of the bar, took deep swallow of beer, lowered his sunglasses and said, That Contre-feux is no good.”


The Constructivist 04.26.07 at 8:15 pm

Having thoroughly LPGA-concern-trolled Pandagon, I now (belatedly) bring you the following Public Service Announcement.


fardels bear 04.26.07 at 8:16 pm

The line that Jagr was the “fifth most altruistic player in the NHL” made me hope for an evolutionary psychologist posting on the NHL playoffs. Does Stephen Pinker ever explain sports?


The Constructivist 04.26.07 at 8:20 pm

Jeez, I forgot my Go Sabres!!!!!!!! sign-off this time. Sorry.


JP Stormcrow 04.26.07 at 10:03 pm

Folks on this thread might be interested in this CommonCensus NHL fan map, which shows a map of the loyalties 14801 self-identified fans (clicking on the map to get the “magnifying glass” recommended.) Unfortunately, it does not include Canada, would be interested in how Winnipeg and the various Maritime provinces breakdown.

(And their navigation seems to be broken, but if you replace the “4” in “sport=4” in the url with 1,2,3 or 5 you get NFL, MLB, NBA or College football.)


Catherine 04.27.07 at 12:27 am

I’m going with the Sabres in 6 and the Devils in 7 (although my husband, Kevin, says they’ll do it in 6). While all four of my first-round picks in the East were correct, I was off on how far each series would go (Sabres in 5, the Devils in 6, the Rangers in 7, and the Sens in 6).

And now for the obligatory GO SABRES!


Ozma 04.27.07 at 9:39 pm

You totally had me going, I just goggled at the photo and thought — “Bourdieu? Looked THAT GOOD with his shirt off? no wonder he agreed to do the bit part!”


Gilbert Perrault 04.28.07 at 11:35 am

Infallible Scott says Rangers in seven.

I see. I guess that 2-0 hole they’re in is just to make the 4-1 series closing run look good.


Catherine 04.28.07 at 3:03 pm

“Where’s your messiah now?”


Catherine 04.28.07 at 3:04 pm

Sorry, I forgot to add…GO SABRES


Michael Bérubé 04.28.07 at 9:48 pm

Does Stephen Pinker ever explain sports?

Not exactly, but I hear he’s working on a refutation of the knee-jerk social constructionist belief that every game begins with a “blank slate.”

“Where’s your messiah now?”

Um, we’re paging him, Catherine. He should be here any minute. In the meantime, about that game we gave away to you last night? You might say thank you.


Catherine 04.29.07 at 11:27 pm

Thanks, y’all, for Game 2. And you can now thank us for Game 3 because the Sabres were a no-show until the third. Luckily, Miller and the officials were working hard to keep Buffalo in or it would have ended in regulation, huh?



JP Stormcrow 04.30.07 at 5:58 am

And you can now thank us for Game 3

I thought after the Sabres got away with the rarely used “defensive clear off your own pipe in overtime” that they were fated to win, but …


matt 04.30.07 at 9:02 am

“…the rarely used ‘defensive clear off your own pipe in overtime.’ ”

Well put. And a stunning use of it it was!

I had time to ponder it during the “I think he kicked it, well I don’t think he kicked it, is that how you kick a football, we’re not playing football” on-air debate.

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