Many members of the media take advantage of the opportunity Twitter provides to interact with their readers. This gives the writers a chance to sample their readers' interests and opinions, and it gives the readers a chance to get an expert's opinion on their burning questions.
Or at least that's how it's supposed to work. But what happens if the writer isn't really more of a hockey expert than any other fan? Then Twitter becomes a soapbox enabling the writer to spread mediocre insight broadly and authoritatively, which doesn't help anyone.
The Flyers beat at the Inquirer is probably the biggest soapbox a Philadelphia writer can have for voicing opinions about the team. We are glad that Sam Carchidi is putting in the effort to interact with the community via social media, but it is important to us that he use his influential standing in the community to good end.
This off-season, some of Carchidi's tweets have struck us as being particularly misleading -- estimating free agent cap hits to come in well below historic comparables, for example, or fueling the Stamkos rumors with misleading cap numbers. This has us concerned about his impact on the Flyers community.
We often preach on this site about the foibles of memory, about how confirmation bias in particular can lead us to faulty judgments. And we are fully aware that we have a well-documented pre-existing opinion here, which confirmation bias can twist into an inaccurate memory.
With that in mind, we're going to employ the analytical methodology we often promote: we're going to keep a complete list and track the results. In doing so, we will find out if we are overemphasizing a few bad predictions, and we will alter our stance if we find our memories have misled us. On the other hand, if our findings go the other way then we hope that our study will help mitigate his impact on the community.
We will start with Carchidi's predictions about Jaromir Jagr. Carchidi said that Jagr will score 18 goals and have 50 points. We don't know what that's based on, though. It seems very unlikely that Carchidi saw any KHL games. During the World Championships that led to many articles about Jagr's possible return, Carchidi wrote only about the Flyers. He also didn't cover the 2010 Olympics, so while he may have caught a game somewhere along the way, it's possible he hasn't seen Jagr play since the '07-08 NHL season.
Which is fine, if he used other methods of making an educated guess. Did he use Jagr's KHL stats or compare him to other players who recently made that transition? Did he compare Jagr's career arc to historically comparable players? Probably not, because each of those approaches suggests a higher number.
Given the importance of Carchidi's position and the weight his opinions are given, we think he has a responsibility to do something more than guess randomly. If time constraints don't allow him to put in that effort, then "I don't know" or "Just guessing: ..." are perfectly acceptable answers. If he's just going to wing it, then we're going to hold him accountable for the results.
This is the first in what will become a recurring feature. We will regularly review the results of past predictions and update the list with any new predictions Carchidi has made and the BSH masthead opinions. And to keep it lively, we'll add in a third important decision-maker, one whom we believe Paul Holmgren himself consults on many of his personnel decisions.
|Carchidi says||BSH response||Coinflip vs Carchidi|
|Jagr will have 18 goals, 50 points||Higher, more like 22 and 60 over a full season||Tails = disagree|
|20% chance Nylander makes the team||Won't happen; already have too many 1-way offensive players||Heads = agree|
|Bryzgalov's only weakness is getting too revved up for the playoffs||Let's not talk about clutch, especially for a goalie with a .916 career Sv% and .917 in playoffs||Heads = agree|
|Flyers will not be better this year, but are better suited for the playoffs||No. Worse teams are worse. And since the lockout, offensive teams have done better than defensive. And didn't you just say you think Bryz is bad in the playoffs?||Tails = disagree|
|Simmonds will contribute more on offense this year.||Disagree. A checking line with a rookie center and Nodl/Talbot is not a prime scoring setup. Expect ~35 pts.||Heads = agree|
|Betts, Shelley, and Nodl are in danger of losing jobs to Couturier, Sestito, and Read.||Disagree. Since Carchidi said within the hour he isn't sold on Sestito replacing Shelley, it's only about Betts and Nodl. Blair Betts' role is so completely different from what Couturier's would be, it's not likely. While Nodl plays a completely different role than Read, there is some danger that Nodl's third-line role goes to Read, but not his roster spot.
||Heads = agree|
|The Flyers want Bobrovsky here, and are not showing him off to other teams.||Whether the Flyers want Bob here or not, they have to at least be listening to offers for him. He is more valuable to another team than he is as Bryzgalov's backup for the next decade.
||Tails = disagree|
|Bobrovsky will play about 20 games this year.||Agree. Bryzgalov has averaged 67 games played the last three years, and factoring in relief appearances, that leaves about 20 games for the backup.
||Tails = disagree|
|No worries the Flyers miss the playoffs.||There's at least some reason to worry. That the Flyers can't replace Carter and Richards' shutdown defense, that two 36-year old defensemen breakdown, that the team doesn't gel, etc. The playoffs aren't a guarantee.
||Heads = agree|