On David Booth, expectations, and what it means to be a second-liner in the NHL

David Booth has received his share of criticism from Canucks fans, essentially centred around his lack of production compared to the size of his contract. His start to this season hasn’t helped matters: he has zero goals and just 1 assist in his first 8 games. Considering he’s currently the fourth highest paid forward on the team, it’s understandable why some fans would be upset.

Still, there’s no need to be quite as upset as many are. Given the scoring chances that he has created recently, Booth shouldn’t be goalless for long, and he should start picking up more assists as well, if his chemistry with Zack Kassian over the last few games is any indication.

In addition, I believe that much of the criticism of Booth stems from unrealistic expectations, created by both his contract and a flawed perspective on what it means to be a first line, second line, or third line player in the NHL.

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To panic or not to panic: that is the question

“Don’t panic.”

This epigram sits at the beginning of two pop culture landmarks: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the discography of Coldplay. In the former’s case, it’s a perfect introduction to one of the great works of science fiction. In the latter’s case, it’s an imperfect introduction, in that it’s the best song Coldplay has ever done. It’s never ideal to peak with the first song on your first album. Do that, and it’s really only a matter of time before you’re the creepiest, singing, dancing, CGI rabbit in music video history.

But “don’t panic” is more than just a great phrase to put on the cover of a book or a great song by a mediocre band — its also good advice. Arthur C. Clarke once said it’s the best advice.

That is, unless it really is time to panic, and for many Canucks fans, it is. Vancouver has lost 8 of their last 11, including 3 straight, and if that wasn’t enough, their most recent loss came at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, hockey’s punching bag. The way most people see it, losing to the Blue Jackets is like locking your keys in the car. You have no one to blame but yourself.

After the game, Canucks fans started asking if it was time to flip the pool. Perhaps. But perhaps not. Let’s take a moment and weigh the pros and cons of full-blown panic.

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