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Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 12m

I promised one of these ages ago and finally have some free time, so: AMA! (As usual, grossly invasive personal questions will get you blocked. Hockey only, please.)


OFFICIAL TANK SZN (16-24-4) @gregargoyle – 10m

are the cannons ever gonna win again


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 10m

They have 35+ games left, and the longest losing streak (historically) for any individual team is only 20. Their odds of beating that are extremely low.


ex cannons fan @inVINCEable – 9m

any thoughts on how they could suck less sooner rather than later?? a trade? a call up??? a homicide????


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 8m

They could start by stapling the pylon otherwise known as Marcus Flint to the press box.


Mikey @the_cornerstore – 6m

worst contract in the league?


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 5m

Marcus Flint, and it isn’t close. He has a significantly negative impact on virtually every team-based metric we’re capable of tracking. From a mathematical standpoint, it’s honestly kind of impressive.


OFFICIAL TANK SZN (16-24-4) @gregargoyle – 4m

yikes. he doesn’t look that terrible though?


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 4m

He had more giveaways just last month than he’s scored goals in his entire career. He’s somehow both an offensive AND defensive liability, and he doesn’t belong on a modern NHL roster.


ex cannons fan @inVINCEable – 2m

?????? his job isn’t to get points its to get the bench going and fuck people up which he does a pretty stellar job of last time i checked


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 1m

Grit/60 isn’t a stat I’m familiar with, unfortunately.




Marcus Flint

Postgame – Montreal @ Philadelphia – January 19th, 2018


Marcus, hey. Tough game. Tough penalty, too, towards the end. Did you feel like it was the right call on the ice?


No, you didn’t feel like it was the right call?

“It was soft. Really fucking soft. Actually, you know what, it should’ve, uh, it should’ve been embellishment on the other—who was it? Malfoy? Yeah? What a little—he acts like he’s been run over by a fucking—by a truck every time you so much as breathe on him, I swear to—like, I get that they teach that shit in whatever, like, cobblestone alley he crawled out of in Quebec, but—come on, man.

That’s an interesting comment coming from you, Marcus, could you—

“What do you mean?”

Excuse me?

“Why is that an ‘interesting comment’ coming from me? What’s interesting about it?”

Um, just—well, you have your own reputation, don’t you?

“I don’t know. Do I?”

I—do you not think that you do? Have a certain reputation as a player?



“I play with an edge, sure, but I don’t play dirty, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

No, not dirty, precisely, but—

“Next question.”

Right. Sure. Any, um, any thoughts? Or feelings? About the more recent trade rumors, and your name popping up?

“I don’t pay attention to that.”

So, you haven’t heard any of them?

“I have an agent.”

Well. Of course. Yeah. But—

“That’s what he’s there for. To pay attention to the trade rumors. I’m here to play hockey.”

Right. For now.


Never mind. The analytics community has been, um, exceedingly vocal about your—in their words—your poor performance, this season in particular. Do you follow those discussions at all?


Does your agent, then?

“Why don’t you ask him yourself? You want his fucking card?”

Um. How do you personally feel about your performance this season?



“Yeah, really. We done?”

Actually, I just have a couple more—


I’m—excuse me?

“I said no.”

To what? Marcus? Are you—oh, you’re leaving, that’s—can I just—one more question, Marcus, after your last penalty, you shouted something at the ref—

“Go fuck yourself.”


“That’s what I shouted at the ref.”

Oh. That’s—oh. Okay. Thanks for the, um, the candor.

“Yeah. Sure. You can go fuck yourself, too, though. For the record.”



Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 37m

NEW POST: Goalie charts, shot maps, and playoff projections updated. The Arrows are riding an unsustainable SH%, Oliver Wood is the statistical personification of a shut-down defenseman, and Marcus Flint continues to be utterly, incomprehensibly useless.


not a hockey player @godof_war – 32m

“useless” is kind of subjective, don’t you think? like there’s more to hockey than just scoring


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 31m

I had to manually extend the x-axis on more than one graph just to accommodate how terrible he is, so, no. It’s not subjective. He’s useless.


not a hockey player @godof_war – 31m

you say yourself on your dumb little million word primer that hockey is “rife with randomness” so how can you really believe that these so called “useless” players don’t have value in other aspects of the game


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 29m

I’m willing to concede that “puck luck” exists, in some capacity, and that there are variables inherent to the sport – and professional athletes, more generally – that I can’t adequately measure or account for. These concessions have no bearing on my belief that Marcus Flint is useless.


not a hockey player @godof_war – 28m

lol are you one of those people who thinks fighting should be banned? no body checks? incidental contact only?


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 26m

Hockey is a skill sport. Fighting undermines the integrity of that.


not a hockey player @godof_war – 24m

you’ve never tried to throw a punch on skates huh


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 18m

Are you insinuating I’m not qualified to talk about hockey?


not a hockey player @godof_war – 11m

nah. i’m insinuating you don’t have a fucking clue how important it is to be part of a TEAM, for guys like marcus flint to be willing to FIGHT for their team, and therefore your definition of “useless” is inherently flawed


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 3m

Life is not a Gatorade commercial. Marcus Flint is useless. Good talk!  



Marcus doesn’t realize he’s forgotten to put his shirt back on until he’s standing in the fucking elevator.

Being stared at.

Being sneered at.

By a tiny, weirdly familiar girl in a prim navy peacoat and a fuzzy red scarf, sheer black tights and a pleated wool skirt, light brown skin and full pink lips, who somehow looks equal parts scandalized, embarrassed, offended, and annoyed as she takes in the dark, multi-colored bruises dotting his torso and the shimmering maze of ice packs taped to his shoulder and upper back.

“Oh,” Marcus says, crossing and uncrossing his arms, wincing at the pain that lances through his chest. “You’re—what’s-her-name. The analytics girl.”

She snorts. “Condescending to me because you don’t understand how numbers work—”

“Excuse me?”

What’s-her-name,” she mimics snidely, rolling her eyes. “Please.”

“Sorry, did I miss something? Have we been introduced?”

“Do we really need to be?”

Marcus grits his teeth and leans forward to smash the DOOR CLOSE button. It jams a little, sticks and wobbles before punching back out, and the ensuing squeaky, mechanical rattle of the doors actually sliding shut helps drown out some of the obnoxious fucking noise in his head. It’s like a concussion, the pounding blood and the ringing ears and the maddening, inexorable, unsettling confusion—but it’s worse, actually, because no, no, they don’t really need to be introduced.

He knows exactly who she is.

The youngest, brightest, most scathing of the hockey nerds—and she hates him. Hates how he plays, and hates what he represents. He’s used to being bigger than most people, but not like this.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” Marcus drawls. “I thought you were an independent contractor.”

Her mouth twitches, like she’s biting back a smirk. “I am. The Cannons have independently contracted me.”

“To do what?”

She hums and sniffs, inching a half-step farther away from him. Like there’s anywhere to fucking go. Like they aren’t literally stuck in this rusty, half-forgotten practice rink death trap that hasn’t passed a safety inspection since the last goddamn millennium.

“You’re—Flint,” she says carefully. “Marcus Flint.”

He makes a face. “Yeah, no shit, what does that have to do with why you’re here?”

The elevator jerks as it finally starts to move, and she braces herself against the smudged mirrored wall, catching her balance, her buttery leather satchel swinging out to hit Marcus in his already-bruised ribs. He grimaces, gingerly reaching up to prod at the muscle there, rubbing, massaging, inadvertently holding his breath and flexing—

He freezes.

She clenches her jaw and hastily averts her gaze, a warm red blush staining the apples of her cheeks, spreading down, her grip on the strap of her bag going tight-tight-tight before smoothing back out.

“Why,” she says, her voice pitched slightly too high, her expression not quite neutral, “aren’t you dressed? By the way?”

Marcus pauses, cracking his knuckles, considering her for a long, tense moment.

She’s fidgeting, the tip of her tongue darting out to tap at the chapped cushion of her bottom lip, and her nails are painted a glossy pale pink, dull, muted, boring, mauve, and for as exhaustively, deliberately put-together as the rest of her is, she has a pair of scuffed, well-worn Chucks on her feet. Low-tops. Frayed, double-knotted laces. A crooked permanent-ink happy face is scribbled onto the toe of one shoe, faded and uneven like she’d tried to wash it off at some point, and he finds himself studying it. Wondering who put it there.

Marcus is suddenly, uncomfortably aware of how close he is to her.

Of how easy it would be to say something nice, something earnest, something sincerely complimentary about her eyes—big, wide, sparkling brown—or her smile—slyly hesitant, distractingly pretty, something he’s only ever seen in passing in various profile pictures—or her work, even, which is smart and detailed and exhaustive and infuriating and occasionally shortsighted but nearly always interesting, regardless—

He blinks.

He clears his throat.

He gives her a slow, purposeful, thoroughly sleazy once-over, making sure to really linger on her legs, her thighs, her mouth. She’s the kind of small that reminds him of figure skating, lithe, lean, graceful, deceptively strong—the opposite of his own heavy, bone-crushing bulk, which he doesn’t even have to fucking imagine her opinion on, her disdain for, because just last week she’d referenced his size, specifically, in particular, in a lengthy diatribe about why enforcers are a dying breed in an increasingly fast game and therefore the Cannons should buyout his contract in the fucking offseason—and it hadn’t been the first time.  

“Nice to meet you,” Marcus says, just as the elevator grinds to a halt and the doors swish open. He waits a second, a split-second, before adding lowly, casually, “Hermione.”

She watches him sidle past her, out into the barren concrete hallway beyond, with a primally satisfying little furrow in her brow.

Like she’s thinking about something.

Like she’s thinking about him.



Mon, Jan 29, 2018


(8:42 am) Hey, Hermione! It's Anthony, from the Cannons. Our whole team really appreciated your insight on our proposed roster modifications (your presentation on the perceived value vs. actual value of checking lines and “intangibles” was particularly eye-opening) but we had a couple of follow-up questions, if you don’t mind indulging us?

(8:45 am) Mostly about the cap implications and how to justify them to upper management, haha.

(9:23 am) To be clear, this is about your suggestion that the pace of the league as a whole is trending in a direction that our current personnel is fundamentally incapable of keeping up with. We’d like for you to come out and do some on-site tracking of a few games with us – in my experience, watching live adds a totally different dimension to the player and/or game than you might realistically be able to find on tape.

(9:39 am) Hi, Anthony! 

(9:40 am) Sorry for the late reply. I can absolutely come out and observe for a game or two, if you think it would be helpful. I’ll check my schedule and get back to you. 

(9:44 am) To be clear, I don’t believe that in-person viewing will alter much of my stance on the player and/or game in question, but I appreciate your commitment to comprehensive analysis!



gregargoyle: [has shared a video]

gregargoyle: flint vs diggory 2/14/14 COL@PHI

inVINCEable: lol

nottadore: ff to :34

nottadore: flint gets him right in the throat

gregargoyle: beauty

gregargoyle: what a fucking tank

inVINCEable: diggory’s so overrated

gregargoyle: for real

nottadore: why?

inVINCEable: he’s not even good

gregaroyle: all his fans are teenage girls

nottadore: ……..he’s good

nottadore: and ofc all his fans are teenage girls he’s a literal underwear model

inVINCEable: which doesn’t make him good at hockey

nottadore: ???

nottadore: flint is allergic to shirts

nottadore: teenage girls love him too is he suddenly “not good at hockey”

gregargoyle: lmao

inVINCEable: teenage girls do not love flint

nottadore: yeah they fucking do he’s always in that dumb puppy calendar the cannons put out

nottadore: look at this shit

nottadore: [has shared a picture]

gregargoyle: whoa

inVINCEable: is that beethoven

gregargoyle: that dog is a fucking tank too

nottadore: my point is teenage girls love flint he’s like their big angry bad boy kryptonite

inVINCEable: you uhhhhh

inVINCEable: sound like you have some experience with that

gregargoyle: hermione granger is a girl and she can’t fucking stand him

inVINCEable: she’s not a TEENAGE girl though

gregaroyle: how do you know

inVINCEable: i mean

nottadore: [has shared a link]

gregargoyle: oh shit

inVINCEable: oh SHIT

inVINCEable: she dated draco malfoy???????????????????????????



Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 2h

Reminder that I’ll be live-tweeting (!!!) the Cannons/Kestrels game tonight but won’t be doing any in-depth analysis until much later. All observations will be by the eye-test only. Validity TBD.


OFFICIAL TANK SZN (17-25-4) @gregargoyle – 1h

lol that’s elite power forward marcus flint to you


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 1h

Marcus Flint has apparently (inexplicably?) been promoted to the top line. He’ll start with Warrington and Montague against Malfoy, Davies, and Zabini.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 1h

Good scoring chance for Warrington on the wraparound. Flint set up a very nice play there. Have to assume it was an accident.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 1h

The Cannons’ first line is outshooting the Kestrels’ first line 9-2 so far. Which is weird, since Flint is typically the black hole where puck possession goes to die.  


ex cannons fan @inVINCEable – 59m



OFFICIAL TANK SZN (17-25-4) @gregargoyle – 59m

marcus flint’s fists are first ballot hall of famers CHANGE MY MIND


Hermione Granger @hjgstats- 59m

Fight. Flint (needlessly) takes down Malfoy. Yikes. That was brutal. Cannons on the PK as Flint sits for 2 minutes. Roughing. Can’t emphasize enough how unnecessary that was.


ex cannons fan @inVINCEable – 50m

lmfao that’s big boy hockey


OFFICIAL TANK SZN (17-25-4) @gregargoyle – 50m

marcus mfing FLINT


Mikey @the_cornerstore – 50m

wheel snipe celly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Theodore Nott Jr. @nottadore – 50m

holy fuck


Hermione Granger – 49m

Well. That’s a goal.


Hermione Granger – 49m

Marcus Flint steals the puck, creates a 2-on-1 with some very nifty passing through the NZ, and goes top-shelf on the breakaway. Beats McLaggen clean.


Hermione Granger – 48m

A lot of energy in the building now. Cannons bench is riled up.


OFFICIAL TANK SZN (17-25-4) @gregargoyle – 22m



ex cannons fan @inVINCEable – 22m

the nerds must be shitting their pants rght now lololollll


Mikey @the_cornerstore – 22m

so...did flint just need a chance with better linemates???? this is wild he is putting on an absolute CLINIC


Hermione Granger – 22m

Flint again. PPG. Right circle.


Theodore Nott Jr. @nottadore – 3m

brb gotta find a hat and also a beer can to smash against my forehead that was FILTHY


OFFICIAL TANK SZN (17-25-4) @gregargoyle – 3m

i’m hard


ex cannons fan @inVINCEable – 3m



Hermione Granger – 3m



Hermione Granger – 3m



Hermione Granger – 2m

Patiently holds onto the puck, dekes around the defender, and beats McLaggen short side. Really smart, tough angle. First career hat trick.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 2m




Marcus is whistling as he saunters through the parking lot.

It’s a nice enough day—cold, sure, but clear, too, the sky blue, the sun bright, the air crisp, and while he’s normally not in a good mood after meetings with virtually any branch of upper management, he’s also normally not in the midst of the best stretch of games he’s ever played. Ever. In his whole fucking career.

He’s putting up points. He’s scoring goals. He’s a fan favorite again. The arena store is sold out of his fucking jersey, even the youth sizes, and the coaching staff has stopped just silently, judgmentally frowning at him during film sessions. The team is winning. The trade rumors are fading. The analytics nerds are—

A faint, frustrated, decidedly human squeaking sound erupts from behind him.

He spins around.

Hermione Granger—of course it’s Hermione Granger—is standing on the yellow-and-white striped curb in the loading zone, her car keys in her mouth, her laptop clutched to her chest, a reusable turquoise water bottle tucked under one arm, the strap of her bag tangled around her elbow as she struggles to get the zipper open. She’s wearing tight, high-waisted jeans and a cable-knit sweater, a long plaid scarf hanging loose around her neck, her hair gathered in a sloppy-looking bun on top of her head.

Marcus is going to leave her alone.

She hasn’t noticed him, not yet, and it’s not like he has much to say to her. They aren’t colleagues, or coworkers, or friends, or—or enemies, nemeses, no matter what she continues to Tweet about him. They’re strangers. Acquaintances, maybe. Unfriendly ones. She doesn’t like him, and he isn’t obligated to pretend to like her. There’s really nothing more to it than that. He’s aware of her existence, like, tangentially, peripherally, and she’s probably aware of him, but less as an actual person and more as a collection of shot rates and percentages and generally statistically inferior numbers.

Because it isn’t personal.

And he isn’t going to talk to her.

He isn’t going to approach her.

Does he want to gloat, just a little, about his point streak? His puck luck? Rub it in her face that he’s not a fucking fourth line scrub or a perpetual healthy scratch? That he belongs in the league, on his team, and that her aesthetically pleasing, tastefully rendered, cleverly labeled little graphs and charts and scatter plots were all wrong?


Yeah, he really fucking does.

But he isn’t going to, because this isn’t about her. It’s never been about her. It’s about him, about winning and excelling and working hard and reaching his potential, and it has nothing to fucking do with her.

Marcus has mostly managed to convince himself of this—truly, stubbornly, sincerely—when Hermione Granger glances up from her bag, absently catching sight of him, and her expression instantly changes, cycling rapidly between alarm and consternation and mortification and a snap-quick, barely-there flicker of tentative, hesitant, very possibly imaginary appreciation

Their eyes meet.

Her cheeks flood with color.

And Marcus heaves a sigh, kicking at the asphalt, sending gravel skittering into the tires of a beat-up Ford Explorer, because he’s already moving, walking towards her, his hands in his jacket pockets, right alongside his wallet, a half-empty pack of gum, and the jumbled, self-defeating remnants of his good mood.

“Hey,” he says with a grimace. “Do you, uh. Need some help with that?”

Her keys are still obviously in her mouth, so she doesn’t reply, but she does slowly nod, her gaze twitching down to her bag, to where the zipper is stuck on the end of her scarf, teeth gnashing at the wool. Her nose is red. Freckles in gradient shades of brown, dark and light and sepia-toned, are clustered unevenly around her eyes.

Marcus reaches out to tug at her scarf, carefully dislodging it from the zipper.

Her breath hitches.

Her bag falls open.

And then she’s shoving her laptop inside, dropping her water bottle in next to it, spitting her keys out, flashing him a stilted, partially grateful, partially expectant smile, and Marcus has no idea what to say to her.


He could bring up hockey.

She enjoys it, presumably, and he’s been scoring a lot of goals, lately, racking up the assists, and he could be smug about that. He could brag. She smells like tangerines and toothpaste and he remembers she once mentioned in a blog post that everything important in her life is quantifiable, measurable, and goal scoring is exactly that, even if it’s never really been a major component of his game. Goals are easy to track. Points are easy to count. They come in whole, concrete numbers, and those whole, concrete numbers have value. Defensible value. Provable value.

Oh, god.

Oh, fuck.

It was never about him.

It was always about her.

“Thanks,” she finally says awkwardly, sniffing and tossing her head. Several thick, wiry strands of hair have escaped her bun, curling and fluttering around her cheeks, her neck, and he’s struck by an itch—by an ache—by a want

He keeps noticing things about her. Irrelevant things. Insignificant things. Her two front teeth are a little bit too big for her mouth, and she has matching, almost microscopically tiny scars on the cartilage of both her ears, from old piercings, maybe, and she has a ruthlessly sharp, utterly unapologetic sense of humor, a brutal mean streak, he bets, and—

And she’s jumpy around him.



He wonders what she notices about him that makes her feel that way.

He wonders if he’s ever going to fucking figure out how to ask.




Marcus Flint

Postgame – Philadelpha @ Nashville – February 13th, 2018


Marcus, hey. Great game. Congratulations on the goal—and the assists, too, wow, that’s, what, you’re fifth multi-point game in the past three weeks?

“Yeah. Thanks. Something like that. I don’t—I haven’t really been keeping track.”

Right, right, well, still—that’s quite the turnaround from the, um, the slow start you had earlier in the season. Any thoughts on that?

“On what?”

On how you turned it around?

“I mean, I’m a professional hockey player.”

Well, yeah.

“I’m just playing hockey.”

Sure, of course, but it could be argued that you’re playing significantly better hockey now.

“Oh, fuck off. No, not—not you, not yet, at least, just—look, I know the, uh, the analytics have always said that I’m bad or ineffective or—or—useless—but I think a lot of the hockey I’ve played in my career has been good. Solid. Every guy on the ice has a job out there, and I did mine. I do mine.”

So—a team-first mentality. Is that what you’re getting at?

“What? No.”

I don’t understand.

“No shit.”

Could you, um. Could you elaborate? On that?

“Just—the numbers, the points, the scoresheet—it doesn’t tell the whole story. The game—my game—is about more than that.”

Would you say that you’ve been out, uh, lately, to prove the numbers wrong, then? Is this a spite scoring spree?

“Are you fucking serious?”

Uh. Yes? Yeah? Yes.

“Why would you even think to ask me that?”

Why would I—what?

“I mean, what—who, uh, who would I be out to spite? In your opinion? Specifically?”

Um. I don’t—

“Like, sure, of course, I see, like, the stuff that gets written about me. Said about me. Certain, uh, certain individuals in the, uh, the analytics community—they don’t like me. But that isn’t—I mean. That isn’t motivating me, or whatever. I’m motivating me.”



Excuse me?

“You said it weird. Like. Right. Sarcastic.”

No, I—I was just acknowledging your response.

“I’m not—like, I’m playing better because I’m a capable fucking hockey player. A good fucking athlete. It’s not about—anyone. Proving anything to anyone, I mean. That’s—that would be stupid.”

Of course, yeah. I shouldn’t have, uh, implied otherwise.

“No, you shouldn’t have.”

Sorry about that.

“It’s fine. It’s just—asinine. It would be asinine.”

Yeah. Absolutely.

“Because it isn’t personal.”

What isn’t personal?

“There’s no, like, vendetta. Or whatever.”

I didn’t—I really didn’t phrase the question like that.



“Oh, fuck off.”

Is that—is that directed at me now? Marcus? Hello?



inVINCEable: winning feels weird

gregargoyle: yeah

gregargoyle: we were….so bad

gregargoyle: and now we’re like

gregargoyle: not?

gregargoyle: what’s that about

inVINCEable: stealth tank’s off i guess

nottadore: [has shared a screenshot]


gregargoyle: is that real

nottadore: [has shared a link]

nottadore: 53.7%

nottadore: we’re officially MORE likely than not to make the playoffs

inVINCEable: holy shit we fucking did it

gregargoyle: flint fucking did it

inVINCEable: our lord and savior

gregargoyle: mvp

nottadore: 16 game point streak

gregargoyle: 16 game fight streak too

nottadore: that’s

nottadore: has he been drug tested recently

inVINCEable: lmao

gregargoyle: [has shared a video] flint vs malfoy 2/22/18 PHI@MTL

gregargoyle: ff to :41

gregargoyle: the tackle

gregargoyle: vicious

gregargoyle: definitely broke his nose

inVINCEable: man

inVINCEable: he like

inVINCEable: really hates draco malfoy

nottadore: literally everyone hates draco malfoy except you losers

nottadore: [has shared a video] potter vs malfoy 9/29/15 DAL@MTL

nottadore: the best part is potter scored right after this

nottadore: flew out of the box

nottadore: sniped it

nottadore: his vision on the ice is unparalleled, he sees the puck better than almost anyone

gregargoyle: oh come on wtf

gregargoyle: harry potter????

inVINCEable: hot take but potter’s a BUST

gregargoyle: oooh

gregargoyle: that’s spicy

inVINCEable: dude’s played like 30 games in 5 years

inVINCEable: there’s a reason they buried him in the minors

nottadore: oh yeah?

nottadore: well flint’s shooting at 32.3% right now

nottadore: his regression is going to be PAINFUL

nottadore: so

nottadore: fuck you

nottadore: [has left the chat]



Marcus doesn’t see her at first.

He’s leaning against the counter, waiting to order his goddamn latte, hat pulled down low over his eyes, his arms crossed and his jaw clenched, cracking his knuckles, trying in vain to ignore the wide-eyed whispering of the two teenage boys in Cannons hoodies huddled together at the back of the line; vaguely, he hears the bell above the door jingle, registers the needling bite of the late winter breeze leaking in, but it isn’t until he feels the weight of a stare, heavy and abrupt, prickling at the back of his neck—

He turns, slightly, to peek over his shoulder.

“Hermione,” he blurts out, because she’s right there, in yoga pants and an oversized Penn State sweatshirt, her cheeks flushing pink and her mouth snapping shut when he doesn’t say anything else. Her wallet is looped around her wrist. Her phone is in her hand. “Um. Hey.”

She pauses, seemingly conflicted, and then takes a decisive step towards him. “Hi. Marcus. How are you?”

“I’m . . . good. Fine. A little tired. Thirsty, mostly.”

Her blush deepens. “Right.”

“What, um. What about—”

“What can I get you guys?” the kid behind the counter interrupts, sounding painfully bored.

“Oh, we’re not together,” Hermione says quickly. “I’m actually—I cut the line, I should really go—"

Marcus snorts. “I’ll get hers,” he tells the kid, jerking his chin towards Hermione. She narrows her eyes and then flicks them over to the teenage boys now outright gaping at them from next to the pyramid display of travel mugs. She looks annoyed, but also amused. He suspects that might be normal for her. “And theirs, too, I guess,” Marcs adds, scrubbing at his forehead with the heel of his palm. “Sure. Why not.”

The kid behind the counter studies the name on Marcus’s credit card for a second before ushering them towards the coffee bar, and then Hermione is fidgeting with the edge of her phone, licking her lips, steeling her spine, visibly preparing herself for—something. Marcus’s mouth is very dry.

“You, uh,” she starts, and then swallows, exhaling slowly. She’s still blushing. “You’ve been playing really well.”

Marcus glances at her, startled, and barks out a laugh. “Wow,” he deadpans, plucking a few cardboard sleeves out of the dispenser at the milk station. “Be honest: how many times did you have to practice saying that in front of a mirror?”

Hermione’s lips quiver, like she’s holding back a smile. “Five.”

“That’s it?”

“Just like the stages of grief, yeah,” she says, blandly enough that he almost doesn’t realize she’s joking. Teasing.


She’s peering up at him from beneath her lashes, but Marcus hastily averts his gaze, gnawing on the inside of his cheek as he digs a Sharpie pen out of his pocket to scribble his name and jersey number on the cup sleeves. He has absolutely no idea how to respond to her. What he’s supposed to say. Is he allowed to flirt back? Is that unprofessional? Creepy? Is she even actually flirting with him, or is it just wishful thinking?

Wishful, unprofessional, creepy fucking thinking?

“I’m gonna just—I’ll be right back,” he manages to grunt, gesturing weakly to the table by the lone window, where the teenage boys in Cannons hoodies are now lurking, sipping at their giant Frappuccinos and making a valiant if not remotely believable effort at pretending they aren’t still staring at him.

“Hey,” Marcus calls out, and the boys immediately perk up, flailing slightly in their seats. Marcus shakes his head and tosses the signed cup sleeves at them. “Don’t post about this on Reddit. Or sell those on eBay. I’ll know.”

They both sputter out replies, but Marcus is already heading back to Hermione, who’s watching him with her bottom lip caught between her teeth and a strange, decidedly unfamiliar expression on her face—





Like he’s an error message on a spreadsheet, the broken link in a mile-long chain of code, an algorithm or a formula or a conclusion she can’t quite make work—can’t quite make fit. Like it’s finally occurred to her there might be a problem with the data, a flaw in her analysis, and she’s determined to figure out what it is. How to fix it.

Marcus has always been an outlier, is the thing; faster than he should be, smarter than he looks.

Patient, too.

People never expect that.



Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 27m

NEW POST: The Tornadoes are in the hunt for a lottery pick (again); the league-wide power play goal drought has hit epidemic status; and the underlying numbers tell a strange and highly irritating story about Marcus Flint’s stunning metamorphosis into a Real Hockey Player.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 16m

Look. Listen. I don’t have a lot of experience with being wrong—and, honestly, I’m still not entirely convinced I even AM wrong—but I’m ready to start thinking about one day in the near future possibly admitting that I MIGHT have been wrong about Marcus Flint.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 15m

His point production has increased dramatically since his promotion to the Cannons’ first line. He’s driving play. He’s controlling the puck. His zone entries are textbook, his attention to detail on defensive assignments has improved, and he’s scoring at an unprecedented rate (for him).


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 13m

So, what does all that mean? I’m not totally sure.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 10m

Back in September, if someone had asked me to predict which player would be LEAST likely to have a breakout like this, Marcus Flint would have topped my list by a landslide. But I’ve been watching him for a while now, both in-person at game speed and more slowly afterwards on tape, and . . . (cont.)


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 9m

. . . while there are still aspects of his game that I find distasteful, if not outright abhorrent, it’s clear to me that I’ve been underestimating the impact and importance of those so-called “intangibles” the Hockey Men all regularly like to salivate over.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 7m

Every single advanced statistical model I have access to has Marcus Flint grading out as a below-average, below replacement-level, barely serviceable bottom-six forward. Give him limited minutes, and expect minimal production. I am no longer certain that’s accurate.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 5m

Because even if you disregard his point streak, his scoring tear, how undeniably GOOD he’s been lately, the fact remains that when Marcus Flint shows up to play—and, since January, he’s been showing up to play and play and play—the rest of the Cannons have a tendency to follow.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 4m

He’s a dynamic, high-intensity player. Surround him with skill, and he seems to absorb it; give him some confidence, and he seems to thrive. And when Marcus Flint thrives, his team thrives. It’s remarkable.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 3m

Obviously, this could turn out to be irrelevant; the Cannons could drop their next ten games and miss the playoffs, Marcus Flint could dramatically regress, my more biased analyses could prove themselves correct—but wouldn’t it be interesting, if they didn’t?


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 3m

Wouldn’t it be interesting, if there really was more to hockey—to all of this—than what we thought there was?


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 2m

So, again. What does all of that mean? I don’t know. I haven’t figured out how to measure it.


Hermione Granger @hjgstats – 1m

I think, though, that I would very much like to try.



FanSided: Trade Deadline

Boom Go the Cannons


Well, it’s that time of year again.

No, not that one—[editor’s note: for what it’s worth, our annual Stanley Cup Playoffs beard rankings remain our most popular articles by a large and frankly terrifying margin]—the other one. The better one. The worse one. The more confusing one. We never know quite how to feel when February rolls around, and this February was no exception. It was only a few weeks ago, after all, that we were (mostly) drunk and (definitely) lottery-bound, both personally and as a team, and emotionally preparing ourselves for what felt like an inevitability: the sad, sputtering end of the Marcus Flint era. Our big, strong, scowling boy, so full of rage and dumb penalties, was on the trading block. I knew it. You knew it. He knew it. It was only a matter of time.

Until: a miracle.

We started winning. Marcus Flint started winning. He scored goals. He crashed the net. He punched a goalie. He punched a goalie twice. He singlehandedly dragged this ragtag band of chronic underachievers right out of the conference cellar and into a playoff spot, and he did it all with his customary lack of grace. He recognized that no one else was going to step up to save this season (and, by extension, save him from a trade to the frozen Canadian north) and so he saved it himself.

How, you ask?

How did this perennial 15-point player, this bastion of hard-hitting old-time hockey, this analytically challenged waste of cap space, turn into an elite, defensively responsible, brilliant playmaking power forward; seemingly overnight?

We can only speculate, and please take our speculation with the several metric tons of salt it most assuredly deserves, but—

We’re guessing, friends, pals, comrades, that it might have something to do with a girl.


[image: Marcus Flint, sitting hunched over at a small outdoor café table, the collar of his leather jacket turned up, his hands dwarfing a steaming white mug, half-smiling at a nameless brunette in a navy blue peacoat. Beneath the table, their knees are touching.]



Fri, Mar 2, 2018


(1:32 pm) hey

(1:34 pm) i saw the news, congratulations on the extension!

(1:35 pm) well done

(1:35 pm) lol

(1:36 pm) yeah i finally got that sweet sweet no trade clause

(1:36 pm) clinched a playoff spot

(1:37 pm) heard the stats nerds might be reevaluating me too

(1:38 pm) busy fucking week

(1:40 pm) i don't think they're reevaluating YOU, specifically

(1:41 pm) just their methodology

(1:42 pm) how they collect and weight their data

(1:42 pm) it's a professional rejuvenation

(1:49 pm) not personal at all

(1:52 pm) sure

(1:52 pm) whatever

(1:52 pm) quick question

(1:53 pm) ???

(1:54 pm) what's the over/under on you going out with me

(1:58 pm) like

(1:58 pm) for a date?

(2:00 pm) no for a gang initiation

(2:01 pm) ????

(2:03 pm) yes hermione

(2:03 pm) for a date

(2:04 pm) we can talk about analytics the whole time

(2:05 pm) i read a book

(2:05 pm) well

(2:06 pm) half a book

(2:09 pm) are you suggesting you want to FIGHT on our first date? about analytics?

(2:10 pm) lol

(2:11 pm) is fighting not allowed???

(2:11 pm) wow

(2:11 pm) didn't realize dating was a skill sport

(2:12 pm) oh my god

(2:13 pm) wouldn't want to undermine the integrity of that

(2:13 pm) really

(2:14 pm) especially since i'm not at all qualified to talk about it

(2:15 pm) but have you tried it on skates

(2:16 pm) might have to help me out here


[video call accepted]