Monday, October 31, 2005


Summer breeze, makes you feel alright

It's an off day today -- the Flames are back home, and pondering how it is they let 2 points get away when they outchanced San Jose by a roughly 10 to 1 margin. They start a stretch tomorrow where 10 of their next 12 are at home (and nine straight are televised, hallelujah!).

The Oilers are also back in Edmonton, waiting for what the team website elegantly refers to as "their fourth consecutive one-game homestand".

I was going to make this post about my fantasy teams (hence the header), but I realize I don't have a lot to talk about -- suffice it to say, the 4-7-2 noted in the top left corner of this page is the direct cause of why I'm not 1st or 2nd out of 20 in the hockey pool (I'm 6th).

I could say a bit more about the S/O loss to the Sharks, but since it wasn't televised, I don't know how much I could add. It wasn't a Stomach Punch game so much as it was a "This Can't Be Happening" game. There was a lot of talk throughout the game about how lousy the ice was; for Tony Amonte's sake, I sure hope so.

This game played out in exactly the manner required for Amonte to be successful. The part that was missing, compared to the offseason vision of the Flames brass, was the part where Amonte finished his chances.

He missed a penalty shot in the 1st, plus his shootout try that would have clinched the win for the Flames. He muffed at least one beauty of a 2-on-1 with Iginla. The whole idea of hiring Amonte to play with Iginla was to allow Jarome to be successful creating scoring chances without also needing (necessarily) to be the guy who puts the puck behind the goalie. Saturday night, Iginla was doing his job and Amonte wasn't.

After that 2-on-1, colour guy Mike Rogers brought up the dodgy ice again and said that "Jarome needs to shoot that puck himself". Sorry guys, but that's loser talk circa 2002. He's the best player in the league, but he can't usually win games by himself, and Saturday was Exhibit A.

He needs teammates to bang home his rebounds and put great passes into the open net. Also, refraining from kicking the puck into our own net would be nice (for all his solid presence, Jordan Leopold has zero points this year and at least two own-goals). I hope most of the Flames are embarrassed that there was a "-1" on the scoresheet next to Iginla's name on Saturday, because they let him down.

The thing I'm happy to report about listening on Saturday is that it wasn't a Guillotine game. I wasn't expecting bad things to happen. I still expect good things from the Flames, and no doubt they'll fulfill those expectations through November. Regehr is skating again, and McCarty is ready to go. Good--the sooner we can get Wiemer back to the pressbox, the better.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Blogroll Update

I've been meaning to include Razor with an Edge for a little while, but the fact that he works for Dallas always put me off.

But this morning two things prompted me to add him immediately:

1) This fantastic post of Letters to Hully, and
2) Discovering that the Razor is an Oilers Alumnus (42nd overall in the 1984 draft). It looks like he started strong too, replacing Fuhr in 4 of his first 5 games. Alas, being replaced by Sidorkiewicz 3 times in 7 games apparently doesn't allow you to stay in the show.

Anyway, poke around his site -- there is a lot of downright hilarious material.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Just another day on the job

Another game, another win. It's getting old hat really.

Some great signs tonight:


Martin Biron?

The Oilers are apparently thinking quite strongly about acquiring Martin Biron from Buffalo.

When you send Prendergast, Asst. GM Howson and Gare, you have to think it is legitimate.

Personally, I hope they were scouting New Jersey and not Buffalo.

Do we really want Biron at 2-million? What would we be willing to give up? A third-rounder? Is there anyone else on Buffalo? JP Dumont?

Are we really that uncomfortable with Jussi? Is Biron even an improvement over Jussi?

Speaking of trade value: does Laraque have any right now? I think we could do without him, but I'm not sure there is a market for his unique blend of bone crushing fighting ability and total lack of puck sense.


Flames Game Day

The Flames wrap up their tour through the Pacific Division tonight with a meeting with the Sharks. Here's hoping the Flames' cylinders are clickin'.

I'm hoping that the trip to the Shark Tank is just what the team needs to get them back in the 2004 groove. In the Western Conference Finals, Calgary won all 3 games in San Jose, and the last two convincingly.

Puck drop at 830PM MDT, radio only. Go Flames.


Flames' short memory

It looks like the Flames have entirely forgotten what took them to the dance last year.

Too bad they traded the only guy who remembers (scroll down to "What's with the hat?"):


Oilers Game Day - Predators

Season Record: 4-6-1 Season Record: 8-0-1

Head-to-Head: 0-0-0 Head-to-Head: 0-0-0

Last Game: 5-3 Win vs StarsLast Game: 3-2(OT) Loss vs CBJ


We won in Dallas for only the third time since they moved from Minnesota (and twice in a row to boot!). Can we break the Preds winning streak too?

Oilers 4-2


Speaking of back . . .

Congrats to Sean Flemming who knocked in five field goals including the game winner last night for the Eskimos.

Flemming has had a rough year, it is terrific to see him rounding into form just before we roll into Calgary to end the season.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Alberta Oil beats Texas Crude!

I had to listen to this one on the radio, but it sounded like they played great. 5 goals on a very good Turco, D-vo gets a goal, Cross finally unloads his cannon.

I'm especially happy that they didn't pack it in when they gave up the 2 goal lead in under a minute in the second.

In short


Is that right? Wow!

It's no secret Lowe has been looking for a first-line centre for a long time.

That's Jim Matheson in today's Edmonton Journal, seemingly stating that Kevin Lowe must be the most incompetent GM in the NHL (well, 3rd most; Doug Maclean and Dale Tallon, your reputations are safe for now).

Is this possible? Weren't half the players in the NHL without contracts on July 31st? Has Kevin Lowe been looking for a first-line centre for a long time, but just hasn't managed to find one available?

No - it's got to be that he just didn't want one that badly. Set aside Joe Thornton and Vinny Lecavalier, who were both RFAs and signed for $6M+ with their old teams. Even set aside Peter Forsberg, who signed as a UFA with Philly for $5.75M. The Oilers have their one high-priced superstar in Pronger, and I think that's reasonable.

But come on. Look at the short list of centres with new teams this season who could certainly be considered 1st-line guys:
And those are just the unrestricted free agents. If you were looking for a 1st-line centre for a long time, you might want to consider throwing an offer at a restricted free agent. All these guys re-signed with their own teams this past off-season:
And don't forget Chemical Litvinov's most famous alumnus, recently seen helping an NHL team make a huge late run at the playoffs. Where was that again?

If you're inclined to defend Kevin Lowe by quibbling with the names I've listed, I hear you, but what's the alternative course of action. If you're not going to hire an available unrestricted free agent, or pursue a restricted free agent, it's not at all obvious where you find a 1st-line centreman. Where exactly has Lowe been looking?

And to be clear, "sitting around in your office, hoping Jay Feaster calls offering Brad Richards for Marc-Andre Bergeron" does not qualify as "looking".


Me Jarome, Big Tree

David Amber has a mildly interesting Q&A with Jarome Iginla at, and the opening caught my eye a bit:
On Dec. 19, 1995, the Calgary Flames traded away former playoff MVP and fan favorite Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars for promising teenager Jarome Iginla. At the time, the move was heavily criticized by both fans and media in Calgary.

A decade later, it's a different story.

That's not exactly how I remember it, but I may be wrong.

Joe Nieuwendyk was a holdout RFA at the time, and there was definitely some controversy. On roughly the day the trade happened, I went to a home game vs. the Red Wings that the Flames lost to drop their record to 8-20-5. So the team was performing terribly, and every fan was mad either at the team, for not giving Joe whatever he wanted to get back on the ice, or at Joe, for being a greedy rich athlete etc. etc.

When the trade was made, considering how bad the Flames' record was, there was definitely some angst over the fact that Cory Millen was the only on-ice help we got. But the idea that it was a bad trade was dead within two weeks.

The timing was pretty incredible. On December 19th, Iginla was an 18-year-old #11 draft pick, which is surely a hit-or-miss. He had scored a point per game in his previous junior season. No one had any particular reason to believe that he was better than any other #11 pick, or that expectations should be higher.

Then the World Juniors started on Boxing Day in Boston, and 10 days later, everybody was ecstatic at what a fantastic prospect the Flames had picked up. And it just kept getting better: that junior season, he scored a goal per game, and over 2 points per game.

The Flames turned it around at the same time: they won a few over the Christmas break, then got Gary Roberts back from injury, which absolutely propelled them through the rest of the season. By the end of the year, they had gone from nearly dead last to 6th. Iginla joined the team for the last two games of their sweep at the hands of the Hawks (have I mentioned I hate Trent Yawney lately?), scoring an assist in the first game and a goal in the second.

I haven't heard a single grumble about the trade in the decade since.


Oilers Game Day - Dallas

Season Record: 3-6-0 Season Record: 5-3-0

Head-to-Head: 0-1-0 Head-to-Head: 1-0-0

Last Game: 5-3 Loss vs AvsLast Game: 4-5(OT) Loss vs SJ

After suffering a classic Stomach Punch Game three days ago, the Oil is back on the ice tonight in a venue where they have only won 2 of their last 22 games. You read correctly: 2 of their last 22.

Apparently BG gets a seat next to Rod & Morely in the pressbox tonight in order to get a "jolt of energy" from Todd Harvey. I like Todd, but I don't think he's lightning in a bottle.

It also sounds like K-Lowe has been working the phones overtime, so I wouldn't be surprised to see some of our young, cheap talent get traded for an old, expensive has-been. The wolves need to be fed.

Anyway, the good news is that this game is on Tee-Vee, unlike any of the games featuring the defending Stanley Cup finalists.

Predictions? I'll go with a 3-2 Edmonton win - not because I really believe it, but because if I put down what I really think it would just set the stage for an overall grumpy day.

Grumpy addendum: Speaking of grumpy, I really, really dislike this new tendency to embed ads within stories by pretending that they are links to relevant information (e.g., the "goalie" link in this Sun story that actually goes to an ad for some damn e-commerce site--an e-commerce site that I will now actively avoid using). I resent having to look down at my address bar everytime I mouse over what appears to be a link to see whether or not it will go where it purports to go.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Mike Comrie can go nurse his groin

So it looks like it's not just the Oilers who are stumbling their way to the dreaded 8-10 record (nsfw).

Hey Ken: how come the Flames are on a five-game road trip where none of the five games are televised?

- Is it at all embarrassing to you that the Oilers only have 4 games all year that aren't televised?
- Is it at all embarrassing to you that your last news release regarding PPV games says, "A complete Flames’ pay-per-view schedule will be released in late September."?
- Did you know that the #1 Google hit for "Calgary Flames pay-per-view" is a Shaw cable news release from 2003?
- And by any chance, did you happen to notice that so far this year, your team is 3-1-1 when the game is available to Calgarians on cable TV, and 1-6-0 when it's not?

You don't owe me a damn thing, Ken. But your folksy theme about being the head of the candy factory is tasting a little sour right now, considering your inability to actually provide interested candy consumers with actual candy. (Much like last year! Except without 29 other people to blame.)


Bob McKenzie: Shill

Today's NHL Insider column is just brutal. Reading that Pat Quinn was being fined for saying nothing more than "he doesn't like it" brought this question back to the top of my mind: exactly what instructions have the NHL's Broadcast Partners been issued? I have a better idea now:
This is a painful thing for any member of the media to admit. Inflammatory comments are welcomed and even encouraged. The more pointed, the better, we say, because it makes our jobs more interesting. Easier, too.

But it is fair to say no sport has consistently run its game into the ground on a more regular basis than the NHL.

Maybe it's that NHL coaches, managers and players are simply so passionate about the game that they can't keep their feelings to themselves. Maybe it's just an inflated sense of self-importance, thinking that everyone has to hear their opinions. Whatever it is, the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball don't seem to verbally denigrate their product as often or as intensely as hockey people do with the NHL game.

How bloody disingenuous. You know, maybe TSN doesn't need the NHL to tell them to lay the praise thick on the new NHL. Unlike newspapers, or this blog, TSN needs people to like the revamped game and watch it. I understand why they're happy to trash the old NHL and extol the new, because they need to sell commercials during NHL broadcasts now, not two years ago.

But assume that Bob is free to say whatever he wants, positive or negative. How can he, with a straight face, applaud a policy while knowing full well that it won't make his job tougher in the slightest, however he chooses to do it? I quite like how commenter Robert Cleave put it at Tom Benjamin's place (3rd one down):
Bettman's biggest folly is thinking that he can quell Quinn or anyone else from speaking up. [...] If Quinn, or another coach, decides being fined isn't worth his trouble, he can have a little off the record chat with a compliant media person. The story would have his fingerprints all over it, but he would be referred to as an "NHL insider". That term could theoretically cover anyone from Colin Campbell to Joey Moss, so a fine would be hard to pinpoint, and the message would get out to hockey's version of the chattering classes.

That said, the underlying problem here is that it's nutty to look at NHL popularity as a PR issue. Everybody, even in Georgia and Tennessee and Florida, has heard of the NHL. The challenge is not to talk everybody into believing that it's the best sport around, the challenge is to get more people to watch it and buy tickets -- repeatedly. And the best (and in the end, only) way to achieve this is to make it the best game it can be.

Tom's not always right, but he sure is here:
The new NHL is going to have to survive a blast of criticism. It should have to be able to survive it. If it can't, then the problem is the change, not the criticism.

Shouldn't this be obvious to everyone, especially someone who trades in criticism for a living?


"There was something in the eggs that night"

Contrary to what I noted in comments a couple of times, it was Fernando "The Stars Were Bright" Pisani who was having "stomach troubles". I regret the error!


Today's History Lesson

There is some historical precedent for Edmonton's current dry spell.

In the 1940's, Imperial's Vern Hunter drilled 133 consecutive dry holes before the Oil would finally flow.

Will Craig "Dry Hole" MacTavish eventually strike a wildcat and be vindicated by history?


Mario? Darryl?

Can two terrible teams exchanging players actually accomplish anything?

Word on the street is that the Oilers had 3, count 'em, 3 scouts at the Pittsburgh game last night.

Peca for Palffy?
Semenov for Tarnstrom?
All 12 of our forwards + Pouliot for Darryl?
All of our defensemen for Fleury?

Gonchar? Leclair? Kraft (please no)?


Right approach?

I'm not sure how I feel about the bag-skate. I know it is a long standing tradition, but does it ever actually work?

"On the heels of two crushing defeats and a seven-game losing streak, MacTavish wheeled his players into a practice rink in Dallas and gave them a very public spanking. Longtime observers called it the most punishing bag skate they'd ever seen as MacTavish drilled his players into the ice for 50 straight minutes."


Bad times, bad times

Serendipity! The "spitting-mad woman" sitting in front of Sacamano at the Avalanche game has a name, and it's Jennifer Kapitski. I know this because she had a hilarious letter printed in the Edmonton Journal today:
I am writing in regards to the disgusting display from the so-called Oilers fans at the hockey game on Friday night. [...] Not that the Oilers' play lately has been anywhere near excusable, but how would those "fans" perform if 20,000-plus people tore them to pieces over every mistake and miscue made in their daily lives? People whined about the loss of hockey; now that it's back, how about a little faith in your team and a show of support? So I say boo to those "fans" who cheered the Avs as they took the ice in the third period; boo to the "fan" who led the revolting chant "Here we go (expletive), here we go!"; and, to all you fairweather fans, right back at you -- one big, heartfelt BOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Got that, Oiler "fans"? "Here we go (expletive), here we go!" Awesome. I'm also reminded of the old heckle response, "How would you like if I came to where you worked and jumped up and down on the bed?" Kidding, Jennifer! I'm sure you're a wonderful lady.

It's actually a pretty good bunch of letters. Peter Mitchell's missive gets top billing, and rightfully so:
That's when it struck me. The reason the Oilers are such a lame hockey team is that people in Edmonton can't get over having once had a tremendously good team. The current Oilers and Oilers fans are obsessed with the glory days of the Oilers. Oilers from the glory days staff the front office, they make the trades, they find the talent, they coach the team. However wonderful they were as players--and they were--they just aren't very good at what they're doing now. It is possible, isn't it, that the problem we have is that we keep people around not because they do a great job in the front office or behind the bench, but because they did a more-than-great job on the ice 20 years ago.

You don't have to be a grouchy Flames homer to be nodding your head there. The most intriguing suggestion comes from Tracey Lepak:
...Craig Simpson's results as coach of the power play are an absolute failure. Craig MacTavish has had long enough to prove something with little result. I say let him and Simpson go, hire Brian Sutter. He's hard working, dedicated and very competetive. The matchup between Calgary with Darryl Sutter and Edmonton with Brian Sutter would really be something to see.

Indeed, although the Penguins may beat you to him.


Flames Game Morning After the Night Before

Here's the Fenwick utes, brushing their teeth in anticipation of last Thursday's Battle of Alberta II. I see now that my oldest still had a pretty good shiner going. Suggestions that it might be the result of a little sweater-over-the-head "discipline" would be WAAAAYYY off-base.

Last night's result v. the Ducks was obviously disappointing--it was a bad omen to hear that Ozolinsh had been scratched. Nonetheless, the Flames carried the play in the first period only to emerge trailing 1-0. Iginla had another strong game (not coincidentally, in another game that the broadcasters were describing as quite physical--that Vishnevski seems fairly impressive). He scored the goal to make it 2-1, then rang another ear-stinger off the post.

The dreaded late penalty, X2, made the game look more lopsided than it was, not to mention fouling the Flames recent PK% and Kipper's GAA. You may have noticed the late penalty was a major factor in two other games last night as well. Both San Jose and Nashville tied their games on PP goals with 20 seconds left on penalties called with 40 seconds left; then Nashville got another PP 13 seconds into OT, but gave up the 4-on-3 shorthanded goal for the loss.

The best Flames meta-news right now is clearly that Iginla seems to have woken up. It's important for the Flames to take 2 points in Phoenix tonight (8PM MDT, radio only again). Like I expect Nashville to prove over the coming weeks and months, you can't make your season in the 1st month, but you can sure as hell dig yourself a big hole. Go Flames.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Flames Game Day

The Flames are in Anaheim tonight for the 3rd game of a 5-game road trip (preview). Former disappointing Flames prospect J-S Giguere will apparently go, his strained groin is feeling much better. The game preview also notes that Sergei Fedorov is "nursing a groin injury", a phrase that sounds vaguely icky and anatomically challenging. Former Hitman hothead/talent Ryan Getzlaf remains in the infirmary.

I have complete confidence that former disappointing Flame Rob Niedermayer will do what he does, and that's help the opposition (that's us!) create scoring chances. Scott is a more difficult challenge--fortunately, the Ducks have a fellow named Sandis Ozolinsh, with his penchant for Ulanov-style passes-gone-awry.

Puck drops at at 830MDT. No cable TV, so it's Maher and Mike Rogers (#23 in all-time WHA scoring leaders) on the FAN960. Go Flames.


Hockey Songs

This started out as a comment over at Sports Matters, who have put up a list of Sports Songs, but it got too long so I thought I better put it here instead.

Strangely, very few of the songs they have listed are actually about sports. I guess being played in a stadium is all it takes. But then, why don't they have Celebration by Kool and the Gang which must be, by far, the #1 played stadium song ever -- especially since Gary Glitter was discovered to have "an appetite for child pornography that was, bluntly, voracious."

In any case, I been putting together a Hockey Album for some time. Here is what I have so far. Suggestions are welcomed:

The Pre-Game Show
• Editorial - Bob and Doug McKenzie
• Hockey Night in Canada Theme - The Shuffle Demons
• Drop That Puck - The Zambonis

First Period: Odes to the Game and its Players
• The Good Old Hockey Game - Stompin’ Tom Conners
• The Hockey Song - Jughead
• Hockey Song - Organized Rhyme
• Wayne Gretzky Rocks - The Pursuit of Happiness
• Wayne Gretzky - Goldfinger
• Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack - Douglas Rankine & The Secrets
• The Ballad of Wendel Clark - The Rheostatics

First Intermission:
• Here Comes the Zamboni - The Zambonis

Second Period: “There’s Always Room on a Team for a Goon”
• Hit Somebody - Warren Zevon
Georges Laraque vs. Rob Ray - Call by Rod Phillips and Morley Scott
• Hockey Fight Song - Chuck Brodsky
• Me Like Hockey - The Arrogant Worms
Patrick Roy vs Chris Osgood - Call by ?
• Hockey Fight - Lummox
• Lost my Teeth - The Zambonis
• C.C.M.P.S. The Helmet Song - The Zambonis

Second Intermission
• I Wanna Drive the Zamboni - The Zambonis

Third Period: More than Just a Game
• Hockey - Jane Siberry
• Big League - Tom Cochrane
• 50 Mission Cap - The Tragically Hip
• Fireworks - The Tragically Hip
• Russian Pop Song - The Zambonis
• Hockey Holidays - The Zambonis

Postgame - I Can’t Believe We Lost, Wanna Go Back to My Place and Puck?
• Hockey Sucks - Hanson Brothers
• Frozen Puck to the Head - Captain Tractor
• The Referee’s Daughter - The Zambonis
• Great Zamboni of Devotion - The Zambonis

Note. I will not entertain thoughts of including any songs from this album.


**** list

Can the Sun Sports writers even go one day without a bathroom reference?

Brownlee: "No poop, Sherlock. We told-you-so guys knew that months ago."

Background for those who have missed it is here.


The "So-Called" Slump

Johnson wouldn't even acknowledge that ten consecutive losses constituted a slump. Trying to keep his poise as everybody around him lost theirs, Johnson commented: "You say to yourself, let's go back to the time when we were successful. What did we do differently? For the six weeks when we lost only two games, we were getting some breaks, we were getting some timely goals, and our goaltending was outstanding. Now, all of a sudden, we're not getting many goals, our defense is too tentative, and we're not getting good goaltending. We're in a slump because people keep telling us we're in a slump. People tell you you're playing badly and after a while, you start to believe it. People tell you you're playing great and you believe that, too. What do we need? We need to recapture the winning feeling. And the only way to do that is to win a game."

For those that don't recognize him by the relentless positivity, the Johnson referred to above is former Flames coach 'Badger' Bob Johnson, quoted in On Fire. How'd that go for him, you might be wondering? Short term:
The effects of Johnson's optimistic words lasted less than a day. The Hartford Whalers paid a visit to the Olympic Saddledome and buried the Flames 9-1.

Longer term (4-month range):
On the day Steve Smith turned 23, the Edmonton Oilers' rookie defenceman gave the city of Calgary a long-awaited, much-anticipated birthday present.

(That's actually the opening line of the book). Thus concludes this installment of Chicken Soup for the Oiler Fan's Soul. For those more in the mood for self-flagellation (or self-pity), I recommend today's Tom Benjamin: "I laughed even though it is mean to laugh when the hockey gods deliver a cruel blow to someone else's team. I laughed until my ribs hurt. I should be ashamed."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


This is fun?

There is nothing enjoyable about watching Oilers games anymore.

I mean that. I don't enjoy myself.


Coach Jules

The Hockey blogging community isn't too big. So you have probably seen this. But if not, you should (hat tip: Hockey Pundits).


Too good to be buried in the comments

Tears in my eyes...:
Even the sportstalk callers who want Mactavish's head on a pike with Mike Peca's balls in its mouth acknowledge that Pronger has been terrific. He's easily the smartest defenceman I've ever seen in an Oilers uniform, he's +3 on a team that's otherwise deep in the minus, and no one has had to teach him how to make adventurous, accurate passes through the neutral zone. The one visible difficulty that might be partly ascribed to him is the power play's failure to find a workable doctrine--but I think most Oiler-watchers would hang that on MacT and Craig "What Have You Done For Me Lately, Or In Fact Ever" Simpson.

Needless to say, I now have a new favourite Oiler nickname, ever--thanks Cosh. And speaking of crystal, uh, balls, my comment here about the copper & blue mob seems pretty prescient, a whole almost-two-weeks later.


Flames stat watch

*The Flames have started their long climb from the bottom of the PP% and PK% stats. There was a brief moment in their 4th game (vs. Colorado) where they were 5% on the PP and 50% on the PK. As recently as 3 games ago, they were still 30th in both categories. They're now up to 28th in PP% and 27th in PK%, and subjectively speaking, the PK in recent games is back to where it needs to be on an ongoing basis.

*Kipper has allowed 6 goals in the past 5 games (0, 1, 1, 2, 2). You could argue that this stat is padded a bit by virtue of facing the Oilers in two of these games, but nevertheless, it looks like the Turkiprusoff jokes were indeed too early.

*The Flames are one of 12 NHL teams who have yet to participate in a shoot-out (a summary can be viewed at under Team Stats). Nashville has 3 S/O wins already; in the first two, Paul Kariya scored the only goal.

*Most interesting individual stat to date: Rod Brind' Amour is taking 43.2% of Carolina's faceoffs. Next highest is Joe Thornton, far behind at 35.8%.

*Most interesting team stat to date: probably that Tampa is 9.6% on the PP (ranked 29th), and is 0-2 in shootouts. They still have 10 pts. through 9 games; when their scorers get into gear, we should probably expect a long winning streak.


Score one for Sacamano's crystal ball!

Sacamano, Sept. 30th:
...I predict in the first month we see at least 3 classic highlights of goalies misjudging their own skating ability and giving up embarrassing goals (Belfour x2 and Cloutier).

The Globe, today:
With the game tied early in the third period, Belfour ventured to the right of his goal to play a puck. But the puck was outside the trapezoid area behind the net, the only area a goalie can play the puck behind the goal line.

Belfour realized this in the nick of time, so he didn't touch the puck and waited for help. But Boyes scooped in and stole the puck to score.



Oilers Do or Die Day

Season Record: 3-5-1 Season Record: 3-4-1
Dead Last in Northwest Division
Second Last in Northwest Division


After 6 straight losses culminating with The Game We Do Not Mention, it is at least a Must Show Up game if not a Must Win for the Oilers.

Given that Colorado was getting waxed 5-1 by the Canuckleheads before May, Brisebois and Tanguay scored 99 seconds apart in the third, I imagine they will also be an ornery bunch. Just what we need.

The good news is that all this should produce an exciting game. Of course, that was my thinking when I got tickets for the last one.

But, given my new way of approaching games I'm going to go with a 3-0 Oilers win: Jussi gets the shutout, D-vo, Reasoner, Peca get the goals.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Q. What's this picture?

A. The saddest face in Hamilton.

On a related note, mike at Covered put out the call yesterday for armchair Oilers GMs. The big question here, and I'm not necessarily trying to be snarky, is what do the Oilers have that would be attractive to another team? I have an answer to this question, and it may surprise you:

Michael Peca.

Why, might you ask, would any other team have an interest in a $4M/yr faceoff specialist? Don't NHL GMs read this blog? The answer can be found on a parquet floor near you.

The other two big leagues with a salary cap are the NFL and the NBA. There are virtually never in-season trades in the NFL; the season is relatively short, there's systems to learn, etc.

The NBA is much more comparable: the season is longer, and players can pretty much step right in and contribute. And the biggest things in demand as the NBA trade deadline nears are:
  1. You know, good players that can help the team, and
  2. Large and expiring contracts
There are always a handful of teams, and not necessarily ones that have given up on their season, who are looking for cap space next year. Regardless of whether Peca qualifies as (1) for some team, he most certainly qualifies as (2). A team liable to trade for Peca needs to fit most of the following criteria:
Essentially, this imaginary team would trade the Oilers some player(s) (salaries ~$4M) who are contracted beyond this season, for Peca, in order to free up cap space to re-sign their key players in the offseason (or sign a big UFA).

The fact that this team might "lose" the trade on merit is not a deal-breaker by any means. I wish I had some good links for this, but players who are out for the year on IR, if they have big expiring contracts, are actually hot commodities at the NBA trade deadline.

The Havlat rumour, given all this, is somewhat implausible, since he's an RFA at the end of the year. However, say Edmonton traded Peca to Ottawa for Havlat and Varada. Sens fans would scream bloody murder, until two weeks from now, when Muckler announces that he's signed Chara and Redden to extensions. (Unannounced: that Peca will not return). The Sens then call up one of their many capable farmhands, and it's Peca and New-Guy in the lineup instead of Havlat and Varada.

Stranger things have happened. High-priced veterans will move near the deadline: not just as rent-a-players, but as salary slots. The Peca trade won't happen, for two reasons:


No NHL Goalie? Go to the AHL. No AHL Goalie? Go to the ECHL

The Oilers have sent Ty to the minors for a "conditioning assignment" and called up Mike Morrison from the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL.



A road win against a good team

That's what the Flames achieved last night, in what the radio broadcasters described as the Flames' best all-around performance of the season.

Chris Simon was named 1st star: he had 2 goals, 1 assist, and ringed one so hard off the post in the 3rd that it actually stung my eardrum a bit (I was wearing earbuds). Iginla just had 1 assist, but played over 24 minutes and had enough scoring chances that he was named 3rd star.

The chatter on the radio this morning was that maybe Sean Avery should have gotten the 1st star. He got into it a bit with Iginla early in the 1st, and apparently was talking trash to Chris Simon ("time to retire, old man", etc.). Obviously both those guys had their best games of the year, mostly thanks to the intensity they had.

It's interesting: "Rough him up to get him off his game" has never been the book on Iginla; he's not afraid to battle. But I never really connected the dots and thought of it from the opposite angle: that is, opposing coaches essentially telling their players, "Don't wake him up." And that is exactly what Flames radio guy Peter Maher was claiming this morning is the wise coach's strategy against him.

Based on how I heard it on the radio, the game last night was pretty physical and intense. (Normally I'd point to the 10 penalties for each team as evidence of that, but the connection is not at all obvious at this point this season). Mutual fund salesman Perry Berezan was on the radio last week, making a very compelling point: roughly, "if you're not getting hacked a bit, how are you supposed to get mad?"

Indeed. You can point to the fact that the rules do not prohibit body contact, but if the players are all leery about touching each other, is it really plausible to argue that there can be just as much intensity in a "wide-open game"? Our friend Mr. Magoo was officiating and did what he could to enforce the new regime, but because things got a little chippy early, we had a physical, intense game. I think that's good, but I'm still open to more convincing. (As well, I repeat that I did not see the game on TV, so take this all for what it's worth).

Annnnny-hoooo, it was good to get the 2 points (and deny the Kings any). I fervently hope that Simon and Iginla's pissy moods extend through Wednesday & Thursday vs. the Ducks and Coyotes. And your daily fun trivia: that was the first points that the Flames have earned from a non-televised game (on RSN/TSN/CBC, anyway). Prior to last night, the Flames were 3-1-1 in TV games (the only reg. L being in the opener v. the Wild), and 0-4-0 in non-TV games. This is something that occurred to me while I was listening to them, on the radio, go down 2-0 in the 1st.


An email I'm too polite to send

Dear Mr. Jones:

I was writing a piece on the Edmonton Oilers for my website, and I have a question I think only a professional journalist can answer:

Is poo-poo one word or two?



God, I amuse myself.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Flames Game Day

Flames need a win tonight in Los Angeles, 830MDT. (Preview)

Fun, blows-my-mind trivia from last night's loss to the Stars: which player on either team logged the most ice time?

Answer: Flames #3.


Holy Crap!

Terry Jones does it again! From today's article:

"His team on a six-game losing streak. They just soiled the sheets at home. They're heading on the road for 10 of the next 11. The goaltenders are in the toilet."

And Robin Brownlee gets in on the action too.

"Consolidate the poop. Amalgamate the caca. Phrase it however you want."

Even Mac-T joins the party:

"There's going to be big-time changes if we don't get our shit together. Excuse my language. We've got to get our shit together and we don't have much time to do it. Any questions?"

Well, I have one: what's with all the fecal obsessions?


Return to optimism


Saturday, October 22, 2005


Two things..

..that unite everyone on both sides of the Battle:
  1. Deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers(*)
  2. The wish that the Colorado/Vancouver game tonight is settled in regulation time.


Flames Game Day

The Flames begin a 5-game road trip tonight against the Dallas Stars, whose 3rd jersey is pictured to the left. (Photo via red and black hockey, who has this to say: "My second least favorite third sweater is the female reproductive system Dallas Stars third sweater that they're wearing now." Indeed.)

Since ripping 4 points out of Alberta last week, the Stars have been beaten red by the Canucks and the Kings. Who knows which Stars team we'll see tonight, or which Flames team for that matter.

Puck drops at 6, radio (and American TV) only. I'm assuming HNIC will show goal updates during their games. Go Flames.


Some crap I've been meaning to mention...

Terry Jones has a problem. This fixation on all things #2, and I don't mean the Highway, is going beyond bizarre.

August 21st, he wrote an Eskimos column titled "Soiled Stadium". The lede:
Danny Maciocia's biggest mistake as head coach last night was not bringing a pooper scooper to the game.

"Who am I kidding? We have a lot of work to do here," said the rookie head coach after his team soiled the sheets and the Commonwealth Stadium turf.

His concluding words on the Oilers after their loss to the Flames Thursday:
They've now officially taken over from the Flames as the Alberta team in deep do-do.

That's what this game was all about. The loser was going to leave here with you know what on their boots.

And, his assessment of last night's whupping at the hands of Colorado:
No rodeo or circus ever left the joint smelling like this. And it's been a while since the Edmonton Oilers messed their hockey pants like this, either. Rexall Place will likely be closed until further notice for fumigation.

Dude, get help! Or at least a thesaurus.


Crowd Magic

Look. Mrs. Sacamano and I are not rich people. If we save our pennies and don't eat meat, we can scrape together enough money to attend one game per month. We circle the date on our calendar, dress up, go for dinner--in short, we make an evening of it. Last night was our evening.

Now, you have to understand that Mrs. Sacamano--while she likes the Oilers (especially Raffi Torres for some reason)--doesn't have an unhealthy obsession for the team like the rest of us. For example, one thing that drives her absolutely bananas is when we go to the game, and then return home and I pull up the tv highlights of the same game. She finds it . . . infuriating. Another thing that drives her nuts is the term "special teams." She just thinks it's ridiculous.

In any case, what this boils down to is that when the Oilers lose I tend to get disproportionately grumpier than she does, which makes for a less than enjoyable evening out for her.

So, when the Oilers got down early, I decided that I wasn't going to invest in them emotionally for the rest of the game - just to preserve my own marital relations.

Instead of watching the game and seething about my lost money, I started watching referee Mick McGeough. He's actually pretty entertaining.

Of course, a blowout like that one always brings out the best in a crowd. Here are some of the highlights:

After all this, we get home and what do I do? Flip on the TV to catch the highlights - at the precise moment when they have a graphic up entitled "Oilers Special Teams Woes."

Mrs. Sacamano blows a gasket and heads directly to bed.

Welcome to the New NHL


At least someone in the bar was happy

As my friend Bob Sacamano mentioned, I took a quick road trip on Thursday and caught the Battle of Alberta from Schanks Athletic Club in Edmonton's bland West End.

Wearing a Flames retro "Smith/86" jersey, I was prepared for trouble, though not really expecting it. However, the patrons who mostly filled up the place were unfailingly polite (if not well-groomed).

It almost felt unfair to Sacamano and Cosh, and unlike the previous paragraph, I'm telling the truth. Obviously I enjoyed the result most. I'm sure I enjoyed the beverages most (or is that "most beverages"? Probably both). And since I'm the least interesting one of us, I'm sure I enjoyed the company the most.

I suppose if we try it again, we should arrange for a bigger table.

Friday, October 21, 2005



Terrible. I almost felt bad for Sacamano, having spent his own hard-earned caysh to be at the game in person tonight. The feeling passed quickly.

Oiler fans looking for a bright side can probably cling to the fact that tonight's performance was rock-bottom, although when you're looking at 10 of the next 11 games on the road, merely improving on tonight won't be good enough.

And may I also state for the record here on October 21st, having watched many, many (at least 7!) camera shots of the Oiler bench tonight, that I don't think Craig Simpson or Charlie Huddy have the slightest clue what they're doing. Aren't there some other Oiler relics they can exhume that would do a better job? What are Don Jackson and Mike Krushelnyski doing these days?


Another game, another loss, another game

Season Record: 3-4-1 Season Record: 2-4-1
4nd in Northwest Division
Dead Last in Northwest Division


I have no comments on last nights game. I was forced to watch it with an incredibly boorish Flames fan (aka Matt). Brutal. Fortunately there was one other kind gentleman in the house who could feel my pain. Thanks for the night, folks.

Thoughs? Predictions? Sepuku?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


More money to the owners, please!

Lord knows I love Roenick, but I think he is going even more bananas than usual.

I'll definitely agree with him the new CBA is an imbalanced "partnership", but this comment is baffling:

"The owners can sit there and do giveaways and lower ticket prices to get the fans back to the game knowing that what they are really doing is taking it out of our pockets."

In other words, he doesn't like the new CBA -- not because it takes more money out of the players' pockets, but because that money is going towards cheaper ticket prices instead of directly into the owners' pockets.

As someone who occasionally buys tickets I'm supposed to care about this because . . . why?

I'm not sure what he wants: that the owners should take the money, or that players should be given more credit for cheaper ticket prices?

If it is the latter, okay: Hey, thanks Jeremy. I really appreciate all of your efforts on behalf of NHL hockey fans to lower ticket prices, increase the number of promotions and giveaways, and just for being such an all-around great guy. You're the best, buddy.


Separated at birth?

Michael Peca, C, Edmonton Oilers, b. 1974
2005 stats:
7GP, 1G, 2A, 3pts, 10PIM, 16SOG, 62.7%FO

Stephane Yelle, C, Calgary Flames, b. 1974
2005 stats:
7GP, 1G, 2A, 3pts, 4PIM, 12SOG, 60.3%FO

Not much to choose from, there. Tiebreaker:
And of course, there's $2.92: that's how much Peca "earns" for every dollar the Flames pay Yelle.

Also, I think I owe Todd White an apology for this bad analogy: Todd is 2-7-9, +7 this season, with a respectable 52.9 FO%.


Battle of Alberta II

Season Record: 3-3-1 Season Record: 2-4-1
3nd in Northwest Division
Tied for Dead Last in Northwest Division


Round II of the BoA goes off tonight. The Flames are 8-1-1-1 over the Oilers in the last 11. Brutal.

Word on the street is that Edmonton had a players only meeting on the ice in which they emphasized--among other things--the need "to just have fun out there." Yikes! It seems a bit early for that kind of talk.

I'm guessing that if the Flames score first, Edmonton is in for a beating of monumental proportions -- both on the ice and in practice

If Edmonton actually manages to score first, then we might be in for a pretty good game.

Speaking of enthusiastic coaching. Gretzky has a few comments both here and here that relate to yesterday's discussion of how to coach Crosby.

Since I don't really follow the Flames, I don't know how Lombardi's injury really affects them. Anyone?


Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Crosby: Still Nasty, Young

I posted before the season about Sidney Crosby's Calder chances: while I wasn't skeptical per se, I did note that the oddsmakers treating it as a near-foregone conclusion was ridiculous. The injury risk alone dictates as much.

But I'd like to say now that everything I've seen so far this season -- and that includes the strong early performances of Ovechkin, Phaneuf, and a few others -- indicates to me that Crosby will win it handily.

One obvious data point is that he's picking up points, even though the team isn't performing very well. It's a mark of high-scoring talents that even when they're not dominating, they still seem to pick up points, whether it's cheap 2nd assists, goals late in garbage time, or whatever. I saw many Oiler games in the 80s (OK, maybe "many" is stretching it) where Gretzky was nowhere near the best player on the ice, didn't seem to make much of an impact, yet still showed up on the scoresheet with 3 assists. Crosby's 9 points through an 0-2-4 start tells me that, regardless of his dominance (or lack thereof), he's going to rack up a bunch of points this year. If Crosby and (say) Ovechkin end up with around the same number of points this season, but Ovechkin has been more "dynamic", then of course AO will win. But if Crosby has 20 more points, then that subjective assessment won't matter, and Crosby will win.

The second clue for me came from the highlights from the Lightning game Saturday (a 3-1 Pens loss). The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review noted that Sid was miked up, but only relayed the generalities:
The snippets that were played on the air revealed Crosby to be a take-charge guy on the bench. He might only be 18, but he isn't the least bit shy with veteran linemates Ziggy Palffy and Mark Recchi.

I'll say. Here's what I heard on the highlights (I quote from memory): "Hey Ziggy. Ziggy! Ziggy!!! You gotta start supporting me in the corners. [...] Well, we gotta get some pressure going."

The less interesting way to take this is as a demonstration of leadership. The more interesting way to take it is that Sidney Crosby is unlikely to have the Penguins team culture affect the way he approaches hockey. Since the Pens organization has been floundering for a few years, and the team culture wouldn't be described by anyone as "intense", this is an unquestionably good thing. My thoughts were reinforced on Monday, reading this bit about Gretzky by Colby Cosh:
I don't imagine Gretzky has much respect, deep down, for anyone else's judgment when it comes to hockey. Whether he succeeds or fails as the Coyotes' boss, it should be noted that he has good reason for this attitude.

With the wrong guy, and the wrong set of circumstances, the fellow in this scenario is "stubborn", or as applied to Crosby, "uncoachable". But as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, evidence that Crosby's attitude is unlikely to be influenced by his coach and teammates is probably a damn good omen.

Last thing: the one area where Crosby has been empirically awful this season is in the face-off circle. He's only won 32% (33/103) of his faceoffs, good for dead last in the league amongst centremen with more than 15 attempts.

One of Young 99's more impressive/annoying attributes was that receiving substantiative criticism on a weakness of his game invariably prompted him to not only correct it, but make it a strength. (List includes: not looking for his shot enough, his skating, his plus/minus, and breakaways -- I'm sure there's more). If we see Crosby pull up his FO% in the weeks and months ahead, I think we're looking at a superstar.

Footnote: Apologies for the terribly tortured pun in the header.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Easiest post header I've ever written...

...would be "Oilers can't escape the Flames' past", seeing as how former Flames (draftees, even) scored 3 of 4 Phoenix goals tonight, including the OT game winner. Beautiful!

Didn't watch the game, though. Congrats to "one of the league's top defensive forwards" Mike Peca on his first goal of the season. Also, I was just checking this story about the scene at Reachall tonight, and I must object to this paragraph:
Logan Drysdale, who won his ticket in a prize draw, was dressed in vintage white Coffey Oiler jersey. The 34-year-old Regina resident grew up an Oilers fan in Standard, Alta. - the heart of Calgary Flames country.

I'm not trying to be a dick here, but if someone handed you a map and said, "Point to the heart of Calgary Flames country, please", wouldn't you point to Calgary? I mean, the city is right in the name of the team. Jeeeeezzzzzz.


The Alberta Advantage

2 straight teams sweep Alberta.

While the BofA may have a little more juice than it has for the last few years, we are still a long way from returning to Death Valley North.


Another quick start

I'm getting really tired of being down 2 goals to start the game.


More Coffey

Here's the best Coffey tribute you're likely to read:
...when Gretzky had a 200-point season, he owed more to Coffey than Coffey did to Gretzky for his own 120-point years. If there had been five like him in the NHL between 1995 and 2004, there would be no such thing as the neutral-zone trap.

I think it is fair to say that Edmontonians assessed Gretzky and Messier at no less than their true value, and that we were admirably quick to do so. But we never realized that there wouldn't be another Paul Coffey.

It's not just Edmontonians that didn't realize this. Read the whole thing, and do not neglect to click through the last link in the piece.


I suppose I should call it the "Scott" Young

It's of course ridiculously early to look at candidates for the NHL Awards (last week, Luongo had the Vezina wrapped up and was closing in on the Hart; today, things are a little less clear).

There's really only one award where the early numbers are illuminating, and that's the Cy Young.

Wins leader Simon Gagne is off to a workmanlike 7-3 start. Rookie Marek Svatos has raised a lot of eyebrows going 5-1 out of the gate. Joffrey Lupul is 4-1 in his five starts, as is Jere Lehtinen through six.

The closest we have to perfection is the Oilers' own Raffi Torres, an unblemished 4-0 in 6 games. Maxim Afinogenov and Jeremy Roenick are both 3-0 after six starts, and will clearly need some more run support if they hope to make a push for the Cy.

Already out of the running with dismal early seasons are Peter Forsberg (0-10), Martin Straka (o-9), and Jason Williams and Tomas Kaberle, both 0-8. If they continue to struggle, expect them to be pulled from their starting rotations.

(And no, I don't have anything to say about the Flames loss last night, which is why I posted this mighty lame bit.)


Oilers Game Day

Season Record: 3-3-0 Season Record: 2-4-1

Head-to-Head: 0-0-0 Head-to-Head: 0-0-0

Last Game: 3-0 Loss vs CalgaryLast Game: 2-0 Win vs Calgary


Given that Phoenix played last night in Calgary, this game is a nice chance for the Oil to get back into the win column. Of course the Coyotes are 7th in the league in GAA, and our offense is struggling.

Expect some boos for both Comrie and Nedved's wife.

I only hope that the Coffey hoopla doesn't wear them out as seemed to happen with the Outdoor Game last season.

Given that we have three games in four nights, how will Mac-T play the goalie situation? How would you?


4 cups a Coffey

I wasn't living in E-town when Paul Coffey was gliding up and down the ice at Northlands, nor was I even an Oilers fan at the time; so, I'll leave to folks more qualified than I to provide you with the Life and Times. Better yet, listen to what he, himself, has to say on the Oilers' LiveChat.

However, I believe that I am qualified to express my hearty congratulations to #7 for an exceptional career.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Flames can't escape the Oilers' past

A nice night for a quartet of Oilers Alumni.

Gretzky gets his first career coaching road win, Cujo gets his 44th career shutout, Marchment misses his assignment on Ricci who scored the game winner, and Devereaux ices the game with the empty-netter for Phoenix.



Flames Game Day

Classic trap game for the Flames tonight, with the newly Hull-less Coyotes in town. Despite the Flames pair of goals in the 1st on Saturday, I'm concerned about the opening period again. A convincing scoreboard result in the previous game, when combined with non-aggressive play in the later stages, usually translates to a listless opening. I hope I'm wrong.

We'll also see if Franco-American backup goalie Philippe Sauve gets his first start. If this homestand were a little more compressed, it would be assured, but with two more days off before the finale against Edmonton on Thursday, Sutter may send Kipper back out there to ride the wave.

If you want to watch the game on the tee-vee, get thee to a bar: FSN Arizona has got the only coverage. Otherwise, it's the Fan 960 -- puck drop at 7-ish. Go Flames.


Panthers, Coyotes, Zebras, Giraffes!

Tom Benjamin thinks the refs were starting to back off of obstruction calls this weekend, and has this very fair take:
Fans who do think the game should evolve to something new are entitled to their opinion and they can't be cheated of a fair trial. This has been part and parcel of the plan from the outset. Let's play it out and find out what kind of hockey fans really want. Prove Gary right or prove Gary wrong, but prove something for once and for all.

I didn't see all the examples he cites, but I don't doubt him. And in fairness, it is hard to tell on TV which infractions are ignored rather than unseen. But I am interested to see how this plays out over the next couple of weeks (and what the pundit consensus sees). For me, the least interesting aspect of the whole thing is whether "the NHL's reputation will be shot" if they back down from the original plan.

The NHL does not need to worry about its reputation, per se. It needs to worry about how to produce the most entertaining possible product to maximize the number of people who want to voluntarily exchange their money for NHL entertainment.

The Decima poll last week got a lot of attention; I'm unimpressed. It is what it is, but it's too disconnected from the actual decision process of the potential NHL consumer. All consumer polls are limited to a degree, since they don't require the respondent to put his money where his mouth is. This one was limited even moreso because of its general/theroretical nature.

If we really want to know how the new rules (particularly, the obstruction crackdown) are going down with fans, you need to do some exit polling at some NHL games, with specific questions, like:
  1. Would you say the refs tonight: (A) called too many penalties, (B) called too few penalties, (C) just right, (D) both A&B (inconsistent), or (E) don't know.
  2. Did you think the game tonight had: (A) too much physical play, (B) too little physical play, (C) just right, (D) inconsistent, (E) the wrong kind of physical play, or (F) don't know
  3. Does the way the game was officiated tonight make you: (A) more likely to attend another NHL game, (B) less likely, (C) no effect
If the answers to these questions, and the revealed preferences from actual NHL consumers (i.e. revenues), suggest that the obstruction crackdown is a failure, then I don't see why the league shouldn't feel free to abandon it.

The success of the NHL is a function of how many people are buying tickets, buying merchandise, and watching TV broadcasts. This is a set of voluntary transactions where, as an example, individuals determine on their own whether the pleasure (and other "value") derived from attending an NHL game is worth more to them than whatever else they could do with that 60 bucks and three hours.

There are all sorts of factors that affect these individuals' choices, and they are different for each individual. I will be so bold, though, as to suggest that "how much fun I have watching the game" is generally much more relevant than "my opinion on how 'The NHL' is managing the game".

All that said, I'm still pretty sympathetic to TB when he says, "Let's give this a fair test, if only to put the larger issue to bed." I would prefer to never again have to hear, "It would have worked, if they had just seen it through."

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Powerplay specialist? We don't need no stinking powerplay specialist.

I apologize if this causes Cosh to lose another meal, but Schremp just tied Corey Perry's Knight's record of 2 goals and 6 assists in a single game to give him 10-18-28 in 6 games.

22 of those 28 points were on the powerplay.

He was first star in four of the six games.

But hey, Todd Harvey and Fernando Pisani are more defensively responsible.

I'm not entirely sure whether I want a Schremp update to become a permanent feature here or not.


Matt's Cut: 0%

Interesting to read Eric Francis in the Calgary Sun this morning. He breaks down the turnover on the Flames roster since the '04 playoff run by matching up individual departed players with new additions, and evaluating whether each change is an upgrade or otherwise.

What a great idea -- why didn't I think of that?

Compare and contrast, if you like. Only time will tell how the (relatively few) differences in our assessments pan out. If I were to criticize Francis' article, I would tell him that it would have been better if he had evaluated all the changes based on hockey merit only, or even any other consistent criteria. It's rather dishonest (intellectually) to call Change X a hockey upgrade, then look at Change Y and say, "well, the old guy was too expensive, so this was the right move". It undercuts the entire premise -- the question "Is GM Sutter doing his job?" is not identical to "Is the roster better than last season?". Francis seems to want to answer the first question in the affirmative; that's fine, but what fans care about is the answer to the second.


Rob Ramage & Rick Wamsley

The Flames got those guys, and a Stanley Cup; Brett went on to score an additional 715 NHL goals.

The Flames did actually play, at times, a Kid Line of Nieuwendyk, Roberts, and Hull, and I attended a few of those games. The magic moments of being a fan, I guess.

Well done, Brett.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


The #1 rule of golf... "not How, just How Many". I'm not convinced, having watched tonight's game, that the Flames were clearly superior, but I'm also not at all down with the Hughson-Millen line that Kipper was the only reason why the result wasn't reversed.

I'm sticking with my call that the officiating was generally solid, although there are questions. Stoll did get that stick in the face while being checked by McCarty. Brozdiak committed some textbook obstruction on Iginla. I still don't know why Winchester went to the box late in the 3rd. And yet, I'm worried that the alternative is worse.

This is still hockey (right?). The lads can't be afraid to push each other around a bit. Yes, we all want the skilled players to be able to perform, but it's still NHL hockey. Walton again: this is a game, played by men, for the ultimate prize. Kent Nilsson is rightfully not in the Hall of Fame; he had skills out the arse, but he was tentative about physical confrontations. I don't recall hearing "what a shame" complaints, at the time or since.

My prediction for tonight's game was pretty good: "Three-nil Flames, c/w some major unpleasantries late in the game." The result was still in doubt late, so I guess it's understandable that it didn't get really rough, but I still have the feeling that there should be more hate coming out of this game. I guess it all depends on what you like about hockey.


Open thread

Comments on the game? Go ahead.

I'll start by saying that I think Schick & friends are doing a great job (again) officiating. Hughson said, "They're allowing some battling" -- well, I should hope so, this is hockey. And I didn't see any blatant stick or obstruction fouls that ought to have been called.


Times change, and they don't...

I was just thumbing through my copy of On Fire (which deserves a post of its own), and found this great quote:
"The games against Edmonton are important because everything we do from September to April will always be compared to and plotted against how Edmonton did. They're the ones we have to catch. If you win seventy-two games in a year and lose eight to them and then lose again in the playoffs, then where are you? Nowhere. We could fool ourselves and say we're trying to catch the Washington Capitals, but that's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to catch Edmonton. They're the mark we compare ourselves to. When all is said and done, that's what it comes down to; all the trades, all the talk, everything we do."

- Paul Reinhart, c. 1986


Battle of Alberta I

Season Record: 3-2-0 Season Record: 1-3-1
2nd in Northwest Division
Dead Last in Northwest Division
Stanley Cups: 5 Stanley Cups: 1


After precisely one month of mostly meaningless jibber-jabber on this blog, the first title event has finally arrived. Both teams and their supporters are a little on edge, which should make for a great game. Of course, Calgary is trying to turn it into a Family Fun Zone, so perhaps the atmosphere might be a tad more mellow than it would be if the game was in Edmonton.

As a warmup, ESPN has complied a list of some of the most memorable Oilers-Flames tilts (ÞHockey Pundits).


I always liked Maltby

"A fired-up Maltby responded by belting Avery in the beak."


Oilers Goal Scoring Machine

Rob Schremp has a sick 8-12-20 in 5 games in London.

Boy that 10 game tryout sure would have looked good right about now with both Smyth and Horcoff out.

Friday, October 14, 2005


7 years

I have no way of linking or confirming this, and even with a fantastic database it would be tricky to confirm, but: as I recall, there was a period which I think was roughly 1983 to 1990 where not a single team went through Calgary and Edmonton (or vice-versa) and earned 4 points. Part of this has to with the no-OT rules of the time, but a lot of it is a testament to just how good the Flames and Oilers were through that period. Remember, every team in the NHL (i.e. 19) played both teams in Alberta every single year, and most of them did it consecutively at least once. To think that there was a streak of well over 100 where "foreign" teams failed to gain two wins is rather remarkable, I think.

Which is a long and indirect way of saying, I suppose, that the Dallas Stars are probably still pretty good this year. A few other thoughts from tonight's Oil-Stars game:
Suddenly, tomorrow night's game looks like a very important win for both teams.


One good thing about tonight's game . . .

. . . is that tomorrow night's BoA just grew in importance.



Just caught Survivor Rob being interviewed by Gene Principe (explaining how his brother was an "Oil-ah" fan and he was a Bruins fan). Am I the only one who thinks it would have been great entertainment if Gene had trotted out Petr Klima? ("Rob Marciano, this is your life!")

And oh yeah: does C-Mac have something up his sleeve, pulling Conklin 16 seconds into a period after a 2-0 goal that wasn't his fault, or should I take it as face-value lunacy?


Meet The F**kers

The first skirmish of the season in the Battle of Alberta goes down tomorrow night, and as a service to Flames fans who have neither the patience nor the stomach to follow what's going on in Oilerville, I introduce to you the core of the 2005/2006 Edmonton Oilers roster.

Ty "Conko" Conklin and Jussi "-Rebounds" Markkanen. The two halves of the Oil's #2 goaltending tandem. If these guys don't work out, they can recall Mike Morrison from Greenville of the ECHL.

The "heart" of the Oilers' defense: Chris "Junior Chopper" Pronger, Jason "Chiclets" Smith, and Steve "Mach 3" Staios. Pronger is the man the Oilers will be paying $6M+ when he's 36, and is presently adjusting to a major downgrade in defense partner. Staios has parlayed the Oilers lack of playoff success, and the non-availability of more competent players, into 3 appearances with Team Canada in the April World Championships. And former Calgary Canuck Jason Smith is coming off a career-high 7 goals in 2003-04; let's see if he can pick up where he left off.

Mike "Todd White" Peca: the other big Oilers pickup over the summer, shown here demonstrating his heart, stamina, and fierce competitiveness.

His primary contribution to the Battle of Alberta this year will undoubtedly be to injure someone with his stick; you can also count on him to be on the ice for a couple of game-winning goals -- against.

Ryan "Stopped Clock" Smyth, '94 1st round pick and the only quality long-term player the Oilers have drafted since Jeff Beukeboom (the nickname is direct acknowledgement of the odds that a draft selection made by the Oilers will be a wise one). Currently out with an injury, after the Edmonton Sun put the whammy on him before the Canucks game last weekend. Another guy who's made World Championships lemonade out of the lemon of Oiler postseason ineptitude.

According to his team bio, Clock scored 100 goals in 25 games for his Bantam team in Banff. Huzzah!

Georges "Je n'aime pas Sean Avery" Laraque: last seen breaking Brant Myhrres' face in preseason, the Flames frankly don't have anyone who can throw down with this guy. Fortunately, he's such a skating and defensive liability that he's averaging about 3 shifts a game, and is unlikely to add anything to the Battle of Alberta except for unintentional comedy.

Radek "Pouzar" Dvorak: shown here demonstrating his customary April activity. His one NHL season with 20 or more goals has somehow deluded Oilers coaches into putting him onto their #1 line, although admittedly the alternatives are similarly unappealing.

Shawn "Hork" Horcoff, Ales "Don't Call Me Alice" Hemsky, Raffi "Raffi" Torres, Jarrett "Roadrunner" Stoll, and Jani "Jason Bonsignore" Rita: these Fab Five young skaters are the future of the team, which begs the question: will it be a drab, unfulfilling "Edward Scissorhands" future, or an unimaginably dismal "Escape From New York" future.

Craig "SPCA" Mactavish: coach of the whole sorry lot, and merely the most visible example of the Oil's past-grasping. Other team staffers include Kevin "Peter Principle" Lowe, Charlie Huddy, and Craig Simpson; I believe Kevin McClelland also parks cars in a vacant lot near Rexall, and there's a job waiting for Dennis Bonvie when he finally retires.

Hope this helps, Flames fans!

Footnote: This post header is ripped off directly from a Daily Show graphic last month, right down to the asterisks.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?