Friday, March 23, 2007


And, af-ter the lovin'...

Some assorted thoughts from the past few days:

**Good results for the Flames last night and Tuesday. Pretty wins, ugly wins, high-scoring wins, low-scoring wins, lopsided wins, close wins... I would have been happy with any of them.

I know some will take a particular lesson from the scores -- roughly, that the Flames need to play conservative, 2-1 type games to be successful -- but I still generally reject that. Obviously, I don't object to trying to make fewer defensive mistakes. I don't even object to the notion of the system working from the goaltender out. What I do object to (strenuously object!) is this rhetoric about "we want to win games 1-0". It's nutty. The Flames comparative advantage over most of the WC playoff teams is scoring.

To rephrase: if the Flames want to play tight, low-scoring games where the deciding goal comes on special teams, or on a fortunate bounce, or on a rare mistake, they're going to be in a coin-flip situation, at best, with every other WC playoff team. If they're willing to open it up a bit though, and trade a few chances, it offers them an advantage. See below.

**Fun fact: the Flames are 11th/30 in the NHL in Goals Against. Of the 8 Western Conference playoff teams, they are 8th/8. I find this incredible -- the Top 8 teams in the NHL in GAA are, in order, Minnesota, San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver, New Jersey, Detroit, Anaheim, and Nashville.

That noted, I wouldn't exactly say that Calgary is the weakest defensive team in the WC Top 8. For starters, again, that GAA is 11th in the NHL, which doesn't exactly scream weakness. And 2nd, that ranking is mostly a function of their poor PK, which really does stink. Only the Wings and Stars have allowed fewer 5-on-5 goals, but the Flames' PK% is 24th in the NHL: the other 7 playoff teams in the WC are ranked 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th, 11th, 12th, & 13th.

**Fun fact #2: the success that Calgary's neighbours in the standings have had this month is just ludicrous, it's so good. Calgary's L10 record is 5-4-1; pretty mediocre, but not atrocious, basically a 90-point pace. However:
**He is, The Warrener! #44's "overall body soreness" was obviously OK last night, as he was playing like Scott Niedermayer. And before the OT winner, I would not have meant that as a compliment, since he lacks Nieds' playmaking ability, instincts, and ability to recover from being out of position. On Fiddler's go-ahead goal early in the 3rd, John Garrett singled out Huselius as the main culprit for losing Fiddler on the backcheck, but is there a good reason that Right Defenceman Warrener was way over by the left dot?

I thought the backchecker's job was generally to pick up the trailer (behind Forsberg), not to defend the entire lane out from the goal. I may be wrong (in this specific situation, it's quite likely that I am), but Warrener was nevertheless in no man's land. Surely in 2007, it's not a big concern that Forsberg will beat your D partner 1-on-1; the concern is to where is he going to move the puck.

**Alex Tanguay had another pair of those is-that-all-there-is-to-this-guy games, where all he accomplished was setting up both game-winning goals, and scoring a PP goal on a brutally accurate shot. Ho-hum. Wake me up when he makes a real impact. [/sarcasm]

**Is there any point to me choking down the bile and throwing out a GOILERS! for tonight? Did you know that since he had that terrific game against the Flames, Marc Pouliot has 1 assist in 8 games? Or that the Oil has 1 PP goal since the Smyth trade (39 Opps)? Or that Craig Simpson has, instead of attending practice and "coaching", been spending most of his time working on his Beauticontrol franchise? (Note: may not be true)

Horc, Gator, Roli & Friends: it would sure be helpful. If you could put away the Avs this one time, it would help the Flames a lot. Then, a mere split in the two Flames/Avs games that remain would mean that Colorado would have to make up 6 points in the other 6. Yes, Goilers. (Then feel free to lose out after that, I don't care).

Hear Engelbert Humperdinck's After The Lovin', Calgary-style, here. And, Go Flames.


I'd rather not see the 1-0 scores either, Matt, but the solid defensive style shows that the Flames are felxible enough to play in tight and open games both. It's a good sign.

Beauticontrol franchise? (Note: may not be true)

Best. Riff. ever.

Nice job linking to the Mike Richards bit. He's the most talented radio guy we've had in Calgary in quite awhile. Funny stuff every morning. I expecially like the Steve Armitage bits.

Matt: re one goal wins, I agree, made a similar point about team strength about a week and a half ago.

And trying to win games 1-0 is all well and good, but the fact is that gameplan has no room for error. And having watched the Flames all season, we need a gameplan that accounts for error.

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