Friday, March 16, 2007


Friday Baseball Standings

The Flames are, regrettably, on an island in 8th place now (sharp contrast to the EC, where 5 teams are within a single game of the 8 spot). At this point, if the Flames could just catch any team to finish 7th (best candidate = MIN, with 3 H2H games remaining), I'd feel better about the playoffs.

In the comments to the previous post, MetroGnome says he doesn't share my optimism about the postseason. I certainly don't blame him, and no one should confuse my optimism (yet, anyway) with confidence. But here it is: the Flames are a bad team on the road, but they're not 9-18-8 bad. I don't think they're even 13-18-4 bad, which is what they'd be if they had merely split their OT/SO games, instead of losing all 8.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that it is confidence, or some horrendous mental block, that causes the Flames to continuously lose 1-goal games on the road. Great! This is overcome simply, if not easily. It takes one good win, not two months of positve results. These are professional hockey players, a bunch who are by nature supremely confident in their own abilities, and who are not by nature, predisposed to dwelling on the past nervously or thoughtfully. The thought experiment goes something like this:
  1. Say the Flames open on the road in Detroit, and split the first two games. When it gets back to Game 5, you think the players will be worried about their shitty road record?
  2. You really think it's impossible that they win one of two back-to-back games in Detroit?
I'm not a robot -- damn right I'll be looking for signs of life in these last 11 games, especially the 6 on the road. But unless the Flames' ability to score and prevent goals goes straight to seed, I'm going to be optimistic heading into the playoffs.
...momentum is critically, terribly important -- until the moment it changes, which can happen in the space of about two shifts.

I'm still singing that same tune.


Hey, RiversQ still liked me back then. Good times. I'd say I was looking foward to your team getting crushed in Game 7, but a) it's already happened, and b) they ain't getting that far this year. I say this as objectively as I can, but Kipper isn't the same, and the team has these weird spurts of total collapse in the defensive end. If it was a five or ten game thing, then I'd say they could correct it. But it's been the same thing most of the year. Personally, I'm now hoping that Vancouver gets the 1 seed, and you lose in 4 straight triple overtime games.

oh god, that link brings it all back.

i am never, never ever going to get over that game seven.

Matt, I share your same optimism, but mine optimism continues to be tested. On paper this team has it all. Skill on the front and back ends, goaltending, character, grit.. I could go on and on. I think it the skill on paper that breeds this optimism, not the performance on the ice. I could see this team losing out in four straight, or I could see them winning it all. It has never felt like they are in complete control, nor has it ever felt like they've completely lost control for a large chunk of the season. Very inconsistent to say the least.

Andy, you like this one.

Allan Muir has Lowe picked as the fifth best GM in the game.
5. Kevin Lowe, Oilers

Considering the ultimate measuring stick is postseason success, it might seem odd to celebrate a man whose team is about to miss the playoffs for the third time in the last five seasons. But to be fair, Lowe (No. 46, No. 12 in NHL) has done his job with one arm figuratively tied behind his back by a small-market franchise always watching its pennies. Those financial limitations have led to the exodus of several star players, most recently Ryan Smyth. That's forced Lowe to make several deals from a position of weakness, but he always seems to make the best of a bad situation. Thanks to his deft touch, the Oilers have remained competitive and are well positioned for future success.

That Muir piece might make Grabia's head explode. Particularly

"Those financial limitations have led to the exodus of several star players, most recently Ryan Smyth."

Even SI is drinking the kool-aid.

As for the Flames, I'm with Brent on this one. All the pieces are there but they're just...not...fitting. That road record (and their recent crapiness) makes me think there is something fundamentally wrong with this team.

Prove me wrong Flames! Prove me wrong.

Small market team? SMALL MARKET TEAM???

And BOOM goes Andy's head.

Are you guys singing the same tune now that Colorado's only 4 points back and on an absolute tear?

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