Monday, March 26, 2007


What it Takes to Compete

This past week was an excellent one for the Flames. Three games, three wins. Solid little STR, which is presently... 4th-longest in the Division. Colorado has points in 12 straight (10-0-2, last reg.L Feb.25th); Minnesota has won 9 straight (9-0-0, last reg.L Mar.6th); and Vancouver has points in 6 straight (4-0-2, last reg.L Mar.11th -- and previous to that they won 5 straight).

Despite being well ahead of last season's pace in scoring/preventing goals -- they're +37, compared to last season's +23 -- the Flames have to go 6-0-1 in their last 7 to match last season's record. Also notable: if the Flames finish 5-2-0, or some other combination resulting in 10 or more points, then -- barring a total collapse by SJ/MIN/DAL/VAN -- all eight WC playoff teams will have 100 or more points.

The number 100 isn't magic or anything, but let's say that you're a fan of a West team that's already been eliminated from this postseason, and you're contemplating what kind of improvements and additions your GM will have to make (or how big a leap your young players will have to make) in order to make the 2008 2nd season. "Do adjustments X, Y, & Z make us a 100-point team?" might be a sound way of looking at things. Just sayin'.


Despite being well ahead of last season's pace in scoring/preventing goals -- they're +37, compared to last season's +23...

Last season's team was -2 in terms of shorthanded goals (SHG) and +1 in empty netters (ENG).

This year's team is +7 in SHG and +3 in ENG.

So the Flames are +11 in SH and EN goal differential this year compared to last year.

Therefore, I'd say their somewhat reproducible goal differential is roughly the same as last year, give or take 2-3 goals. I think that's a fair assertion.

Unless of course you believe that Playfair's strategy revolves around outscoring with SHGs and ENGs and that the Flames are truly successfully executing that game plan.

They're also +30 at 5v5 this season, compared to last season's +15. I wouldn't deign to guess at Playfair's strategy, but the additional SHG are not adequately compensating for the bad PK%.

"Do adjustments X, Y, & Z make us a 100-point team?"

For some teams, there's only one solution to this equation: adjustment X is to award three points for a regulation win.

This year probably proves to be an anomaly, but it is a scary proposition nonetheless: really we're talking about 100 points getting you to an 8th place finish and a date with the Pres. Trophy winner. Maybe 105-110 points needs to be the target?

and all of a sudden the rationale for more than 16 teams in the playoffs peeks its head out its hidey-hole. I don't care how many points team X, Y, or Z have I DON'T want more than 16 teams in the SCP

It's certainly better than having a team with 66 points making the playoffs, but yeesh, perhaps the league has over-corrected a little.

Have any of the teams in Western conference lost four games out of seven this year? The Canucks may have done it back in October or November, but certainly not since Christmas.

Matt said...
They're also +30 at 5v5 this season, compared to last season's +15.

Last season's team was also in the black in the SF/SA column. This season's team is over 200 shots in the red.

I dunno, I have a hard time believing this Flames team is all that much better than last year's team. Have they traded 5V5 GF/GA for minor penalties? Do you have their ES/PK/PP icetime breakdown for this year and last?

Matt said...
They're also +30 at 5v5 this season...

One other thing - it appears you're going by the numbers which are not filtered for 6V5 GF/GA. That's a handful of goals, but it might further close the gap between the two seasons too.

The average team now has nine more wins and 13 more points a season than back in Bernie Parent's days.

That's quite a swing considering the difference between the high-end teams would be even more pronounced.

Don't forget that if the bottom teams in the Western Conference improve, 100 points will no longer be a magical number (ie. if the Oilers were over 500 and Phoenix was on par to wind up with 88 points, they would have likely robbed several WC teams of their plus-96 points).

I haven't forgotten, it's the "if" that was the point of the last sentence or two. That said, there is a comically large gap in the middle of the WC standings right now that, even if Tom Benjamin is right about The Smart Plan for Mid/Small Markets, is unlikely to be replicated any time soon.

East: # Pts between 7th & 10th -- 2.
West: # Pts between 7th & 10th -- 22.

Hey Temujin,

You should go back a year to the 87-88 season where the Maple Leafs made the playoffs with 52 points. (21-49-10) Yeesh

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