Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Blogging Nuke Laloosh style

**Sticking with a theme, a quote regarding Lombardi, Moss & Nilson in today's Calgary Sun caught my eye:
"Those three players do have a skill-set to come back and compete after special teams against the top line on other team," said head coach Mike Keenan yesterday...

I'm pretty sure heard coaches talk before about the importance of the shift after the PP expires, but generally in the vein of "we can't allow the other guys to seize momentum off of a successful PK", battling, etc. I don't know that I've ever heard a coach point out in plain English that, after a PP, the other team's best offensive players are coming on the ice, and since your best players were just on for a good chunk of two minutes and are recovering on the bench, you have to find a suitable alternative.

This probably isn't news to most of the readers here -- Vic, for one, mentions it with regularity, most recently here:
The shift after opposing PPs is the sweetest icetime available. If anyone on the fanboards is bitching that Gagner isn't getting enough opportunity, well they've been smoking the drapes. It doesn't get better than that.

I wonder, though, what fraction of regular ol' hockey fans knows this off the top of their heads? I really have no idea if it's half or one in ten, but I bring this up because either way, a coach is giving an answer to a reporter that (while uncontroversial) contains actual information (Warning!) that might be informative to the casual or even avid fan -- lest they believe that literally an NHL head coach earns his significant salary by constantly harping on getting pucks to the net. It can happen

A commenter in last week's thread postulated that "requiring a coach to go into specifics would likely hinder the success of the team." I think that's dubious at best, and in an ongoing discussion at this mc79hockey post, Vic has pointed out that quite possibly the coach who is most frank and open about his tactics is the one who just led his team to the Stanley Cup.

I think the much more likely reason that coaches don't talk about their tactics much is that it's easier. If you don't put specific statements about tactics out there, then no one can misunderstand them or argue with you about them. Basically, the coach is Apu in this analogy:
Proctor: All right, here's your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?
Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter--
Proctor: Wait, wait... just say slavery.
Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

**Hey, Bob McKenzie is really on a roll with this new "blog" of his. I was going to write something brief about the NHLPA hiring (and still might), but this would have been the gist of it:
And since the current NHL CBA has a re-opener clause that can be triggered by the NHLPA in September of 2009, there's no question the new NHLPA executive director will become a quick study on the labor agreement to see if it makes sense to re-open. Maybe it will; maybe it won't.

But it's presumptuous to think that because Kelly's resume suggests he's a no-nonsense litigator that he's prepared to go to war and the first salvo fired will be to torpedo the CBA.

**Fun early-season stats:
  1. One of the team stats I like to keep an eye on is Team 5v5 GF/GA Ratio. Over a whole season, a great 5v5 team might hit 1.50 (3:2) while an awful one might be down at 0.67 (2:3). Right now Minnesota's number is 9.00.
  2. Also re: the Wild: they have a grand total of two "minus events" this season. The Leafs havetwenty, not to mention an absurd spread in +/- from top to bottom for only having played 7 games.
  3. I know this has been mentioned elsewhere, but on Saturday night the Bruins flew home to the Eastern time zone, where they will remain for the final 77 games of the year. I'm looking forward to seeing what the boys down at headquarters come up with for a revised schedule next year.
**The Flames play the Avs tonight in Denver (7PM MT, RSN West). Most of what I said about this game in my season preview still holds. The wins in Dallas and Nashville were nice, but to paraphrase Bill Simmons, it's not time to break out the popsicles quite yet. Taking 2 points in buildings for the first time since the Captain Bob Boughner days is very gratifying, but it may shake out over the next 4 or 6 weeks that those teams just aren't that good.

However, winning on the road against a divisional opponent and likely playoff team would be an unqualified good sign. I'm going to the home game vs. LA on Thursday, and I suspect that if the Flames take tonight's tilt -- and the corresponding 6 of 8 points on this roadie -- the reception for the lads will be rather raucous. Let it be so, please: a big win on the strength of a great game by Tanguay vs. his old colleagues. Go Flames.


No prediction Matt?

Mine - Flames get 2 goals from a player for the 6th straight game, and win 5-3. Iggy, Phaneuf, Tanguay (2), and Yelle with the empty netter vs Sakic, Leopold, and Hejduk.

I think the much more likely reason that coaches don't talk about their tactics much is that it's easier. If you don't put specific statements about tactics out there, then no one can misunderstand them or argue with you about them.

Coaches don't talk about their tactics because they have absolutely nothing to gain from sharing their strategies with the media. Giving out free information is a fools game in any industry, not just hockey.

Great post Matt - really terrific.

Always have stuff to get people thinking.

Whee! I've been quoted! That Keenan quote shows that I'm wrong: coaches can say interesting things without giving away specifics.

Even if we lose this game, I'm going to be satisfied with this road trip. Picking up 2 of 4 on the road is enough to show we aren't the same team as last year. My prediction, pre-road trip, was that we would get the two wins in Dallas and Denver. I'm still hopeful.

I think now that our offense has awakened, we'll control the puck and drive Budaj crazy. Colorado will get goals off of breaks, but we will dominate the overall play. It'll be close, but the difference will be seeing Kiprusoff for the first time: no easy goals for Colorado.

Excellent post, Matt. I hope Keenan continues along this path, and that the media choose to print the interesting bits. Though podcasts are usually available for the pressers now anyways. Keenan, as always, is worth listening to.

You know as much as we bitch about them, the local Edmonton media has been writing more relevant stuff lately.

A lot of it really is down to the writers. When Gator got traded to Philly Tych had a quote from Stoll saying how Smith would be hard to replace, in part because he played a lot of the tough minutes. The Journal (can't remember the writer) had a quote from Stoll saying that Smith was really tough. I think writers only print the quotes that they confidently understand.

Johnson was pretty good this way I think, but really, since him it's been a long line of guys who blow smoke and cliches. Calgary fans deserve at least one coach or manager that respects their knowledge this way.

What a ridiculous game. 3 goals off skates? Are you kidding me?

Also, Erikson looks terrible. Ah well, I still think it qualifies as a successful road trip.

Hard to find a silver lining in gassing a 4 goal lead, even if three goals were total flukes.

But here is a silver lining -- ast the Boston Pizza near my house, they knock a dollar off a pint of Canadian for every goal scored by Iggy or the Dion. 2 minutes into the second period, they were serving "hat trick pints" for a dollar. That's right, $1 pints.

$1 pints also numb the pain a good deal.

Go Flames.

Which BP is that? Or is that the deal at all BPs? Though I do wonder if they'll serve the Iggy special to loud drunk guys in Oilers jerseys...

It's hard not to root for old 94 and it's even harder not to laugh at Millions being so bitter about the goals going in off Smyth's skate and saying they're not legit, ie he referenced this when Ryan scored in the SO and some fans threw hats thinking that it all added up to a trick;)

Millions really doesn't have a right to criticize fans for not understanding the game....and just an aside...are there any other play by play guys that use the goalies first name more than his last? "Mika makes the save", "Mika robs Sackic", "Mika gives me wood"

The Boston Pizza at Dalhousie Station in NW Calgary offers the Hat Trick special. I can't say whether any of the others do.

Anybody catch the radio pre-game? Maybe it's old news, but Peter Maher was saying that after sifting through 17 offers this summer, Smyth's choice came down to Calgary or Colorado. He (Smyth) said the offers were almost identical, but the deciding factor was that he thought it would have been too hard on his family to have him return to Edmonton as a Flame.

I'm not the most diligent hockey news follower, but this is the first I've heard of how close Calgary came to signing him.

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