Monday, November 19, 2007


And another thing

MetroGnome at Five Hole Fanatics posted a quarter-pole summary a few hours before me, and covers all the bases. He puts more effort into seeing the negative, and believe me I mean that as a compliment. On that note, consider this my registered objection to the 0.5 figure here, even though I appreciate the "somewhat amusing" props.

A line in MG's conclusion got me thinking:
...there needs to be some kind of marked improvement in this club very quickly or Keenan won't be immune to criticism for much longer.

Indeed... then I remembered this Marty York bit from Friday:
“It may just be that a guy like Keenan has a counter-productive effect on contemporary players,” an [addle-pated -ed.] NHL assistant coach told me. “A few years ago, he might have been able to get away with his hardnosed approach. Maybe not any more. Players have changed. They’re richer. They have chips on their shoulders. They resent it if they think they're not getting treated the way professional adults should be … If things don’t improve in Calgary, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike replaced by the all-star game.”

What's funny about this is not Marty York gossiping about a team at the other end of the country playing his 3rd or 4th favourite sport, nor is it that the unnamed NHL AC seems to think Darryl Sutter is now George Steinbrenner circa 1980. It's that the AC's take on the alleged problem is the exact opposite of what anyone who has watched any Flames hockey this season can see plainly. That is:

The players whose futures in hockey are the most secure (have a rich long-term contract, or are about to get one) are by and large the ones who are performing well. The players who are underachieving are by and large the ones who might be on their last NHL contract. If there is a Roger Dorn (or Dorns) in the Flames' clubhouse, who the hell is it?

Which brings us to the primary exception: Kipper. He has 35 million guaranteed U.S. dollars coming to him starting in July '08, and he's had a rough first quarter. Hey, remember how when Keenan was hired, a big worry was that he plays mind games with his goalies? You know, he jerks them around and is quick with the hook? So far, Kipper has started every game, and has been pulled but twice: on both occasions the game was out of hand. Sooo.... you see where I'm going with this?

It would seem to me to be a no-lose proposition to either (A) start the backup in a game where the schedule would strongly suggest Kipper in the net, or (B) give him a quick hook when he lets in a save-able goal. I'm sure 34 is going to recover from whatever's bothering him this season, but sometimes an obvious and deliberate slight has a way of... clarifying the task at hand.


Thanks for the kudos.

Believe it or not I've kinda reeled in the negativism over the last couple years.

Interesting thought re: the Kipper/Keenan dynamic. Maybe with the return of McElhinney from the farm (whom I would guess is considered the best netminder in the org behing Kipper, currently) Keenan will be more apt to throw the back-up in net once in awhile.

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