Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Flames Game Day

Game 4, Flames v Sharks, 8PM MT, CBC, C of Red

ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons has written at length, and with much conviction, that the single most powerful team-building, ultra-motivational thing in creation is being written off by a critical mass of media/fans/etc. It's the old, "Nobody believed in us!"

Now, I'm nowhere near as big a believer in this as he is -- in fact, I admit to having basically zero sense or understanding of what, if anything, can "motivate" a team to play their best -- but it's remarkable that, in the course of three games, the popular consensus has completely flipped. And, may I add, it's very unsettling...

Listening to Calgary radio yesterday morning, I heard "What a gutless team!" from one talking head, and "Are the Sharks... a fraud?" from another. Noooooo!!!! What is wrong with you people! I also heard similar, if less extreme, comments from the XM Radio folks, as well as various print/online media, local and national.

For a reality check, it's always best to go to the people who have real money riding on it. Bowmans presently has Calgary as -125 favourites to win the series (San Jose +105), which according to Vic's new sidebar JavaTool equates to Calgary being about 53/47 to win. That's awfully close.

Even more shocking, particularly to Flames partisans who might not be clear that they have to win two more games to take the series, is the line on tonight's game. Bowmans has San Jose as a -130 favourite (about 54/46). Yahoo! marks the Sharks as a -135 favourite (55/45). Even Sport Select, which has to build in some Red Team Bias to even out their action, has Calgary as only the most marginal of favourites (CGY $1.65 on $1, SJS $1.75 on $1).

The lesson here is that the people who are essentially disinterested in the outcome, but have real money riding on the results, do not think the Sharks' 14-point edge on the Flames thru 82 games was a "fraud", nor are they terribly impressed by the Flames' momentum, or the physical edge they have demonstrated. They think the Sharks are the better team.

And the lesson from that is this: Calgary really needs to win tonight's game to have a good (or even better-than-50/50) chance to take this series. And they certainly can win tonight's game, although anyone who thinks it can be accomplished relatively smoothly (no fuss, no muss) is frickin' dreaming.

Calgary 2 (Huselius, Iginla from Tanguay in OT)
San Jose 1 (Michalek from A-Rod)

Go Flames.

UPDATE: Surely you jest, Coach! What did I just say about succumbing to the tempatation to do something?


It's quite the swing game in terms of the odds.

If Calgary wins, they're up 3-1. What's the historical track record of teams being up by that margin winning the series? 90% or thereabouts?

However, if they lose and it's 2-2 going back to San Jose for game five, would 60/40 in favor of the Sharks sound about right?

Just pulling numbers out of the air here....

At the start of this series I would have been grateful if the Flames could have gotten to a sixth game (third home game, extra gate, ad, concession revenue, etc.). Now with that assured and the Sharks seemingly reeling of course expectations rise a wee bit. I still don't think Calgary have played there best hockey and they're probably going to have to persevere in at least one OT game to move on. My main concern is Kipper; one thing going for him, though, is that he rarely has two bad games back/back.

If I had any money, I'd be putting it on the Flames right now. Partially because I really think they have to win, and partially because if they lose I say "yay the Flames lost" and if they win I get money.

Now, of course, if Joe Thornton and Brian Campbell reverse the courses of their careers and realise "hey, we're allowed to be useful in the playoffs", all bets are off. But I don't think that's going to happen.

I actually put together a formula for calculating the "odds" of a team winning a playoff series... kinda similar to sportsclubstats.com for clinching a playoff spot in the regular season, except the individual games are weighted based on regular season records. At 2-1, Calgary now comes out with 50.12% chance of winning the series. That's awfully close, and the highest percentage actual outcome is SJ in 7 (27.16%). By comparison though, at 0-0, Calgary's odds were only 26.97%, with the most likely outcome being SJ in 5 or 6.

Anywho, if the flames win tonight, their odds go up to 76.51%. Lose and it's down to 33.58%.

Of course, that's just math (probably not even very good math :) and means nothing in the real world where the games are actually played. But it does give you an indication of how close a team is to taking a series. Long story short, win tonight and they are very close, lose tonight and they are very far.

PS. I'd be happy to share that calculator with anyone if they want to see it. It has all the other series as well. cough, Sens are dun.

All this talk about odds and percentages...boring. I for one have been visiting all day to see what Oilers' fans had to say to the Flames.

So I'd like to wish the Oilers' fans the best of luck on finally jinxing the Flames.

(Omigod!, I hope I didn't just jinx the jinx).

And the lesson from that is this: Calgary really needs to win tonight's game to have a good (or even better-than-50/50) chance to take this series.

It's a BIG GAME tonight. BIG GOALS. BIG.

Time to get serious.


HAHAHAHA, Cujo's getting the most work in the morning skate? I called it!

So I'd like to wish the Oilers' fans the best of luck on finally jinxing the Flames.

Finally? Have you not been paying attention for the last 28, 29 years?

Best of luck to the Calgary Flames this playoff season.

Best of luck to the Calgary Flames this playoff season.

I prefer brute honestly rather than sarcastic well-wishes.

As such, I'd like to take this opportunity to state that the Calgary Flames can go fornicate themselves with an iron stick.

I'd say Go Sharks, but my faith in that team is limited at this point. However, if they score a HUGE win tonight with some BIG goals.....

Neither team has my best wishes.

I'm not one to wish undeserved physical harm either (Phaneuf is welcome to find a concussion), so here's hoping that either Nabokov or Kipper comes out of this series to so completely demoralized or bereft of confidence that they end up in the AHL by 2010.

GOILERS! (shoot those low golf scores!)

HAHAHAHA, Cujo's getting the most work in the morning skate? I called it!

Kipper will be in. They are just messing around with the media.

Kipper will be in. They are just messing around with the media.

I think they were doing it just to mess with Cosh.

May the spirit of the 1997 / 1998 Calgary Flames guide you through this big game with big goals.

For the Sharks to have a chance tonight they need to pot the first one, and the last one.

Those are the biggest ones.

Oh, and the ones inbetween.

Oh, and best wishes to the Calgary Flames this post-season.

May Miikka Kiprusoff AND Curtis Joseph both perform well and maintain their health.

May Langkow continue to outperform Marleau.

Here's to Joe Thorton's continued ineffectiveness during the real season.

My heart is with you Flames fans.

I think they were doing it just to mess with Cosh.

Awful lot of confidence you're showing in Mike Keenan's sanity there.

Tonight's starting pressbox lineup: ANGRRRRY VOOOIIICE!

This SJ team just has no heart. Whatsoever. Jarmoe has more heart than the entire bloody team.

Fuck, Iginla is such a mensch!

Roenick went to coach Ron Francis looking for more ice time? Mark Lee, ladies and gentlemen.

Did Mark Lee write himself a note that he has to mention Marleau's 'courage' once an effin' minute? Oh and by the way Mark, the SJ coach is Ron Wilson not Francis, sheesh.

"Fuck, Iginla is such a mensch!"

English dude. English.

Smart move dumbfuck Shelley. He's going to have to answer the bell with Goddard for that chop to the back of Kiprusoff's legs

Hey, stay classy, Shelley; jerk.

Did Calgary really have only 2 shots that period? The Sharks only 6? It seemed that there was way more action than that stat would signify.

What was the deal with the Shelley thing? From what I heard on the radio, he tripped Kipper after the original penalty.

I really hate listening to games on the radio sometimes.

He took a little whack at the back of Kipper's leg after he whacked the Dman a few times.

Should've been 2 minors, but this is the playoffs and they don't like giving penalties unless they're really obvious...right? Wait, I don't know why the hell it wasn't called.

According to the event summary, Calgary only had 2 shots on net, but had 7 blocked and 5 misses. Counting all of those, Calgary is actually ahead of SJ 14-12, which makes it a bit more even.

If the Shelley thing should have been a clear call, can all the Sharks fans and pseudo-Shark fans shut up about the officiating?

He didn't trip Kipper; he gave him a little crack with the handle of his stick.

Though I imagine anytime Shelly hits you, it's gonna sting a little.

That first period was a real fucking dog, no? I find that happens a lot in G4's when the home team's leading and G4's in general for that matter. G3 always has the home crowd jacked to the hilt and that carries the home team and things get going. But tonight in this one there's very little going on and once the Sharks stopped being so nervous, basically nothing happened at either end.

Interesting that JR went to Wilson for more ice-time. Did anyone else think "uh oh, bad JR is back."?

When it comes to HNIC, Stock is out of control and just that time used the old Burke "Ana as a bear at the zoo" quote that I think James Duthie masteurbates to every night before he goes to bed.

Didn't get a chance to mention this but did anyone watch HNIC Last night? First you had Cherry acting very creepy and talking about Savard's stick and telling kids to take their stick to bed with them every night and stroke their sticks. Seriously, I'm not making it up. Ron was uncomfortable at first but by the end he used a quip, "I know I'll be taking my Sherwood to bed with me tonight." Cherry acted shocked and said he wasn't touching that one; it's like he had no idea how weird his previous comments had been.

Later on, Hurdey came super close to ripping Luongo when discussing the Nonis firing and said next year someone has to take him in their office and ask him, "where his head's at." Ron just shook his head and didn't know what to say.

Fuck, I don't have kids or anything and I'm not an easy guy on players but even I can understand it must have been tough for Luongo to put everything aside this year.

It was a night where Maclean must've felt like a ringmaster.

If the Shelley thing should have been a clear call, can all the Sharks fans and pseudo-Shark fans shut up about the officiating?

or just SHUT UP, in general :)

"If the Shelley thing should have been a clear call, can all the Sharks fans and pseudo-Shark fans shut up about the officiating?

or just SHUT UP, in general :)"

sorry, but we need something to do until draft day. Pissing off Flames fans is just the easiest thing to do, with all the Canucks "fans" hiding under rocks.

What's an "eye-seeing" shot?

I'm sure Matt's not about to complain but we might be close to getting another lesson about the best team not always winning.

Fuck, SJ winning enough races and battles to be ahead in this one easily.

But the Flames have this thing going on that even when they aren't the better team, they're Still the better team.

In other news, Simpson shouldn't be let into Rexall ever again and Hrudey's an embarrassment.

This is the worst game I've ever seen. I'm going to bed.

Go Falmes.

I'm watching PJ Stock and wondering just how much he can improve. Unable to speak the language, it also sounds like he has a problem with too much spittle after about four words. He loses his place a lot when reading or giving hi-lites.

In other news, Kelly Hrudey is being wasted on these broadcasts despite the nice new technology on the telestrator.

Don Cherry remains the modern Maureen Forrester and Scott Oake should never be allowed to do live TV.

The CBC sure can pick 'em. Bring back Danny Gallivan, please.

On a different topic, watching PJ Stock do the highlights is starting to remind me of Zach Stortini's early shifts. Completely out of sync with what's going on around him, overwhelmed, constantly a beat behind the play...it's just amazingly familiar.

Breaking news: the road tie, is back! CBC showed Sutter wearing it!

Best of luck to the Calgary Flames this playoff season.

BTW, Matt made a very good point in his post after last game that Thornton had a great final shift against the Flames in G3. For a guy who gets all sorts of shit, it should be noted that he was all over the place before this goal was scored.


Thornton had the kind of shift Messier used to in the playoffs before that goal was scored. Lordy.

I still wouldn't bet much on San Jose, though. That blueline looks like the Keystone cops when the Flames have a solid forecheck going.

Dennis - yeah and don't forget Cherry's best line, something like "go get your stick, go find it and pull it out -- it's in your dad's trunk!"


LT: I was honestly thinking to myself before the winning goal how Joe T was finally finding his spot; he was working down low and drawing two Flames to him every time and everything else was opening up.

And I'm not rubbing it in on Matt but Marleau could've won this game by himself with all the chances he created.

Though I do get your point on their D corps -- it's likely to get exploited by someone -- I don't think it will be by the Flames to the extent that it wins them this series.

Young Setoguchi should get a lot of credit for the tying goal because he worked his nuts off down low and his speed gave the Sharks a little extra. He's probably gonna fall back in G5 but tonight was the first time they really had some consistent chem going with their lines. I thought they outchanged Cgy in G1 but that was build mainly on the backs of the Marleau-Clowe-Pavelski line and tonight they had a lot of things going. We've still yet to see Michalek do anything but at least Cheechoo's off the snide.

Now Wilson gets two out of three games to try and find some way to control the Iginla line and that's what it always comes down to with Cgy.

Also, there was a shift with just under 5 min left in the 2nd where Campbell jumped in and forced the play and had everything humming. The kid's backing off to the point where he's just a guy that cna make a great first pass when he has tonnes of time so you wonder if he can come around too.

Overall, though, I think the series stands where it should. Cgy deserved G3 and sharks deserved tonight. Cgy won G1 but I thought Sharks had more chances and SJ won G2 but at even strenght I liked the Flames.

If I was a Flames win I would be worried that tonight Joe T finally took up the challenge from Iginla and that Cheechoo gave them some secondary scoring while Marleau continues to generate chances. Only thing left to happen now is Campbell to start turning some tides and Michalek to wake the fuck up.

On the other side Iginla's doing what he can but outside of Huselsis chipping in some secondary scoring, where else do you look?

Here's to Joe Thorton's continued ineffectiveness during the real season.

10 shots on net for the flames. Ouch


That was some really gritty clutchness from Thornton, I think he just wanted it more. If I were a caller to Flames radio I'd be questioning that team's heart and sense of urgency.

It's a little easier to cheer for the Sharks because Anaheim and New Jersey are trailing in their series. According to Wilson, he and Burke and Lou chat hopefully about all three of their teams making the final four one playoffs, and the Devils making it to the final (Wilson and Burke were college roommates at Providence of course, and Lou Lamouriello was their coach, and he gave them the captaincy and alternate captaincy).

Anyhow, I just might stop watching hockey altogether if that happened.

Wilson is the least despicable imo. He's an asshole, but like Detective McNulty ... he wears it well.

And just a quick note of ProLine/SportsSelect:
You can't use those Matt, then run with practical holds of 15%. When there is a Canadian team in play they run with the oddsmakers numbers for the American team (-133 in your example if you convert from Decimal Odds to American) and then they give atrocious odds on the Canadian team (very near +117 on the open market, so a successful $100 bet on CGY yields $117 profit) ... and a brutal -154 from the government's wacky sports gambling lottery. (So a successful $100 bet on CGY yields $65 profit, I'm ignoring the necessary ProLine parlay for the sake of clarity).

So you can see the problem.

I realize ProLine is a atrocious deal, had no intention of implying otherwise. I didn't know that they took their increased hold entirely out of the Canadian team's payout though, that's interesting.

Fuck, Vic, Jimmy's a Helluva lot more likeable than Wilson;)

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