Thursday, March 05, 2009


Glass Half Fu.. err, "the water reaches the midpoint of the glass"

Time for a more balanced trade review, certainly. Yes, the figures I posted yesterday lack context. The underlying numbers showing Lombardi as a superior EV player to Jokinen are heavily influenced by the quality of their teams and teammates. I certainly don't think Curtis Glencross is a better player than Shane Doan, but the same comparison (in the same categories) would give a distinct advantage to the Flame.

Let's start with the things that we know, or thereabouts:
Reasons for optimism:
As far as I'm concerned, Langkow is still the #1 centre on this team (certainly 5v5). The problem, such as it is, has always been that Iginla with Conroy or Lombo has never reliably been able to punish lesser competition -- but if you put Langkow with Iginla, then the leftover line can't win because they don't quite have the scoring, and they're just not good enough.

Reasons for concern:

**Jokinen hasn't been that productive this season. Maybe it's just one of those things (never fit in with his new team, cold streak, who knows). But it's possible that:

(1) He's past his prime. There's no magic age when a hockey player starts to get old. His Shots/Game rate is down by 29% this season, despite identical PP time to last season and only a bit less EV time. He might just be wearing down.

(2) The Western Conference and the Southeast Division are, in a sense, different leagues. There aren't many happy endings when it comes to players moving from the SE to the West. Brad Richards has maintained the post-contract scoring he had in Tampa since moving to the Stars (though hasn't regained the pre-contract numbers). Marian Hossa's points/gm are down a hair from his Atlanta years, though no one cares because he's still excellent. And those are the success stories. Jokinen, Cole, not so much.

Then there's the guys who looked like they might just be out of a career, only to move from West to SE and suddenly look pretty good again, like Reasoner and Samsonov (the opposite happened to Gelinas).

The point I'm getting at here (apart from Enjoy Justin Williams, Los Angeles!) is that some of Jokinen's drop this season was to be expected, and that to some extent it's the Phoenix numbers that are the real ones, at least in the sense of what we can expect from him as a Flame.

**Even going back to last season, Jokinen has been a minus player with pretty mediocre 5v5 offense. Some of this is team effect, but a good player on a bad team is still a good player (for a good example, see Tuesday's post). For him to be a real help, Jokinen will have to be an asset at EV, even against good lines -- not a quasi-liability that needs shelter to be effective, or an outright liability like Bertuzzi.

**This isn't a concern so much as a note: while I'm the last person to worry about faceoffs as a key, Jokinen is awful at them. 42.2%, good for 85th/87 among NHLers with enough attempts. The odds are that the Flames have a new top-line centre who won't take faceoffs, as Iginla will take them on the right side and Cammy will take them on the left.


I think it's quite likely that the Flames are a better team today than they were Tuesday (acquiring Leopold added quality, not merely depth, on the D). I think they have a better chance of winning their 1st-round series, and a better chance of a deep run (I take TB's point but don't really agree with it).

That said, I wonder if it won't get a bit ugly here for a while, if not now then shortly. The combination of (A) the injuries, (B) the next 6 on the road, and (C) the fact that the PK was due for a bit of a dive even with Lombardi, makes for some potentially tough times. The sooner that Langkow and Bourque are well the better. Go Flames.


Its been passed around that Jokinen has trouble getting along with young players, which is something Phoenix has in abundance. He was quite possibly expected to be a leading force in the Coyotes dressing room and just couldn't do it (if you look back trhough his player history, you'd be hard pressed to find a solid, productive veteran on any of his teams). Not a problem in Calgary...

(if you look back trhough his player history, you'd be hard pressed to find a solid, productive veteran on any of his teams)

Actually, you don't have to squint that hard.

I was thinking more of his development in his more formative years, but yes, Shane Doan certainly would qualify...

More specifically, his years in Florida...

And you can't tell me that Pavel Bure is a leader...

On the other hand, two goals tonight, while Edmonton's two new kids get shut out.

People forget that Mike Keenan made Olli Jokinen, who was nothing until Mike coached Florida. Olli's points doubled. He had to do captain duty in FL, but that's probably not a good job for him. Without this extra burden, and back being with Mike, Olli will be great on the Flames.

Cheer up Flames fans.

You don't have Frankenstein's idiot coaching the team along with a collection of duds too lame to get real jobs after Slats left in the 90's.

And you now get Jokinen to play with your world class right winger, while us Oilers fans get Shawn fucking Horcoff's pathetically(but valiant lol) attempts to play offensive hockey, to the tune of the aforementioned idiot berating whatever left side wingers who can't seem to "get" it.

It would appear that I put the whammy on Hemsky pretty good (that night's game notwithstanding).

And while I certainly believe that good coaching can make a difference w.r.t. a particular player (though less so a top-liner), I don't believe for a second that any coach -- Mike Keenan included -- has the magic power to make someone like Olli Jokinen a (say) 30% better player.

If Olli is substantially better here than Phoenix (after correcting for linemates & teammates), it'll be mostly because he's doing the little things a little bit better, and the hockey gods are smiling on him.

Oops, missed a hyperlink.


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