Saturday, May 21, 2022


Systems check

Two things you notice doing this, after 10+ years of not, are that

  1. The commercially available commentary & analysis are quite a lot better. There is still some WTF are you talking about moments listening to the radio or watching the intermission show, but on the whole, and certainly at the top end, it's just smarter and better.
  2. For instant reaction and engagement, the microblogging site has really stolen Blogger's lunch  money.

So with that said a few thoughts:

**I agree with the consensus that the Backlund-Coleman-Megapain line has been excellent, but those two Coleman penalties really hurt the Flames, and were really unnecessary to boot. I haven't played since I was 15, so I know that saying, "Can you dial the aggression back by 7% but not lose any of the good stuff" is easier said than done, or maybe impossible. But I also know you can shove a guy without getting under his chin, and that you can drive the net strong without running the goalie. And this is important, because

**As old friend of the blog Robert Cleave observed on the above-mentioned microblogging site, the Flames' top line was out of rhythm because of all the penalties. J. Hockey couldn't quite get it out of third gear, and M. Tkachuk couldn't get it out of second. The party line postgame from the team was that they need to stay out of the box, but it's a message that only a couple guys really need to internalize.

**Goaltending is still voodoo, and to argue with myself briefly, I'm not sure that even smart hockey analysts and watchers understand it much better than back in 2005-2010. On the one hand, there is better understanding that just making a high % of saves is what matters, and most of the rest is a distraction. There is also a better understanding at an intellectual level that there's a high amount of natural variance in SV%, and how & when the goals go in.

On the other, that still hasn't translated to talking about goalie performance over a game or a period in a way that makes much sense. When Auston Matthews scores 60 goals in an 82-game season, everyone can agree that that's outstanding, and would anyone look at the season's game log and say that all the games where he didn't score were bad games for him? No, you understand that there are going to be some hat-tricks and 2-goal games and 0-goal games. But in the moment - Matthews didn't score today, and btw the Leafs lost - it's super tempting to think "bad game". We all do it. 

This fuzzy thinking is just much, much worse when it comes to goaltending. As much as we totally get that a solid goalie won't have an exactly .915 SV% every single game, we cannot help ourselves from concluding that a single game below .900 was poor goaltending, and a single game above .930 was good or great goaltending.

**To the question of Markstrom's quality, I actually thought he was pretty decent last night, and should still be favoured to outperform Smith. ("Eight whiskey sours!") Maybe he won't. But the ineluctable matchup problem the Flames have in this series is at 1C, not 1G.

**IMO it wasn't just the penalties that were to Cgy's disadvantage last night, it was all the whistles, particularly in the 3rd. More stoppages = a more rested McDavid for more shifts and more ice time. On the margin, the Flames need to keep the puck alive and roll how they like it.

Go Flames.


Hey, Matt, nice post. The “new microblogging site Twitter” made me LOL.

As for all those whistles in the 3rd, 3 of them sent Oilers to the sin bin. Calgary had 6 minutes of PP time to 0 & yielded the GWG with the man advantage.

Flames likely robbed of a PP goal of their own but Chris Lee doing Chris Lee things was a running theme of this one.

Lol at the Rick Dalton pep talk callback. Love that movie. It’s a Tarantino you can watch again and again

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t watch any of the games yet, so I have nothing to say about either team’s performance. I’m too much of an old man now to stay up to watch these 10:30 ET starts. My days of closing down the Crooked Star after watching the Oilers best the Sharks in triple OT are long behind me. My kingdom for an 8pm start!

Glad you guys are back! Loved this site in the 2006 run. What was that, 2 or 3 years ago? :/ Jesus.

A strange game, but thought ManWood did a great job getting extra shifts for 97 (with his line or other wingers). And as Lowetide said on the twitter (paraphrasing) 97's goal was probably the prettiest FU goal of all time.

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