Thursday, September 22, 2005


Top XX Reasons Part Deux

First off. Congratulations to Calgary for getting the bandwagon to the Dome on time for the almost sellout - too bad that your fans weren't really interested in watching hockey:

"Despite the efforts of those lusting for the vibe that gave birth to the Red Mile and its Sea of Red, the best the fans could do was a half-hearted Go Flames Go to open the evening.
They tried it again in the second period and again in the third. Although more than a third of the 17,439 on hand (OK, so there were a few thousand empty seats) wore the Flaming 'C,' the chants didn't catch on . . . Like the old days, last night's crowd noise was spurred on [as much - sic] by Harvey the Hound's drum or the Smooch Cam as it was by the team

Given this description, I couldn't agree more with Eric Francis' conclusion that, "there's no way any other NHL city could match the pre-season noise or enthusiasm offered up last night." BWAH-HA

On to happier things. Flames fans around here seem obsessed with scoring, so let's talk about it.

Despite common wisdom, and the uncommon idiocy of Eric Francis, the Oilers did not have any trouble scoring last season. Sure, sure, there is all kinds of talk that Edmonton has no pure scorer, no sniper, no one-shot scorer. Fact is, we didn't need one.

2003-2004 Stats

Edmonton was 9th in the league in goals/game, while Calgary was 19th
5 on 5: Edmonton was 6th in the league, Calgary was 20th!
4 on 4: Edmonton was 5th in the league, Calgary was 13th

Edmonton outscored the Flames:

This year that Oilers should be even better since they've upgraded scoring on both sides of the blue line. Oh, there is lots of talk that Peca is a downgrade from York; but, the stats tell a different story. Over the last three years, they have had very similar numbers, despite the fact that York has had 1st line ice and huge powerplay time with the Oil, while Peca was getting the dirt minutes playing nursemaid to Yashin. The list of players whose stats on offense are better with the Oil than wherever else they go gets longer by the year (Comrie, Guerin, Weight, Carter, Marchant, Poti, etc.). I have no doubt whatsoever that with the quality ice time he gets here Peca will outscore York this year.

Now, how about that balance.

Matt suggests that "balance" implies that the Oiler have no one who can score 20+ goals. If that is the definition of balance, the Oilers were 3 times as balanced as the Flames, having three players with 20+ goals to the Flames 1 player. But, let's look at the numbers more generally.

Both the Oilers and the Flames had 14 players with 20+ points; but, the Oilers had more players with 30+ points than the Flames, more players with 40+ points than the Flames, and more players with 50+ points than the Flames.

What the Flames did have is the best player in the world.

Top Scorer Calgary (Iginla) scored 20.5% of the team's goals.
Top Scorer Edmonton (Smyth) scored 10% of the team's goals.

Top 3 scorers for Calgary (Iginla, Donovan, Simon) - 38% of the team's goals.
Top 3 scorers for Edmonton (Smyth, Torres, Moreau) - 28.5% of team's goals.

I really hope for both Iggy's sake and Team Canada's sake that he doesn't get hurt. It sure would suck for Flames fans too.

Conclusion: the Oilers score more goals than the Flames, and the scoring comes from a greater diversity of players on all four lines. That, my friend, is balance.

*Special Teams will be discussed in another post since they provide the source of both the Oil's greatest weakness last season and their greatest improvement this season.


Although I am the Flames half of this web-log, I would like to announce this as clearly and strongly as possible:

I cannot, and will not, defend the meanderings and sentence fragments of Eric Francis on an ongoing basis.

That said, I think bandwagons have a bad name, and I plan to defend them somewhere along the line here.

That is all.

Thank you for the post, Sacamano.

And for those of you Flames fans that laughed when I said the Oilers had better "Scoring depth" I think this rebuttal speaks for itself.

Great post, Sacamano!

Anyone know how Dvorak has been playing? He looked like an elite player when he was matched with Nedved. I am concerned about how he will play without him.

There's a lot of statistical cherry picking here, the Oilers had 3 20 goal scorers, but 2 of those had exactly 20 goals and the third only had 23. You can draw these lines anywhere you like to get the result you want. The Flames had more 17 goal scorers than the Oilers -- If you just select where to draw the line, then the flames have more scoring depth/balance.

By the way, I think this is the greatest blog on the entire Internet.

Saw the Hawks' game.
I'm a born and raised Calgary guy, who spent four years in Edmonton, and now lives in neither, and I'd be shocked if the pre-season opener in Edmonton wasn't more rocking than what happened at the 'Dome on Wednesday.
The crowd just felt awkward, looked awkward, sounded awkward -- a little like the Flames were a spouse that had awoken from a coma.
Granted things will be better against Edmonton on the weekend, but i noticed a lot of stiff looking people in there manditory black C sweater with Gelinas on the back, who had cut out early from the Real estate office, and were obviously waiting for the party to start.
They couldn't even get a "BULIN, BULIN" chant going at Harvey's behest. That guy in net was Nikoli Khabibulin! Remember him?
The scoring depth, while you do want a lot of guys on your team be able to score, you that plus a couple guys that can score often, and in key situations.
Advantage: Flames

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