Thursday, October 19, 2006


Flames Game Day

The Flames finish their 4-game roadie through the NE Division tonight against Boston (5PM MDT, Flames PPV). The Bruins are T-29th in the Overall Standings right now. That's bad, and I don't expect them to be a good team, but their 3 points in 5 games were all on the road; tonight is the B's home opener. New Bruin Zdeno Chara (pictured at left) is leading the team in scoring with 5 points, all assists.

I've been messing around with a few numbers, and I'm going to take back some of my post-game comments from Tuesday. I stand by what I said about the coach: he needs to, I think, sound like he's been there before better, and I assume that will come. Projecting calm is only laudable if you're also projecting confidence. I also think he still talks to the media too much like an AC (overly technical) and uses too much MBA-sounding, jiko-konri bullshit jargon (e.g. the players "investing" in this and that).

But looking more at the numbers, I'm just as confident as I was last (gruesome) October that the Flames and their record will come around.

At EV, the Flames have 9GF and 7GA. This is a goal differential of about +0.5EVGD/60. That ain't bad, especially with 4/6 on the road; projected through a whole season that's roughly a +28 ES GD, which puts them firmly in the upper tier of the league, provided that special teams and shootouts are anywhere near a wash. Which brings me to:

The Flames' special teams have been laughably bad so far. You knew that already, but they have been, statistically speaking, not only improbably bad but unsustainably bad.

Start with the PK: they have 1 SH GF and 9 PP GA. Based on time spent on the PK so far, that's a PK GD of -8.07/60. Halfway through last season (last time I did detailed calculations), the league average was -6.03/60, and the worst team in the league was Atlanta at -7.64/60 -- that's Atlanta, who at that point had started 5 goalies including Adam Berkhoel and Steve Shields. There is zero chance that Calgary will maintain a spot at the bottom of the PK rankings for the whole season; the worst case scenario is probably the middle. In short: the Flames are somewhere between 1 and 3 goals worse on the PK this year than you would expect based on full-season rates.

The PK, however, is minor lousiness compared to the PP. In 66:24 of PP time so far this year, the Flames have 3 PP GF and 2 SH GA. That's a PP GD of +0.90/60. Once again, halfway through last season, the PP team had a GD of +6.03/60 against the PK team. To quote a relatively well known stats guy on the internet,
I think it's safe to say that things are going to get significantly better on the PP and there's no point getting concerned about it at the moment - PP's aren't this bad, period.

It's certainly possible that the Flames will have a below average PP. It's hard to project these things based just on the lineup card (last mid-season, the worst PPGD in the league belonged to the Lightning at +4.07/60; they surged and finished 23rd in the NHL in PP%). But based just on a poor full-season rate, the Flames should be at least 4 goals better on the PP so far this season.

These early-season struggles on special teams could be based on a lot of factors, but there's really no way that the most important one has been anything but Luck.

Tonight, Calgary will be playing the role of Bob Barker, reflected on the scoresheet as a 3-1 Win. Go Flames.


Thanks to the results from the Toronto/Montreal contests, a lot of Flames fans are jawing about a conversion to "run and gun" hockey.

Like you, I think the 10 GA in 2 games has more to with early season struggles on special teams than a different game plan.

So the two stats that are no good are statistical anomalies, but the one that is good (EV) is not?

While I don't doubt your reasoning on the former, the latter is still very much in question. Put another way: the fact the Flames are better than evens EV, despite being so all-around sucktastic on special teams, might mean that the numbers for EV are inflated somewhat. Can a team that sucks so bad at special teams really be expected to outscore their opposition at even strength? This trend won't continue.

5 - 1 Bruins, with all of the Bruins goals coming at EV, and Calgary popping in a PP goal with about a minute left.

Note to all Anonymous commenters: is it really that hard just to click "Other", then type something in the name field like "Steve" or "Hemmer83" or whatever? At least then we can tell you apart.

Anyway, there are indeed many things that are very much in question 2 weeks into the season. But if you will consult your dictionary for "anomaly" you may find that the answer to your opening question is Yes. Do I predict on the basis of 6 games that the Flames will maintain exactly a +0.5/EV60 goal differential through the whole season? No. Hope that clears things up.

I think that Anonymous is a genius. 5-1 Bruins sounds about right.

Well, the difficulty is coming up with a name that you don't mind sticking. Otherwise you are stuck being called mudcrutch79 forever.

As for your counter: I should have specifed "by good" I meant "good from the perspective of a homer Flames fan."


This is the night the Flames get it together. Lots of goals, lots of offence, lots of hitting. Andy's gonna hate it, especially the hitting part.

Go Flames.

I'm thinking StatisticalAnomaly is going to be right. 3-1 as of 13:37 of the third (yes, I had to).

statisticalanomaly was pretty close.

Tough trip through the Northeast Division for the Flames.

Oh for fuck's sake. I am getting a little tired of playing from behind from roughly .. oh ... the 18 SECOND mark.

As my teenager tells me ... time to turn down the suck and turn up the awesome. Far too much suck so far and far too little awesome. It's fine too say we went through this last year (and we did) but we also went something like 10-1-1 through November and you can't count on that every November.

I gots tickets to boo Wayne Whiner on Tuesday, and I will boo him lustily, but these fucktards better give me something to cheer for or ... or ... I dunno ... whatever.


Go Flames.

PS -- I am listening to Rob Kerr right now, and I am sure Rob is a fine fellow, hale met and all that, but he is also a fucktard.

I love how Rob will not let you finish a sentence. Seriously, dude. It's a conversation.

Also, I love hearing the meltdowns after just seven games. Not that we weren't doing it last year, but damn. Trade Iggy, bench Kipper, throw Amonte off a warms my heart terribly.


The price was wrong, bitch.


I think I was a little hard on Rob. He has obligatiuons to his employer which involve shilling for the Flames, even when they play like ass.

It would be nice if Rob could say "the boys played like ass tonight, next caller ..."

I guess he can't do that. But the boys did play like ass tonight. I would really like it if one of these years I could usher in Halloween without my team playing like ass. Is that too much to ask?

Go Flames.

Ouch. And Savard with two assists too.

I love how MC has the magic numbers already calculated out. If this isn't already in a sidebar somewhere, it should be.

Mikko Conklin? Man, I want Kipper to get hit by a bus and even I find that kind of harsh. It's also vaguely insulting to the legacy of Ty Conklin.

Calling for Amonte to be thrown off a cliff isn't panicking. In fact, that idea makes more sense than any other idea I've heard in the past 6 months.

Seriously though, I'm not saying its time to panic, but it's time for some changes. This team, save Kipper, hasn't been 'great' for quite some time.

Oh, I forgot, they also want Conroy back and Playfair tossed on his keester. I was trying so hard not to invite the wrath of the hockey gods by laughing, but it hurt.

I was only able to catch the 1st period of the game... but man... the Bruins owned the Flames. I am hoping that the Oilers can soon get there crap together and play a game like the B's did. They were doing everything right!

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