Monday, December 18, 2006


Flames Game Night

The Flames make their 2nd and final visit of the (regular) season to the Pond-a Center to take on the Anaheim Ducks (8PM MT, RSN West). In some ways, it's a pretty big game. A Flames win would:
It's been a strange couple of games to start the road trip. I said beforehand that the key was "not being totally dominated on special teams". So far, they have 1 SHG and 3 PPG, against zero GA on special teams. Big checkmark! ...except that they've somehow allowed 6 EVGA in the 2 games.

With three of their regular D out for these two games (Warrener, + Hamrlik & Zyuzin who were hurt early in the VAN game), I'd expect the GA to suffer a bit. But check this out. Here's the defense pairs who got the EV- on those six goals:
  1. Phaneuf/A-Fence
  2. Zyuzin/Robyn Regehr
  3. Phaneuf/Robyn Regehr
  4. Phaneuf/Giordano
  5. Phaneuf/B-Fence
  6. Phaneuf/B-Fence
Which reminds me of a post Tyler put up about Dion Phaneuf back in September. Here's the gist:
My basic objection to the Phaneuf deification - and according to someone who claims to know at Calgarypuck, he was seriously considered for the Olympic taxi squad - is that he doesn't play the tough minutes and you've therefore got to take the hype with a grain of salt - lots of guys can knock the crap out of the Jaarko Ruutu's of the world but it's a little more difficult to do it against elite competition.

I have arguments with elements of his post. Phaneuf was never spitballed for the Olympics so he could go shut down Russia's top line, nor would it be wise to pick a D-corps for the seven guys who most likely can. And any Random Defenceman who scores at a 20PPG/yr pace would rank higher than "80-100", even if he never saw the ice at ES/PK.

But Tyler is correct with the main thrust of his post. Phaneuf is a unique player, he's fantastic for his age as a Dman, and he's got all the physical tools and a load of upside, but: right now he is not a Norris-calibre defenseman, and the hockey media isn't doing him any favours by pretending that he is. He's a lot more Sheldon Souray than he is Chris Pronger right now. From my perspective, this isn't a problem -- it isn't even criticism -- it's just the state of the union.

I'm excited about the game. So long as the Flames didn't catch a case of the "We Beat the Coyotes, We Must Be Awesome" disease on Saturday, it should be a beauty:

Calgary 2 (Dion Phaneuf, Matthew Lombardi)
Anaheim 1 (Joshua Jackson)

Go Flames.


The boys should be jacked for this one tonight - first place in the division (with a whole week to go till Christmas!) with a win tonight. Hopefully it will occur to them to keep an eye on Selanne this time.

Go Flames.

Go Ducks!

Excuse me, I'm off to cut my wrists.

I would be willing to admit that the Flames have turned the corner on this road trip stuff if they win tonight.

That said, Im certainly not going to hold my breath.

I think McDonald is a lot more likely to score than the guy from Dawson's Creek. That show was on the air for years and he put up fewer points than Steve Smith did when he actually played for the Flames

but: right now he is not a Norris-calibre defenseman, and the hockey media isn't doing him any favours by pretending that he is.

I don't think he thinks he is either judging from the quote he gave in last week's Hockey News.

You know, I've been in favor for a while about splitting the Norris trophy into two distinct trophies, one for the best defensive defenseman and one for the best offensive defenseman. Right now I believe it is a bit convoluted, and often the award just goes to the top point-getter.

As another aside, I also would like to see the Calder trophy be awarded in a similar way to the Hart trophy--with some consideration to team success. As much love as there was for Crosby and Ovechkin last year, we should remember that those were 2 of the worst 4 teams in the league.

If I had a Calder vote, it would have gone to Phaneuf--he at least played a big role on a division-winning team.

If I had a Calder vote, it would have gone to Phaneuf--he at least played a big role on a division-winning team.

How did Dennis phrase his description about Dion Phaneuf's rookie season? "Andy Delmore with bodychecking". He was very good for a 20 year old defenseman, but his role has been overhyped in some circles.

Now Earl, if you wanted to award last year's Calder in the fashion they (supposedly) award the Hart, there's a guy named Henrik who plays goal for the Rangers who MIGHT take issue with your choice of Phaneuf.

As for tonight's game, since it is not possible for both teams to lose, I will hope that the one which is pretty much a lead-pipe cinch for the playoffs already (60 points before Christmas....fuck) over the one who are chasing the Oilers for the division lead.

6-0 Ducks, but Pronger takes a puck in the junk, causing Oiler fans to laugh out loud.

I hate these games, I can't enjoy either team's ass whooping on account of the fact that one of them must win!

"Andy Delmore with bodychecking"
Delmore is a dirty word precisely because he doesn't hit anyone.

Regarding the Norris, I'd like someone to go back and look at all the d-men who have been first-time winners back to about 1985 and what year of their career that occurred in.

I'm thinking Pronger winning it in his seventh year might be one of the earlier occurrences in an d-man's career.

It takes a long time to develop into a quality NHL d-man, longer still to become one of those rare uber-blueliners, and still longer yet to earn enough street credit to win the Norris.

Hell, Scott Stevens NEVER won the thing, and he's probably a 1st ballot Hall of Famer.

Do the Oilers even play anymore? Are they on a really long break or something?

Or has Andy left on some last minute secret overseas spy mission and he doesn't have reliable internet or hockey watching capabilities (or is that Sac?)...

This Battle is looking a little one sided on here right now (or is this just a prelude to the postseason?)...

Go Flames!

This Battle is looking a little one sided on here right now (or is this just a prelude to the postseason?)...

I prefer to think of the past few days as being like the third and fourth rounds of 1985-86. Glory for the Oil in the past, glory for the Oil in the future. Calgary enjoying some brief attention that they'll fail to continue earning. All is at it should be in the world.

Go Pronger!

Phaneuf is being hailed at the second coming of Denis Potvin. Big Hit. Great Shot. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't.
16 of his goals came on the PP last year.
Similarly, Glen Wesley was a much-hyped WHLer who, in his second season, bagged 19G and was being talked about like he was going to make everybody forget Ray Bourque.
Only twice in the subsequent 18 season has he scored double digits goals. More Rod Langway than Ray Bourque, it turns out.
Like Phaneuf, Denis Gauthier could make opponents' teeth chatter with his hits, too. But as often as not the cost of laying out a noisy hit is to take yourself completely out of position.
Guys have great early-career success all the time. Then teams figure out how to defend them.
Let's not be too quick to hang superstar status on a guy who is a flashy hitter and a proficient power play point shot.

Ok, I decided to do it, because I've got nothing better to do. I'm defining the player's first year as the year he first played 25 NHL games, and I am going all the way back to the 1979-80 year.

1981: Randy Carlyle won his first, and only, Norris trophy. This was his 5th NHL season.

1982: Also in his fifth NHL season, Doug Wilson captures his only Norris trophy.

1983: Rod Langway, in his first season with the Caps after four years in Montreal, wins his first of two consecutive Norris trophies. Another fifth-season guy.

1985: Paul Coffey captures his first of three Norris Trophies. Guess what? This was his fifth season in the NHL.

1987: Ray Bourque captures his first of five Norris trophies in his eighth NHL season. Interesting fact: Raymond is the possessor of the Calder trophy which the NHL decided to fuck Gretzky out of in 1980 during their anti-WHA purges.

1989: Back to this fifth-season business. The Old Ugly Dirty Man, who was then just Ugly and Dirty, captures his first of three Norris trophies.

1992: Brian Leetch becomes some type of prodigy, capturing his first of two Norris trophies in only his fourh NHL season.

1998: Eight seasons into his career, Rob Blake wins his first, and only, Norris Trophy.

1999: Al MacInnis FINALLY wins the Norris, in only his 16th NHL season.

2000: Cockface Stinkfuck pairs up the Norris with the Hart, the first D-man to win the league's MVP since some guy named "Orr". This was CFSF's seventh NHL season. Must have been a weak year for candidates, at least in terms of moral character (if such a thing is taken into account by the voters).

2001: Niklas Lidstrom finally wins the first of his four Norris trophies (hope he wins a fifth this year). This is his 10th NHL season.

2004: Scott Niedermayer, the best defenseman on the Anaheim Ducks, wins his first and only Norris, in his 12th NHL season. Wouldn't mind seeing him win this year either.

Notable names that have never won? Scott Stevens stands out. How about Sergei Zubov? He's pretty good. Ditto Adam Foote.

Even Bobby Orr couldn't win the thing as a rookie in 66-67. Harry Howell won it that year, but Orr strung off EIGHT consecutive Norris trophies starting the next season, to best Doug Harvey's standing record of seven total.

Moral of the story? Win the Norris, guarantee entry to the Hall of Fame. Let's hope the guy who won in 2000 becomes the first exception to that rule.

And if I had to bet on the next first time winner? Zdeno Chara. Long-term, I'm looking at Pitkanen, Phaneuf and Seabrook.

Hmmm, the Godless Shames or FCP. How can both teams lose?

Oh, and that was a most excellent dive by Tanguay.

Watching Kipper let in softies makes me feel all warm inside.

This time tomorrow, it's Oil by 4, Calgary with a game in hand. Probably close enough for a parade in Calgary.

I don't know how the Oil are going to gain three points in one game?

And somehow the Flames lose a game in hand overnight as well?

Calgary will recover from this loss to take over first in the division tomorrow night after beating the Kings 3-1 (a W for Noodles), while Colorado and Theodore shut down the 'vaunt' to take the game 2-1...

And the Flames will still have 2 home games in hand...

Go Flames!

And somehow the Flames lose a game in hand overnight as well?


They lost their 2 game cushion this evening. They will have one game at hand this time tomorrow night.

GP (after the loss to the Ducks):

Oil: 32 (17-13-2)
Lames: 31 (16-12-3)


Flames played well for two periods and it wouldn't have been a huge surprise if they'd won based on the first 40.

A few things that we can say:

1. CAL goalie lets in goals he wouldn't have when he was at his peak. He's fallen off just a hair but it's likely enough to cost them before they reach the elite 8 in the spring.

2. The Flames have more forwards who haven't scored than Toronto has defensemen who haven't scored. At what point do you start scratching these fellows and seeing what Boyd can be by playoffs?

3. The Flames jerseys need a do-over. Seriously. The crest is now so large it cheapens the uniform.

4. Iginla is playing almost as well as he did when the eastern media robbed him of the MVP.

5. Anaheim-San Jose is going to be the Cup final. They might play it earlier but that's for all the marbles. I'd say Buffalo might have a chance but God hates them.

Hmmm, the standings site I used last night (Yahoo) had apparently not been updated when I checked it before posting... although the Flames do still have two home games in hand (which you might as well just pencil in as wins), while the Oil have a road game in hand (which you might as well pencil in as a loss)... ; P

I love how TSN has the Oil ranked so low in its power rankings...

Flames on top before Christmas (and most likely after tonight)!!!

Go Flames!

I watched the game last night. Here my observations:
1. The Flames are not as bad as the score appeared
2. The Ducks jump when they hit, when are the refs going to call that?
3. Carlyle is an Ahole what was his goon doing out there with 5 left. The Flames don't have a goon. Good Job by Reghehr.

So as an Oiler Fan attending the New Years tilt in a box with 37 Flames fans maybe this will get me some Karma. I now have a new motto "Anybody but the Ducks"

I love how TSN has the Oil ranked so low in its power rankings...

Sagarin has them higher. He also has Calgary as having played the easier schedule so far, home games in hand notwithstanding.

1. Phaneuf/A-Fence
2. Zyuzin/Robyn Regehr
3. Phaneuf/Robyn Regehr
4. Phaneuf/Giordano
5. Phaneuf/B-Fence
6. Phaneuf/B-Fence

7. A-Fence/Robyn Regehr
8. Phaneuf/Giordano
9. Phaneuf/B-Fence

7. A-Fence/Robyn Regehr
8. Phaneuf/Giordano
9. Phaneuf/B-Fence

To be fair, Kipper should have saved the Penner goal.

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