Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Flames Game Day

The Flames host the Minnesota Wild tonight on TSN (8PM MT). Both teams have 75 points in 63 games; the Wild get the 7th slot in the rankings with more Wins.

You may recall that back in December, I broke down the NW standings a bit further, backing out OT & Shootout Wins. (And looking at that post, it's hard to believe that the division shook out like it has).

Again, I don't begrudge any team their success in 4-on-4 OT or Shootouts. I don't (presently) have a problem with the "3-point game", either: the rules are what they are, and they're known to every team from the start (as such, I certainly don't think you can call it unfair). My only concern is that, like I wrote about 2 years ago on my old site, if the incentive to simply reach OT makes 3rd periods dull. This data is available, maybe I'll crunch it one of these days.

Anyway, here are Calgary's and Minnesota's records on the season:
Here are their records if you just call shootouts Ties, like before the lockout (W-L-T-OTL):
And here are their records if all games ended after 60 minutes, like the old days (prior to ~86/87):
There is certainly room for argument as to the real meaning of these numbers (or lack thereof), but in 4-on-4 OT and shootouts, the Wild have 15 wins, the Canucks have 13 wins, and the Flames have 1 win. Do I think this means that the Flames would be a more dangerous 1st-round opponent for, say, Detroit? Yes I do.

I have slightly mixed feelings on the Flames having watched the last 3 games. I am not, per se, concerned that their games are higher-scoring than the 2 previous seasons. I banged on this a few times in the offseason: when you have an excellent goalie, some defencemen who can make plays, and some skilled forwards, it makes very little sense to insist that "trading chances" is a disaster. All else being equal (which it never is, but bear with me here), a game that features a lot of shots and scoring chances by both teams is generally going to be won by the team with the better goalie.

I couldn't get too upset about the 4GA vs. the Sharks even. Phaneuf gave one away at the blueline on the PP -- this happens to the best of them on occasion. Hamrlik gave one away up the middle that was promptly put behind Kipper -- this happens to Roman Hamrlik on occasion. The only one that made me really queasy was Warrener getting beat by Mike Grier with a PeeWee move, banking it off the boards and skating right by. That was fricking terrible, and I pray not a sign of things to come from #44.

Apparently the Wild have 1 win in their last 14 trips to the 'Dome. Looks good for the home team. I'm guessing Calgary 4 (Moss x2, Iginla, Stuart) Minnesota 3 (Todd White with a pair, Demitra with a late one that makes the result look closer than the game was). Go Flames.


Good points on OT/SO results. I think some people get confused about what the "bonus point" is in hockey--the Forechecker had a post today that mentioned the Ducks had artificially high points standings because they had 10 losses in OT/SO, but really, those "loser points" are not what make standings totals artificially high.

Rather, the teams that are winning excessively in the extra frame--they are getting the bonus points, and thus they are the the ones with artificially high point totals. The fact that Dallas (my favorite OT/SO example) has won 10 of 13 OT games is nice for them, but I doubt that the ability to win 4-on-4 or 1-on-0 mini-games makes them "strong" postseason contenders.

Forechecker has since agreed somewhat, so don't go picking on him, but generally speaking I'm more scared of teams that make the playoffs despite their OT records than the ones that make the playoffs because of their OT records.

..but generally speaking I'm more scared of teams that make the playoffs despite their OT records than the ones that make the playoffs because of their OT records.

Well said, and not just that part. (You're hired!)

The GMs rejected the idea of the '3-point game' where every game would have 3 points up for grabs, with the regulation winner getting all 3. I like giving each game equal value and increasing the incentive to play for the win vs playing for the tie.

I don't how the standings would shake out under this approach, but the Flames must be close to the top in terms of regulation wins.

I don't how the standings would shake out under this approach, but the Flames must be close to the top in terms of regulation wins.

Here's how the WC ranks in terms of regulation wins:
1. Detroit 37
2. San Jose 36
3. Nashville 34
4. Calgary 32
5. Anaheim 31
6. Dallas 28
7. Edmonton 27
8. Colorado 25
9. Vancouver 23
10. Minnesota 20
10. Phoenix 20
10. St. Louis 20
10. Columbus 20
14. Chicago 18
15. Los Angeles 16

I won't give you the totals, but in a three-point system, Calgary would rank t-5th in the west and 1st in the Northwest, 7 points above Vancouver.

As an aside, should the name of this website be changed? Seeing how Edmonton has surrendered, it appears the 'Battle' is over.

The same thing could have been said last year a couple rounds into the playoffs. The battle merely goes on hiatus. It never ends. Much like The Simpsons.

(see what I did there? I made a popular culture joke! Ha, I'm so witty.)

Also, can we please turn this discussion thread into a Ryan Smyth one like all the others on this site? Thank you.

Ahh.. "The Hiatus of Alberta", that sounds grand.

The 'Hiatus of Alberta' sounds ominously and vaguely medical, like the 'islets of Langerhans'.

I'd make the argument that if there was no shootout, the Wild would have a few more wins than you have listed. Lemaire knows the rules and has coached his team play for the tie late in games, knowing there are several very good shootout specialists on the team. If there were no SO, I'd think he'd have them play a bit more agressively and come out with a few more wins.

After looking at OT/SO results I found there was little rhyme or reason to them, good teams lost, bad teams won. So I used a ranking system that looks at all the teams simultaneously and compares their Win-Loss records along with whom they won or lost to [so OTL/OTW don't help or hurt you]. The most recent results below:

AdjWin% Name
69% Red Wings
66% Ducks
64% Predators
62% Flames
61% Sharks
60% Sabres
60% Devils
59% Stars
58% Senators
53% Canucks
51% Penguins
50% Oilers
50% Wild
49% Hurricanes
49% Maple Leafs
49% Islanders
48% Avalanche
47% Canadiens
47% Thrashers
47% Lightning
45% Panthers
44% Blues
44% Rangers
42% Coyotes
41% Blue Jackets
40% Bruins
40% Blackhawks
39% Capitals
38% Kings
27% Flyers

West is ranked higher due to awesome performance on cross conference games.

So what do you guys think about the Ryan Smyth trade?

Two cool sidebars about 94 being deal to the Isles for more magic beans to add to Lowe's Pronger Pile:

#1: This should give the Isles a spot in the top eight which means that at least one of the Habs or Leaves won't make the playoffs. I'm hoping both make it but I don't think I deserve to have such happiness in my life;)

#2: The wild have four games left against an Oilers team that had it's heart cut out. That pretty much gives them an excellent shot at 1st place in the NW which means both the Dys and Horses With Gay Moustaches will have to open the second season on the road. For at least one of those teams that means they're gone in six games or less.


Horses With Gay Moustaches

That made my week, Dennis. Absolutely brilliant.

Oh yeah. Choke Flames Choke. I still hate you, even if I'm not huge on the Oilers just as yet.

Also, can we please turn this discussion thread into a Ryan Smyth one like all the others on this site?

No, you may not.

Game thoughts. Rhett Warrener is looking less and less like an NHL caliber d-man. Flames dominated the 2nd, so if they can kill the penalty to start the 3rd, and then get the pressure back on, I like their chances. Also, by my count only 1 stupid middle of the ice clearing attempt, by Moss late in the period. A much sounder defensive effort so far.

Holy crap!! The Flames finally win a shoot-out!! Miikkaa makes 3 saves!! Jarome scores!!! Woo Hoo!! First Place!!!

Did that just happen? A shootout win? Over Minnie?

Yeah. Hell just froze over. Or. Best. Two. Days. Ever.

Say, has Stuart played well yet? I had the misfortune of catching two post-trade Flames games and he looked kind of awful when I was watching. That's not a jab at the Flames but he's done nothing to make me wish Edmonton gave up a similar package, that's for sure.

Say, has Stuart played well yet?

Yeah, last night looked good, but then again the whole team played a much better defensive game, so I'm sure that helped.

Up to this point, Primeau has been playing a very motivated game and has taken the focus away from Stuart (somewhat). Last night Stuart was jumping up into the rush and Regehr looked better than he has all season.

I won't say everything is great, but if the Flames play as solid defensively the next 3 or 4 games then you can point to this game as first one where they turned it around.

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