Sunday, January 18, 2009


Flames Game Day

Flames @ Avalanche, 6PM MT, RSN West. A recent history of back-to-backs...
So, six sets. Two of them were split between Kipper and McE. Of the other 4, Kipper was very good in Pt.2 of one, and average-to-poor in Pt.2 of the other three. I assume he'll be getting the start tonight.

**Interesting games last night. The three division leaders in the WC all got some (cough) interesting goaltending, spanning from Osgood's sub-elite performance to Nabokov's crappy one to Kipper's abominable one. Thing is, none of it was shocking. Everybody looks at the WC top 4 and thinks it's Chicago with the goaltending "situation", but really, they're the only ones who are set. They could deal Khabibulin for more help at F/D and still be in terrific shape. (Not to start rumours, but something like him for Fedorov and Brent Johnson -- all three of whom are in their final contract year -- would seem to be something that would benefit both sides.)

You can book it: one or more of SJS/DET/CGY will go on a bit of a slide due in large part to poor goaltending, and the shit will hit the fan. And yeah, the place it would make the biggest mess (by far) is Calgary.

I have few quarrels with Mike Keenan, and in general I think he's done a really solid job this season, so I feel bad for the guy that it's even money or better that he's going to have to deal with this down the road. Actually, I don't, but I would if he hadn't squandered so many opportunities to normalize the use of the backup on occasion. As I wrote in October, if you're not going to sit Kipper when it makes sense to do so, then "you forfeit the right to act surprised and offended in the future when Not Using Kipper = International Incident."

**Unrelated? Good news from the farm, for a change: after finishing October/November (his first 2 months as a pro) with a SV% of .851(!), Leland Irving has had a .937 SV% since. Huzzah.

**I'm actually surprised with myself; I'm pretty affected by last night's loss. Or maybe more accurately, the manner in which it happened. Yeah, I'm probably letting emotion get into it a bit much, but I'm seriously concerned about the goaltending.

And I gotta tell you, the telecast of it spooked me too. Hughson and Craig Simpson had specific criticism of Bryzgalov a few times. And on the bad goals that went into the Flames net, it was, "That's very unusual, that puck rarely goes in from there... Kipper had trouble picking that one up... Boedker caught Kipper going side-to-side...". But neither of them, nor Hrudey or anyone in the studio during or after the game, managed to speak the words, "That was a bad goal" or "Kipper needs to stop that one" or god forbid "Miikka Kiprusoff is having a bad game". It was very... Emperor's New Clothes. Not sure why everyone was tiptoeing around the obvious (worried about being boxed in by the Zamboni, perhaps), but I didn't like it, I tells ya.

As for tonight's game, I guess I like the Flames' chances regardless. They really smoked the Avs in terms of possession (and shots, and scoring chances) all four times they played, and that was with Paul Stastny in the lineup. Let's go with a 4-3 Calgary W (GlenX x2, Boyd, Phaneuf). Go Flames.


How about that Smytty? :)

That third goal by Phoenix really was horrible. I haven't seen a goal go in on the AHL side like that in a long time.

And while you already know this, overplaying Kiprusoff is going to come back and bite Keenan in the playoffs, whether it's due to fatigue or injury. Physiological justification forthcoming (I meant to have it up last night, but there was a minor snag in getting it edited). I really don't get why McE doesn't get more innings, for development reasons if nothign else, but if it causes the Flames to collapse in the playoffs, well, I'll take that consolation prize.

If it makes you feel better, Vancouver's had the same problem the past 2 1/2 years with Luongo.
Coach V pretty much refuses to play the backup even on 3-in-4 or back2back situations where one of those games is vs a doormat.
Backup goalies are on the verge of becoming Canadian-born QBs: people have heard of 'em, but nobody's seen one in years.

Unless, of course, the starter gets hurt. In which case the team gets a Get Out of Jail Free card.
Middle of the current home skid, the Canucks were trotting out the excuses, such as, "we play differently in front of the non-Luongos."

And this is the physiological explanation for why overplaying goalies is dumb, if you're interested. (The TLDR version is: the muscle tissue wears out, the goalie runs out of energy and stored fuel, and becomes more susceptible to slow play, fatigue, and injury.)

Due respect, I'm filing this "Tired humans react more slowly and less accurately" finding under "You don't say."

Because God forbid we bring actual science to a rational discussion forum.

I mean, I could turn around and say, "Scoring more goals than the other team wins hockey games? You don't say!", but I'd get ass-raped by every stats blogger from here to St. John's.

I'd also point out that a) muscle physiology has a little more long-term, peer-reviewed foundation than Corsi numbers, and b) that wasn't the whole point: there was also stuff in there that might relate in part to why goalies that face high shot volumes have higher save percentages.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?