Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

Calgary… Defence is NOT the problem.

Bob McKenzie might want to expand on his reasons as to why he's not a GM (Re: a Discussion with regards to it on HockeysFuture). He looks at the Flames game from Wednesday, pays lip service to the fact that this was an abysmal offensive team and then concludes that it's the defence at fault. Bob? Calgary scored all of one goal in their last two games in that series. They scored six in the last four. I'm not sure why TSN has such trouble calibrating their instruments when it comes to the grading of Flames defencemen-if you listen to Pierre McGuire (who I'd really like to start referring to as "Molly Johnston"…too obscure?), you'd think that Dion Phaneuf is Bobby Orr when he's actually a 3/4 defenceman and PP specialist. Calgary's problem was not the play of their depth defencemen.

It's easy to point to the red numbers posted by Phaneuf and Hamrlik and conclude that they were at fault in the series. It seems a bit unfair to me though. The Flames forwards scored exactly…1 goals when Phaneuf was on the ice in this series, a total that Phaneuf was able to match on his own. Don't blame Phaneuf and Hamrlik-look at the Flames embarassing offence.Phaneuf/Hamrlik may have had a relatively poor series but they were not horrible.

Calgary's problem was one thing-they have no offence.
If not for a horrible start from Zherdev, and Nash being injured they would have been 28th in the NHL in offence.
Yes, 28th.

No team in the entire history of the NHL has made it to the playoffs with an offence ranked 28th or worse in the NHL before Calgary this season.
And you want to blame their DEFENCE?

Their stacked on defence.
An excellent if inconsistent young rookie in Phaneuf, one of the best defensive D-Man in the NHL in Regehr, a very good top 4 defensive D-Man in Warrener, a physically imposing #6-7 guy in Marchment, a horendously over-rated Ference but one who had a career year and looked like a top 4 guy, a #2-3 D-Man in Leopold, a #2 D-Man in Hamrlik who also had arguably the best season of his career, and a #5-6 guy in Hulse.

Add one of the top 5 goalies in the NHL in Kipper to that… and he wants to blame their DEFENCE?

Has he looked at their offence lately?
You've heard of a one line team before? Well Calgary is a one-person team.
They have a franchise forward in Iginla but he had a horrible season by his standards. He posted only 67Pts in a full 82 game schedule and this in a year when scoring jumped by almost 1.4Goals/game across the league.
After that they have…. a ton of defence first grinders.
Langkow a #2-3 Center that had poor chemistry with Iginla, a rapidly aging Tony Amonte whose little more then a an adequate 3rd liner Winger at this point, an extremely talented but incredible inconsistent and Huselius with his usual dubious work ethic and a decent young player in Kobasew who has an off-chance of becoming a 2nd liner in a few years.
This is their offence.

When you have the worst offence of any playoff team in NHL history, one of the 3 best Defence's in the NHL and a top tier goaltender as well as one of the better Coaches in the NHL your problem isn't defence.

Calgary basically has to win every game 1-0 or 2-1 in order to win. When your winning every game by 1 goal, then an off night by one of your D-Man or goalie, or a top forward can kill you. A few bad bounces and you've lost.
Calgary outperformed their pythagorean record by a huge margin (the 2nd most in the NHL), their GF/GA over the season was wholly unspectacular.

Calgar has one problem.
Offence.

I ranted about the stupidity of their adding more defence during the off-season and largely neglecting the offence… and it's come back to haunt them.
Anaheim is no elite team, their lucky to be in the playoffs.
Right now they should be kissing Beauchemin, Neidermayer, and Selanne as well as being thankful Calgary apparently belives that you can win in hockey without actually scoring any goals.

Really… how can anyone think defence is the problem?
Their only top tier forward was getting routinely ripped apart for his performance the majority of the season whilst they have a Vezina nominee goalie and a Defence everyone on the planet admires.

I don't care how good you are at preventing goals, you can't win if you don't score any.
Add a good Center and a decent secondary forward or two, plus a rebound season from Iginla and the Flames are one of the top Cup Contenders.
Anything else and they'll need a perfect performace from Kipper and an already elite defence to largely over-perform again for them to have any hope of making a long playoff run.

Calgary is two parts fantastic, and one part abysmal.
Thankfully it's much easier to improve a team that's great in one area and poor in another then it is to improve a team that's good in both respects.
Their right on the verge of being one of the top 2-3 teams in the NHL…. all they need in some offensive help.
Now if only the management will realize that adding more defence probably isn't going to help.

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May 5, 2006 - Posted by | Calgary Flames

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