Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

Calgary- More on their early exit

Calgary's problem was identified months ago: They didn't replace Craig Conroy. And in the playoffs, nobody in the middle ranks turned into Marty Gelinas at a key moment.
Calgary's problem is that their offence was complete and utter garbage. A joke, almost on par with the horror that was the Oilers goaltending. Of course, Edmonton has a GM who went out and fixed that at the deadline. (Albeit by massively and ridiculously overpaying for average goaltending)

The Conroy thing: Unless Craig Conroy was the risen Christ, it's more than that. Jarome Iginla posted less points in a season when scoring jumped significantly, everyone else saw their numbers rise quite a bit. Iginla didn't even manage the same point totals which would have been disappointing in itself.

Sutter's mantra was that as long as the Flames scored one more goal they were ok.

His failure was to recognize that the Flames truly captured lightning in a bottle in 2004 – they regularly got that extra goal but when your offence is spread so very very thin (and it was moreso this year) then at some point you're just not going to get it. All it takes is a few bad bounces in a game.

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May 10, 2006 Posted by | Calgary Flames | Leave a comment

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.

May 5, 2006 Posted by | Calgary Flames | Leave a comment

Calgary’s Defence…. more and more and more and…

Okay, i'm now convinced the Calgary Flames are trying to sign a team of 23 defencemen. Their infatuation with defence is getting a little excessive.

Before the Free Agency period started they had Regehr, Leopold, Lydman, Ference, Phaneuf, Warrener, Montador.
A pretty strong defence right?
Obviously.

Their offence however is decidedly lacking in any sort of scoring ability outside of Iginla. Kobasew is somewhat promising but a clearly not ready to make a serious impact.
They sign Langkow, a solid addition which finally gies Iginla a credible Center to work with. Langkow's rather inconsistent, and has never lived up to expectations but he's a capable 2nd line Center albeit put in a 1st line role in Calgary, I really think they could have done better but as a secondary player he's good. Sadly he's Calgary's 2nd best forward by a large margin.
They also signed Amonte, clearly on the downside of his career and merely a depth forward at this point in time. It's a testimaent to how weak the are offensively that Amonte will probably get 1st line minutes, even with that I don't expect any more then 15 goals from him and that would be a definite success.

Anything else? na, they marginally strengthen their top line and leave their 2nd/3rd/4th lines with a bunch of pluggers/defensive specialists.
The offence is still lackluster, and relies pretty much entirely on Iginla.
One would think they'd strengthen it further… but no, instead they go out and sign Hamrlik.
A fine player, and a good #2-3 D-Man.
But Calgary's defence was already extremely strong, and youthful. The last thing they need is yet another defencemen.

That leaves them with 8 NHL D-Man, 7 of which could be on the top 4 on most teams.
So to make room for Hamrlik they deal Lydman for a 3rd rounder. Not a pretty trade, Lydman could have fetched much more. A young #3 D-Man, that hasn't yet peaked.
Why??!
Hamrlik is a small upgrade over Lydman, he's more expensive, he's older and unlike Lydman he's already peaked. Lydman still has room to improve.
Unsurprisingly Flames fans aren't terribly happy about this.
Okay, so it's a pointless signing. An incremental improvement an on already existing strength, instead of using the money to strengthen their forwards. They trade Lydman for below market value.

Now, a few games into the season they sign Marchment…. what the???!
They already have Regehr, Hamrlik, Leopold, Ference, Phaneuf, Warrener, Montador. The defence is over crowded already, and very blatently one of the top few in the NHL. Sure Regehr is still out with injury but it's not like Calgary has a weak Defence even without him and he'll be back soon enough.
Besides, this is Marchment…. a decent stay at home #6-7 guy. But he couldn't make the Leafs defence out of training camp. No one in their right mind thinks the Leafs defence is anywhere near as good as that of Calgary. If he couldn't make a below average Leafs defence why would Calgary sign him when they already have one of the top 5 defences in the NHL?

I give up. Their goal is clearly to accumulate as many defencemen as they can. Forwards? Forget it. Iginla has to do everything himself.
At this rate their soon going to be having defencemen playing forward…. or god forbid, they'll have a defencemen as their backup goalie.

Bizarre and incomprehensible. It's like Calgary has a fetish for defencemen.

October 11, 2005 Posted by | Calgary Flames | Leave a comment