I recorded the contest last night and watched it this morning. It gave me a chance to to count scoring chances, which is an endeavor I plan to pursue for all Flames games this season. Akin to corsi (+/-), tallying scoring chances for/against will give us an idea of who is generating offense while on the ice versus who’s more away. Of course, “scoring chances” is a relatively subjective stat, but I plan to observe as objective a definition as possible during my analysis. The definition of a scoring chance may get refiined as we go along here, but initially, this is what I’m counting:
– Shots from a given area on the ice in the offensive zone. Think of a wedge or pie shape, starting from the net and emanating to the top of the face-off circles. That should exclude most shoot-ins and prayers from the boards and corners.
– Also, a shot has to be attempted in order to be counted I think. If your club gets a two-on-one and the pass is bobbled, then it doesn't count.
– Goals are also counted as scoring chances automatically, even if it was a stinker.
– I'm only counting stuff at ES for now, although separate tallies for the PP and PK would probably be useful as well.
With that stuff in mind, here's some thoughts from last night:
– I thought the Flames struggled considering the level of competition. By my tally, Vancouver's glorified AHL squad out-chanced the Flames in both the first (6 to 4) and second periods (7 to 5). The Flames barely won the third period (6 to 5) by virtue of the last 5 mintes of play where both the Iginla and Langkow lines generated some top quality opportunities. I may go through and assign individual plus/minuses later.
– Speaking of Iginla et al, they were relatively quiet most of the evening at ES. Jokinen in particular did nothing 5on5, while Moss may have been the best of the trio.
– Dion Phaneuf had his strongest effort of the exhibition period. His game was controlled and even in his own zone and he made things happen with the puck on his stick elsewhere. More please.
– Rene Bourque also looked more like his old self last night. In fact, I’d say his line with Langkow and Dawes generated the most scoring chances at ES. Nigel Dawes also had one of those games where he was visible (in a good way).
– Anton Stralman wasn’t as good this evening as he sometimes struggled to with stand the Cancuks aggressive forecheck. He’s probably an NHLer, but he needs to get stronger on his skates.
– Kiprusoff was excellent…aside from the shot that beat him. Again.
– Brandon Prust is improving every night. I think he makes McGrattan even more useless than he already was.
– Ryan Kesler is an excellent hockey player. Vancouver may also have something with the Shirokov guy as well.
Some good and some bad. Overall, it's somewhat disconcerting that the Flames didn't do more against a theoretically inferior opponent, although, again…it's pre-season. Stay tuned for some training camp wrap-up thoughts later today or tomorrow.
by Kent Wilson