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Calgary Flames

G6 Flames @ Blackhawks: Post-Turkey




Scoring Chances
(These are f’ing awesome, thanks Kent!) recap

Thanksgiving weekend gave Flames fans another kick in the nuts. Friday: Calgary loses. Saturday: Edmonton wins. Sunday: Vancouver wins. And tonight: Calgary lays its worst egg against a team who showed their guests how hockey is supposed to be played. I feel sorry for anybody who ordered this game on PPV – you deserve better.

At least we have turkey. As in, the Flames' zone pressure and territorial play. Yuk yuk.

Breakdowns by period:

EV shots: 15-9 Chicago
EV Corsi: +11 Chicago

EV shots: 8-3 Chicago
EV Corsi: +11 Chicago

EV shots: 7-3 Chicago
EV Corsi: +10 Chicago

EV shots: 1-0 Chicago
EV Corsi: +1 Chicago

EV shots: 31-15 Chicago
EV Corsi: +33 Chicago

Breakdowns before and after 5-0

EV shots: 7-5 Calgary
EV Corsi: +1 Calgary

EV shots: 26-8 Chicago
EV Corsi: +34 Chicago

This was another game that I didn't get to catch much of, so I'm going to have to piece things together based on the play-by-play. No matter, the game logs paint a pretty clear picture. And it's no Mona Lisa.

No matter how you break it down, the Flames were not good enough. The play was nearly even before 5-0 – a lot of good luck goes into having three straight shots go in. Still, playing arguably the top team out of the gate to even is a nice feat, and surely the Calgary fans were hopeful, nay, certain that 5 goals in 5 minutes and a very slight edge in play meant the beginnings of a re-commitment to the even strength Juggernaut that was the 08/09 Flames.

Whoever you suckers were, you were sadly mistaken. Going -34 Corsi through less than 50 minutes? Giving up six unanswered goals and surrendering a much-needed point? Pathetic. I caught maybe the last 5 minutes of the game on the radio and the words "into the Calgary zone" were enthusiastically uttered by Peter Maher so often I thought maybe the Flames forgot which end of the ice they were going for.

Notables from this game were few and far between (especially since I didn't catch much of the game) but kudos to oft-criticized Boyd for his first goal of the season. A much deserved goal for someone who represents the face of the Flames' future offence. And I'd also like to kick the first line in the balls. Obviously tonight they were not the only culprits but they need to lead by example. And by "they", I mean Jarmoe – he needs to lead by example. Man the fuck up!

Now, let's talk about what has been, in my opinion, a horrid start to the season. Ignore the results, couldn't give a fuck about the 9 points. We've had one game I thought was good (second game against EDM) and it wasn't the flavor of "dominant" like we tasted in some notable 08/09 efforts (first game in January 2009 against San Jose springs to mind). We've also had a couple of dominant periods (first vs. Vancouver, second vs. Montreal) and shorter stretches of good play (first 10 minutes of tonight maybe?). But the body of work as a whole is not good.

A big part of the problem is the first line (Lord, they are bleeding at EV). Jokinen's history is not one of difference making but Jarome's is, so you have to think (hope?) that there is a rebound on the horizon. More troublesome is the post-lead clear-and-retreat strategy. The Flames aren't good at it (they are bleeding worse than they would if it were tied) and it's a losing strategy in general (what's a better way of not getting scored on, spending time in your zone or your opponent's zone? right?).

So I'm going to speculate up a bombshell here. Is there a coaching problem in Flames land? My personal opinion, with no shred of evidence, is a convincing "maybe?". On a macro level, I loved whatever it was the coaching staff last year was doing (4th best Corsi in the league? Territorial dominance in the top 5 of the league? Check please!) but the little details (the micro) is what pissed me off (Bertuzzi, Jokinen favoritism etc.). This year it's the reverse: the macro blows even though these little micro details (accountability!) are great.

This is all bullshitting 6 games in, we really don't have a good handle on the teams yet but the arrows are pointing southward. What is it that we're missing? Personally, I think (again without evidence) that we might missing Playfair – I seem to recall we had problems of a similar nature last year until the infamous post-San Jose turnaround, in which I believe Playfair played a big part in terms of systems play.

Or maybe we just need to be more patient.


by Richard Ong