Archive for March, 2010
Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
I was thinking about this today while reading Randy Sportak’s article in Tuesday’s Calgary Sun. As the Flames enter their final 6 games of the season, just what are the realistic scenarios for a postseason berth. So, I did a little math (I was bored) and came up with some Magic Numbers.
This also appears at FlamesNation.ca.
If you’re not familiar, the Magic Number idea came from baseball. In this case, it combines wins by the teams ahead of Calgary and losses by the Flames to come up with one number. Now, let me preface this with two things. First, I’m an idiot with numbers. Second, this is not iron-clad it’s a “most likely” Magic Number scenario. It doesn’t take into account some wacky finish where, say, Colorado finishes with 5 shootout losses but Calgary ties with points or something like that.
Then the following math may not apply, as Calgary may own the first tiebreak with the Avs. Come the end of the season, the tiebreaks are as follows, in order of priority…number of wins (LA 42, Colorado 41, Calgary 38), head to head (Calgary beats LA, loses to Colorado).
The numbers from Calgary’s perspective they sit with 38 wins and 85 points with 6 games remaining this season. Their best possible scenario is 97 points, if Calgary wins out down the stretch. In terms of wins, Calgary’s best case scenario is 44. Lets start with 7th place LA (as it stands PRIOR to a game with the Nashville Predators Tuesday Night).
They have 42 wins and 90 points with 7 games remaining this season (including tonight). Because Calgary owns the second tiebreak on the Kings, the Magic Number for Los Angeles is now 4 games.
- 4 LA wins gets them to 98 points
- 3 LA wins 1 Calgary loss gets LA to 96 but the Flames would only be able to get to 95
- 2 LA wins 2 Calgary losses gets the Kings to 94 points but a possible total of just 93 for the Flames
- 1 LA win 3 Calgary losses gets the Kings to just 92 guaranteed points, but Calgary would be able to get a grand total of 91.
Magic Number: 4
8th place Colorado also owns a Magic Number of 4. The Avs sit with 41 wins and 89 points with 7 games remaining. The Avs can tie Calgary in terms of wins and still make the playoffs, as they also own the head to head tiebreak with the Flames. So Calgary has to have more points than the Avalanche.
Once again, the scenarios:
- Colorado wins 4 gets the Avs to 97 points and 45 wins
- 3 Colorado wins 1 Calgary loss gets the Avs to 95 points and 44 wins (enough to win the tiebreak)
- 2 Colorado wins 2 Calgary losses gets the Avs to 93 points Calgary can get to only 93
- 1 Colorado win 3 Calgary losses sees the Avs finish with at least 91 points while Calgary can get to just 91.
Magic Number: 4
From a cynics standpoint, we could also make the “Elimination Number”…but who wants to be negative? In that event, though, Calgary’s Elimination Number would also be 4. Damn, the math makes things seem a whole lot bleaker.
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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
It’s a 3-2 win for the Calgary Flames as they get by the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. It’s a huge win for the Flames, and a game they desperately needed. Was it perfect, well…no it wasn’t. But they did enough, they found a way to win, and they’re 1 point back of 8th.
Give credit to Vesa Toskala. Is it a decision that was curious? Well, yeah. But Toskala did more than enough in net, made some big saves, and has done something that his predecessor did not. Toskala has inspired a little confidence in the team and the coaching staff, and there’s an ability to play the same in front of him as in front of Miikka Kiprusoff. At least that’s been the case in 8 periods with the Flames.
The Flames were able to get out to a good start in this game, as for the 42nd time this season, they scored the first goal of the hockey game. Were there times when they were pushed by Colorado? Yes, and that’s because the Avalanche are darn good little team. But Calgary was able to regroup in those instances, and held a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame.
No, it wasn’t perfect. Faceoffs were not great again. The powerplay was so-so, even with the goal on the man advantage. There were times when things were a little sloppy. But they closed this thing out, and got the win. At this time of year, with the situation the Flames are in, there’s nothing more important.
Friday, March 12th, 2010
Sometimes, it’s good to win games when you’re doing all the right things, and it’s clear that you were the better team from start to finish. And sometimes, you’ve got to win games when things aren’t going perfect. Sometimes, as the Head Coach of the Calgary Flames likes to say, you’ve got find a way to win hockey games. And to me, that’s exactly what the Calgary Flames did on Thursday night in a 2-0 win over the Ottawa Senators.
It’s not as if the Flames were terrible or anything. But the Sens carried the territorial play for most of this, and they probably outchanced the Flames in all three periods. Calgary didn’t have the same intensity as we’ve seen the last 3 games, but fact is, they found a way to score a couple goals and they were able to keep the Sens to the outside at times. Plus, give Ottawa some credit. They played a good game as well and were able to work for some quality scoring opportunities. Fact is, the Flames were in a close game where things weren’t going as well, and they still came out with a win. That’s important.
Keys? Well, Miikka Kiprusoff, but what else is new? A 33 save shutout for Miikka, a goaltender that I believe needs to be in the Vezina Trophy running here. There’s been a lot of calls lately wondering if he would be, and to me, it’s a no-brainer. But you wonder if the stats would work against him. It’s not like they’re bad stats…he’s 5th in save percentage, 3rd in goals against average, and 9th in wins. But you just wonder…and maybe it’s because I’m closer to it, but to me, there aren’t very many goaltenders playing at as high a level consistently in the NHL. And by not very many, I mean, like 2.
The other key stat comes from blocked shots. 30 of them. And the job Calgary’s forwards and defencemen did in blocking shots was a big key in keeping the Senators to the outside as this game went along. Ottawa fired 17 shots on net in the third period, but I felt a lot of them were forced…the fact that Calgary had been in lanes so often in the opening 2 periods (23 blocked shots after 40), probably lead to some more rushed shots in a desperate 3rd.
Good to see Chris Higgins score for the second straight game, he now has 3 points in his last 4 games. Maybe a change of scenery is helping with the confidence level, because I’ve liked what he’s brought the entire way with the Flames. Now the reward has been there the past few. Ian White is a player that is no longer flying under the radar either. He may not be spectacular in what he does, but since joining the Flames, he’s been very steady and has been able to chip in with the odd point. I thought he followed up his +4 game in Detroit very well against Ottawa.
Best thing I heard after this game was the admission that this wasn’t good enough. Is it important and good that they won? Yes. The Flames players and coaches admitted it’s an important thing to find a way to win a game likes this. But they also were very quick to point out that this game should have been better, and that they’re going to need to be better Sunday in Vancouver.
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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
The Calgary Flames have won 3 straight games, and it seems optimism is a whole lot higher than it was a week ago, when the Flames fell 4-0 to Minnesota . Since that time, wins over New Jersey, Minnesota again, and Detroit have vaulted Calgary back into the postseason. So what’s different?
Head Coach Brent Sutter said today it has nothing to do with systems changes or tweaking structure. And that you can’t really argue. In watching the Flames the past 180 minutes, it’s pretty simple in my eyes. The Flames have executed consistently, and they’ve done the things they’ve needed to do to score goals and win games. That’s happened for 3 straight games.
I kept cautioning myself that last Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Minnesota was not indicitive of things we’d seen all season, nor would it be what we’d see for the stretch drive. But it was hard not to be sour following a game like that. But that woke the team up…Curtis Glencross said today they all had a reality check, and they got back to working hard and doing what they needed to do in game situations.
The Flames have scored 14 goals in 3 games. How? By making scoring opportunities happen through hard work. Goals from Daymond Langkow, Eric Nystrom, Matt Stajan and David Moss against New Jersey are perfect examples. What about Jarome Iginla’s and Rene Bourque’s third period tallies against Detroit? Same thing. There’s always been an offensive element to what Brent Sutter wants out of his team.
Sometimes they’ve gone out and done the things needed to generate opportunities. And sometimes they haven’t. Maybe there was some discouraging moments, when the work was being put in, but the goals weren’t coming. But WHEN it happens, they have the opportunity for solid success.
Sutter said today that the coaching staff has never tried to limit creativity. All he ever wanted was responsibility when you didn’t have the puck. The last 3 games, that’s been there. Iginla broke up a scoring chance at one end, and set up a goal at the other. Chris Higgins and Daymond Langkow have been generating chances at one end, and snuffing them out at the other. It’s possible to score and play strong defensively, if the work ethic and the consistency is there.
The last 3 games, it has been. Now there’s 16 more games to. ..can they play like this for most of those games? That’s the million dollar question. We all know they’ll have to if a postseason berth is going to be secured.
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Friday, March 5th, 2010
The Calgary Flames needed to pay a bigger price to score goals, and that’s exactly what they did on Friday night in a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. It was a game the Calgary Flames needed to win, and they were able to score enough to hold off a late Devils comeback in the third period. Even though it didn’t push them back into the playoff picture, it kept them 1 back of the Detroit Red Wings.
4 of Calgary’s goals were scored by strong play near and around the net. That was exactly what they had lacked in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, and it was something referenced following that game by Head Coach Brent Sutter. And it wasn’t just 1 or 2 players. It was the entire team for the most part, with all 4 lines chipping in with goals. Daymond Langkow and Chris Higgins both snapped long streaks…Langkow scored his first goal in 21 games, while Higgins registered a point for the first time in 10 games and for the first time in a Flames jersey.
It wasn’t a great first period for Calgary, as they were thoroughly outplayed by the Devils in the opening 20. In fact, it could have been a 2 or 3 goal deficit had Miikka Kiprusoff not made some key saves. But Calgary’s penalty kill stemmed the tide through 20 and came out firing in the final 2 periods. They were strong, they were quick, and they were physical in the final 40 minutes. So, it’s good to see the Flames bounce back. Granted, the Devils weren’t great in those final 2 periods, and Martin Brodeur was NOT good. He was a bit of a circus all night. Regardless, the Flames did what they needed to do.
Now they have to do it again. Brent Sutter said following the game his team needs to be focused on 1 game at a time. If that’s the case, then they need to play games like this. Minnesota beat em on Wednesday, and are on home ice against the Flames. They need to do this and do more…lets see if they can. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Steinberg960.
Thursday, March 4th, 2010
The Calgary Flames have just 19 games to go this season, and they currently sit on the outside looking in. They’re in a race with numerous teams for the final few playoff spots in the Western Conference. Maybe that’s why the word “disappointing” was so apt after a 4-0 loss on Wednesday night at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.
That was the word used by Head Coach Brent Sutter following the game. He used it multiple times. He didn’t like the execution or emotion of his team on this night, and for good reason. The Flames were not good enough over a 60 minute hockey game to come away with a win, against Minnesota or most other teams in this league. Final shots were 29-21 in favor of Calgary, but how many of those were really good scoring opportunities? Not very many. They just weren’t good enough, and as Sutter said, made life far too easy on goaltender Niklas Backstrom.
Minnesota scored the opening tally on a Jay Bouwmeester cough-up. But that was a goal that you could probably bounce back from, and I felt they did. I thought Calgary was the better team for the first half of the second period, and had two really good shifts back to back. It started with the unit of Hagman, Stajan, Iginla, Sarich and Bouwmeester on the ice, keeping sustained pressure for a good 70 seconds plus. After a whistle, it was followed up by a great shift by Bourque, Backlund, Moss, Regehr and White. And then a nice breakout by Minnesota, a poor read from Adam Pardy, and the puck is in the back of Calgary’s net…they’re down 2-0. From that point on, Calgary wasn’t in this hockey game.
Their emotion level dropped off in a game where the opponent wasn’t tearing the walls down. Sure, Minnesota was good enough to win, but they weren’t incredible by any stretch. The Calgary Flames are in a situation where the playoffs are far from a guarantee. Yet, after falling down 2-0, they completely quit on an important hockey game and had nothing to show in the final 25 or 30 minutes. That’s very disappointing, and it goes back to the same thing we’ve been talking about all year. And eventually, the team will run out of time if they want to fix it. And lets face it…they may not fix it this season.
Jay Bouwmeester had one of the worst games he’s ever played on this night, finishing -3. Also sitting -3 were Chris Higgins and Matt Stajan. Hearing from Stajan following this one, he was not happy at all about how poorly his line played, and how few quality chances they created. To me, we saw consistent efforts from a select few group of guys…Kiprusoff and Giordano as always, plus I felt Sarich and Nystrom had strong games as well.
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
This is your 2010 NHL Trade Deadline Blog. We’ll have every single trade as they happen, in chronological order. Analzye the trades and leave your comments at the bottom, or post what you think will or should happen with the Flames or your favorite team.
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The newest trades are at the top.
Wednesday, March 3rd
Phoenix acquires forward Petteri Nokelainen from Anaheim in exchange for a 6th round pick.
Phoenix sends defenceman Anders Eriksson to the New York Rangers in exchange for goaltender Miika Wiikman and a 7th round pick in 2011.
Phoenix acquires forward Alexandre Picard from Columbus in exchange for forward Chad Kolarik.
Carolina sends forwards Stephane Yelle and Harrison Reed to Colorado in exchange for forward Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll and a 6th round pick.
Calgary Flames acquire defenceman Steve Staios from Edmonton in exchange for defenceman Aaron Johnson and a 3rd round pick.
Calgary Flames send forward Dustin Boyd to Nashville for a 4th round pick.
Pittsburgh sends defenceman Chris Peluso to Toronto in exchange for 6th round pick.
Edmonton sends defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky to Anaheim in exchange for defenceman Ryan Whitney.
Columbus trades defenceman Mathieu Roy to Florida in exchange for forward Matt Rust.
Toronto sends goaltender Joey MacDonald to Anaheim for a 7th round pick in 2011.
Columbus trades forward Fredrik Modin to Los Angeles for future considerations.
Carolina sends defenceman Andrew Alberts to Vancouver for a 3rd round pick.
Washington acquires defenceman Joe Corvo from Carolina in exchange for defenceman Brian Pothier, forward Oskar Osala and a 2nd round pick in 2011.
Toronto sends forward Lee Stempniak to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick.
Washington acquires forward Milan Jurcina from Columbus in exchange for a 6th round pick.
Buffalo sends forward Clarke MacArthurd to Atlanta in exchange for a 3rd and a 4th round draft pick.
Columbus has sent forward Raffi Torres to Buffalo in exchange for defenceman Nathan Paetsch and a 2nd round pick.
The Flames have acquired goaltender Vesa Toskala from Anaheim in exchange for goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
Minnesota sends forward Eric Belanger to Washington in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2010.
Los Angeles acquires forward Jeff Halpern from Tampa Bay in exchange for forward Ted Purcell and a 3rd round pick.
Vancouver sends defenceman Mathieu Schneider to Phoenix in exchange for defenceman Sean Zimmerman and a conditional 6th round pick in 2010.
Detroit acquires forward Jordan Owens from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Kris Newbury.
Colorado sends forward Wojtek Wolski to Atlanta in exchange for forwards Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter.
St. Louis sends forward Yan Stastny to Vancouver in exchange for forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
Carolina sends forward Scott Walker to Washington in exchange for a 7th round pick in 2010.
Carolina sends defenceman Aaron Ward to Anaheim in exchange for prospect goaltender Justin Pogge and a 4th round pick in either 2010 or 2011.
Boston acquires defencemen Dennis Seidenberg and Matthew Bartkowski from Florida in exchange for forwards Craig Weller and Byron Bitz along with a 2nd round pick in 2010.
Toronto sends defenceman Martin Skoula to New Jersey in exchange for a 5th round pick in 2010.
Phoenix acquires defenceman Derek Morris from Boston in exchange for a 4th round pick in 2011.
Tuesday March 2nd
Montreal sends forward Matt D’Agostini to St. Louis in exchange for forward Aaron Palushaj.
Toronto sends forward Alex Ponikarovsky to Pittsburgh in exchange for forward Luca Caputi and defenceman Martin Skoula.
Chicago acquires defenceman Nick Boynton from Anaheim in exchange for future considerations.
Boston sends forward Matt Marquardt to Edmonton in exchange for defenceman Cody Wild.
The New York Islanders send defenceman Andy Sutton to Ottawa in exchange for a 2nd round draft pick in 2010.
Anaheim sends defenceman Steve Kampfer to Boston in exchange for a conditional pick.
The Thrashers acquire forward Evgeny Artyukhin from Anaheim in exchange for defenceman Nathan Oystrick and a conditional pick in 2011.
Monday, March 1st
The Islanders send centre Greg Moore to Columbus in exchange for defenceman Dylan Reese.
Nashville acquires defenceman Denis Grebeshkov from Edmonton in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2010.
The Blues send goalie Hannu Toivonen and defenceman Danny Richmond to Chicago in exchange for goaltender Joe Fallon.
The Penguins acquire defenceman Jordan Leopold from Florida in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2010.