February 26 2017 06:20PM
Matinee games often derail your weekend. Sometimes they're boring and sometimes both teams are so flat that it takes 40 minutes for anything fun to happen.
Fortunately today the Calgary Flames didn't disappoint - for the most part - and it featured a prominent showing from a Flame that is quickly validating more and more that he should be protected in the expansion draft.
Things might be looking up here, folks, and it's just in time for the final push.
February 26 2017 04:07PM
(James Guillory / USA Today Sports)
The 2016-17 edition of the Calgary Flames have been incredibly productive on the road. Maybe it's because they're away from distractions. Maybe they feel less pressure. Maybe they feel they have to play a more direct, simple game because they can't control match-ups via last change, but for whatever reason, the Flames have been superb on the road.
The Flames polished off one of their best road trip performances of the season – and one that came at the perfect time for their playoff aspirations – with a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. They captured nine of a possible 10 points on their five game road stretch.
February 26 2017 08:00AM
(Adam Hunger / USA Today Sports)
We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
The Calgary Flames polish off their five-game road trip with a rare matinee game today in scenic Raleigh, North Carolina against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flames are one of the hottest teams in the entire National Hockey League right now and they chose a wonderful time of year to get their act together. They have 20 games to go and a four point cushion on the Los Angeles Kings, who have a game in hand.
For the Flames to make the playoffs, all they have to do is keep pace with the Kings from here on out. It helps that the Flames have an easier schedule, no back-to-backs left, and play the Kings four times in their last 20 games. They truly are masters of their own destiny, and can nudge slightly closer to the Stanley Cup playoffs with a victory against Carolina.
The puck drops at 1 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
February 25 2017 02:00PM
Teams send their pro scouts to rinks for any number of reasons. Sometimes it's to advance scout a future opponent. Sometimes it's to get a sense of the upcoming free agent class. This season, it's likely that teams are also trying to get a sense of what the other teams in the league are going to do in terms of protection for the upcoming expansion draft.
That said, particularly in the run-up to the National Hockey League's trade deadline, teams scout games to find out what players may be available and how they might fit in with their groups.
For whatever it's worth, here's what we can suss out from the scouting list over the past 10 Flames home dates. (Disclaimer: Just because a team's on the scouting list doesn't mean they're there [as travel plans often change] and on the same vein, teams may have sent somebody to the game but they weren't on the list.)
February 25 2017 12:00PM
(Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports)
I don't believe in the Wideman curse.
It isn't that I refuse to acknowledge that the Flames are being penalized more heavily this season than last, but rather it is that I don't believe it is entirely due to the incident where Dennis Wideman cross checked Don Henderson into the boards.
Kerry Fraser wrote a piece in late January responding directly to the question of whether the Flames are being unfairly targeted by the officials because of Wideman. I've recommended it to not only Flames fans, but fans of any team.
But back to the Wideman curse, the Flames are simultaneously receiving more penalties than any other team in the league (ahead of Colorado by 0.03 penalty kills per game) and being penalized at around a league-average rate of 18%.
How is that possible?
They are committing a greater number of infractions.
This season I have tracked a number of Flames games for
penalty infractions committed by both the Flames and their opponents, logging
those infractions which were called and which were uncalled.
I did something similar at the end of last season and decided to repeat it again this season but over a longer period.
In all I logged data on twelve games, or roughly 15% of the entire Flames’ season, and compared that data to an equal or greater number of non-Flames games from around the NHL. (Be warned - image-heavy after the jump.)