Five things: No, wait

Ryan Lambert
October 10 2013 08:37AM

1. Third-period leads

The Flames have to this point in the season done exceedingly well at scoring a lot of goals (four per game) and usually enter the third period with a lead, which is a good thing to do if you want to win hockey games.

This is a team that seems very good a building leads and, as you might expect given the makeup of the roster, very bad at holding them. What was interesting to me is that they've actually only allowed one more goal in the third period than they scored, because it seemed like it should be a lot more than that. It's kind of amazing that they could enter two of their three games with a lead going into the third period — which those who think they're playoff competitors must be heartened by — but they didn't win either of those games. Their only win of the season came in a game in which they were tied after 40 minutes.

Not that you wouldn't expect this kind of thing out of a young and/or bad team because that's almost always what separates good teams from those that are not so much good. The Flames are the latter and have been this whole time; they bleed goals and they can't hold leads and even if they're scoring a lot it's because they're shooting 11.4 percent (before the game last night). Meanwhile, they're only stopping 87.9 percent of shots. Neither is sustainable, obviously, but I know which is probably at least a little more sustainable.

2. This isn't right at all

Of course people in Calgary have been heartened by these performances. "If they're going to lose, at least make it entertaining" and all that, and the Flames have to their credit delivered. No one expected them to score 12 goals in their first three games considering who was playing and who was on the shelf and who was shipped out of town last year.

But obviously the people who want a tank-job have been ripping their hair out: Four points from three games? This is the kind of thing that's always been frustrating about the Flames. They get almost to where they need to be (in this case conceding lots of third-period goals and getting no goaltending to speak of), but also don't quite get there. That thing Kent said a while ago about the difference in results when the expectations change is true. People seem, from what I've seen, to be perfectly happy with four points from three games, but this kind of thing last year with the blown leads and so forth would have made people scream and hold their breath.

This is all going to catch up with them eventually, of course, and I still think this is a truly bottom-of-the-barrel team, but the success, such as it is lately, is extremely counterproductive.

3. Monahan's production

Something that is less counter-productive, but could soon become so if things go as some are starting to expect, is once again the Monahan Issue. Obviously through three games he's a point a game player and in the attacking zone he's looked very, very good.

But what's gone less noticed, mostly because of the context in which it's happened, is that while he was on the ice for three goals for at even strength in the first three games, he's also been on the ice for seven goals against, including four in the Canucks game alone. He has, to my eyes, looked very much "not ready" and that likely also informs that thing I was worried about this whole time: he's only getting 12:54 a night, and in that time he's getting drilled when he's pinned into his own zone.

It's kind of amazing that's even happening, to be honest, because also in those first three games, he's starting just 27.8 percent of his shifts back there. The rest are in the neutral or offensive zones, and that's the kind of thing that should be far more conducive to a better corsi rating against the kind of soft competition he's facing (15th in QOC on the team, ahead of only Chris Butler, Lance Bouma, Shane O'Brien, and Brian McGrattan).

You gotta send him back to junior. He has a lot of work to do and this isn't the place to do it.

4. Glencross to Philly?

When teams are rebuilding it's of course logical that they would be the ones most often connected with trade rumors originating in some of the league's bigger markets. And given the ways in which the Flyers are especially connected with such rumors more than any team save for Toronto, it was logical that connective lines between Calgary and Philadelphia would arise.

However, the idea of Curtis Glencross going to Philadelphia, which has certainly cropped up in the past few days, is one that doesn't make a lot of sense. For one thing the Flyers have no cap space and one can't imagine Calgary being too eager to take on an equal amount unless they were getting something very good in return. Which I'm not so sure Philly would give up. At least, not at this juncture.

Obviously, as the trade deadline approaches teams will get more interested and come knocking, and if Philly's anywhere near the playoffs they're gonna sell every half-decent prospect to try to save Paul Holmgren's job.

Glencross could at that time be particularly attractive because he's cheap and signed for next season. Frankly, I'd be shocked if he wasn't gone at that point.

5. Here's a new and updated thing

After the Iginla picture got so many complaints the last time I used it I have since updated it and I hope you all like it and don't hate me.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#51 44stampede
October 10 2013, 07:49PM
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It's way too early to get too excited about Monahan. Personally I am impressed with the kid so far, but to make a major decision on where he ends up in 4 games is not smart. Even 9 is not enough but at least it is more than double of what we have now.

I used to think that Glencross would be good for the team rebuilding but I am starting to open to the idea of him being gone. The only way I would do it would be if there was a large win in prospect and picks. He is cheap, signed for another year and is a top 6 forward on most teams.

There were a ton of scouts at the last game apparently. Who were they scouting?

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#52 Baalzamon
October 10 2013, 08:11PM
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@beloch

"In draws, he's 45.0%. That needs to improve, but he's an 18 year old with 4 games of NHL experience playing against veteran NHL'ers, so it probably will."

He's actually significantly worse than that. I'm not sure where you're getting this number from, but he's closer to 37% by now. He's gotten worse in every successive game, as a matter of fact.

Not that that matters much. Just nitpicking here.

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#53 beloch
October 10 2013, 09:25PM
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@Baalzamon

My bad. I was using behindthenet's faceoff stats which include all faceoffs while he was on the ice, not just the draws he took. Still, faceoffs are one of those stats you really need a good sample size to judge. I sincerely doubt he's actually gotten worse over the course of four games. ;)

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#54 Willi P
October 10 2013, 10:03PM
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Typical sensationalist article by Lambert; only writing to get a reaction from the fan base in Calgary (even though he lives many thousands of K from here) while very, very rarely taking to time to respond or defend the comments opposed to his opinions. Perfect example in his round table comments, his opinion was that the Flames will get 55-60 points this year. This total would be worse than any of the Oilers teams that drafted 1st overall, any of the three times; in fact, worse than any team since Philly in 2005-06. Does he really believe that? Doubt it. Call him on it, not response. RL spews negative crap from all holes and doesn’t have the balls to defend the retorts. Writes for reaction, not content; no longer interested. Rant over.

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#55 loudogYYC
October 10 2013, 10:39PM
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@Willi P

I don't see the purpose of writing an article on this hockey blog if it's not going to cause a reaction. Every writer here has a brand and a style and that's a big part of what makes FN great. I don't always agree with what I read in Lamberts articles, or on anyone else's for that matter, but that's no reason to let the hate get out of hand.

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#56 Willi P
October 11 2013, 06:58AM
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@loudogYYC

I don't see the purpose of writing an article on this hockey blog only to cause a reaction. Most of RL's content is antagonistic and reminds me of the "Equirer" tabloid style. I don't have an issue or have to agree with any writer all of the time providing they appear (or attempt)to back up their argument. Writing for reaction factor only, like the 55-60 point example, is boring and juvenile. No hate here, will simply stop reading his crap.

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#57 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 08:04AM
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TRAV wrote:

I actually quite enjoy the five things from RL because they always have different perspectives than mine and they tend to make me think. It's easy to find plenty of glowing Flames praise from the regular media outlets and these articles are always...well...different.

I think that Kent and RL are partially correct when they suggest that people would be, "pulling their hair out over these losses." In a previous post someone far smarter than I countered that this wasn't entirely fair. Their perspective was that if Fans had seen a work ethic and compete level like this year that they would be far more forgiving. Too often in the past blown leads seemed to come from a lack of caring. It is far easier to deal with frustrating losses when you can see guys working hard and genuinely "pissed off" after giving up a point.

I am not sure that I agree with Lambert about Monahan. Correct me if I am wrong, (and I may be), but I thought that generally writer's on this site didn't put too much stock in plus minus. Having said that Lambert did support his point with other supporting info. For me it comes down to where will Monahan develop the best. It seems to me that he is learning and improving each game in the NHL. The bottom line is does he benefit more from playing 14ish minutes a night against the best in the world or 20 something minutes a night against far weaker competition? At this point it seems to me that he is contributing and holding his own against the world's best. I don't think that his confidence is deteriorating nor do I think that he isn't able to make creative plays. (as witnessed by last night's passes) Finally I guess as a guy that spends lots of money on tickets he is fun to watch and gives me something to look forward to on my way to the rink. I'd feel pretty upset if they sent him down to save money at the end of this contract. (especially if they deem him ready now)

Firmly agree that this is unlikely to continue but for the meantime it sure is fun to watch!!!

Nice post.

I've always agreed with this part, "For me it comes down to where will Monahan develop the best," but feel like my standard of what should keep him up is higher than what some others on here think.

I just posted on the last article that Monahan is making me come around to keeping him up. I was one of his biggest bosoters at draf time, but I reallt didn't think he'd be this good, this soon.

Now, Lambert's article is making me re-think even more. I hate to be a fence sitter, but it's a tough one. He really has impressed and I totally get your argument. But is he holding his own with being sheltered, etc.? Is it enough ice time? I honestly don't know. Like I said, he's better than I thought, sooner than I thought.

I guess we'll have a little bit better idea after 9 games. Playing a ton in all situations and being 'the man' is ceratinly not a bad way to develop.

Maybe I just prefer to err on the side of caution. I still think he wouldn't be hurt by being sent down. On the other hand, if he continues to improve over the next 5 games it gets even tougher.

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#58 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 08:08AM
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loudogYYC wrote:

I don't see the purpose of writing an article on this hockey blog if it's not going to cause a reaction. Every writer here has a brand and a style and that's a big part of what makes FN great. I don't always agree with what I read in Lamberts articles, or on anyone else's for that matter, but that's no reason to let the hate get out of hand.

Agreed. I cheer for the Flames to win the ultimate goal, but I can't stand sites like FN where the whole idea is to simply cheer blindly about everything, good, bad or ugly.

Besides, positivity doesn't create interesting discussion. There's only so many "go team" comments one can read. Of course, you can say the same thing about blind negativity, "they suck" gets pretty old too.

But critical thought, done appropriately, is what make discussion interesting. If you really can't stomach it, don't read it. Just like I don't read the drivel on FN.

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#59 BJ
October 11 2013, 08:28AM
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@Willi P

agree... while Lamberts style can be entertaining at times I would also go so far as to call it reactionary and not well thought out.

Monahan played over fifteen minutes last night. Maybe the coaching staff kept him limited in his first couple of games as it was hist first taste of pro hockey. Seems reasonable to me. Seems like his ice time is on the rise so I would just ignore Lamberts bit on Monahan here. (I am not saying we shouldnt send him down)

Remember Lambert blew up after Feaster drafted Monahan over Nichushkin.... very reactionary... how can we judge these moves by Calgary in such a reactionary manner.

Also Lambert instantly bashed the Jones Tanguay trade.

Jones has been playing great and is making some of the writers on this site look very foolish and reactionary indeed.

I can spew reactionary opinions... anyone can... I read FN for insight and entertainment these reactionary articles cause us toplug our noses turn away for a moment.

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#60 BJ
October 11 2013, 08:40AM
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Lambert has always been biased against Feaster so dont be surprised at articles like this.

If you want perspective on the Flames I encourage fans to engage in discussions with intellevent of other teams than the Flames r the iolers... fans who have no interest in bias either way.

If you look around the web you will find quite a positive view of Feaster and company... Fansa formteams like SJ and Philly for example are very impressed with calgarys turn around from an old lacklustre team to a young one that works very hard.

Again dont get worked up over Lamberts articles... he has always been against Feaster... I would even say fanatically so... hence all the reactionary poorly thought out opinions...

Lamberts style is quite different from other FN writers in that in lieu of analysis we get almost a religious reaction...

it is his style... view it as entertainment not good hockey analysis

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#61 Baalzamon
October 11 2013, 09:05AM
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@the-wolf

"but I can't stand sites like FN where the whole idea is to simply cheer blindly about everything, good, bad or ugly."

uh.... is it possible you meant something other than FN (as in: Flames Nation)?

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#62 kittensandcookies
October 11 2013, 11:46AM
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I think he means CP, where they're insanely rah-rah it makes my brain bleed. They have some posters that are so blindly positive they make Leaf fans look normal.

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#63 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 11:46AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

"but I can't stand sites like FN where the whole idea is to simply cheer blindly about everything, good, bad or ugly."

uh.... is it possible you meant something other than FN (as in: Flames Nation)?

hahah...oh,mna...can't believe I wrote that. Talk about a lack of caffeine in the system.

I meant CP forums! I stand corrected!

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#64 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 11:47AM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

I think he means CP, where they're insanely rah-rah it makes my brain bleed. They have some posters that are so blindly positive they make Leaf fans look normal.

Yes!

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#65 kittensandcookies
October 11 2013, 11:59AM
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It also doesn't help that Bingo can't write worth a damn.

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#66 Captain Ron
October 11 2013, 05:22PM
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Sven has three ears.

I love that about him.

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