Five things: Rocky road

Ryan Lambert
October 24 2013 08:45AM

1. Roadtrippin' ain't easy

So the Flames enter today 1-3-0 on their current roadtrip, and 2-3-1 away from the Saddledome overall. In those six games, they've given up (get this) 22 goals, which is obviously way too many. Frankly, in the three games in which they've gotten their five road points, they've been lucky to escape; that Washington game was a disaster, the Columbus game flat-out bizarre, and the win over the Kings muddled by a slew of late penalties.

This is, one suspects, kind of the Flames everyone thought they'd be getting when the year began. They have seemingly little in the way of an ability to put together a complete game, particularly away from home, and that's kind of the hallmark of deeply flawed NHL teams these days. They'll occasionally do things well, even more rarely they'll do them really well, but there's always a deficiency of some kind: defensive letdown, offensive sputtering, goaltending gaffes (and man, the team's save percentage to this point in the season is a robust .894), special teams trauma. These have all plagued the team at one point or another on the road. Fortunately, the road run comes to an end tonight with what will probably be a loss to Dallas (statistically speaking).

The Flames schedule, in looking at it, is weird, isn't it? Three-game homestands abound in the early going, though two are merely broken up by a one-game swing out to Winnipeg and back in mid-November. Maybe the team builds up its confidence again starting on Saturday, but the stretch at the end of this coming home run is brutal. Hosting Detroit, at Chicago, at Minnesota, at St. Louis, at Colorado, hosting San Jose. Woof. Really good chance they might come out of that with zero points.

2. Monahan's increased responsibility

By the time you read this the Flames will have already announced their in-no-way-shocking decision to keep Sean Monahan with the big club despite the fact that it's a terrible idea, and in the run-up to that announcement they've done all they can to justify it.

He jumped from 15:10 at San Jose, where he was eaten alive at even strength, to 21:11 at Los Angeles, where he was eaten alive. That was then scaled back, somewhat, to 19:26 in Phoenix, where he actually did pretty well (something in the 48 percent corsi-for range). Of course, in those three games he also had two goals and an assist, the latter of which was actually at 5-on-5, so all the evidence mounted perfectly for Hartley and Feaster to make this wrong decision.

No crying when he stops getting literally every bounce to go his way a month from now.

3. Everyone coming back

What has been remarkable about the Flames' ability to continually be at least in some ways competitive during this early-season stretch is that there are still so many important players hurt. The run-up to the Phoenix game saw Calgary bring David Jones back into the lineup, and Matt Stajan was along for the ride as a kind of prelude to their likely returns tonight in Dallas. Of course, then Mark Giorgado got injured in warmups (something I'll address in a minute) and now the whole thing is on its ear again.

The good news is that all these players slotting back into the lineup for the first time in weeks puts the team in a position to start sitting Brian McGrattan for once, and that's always going to be viewed by all sane people as a good decision,

4. The Giordano injury

Boy does this put the Flames in a bad position. Chris Breen drew in Tuesday night as a result, which was nice for him since it was his first-ever NHL game, but that is a gaping hole in the defense to leave. The Flames' bottom-3 or 4 defensemen are, of course, uniformly garbage. The odds, I think, are probably good that Chris Butler is reinstated back into the lineup even though it's a terrible idea, just because you don't know how Breen holds up over a long period. (As I write this, I should note that there's been no word whatsoever on his status or how much time he'll miss.)

At some point, you'd almost rather just have TJ Brodie push Wideman-like minutes every night just to make up some of the difference so the goalies don't get shelled. Not that it matters, really, since that's already happening, but this has to be a major point of concern.

5. Something that just occurred to me

The Flames' third loss in four games the other night kind of reminded me that I hadn't checked where they were in the standings for a minute, and also served to re-inform me that oh yeah Phoenix is a division game now. I was legitimately shocked, therefore, to see the Flames, who have only lost three games out of their first nine, sitting sixth in the division.

Granted, they have a game in hand on a few teams ahead of them, but nonetheless, they already appear to be on the outside looking in. What was that stat Elliotte Friedman had the other day about being four-plus points out of the playoffs on Nov. 1 being really in tough to make it? Well, the Flames are currently four back of Phoenix for the third and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Pacific, and that could be a major problem going forward.

That's interesting, though. We could more or less know the Flames' chances of making the playoffs a week from now. Never too early to start the fire sale, I guess.

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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#1 Derzie
October 24 2013, 08:56AM
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Was this authored while teetering on the edge of a tall building about to plummet? I'm a critical thinker and none of these observations are flat out wrong BUT the idea of this season is rebuild. Coach with a plan, players buying into the plan, finding strengths, addressing weakness longer term, growing players and winning a few games. Talking about playoffs and position is a fool's game. Lots of players had good efforts and results so far, some are weak links, we are not a playoff team but are finding out why that is the case. We don't need Nov.1 to tell us where we are. We knew that on March 27 2013 when brass let go of the Iginla era. We're in a rebuild. And already better than the Coilers of SweatPants Lodge.

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#2 Kenta
October 24 2013, 09:03AM
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Ease up on the double expressos and take a deep breath. While still a work in progress there are a number of positives for the team. After years in the Sutter wilderness it is good to be a Flames fan again. Get with the program Lambert!

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#3 T&A4Flames
October 24 2013, 09:28AM
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Not surprising to see Lambert trashing the Monahan decision when all others in the hockey world seem to be applauding it.

Gio's injury only creates opportunity for more prospects to strut their stuff. Of course, Hartley needs to play them. I thought Breen did ok in his very limited TOI. A few more team practices and maybe he gets more time and does ok. Bring up Cundari etc, rotate them trough. That's what this year is for.

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#4 Section205
October 24 2013, 09:28AM
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One article on Flamesnation this morning, and unfortunately its Lambert.

Looking forward to the day Lambert finds other things to do, and someone else can take his place in the lineup.

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#5 gussey
October 24 2013, 09:39AM
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Wow, I woke up this morning, the sun is shining and birds are singing. I was about to belt out a rendition of zippidy do da, but decided instead to read a ryan lambert story. Now I'm looking for hose to put in the exhaust pipe. Really are things going this bad?

First, I don't think anyone expects Monohan to score every game. He will go into a drought no doubt. I don't really care about advanced stats, but from the eye he looks like he belongs. I'd say, from some of the games I've seen, he and Baertshi were the best players on the ice. Like Feaster said, this is the best thing for Monohans development. Instead of sitting on buses and scoring a hundred goals for a losing team in the O, he is playing against men in the league that he is destined to star in. He's not the personality or skill set that struggling in scoring for a period of time will ruin his confidence. He is where he belongs.

And playoffs??? Are you actually talking about playoffs?? Who cares, its a rebuild. When ever was the plan to make the playoffs?

J

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#6 piscera.infada
October 24 2013, 09:42AM
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@Section205

Reading anything Lambert writes on anything the Flames brass decides, despite being a terrible idea, can easily be shrugged off with a laugh and an understanding that having Monahan playing great hockey is a good problem to have.

@gussey

Monahan*... Even though he's railed against people who think this team might not be horrible enough to finish last or next-to-last, Lambert now uses not making the playoffs as yet another switch with which to chastise management for being incompetent.

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#7 prendrefeu
October 24 2013, 09:43AM
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This article will be bookmarked so I can refer to it, among others, why I refer to the author Ryan Lambert of Flamesnation as Cryin' Lamebert.

Sorry, you're doing this to yourself bud.

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#8 lionlager
October 24 2013, 09:44AM
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Doooooooooooooooom.

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#9 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 09:54AM
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Meh, whatever.

Unfortunately the thing about the playoffs is mostly true. The teams that have playoff spots by Ammurrican Thanksgiving almost always get in.

But nobody was expecting this team to make the playoffs, were they?

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#10 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 09:58AM
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Also I've been fairly pleased that this team seems to be able to keep up with supposedly superior teams. Honestly I thought only SJ was a total beatdown, but they've been kicking everybody's heads in.

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#11 lionlager
October 24 2013, 10:00AM
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Not that we're going to make the playoffs, but getting rid of our highest scorer is cutting the head off of our offense so far this year. It's throwing up a huge white flag, announcing that the Flames are not interested in being at all competitive this year, that we're going to stay the course and tank hard, even after only 9 games in. It would be pretty blatant, not to mention shameless.

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#12 Sincity1976
October 24 2013, 10:06AM
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Apparently Flamesnation doesn't have a trolling policy. Because that is all this is.

People should be negative that Monahan has played well enough to force the Flames to keep him up? We are somehow surprised that this team doesn't look like a playoff team?

The Flames have a few good things to celebrate. They are winning some games. They are getting really good performances from players like Hudler, Wideman, and Giordano. Young guys like Brodie, Backlund, Monahan, and Baertschi are off to great starts. The kids in the NCAA and CHL are doing well.

Most of all most Flames fans are enjoying hockey again. Enjoy it while it lasts. Or at least let the rest of us.

I come to this site as a Flames fans. I don't need to see unsubstantiated trolling designed to rain on the parade. I don't expect roses and jot chocolate. But at least if you are going to be a duck then back it up with something.

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#13 thymebalm
October 24 2013, 10:14AM
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I wish the article itself had a trash button. And if enough of us clicked on it, it would just disappear. Because this write-up is garbage.

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#14 MichaelD
October 24 2013, 10:17AM
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I didn't enjoy reading that at all. I went from reading about Monahan and being excited for the future, and excited too watch a hard working team tonight. To being depressed about the team

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#15 de Animoe
October 24 2013, 10:20AM
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Expectations for the season? Basically a last place finish. It was weird to think before the season that I would be cheering for the Flames to lose in order to get the highest draft pick possible.

But then the season starts and guess what? This has been a really fun team to watch! They work hard and have been in every game. They have given up leads, completed comebacks, introduced a potential new franchise player and basically shown themselves to be worthy of our cheers.

Before this road trip I thought maybe we could eke a win out in Dallas, the California swing has been murder on the Flames the past few seasons. But guess what, they beat LA in what I think was one of the best games they have played in years!!

So what do we conclude? We have a good solid core of young players who want to be in Calgary. They want to be a part of what is being built. As a fan this is the best one could hope for in a rebuild.

If you have any complaints just look north. The Oilers have been in a perpetual rebuild for years, had three #1 draft picks and are still terrible.

This year the Flames have given us something we have not had in years: Hope.

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#16 SeanCharles
October 24 2013, 10:21AM
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The funny thing is I think Lambert enjoys seeing us hate on him. It fuels him in some way.

In other words we cant win. I think we are stuck with this negative nelly for the foreseeable future.

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#17 Arik
October 24 2013, 10:25AM
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wow lambert you are such a jerk dont you know monahan is the next iginla? figure it out!!!

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#18 BitGeek
October 24 2013, 10:45AM
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See, this is why I like coming to Flames Nation. Not every author spoon feeds you stuff you want to hear about your team.

Yes Lambert's articles are always "there's barely anything in my cup let alone half empty", but at least its a view point that challenges us to think about the Flames critically and not just through rose colored glasses.

Of course I wouldn't ask Ryan to remove his critical thoughts from his articles, but I would challenge him to look for the occasional positive point to balance out his writing.

Ryan, if you can so easily point out the flaws, then it should be a cake walk for you to find the good to report on too.

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#19 piscera.infada
October 24 2013, 11:00AM
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@BitGeek

I don't think anyone (well, ok, maybe most) has a problem with Ryan being critical of the team, and honestly I agree with some of the points that he makes. The issue I have, is that he changes his tune to repeatedly bash management and coaching (ie. playoffs - who said anything about playoffs?), or makes absolute statements as if there's no room for debate (ie. Monahan - he doesn't even frame it as a debatable issue, and again, uses that absolutism to skewer management and coaching).

There's actually nothing people take offense to more than those who assume that they are smarter than everyone in the room (see: Feaster, Jay). At least Feaster has some (admittedly weak) credential's to back it up.

I actually enjoy Lambert's articles, because they spark the most debate amongst posters on here. I'm in agreement that not everything regarding this team is rainbows and puppies, but it's also not having teeth pulled in a Siberian gulag. There have been far more positives at this point in the season than I think anyone was expecting, and far more positives in 9 games than we've seen in close to four years. Should we be beating our chests about it? No. But I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to start looking for some light in what was once a very bleak future.

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#20 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 11:01AM
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@BitGeek

Lambert is positive - he's very happy no one's stabbed him to death yet.

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#21 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 11:10AM
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WTF Baertshi healthy scratch tonight.

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#22 schevvy
October 24 2013, 11:13AM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

WTF Baertshi healthy scratch tonight.

I am so confused by this. Sven does not deserve to be healthy-scratched at all

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#23 duncan
October 24 2013, 11:19AM
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In all seriousness, are all comments posted here aliases from the Flames' PR department, Lambert Task Force Division?

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#24 BitGeek
October 24 2013, 11:19AM
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@piscera.infada

Oh no doubt. I agree that his writing has a "smidge" of arrogance about it (I might have underplayed that a bit there). He writes as if his is the only opinion that matters. I don't think he really cares if anyone likes what he writes and it just fuels his ego when people get upset with him.

Taking his arrogance aside, his written work doesn't come off as wishy washy. So there's that. He states his opinion as if it is fact and throws out there like a challenge to the reader. As commenters we are welcome to challenge him on it, which many do. Although I see many more commenters that offer rebuttal in the form of "get bent" rather than... "here's why you're wrong".

Personally I'm surprised that Lambert is a Flames fan at all, as he doesn't leave himself with very much to cheer for. I think maybe he is a bit of a saddest if he can only find fault with a team that he loves. meh. each to their own I guess.

@kittensandcookies

lol. I guess "to death" being the key part of that phrase. Do you suppose anyone has tried yet?

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#25 DoubleDIon
October 24 2013, 11:25AM
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Wow, some harsh comments. Reality is reality folks, don't shoot the messenger. Monahan passes my test and deserves to be here, but he is getting bounces. I'm happy that he is and him driving the net hard creates some of those bounces, but it's not going to continue. He'll regress at some point unless his underlying numbers get better. I think he's a good possession player who is horrible in the faceoff dot. That needs to be addressed. He back pressures well and is positioned decently in his own end, but they're always chasing because of the faceoffs.

Bartschi being scratched tonight is BS. He's been one of our top 9 forwards and doesn't need to be taught any more "lessons."

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#26 Baalzamon
October 24 2013, 11:31AM
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@DoubleDIon

"Bartschi being scratched tonight is BS."

Also the fact that Jackman is playing and Horak isn't. I mean, it's bad enough that Roman only got 4 minutes (!!!) against Phoenix, but to sit him for Jackman (who has been irrevocably awful so far)? Ridiculous.

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#27 TRAV
October 24 2013, 11:37AM
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I like reading Lambert's posts. Always curious to see what he finds fault with. (I actually don't think that he commented on the Colborne trade and I was interested to see how that would be spun.)

Thought that his view on Monahan was a bit weak though because there wasn't much evidence to support his viewpoint. I think that in quality journalism if you are going to have an opinion that opinion should be supported by evidence. This educates the reader and evokes far more reflection than simply stating a point of view. What I would really have appreciated is backing evidence as to why his development would be better served in junior. What are the obvious flaws in his game and what are the reasons that these won't be improved by playing quality minutes in the NHL...

Playoffs? Where did that come from. I spite of our start I don;t think that I have read a single post here that suggested that we were playoff bound. Of course it would be a wonderful surprise but at this point I think that most fans see it as a bit of a pipe dream. Expectations have been consistent. Work hard, develop kids, change culture on club, build for the future.

Pretty sure that if Lambert won the lotto he would write five things about how terrible winning the lotto is... (taxes, family asking for handouts, decisions about what to buy, etc....

Lastly I notice that Lambert doesn't ever respond to posts and yet from his twitter feed it seems that he read them. Often he tweets some of his hate...Interestingly, he has a ton of followers...

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#28 Ramskull
October 24 2013, 11:38AM
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RE: Monahan

"Good decisions are based on knowledge not on numbers" - Plato

Lambert loves to present CORSI as some sort of chucker stat and comes across as someone who fails to understand the physical actions that drive the mathematical representation. When Ryan can do nothing but provide math with no concrete examples of what mistakes ultimately drive his CORSI and how these mistakes are better addressed at the junior level his argument breaks down. Management obviously believes that the "holes" in his game are better addressed in Calgary playing against men than they are on the other side of the continent playing against boys. Interestingly there are similarities between Lambert and Monahan. The only thing stopping them from being very good at their chosen professions is maturity. Tell me Ryan, where would you be professionally if you were not given the opportunity to write for puck daddy? Since you lack the maturity of a Friedman does that mean you should be demoted to the dark corners of the internet? Some might think so (or hope so) but I don't actually share that opinion.

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#29 DoubleDIon
October 24 2013, 11:40AM
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@Baalzamon

Agreed, Jackman is beyond awful. He had 2 good years for us and should have been scrapped after that. McGratton sucks, but at least he's a nuclear deterrent. Jackman isn't good enough at punching faces for how bad he is at hockey. There are guys with better hands in my beer league, literally. I'd like to see a functional 4th line that can dominate other 4th lines offensively. That's the main area the Flames could take advantage of their opposition. We have lots of 2nd/3rd line types that could kill 4th lines. Some combination of Horak, Colbourne, Galiardi and Bouma would actually give us a strong 4th line.

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#30 Scary Gary
October 24 2013, 11:46AM
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Poor Brodie will be saddled with Butler tonight I imagine.

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#31 duncan
October 24 2013, 11:51AM
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@duncan

Already three trashes from the PR department!

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#32 Justin Azevedo
October 24 2013, 12:47PM
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I don't understand where the "playoffs were never the plan" thought process has risen from.

the playoffs have been the plan for this season. see comments from feaster, jay saying that the mandate from ownership is to make the playoffs.

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#33 Justin Azevedo
October 24 2013, 12:53PM
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Ramskull wrote:

RE: Monahan

"Good decisions are based on knowledge not on numbers" - Plato

Lambert loves to present CORSI as some sort of chucker stat and comes across as someone who fails to understand the physical actions that drive the mathematical representation. When Ryan can do nothing but provide math with no concrete examples of what mistakes ultimately drive his CORSI and how these mistakes are better addressed at the junior level his argument breaks down. Management obviously believes that the "holes" in his game are better addressed in Calgary playing against men than they are on the other side of the continent playing against boys. Interestingly there are similarities between Lambert and Monahan. The only thing stopping them from being very good at their chosen professions is maturity. Tell me Ryan, where would you be professionally if you were not given the opportunity to write for puck daddy? Since you lack the maturity of a Friedman does that mean you should be demoted to the dark corners of the internet? Some might think so (or hope so) but I don't actually share that opinion.

haha. plato also states later that numbers can contribute to knowledge, which is exactly what corsi does. the concrete examples are in the math.

corsi is shot attempt +/-. it is a proxy for possession. it is fair to say that if his corsi is lower, he is being outpossessed and likely outplayed.

maturity doesn't help at all. there's plenty of players who "matured" but didn't get better or whatever. as for where lambert would be, i'm pretty sure he wrote for the boston globe previously.

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#34 Jeff Lebowski
October 24 2013, 12:53PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

WTF Baertshi healthy scratch tonight.

Sven wants to produce - he needs to. Sven therefore needs to get some PP time. Why is a struggling Glencross getting PP time over Sven? Because Sven hasn't earned it.

Hartley, Feaster giving gravy time to guys who earn it by concentrating on details. For Sven, I think it means him getting relentless on forecheck (he does it but not consistently) and stopping in front of the net. Monahan always stops in front of net. People think it's luck or bounces but rebounds are VERY COMMON. It's not luck, it's smarts - just look how many times Monahan is at net and it bounces away from him. Isn't he unlucky then? To me, the most impressive part of Monahan's game is how he changes speed - outer edges to slow down and bust angles. Watch his goal against Canucks - it was a 2 on 1 but if you really watch that goal - frame by frame - you might be blown away like me. The look off to remove the potential shot block. The snipe was so well disguised.

Sean isn't physically overwhelming the way a MacKinnon is. Junior isn't going to make this better. Monahan is just so disciplined and well trained. He's just been trained to cut out the BS plays all young guys seemingly have because he doesn't rely on blazing speed. How many times have you seen Taylor Hall take on 3 guys. He's gifted enough to do it but successful like 1/3 - inefficient. Monahan is like - I'll just put the puck in a smart spot and head to the net.

This will sound crazy but he reminds me of Crosby in THIS regard. When PIT played DET back to back in cup - you saw Crosby change his game. He became a direct , little flash, point producer. He just went to the net. Watch that series where PIT won.

Monahan already plays a game most people figure out after they're done playing. The smart efficient game. His most ineffective games are against tight, physical disciplined teams or against elite teams with elite depth. These just require experience. Like face offs.

It seems people's reasons for sending him down expect him to be perfect right now. No mistakes. No struggles. No learning curve. As if junior will make him a perfect player.

People are drawn to mistakes. They think they're bad. Also, people (Lambert and the like) are incapable of appreciating how good he is. Why? They rely on corsi to tell them so. If he's underwater that obviously means he was hemmed in all game and the opponents were getting prime shots from inside the circles.

Do an experiment - wait for FN to use corsi or another stat to give evidence to their conclusion about a player. PVR the game they base it on. Then watch the player's shifts. In the case of Monahan, watch where he and mates shoot puck from. Watch where opponents shoot their pucks from. Maybe it aligns with FN. Maybe not. Test out their premises. Make up your own mind but DO THE EXPERIMENT YOURSELF. Don't wait for a number and fill in the blanks afterward.

Back to Sven - I've suggested before, if Sven adopts a shooter's mentality, opponents will be forced to respect his shot. What does that mean? It means they will commit to the shot lane, giving him time and a little space and also open up the pass lane. First few shifts just rip it - he might even score - once the D start defending the shot - block attempt or just backing off - he will be able to dazzle. Sven is still maturing - he wants to make splash plays, he wants people to go oooohhh, ahhhh.

Just play direct at first. The NHL is all about smart, direct hockey. Then when you get time and space you can work your magic.

Look at how well it's worked for Monahan.

Calgary is winning more than losing currently while still balancing giving young guys opportunity. Brodie is on PP1 over Russell (sometimes it Cammy on point).

Monahan played 6 min on PP against LA (team scored 3 PP goals). Once Sven cracks special teams his numbers will explode - just watch.

Colborne is improving - he's getting more on the puck. He'll be at top of his game when it looks like the puck follows him around.

Glencross is getting brutalized on sites. He's struggling but he's always been streaky. Once Stajan and Stempniak back with him- look out.

Bouma to me looks like a guy who will score 5-10 goals a year on 4th line but once you see him in playoffs he will blow you away. I see him being a guy who will power the puck to the net and show great skills when the intensity is highest.

O'Brien played great against PHX. Breen scared him (taking ice time). Smart dump ins against Smith - Calgary never forechecked that game except when O'Brien made it happen.

Guys will come back to earth. This team still has massive holes but they never give up.

I see Cammy, Hudler and Wideman all staying long term. Good vets, good people. You keep those guys.

Jackman, DJones, Stajan (sadly but his ice time will go to Backlund), Stempniak (if they keep Hudler - Stempniak bigger return due to his outstanding play and low salary - or future FA salary $4M) will go IF they aren't making playoffs.

I thought I was done before but now I'm done.

As I've stated before. Calgary will become a POWERHOUSE very soon. There will be no joy at FN when that happens. Grin and bear it for now...

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#35 Rockmorton65
October 24 2013, 12:54PM
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I got a third through until I realized this was a Lambert article. Won't even start another one. He must be volunteering his time to FN, because I can't see anyone paying hm for his incompetent ramblings. What a joke.

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#36 MichaelD
October 24 2013, 01:19PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

I don't understand where the "playoffs were never the plan" thought process has risen from.

the playoffs have been the plan for this season. see comments from feaster, jay saying that the mandate from ownership is to make the playoffs.

I agree, I think it would be more proper to say playoffs were never the 'expectation from fans' as opposed to plan though. Playoffs should always be the plan for the team, for that winning attitude.

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#37 piscera.infada
October 24 2013, 01:22PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

I don't understand where the "playoffs were never the plan" thought process has risen from.

the playoffs have been the plan for this season. see comments from feaster, jay saying that the mandate from ownership is to make the playoffs.

I agree with the first part of this. The playoffs should always be the plan. But they aren't the plan like they were 4 years ago. I just don't think you can immediately switch from "there is no chance this team makes the playoffs, this season's about development", to "no playoffs, fire everybody".

I'm not going to argue "the mandate" with you again, but if you don't look at everything that has been said/happened since, you're missing most of the story.

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#38 Mikeoxbig
October 24 2013, 01:26PM
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It's actually hilarious to read Lambert's articles, I get a kick out of the pessimism. I don't think he is a bad writer, just a controversial one. We are all so protective of our team and the players that it's like having a new born baby and then your buddy tells you he looks like a clydesdale kicked it in the face. Of course they are going to be bad and of course there are going to be long nights but just dont keep rubbing it in our face. We want to focus on the positives, like keeping Sean Monahan. And we want to read about the future of this team because the current incarnation consist of Butler, McGrattan etc..... On the bright side though, i think we win tonight in a shootout and Ramo plays amazing!!!!

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#39 T&A4Flames
October 24 2013, 01:27PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

Thanks for writing a blog within a blog. One that is actually longer than the blog itself.

Who are you, Rex?

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#40 Jeff Lebowski
October 24 2013, 01:56PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I agree with the first part of this. The playoffs should always be the plan. But they aren't the plan like they were 4 years ago. I just don't think you can immediately switch from "there is no chance this team makes the playoffs, this season's about development", to "no playoffs, fire everybody".

I'm not going to argue "the mandate" with you again, but if you don't look at everything that has been said/happened since, you're missing most of the story.

OK one last.

Well said. FN hates the current management. FN thinks that Feaster et al use draconian, 'Brian Burke' style thinking. Maybe they were rejected for jobs.

To their credit, FN are devoted to the use of advanced stats. Honestly, I must tip my hat to the disciplined and scientific approach. I intimately know how powerful this can be in sports.

My problem is that they think their stats are the answer. I think they are light years behind what advanced stats are actually being used be NHL clubs. In fact all those stats aren't advanced at all. They are just stats now. If it were as valuable as blogs make them out to be, NHL teams would be using them openly. I mean corsi is readily available. I don't have insider knowledge but I believe NHL teams remove the noise and focus on shot location. And then evaluate which players are contributing to generating and CONVERTING scoring chances.

The assumption that FN use empirical methods and CGY hockey ops isn't - with Chris Snow, who studied Theo Epstein - is laughable.

Now I'm making assumptions. It's easy to check though. Just skim through past articles.

The real irony for me is that they loathe Feaster but he is like them - just better at it. LOL!

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#41 Ramskull
October 24 2013, 01:57PM
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@Justin Azevedo

My post wasn't an attack on CORSI. It's a solid stat. It doesn't take being a rocket surgeon to understand that a poor CORSI represents poor puck possession. I get the metric. The math doesn't tell you the why, how, and where he's struggling it is just telling you that he is. It's why just spouting numbers shows a true lack of knowledge. Actions drive the CORSI. To improve a players CORSI you need to improve the players actions. Again actions drive the CORSI. When all you can say is that a player has a poor CORSI but not explain the actions that drive it you don't really have a strong knowledge of what is happening physically just an understanding of the math. An example is that one reason his CORSI is poor is because he's losing foot races to loose pucks along the half wall due to his collapsing to the net when hemmed in and this is resulting in point shots against. It's represented in both the math and the physical actions.

Maturity plays a huge role. It's why the average age on an NHL'er is around 27 and not 21. Maturity and experience go hand in hand. The vast majority of players are better at 25 than they were at 19. To say otherwise is false.

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#42 Jeff Lebowski
October 24 2013, 01:58PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Thanks for writing a blog within a blog. One that is actually longer than the blog itself.

Who are you, Rex?

You're welcome. Thanks for reading. LOL!

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#43 KetchupKid
October 24 2013, 02:10PM
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The unwashed masses have spoken. Lambert is a monster.

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#44 prendrefeu
October 24 2013, 02:11PM
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Excellent post Jeff, thanks.

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#45 KetchupKid
October 24 2013, 02:12PM
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Ramskull wrote:

RE: Monahan

"Good decisions are based on knowledge not on numbers" - Plato

Lambert loves to present CORSI as some sort of chucker stat and comes across as someone who fails to understand the physical actions that drive the mathematical representation. When Ryan can do nothing but provide math with no concrete examples of what mistakes ultimately drive his CORSI and how these mistakes are better addressed at the junior level his argument breaks down. Management obviously believes that the "holes" in his game are better addressed in Calgary playing against men than they are on the other side of the continent playing against boys. Interestingly there are similarities between Lambert and Monahan. The only thing stopping them from being very good at their chosen professions is maturity. Tell me Ryan, where would you be professionally if you were not given the opportunity to write for puck daddy? Since you lack the maturity of a Friedman does that mean you should be demoted to the dark corners of the internet? Some might think so (or hope so) but I don't actually share that opinion.

I thought this WAS a dark corner of the internet.

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#46 TRAV
October 24 2013, 02:29PM
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@Justin Azevedo

Justin,

Just out of curiosity I tried searching up a Ryan Lambert Boston Globe article and din't have any luck. I sometimes read his stuff on puck daddy and was interested if he maintained a similar style with the globe previously. I am a lousy web searcher and as I mentioned didn't have any luck. If possible could you post a link to one of his articles. I know that he does some politics and music stuff and I am just generally curious.

thanks, TRAV

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#47 ngthagg
October 24 2013, 02:35PM
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I'm not sure how the Monahan decision can be called terrible. Unlike many decisions made by an NHL GM (drafting, free agency), the ramifications can be laid out with a great degree of precision:

The Downside: for one season, three years from now, the Flames will pay Monahan a greater sum of money, and be that much closer to the salary cap. This will, in turn, only be relevant if two conditions are fulfilled: the Flames are a cap team that year, and there is a desirable free agent that they are unable to to sign. (The Flames also lose out, in theory, whenever Monahan's contract comes up in the future, but there are far too many variations for that to be worth considering.)

The Upside: First, the Flames benefit from the addition of Monahan to the roster this year. This is actually a downside if you are convinced we need to tank for the next few years, but if you believe that, then you are not worried that cap concerns three years from now will cost us an expensive free agent.

And second, Monahan's development will be improved. This would be a debatable point if he was getting his head beat in every night, but he isn't. The quality of competition, teammates, and coaching will be better in the NHL. He will be a better player sooner because of this. And potentially, he will hit a higher peak.

If we miss out on a stellar free agent three years from now because we don't have the cap space for him, I will freely admit I am wrong. But if that unlikely event does not happen, keeping Monahan up is the smart move.

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#48 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 02:38PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Sven wants to produce - he needs to. Sven therefore needs to get some PP time. Why is a struggling Glencross getting PP time over Sven? Because Sven hasn't earned it.

Hartley, Feaster giving gravy time to guys who earn it by concentrating on details. For Sven, I think it means him getting relentless on forecheck (he does it but not consistently) and stopping in front of the net. Monahan always stops in front of net. People think it's luck or bounces but rebounds are VERY COMMON. It's not luck, it's smarts - just look how many times Monahan is at net and it bounces away from him. Isn't he unlucky then? To me, the most impressive part of Monahan's game is how he changes speed - outer edges to slow down and bust angles. Watch his goal against Canucks - it was a 2 on 1 but if you really watch that goal - frame by frame - you might be blown away like me. The look off to remove the potential shot block. The snipe was so well disguised.

Sean isn't physically overwhelming the way a MacKinnon is. Junior isn't going to make this better. Monahan is just so disciplined and well trained. He's just been trained to cut out the BS plays all young guys seemingly have because he doesn't rely on blazing speed. How many times have you seen Taylor Hall take on 3 guys. He's gifted enough to do it but successful like 1/3 - inefficient. Monahan is like - I'll just put the puck in a smart spot and head to the net.

This will sound crazy but he reminds me of Crosby in THIS regard. When PIT played DET back to back in cup - you saw Crosby change his game. He became a direct , little flash, point producer. He just went to the net. Watch that series where PIT won.

Monahan already plays a game most people figure out after they're done playing. The smart efficient game. His most ineffective games are against tight, physical disciplined teams or against elite teams with elite depth. These just require experience. Like face offs.

It seems people's reasons for sending him down expect him to be perfect right now. No mistakes. No struggles. No learning curve. As if junior will make him a perfect player.

People are drawn to mistakes. They think they're bad. Also, people (Lambert and the like) are incapable of appreciating how good he is. Why? They rely on corsi to tell them so. If he's underwater that obviously means he was hemmed in all game and the opponents were getting prime shots from inside the circles.

Do an experiment - wait for FN to use corsi or another stat to give evidence to their conclusion about a player. PVR the game they base it on. Then watch the player's shifts. In the case of Monahan, watch where he and mates shoot puck from. Watch where opponents shoot their pucks from. Maybe it aligns with FN. Maybe not. Test out their premises. Make up your own mind but DO THE EXPERIMENT YOURSELF. Don't wait for a number and fill in the blanks afterward.

Back to Sven - I've suggested before, if Sven adopts a shooter's mentality, opponents will be forced to respect his shot. What does that mean? It means they will commit to the shot lane, giving him time and a little space and also open up the pass lane. First few shifts just rip it - he might even score - once the D start defending the shot - block attempt or just backing off - he will be able to dazzle. Sven is still maturing - he wants to make splash plays, he wants people to go oooohhh, ahhhh.

Just play direct at first. The NHL is all about smart, direct hockey. Then when you get time and space you can work your magic.

Look at how well it's worked for Monahan.

Calgary is winning more than losing currently while still balancing giving young guys opportunity. Brodie is on PP1 over Russell (sometimes it Cammy on point).

Monahan played 6 min on PP against LA (team scored 3 PP goals). Once Sven cracks special teams his numbers will explode - just watch.

Colborne is improving - he's getting more on the puck. He'll be at top of his game when it looks like the puck follows him around.

Glencross is getting brutalized on sites. He's struggling but he's always been streaky. Once Stajan and Stempniak back with him- look out.

Bouma to me looks like a guy who will score 5-10 goals a year on 4th line but once you see him in playoffs he will blow you away. I see him being a guy who will power the puck to the net and show great skills when the intensity is highest.

O'Brien played great against PHX. Breen scared him (taking ice time). Smart dump ins against Smith - Calgary never forechecked that game except when O'Brien made it happen.

Guys will come back to earth. This team still has massive holes but they never give up.

I see Cammy, Hudler and Wideman all staying long term. Good vets, good people. You keep those guys.

Jackman, DJones, Stajan (sadly but his ice time will go to Backlund), Stempniak (if they keep Hudler - Stempniak bigger return due to his outstanding play and low salary - or future FA salary $4M) will go IF they aren't making playoffs.

I thought I was done before but now I'm done.

As I've stated before. Calgary will become a POWERHOUSE very soon. There will be no joy at FN when that happens. Grin and bear it for now...

What an icky wall of text. Guess you're trying to outdo Rex Libris for highest word/useful information ratio?

Yes, I've watched Monahan play. Yes, carefully. Yes, I've noticed the same things you have. His Corsi isn't horrible. He's basically treading water on an overall basis which for a total rookie is really good.

If Baertshi is going to be scratched then guys like Jackman need to be thrown down a fiery pit. But whatever, it's one game.

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#49 Justin Azevedo
October 24 2013, 02:46PM
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@TRAV

http://thecheckingline.com/blog/mark-trible/tcl/q-ryan-lambert-puck-daddy he says in an interview here about a local boston newspaper and i vaguely recall him saying something about it at some point on twitter

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#50 jonahgo
October 24 2013, 02:57PM
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@Justin Azevedo

at what sample size does corsi (whether +/- or %) stabilize? i don't think we have a particularly good impression of monahan's true talent performance based on 9 games, whether we're talking about his goals/assists or his corsi. have there ever been studies that investigated at which sample size (in terms of ice time i assume) a player's corsi reflects his 'true talent' as opposed to randomness in the game?

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