November 29 2016 08:00AM
The Islanders are an unmitigated disaster right now. Their star players can't score, and not helping that fact is that they keep scratching key contributor Ryan Strome. They couldn't keep Kyle Okposo because they gave a shipload of money to Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, and other fourth liners. They are second worst in score-adjusted 5v5 and have the least number of points in the NHL.
Those are just the on-ice problems. They play in an obviously converted basketball arena which includes an off-centre jumbotron, reduced seating capacity, terrible sightlines, and a Honda in the front row like we're watching the Spengler Cup. It's very symbolic that the outside of the arena is covered in rust. Every player on their roster will probably retire before they stop paying Rick DiPietro. Their coach allegedly lives in the general manager's basement. No matter how bad this season gets, Islanders fans are looking at us (well, at everyone) with envy in their eyes.
Yet the Flames had a tough time against the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked. You couldn't ask for an easier end to the most gruelling road trip of the season, a road trip that many thought the Flames could use to turn their season around, and they blew it. Against a bunch of chuckleheads.
November 23 2016 02:00PM
Here's a picture of Adam Fox playing international hockey. Yes, it counts.
The year 2016 is moving by ridiculously quickly (thank God for that, some would say). Today's date is Nov. 23. That means we're just a shade over a month away from World Juniors, and just a few weeks from camp rosters being announced. It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With a young and good prospect system, the Flames could see a handful of their own representing their countries. We're going to quickly break down some of the eligible players and their chances of making the tournament based on position battles and league performances.
November 22 2016 02:00PM
I occasionally think of this column as some kind of quality control report. Sometimes, the best news is no news. As I've seen over the past few weeks, folks have been scoring consistently, so there's nothing really important to report. The stats speak for themselves. I just point out worrisome/promising trends.
I am sorry to say that I have to report something this week. Of course, this is week-to-week so there's no need for panic yet, but there were some prospects who didn't have great weeks. We're going to talk about them.
November 15 2016 10:00AM
Let's appreciate Andrew Mangiapane.
When talking about the winger, I always like to defer to his junior teammate Brendan Lemieux. In their draft years, Lemieux scored 53 points in 65 games while Mangiapane scored 51 in 68. Lemieux was an early second round pick, while Mangiapane was passed over. In their draft +1 year, Lemieux scored 60 points in 57 games. Mangiapane scored 104 in 68. That was enough to get scouts' attention, but Mangiapane still wasn't picked up until the sixth round, fortunately by some very good folks.
I don't mean to pick on Lemieux, he's just a very convenient target to point out the dumb drafting biases that still exist in hockey. Despite having 14 more OHL games (209 total for Lemieux) on Mangiapane, he only had 189 points. Mangiapane had 210 in his final 127 games. Even with a six-game lead on the Breadman in the AHL, Lemieux still has three fewer points.
If you're a draft nerd, it's quite infuriating that Lemieux gets the benefit of the doubt for the usual reasons - good bloodlines, big size (even though he isn't that big), "hard to play against" - while Mangiapane, who is extremely promising, gets passed on. Even after a 100-point season in the CHL's toughest league, he was still overlooked until the sixth round.
The point is that Mangiapane is good, and has a really good chance of being good in the NHL. Based on his junior performances, many thought he could be up in the NHL for a significant chunk of this season. That hasn't happened yet, but it does beg the question: when should we expect to see him?
November 15 2016 08:00AM
You know there's always good news here.