Reevaluating Morgan Klimchuk

christian tiberi
November 08 2016 10:00AM

Morgan Klimchuk will always have big boots to fill. Being the guy who was traded for Jarome Iginla, he has most often been the butt of the joke that was post-apex Jay Feaster management. 

While Sean Monahan dazzled in the NHL and Emile Poirier was lighting lamps in the Q, Klimchuk plodded along in the Dub. He probably was the least impressive of the 2013 first rounders, struggling to find his place among the WHL's best. At the same time, Monahan was scoring 60 in the NHL and Poirier was being named an AHL all-star in his first year of pro. His unimpressive WHL stint turned into a disappointing AHL stint, with nine points in 55 games during his first full try in the league. Many, probably everyone, thought he was done.

That's why it's such a shock to see people clammoring for him to be called up, or to have no choice but to acknowledge him as one of the best prospects in the organization right now. Morgan Klimchuk has broken last year's records for points and goals in 48 fewer games. How did he turn the corner?

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Flames Weekly Prospect Update: Potential call-ups and other stuff

christian tiberi
November 08 2016 08:00AM

If the current state of Flames hockey has you in the dumps, we've got something to cheer you up.

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Here's why the Flames are burning a year on Matthew Tkachuk

christian tiberi
November 03 2016 02:30PM

Matthew Tkachuk will play his 10th NHL game tonight, burning off the first year of his ELC, meaning his contract will expire a year earlier than it needs to. With four points in nine games, it's a bold move for the team. 

Tkachuk, from a points perspective, isn't producing enough to say he is a vital contributor to this team. Since he is not providing any additional wins through his points contribution, it would be good from a contract perspective to send him to London and bring up Hunter Shinkaruk and have him produce at a similar rate for no ELC loss.

On the other hand, Tkachuk is simply playing out of his mind, regardless of whether or not it shows up on the scoresheet. By looking at the possession numbers, you can certainly make the argument that Tkachuk playing in the NHL is the right spot. In fact among one of the strongest rookie classes in recent NHL memory, he is one of the best possession players.

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The Jersey Junta: judging some terrible sweater mistakes in October

christian tiberi
November 02 2016 02:00PM

The hockey jersey is an odd thing. When you wear one, you are donning a gigantic corporate logo and declaring it to be a core part of your identity. However, it's also an expression of who you are as a sports fan. It can show which team you support, which player is your favourite, which design is your favourite, etc. It is the ultimate form of expression guided by corporate guidelines, and we all have one.

In recent years, that customization has taken a whole new level. You can now find websites that, for an added price, will do whatever you want for your jersey. It used to be third party sellers, but now the NHL will do it. 

I'm not one to believe in the religious value attached to hockey jerseys. I don't care if you spill beer all over them or throw them on the ice or what have you. It's your $200 dollars. Treat your expensive fabric however you want.

However, there are some base rules we can all agree upon for jerseys. Simply put, do not commit a jersey foul. The jersey foul is one part bad money decisions, one part bad aesthetic sense, and one part disrespect for the jersey. We will be curating some of the worst jersey fouls seen at Calgary Flames games every month this year. Welcome to the Jersey Junta.

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Who's better at making defensive pairings: Glen Gulutzan, or dice?

christian tiberi
November 01 2016 02:00PM

Here's a fun story from Baseball Between the Numbers:

On Sunday morning, August 13, 1972, the Detroit Tigers had dropped into second place, a game behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. After holding off the Orioles for months, the Tigers were in a free fall with just 3 wins in their last 13 games. Only the Orioles' mediocre 7-7 record over the previous two weeks was keeping the Tigers from falling further behind.

Billy Martin, in his second year at the helm of the Tigers, decided desperate times called for desperate measures. Instead of the customary impassioned speech to the team or deftly organized "players-only" meeting, Martin decided to shake things up on the field. He wrote down the names of his starters on slips of paper, put them into a hat, and filled out his lineup card by pulling out the names at random. Whether because of the lineup changes or something else, the Tigers won the first game of their doubleheader with the Indians, 3-2. Then, using their traditional lineup for the nightcap, they got crushed, 9-2.

Choosing the lineup is one of the most underappreciated tasks of a sports coach. There's plenty to consider, and a minor mistake may cost you the game. It's not as simple as sorting your players from best to worst. Coaches consider things like chemistry, playing style, opposition weakness, fatigue, righty-lefty, etc. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Billy Martin had his way of doing it, and it worked pretty well for him. Glen Gulutzan prefers his way, and it's absolutely baffling. For a progressive coach, Gulutzan's defensive pairings have been a pain for almost every Flames fan. Instead of going with the proven (two-ish years of evidence!) pairings, he likes switching it up. That idea in itself isn't bad, but he seems committed to his bad pairings regardless of the results. There are much better ways of doing this, but he doesn't seem to notice them.

Glen has eight choices for six spots, and he seems to pick wrong even with those great odds. It's gone on too far, Glen. We're taking away your power to make defensive pairings. In your place, we offer dice.

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