January 12 2012 07:29PM
A lot of folks in the MSM are confused by the Ducks fall from grace. They shouldn't be.
"Every year, there's a team that gets all the breaks...Two years ago it was the Colorado Avalanche, and last year it was Anaheim Ducks...Since this may sound like sour grapes, we'll deomnstrate how the Ducks are like M&M's - their candy coating is undeniably fantastic, but thin. They have no depth and were absolutely dominated ayt even strength...Despite their talented first line and exceptionally good fortune, the Ducks were and remain a bottom-third, non-playoff team."
That's our own Rob Vollman from the most recent Hockey Prospectus annual. As mentioned by Pat in the FGD, Anaheim's goaltending has fallen on hard times this season which is bad news for a team who gets so handily outshot.
Bob Murray has tried to firm up the bottom end a bit. He claimed Nik Hagman off waivers from Calgary and added Devils fourth liner Rod Pelley (incidentally, Hagman has a team best .537 corsi rate since Boudreau took over the Ducks). Jason Blake also returned from injury and Andrew Cogliano was added during the offseason. Those are exceedingly small band-aids for a very big wound, but the longest journey begins with a single step blah blah blah.
The reason to truly fear the Ducks, of course, is the big three - Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan. The ANA stars have suffered through some tough luck this season but they remain far and away the best players on the club and can completely outclass anything the Flames can currently put on the ice. Getzlaff and Perry are also in the black in terms of possession under BB, something they weren't to start the season with Carlyle. It could be that Boudreau isn't burying them quite as much, but whatever the case the Flames one and only path to victory tonight is suppressing the Ducks few big guns as much as possible.
January 12 2012 10:27AM
While I'm sure would rather talk about the Flames long term plans, the truth is the club is no doubt going to continue to push for the postseason this year as long as that goal is reasonably within reach. As such, it makes sense to consider the Flames chances of climbing up to 8th by the end of the year.
January 10 2012 07:10PM
Flames can up their home win streak to 7 tonight, although they will face a stiffer test than the Minnesota Wild. New Jersey isn't quite an upper echelon club, but their top two lines are concern. Sutter will have to pick one of Parise/Kovalchuk or Elias to worry about, meaning at least one of the Devils trios is going to spend a lot of time against Brodie/Sarich and one of the Flames lesser lines. That's a problem.
On the other hand, Brodeur is no longer the best goalie in the league. In fact, at 40-years old, he's not even middling anymore. If he has a bad night, the Flames can win this one. If not, it's going to be a tough one.
January 09 2012 09:33PM
I've done something like this already this season, but it's time for another article praising Mikael Backlund.
It seems ridiculous on it's face to sing the praises of a forward who has scored six points in 28 games this season. That's about an 18-point pace over a full 82-game schedule, or approximately what Cory Sarich managed last year.
January 07 2012 11:00PM
Final Score: 3-1 W