September 07 2016 08:00AM
When musing on why acquiring Brian Elliott was a smarter move than Ben Bishop, something Toofun said in the comments caught my eye:
"All together it takes our biggest liability from last year and turns it into an opportunity."
At this time last year, the Flames' goaltending didn't look like it was going to be that horrible; of course, we know how that turned out. So while there aren't any certainties heading into this season, we still have a lot more hope going in to 2016-17.
That's what Brad Treliving did: he took the club's biggest weakness and turned it into a cause for hope.
September 06 2016 02:00PM
I honestly cannot remember the first time I read Rob Vollman's work on advanced statistics and hockey analytics. I'm sure it had to have been sometime around 2005 or 2006, but by that time he'd already become ubiquitous with what I like to call "looking at hockey with an academic sensibility." After a few years of working in relative obscurity, Vollman has broken through into a mainstream niche as the go-to guy in analytics – evidenced by his column on NHL.com and plentiful radio hits on places like Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Vollman's first print book, Hockey Abstract Presents... Stat Shot: The Ultimate Guide to Hockey Analytics, is exactly what you would expect from him – it's what he's been doing, but on a larger scale. To put it another way: if his previous editions of the Hockey Abstract were his Evil Dead, Stat Shot is his Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness. It is an extension of his previous work, but on a much larger scale.
September 06 2016 01:00PM
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see the fuzzy-cheeked collection of players known as Team North America get after it at the World Cup of Hockey with Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers leading the way.
While that might not be a take you expect from somebody of my vintage who has been accused from time to time of yelling and telling kids to stay the hell off my lawn – it’s true – TNA, a collection of the best and brightest 23-and-under players from the NHL, is the most intriguing team at the tournament for me.
September 06 2016 11:00AM
It's September, the time when hockey fans start to create depth charts and line combinations in earnest.
Brad Treliving did some reconstructive surgery to the club's starboard side this year, so it's hard to predict just how the new forward units will shake out. A new coaching staff behind the bench adds another layer of unpredictability.
For now, all we can go on was what worked (and what didn't) last year. Former coach Bob Hartley cycled through a number of different alternatives up front in his quest to find chemistry. Some worked out well, others... not so much.
Here's a look at the Flames' three best and three worst line combos from last season.
September 06 2016 08:00AM
When news broke yesterday that Kris Versteeg wouldn't be heading to the NLA due to insurance issues, yet another able-bodied forward became available. This isn't a Chris Higgins situation but more of a chance to pursue a player considerably more skilled.
And if we're being honest here, Kris Versteeg offers more than some existing roster players.