January 08 2015 08:30AM
1. Tough decisions
Trade rumors around the league are now officially starting to swirl, and some minor swaps have already been made as teams that don't think they can compete for a playoff spot sell off pieces. As the winter wears on, more teams are going have to seriously consider whether they're going to push for a playoff spot, solidify their status as a top team with a key addition, or sell off pieces that will position them better for the future.
The trade deadline (March 2) is now only seven weeks away, and while that obviously leaves a lot of time for evaluation, the smartest organizations will be the ones that know where they stand as early as possible. In this way, they can position themselves better for the final push ahead of that deadline.
January 07 2015 11:55PM
After a day that featured demotions, scratches, returns, unscratches, babies and a goaltending change forced by an injury, the Calgary Flames dropped a 3-2 decision at home to the Detroit Red Wings. It was the final game of the first half of this season, and the second straight game where the club came across a little flat.
The Flames now sit at 21-17-3 through 41 games.
January 07 2015 11:57AM
Last season, the Calgary Flames hit Game 41 with a rather unimpressive 14-20-6 record (and then they lost). This season, they hit tonight's game - representing that half the sands have passed through the hour-glass - with a pretty solid 21-16-3 record.
To say that the rebuild is progressing is probably a safe statement.
Game 41 this season pits the Flames against the visiting Detroit Red Wings (21-10-9), who are also hitting the half-way mark. Calgary enters the game two points out of a wildcard playoff spot in the West, while the Red Wings sit in third place in the Atlantic Division after their game in Edmonton last night. There are definitely playoff implications at the 'Dome tonight.
The puck drops at 7:30pm. You can catch it on both Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet West, though it's after a Washington/Toronto game on the main network, so maybe stick with 360 if you don't want to risk any over-lap. (Sportsnet 960 The Fan has the game, as always).
January 07 2015 08:32AM
We're talking about Brian McGrattan today.
You may have read a piece in the Calgary Sun yesterday about the future of Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan, prompted by the impending return of center Mikael Backlund and a corresponding lack of breathing room on the roster. That piece - and the resulting discussion surrounding it - touched on more global themes that have entrenched themselves in the discussion on such matters, and tries to hit on a higher level. This is not what we're talking about today.
We're not jumping into a broader discussion on the purpose of fighting in hockey, or the role of enforcers in the game on a much more capacious level. There is a little bit of that to touch on just to generally frame the position of this piece, but that's it.
It's not even about the media's tawdry desire to establish McGrattan as a bigger cog in the Flames machine (which, come on).
Nope. All we're going to consider today is Brian McGrattan (BIG ERN!), and his role on the Calgary Flames. And that's it.
You are not going to like it. Here we go!
January 07 2015 08:30AM
We're about half-way through the 2014-15 season and I finished crunching some numbers for the games up to this point, so let's have some fun and dig into them a bit!
This season we've focused our efforts on two specific areas of data:
- Offensive Zone Entries
- Scoring Chances
Here's a glance at how these figures are settling out so far, as well as how they tie together.