October 05 2011 06:17AM
(One sometimes overlooked aspect of the Flames big turn around last year was their improvement on the man advantage. The club went from bottom-third to top-10 very rapidly. I asked JaredL of the excellent analytic blog Driving Play to investigate whether that improvement was due to luck, ability or circumstance and what it might portend for this year. This is what he found)
Kent asked me to step away from my usual home at Driving Play to write an article on the Flames' improvement on the power play last season. Analyzing special teams is a tricky business, much more so than even-strength play. The sample sizes are drastically smaller; the Flames averaged over 49 minutes per game at even strength compared to about 6:25 on the power play and 5:42 killing penalties. They are also irregular - one game you might be on the power play just once and another you might get 10 opportunities. Despite all that, we can use shooting stats to get some insight into what was going on out there.
October 04 2011 03:32PM
The Calgary Flames have headed west to Banff for three days during their week off prior to Saturday's regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Good news had Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrison back on the ice taking part in full practice, with neither guy wearing yellow "no-contact" jerseys. The bad news had Mikael Backlund not on the ice after having surgery to repair a broken finger.
October 04 2011 02:30PM
10/11 finish: 62 points, Dead last
Key Players: Hemsky, Horcoff, Whitney, Eberle, Hall
Additions: Sutton, Eager, Barker, Smyth, Hordichuk, Belanger, RNH
Subtractions: MacIntyre, Reddox, Fraser, Stortini, Jacques, Foster, Vandermeer
Cap Position: About $8M in space
Projected finish: in the conference's bottom four
It's neither rivalry nor spite that compels me to say the Oilers are - or at least were - awful. They've been the worst unit in the entire NHL for two years running and were only marginally better than that for several seasons prior. The period between Edmonton's unlikely cup run and now has been the gloomiest valley for a franchise that experienced a lot of peaks in it's history. One wonders how long the city's memories of former glory will continue to sell hope for the club and it's decision makers.
October 04 2011 10:01AM
The Flames depth at center has gone from crowded to thin this this pre-season. With Brendan Morrison already on the shelf, Mikael Backlund will join him on IR after a slash in practice has left him with a broken finger that requires surgery.
October 04 2011 08:32AM
Pre-season has come to an end for the Calgary Flames. With quite a few of the veterans nursing the odd injury here and there, it gave the rookies some good playing time and the coaching staff a good look at who might be ready for the NHL and who still needed... a little work. After two weeks of routine cuts the Flames announced on Friday that Lance Bouma and Paul Byron would be assigned to Abbotsford, leaving Jordan Henry, Derek Smith and pre-season standout Roman Horak still with the parent club. An interesting end to training camp because despite a 3-3 record for the Flames, a lot of fans are rejoicing in the news out of New York, where the Rangers demoted Tim Erixon... Oh yeah! THAT guy!