Game No. 24: By all means, have a cow

I’m about to make an overwrought Simpsons analogy.

Well that was a largely unsuccessful trip to the east coast.

Five games, four points, and the team continues to both bleed goals and struggle to score.

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I think the most interesting thing about the trip was that it gave us the return of Olli Jokinen, which then gave us what is, perhaps, a new and unmistakable new trend in the Calgary Flames’ travails this season. Longtime devotees of the Simpsons will recognize it immediately.

This is the Cone of Ignorance, a 3D mathematical expression of the effects Bart Simpson has on the classmates who sit immediately around him.

As Principal Skinner explains to Marge and Homer, their hellion of a son is not only a terrible student in his own right, but his terribleness is so distracting to those around him that they, in turn, become worse students.

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The Cone of Jokinen works in much the same way. No matter what line Olli Jokinen is dropped into the middle of, it immediately becomes the Flames’ worst line by far. Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla looked untouchable in the three games for which Jokinen was suspended, but when he came back, they immediately turned into piping hot garbage. Similarly, Hagman and Bourque have looked pretty good at both ends of the ice this year when not saddled with Ol’ Pumpkinhead, and the second they are they become ineffective offensively and scramble around their own zone like panicked toddlers.

And when he’s put on a line with Glencross and Moss (the vaunted -Oss Line), they not only no longer cycle the puck convincingly, but also get pushed around the boards by even the sissiest of opponents.

Just like Bart’s ability to drag a whole class down, so too does Jokinen have this effect on Flames who aren’t on his line. As a result of these terrible, terrible shifts, those teammates that are unfortunate enough to come on the ice immediately after him are typically going to be pinned in their own zone and facing a surge of momentum for the opponent. This is all provable fact.

Now, you might be asking yourself, why, if Bart/Jokinen has this effect on his class/linemates, do they not put him in a corner/on the fourth line where he will do the least to hurt those around him? Well, because Mrs. Krabappel/Brent Sutter doesn’t seem to be able to do her/his job well enough to recognize the effect Bart/Jokinen has on those around him. Even if there’s ample evidence that this is exactly what happens (I’m sure if you did the Corsi stats out on topographically it would look not unlike the above illustration), there’s simply nothing they can do. Sure, Principal Skinner/Darryl Sutter can expel him/buy him out, but that will likely create more headaches. Not less.

Like the students and faculty of Springfield Elementary, we’re stuck with this problem for awhile.


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    • PrairieStew

      Raitis Ivanans wearing #41 is offensive. Not because I’m a huge fan of 2007-2008 Dustin Boyd, but because Ivanans wearing any number period for this team is straight up wrong.

  • phil mikkelsson is not an nhl caliber defenseman. sutter must owe a favour, thats the only explanation.sarich is god awful. would rather have seen brodie cut his teeth in the nhl than these two and bad chuck.surplus of fourth liners and seventh dmen.guess thats what ya get when you mismanage the cap.

    • PrairieStew

      Mikkelsson is a decent enough #6, which is his role. He’s cheap, and better then Staios. Brodie can’t be expected to play all 82 games in the ‘chell, and Pelech didn’t make enough of an impact during training camp to justify a roster spot. Babchuk has been crap, yes.

      I suspect that Sarich is hurt. He did miss that game on the roadie, and there wasn’t an explanation, was there?

  • Quality game by the Flames. They looked flat in the first, but pretty much ran things the rest of the time.

    Iginla line looked good and so did the Backlund line. Jokinen is better on the wing.

    Now they just have to figure out how to get Bourque and Hagman back on the horse. Oh…and the PP still mostly sucks.

  • Robert Cleave


    CGY +5, -5 in the third. Minny chased a bit until the late penalties, but pretty decent from Calgary. EV shots 22-20 Minny, 9-5 in the 3rd.

    Joker looked OK tonight. Simple game, reasonably hard on the puck, and given that his line played against Koivu, not too bad at all.

  • Good game (only caught the last half) from the boys. Minny is brutal though, so I don’t know what to really think.

    Backlund looks like he is continuing to build up his confidence, fits nice on this team.

    Kipper is on a roll as of late.