The Summer doldrums are over. The air is already starting to chill and the trees are shedding their leaves. That means it’s time to start another hockey season. We’ve done the summer previews, the analyses and the roundtables. Before the puck drops on the Flames new year, though, I want to take some time to describe what FlamesNation readers can expect out of the site this year.
Here’s the full roster of contributors you can expect to find here in 2011-2012:
Kent, Wilson (me)
I began writing about hockey and the Flames back in 2005. Since then, my work has appeared at fanball.com, The score, Hockey Prospectus and, recently, the Calgary Herald. I founded SBN’s Flames site Matchsticks and Gasoline and am the current managing editor of Flamesnation and the Nations Network of sites.
I tend to be somewhat verbose, overly critical and am one of those dreaded "stats nerds" you hear about who cower in their mother’s basement, staring and spreadsheets and muttering to themselves.
FAN960 afternoon show and overtime host, Steinberg is one of the hardest working dudes in radio. Pat will provide us with insider access, audio from interviews, gameday information and post-game wrap-ups. A recent convert to the darkside of "advanced stats", Pat is nevertheless extremely balanced in his view of the club and manages to walk the tightrope between optimism and pessimism.
He’s also a snappy dresser, an avowed snakehandler and likes to watch men in their underwear fight each other in front of hordes of screaming, blood thirsty people.
A longtime reader and commenter whom I invited to co-blog with me over at M&G a few years ago, Bob is a Winnipeg native and former (current?) Jets fan who moved on to the Flames when the original franchise left and broke his heart. Robert’s real job is far more important and time consuming than blogging, but he still finds the time to contribute some of the most eloquent and thoughtful pieces that appear on FlamesNation – or perhaps anywhere else.
Robert will continue to chime in on Flames issues as well as the Jets this year. His weekly "News and Notes" feature will tour around the NHL and discuss issues of interest as well. It’s a must-read.
Winner of the FN "contributor search" this summer, Vintage Flame has been a strong member of the site’s community of commenters for a long time. One of the most passionate Flames fans you’ll find anywhere, VF blends humor, photoshop skills and optimism in his writing about the team.
VF will helm "Voice of the Nation", a look at the team from a fan perspective this year, as well as "Stoking the Fire", a weekly Flames focused link round-up and discussion.
Hockey Prospectus author Rob Vollman was one of a small cadre of brains/fanatics working on advanced hockey stats before anyone else was even talking about them.
Thoughtful, methodical and a wizard with historical comparisons and data collation, Rob is helping us track and explain advanced stats for the Flames this year, which should help our on-going analysis hear both more detailed and more accessible.
Cam Tucker of the Abbotsford Times is Heat’s beat writer and will drop by now and then to provide information and insight on some of the Flames prospects on the farm. Friend of the program Ryan Pinder was recently named the Heat’s play-by-play man this season and he will also add his own take on how the kids are doing from time-to-time.
The renewed focus on prospects won’t just stop there though. Guest posts from prospect/scouting site Future Considerations will appear a couple of times per month, as well as contributions from Hockey Prospectus’ draft/prospect guru Corey Pronman.
Finally, Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert continues to lurk in the shadows, waiting pateintly to jump out to point and laugh at you when you’re at your most vulnerable.
Scoring Chance Project
Once again this season, I will be counting scoring chances for the Calgary Flames. This will be my third year forgoing bar nights or game tickets to crouch in front of my TV with a remote and laptop and I will be joined by some 14 other unfortunate souls this winter as the project has expanded outside the borders of Alberta. Rob Vollman will manage weekly updates of chance numbers and ratios and Pat will continue to donate a few minutes of his show so I can make a fool of myself on the radio arter away games.
For those who have missed it previously (or forgotten) – a scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area – loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots (nicknamed the Home Plate, detailed at the right), though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score.
FN will be the only site, anywhere, where you’ll be able to get detailed team and player scoring chance information this season.
Plans are still in the works for FN to debut a weekly, two-hour show featuring myself and Pat on the FAN960. The format would be similar to what we produced during the draft in June – a mix of analysis with input from the site, twitter and callers. We can’t say exactly when things will get off the ground (negotiations are on-going!) but our evil overlord insists he will not be denied.
Community Guidelines and Ground Rules
Now the boring stuff. As we continue to expand and add readers/commenters, we need to make sure everyone understands how the site is moderated.
– Debate and argument are not only tolerated but encouraged here. Varied perspectives and theories are what makes commenting interesting. That said, we ask that everyone try to debate in good faith: avoid personal attacks, name-calling, etc.
– Similarly, FN is a place for both the optimistic and the critical. All flavors of fanship are valid here, as long as the person in question can defend their viewpoint.
– Certain swear words are automatically moderated and will make your comment disappear.
– Fans of other teams are welcome. Talking trash during gamethreads and such is part of what makes sports so much fun. That said, your trash talk better be original, funny or at least semi-intelligent. Trolls who don’t bother to read the article or fail to add anything substantive will get the boot.
– I am declaring a moratorium on "Feaster is fat" jokes. It’s a cheap shot that has become a little too pervasive and easy I think. Criticism of the mans moves or methods are fine, of course. Just leave the donut jokes out of it.
That’s the long and short of it folks. We will continue to provide as much coverage and analysis as possible and will no doubt add features, contests and whatever else we can to improve your experience here at FlamesNation. Thanks to everyone who reads and contributes and I look forward to sharing another season with you.