Five things: Some real dumbass stuff



I’ve been hearing a lot of genuinely terrible, stupid things being said by morons lately. Not many of them have to do with the Flames, but here’s me complaining about them in one place anyway:

1. You have to watch Ondrej Pavelec every night to see how good he is

It’s generally true that when viewing things in limited spaces of time, it’s very possible to draw incorrect conclusions you might see. For instance, if you watched the first four games played by the San Jose Sharks this season, you might think Patrick Marleau is the greatest hockey player in the league, and maybe ever. Of course, the truth of the matter is that while he’s still pretty good even at this point in his career, he’s hardly going to come close to scoring twice a game or whatever he did in that first stretch, that small sample size is obviously enough to convince those with only a passing interest in his game something to by which they can be mightily impressed.

The same is true of if you went and watched Tampa’s games on March 20 and 23, and saw Steven Stamkos go pointless, with just two shots, and a minus-5 in a pair of losses. The kid doesn’t suck just because he didn’t score in those two games; in fact, those are the second time this year in which he didn’t have at least one point in two consecutive games. 

And to that end, I’ll admit it: I’m guilty of not watching the boring-ass, not-very-good Winnipeg Jets enough to see every stop Ondrej Pavelec has made this year. However, those who would defend him (mainly his coach, fans, and the dum-dums in the Winnipeg media, though it should be noted that the latter two are typically one and the same) lean like Tiny Tim Cratchit on that old trope that "stats don’t tell the whole story" about how good Pavelec is. Of course they do. To say they do not is absurd.

This isn’t a guy like Mikael Backlund being victimized by a low PDO and shooting percentage that artificially depresses his stats and for whom it’s basic stats that aren’t telling the whole story, but underlying numbers are acquitting him perfectly fine. The thing with stats is they tell you anything you want to know, at least if you know how to look at them and, more importantly, which ones to look at. What any stat will tell you about Ondrej Pavelec is this: This is a guy that flatly sucks. By any metric you want to look at, he is among the worst starting goaltenders in the league. It’s not that I, or any other of his myriad critics, don’t watch him enough. We see plenty to reassure the conclusions we’ve drawn from his statistics.

You can call it confirmation bias, but then I guess that’s what you would call any corsi or points per game stats which provide evidence that Sidney Crosby is good.

2. You can’t question coaches if they make the playoffs

We’re really starting to hear this a lot about Randy Carlyle and it is stupid as hell. Lots of stuff about how his leadership and decision-making and so forth have helped to do to get the Leafs into the playoffs.

Of course, what’s really gotten the Leafs into the playoffs is 1) Luck, and 2) James Reimer. Teams don’t get that badly outshot and outchanced on a more or less nightly basis and come anywhere near a home ice spot, which is what the Leafs are creeping toward and at least in the neighborhood for. Carlyle, in fact, has been more or less a hindrance to his team, routinely giving its several bad players preferential treatment over its better ones because of "toughness" or whatever.

The most obvious example of this is not playing Nazem Kadri like 22 minutes a night when everything he shot was going past the goalies. Or, more to the point, acting like he would be insane to do so when he was actually asked about it. To a lesser extent, there is also the repeated refusal to let Jake Gardiner, who’s a pretty good NHL defenseman, get into games, and instead favoring guys like Korbinian Holzer or Ryan O’Byrne.

Making the playoffs is obviously not the ultimate arbiter of coaching acumen, just as it is not a way to validate a general manager’s work, just as it is not a way to determine whether a player has been successful or valuable. Obviously. They let 53 percent of the league in. Carlyle just happened to be on the good side of it for once. He’s still a garbage coach who thinks concussions are caused by brain heat.

3. It’s great to see guys win after they’ve been eliminated

This one actually relates to the Flames. They keep winning no matter how many veterans they take out of the lineup, and damned if Roger Millions et al haven’t been absolutely insufferable about how swell it all is.

Playing guys who will likely be fringe NHLers at their best of times is a great way to tank, and good on the Flames for trying, but it’s all so frustrating when you want them to finally get a good enough draft pick to make an impact at the NHL level, and those damn kids keep winning. If you’re rooting for a rebuild — and at this point, everyone should be — then this is the opposite of what you want. Tank. Tank hard. Tank properly.

Obviously you can’t ask Ben Hanowski to go out and dog it every shift, and there are certainly guys playing for contracts, which is another reason why they’re playing well. But winning was important two months ago. It’s counterproductive now. Any rational human being sees that. The Oilers have this tanking thing figured out (that’s experience for you!).

4. You have to have played the game to understand it

Wanna give a shout out to Duncan Keith for bringing this insipid discussion back to the fore, because we really haven’t sat here talking about it enough ever.

I have in real life never played hockey at a competitive level. Never came close, really. I’m not good at it. At all. But I think I have a generally strong understanding of the game itself and the nuances thereof. People who have done so, however, like college coaches and players and the like, have told me this. And therefore for anyone to say that is obviously being ridiculous, and retreating to their last possible line of defense against irrefutible fact.

Keith, for instance, had no real defense for taking a swipe at Daniel Sedin, a player he had previously concussed with a plainly illegal hit, after a goal on which he had been beaten. And so when asked about why he did it, he fell back to "Well clearly you never played the game" nonsense. A good question to ask the dumbasses who say this kind of thing is what the cutoff is. High school? College? Minor pro? NHL? The mindset of those who use it is very interesting because of how wrong they typically are about things.

5. Jarome Iginla might retire if he wins the Cup

I’ve heard this a little bit once the Penguins got over the initial shock of losing Sidney Crosby for the balance of the regular season, because they’ve turned into a buzzsaw, and Iginla has been at the center of it. People like to romanticize the idea because it’s what Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk did when they won, and Iginla is probably the closest approximation of those guys in the league today.

But have you seen this guy play lately? Good grief. It turns out that when you give him good linemates, he’s actually a productive hockey player. Funny how that works. His goals and points per game have exploded since his move, and that’s not a coincidence. He can still play in this league, and there’s still more money to be made. He’s not going anywhere. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous romanticism.

  • Good stuff.

    Excited for the playoffs to begin.

    Does anyone have a solid playoff pool site they use? The one on ESPN seems lacking.

    Just had a chance to look at the Final CSS draft rankings – Lindholmn is 3rd for EU Skaters & Monahan is 5th for NA Skaters.

    We’ll likely have a shot at either guy, unless of course our “we lose, everyone else lose” scenario works out & we pick 3 or 4.

    • We’ve been using for years & it seems to be working pretty good.

      You have to wonder if Pitt will have the room to sign Iggy, maybe 1 year max as Malkin & Letang are up after next year. Hard to tell where Iggy lands if he cant fit in Pitt. Wonder if Iggy had to autograph the walls, fire mantels & toilet seats as part of the price of the house. 🙂

  • SmellOfVictory

    I agree on all points. And I really get the feeling (if the house sale wasn’t a big enough indicator) that Iginla isn’t coming back to Calgary, even if he does win a cup, unless it’s for his final season and/or Calgary magically starts competing again the near future. He looks like he’s getting addicted to success, and it’s tough to blame him.

  • RexLibris

    I count four centers (MacKinnon, Barkov, Monahan and Lindholm) as the higher-end prospects at that position, roughly in order of perceived skill. Add to that group Nichushkin, Jones, Nurse and Drouin and the Flames could pick 7th or 8th and still at least have a chance at a better center prospect.

      • RexLibris

        I would agree with that. Lindholm looks (and is reported to be) a good two-way center. Barkov apparently has a greater skill set, although I think there is some unease amongst many about the Finnish Elite League and the level of competition. MacKinnon is the concensus #1 of the centers and, I believe, if he were three inches taller would be ahead of Jones entirely as a prospect.

        All I know is that if Monahan or Barkov are available when the Oilers select they won’t hesitate in the slightest.

        If the Flames could nab Lindholm at 7th or 8th that would be a coup for them.

        Funny how this year, with Nichushkin (KHL) and Zadorov (OHL) as high prospects, the “Russian Factor” story angle seems to have died off.

        So based on standings now, do Flames fans still cheer for Tampa Bay, Nashville and Carolina to win even if it pushes the Oilers higher up the draft order? Seems like they’re between a rock and a hard place on that front.

        • McRib

          Lets be honestly are the Oilers even going to use the first round pick this year anyway?!?!

          Everything I have heard is it will be offered up in a trade, considering you could get a Keith Yandle type with it a Magnus Pääjärvi and a Martin Gernat, Edmonton would be crazy to take on another prospect/project they need players now. Unless of course they do creep into that 3/4 slot…

          Honestly I think there is a very good chance the Flames move back up the draft oder staying at 42 points… Tampa Bay (40 Points) plays Boston/Florida, Carolina (41 Points) plays NYR/ Pittsburgh, Nashville (41 Points) plays Detroit/Columbus and Edmonton (41 Points) plays Minnesota/Vancouver. Honestly its very unlikely Calgary wins against Chicago/St. Louis so if even two of the four teams below us win we are drafting 5th. I think there is even a solid chance we are drafting 4th and an outside chance at 3.

          You gotta think Tampa Bay is beating Florida. Nashville doesn’t want Detroit or Columbus making the playoffs… Carolina could upset NYR and Edmonton could do the same thing against Minnesota that Calgary did,t hey also just beat Vancouver. We might get a Barkov/Mackinnon after all, going to be an interesting two nights for flames fans.

          What is the draft standing tie breaker after wins?!?!? Because Tampa is very likely to finish at 24 points and 19 wins playing Florida.

        • SmellOfVictory

          Better for the Flames to draft higher regardless, even if it means the Oilers also end up drafting higher (although really, your team could stand to try actually winning a game on occasion :p ).

  • SmellOfVictory

    Iginla absolutely did not want to leave Calgary for the longest time. That should be obvious because if he had asked for a trade any season prior it would surely have been granted. Now that he’s gotten over that and has seen that the grass actually is greener on the other side, he’s become motivated again. Something that was sorely lacking in Calgary for the last 3 or 4 years. Better linemates? Sure. Of course that’s helped. But he’s also had an attitude adjustment with the realization that this may be his best/last hope for a Cup.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    It’s interesting that so many people want to see Iginla win the cup this year. From my standpoint, he can do that at someone else expense, and win next year.
    If it’s good for the Flames to tank for draft position, then the same is true about both the Pens and Blues loosing out in the first round. It’s good for the Flames chances in the draft.

  • RexLibris

    I can’t believe I’m coming to the defence of a Chicago Blackhawk, but when I initially heard the interview I thought he didnt like the question because he dove and swipped at him and Sedin scored.

    If Sedin didnt score then it would have been a penalty, possibly a penalty shot.

    So really there wasnt much reason to talk about the play because players will always do their best to stop the oppossing team from scoring.

    He dove to try and swipe the puck away from Sedin but Sedin scored and got tripped, but the goal negates the penalty.

    I agree you don’t need to have played hockey to know that, but her asking him about it when its really a non-issue and happens in hockey all the time seemed like she was trying to piss him off.

    They are bitter rivals and they may meet in the playoffs. Of course he is mad when he losses to them.

    Its fair that he was upset with the question, but I agree he worded his response wrong. It has nothing to do with being a woman or playing the game.

    Its about having a strong understanding of the game, and I’m sure thats what he meant.

    I’ve played minor hockey and if someone said that didnt count and I dont understand the game, I would beg to differ and think it was some sort of ego/status mumbo jumbo. You dont have to have played to understand hockey… and playing competatively at any level counts as playing in my opinion…

    He should have chose his words more wisely but she essentially got what she was looking for, since she was clearly trying to get a reaction out of him..

    • supra steve

      The two handed, golf style, slash is NEVER OK in hockey.

      “He dove to try and swipe the puck away from Sedin”.

      That is simply not true. There was no dive, Keith choked up on his stick and swung at Sedin’s upper body, no attempt to swipe at the puck. He connected with Sedin’s back. Could have easily resulted in injury. With the history between these players, the reporter was right to bring it up. And Keith’s response made him look like an idiot.

  • beloch

    Re: #1.

    I agree with your assessment of Pavelec, but I feel compelled to continue beating a dead horse because Feaster keeps trotting it out into the Flames’s friggin’ crease on a nightly basis.

    The Flames have precisely one goalie with a NHL Sv% better than Pavalec this season, and it isn’t MacBackup. The long-term history is no different. Pavalec’s NHL career Sv% is 0.907. MacBackup’s is 0.903.

    Feaster resigned this guy for nearly double the salary he made this year. Yeah, he’s still not making much, but… really?

    • supra steve

      MacDonald’s extension is so insignificant I do not understand why so many people are up in arms with it…?

      One year deal for less than $1M for a guy who has looked like an actual backup in the Flames net.

      Name a goalie in the last 10 years that has provided a semblance of quality backup work for this team?

      He is an insurance policy in case Ramo or Berra struggle.

      We got him for free and if Kipper retires the new Euros need a vet in net to compete with and stabalize things back there.

      He can easily be moved or demoted if Ramo and Berra succeed.

      Why does everyone nit pick tiny depth moves Feaster makes..?

      This will only be a positive in the grand sceme of things. I don’t get all the negativity?

  • TheRealPoc

    “I have in real life never played hockey at a competitive level. Never came close, really. I’m not good at it. At all. But I think I have a generally strong understanding of the game itself and the nuances thereof.”

    And yet, time and time again in your posts, you exhibit an incredible arrogance that suggests you consider this to be a feather in your cap, as if to suggest your (perhaps complete) lack of playing experience or exposure to the unique culture allows you to watch the game at an intellectually elevated level, a plateau which apparently remains out of reach for those of us who have played extensively. This act gets just as old as those who’ve played dismissing the opinions of those who haven’t, irrespective of how educated they might be.

  • supra steve

    I don’t understand your argument, ChinookArch. Losing in the playoffs doesn’t affect your draft position, and once you’re drafting out of the top 5 or top 10 drafting’s pretty much a crap-shoot anyway, so there’s no sense in intentionally tanking to move up from 17 to 15 or something like that.

    • McRib

      In the new CBA I believe the teams that make the playoffs are all ranked as per how far they made it in the playoffs therafter…. So winning the cup is 30th and the first team eliminated is 15th, that is a massive difference especially considering how deep this years draft is!!! A 15-20th pick could land you someone like Robert Hagg, Ryan Pulock, Max Domi or Adam Erne who any other year could be a Top. 10 pick. Drafting 30th means your taking a flyer on a Nic Petan, Morgan Klimchuk or Madison Bowey type.

    • Uh, losing in the playoffs definitely effects draft position.

      Problem is, regular season record is also used in the determination of draft order.

      IE: Because PIT has the 2nd best regular season record, even if they get bounced in the first round, the highest they can pick is 22 (unless CHI also loses in the first round, then it would be 21st).

    • ChinookArchYYC

      et all

      So now that we all understand that the Flames WILL benefit from early playoff failures for both the Pens and Blues, are you with us? If it makes you feel better, I hope Iginla wins next year (as long as that doesn’t impact Calgary again).

  • Damn good article Ryan! But go easy on Winnipeg. They’re still bushy-tailed and dew-eyed about getting a new team.

    Besides not everyone can be expected to display the rigid sort of intellectual honesty seen in Calgary and Edmonton these days…

  • Rockmorton65

    Isn’t it funny how they brought in the lottery to keep teams from intentionally ranking to get the first overall pick, but this year there are at least 5 teams doing a version of it.

    • T&A4Flames

      It keeps teams honest for the better part of the year. But once a team is eliminated, it’s on for 1st overall. There really should be some sort of system that kicks in durng the last 10 games that keeps teams competitive and entertaining through all 82 (or 48 in this case) games. A best record for eliminated teams would give CGY the top pick this year. I’m not a fan of random chance for things like this.

  • Rockmorton65

    Isn’t it funny how they brought in the lottery to keep teams from intentionally tanking to get the first overall pick, but this year there are at least 5 teams doing a version of it.

  • Rockmorton65

    “I have in real life never played hockey at a competitive level. Never came close, really. I’m not good at it. At all. But I think I have a generally strong understanding of the game itself and the nuances thereof.”

    I have never played ice hockey. At any level. Anywhere. Ever. I can’t even skate well enough to turn around. And yet, I’m able to have intelligent (at least, I’m pretty sure I am..) discussions with the Kent Wilsons and RexLibriss of the world.

    Would they have guessed that I never played? I used to be a not-very-good defenseman in soccer… haha.

  • Rockmorton65

    There have been some that have been pushing the ‘winning is good’ mantra around. But I don’t think there are many. If I had a button that would cause the Flames to lose every night I would push it. But I don’t.

    I am of this opinion. There is nothing to do and no one to blame. The Flames have done all they can to lose. They have played the kids as much as they can without getting slapped by the NHL for ruining the integrity of the game. There is nothing to be done.

    So we might as well enjoy it. Baertschi is on a 7-game point streak. Cundari has a great start. Reinhart is looking like he will be an NHLer. Kipper had his big send off. Brodie has been INSANE. Backlund has been great. Work ethic has been consistent for once. There has been some pretty darn enjoyable hockey. We are ahead of the Oiler’s (ha ha). The list goes on.

    There hasn’t been much to be happy about as a Flames fan. I don’t see why people have to keep crapping on things outside of anyone’s control. Just enjoy it already and stop getting pissy with those of us that are already enjoying it.

    • McRib

      Agreed, plus we might have gotten the best of both worlds after all the recent positives, if we loose just the last three we could still end up with a 3/4/5 pick with Nashville, Tampa Bay and Caorlina all recently winning. If we loose to St. Louis and Chicago we could pass as many as four teams!! Likely we will pass two and finish fifth (TB/Nash, Car or Edm), which means we get our pick at Lindholm, Monahan or Nurse not too shabby!!

      • T&A4Flames

        Indeed. The out of town scoreboard has been (finally) friendly to us.

        Tonight is HUGE. Tampa, Nashville, and Carolina are all playing. The latter two could pass us tonight if we lose against St Louis. Tampa can tie us in points.

        Philly winning would also give us some breathing room. Though if the Flames lose it doesn’t matter what Philly does.

        St Louis should be hungry tonight as home ice is on the line. They have been rolling pretty good lately.

  • T&A4Flames

    Not sure where I read this idea for the draft order (and apologize to anyone reading if I’m ripping you off!), but the idea that once you’re officially eliminated from the playoffs you start accumulating points and whomever has the most points in that window of time (which is different for each team) would draft first. This benefits the worst teams in that they will likely be officially eliminated first so can accumulate points for longer and also gives them incentive not to tank. Not sure if this would push tanking earlier into the season (seems unlikely) or punish the bad teams too much because they are not likely able to accumulate points after being eliminated any better than before being eliminated. Or if there’s unintended consequences of teams pulling back from a playoff push early to start accumulating points. But, in any event, it’s an intriguing idea.

    • seve927

      Bad teams would be eliminated earlier, so they’d have more time to accumulate draft order points. As long as teams didn’t willfully tank until mathematically eliminated from contention, it could work.

  • RKD

    People say stupid things because they haven’t watched the game long enough to understand the little nuances that go along with the game.

    I’ve been watching hockey 18 years and try to give an educated opinion, I’ve seen a lot of things happen over the course of the stretch. One thing to keep in mind a lot of people have short term vision and focus a lot on the here and the now.

    If Iggy wins the Cup he would get to go out on top, but I’m not sure I see it. Playing with better teammates has certainly reinvigorated him. He’s improved an entire point per game. He should get his shot at a Stanley Cup. Personally, I think he’s got a few more seasons left in him. Plus, I wanna see him hit 600 goals!

  • seve927

    I think you need to put this one at the top of your list:

    “Funny how that works. His goals and points per game have exploded since his move, and that’s not a coincidence”

    I had to go check this out because it is quite commonly accepted that Iginla is a slow starter. His 9 points in 11 games is a 0.818 PPG pace. He had 22 points in 31 games in Calgary for a 0.71 PPG pace.

    So how was his start last year in Calgary? I went through the 11-12 Iginla game log on and added up points until I got to 22. The number of games? 31. His final numbers? 67 point in 82 games or 0.817 PPG.

    Actually it looks for all the world like complete coincidence.

  • lionlager

    Didn’t Iggy straight up say that he wanted to play for another 5 years during his press conference? I’m sure he will.

    I really can’t see him not coming back to play as a flame again… He’ll be back. It won’t be next year though. I wouldn’t read too much into him selling his house either. Wouldn’t any negotiations this summer be shot if Iggy still owned his house in Calgary? Besides, I bet he got a nice profit…