1. Third-period leads
The Flames have to this point in the season done exceedingly well at scoring a lot of goals (four per game) and usually enter the third period with a lead, which is a good thing to do if you want to win hockey games.
This is a team that seems very good a building leads and, as you might expect given the makeup of the roster, very bad at holding them. What was interesting to me is that they’ve actually only allowed one more goal in the third period than they scored, because it seemed like it should be a lot more than that. It’s kind of amazing that they could enter two of their three games with a lead going into the third period — which those who think they’re playoff competitors must be heartened by — but they didn’t win either of those games. Their only win of the season came in a game in which they were tied after 40 minutes.
Not that you wouldn’t expect this kind of thing out of a young and/or bad team because that’s almost always what separates good teams from those that are not so much good. The Flames are the latter and have been this whole time; they bleed goals and they can’t hold leads and even if they’re scoring a lot it’s because they’re shooting 11.4 percent (before the game last night). Meanwhile, they’re only stopping 87.9 percent of shots. Neither is sustainable, obviously, but I know which is probably at least a little more sustainable.
2. This isn’t right at all
Of course people in Calgary have been heartened by these performances. "If they’re going to lose, at least make it entertaining" and all that, and the Flames have to their credit delivered. No one expected them to score 12 goals in their first three games considering who was playing and who was on the shelf and who was shipped out of town last year.
But obviously the people who want a tank-job have been ripping their hair out: Four points from three games? This is the kind of thing that’s always been frustrating about the Flames. They get almost to where they need to be (in this case conceding lots of third-period goals and getting no goaltending to speak of), but also don’t quite get there. That thing Kent said a while ago about the difference in results when the expectations change is true. People seem, from what I’ve seen, to be perfectly happy with four points from three games, but this kind of thing last year with the blown leads and so forth would have made people scream and hold their breath.
This is all going to catch up with them eventually, of course, and I still think this is a truly bottom-of-the-barrel team, but the success, such as it is lately, is extremely counterproductive.
3. Monahan’s production
Something that is less counter-productive, but could soon become so if things go as some are starting to expect, is once again the Monahan Issue. Obviously through three games he’s a point a game player and in the attacking zone he’s looked very, very good.
But what’s gone less noticed, mostly because of the context in which it’s happened, is that while he was on the ice for three goals for at even strength in the first three games, he’s also been on the ice for seven goals against, including four in the Canucks game alone. He has, to my eyes, looked very much "not ready" and that likely also informs that thing I was worried about this whole time: he’s only getting 12:54 a night, and in that time he’s getting drilled when he’s pinned into his own zone.
It’s kind of amazing that’s even happening, to be honest, because also in those first three games, he’s starting just 27.8 percent of his shifts back there. The rest are in the neutral or offensive zones, and that’s the kind of thing that should be far more conducive to a better corsi rating against the kind of soft competition he’s facing (15th in QOC on the team, ahead of only Chris Butler, Lance Bouma, Shane O’Brien, and Brian McGrattan).
You gotta send him back to junior. He has a lot of work to do and this isn’t the place to do it.
4. Glencross to Philly?
When teams are rebuilding it’s of course logical that they would be the ones most often connected with trade rumors originating in some of the league’s bigger markets. And given the ways in which the Flyers are especially connected with such rumors more than any team save for Toronto, it was logical that connective lines between Calgary and Philadelphia would arise.
However, the idea of Curtis Glencross going to Philadelphia, which has certainly cropped up in the past few days, is one that doesn’t make a lot of sense. For one thing the Flyers have no cap space and one can’t imagine Calgary being too eager to take on an equal amount unless they were getting something very good in return. Which I’m not so sure Philly would give up. At least, not at this juncture.
Obviously, as the trade deadline approaches teams will get more interested and come knocking, and if Philly’s anywhere near the playoffs they’re gonna sell every half-decent prospect to try to save Paul Holmgren’s job.
Glencross could at that time be particularly attractive because he’s cheap and signed for next season. Frankly, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t gone at that point.
5. Here’s a new and updated thing
After the Iginla picture got so many complaints the last time I used it I have since updated it and I hope you all like it and don’t hate me.