Random Thoughts – After 5 Games

random-thoughts

It’s been an interesting start of the year for Calgary. With the obvious caveat that five games is a relatively tiny sliver of action, it’s still worth going over some very early impressions of the Flames blueline and record through the early going.

– I think we can all agree that Calgary’s record of 3-2 flatters them. The club has been completely outplayed in aggregate and only goaltending and extra time that has them over .500. So far, only the Buffalo Sabres sport a worse per game shot differential than the Flames (-12.4). Even in the 5-2 victory over Edmonton, the Flames spent approximately 65% of the game chasing the puck. Then there was the recent win over the Blackhawks, featuring a 49 save performance from Jonas Hiller. Only three regular skaters are above water possession wise through five games: Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie and Paul Byron. Fourteen other skaters are double digit negative corsi players.

– The truth of the team is likely somewhere between their surprisingly decent record and their currently disastrous underlying numbers. The Flames are can’t really be this bad at 5on5, but they certainly aren’t going to benefit from Vezina caliber goaltending all year either.

– The one really good bit of news so far is the Giordano and Brodie pairing. The dynamic duo has picked up right where they left off last season and are, far and away, the team’s two best players. They lead the Flames in just about every conceivable category: points, possession, quality of competition, etc. So drastic is the “Brodano” effect that there is a visible shift in the direction of play when they leave the ice. Both guys continue to look like legitimately elite players, with Brodie in particular seeming to take another step forward in his development.

– Which brings us to the matter of new contracts. TJ Brodie is a pending RFA and Mark Giordano will be UFA after 2015-16. I asked the other day on twitter what people expected Giordano would be worth right now if he was to be re-signed. The common answer was about $7M/season on a long-term contract. We’ve  discussed Brodie at length here previously and at this rate we can say it’s almost certain he’ll settle in north of $4.5M.

I’d happily pay between $12M for Calgary’s current top pairing, but the issue is going to be term with the captain. Giordano is 31 right now and will be 33 by the time his contract is up for renewal. That makes any sort of big dollar, long-term deal rather risky.

– Then there’s the rest of the Flames blueline, which outside of maybe Russell, is a disaster. As expected, Deryk Engelland has gotten his turn as a top-4 type defender and, as expected, he’s been eaten alive. Engelland has faced the third toughest competition on the team behind the big two (though he’s week back of both) and the result has been a -51.9/60 corsi (no exaggeration). I hasten to add that number could be much worse but for Engelland sitting out during the Hawks game (a contest which was the territorial equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals).

Obviously that terrible corsi rate is skewed by a small sample of games, but it’s clear by eye that Engelland is playing well over his head in a top four role. The 32 year old defender loses his check frequently in the defensive zone. He’s not quite quick enough for puck races, which means opposition players either beat him there or his only play once he arrives is a frantic puck rim to a sitting duck winger on the boards. Besides zone entries and exits, a good stat to track for NHL defenders would be “defensive zone puck rims”. I suspect the worse a player is, the more frequently he will resort to firing the puck along the boards.

– Dennis Wideman is the other problem skater on the back-end. Though he seems at times slightly more functional than Enegelland, there’s still a very wide gulf between his level of play and the size of his pay. There was some chance that Wideman struggled last year because of injuries, but so far this season it doesn’t look like a rebound is in order. I guess it’s a good thing the Flames don’t have cap concerns, because they are stuck with that $5.25M.

– Mark down Paul Byron as the biggest early season surprise. While he seemed to finally establish himself as a bona fide NHLer last year, the 25 year old winger has easily been one the Flames best and most consistent forwards so far. Byron’s speed and hands look above average and he’s driving the play north better than anyone not in the club’s top defense pairing. And that’s despite a zone start ratio of just 41.9%. If he had scored on at least one of his three break-aways so far this season we’d be hearing a lot more of his name around town I suspect. Maybe that Robyn Regehr trade wasn’t a total write-off after all. 

– Let’s all take a moment to laugh at the Edmonton Oilers, but let’s also realize that there’s almost no way they are actually this bad (again) given their NHL low PDO of 91. Edmonton management and coaching has made some questionable decisions already this season, so the club hasn’t exactly iced the best possible roster, but at some point one of their goalies will start stopping the puck. 

Of course, there also isn’t a team in the league that could afford this kind of start to their season, so it will be interesting to see what the big brains out there do in response to an increasingly angry and vocal fan base. It would be very Kevin Lowe of them to overreact to a spate of bad fortune and further sink an already flawed roster with some knee-jerk trade.

– Now for a little self-promotion. I recently appeared on the All the Kings Podcast to talk about advanced stats (what else), which you can find here. I’m going to appear on a series of these explaining different stats and the reasoning behind them, so stay tuned.

– Also, the latest Hockey prospectus annual is out, to which I was a minor contributor. I added new essays on the Flames and Oilers 2013-14 seasons, plus my two part series “An Outsiders Insider View of the NHL Stats Revolution” which originally appeared in this space. Follow the link to buy a .pdf version if you’re so inclined.

  • smith

    So tonight Gaudreau scratched and Jooris on the top line. Which is fine, but why in the world has Gaurdeau been gifted with no first line time? Surely he would be more likely to make something of it than Jooris?

    • Southern_Point

      This is the Sven Baerstchi treatment: He didn’t blow the doors off with a unsustainable shooting percentage, so Hartley steadily decreases his ice time, doesn’t trust him in offensive situations, and then points to poor defensive play or effort level or some other hooey and then starts scratching him regularly. A quote including the word “learning” will be bandied about by the coach, maybe the GM says it too.
      Eventually he gets sent down to the AHL with no confidence and will be banished there until he grows 4inches and learns to fight.

      Its all very predictable.

      • Or, he pulls a Backlund and actually learns from his press box viewings then flourishes when he’s put back in action. Definitely two ways of looking at it. Also, I think Johnny has a pretty good head on his shoulders and won’t be deterred. Bet he’s back in next game.

        • Parallex

          But that’s based on a premise that putting Backlund in the press box had a causitive positive effect on him. I premise I didn’t believe at the time and continue to disbelieve today.

        • Parallex

          Have to disagree completely. There was never anything wrong with Backs play. The numbers support that. He got buried by Hartley for no apparent reason and only got his chance because of injuries. Then Hartley finally saw the light and said, “like, you know, like, this guy from Sweden, like, is, you know, like, pretty damn good at the hockey, you know.”

          Hartley seems to like doing weird stuff in the first half of the season, lots of experimenting with lines and showcasing just how bad some bad players are. This year it’s Engelland.

        • Parallex

          A bit early to be thinking along those lines. Everybody within this franchise embraces Gaudreau. Just because he is being waded into action instead of swim-or-drown, doesn’t mean he’s going to be cast away.

      • CutterMcAwesome

        You may have a point here…the book on Hartley before he was hired by the Flames was that he was an excellent coach for the vets but not so good with the rookies in that he was very hard on them.

        That may or may not work with today’s younger guys like it did with him in Colorado when he had Tanguay as a rookie and won a Stanley Cup.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          The “book on Hartley?”

          The book on Hartley is he took a crap team last year and they over-achieved.

          That’s the only “book” we need to read.

      • piscera.infada

        That’s a reasonable gripe though. I thought they’d give him a chance with more space out there too. I also remember it took about half the season last year for them to start putting Monahan out in overtime. While I’d like to see it, I understand why they wouldn’t put him out there (especially in that Chicago game).

        • piscera.infada

          Agreed. If you were to put him out against Chicago, he’s going up against Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, with Keith and Seabrook on the backend. That can be a wee bit intimidating, especially to a kid who hasn’t yet played 10 games in the NHL.

  • piscera.infada

    All very good Kent.

    Gio, while he may not keep up this level of play after the next 2 seasons, is still likely to play at a very high level. I don’t think any worse than a #3D until he’s 35 and even that may be underestimating him.

    Brodie should be locked up forever. Ditto Backlund. Did you see the THN article?

    I wrote Byron off completely the summer before last season. Dude has proven me wrong.

    Engelland and Wideman are huge boat anchors and even worse hockey players, regardless of the need to hit the cap floor. Paying a horrible player big money just to get to the floor is not a justification IMO. Those two are merely taking away ice time from either better signings that could’ve been made, or prospects. I would much rather see Wotherspoon in the line-up. Hopefully, changes come.

    Russell has been very good/solid. No complaints there at all.

    Flames desperately need to increase their stable of D prospects, now more obvious than ever before. Leddy is a guy that Calgary should’ve overpaid to obtain, as he’s only 23.

    Edmonton could very well finish below Calgary again. Strange how linked that team is with the NYI throughout the years. First as powerhouses, then the slow decline, then a blip of success with a Cinderella run to the Final, and now a perpetual rebuild. Must mean that next year is their year (or not).

  • Parallex

    Gaudreau Scratched?
    McGrattan In?
    Jooris on a Scoring Line?

    *Rolls up Newspaper, Taps Hartley on Nose* “No, Bad Coach, Bad”

    I’m really starting to want Hartley gone after the year is done. He keeps on having mistake relapses… he makes a mistake, fixes it, then rather with sticking with the fix goes back and remakes the mistake.

    I wonder how much it would cost to lure Babcock to Calgary… there ain’t no salary cap on coaches.

    • Big Ell

      I don’t think he’d come here without a GM position as well or the promise of one in the future. I can’t see BB doing that to BT, he seems pretty loyal to guys he hires.

  • Lordmork

    I’m a little worried that the Flames have some $11 million sunk in three players who look like 6-7 defencemen though to 2017-2018. I suppose that’s around when the Flames should hope to be competitive, but yikes.

  • I think sitting Johnny tonight would be good for him, just to take a breather and want to come back and do better.

    I say it half jokingly, but is there a chance that the Oilers would be interested in Wideman? Might as well take advantage while Lowe is still there.

    • I thought a Wideman for Petry trade might fly. 3rd ever Flames-Oiler trade. Eaach team gets something it wants; Oilers get rid of Petry, who looked good enough to sign long-term, but will be a UFA this year. They get a reasonable defender that will be immediately their 1st or 2nd best defender (I struggled to write that without laughing). Flames get rid of a boat anchor contract and player. They get a defenseman that they could teach how to play.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I agree. There’s nothing with sitting a young player and should be considered part of the learning process.

      There’s no reason to over-react and assume it’s the Backlund or Sven treatment. It’s pretty obvious the organization is very high on this guy, and I expect they are looking to put his development ahead of team goals, at this point.

  • everton fc

    “I hasten to add that number could be much worse but for Engelland sitting out during the Hawks game (a contest which was the territorial equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals).”

    Classic. I remember those one-sided contests as a kid, on Wide World of Sports.

    They better sign at least Brodie, who should be considered a cornerstone of the rebuild, at this point. Gio could easily play until he’s 40, so I’d pen him to a contract, too. Soon. These two will command top-dollar when their time comes. We need to eliminate any temptations now.

    As for Byron, he has indeed established himself as an everyday player. I didn’t think he could do it. I’m glad he has, as I like his style of play. Another Scotty Nichol w/more skill. He could have a long career, Byron, if he stays healthy. He’s been pretty durable in his career so far, all the way back to the “Q”.

  • At least with Wideman there are some positive situations for him to play in. Wideman can be run out for some o-zone starts and the powerplay. Engelland you can’t really do anything with. Such a bad signing already.

  • redricardo

    My concern is that Gaudreau is getting, as others have pointed out, “The Backlund Treatment”. There’s some scary parallels.

    Gaudreau actually has pretty decent underlying numbers for the sheltered ten minutes he’s playing a game. He just hasn’t managed to put the puck in the net, but he’s generally where he should be. As was Backlund, when he was getting 4th line minutes with Westgarth and McGratton.

    That’s what you want from your players, if you put them out, they play more in the badguy’s end than your own. Both Backlund a year ago and Gaudreau now are doing that.

    Then coach scratches them, starts talking about he “needs more” or they “need to develop their game” or other random things that don’t actually mean anything.

    I don’t buy any talk about how the Backlund treatment helped him “figure it out”. It frustrated a young man who was doing what he was supposed to be doing, going to play in the opposition zone. He was playing good, and then got sat for made up reasons. I would argue that he would have “figured it out” sooner if he’d been put in a position to succeed with stronger linemates, and confidence intact.

    For Gaudreau, as for Backlund, it comes when there are other players that deserve to be sat more.

    As a fan, I see my team getting horrendously outshot on a regular basis, and then one of the possession leaders getting sat? This team sure makes it hard to be a fan sometimes…

    • piscera.infada

      Everyone is jumping all over the idea of JG sitting a game or two as some sort of treatment. Frankly, I dont agree.

      The kid is tiny and trying to learn the game. He has done some good things every game but hasn’t been getting results. You’re making the assumption you keep throwing him out there and it will eventually begin to click; what if it doesn’t? Confidence begins to wane and you have to send him to the AHL in a sink or swim scenario.

      Him sitting isn’t a negative. He is (maybe?) the smallest player to ever play in the NHL. He’s coming from the NCAA and has already played more games in this short season and preseason than he would have up until Christmas back in Boston. He is a young player and I would never expect a first year player to play all 82 games.

      Think of this as more protecting him from himself. His career isn’t in question at all. They are just trying to slow things down a bit for the guy, give him a short break and an opportunity to get a birds eye view of the game. Not to mention fans are starting to question if he should be here. The hype was WAY too big for JG. People were talking like we found the saviour and they need to do what they can now to take the pressure off of him so he can just go play.

      Let’s step away from the ledge and understand Hartley, BT, and BB all have proven good results in the toughest league in the world. Hate to say it, but they are more knowledgeable at developing young players and setting them up for success than you or anyone else on this site.

      • Parallex

        That’s just the thing… he HAS been getting results, what he hasn’t been getting are the bounces.

        “Hartley, BT, and BB all have proven good results in the toughest league in the world.”

        Based on? IIRC: Last time a team Brian Burke was in a leadership position with made the playoffs… 2007, Last time a team Bob Hartley was a coach for made the Stanley Cup playoffs… 2007, Brad Treliving is a rookie GM. Sure, two of them have had success in the past… but in a world like professional athletics where your employment is governed less on a principle of “what have you done?” and more on a principle of “what have you done for me lately” that’s a lifetime ago.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          Hasn’t been getting the bounces? He has one shot on net in 5 games. You need to actually put pucks on net to score goals. It’s not like he has been hitting posts or robbed by outstanding goaltending…

          Questioning the leadership of the Flames is your right as a fan. We can look at some young players on the Flames today and likely attribute at least some of the success they have had in their young careers to the work of BB or Hartley. Backlund, Brodie and Byron all come to mind. Toronto sucks but they do have some very nice young players that graduated to the NHL while Burke was calling the shots.

          Treliving is a rookie GM but has a lot of success as an assistant GM. I am way too lazy to look it up but would venture to guess Phoenix has been producing bona fide NHLers at an above average rate. Typically prospect development is the responsibilities of the aassistant GM as well.

          People need to understand making young players earn the right to be in the NHL isn’t negative; it’s actually quite positive for them and their development. The same could be said for anybody in any profession, really. The results when you just hand over the keys can be witnessed first hand 3 hours up the road. Hall looks like a legit star but the other 3 not at all. A 1 in 4 success rate with very high draft picks is a joke…

          • Parallex

            Yes he should be shooting more but he’s had more then a fair amount of nice passes that but for puck luck should have netted him a few Apples. He moves the puck in the right direction.

            Frankly if they wanted him to get a birds eye view of the game don’t you think last game would have been better to go it where he could watch Kane & Toews rather then the CBJ?

        • EugeneV

          Interesting. So is it then your opinion that Garth Snow is the best GM in the league because of what he has “done lately”?

          So noone in professional sports gets credit for their body of work?

      • redricardo

        As others have pointed out, my concern is that JG is being forced to sit when he has been playing well. There’s lots of other vets that could be sitting.

        When the kids play good and you sit them anyways because they haven’t got a goal, that’s bad. JG has been one of the better Flames at advancing the play, this is obviously going to create a media storm. You’re embarrassing a kid who has played well, when there are others who deserve a benching more.

        It’s obviously not the end of the world, but we’ve seen this act before, and I disagree with it.

    • Veggie Dog

      Can all the people hyperventilating about Gaudreau calm the crap down?

      We are the midst of a long and fairly tough road trip to start his career. He can’t get deployed in circumstances that shelter him, so he is getting lower ice time and lower results.

      Sitting a guy 6 games into his career is not the end of the world.

  • beloch

    Re: The Stats so far

    The Flames underlying stats are pretty horrific but, in order to be fair, it should be noted that their first 5 games have included 4 away games, 2 back to backs, and just one game against a relatively easy opponent. They probably won’t continue to pick up points at this pace, but their underlying stats should also improve a bit as well.

    Re: The Blueline

    As I’ve said all summer, the Flames need one more solid second pairing defender. Russel is a borderline second pairing defender and needs a good partner to shore him up. So far, nobody the Flames picked up in the off-season has proven worthy of more than third pairing minutes. I’d like to see more of Diaz, since he played well in the preseason and has faced tough competition in the past.

    Re: Paul Byron

    Mighty Mouse seems to just keep getting better. I sure hope he’s practising how to finish his breakaways though! He’s going to get a pretty nice raise next summer if he keeps playing like this. As an added bonus, it’s pretty great to have a guy even smaller than Gaudreau around to show him how a small guy can get it done in the NHL.

    Re: Gaudreau

    Gaudreau has a lot to get used to this season. In college, the road-trips were short enough that he usually got to sleep in his own bed. Right now, he probably hasn’t seen his own bed in about a week and has about another week to go before he will! Surely I’m not the only one here who has problems sleeping in hotels! Sleep deprivation is brutal! Gaudreau will bounce back. Just give him time.

    • piscera.infada

      Couldn’t agree more in regards to Gaudreau. That is a massive difference between the NHL and NCAA. We knew that it was very, very likely that if Gaudreau started this season in the NHL, he would likely sit every so often. It’s a product of development and comfort on his part. While he’s shown flashes he hasn’t exactly displayed that he’s comfortable. As he finds that in his game, we’ll start seeing him move up the depth-chart.

      • Parallex

        “While he’s shown flashes he hasn’t exactly displayed that he’s comfortable.”

        I have problems with this statement to an extent. He’s been on the 3rd line, no pp and playing his off-wing. Yet, he creates quality scoring chances every game, is already the team’s best passer, has solid possession numbers and is backchecking not just in effort, but showing a real ability in it. This is a solid 200′ player who is almost always making the smart play with the puck. Play him with Monahan or Backlund and give him more minutes, some pp time and put him on his natural wing and see what happens.

        Also, I’m fine if he is sat every so often, but I do not buy this narrative for one second that a 21 year old athlete no with home commitments is ‘tired’ after 5 games. Bull.

        I don’t mind Hartley, but lets not pretend he doesn’t love the mind games either.

        • piscera.infada

          I’m not arguing what you’re saying. To my eye, he’s been good, but I do notice some of the comfort issues that all young players coming into the league tend to display. I also think that the press box isn’t the end of the world for him tired or not.

          I would also like to reiterate that I would like to see him with better linemates. I argued before the season started that he should play on a line with Backlund; an argument that was met with “kind” disagreement. I do firmly believe however, that he’s going to end up there this season simply because he makes it necessary. I’m not however ready to call him watching a game in the press-box tonight a “mind game” though. Perhaps if I had insight into conversations between him and Hartley, I could conceivably come to that conclusion, if it was founded in anything more than conjecture.

          • piscera.infada

            I make that remark because Hartley seems to give certain guys a pass while the younger, skilled guys (Brodie, Backlund, Baertschi) he seems to love giving the carrot/stick treatment. Which is more observation than conjecture, but still an opinion.

          • piscera.infada

            I’m not sure I agree with you about Brodie; aside from that one scratch for game #1 last season, Hartley has done nothing but rely on Brodie. Even during that brief run of games last season where Brodie was struggling, he was still the #2 guy.

          • piscera.infada

            Your argument is that Hartley is tough on Backlund, Brodie and Baertschi. Look at the results of that treatment. 2 of the 3 are an integral part of the success of this team on a nightly basis and it is WAY too early to write Sven off despite a lot of people feeling the right to do so. Question the methods all you want but you cant question the results.

  • Derzie

    How can someone (BT/BB) who signed that Engelland contract be trusted to lead us anywhere? Benefit of the doubt ended real quick once worst fears were confirmed.

  • supra steve

    During training camp it was postulated that JG could stay with the Flames but sit out the occasional game to help him adjust to the difference in schedules between college and NHL. I didn’t see a lot of disagreement with this position at that time. He will be fine.

    As for Backlund’s offensive improvement last season…it did come on the heels of the benching by Hartley. Not sure to what extent it helped, but find it difficult to believe that Hartley’s actions had nothing to do with the season that followed for Backs.

    • piscera.infada

      As for Backlund’s offensive improvement last season…it did come on the heels of the benching by Hartley. Not sure to what extent it helped, but find it difficult to believe that Hartley’s actions had nothing to do with the season that followed for Backs.

      There was an interview with Backlund late last season, where he partially credited his improvement to the extra one-on-one coaching time he got with Hartley during that period last year. I don’t know, maybe he just wasn’t throwing his coach under the bus (and good on him, if that’s the case), but you kind of have to take him at his word. I would imagine (never having played NHL hockey) that improvements can be made by watching from the press box. Especially for a young player (like Gaudreau, in this case) – just get away from the pace and action, take a breather, and watch everything develop.

      While it’s not a concrete parallel, I find it interesting that so many offensive/defensive co-ordinators in football call the game from the press-box. Many say they can get a better feel when they’re not in the “heat of the moment”. I imagine some of the thought behind that is applicable here.

      • Parallex

        I don’t remember him crediting Hartley… I vaguely remember him giving some kind of credit to his offseason personal trainer. But I didn’t log any of that into my longterm memory so I might be wrong.

        • piscera.infada

          Fair enough, I could be wrong too. I just remember him saying something about being able to see the ice and play developing better after watching from the press-box. That’s all. Not holding it as gospel. I just wouldn’t cast the notion aside.

    • supra steve

      According to what I read in the media last year quoting Hartley was that Backs was asked to and worked really hard on his defensive game. Then Backs was almost afraid to go on the offensive. Hartley talked with him and asked him to use more of his offensive abilities…then there is the rest of the story, a new and improved 2 way player!

      As for Gaudreau, it is a game on the road…Jooris would be better suited, so may as well rest Johnny.

      Nice to see Seto out of this game too – what has he done?

  • smith

    My concerns are not Gaudreau being sat but what they are teaching him. The deeper they go into the season the more he is dumping the puck in. Why in the world would they be teaching him to do this? Do they not understand that he may be one of the best players at carrying the puck into the zone?

    Furthermore in the preseason they were building a power play around him and it was looking dangerous. The regular season starts and all of a sudden they stop giving him power play time and the power play (unsurprisingly) looks worse.

    If you want a young player to be successful why not play to their strengths, give them some confidence, while working on their weaknesses.

    • piscera.infada

      I haven’t noticed him dumping the puck in any more than he did when he started. The Flames have actually been getting away from this (at least in terms of their “skilled” players) since Hartley was brought on board. Sometimes though, it’s the right play, and Gaudreau has actually created a few chances by doing it smartly. I doubt the Flames are saying “alright Johnny, you’re good with the puck, why don’t you try and hang on to it as little as possible”. One of the worst things you can do in the NHL though, is turn the puck over at the opponents blue-line. Just can’t do it.

  • RKD

    It might be good for Johnny Hockey’s confidence to be scratched, he may be playing well but at the same time could be going through the motions. Being a scratch might give him the incentive to push harder. I’m not sure what they are expecting of him, if he’s playing well defensively and generating chances the point will come. If it’s production they are after then it’s going to be tough playing on the third line with limited minutes. I hope the scratching doesn’t turn into a regular thing because if that is the case then it’s best to send him down to the AHL where he and Barts can play on the top 2 lines. I think a time will come where we grow very tired of Engelland and Wideman, let’s see what Wotherspoon and Sieloff can bring to the table. That would at least give the Flames brass something to consider about the blueline but that might not happen until after the new year.

    • RKD

      I think a time will come where we grow very tired of Engelland and Wideman

      You mean it hasn’t already? Why don’t people send me these memos; I’m always jumping the gun on my derision for players.

  • FeyWest

    I’m with everyone saying there’s nothing wrong with the scratch of Johnny. I just don’t think this is any sort of “treatment” as it is just a break to reflect on all he’s learned so far in the games he’s been in.

    Concern is at a minimum here for me. Flu to start the season, brutal road trip (I’ve just started doing out of town work all over AB and BC so I can understand if he’s exhausted), playing 2 of the leagues toughest teams.

    His offensive numbers aren’t very reflective of how well he’s done considering the situations. The scratch is most likely a regroup and observe type rather than a play related one. His 2-way game is rather good for a rookie and he works his tail off to backcheck and get back to our zone in case of turnovers, etc… He’ll start to develop good endurance and we’ll start to see his play pickup and TOI!

    I’m looking forward to how Jooris looks and we might see a trade develop out of it to make room. GFG!

  • CutterMcAwesome

    Johnny Hockey while creating offense has also had several giveaways, and to be fair he backchecks and usually gets the puck back. Any time he has had an opportunity to put a puck on net he hesitates, his decision making is just a little bit to slow at this point in the season. He’s either looking for the perfect pass or trying to pick the perfect shot. A game or two in the press box will be good for him. He needs to see how fast the game can move at this level. At the college level he could slow everything down to where he had all the time in the world. In the show its just not happening for him yet. Give him time. this is all a learning curve.

  • CutterMcAwesome

    As for the flames as a whole. Lets see, they are being grossly outshot and for the most part outplayed. This will not continue. I expected them to lose 5 out of 6 on this road trip.

  • Veggie Dog

    Eric Francis thinks he should go down. That seals it. Whatever that mama’s boy hack thinks, the opposite mut be true. The George Castanza of hockey writers.

    My issue is that he hasn’t been put in situations to succeed. 3rd line, off-wing, sub-par line mates, no pp time. Jooris comes up, first line, lets see what he can do. Makes. No. Sense.

  • smith

    Too my mind it is not even really about Gaudreau. It is about the whole mindset of how you evaluate your players and their successes. The flames seem intent on playing veteran big, physical bad hockey players while I believe they should be working lots harder to get young skilled players into the lineup.

    There is no way that McGratton, Bollig, Jones, Engelland and Setaguchi deserve by their play to be on this team. All they do is give up scoring chances to the opposition. Compare Gaudreau’s possession rates to them and it is quite obvious who provides more.

  • Bikeit

    I remember in 97-98 the Boston Bruins sending a rookie player to the press box many times, and there was gnashing of teeth in media that they maybe picked the wrong guy in the Draft and that he may not be good. His name was Joe Thorton. Infact Samsonov (a rookie) had a regular place in the line up and Thorton was a bust in the press box.

    Everyone take a breath as sitting a rookie has been part of the process in the NHL for decades. Gaudreau is no different.

  • EugeneV

    What are the odds that the Calgary Flames, a professionally run multi-million dollar business in a 3+ billion dollar entity don’t sit down with it’s employees on a regular basis for meetings. (possibly without media to get back to the public about said meetings)
    I would think that the team would have made a plan regarding how JG and ALL the other employees of the team would be utilized. (these plans of course would be liquid)
    Employees (players) would have of course had the ability for input on these plans.
    Sooooooo, I would have to think that JG would have known:

    a) the plan re. How many games he would play
    b) how many he would play in a given block
    c) expectations per block
    d) media training (also instructions not to read anything into media or blogosphere hoopdedoo he may be aware of)

    Plus a million other things that my experience as a dumb truck driver can’t allow me to vocalize.

    Some of you seem to be reasonably well employed in top employment and could possibly confirm that large multi-million dollar businesses are not in that habit of keeping their employees in the dark. In fact they generally keep their employees well informed via COMMUNICATION.

    I doubt if JG is embarrassed as someone said above. This isn’t minor hockey where the dad of the worst player puts his son on the first line.

    Some of us need to grow up.

  • Greg

    The Flames early season Corsi numbers are worrying. I’m a #tankmode proponent, but that’s uncomfortably bad. Hopefully it corrects a bit over the next while because being outshot 12 shots a game is not indicative of a team that just needs a few good prospects to develop.

  • Slowmo

    Come on Guys this is a team expected to be a bottom team for the next few yrs and yes ealy in the season it has been kinda of a slow start and I really don’t give a flying frack I enjoy watching these young guys still kick the tare out of nemesis in the North .Even thought they were sorely out shot they still took some names and as far as Im concerned they embarrassed them and made my week. I mean really every one is going to sit here and play coach and manager this early JG sat out Oh no the world has ended as we know it or perhaps Hartley thought lets let him just watch for a game or 2 and give him some breathing room lets face it is a 82 game season. give the team a break and let them play some hockey I for 1 enjoy how they seem to put a scare ever night into the teams they play that think there going to run over them and at the end are scrambling just to keep this so called bottom feeder team from ripping the a new you know what.