Help Me Help You


It’s the dregs of the offseason, friends, and as you know, that means content is coming at a premium. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but short of inventing a real, working time machine, there’s really sweet bippy any of us can do about it.

So while I do have a lot of material stored inside the cavernous depths of this dull, otherwise empty brain, I thought it would be a good idea to give you, the listless, dead inside jerks who read our work and we love so much an opportunity to get their say. Because what good are we if we don’t have you around to read our words (actually incredibly good, you’ll just have to believe me on that one)

Which is what I’m doing today. Give me suggestions in the comments section for what you would like to see me write about as we try to fill the time during the periods of the day where we would otherwise have to be doing work, and I’ll see what I can do about it.

Ground Rules

  1. I accept bribes
  2. The limitations here are that the topic should be something along the lines of a thing I lknow about and can write. For while I’m willing to do research on any given topic, I’m just not very good at it.
  3. It should probably be at least marginally related to your Calgary Flames.
  4. I don’t have the ability to get naked pictures of Joni Ortio (yet)
  5. I can probably get you Bearcat Murray nudes
  6. As far as what I choose to write about based on your suggestions, I’ll pick what I would consider the most interesting, unless there seems to be a theme that stands out as pretty popular among the whole lot of you. Hell, if there’s a lot of interesting ideas, I’ll probably tackle a couple. OR MORE. 
  7. (probably not more)
  8. as far as #fancystats go, please remember that this is not my field of expertise. I suppose I could convince say a Kent or a Justin to take a look at something you have a burning desire to read about, or I can attempt to tackle it myself, but please keep rule #2 in mind.

I think that’s it. Please remember rule #1. Otherwise, get your thinking caps on and let me totally twist and ruin your incredibly good idea.


    • Something along the same lines…. We all assume choosing the BPA at the draft is the best way to go, but in reality ti never turns out that way after everything is said and done. Kids progress at different rates, accidents happen and well, we just don’t really KNOW what is the “best”. Let’s look at this from two different perspectives.

      First look back at the last 10 years of say, top 10 picks and see who turned out the best vis a vis Stanley Cups? Also include non-Top 10’ers who’ve won at least 1 SC. What does this say about our ability to project BPA, prospect growth and progression, and what is REALLY KEY to get a SC? Even though many THINK Sidney Crosby is the best player out there, he’s only won 1 SC. Others have done much better, and what does this say about our pointing stats evaluations and BPA?

      Second, let’s look at the 2015 draft class, Top 10+ and take an out-of-the-box view of them from the perspective of looking back? Does that change our view?

      Hopefully we’ll see that other things than pointing stats are key to success that might change or thinking from let’s take pointing stats and take the least RISKY pick…

        • You can’t evaluate individual players by Stanley Cups. Full stop. There’s way too much out of a player’s control when it comes to winning a cup to consider that a meaningful measure of a guy’s ability.

          • Tommynotsohuge

            I guess I’m focusing less on ability (certainly individual ability) and more on success(team & individual success), with the secondary focus on what’s needed for that same success?

          • The Last Big Bear

            For a “new stats” type of guy, i.e. one pushing the envelope to look at the game, and measure the game through different eyes (re: advanced stats), I’m surprised you so easily put out the standard line that you can’t evaluate players by SC’s. I dare you to challenge yourself and look at it differently.

            Although I totally agree this is a non-standard way of rating players, and I also agree that there are so many variables (“inches”) that go into a SC championship, I disagree that winning SC’s is not a significant measure of a player (as well as a team…) and his career. The SC is the pinnacle of the sport, and no matter how “great” a player is, a career without a SC is lessened because of it.

            No, you might say, look at Iginla, a great player but no SC… he did everything he could to win but the team wasn’t there. Well, maybe yes, but maybe the insistence (selfishness?… wrong-thinking?…) on finding someone to play with him rather than upgrading 3-4 other areas might have made the difference? Or Crosby/Malkin and their salaries, justified (by points) sure, but crippling the rest of the team? Since it is a team game, which is the crux of your argument, isn’t it the player that benefits the team the most the greatest “team” player?

            Or another way to look at it from the typical (counting points perspective): Taylor Hall is the “best” LW in hockey according to points, but he’s won nothing. Toews and Getzlaff have both won 2 SCs, but each are down the list of points. There are some players with 4,5+ SCs apiece. Is it JUST the great team or are there other factors that perhaps we should think about? Look at Flames history, supposedly one of the Flames worst-ever trades was sending away Brett Hull, but the defenseman back turned out to be VITAL to our one and only SC. How about the agitator effect, thinking back on Claude Lemieux (4 SCs), or whoever it was(multiple players, different teams) the past couple of years that was able to agitate Crosby so totally that he got COMPLETELY off his game and lost it several times in the playoffs, with predictable team results? So who’s the greater player, the one who can put up the numbers in the regular season, or the one who can shut those same points down when it really counts?

            I guess along the same lines is looking at which position is the most vital? For instance who’s better(more successful), Crosby or Doughty?

            I think there IS something to be said for SC wins and at least by looking at it and discussing it we can perhaps get a truer view of what it REALLY takes to bring home the SC. That’s my purpose, when looking at next year’s draft, which everyone is drooling over for the 1st overall pick (McDavid), would the Flames be better served by someone else but trapped by the “BPA” narrative? Heck, you only have to look at the Oilers to see that the BPA on draft day, with 3 consecutive BPAs probably isn’t the actual BPA for the team down the road to realize that.

            I’d like to see the numbers to see IF there is a correlation and something we can learn from it. Doing so would perhaps help us this next year from getting too wrapped up in losing to win (tanking) as well as help in figuring out WHICH of our promising prospects is going to make the BEST TEAM several years down the road.

          • JC333

            I don’t, thats the point. I just know his success. I guess that’s the potential value in looking at it and contemplating the answer. Also, his value has nothing to do with others’ value. Obviously there were lots of excellent players on that team.

          • I understand, but your case isn’t really built on anything but supposition and assumptions.

            I wrote about the “search for winners” at Puck Daddy back in the day. The tendency to assume winners win because of some special attribute (beyond talent and opportunity of course) is a mix of the fundamental attribution error and the just world hypothesis. These natural biases make us think that things that happen to people are necessarily representative of “who they are” (rather than a subject of circumstances) and that people naturally get what they deserve. Neither of these things are consistently or universally true. Nobody controls everything all the time and the world isn’t always a fair place.

            In addition, you can’t correlate Stanley cup wins with anything. Only one cup is won per year. Even if you go back 20+ years, it’s a pathetically small sample size. The other issue is: only one team each season can possibly win the cup, which necessarily excludes 95% of the league, many of whom are obviously great players.

            On top of that, even the best players are only on the ice for a third of every game, give or take. Skaters don’t coach the team, they can’t stop the puck, they don’t set the lines, they can’t call penalties and they don’t determine how many guys on the roster are injured.

            I get why you are skeptical of talking about the BPA at the draft (since outside of a few guys we’re never really sure who that is at the time), but you aren’t going to find something by trying to look at something as rare and as team dependent as a cup win. We need more info from the player at or before he’s drafted to determine what is predictive of future success, which we’d then try to correlate with his results at the NHL level. Trying to map cup wins some years down the road to a draft season or two would be utterly fruitless.

          • 25cent

            I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written here at all Kent, but how about someone like Nieuwendyk with 3 Cups on 3 different teams? Or Patrick Roy? Certain guys just seem to be winners, regardless of who they’re playing for (within reason and I’ll grant you that the goalie position is special – not just in hockey, but in all of sports). In other words, while you can’t per se hold it against a guy who never won a Cup, there does seem to be a level of credit that has to go towards players who have won multiple Cups. I’d be interested in hearing your take on that.

          • cunning_linguist

            Supposition and assumptions, yes, but the same is true with lots of other things, e.g. Corsi. How much of that stat really is due to the specific player, versus the teammates, opposition and etc. And how much importance do we put on it? As an example, last year Backlund (whom I like…) would often skate into the zone , especially near the end of a shift, and flick a weak shot at the goalie that I probably could have stopped. That counts for his Corsi but really says nothing about his ability other than perhaps that he listens to his Agent that he needs to feather his stats(?). Monahan on the other hand, picked his spots and only shot when he had a very good chance. Corsi not so great, shooting % much higher….better?

            Agree with your second point to some degree, however I would say that some players ARE more successful than others (otherwise look identical) so I think there are “intangibles” that are very important, hard to quantity much less identify that each team needs to be successful.

            Third point can’t agree. There IS only 1 SC per year, but the road to the cup is 16 wins, one of the most gruelling, longest, physically taxing and difficult tasks in all major sports. Football, 3 games? Soccer? Basketball…OK, similar. Baseball, much easier. Even so its a relatively small sample size but certainly much more than 1 SC per year.

            Agree with all the fourth points. However the issue is not what you can’t control, but what you can. What are you able to do when you have the opportunity? What influence do you have on your teammates, either positively or negatively? I believe a player that can positively impact both of those factors is better than one that only influences one or none.

            With BPA I guess the main point would be that best player-wise versus best team-wise are two separate things. The second is more important.

          • KH44

            “Third point can’t agree. There IS only 1 SC per year, but the road to the cup is 16 wins, one of the most gruelling, longest, physically taxing and difficult tasks in all major sports. Football, 3 games? Soccer? Basketball…OK, similar. Baseball, much easier. Even so its a relatively small sample size but certainly much more than 1 SC per year.”

            So does that mean you think there are more than 1 Stanley Cups given out every year? Or are you changing your thinking and saying series wins suggest how good a player is? Individual playoff games won? Games participated in?

          • 25cent

            Even though the Flames lost in ’04, I guarantee you Iginla contributed more to that run than Brandon Bollig did to the Blackhawks’ cup the other year. But your valuation punishes Iginla simply because his team (which barely made the playoffs) happened to lose in game 7 against the President’s Trophy runners-up, and rewards Bollig for playing the fewest minutes per game on the NHL’s best team.

            I don’t know man. Any measure by which Bollig is considered irrefutably superior to Jarome Iginla is one to openly scoff at in my book.

          • beloch

            Agree in that comparison, and any in a straight-up SC/no SC comparison. I was thinking more in terms of a comparison of otherwise essentially comparable players (vis a vis points) one with a SC, one without. How about Iginla vs Lecavalier? Not sure of the points comparison, but both team leaders and exceptional LT players.

            Also think multiple SCs on different teams is saying something, as another poster has mentioned re: Nieuwendyk. Or how about another, Gretzky (Oilers only SCs) versus Messier (SCs: Oilers w/Gretzky, Oilers wo/Gretzky, NYR)?

  • BitGeek

    Here’s a couple of article ideas:

    1) A breakdown of the leagues worst to best coaches

    2) a commentary on the current goal song for the Flames

    3) Which retired (or out of work goalie) would make a good replacement goalie coach for the Flames?

    4) If the Flames were in the Eastern Conference where would they finish and why? Or which of the Eastern conference teams would have the best chance in the Western Conference.

    5) A prediction on how long it will be before a Canadian team wins the cup. Who is best positioned to win among the Canadian teams.

  • KH44

    Wild speculation! Predict some lineups this year, next year, 2, 3 years.

    Or, I just read on twitter the Flames have spent the least money and cap space on forwards in the entire NHL, but we are 8th on defence and 9th for goaltending. Maybe do something with that? I see a bunch of different avenues that could take, specifically evaluating those cores, or how the money and cap space will change in the next couple years.

    Wild speculation though. Think on it.

  • Greg

    Probably more a #fancystats request then for you, but I’d love to see a breakdown of predictions for each team in the league next season. Something that analyzes all the players added and removed from the roster, how that’s likely to affect their shots, goals, and erego point totals. Of course, it would culminate in an in depth analysis of the flames pluses and minuses (like Hiller’s save percentage should add 4 wins, Cammy’s missing goals cost X wins, etc) and then a final summary showing the overall #fancystats predicted standings. As best they can anyway.

    The crux of it would obviously be to see just how likely the flames are to finish in a certain spot (ie how likely is a McEichel selection).

    Could be a pretty easy way to cobble together a 30 part series that can fill the whole month of August, and be repeatedly annually, which would be interesting to see as the flames start crawling back to the playoffs in future years.

  • beloch
    • Go hard-boiled and write a story about your quest to unmask the man behind @boringmonahan and the dark pits of iniquity it takes you to.
    • Write a fictional encounter between Clint Malarchuk and John Tortorella at Gary Bettman’s annual summer barbecue.
    • Write a primer on “How to piss off Canucks fans” because, hey, that’s always fun!
    • Compare Hakan Loob to every currently serving Flame to see if any are worthy.
    • Write an advice column aimed at Rob Ford in the pen of Brian McGrattan.
  • Lordmork

    I always enjoy seeing FN writers speculate wildly. I’d love to see end-of-season predictions. Similarly, I can rarely get enough AHL news, so I’d love to see projections about the baby flames, maybe some previews of their opposition, their expected lineup, whatever.

    Also, I’d read Calgary Flames fan fiction. Anything to fill the empty hollows of my soul.

  • RedMan

    Flames appear to be positioning themselves for a push in two years, at which point they will have a stable of young drafted players and oodles of cap space…

    so… what talent will be UFA or RFA in 2 years, and what will the Flames do to load up and kick a$$?

  • Lordmork

    Dome Challenge: wash down mini donuts with dome beers and see how long it takes you to throw up. Write about your experience so we can all laugh.

    You’ll have to be able to access said food, but I’m sure that can be arranged…