Well, Citizens, the good news is that crazy things keep happening to the Flames on what has been truly a wild ride of a season, and that’s helping me complete these power rankings, and that’s good, because I’m certainly not creative enough to get through a week of rankings for, let’s say Winnipeg, where generally nothing interesting ever seems to happen.
(I just recoiled at the thought of being a Jets fan. Oh gag)
Anyway, I think this week’s piece will demonstrate both of these things: The Flames year is ridiculous and fun, and I am bad at this.
So read on, and remember, as always, the gravity and serious intent of this. It’s kind of a big deal.
20. Jay Feaster
Hey guys, maybe Jay Feaster deserves a bit of credit for the recent, uh, success of this Flames team. After all, his shrewd drafting and shitty trades restocked the prospects cupboards while also making this team so bad that those draft picks were of more value while simultaneously giving them a chance to succeed earlier in the system.
And well…maybe he’s a fan:
YEAH, Baby!!! Josh Jooris and newcomer Schlemko in SO! Love it! Great Waiver claim Brad!!! And Johnny Hockey scores AGAIN at the Gahden! ?
— Jay Feaster (@therealjfeaster) March 6, 2015
— Jay Feaster (@therealjfeaster) March 7, 2015
Are you KIDDING me!!! Four in the 3rd…9 of 14 on the road trip…WOW!!! Go #Flames Go!!! Safe travels home!
— Jay Feaster (@therealjfeaster) March 9, 2015
Thanks for all the support, Jay! Stay the fuck away from this team!
19. Mikael Backlund
Mikael Backlund is on a 5 game point streak, and that’s just not good enough. They should sign this guy long term to teach him a lesson.
Oh sure, you’d love to play for another team, wouldn’t you Mickis? WELL HAVE YOU EARNED IT???
(he really has, guys, my god, please sign him now forever thanks)
18. A New Arena
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) March 5, 2015
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the plans to put in a new non-saddled arena into Calgary, likely somewhere down near the Greyhound Station where there’s fresh C-Train access to horribly underwhelm you and a whole lot of land for development.
Well, that’s all swell, but if it’s going to include your hard earned tax dollar and my barely earned tax dollar, well, that’s not going to fly, according to Big Purple, Mayor Nenshi.
So it’ll probably happen at some point, but we’ll all be dead by then. In the meantime, most people complain about the Saddledome and how it never attracts the big time concerts because of the weight restrictions of the ceiling being unable to support elaborate setups. Personally, I love the Saddledome for that reason. Most of the acts that skip on Calgary for this reason already really suck, don’t you Bon Jovi?
17. Matt Stajan
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 7, 2015
Mr. Stajan returned to action this past week after the birth of his new son, Elliott, and by all accounts was just fine. In fact, he’s scored 2 points in the 2 games since he re-joined his team. But this is not what I want to talk about.
No, I’d rather highlight a growing concern, and it involves the above tweet.
Everyone knows that is not his nickname.
@NHLFlames WHY DO YOU GUYS STILL DO THIS? EVERYONE KNOWS HE’S MATTY FRANCHISE
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 7, 2015
I don’t know who this Bread Frathwaite guy is, but thankfully he sets the record straight.
The bigger picture here is that the Flames social media team is awful, and need to be stopped. The best thing about Mark Giordano getting injured is we no longer have to see them refer to him as #TheCaptain anymore.
OT solves nothing so we’re headed to a shootout! What a game, eh? #CGYvsOTT
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 9, 2015
You’re embarrassing yourselves.
16. Brandon Bollig
In only 3 games, the Flames rugged winger came a goal short of achieving a Gordie Howe hat trick, and boy wouldn’t that be a feather in his cap?
Yes, Bollig getting into a scrap against the Senators’ Mark Borowiecki was a real spirited affair, and a reminder that Bollig will do what it takes to help his team lose in a shootout. Love him or hate him, one thing we can all agree on when it comes to Brandon Bollig is he sure is on this team.
15. The Brier
First of all, curling is great and I will hear no discussion regarding the contrary. It’s a game of tact and precision, and the Brier is one of it’s marquee events.
The bonspiel brought cash dollars and intrigue into our city, and let Newfoundland be culturally relevant, if not but for a very short time.
It also sent your Calgary Flames on a lengthy road trip (one of many, it seems), and with dates in some very tough barns, one could argue this could have been the death knell for our heroes in their quest for postseason legitimacy.
But that two week road trip, man, apparently it was a blessing in disguise, as the team is now in the thick of the race as much as they’ve ever been, and while it would have been nice to see them make some Western rivals pay in terms of four point games, we’ll take whatever wins we can get, and brother, there were a lot of them.
Hopefully the Dome will be as friendly to them as basically everywhere that wasn’t New York was.
14. Dennis Wideman
(gif via @myregularface, like most gifs)
Dennis Wideman, generally, is not a very good defenseman, but what he makes up for in awful own end play is…well not much, but he does shoot a lot. Which is good. And he did score 4 points in the last week, and I think he blocked a shot or two.
The tandem of Wideman and Kris Russell is being treated as the de facto top pairing right now with Giordano on the shelf, and until Bob Hartley figures out how simple and effective it would be to put Brodie and David Schlemko together, it might stay that way.
13. Deryk Engelland
Speaking of Engelland, I don’t know how he’s done it, but he’s held onto that Brodie pairing and he’s not going to let it get past him (virtually the only scenario where that’s true).
But man, how does he do it?
TJ Brodie with Deryk Engelland 9:20 ES: 18.75% CF
TJ Brodie with Rafa Diaz 10:30 ES: 62.50% CF
ARE WE FUCKING DONE HERE YET?
— ari (@thirtyfourseven) March 9, 2015
TJ Brodie was 5.56% CF with Engelland 50% without please make it stop
— ari (@thirtyfourseven) March 6, 2015
If Brodie is elite, and he’s damn near close, Engelland is an all-star in suck.
12. Valeri Bure
The former Flames…center…winger? I don’t remember what Bure played, now owns a winery somewhere in the world with his wife, the Olsen Twins, and is a born again Christian. He was rugged and tough and an emotional leader for the Flames during the very successful Young Gunz era.
11. Joe Colborne
Gotta hand it to Joe Colborne. He’ll go stretches, long, long stretches of not being very good, and just wen you’re about done with him and lamenting the inability to trade him, he’ll score a goal and make you look like an asshole.
So thanks for that, Joe. They should definitely still trade you this summer.
Colborne is killing the Backlund line. Move Jones back up.
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) March 8, 2015
Just so we’re all aware that is DAVID JONES, and that’s how bad it has become.
You guys knew Scorch was going to be on here.
9. Mason Raymond
Remember when MayRay came back from his injury and we were all like “Mam this guy is being a real Setoguchi out there”? Yes you do. Well, not that he’s become a world beater, but since that time he’s morphed into the player we all more or less expected Raymond to be when he signed his new contract in the offseason. He’s been a role player with some speed and a bit of a scoring touch, and that’s all anyone ever wanted out of him.
Isn’t it nice to not be disappointed by a UFA signing?
8. Flame Broiled Whoppers
I’m not a Burger King guy myself, but man, who among us can resist a tasty Whopper? Look at it! All plump, and juicy. Why I’ll bet it’s as succulent as a slab of meat right off of Joni Ort…uh..I’ll be right back.
7. Drew Shore
We’re calling him Snookie now.
6. T.J. Brodie
Brodie, as you know, has seen his efficacy mopped up by a really absorbent towel in Deryk Engelland, but he keeps trying to spill his water everywhere and is doing so.
That is the world’s worst analogy, but that’s what added ice time for Deryk Engelland will do. He’s killing everyone.
Anyway, Brodie makes it work because he’s incredible. A lesser defenseman would be showing some minus possession rates right now, and that lesser defenseman is probably Corey Potter.
5. Karri Ramo/Also Jonas Hiller
Ya boy Karri was in tough against the Senators, but with superpal Jonas Hiller at the ready, the Flames salvaged a point out of a game they had no business being a part of until the third period.
If you want one main reason why the Flames road trip was so successful (and really, much of the positive results this season), it’s coming off the backs of the goaltenders. Neither of these guys are Carey Price, but it says a lot that the Flames could continue to push for wins even in the absence of their captain and best player, and you know it’s because Ramo and Hiller have been bailing out the team in times where Giordano would normally take the wheel.
Goalies rule, y’all.
4. Shot Blocking
Don’t know if you’ve heard anyone mention it, like, ever, but the Flames block a lot of shots. They block them in all scenarios. ALL Scenarios. Kris Russell was blocking shots on the Bruins’ shootout attempts the other night.
The shot blocking has been so powerful that maybe 90% of clueless people out there attribute it to the success of the Flames.
They need to stop doing that, because they’re being forced to block too many shots, which we all know is fully indicative of many, many red flags, and as much as Kris Russell probably loves blocking 15 shots in a game, he’d probably rather be less bruised and generating some point shots in the offensive zone.
But it was a big factor this week (allegedly), so it gets the #4 spot.
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 7, 2015
Yes, the top line continues to do top line things, being as effective as we all ever dreamed they could be back in those dark days before Bob Hartley ever figured out how obviously good it would be to have Sean Monahan center for Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau.
They’ve been, and I’m sorry to use this term, clutch, too:
Leading #Flames comeback charge? Hudler (13 G), Monahan (8 G) and Gaudreau (7G) leading scorers when team trailing.
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) March 9, 2015
That’s pretty good, I think!
Monahan also scored his first first period goal this past week too, so maybe they can try to start being effective before the team is losing. Maybe that’ll work!
like I’m rational and measured as the next guy, but at what point does FUCKING MAGIC become the only logical explanation here?
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 9, 2015
Apologies for the language, citizens, but the Flames had just come back from 4 down against the Senators and it was warranted to be incredulously profane.
Anyway, this is my reasoning for the Flames’ spoils over this past road swing. The numbers don’t bear it all out (I’m not going to be one of those idiots who dismisses the very TELLING data in favour of a hackneyed narrative here or there. All the data suggests the Flames have been beyond lucky)
Still, I’m willing to give some of the credit to SORCERY on this one, because this stretch of madness has been a ton of fun, and that allows for a little bit of intrigue and razzle dazzle.
And the Flames, true to form, are not going to tell us how they’re doing it.
1. As If There Were Anything Else
Thanks for coming out, Tuukka!