Another week, another series of “Against All Odds” wins for your Calgary Flames (actually, in reality there was just one because the Leafs are hilariously bad and the victory over that hapless bunch of sucks was about as dominant a win as we’ve seen all year, and then reality kinda caught up to the Flaming C in a loss to the surging Colorado Avalanche who are the worst and are bad and need to be stopped)
While these wins are super, SUPER fun, it does have a lot of fans and outside observers beginning to fall prey to confirmation bias, in which the dramatic wins have people believing that this team is good despite being outplayed and consistently outpossessed. (be honest, you wouldn’t have been surprised if this were real)
This is, of course, crazy, but when you boil it down, the very nature of professional sports is downright asinine, so you’ll forgive fans if they’re willing to look past some pretty glaring truths.
I’m not here to re-open the debate, just to point out that this week was highlighted by discussion surrounding the Flames from all over the league, about when the other shoe is going to drop, and the resulting perceived but not really real war between stats advocates and the normies. It got stupid and no one liked it, and we really need to stop arguing over it (mostly because stats nerds won, just accept it).
Anyway, maybe we’re in need of a distraction from all of this, so here’s this week’s power rankings, which are the most serious piece of news you’ll read all week, so get your eyeholes all prepped now. Let’s ride.
20. Ondrej Pavelec
Sometimes, I’m told, when you’re in the throes of a playoff race, you need a bit of luck. Typically they mean you need luck to befall your own team in the games they play in, but sometimes a little external happenstance is beneficial too. Perhaps, say, some shitty goaltending by a shitty goaltender playing for a team who is very much in the same race as the local heroes, but let’s not get too specific here.
Seriously though, this is some good stuff. Thanks Pavs! You make 3.75 million a year to do this stuff.
did you even try at all pic.twitter.com/kjsR4vK6J0
— Steph (@myregularface) March 11, 2015
I can seriously watch this forever and not get bored.
19. David Jones
David Jones had 2 points on Saturday against his former squad, and that’s great, but he’s really just here because we need some filler and he’s number 19 slotting in at number 19, and isn’t that kinda neat?
I know, it isn’t at all, but here we are.
18. Matt Stajan
Same thing really, except Matty Franchise had a pretty decent week, scoring 2 crucial goals against the Ducks (Stajan was one of three players to record a shot on Anaheim in the early week win), and that’s basically all he did.
I promise I’m not phoning these rankings in this week, but if at this point you’re skeptical, well I can understand that.
17. Dan Tencer
Flames season about to start. Do you have your rearview mirrors dusted off, Oilers fans?
— Dan Tencer (@dantencer) January 20, 2013
Dan Tencer left the radio game some time ago and is now a Director of Scouting with the Saskatoon Blades these day (fucking SOMEHOW), but this now 2+ year old tweet has been my most favourite thing in the world since the second he posted it. It’s really gotten me through some tough times, and with the Oilers being eliminated from the playoffs already (yet again!) while the Flames remain well in the thick of things, I feel like the irony here is extra juicy.
Those mirrors are still real dusty, Dan.
16. Dennis Wideman
Wideman has been PRETTY OKAY of late, despite still being as defensively sound as empty cans of RAID, but with three assists against the Ducks, he’s been pulling his weight. Which is easy to do because he’s not Phil Kessel (fat jokes! This is what it’s come to)
Wideman makes the list this week though, mostly just for this setup on a Jiri Hudler goal against the Leafs (I cannot stress how hilarious the beatdown Calgary administered to Toronto was. I’m still chuckling)
15. Alex Tanguay
The creative winger continued his strong play all season, scoring 2 goals, including the uh, fluky snipe above against…wait, what? Tanguay isn’t on the Flames anymore?
This would explain why I feel so sad whenever he and Jarome Iginla score goals this season.
14. TJ Brodie
TJ added “Deryk is a butthead”
13. Drew Shore
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 14, 2015
Drew Shore scored his first goal as a Calgary Flame, and the team twitter account did their damnedest (and succeeded) to ruin the moment. Those guys are the worst, and need to be reprimanded pretty much at some point during every game, but congrats are in order to Drew Shore, who deserves better than what he got, that’s for Shore.
12. Rejean Lemelin
Reggie Lemelin took his spot between the pipes 507 times for the Flames (Calgary AND Atlanta) over 9 seasons with the franchise and sported a ghastly .858 save percentage, and while that is terrifying, Reggie gets a pass because it was mostly the 80s, and also, he always rocked a real badass mustache, which is more than any of us could ever hope to say, so show some respect.
The Flames throughout the 80s and 90s yearned for a goalie to steady things in the crease to help them realize their championship aspirations. Lemelin was not that goalie, and he has not been missed.
Although Karri Ramo did not have his strongest outing this past weekend against the Avs, he did give them every chance to win, and was instrumental in essentially stealing a win against the Ducks a few days prior. Unlike Lemelin, the Flames goaltending of late has been steady, reliable, and providing fans with a not unrealistic sense of confidence in the men at that position.
Jonas Hiller, for what it’s worth, is showing his value as well, because look at these goddamn pads
— Jordyn Marcellus (@jordynmarcellus) March 12, 2015
Is the Flames bizarrely improbably success and the unveiling of Scorch in the same year a coincidence? I think not.
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) March 9, 2015
100% yes. Even in death, Scorch continues to enrich the lives of Flames fans everywhere. RIP bud.
9. Leafs Bias
The Flames game is at 6? Just learn to stay up later, Toronto.
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 13, 2015
I don’t know who this team thinks they are, but the favourable treatment they get in this country has served them very well over the years, as of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the model of what a successful sports franchise should look like.
Anyway, your little plan backfired, and it’s because the Flames figured it out and countered with their own little tactical advantage:
— Terra (@Puckstar_) March 13, 2015
That is my favourite all time tweet.
8. Kris Russell
That is the funniest looking shot block I have ever seen.
Kris Russell had three assists against Anaheim, which is I guess good enough for a Top 10 finish. This seems like a fine time to tell all of you still reading this to call your mother. She misses you. And you probably owe her money, but she’ll never bring it up.
7. The Red Mile
Look, this is premature, but people are talking about it, and I can’t help but get caught up in the frenzy as well, seeing as there seems to be lingering feelings surrounding this iteration of the Flames that harken us back to some pretty palpable memories of the 2004 squad who captured our hearts.
I don’t know what the short term holds for the Flames, but I remember 2004, and if the Flames claw their way into the postseason, that shit is going to be bananas, and we are all going to die there, even though it will be a large, peaceful party yet again, because we are not Edmonton or Vancouver.
(just a heads up, Kiprusoff is gone, so expect shirts to remain on, you pervs)
6. Douglas Murray
If you had to choose a name that would give you a heart attack if you ever heard it uttered within breathing difference of the Calgary Flames, there’s a good chance that that name would have been Douglas Murray (barring a return from Anders Eriksson, this is the correct answer)
After the news surfaced that the Swedish statue had signed a pro tryout with the club, jaws across the city collectively dropped, as with the trade deadline having come and gone, so too did the assumption that awful players could come into this and ruin everything.
Which is essentially what will happen if Doug Murray ends up with even ten seconds of ice, which is probably still somehow going to happen, so brace yourselves.
Murray did have that one good season back in never, so maybe there’s something left to rekindle.
5. The Nashville Predators
The Flames dropped a fairly pivotal matchup against the Avalanche on Saturday night, and the negative results stemming from that loss could have been compounded with a win from the Los Angeles Kings, who remain nipping at the Flames heels for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
Fortunately, thanks to some third period heroics from Craig Smith and Viktor Stalberg, the truest of the true snipers in the game, the Predators dealt the Kings a loss that kept Calgary clinging so ominously to a valuable playoff spot.
So the Perds now forever have a special place in my heart. Thanks guys! (I still don’t care for Mike Fisher)
4. Jiri Hudler
— Manuél ReTuite (@Whoabot) November 1, 2014
Of late, I’ve been referring to the Gaudreau – Monahan – Hudler line as a single entity simply known as Hudreaunahan, and that hasn’t changed, but events this week has forced my hand and I had to break them up this week, but the team kept them all together, which is the important factor, because it continues to work.
Prior to Saturday’s loss against the Avs, Hudler had points in 6 straight, being a TWO point per game player in that span.
Small sample size for that level of production, but Hudler is a valuable player to the Flames right now, and that contract he signed that was panned by so many so long ago seems to have really bit us all in the ass, but in the best way possible. Hudler is a boss.
3. Sean Monahan
All Sean Monahan does is score goals and put product in his hair to make it perfect seemingly all the time.
Monahan seems poised to score 30 goals this season, and boy, is it going to be fun trying to sign he and Johnny Gaudreau to contract extensions at the same time. Good thing the cap room is there!
2. Johnny Hockey
Speaking of Gaudreau, the diminuitive Flames winger scored his 50th and 51st points this past week, which tops Jarome Iginla as far as rookie scoring for the Flames goes.
Which is pretty terrific, and if Gaudreau is able to replicate more of the kind of offensive output Iggy put up during his days capturing the hearts of Flames fans, we have a potential new franchise player in the mix.
But Johnny, don’t you EVER try to outperform Iggy. Have you no sense of propriety? #IggyForever
1. Mikael Backlund
In weeks past, I joked about how Mikael Backlund is not a very strong player, in order to do my part to help soften expectations about how big his next contract negotiation is going to be.
Well I can’t do that anymore. Backlund is too good and it’s asinine that this team hasn’t extended him long term yet. Watching him week in and week out should be really illuminating to the head office, but as far as I know, there’s been little in the way of progress as far as getting him signed.
Would be nice to see someone in the media ask how the process is going at least, but hey, why should we expect those guys to do their job.
If you need to know one thing, know this:
Backlund is the best player in the league, and you can quote me on that
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 12, 2015