Toilet Thoughts: Hartley, stuff, and the PK systems project

toiletheader

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Toilet Thoughts as we’ve moved from Friday to an early week two-flusher. Management felt the alliteration of Tuesday Toilet Thoughts sounded better. We’re not going to waste time, so sit on that pearly throne and hold on for dear life.

1. Bob Hartley Thoughts

I’m not the biggest Bob Hartley fan, it’s been well documented. Most of which stems from the inability to be a truly above-average coach. Above-average in the sense that you see him semi-seamlessly adjust and not panic. Of course we know that not to be true, as he often blenders lines hoping for a glimmer of hope when panic sets in. It’s the same old, same old and it’s incredibly frustrating to observe. More so than watching them lose.

One of the shortcomings in this team really shows in Hartley’s lack of growth. Sure he won a trophy for being the best coach for riding those wild numbers. Sure the hype of Hartley taking the team to the post-season is old news, but it’s fodder for Hartley supporters regularly. Just like his Jack Adams, which should not absolve him of criticism, which many think it does. As mentioned countless times that it’s nearly deafening, all of these issues are systemic of the lack of actual systems being used.

Apparently Ramo was Hartley’s guy: he’s gone now. Logically a big trade that shakes up the room is next, if Treliving has the cojones to do it. But hey, if that happens, and the team still struggles because of the same old, same old then we know what’s next. Let’s hope if it happens, it’s after a quality coach like Bruce Boudreau is available.

2. I have no idea what to make of this

This could have been a loaded question or he was baited into it, though it might be one of the worst things to say when your team is performing below expectations. There is no chance either of these players individually or collectively would fix this issues plaguing this team. This quote just showcases the enamored feelings he has towards these types of players.

If only everyone wanted it more, had more compete, and had more heart. Maybe everyone can keep blaming Mikael Backlund in the comments for this, god knows folks love blaming him for everything.

3. Colborne, Smid, and Bollig – *fart sound*

Speaking of not so talented players that Hartley loves, let’s talk about this trio. 

So Joe Colborne misses plenty of time already with an injury and comes back to score an important goal. Good for him, it’s incredibly Colborne of him to do so given his knack for doing the opposite of productive. It’s hard to understand Hartley’s unhealthy obsession with trying to make Colborne a “thing”. Colborne does small amounts of things well, but beyond being a big local boy he is nothing more than your average bottom-six forward.

All of which is increasingly dumbfounding with the volume of cheaper and better options for the bottom six long term. It’s cringe-inducing to consider him getting a contract next summer with the promising depth in the organization.

Ladislav Smid’s career is sad at this point; mostly he isn’t very good, even for replacement level standards. I don’t understand the choice of using him over Jakub Nakladal, the gentleman who switched places with Brett Kulak. Everything we know about Nakladal justifies he is at least a bottom-pairing defenseman which should give him a chance. 

Through three games, Smid has a combined 30:59 of ice time. In that time he’s been a 46.9% CF defenseman, propped up with whatever time he gets with Dougie Hamilton. Whereas he hasn’t been an utter tire fire, he isn’t worth playing for the limited impact he provides. That is to say, Nakladal would potentially be a better option, given he can skate and move the puck better than Smid.

Finally, Brandon Bollig, my favourite former child-actor. I have no idea how you are able to slot into this lineup but I applaud you for being given the chance to actively contribute to this team’s demise. As I sit here on my toilet, legs falling asleep, I cannot help but question whether or not you’re a sleeper agent from OilersNation hellbent on destroying this team.

4. The Stretch Pass Sucks

This tweet sums up every fan’s frustrating with this gimmick, an outdated one that is failing to work. The entire blueline is guilty of attempting this, though often a common part of Russell’s repertoire it has become overly painful to watch.

When it fails (and boy does it ever), it’s either picked off in two spots: the blueline of the defensive zone or the neutral zone. When it’s picked off, it often leads to zone entries against and subsequent shelling. When it misses, it results in an icing call.

The whole issue with this pass further enforces the lack structure in any breakout strategy and the offensive system. The entire team operates on a very basic and predictable on-the-rush attack for the most part. 

On the rush scoring was the linchpin in the top line’s success last year. Keep in mind it’s noticeable the lucky bounces are few and far between with it and the strategy. Abandoning it and building a breakout of short, smart passes with intelligent puck support would work a lot better. Less individual play, more team-based systems.

5. PK Systems Project Update

I don’t have much to share now besides one thing that I’ve been working on for a few days now: the visualizations element. One of the biggest things in this project was simply studying the systems aspect of the penalty kill. The further I studied game footage and plotted shot attempt data, the more I noticed how important passing became. Again, I was sitting on the toilet when the initial idea of plotting passing location data came to me. The problem with doing this is it’s incredibly time consuming. One penalty kill took me about 30 minutes of work, but what came of it was something really interesting:

PKSample

Every ‘x‘ is a player passing and receiving the puck. The line between the markers are successful passes completed on the power play of the opposing team. The arrow pointing away from an ‘x‘ indicates a player that received a pass and moved to the tip of the arrow to shoot or pass. 

Letter markers indicate a shot, missed shot, blocked shot, and successful clean zone entry against. The shaded line indicates a shot attempt that was blocked. Since then, I’ve removed that and plotted blocked shots at the point of the shot attempt. What we can gather from this single PK against Vancouver are a few simple things:

  • The Canucks did a lot of puck cycling and passing on one side of the ice, a side predominately seeing Kris Russell and a few others in this game.
  • The Canucks created a lot of successful passes to keep their PP working, looking to move players around to create shooting lanes. A smart decision given existing knowledge of the Flames’ system.
  • Calgary clogs up the middle of the ice, as their entire system on a high-level view is protecting the middle. It has no real inherent strengths at this point besides the notion of survival and lucky breaks.

It’s not perfect but it does allow me to create some interesting metrics and stats for this project. A few I had been considering are Successful Passes Against/60 or SPA60, Zone Entries Against/60 or ZA/60, and a few others I’m considering tracking.

The passing plots may eventually improve to a point where I track player numbers in their location instead. Right now I’m hoping to find some semblance of value in this that might result in me sharing my findings at the Vancouver Hockey Analytics Conference in April.

As always, any feedback here or on Twitter would be great on flushing this out further.

    • McRib

      Nope, it’s wild. If the Flames make a move to shake things up Kris Russell should be it there are still some Eastern Conference Teams that haven’t seen him yet this year!! He actually would have decent trade value because “he blocks shots”, although he hasn’t done as much of that this season (as teams know and are passing/skating around him).

        • McRib

          A willingness to block shots is great, but not the amount he has to block it is a major indicator he is constantly being out played and hemmed in his own zone… Credit to him tough he does it very well, but what else does he do well?? He can’t pass, he constantly gets out muscled and has stopped even trying to play offence this year. He is now a 0 Point, -12, 5’10” “Shutdown Defender”…. Anyway last time I talk about Russell this year, he is what he is everyone loves him because “he is a good old Alberta boy” who was good in Junior. I would just rather see a Kulak playing now who has a bright future with us, but if we continue to lose like we have maybe it’s good to keep young players away.

          • clib542

            A willingness to block shots is dumb. Risking your health for no gain to the team.

            When a shot is taken, it can result in either a shot on goal (goal/save), missed shot or it gets blocked.

            So far this year when the Flames have blocked a shot,

            36.5% of the time the next event was the opponent taking another shot.

            When the Flames have failed to block the shot,

            35.6% of the time the next event was the opponent taking another shot.

            Really no difference there.

            If you happen to get in the way of a shot.. great, otherwise let your goalie make the save

          • ClayBort

            It’s a micro vs macro thing kind of like faceoffs. The games best players will block a shot if they have to. They just rarely find themselves in the situation where they have to block a shot.

            Blocked shots do have value, BUT in the right context. Our dmen may occasionally save a sure goal on an open net, but our opposition’s dmen probably do it just as much so it’s a wash at the end of the day.

            I don’t really buy the whole shot blocking “willingness” argument. These guys are all pros that worked extremely hard to get there. Every one of them would block a shot to win a game. The good ones just don’t usually have to.

          • clib542

            yes, if it directly saves a goal, great, there’s value there. Most of the time, you have no idea if it did or not. The problem is where blocking shots have been glorified and praised by the media or even by the coaches to the point where the player is looking to try and block everything. I’d rather have the goalie make the save and have the players in position to move the puck if there is a rebound.

          • ClayBort

            Absolutely, we are on the same page.

            A goaltender:
            A. Is more likely to get in front of the puck.
            B. Is more likely to control the rebound, ESPECIALLY if he can see the puck.

            The only other shot blocks to commend are the ones where you have a guy like Jooris lay down when Ovi is set up for a one timer on the powerplay or something (or similar). They don’t obstruct view, and it’s in a situation where the goalie may only have a .750 save percentage (home plate). Taking away the bottom of the ice might bump the probability of a block/save to .850.

            But again, it’s hair splitting to be sure. This could be maybe a point in the standings? Throw it into the bucket with faceoffs as one of the stats that we can measure, but the benefit isn’t easily measureable, or necessarily tangible. You just value the block because you expect an NHLer to do it and it took guts, but it likely won’t create separation between teams.

          • clib542

            These numbers don’t include when a player goes to block a shot and the shot gets through.

            If after a shot (either on net, missed or blocked) the most common events are

            Another shot against
            Whistle
            Puck Battle in defensive zone
            Puck Battle in neutral/offensive zone

            Wouldn’t the obvious plan be to reduce the most common event (which also happens to be the most important one)?

  • Graham

    The Flames are notorious for slow starts, but this is one of the slowest yet, and to be honest, they’ve been getting the results that they deserve. The goal tending has been suspect, the d corp has been weak, and the forwards can’t score. No grit, no heart, no chemistry and no compete, sound familiar?
    Lots of vets on big contracts filling spots because we basically can’t trade them, and several d men on massive contracts not earning their keep. On the positive side they can’t really be as bad as they are playing, and typically the Flames wake up by about game twenty…

  • mattyc

    Mike, I’m gonna take issue with your Colborne taek:

    In aggregate the numbers are not pretty for ‘Big’ Joe — he gets territorially dominated, is kinda lousy in d zone coverage, and sometimes takes some big skates to nowhere. But there’s also hints that he can be a useful 3rd liner. Take last night for instance. Not only did get get 5 or 6 shots, he also had tons of chances, and had a couple shifts where he was able to cycle the puck all shift in the Islanders’ end. It happens rarely, but I think Hartley, Treliving et al. look at that and go, “maybe he can finally do that more consistently”. Unlike someone like Bollig or Smid (or maybe Raymond at this point), Colborne is still young enough that it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he can finally put it together. Longshot? sure, but there’s still some semblance of ‘potential’ that lots of the other options don’t have. We are still ‘rebuilding’ after all.

    • ClayBort

      I agree slotting Colborne ahead of Bollig and Smid. However, I temper my expectations of the player he can be by his bad hockey IQ. You get these flashes and think this guy can be a player. He then takes poorly timed, careless, dumb penalty or skates himself into a corner, or turns the puck over uncontested.

      My wife described him better than I ever could. She called him a dumb Labrador retriever at the dog park, running around with no apparent goal in mind, happy to be there, whose owner is unable to reign him in.

      • Going back to Matt’s post first:

        The problem I see primarily with Colborne is “well the potential is there, maybe we can squeeze it out” approach. Again and again, and again. He’ll be 26 at the end of January, his ceiling is very apparent now.

        So why, if we’re willing to part with inconsistent players (who make impacts at even strength and on the PK) then why is Colborne given additional opportunities?

        It’s just confusing.

        On Clay’s point,

        These are the concerns I have. It’s often headshaking decisions outweighing beneficial ones over a prolonged period. Small snippets are great but we know the body of work he has over a lockout shortened season and last season.

      • Parallex

        Yeah, that’s basically it with Colborne… great tools but no toolbox. He has flashes where you think that if he could do that all the time he’d be a great player, but all they end up being is flashes. In his third full year as a NHL player (and 6th as a professional) I just think that if it was going to come together it would have by now.

  • Derzie

    With the results so far, any player, coach or mascot can be called terrible and you wouldn’t be wrong (Johnny being the lone exception). I understand the consternation and screaming about stats but that includes Backlund just as much as Colborne or Hartley. This team is in last place.

  • beloch

    Smid was abominable in his first game back. I still think he should have started in the AHL. However, he was good on Sunday and actually quite decent last night too. On Sunday he played just under 11 minutes and last night he played 12 minutes, which is still on the light side, but he faced fairly tough zone starts both nights and finished with a CF% of 54.17% on Sunday and 52.0% on Monday. Even more astoundingly, he wasn’t the slowest guy on the ice! There was one play where Smid skated the puck out of the Flames end leaving a forechecker choking on dust in the process. Last season’s Smid could never have done that. He might actually be healthy. Given the problems the Flames are having with the stretch pass, it’s great to see any defender, even Smid, skate the puck out of the Flames zone.

    Honestly, Smid’s been better than I was expecting. Far better. The question is, was that first game just rust, and were the two games since then just flukes? Smid has been a popular whipping boy for Flames fans and media (myself included), but he’s honestly earned another game on the blueline. I am, quite frankly, shocked to find myself saying this, but it’s true.

  • Hartley definitely does some head scratching things at times. For example, Bennett and Monahan had close to the same stats in the same junior league and are both extremely high draft picks for Calgary. However, Monahan was sheltered in his first year and given a ton of O/Z starts. It appears that Bennett is being treated almost the exact opposite. We know what Monahan can do. Would it not make some sense to get Bennett some confidence offensively by giving him some of those offensive zone starts? I realize they are not exactly the same type of player, but this team needs some offense from more than just the first line.

      • KACaribou

        And becoming a blogger made that high school prediction a reality?

        You bloggers like to run down everyone but when someone points out even one thing like your [redacted – FN Mod (it was probably a compliment, but you will never know)], you become defensive.

        What kills me, is when some [redacted – FN Mod (probably continuing to say nice things about the article he took the time to read, and then comment on twice)] acts like they could quite easily do the job of an award-winning NHL coach and feels the need to run him down in the process; when in reality they [redacted – FN Mod (likely another compliment about how this article was interesting enough for him to read and comment twice, and have me waste time moderating, because it’s not like I don’t have a huge pile of marking that I should probably be working on instead of procrastinating)]. What a joke [like this post? – FN Mod].

        You can dish it out but can’t take it.

        FN Mod: this entire post was unnecessary, but I didn’t feel like deleting it all. Because then it was like it wasn’t there at all. Mistakes shouldn’t be covered up. They should be embraced. And learned from.

        Hey, FN, learn from this post. This is a bad post. Don’t make these posts.

          • KACaribou

            Touchy, touchy. Look at what you say about professional athletes and coaches who made something out of their lives.

            insignificant
            loser
            joke

            Three words that are nothing compared to what you people say about others.

            FN Mod: removed personal attack. You’re keeping me busy tonight.

        • ClayBort

          This article isn’t Mike presenting his resume, so this is not the time or place to challenge him as a person. If you have a problem with Mike or anyone here personally take it up with them in a different forum. If you want to present an argument against Mike’s views in the article, by all means do so.

          This content is free to you. You dont have to like it, or read it for that matter. If you are bothered enough to make it personal, I recommend you move on. There are a lot of people working hard to provide you with free content on the Flames.

          • To be honest,

            My coaching techniques helped a grade five girl’s hockey team capture a gold medal at a hockey tournament in Edmonton last year.

            I preached a possession game and they won their games with incredible supremacy.

            So yeah, I’m qualified to coach a team.

          • Christian Roatis

            I think what everyone is trying to say is don’t dish personal insults as support for your argument.

            If you disagree with Mike, feel free to comment why, but name calling and the bunch has no time on this blog.

          • KACaribou

            Christian I get that, and I agree to a point.
            But this self-proclaimed grade 5 girls hockey coach telling us all what Bob Hartley is doing wrong coaching the Flames is exactly what I said: “a joke”.
            Him saying he was voted in high school as “most likely to succeed” and that he bets “Bob Hartley wasn’t” is him implying he is more successful as a blogger than last season’s NHL coach of the year, and former Stanley Cup winning coach. Another word that was so offensive was “loser” which I can honestly apply to this reference.
            The third word was “insignificant” which is what I consider bloggers in comparison to people who are becoming historical figures like Coach Hartley who has his name on the Stanley Cup as well as the Jack Adams Award.
            Though it sounds like Hartley does not have his name on that grade 5 girls hockey tournament trophy Mike Fail coached.

          • KACaribou

            Kent do the same. Read what was said about Coach Hartley here from this blogger. If “Fail” wants to present this type of point of view, he should not be surprised by this type of response.

            Or perhaps what you are saying is: agree with me or go elsewhere?

            FN Mod: he is saying abide by the rule. There’s just one. One. It’s don’t be a dick. Don’t be a dick.

    • ClayBort

      The ol’ “could you do a better job” argument.

      This isn’t an argument that should be made. It’s a straw man. Mike isn’t trying to compare his expertise to Hartley. Hartley is in the 99th percentile of best hockey coaches in the world. Mike isn’t trying to take this truth away from him. Being in this 99th percentile doesn’t mean he can’t be one of the worst in NHL (he is by the way).

      I pointed out a few times that Hartley has a .498 p% during his tenure with the Flames. That is the 3rd worst tenure amongst active coaches. This is really bad, even when you consider some of the teams he had to work with. He won an award based on writer voting after riding some very lucky trends that were not the result of his coaching ability. Quenneville wins coach of the year if actual hockey people are involved in the selection.

      Here is the 2001 NHL Allstar team. Bourque, Blake, Forsberg, Hejduk, Roy, Tanguay, Sakic, Drury, Deadm…. oh wait, this is the roster Hartley was gifted in Colorado.

  • Second goal last night, Kris Russell trying to block a shot, redirected the puck and it went in the net. Bollig is just horrible. Costly penalties last night.

    We would see immediate improvements if Russell was traded and Bollig demoted to the ECHL.

    Colborne on the 4th line plz.

  • I’m not the biggest Hartley fan either, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily fair to say he is the reason the Flames aren’t playing good hockey (and frankly, didn’t play good hockey last year either).

    I think it’s just as possible that people in the blogosphere overrate the Flames roster. A couple great players and mediocre depth is how I would look at the team – I think the top line + Backlund as well as Gio-Brodie is great but I see a lot of people saying Hartley’s system just ‘fails’ without any real proof.

  • ronipedia

    Random thoughts on the PK project:

    I guess this seems more like an opposing team PP project than a PK project. The viz is great but it’s showing what the other team did. If the PK is the issue here my questions are more about how Calgary is preventing scoring chances. Are they retrieving the puck by takeaways, blocking shots and recovering, clearing rebounds, intercepting passes, and the like. When some lines in the plot end in xes but no shot, I’m wondering what happened?

    anyways thanks for working on that for us, Mike. We love you.

    On a semi-related note – last year the Flames were the least penalized team, which I think was generally regarded as a big help to their unlikely success. The year before that, the 1st full year Hartley was in charge, they were 3rd least. (huh!) This year so far: 15th. Will be interesting to see if that comes down as the season goes on. I wonder how repeatable that is, and how much influence the coach might have on that.

    Also semi-related: Colborne had the worst penalty differential on the team last year. Penalties are bad. #analysis

    Anyways I think Hartley has problems, but I don’t lay it all at his feet. If Hamilton can round into form and Brodie comes back that will be a big help.

    Plus apparently Treliving is gonna #TradeWideman for Steven Stamkos and then we’ll be all good.

    • This is only one part of the stuff I’ve been working on, or at least trying to put together. It’s going to have the same standard systems and play analysis to go through the PK side of things.

      I’ve been working on trying to something in puck recovery and other things that could pose additional value to everything too.

  • ronipedia

    Voluntarily reading a blog and then accusing the guy writing it of being a blogger seems kinda, well.

    semi-related: favourite trade rumour of the day is Hamilton for Phaneuf. No, not favourite, what’s the word? oh yeah. horrifying.

  • OKG

    FWIW, things are never so cut-and-dry as either side of a debate tends to view them.

    Is Russell a poor possession defenseman? Yes.
    Is Russell a liability on the ice? Against some opponents.
    Does Russell sometimes make individual plays that sometimes result in a rush going the other way and often a pretty goal? Yes.
    Is Russell a top 4D on a cup contender? He could be, in the right situation (which isn’t a pairing with Wideman).

    Likewise, Hartley has had post-season success at plenty of different levels. Memorial Cup. Calder Cup. Stanley Cup. Swiss League Championship. Guys with similar systems to Hartley have won Stanley Cup Championships. Carlyle in 2007. Thierren a game 7 away from it in 2008.

    “But those coaches had the horses to run their crappy system just like Bob had Sakic, Roy, Forsberg, Bourque, Blake, Foote, Tanguay, Drury etc” .

    Well, yeah. And Sutter has the horses to run his system in LA. And Quennville has the horses to run his system in Chicago. And Julien had the horses to run his in Boston.

    Does Hartley have the horses right now? I don’t think so. Brent Sutter had the Horses in New Jersey when he won a Stanley Cup and then looked inept in Calgary. Mike Keenan had the horses in New York when he won a Stanley Cup but he’s in the KHL now. Marc Crawford? Wow, man, it’s like every coach to win a cup before the Behind the Net era had all the horses.

    “But Bylsma won where Thierren couldn’t because possession”

    Bylsma beat the Red Wings in Game 7.
    Thierren lost to the Red Wings in Game 7.
    Game 7s can be coin flips.

    Bylsma also underperformed every year afterwards.

    “But Babcock is the GOAT coach!”

    And he’s led the Red Wings to a bunch of disappointing seasons since 08 with Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg.

    “Nice try sly guy, Scotty Bowman is the GOAT”

    And Hartley has actively claimed he learned a lot from watching Bowman. Hartley has actively claimed he hates the trap the old Devils used to play. The trap works, but does that mean every team needs to play the trap? Hartley’s got his preferences and they’re not necessarily the preferences of the CorsiBlogosphere.

    “But look at what McLellan’s already done up North! the Oilers are relevant!! Coaching changes everything.”

    McLellan, who is a Babcock protege, gave structure to a team that had terrible structure. The Oilers are still a worse 5v5 possession team than the Flames if the stats are to be trusted. And that’s an Oilers team, I hate to say, with more raw talent than the Flames especially at forward.

    “But Babcock has the Leafs at 4th best in possession!!!!!!!”

    And the Flames have more wins than them.

    “Yeah well the Hurricanes are 3rd best in possession AND they’ve got more wins than the Flames”

    The Hurricanes have played the Datsyuk-less Red Wings thrice. We only played them once and pretty much dominated the wings for all but a couple random power plays. They have one more win than us.

    “Speaking of the Red Wings, Blashill is a joke coach because Babcock had them at the top in possession and Blashill has them at the bottom”

    Maybe. Or Maybe, like Calgary, the Red Wings don’t have the horses to run Blashill’s system but did have the horses to run Babcock’s. The Flames’ system looked incredible when Brodie/Giordano/Backlund/Camalleri were out there. So incredible that they even had good Corsi – 71.0% 5v5 Corsi Close (10 goals for, 0 goals against).

    Wideman and Russell and Engelland and Smid are not the horses for Hartley’s system, but he’s made due with them. Now that Petry plays in Montreal, all of a sudden they’re a good possession team. Hamilton is coming from a system where defensemen don’t seem to do anything and Bergeron does everything and now he’s in Hartley’s system where defensemen play defense and centers don’t do everything.

    Ultimately, you can sometimes mask a bad team’s flaws with the right system. But systems don’t play the game, players do. The Providence Friars didn’t win last year because of Leaman’s trap, they won because Gillies, Gilmour, Jankowski and some other guys played great and bought into Leaman’s approach.

    Firing Hartley for implementing his system is dumb because a possession-oriented system might temporarily mask the lack of talent but talent still wins championships. We need better players especially in the top 6. If this is a bad season then so be it because we’re not competing for a cup until we have added to (Brodie/Giordano/Johnny)

    1) Dougie Hamilton developing into an effective and reliable NHL defenseman
    2) Someone emerging as a legitimately elite #1 Center.
    3) An NHL Winger who belongs on a top line and isn’t a midget.

    A better system won’t create these things. It’ll just mask the real flaws until they come back to bite you in the ass.

    Did we lose to the Ducks last year because of Hartley?
    No.
    Did we beat the Canucks last year because of Hartley?
    No.

    Players play the game.

    Have the Flames played short stretches of what looked like possession hockey this season?
    They have, as they have in the past – it’s not like Hartley wants to be constantly hemmed in. But the Flames’ roster is inherently flawed and Jon Cooper or Babcock or whomever won’t magically fix everything. More experience, more talent, less Bollig/Engelland/Colborne etc.

    “But Hartley plays Bollig/Engelland/Colborne/Russell etc”

    Hartley plays the players the management puts on the roster.

    “But he overplays them”

    You give him Duncan Keith instead of Kris Russell and he won’t overplay Russell.

    “But what about Bollig??”

    I hate Bollig too. But I guaruntee you the next coach will play Bollig too. And what about when Byron was a Flame? Hartley played him a ton even more than the average fan liked. And Byron was a Corsiblogosphere’s dream.

    “I hate stretch passes, we need a 5 man breakout”

    That’s what Rangers fans say too. Is Vigneault holding the Rangers back?
    That’s what Habs fans say too. Is Thierren holding the Habs back?

    “All those teams have great goaltending and no Cup”

    Or maybe all those systems make it seem like they have great goaltending because those systems prevent the kind of backdoor plays that other more aggressive systems do. When the Flames system is clicking we NEVER get beat backdoor.

    As for the Cup? No. But they really don’t have the pieces.

    “Anything Else to add to this wall of text?”

    Bylsma has the Buffalo Sabres at an over 50% possession team after being a historically 37.5% last year . Even with Jack Eichel and Bylsma, the Buffalo Sabres still suck at scoring goals.