Oilers 7, Flames 3 post-game embers: Suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked

Slow starts: A death knell for playoff hopes?

Seven straight games of slow starts (per HNIC) and back-to-back games when the team randomly shows up when it’s too late. As much as we had hoped to see this team turning a corner mere weeks ago it feels like this is October all over again which, among many other stories, is quickly becoming concerning.

If this team has any aspirations of tasting postseason hockey this year then the ship needs to be righted. It starts – obviously – with the youth and young core regaining form. I’m looking at you Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett. 

While there is no denying Gaudreau is a special talent on the ice, he has struggled mightily this season finding consistency. Bennett, fresh off his healthy scratch versus the Nashville Predators, saw some unreasonable luck on the Anton Slepyshev goal and is still trying to find consistency. Sean Monahan, who has goals in five straight, is starting to resemble the Monahan we all know and love: a guy who scores goals.

It goes deeper than that with roster inconsistencies though. Alex Chiasson is a forward on this team, good in a role suited for him, floundering in a role he is in now. Troy Brouwer is not at the level you would expect and you have to hope he can offer more. The list goes on and on, and it’s getting tiresome.

Jyrki, my boy, why? Play Brett, seriously

Gulutzan is of course talking about this incident which might be one of the most glaring gaffes the Calgary Flames have given up all year:

Really, all Jyrki Jokipakka had to do was stay on his side to make it an evenly balanced situation. It was 100% avoidable. This of course doesn’t excuse Chad Johnson, but the situation was manageable if played correctly.

There was some promise – or hope to say the least – that Jokipakka could step up this season, take a leap forward, and cement himself as a NHL-caliber defenseman. Not an elite puck moving defenseman. Not a second-pairing, solid option defenseman. Just a defenseman that could play minutes for you while not being a complete liability.

Unfortunately for Jokipakka it’s hard to discern what actual value he provides in the lineup. You have to ask yourself what does he offer that Brett Kulak offers already. In 35 games this season, Jokipakka’s CF% at 5v5 is dead last among Flames defensemen at 44.62%. His FF% is 43.88% and his SF% is no better at 45.62%.

His GF%, which surprisingly stronger than expected than TJ Brodie’s 37.74%, is slowly eroding, too. Relative to his peers, you see even more startling results showing the drudges of playing him over Kulak (via Corsica Hockey):

Note – Positive stats in Rel.CF60 and Rel.CF% are good things, while a positive Rel.CA60/FA60/SA60 is a bad thing. Read as “Player x surrenders y more CA60 than his peers”.

relll

You can expect someone like Dougie Hamilton to generate more shots than his peers because that’s who he is. More often than not you’re a beneficiary of it because he creates more than he gives up. The concerns primarily lie with how limited Jokipakka’s usage is, but the results produced in that time are concerning. Virtually across the board the team doesn’t benefit from him on the ice.

Listen, Kulak may or may not be the answer, but at this point you need to play him. It’s not that Jokipakka gets any special teams time either. Virtually all of his minutes come at 5v5 which means you’re not impacting pairings or tandems in existing special teams roles.

Just stop being negligent and play Kulak so fans and the team know what he actually is. Minor adjustments might actually help right this ship.

Why matchups can matter: 3M vs McDavid line

There is no denying Connor McDavid will eventually become of the most electrifying men in the NHL. We can accept that, and managing McDavid every night is an opposing team’s nightmare. Not every team has the luxury the Flames have in having a bonafide shutdown line. McDavid vs Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and Matthew Tkachuk? 18.75% CF at 5v5. In that he only had two shots on net.

Hamilton and Mark Giordano were a big part of that too, playing 8:21 at 5v5 against McDavid and keeping him to 25% CF.

Here’s the thing: One lapse in a matchup at 5v5 resulted in McDavid scoring. Another lapse in a matchup led to substantial offensive zone time and McDavid drawing a penalty. If you give this kid rope, he will take all of it, and when you play him against an elite shutdown line like the 3M line you can get good things like this:

What is this goaltending?

It was incomprehensible to start Johnson last night. After being pulled for three goals on five shots you would have to hope Brian Elliott could fair a bit better. Only slightly, but even then it isn’t anything to be impressed with. It’s hard to actually decipher what is wrong in the crease for this team. Is it something in the water? Did those dastardly Shelbyvillains spike the water supply in Calgary?

Regardless, here we are, at what appears to be another crossroads after last year’s roaring tire fire in net. Who do you go back to? Is it Elliott’s time play consistent games or do you immediately go back to Johnson, again?

This, among other topics, is exhausting and there aren’t any easy answers.

  • Oilers fan here. We’ve taken a kicking from the Flames lately, so it’s good to give some back. However, I don’t think we should get too comfortable. The Flames are maybe just a year or two behind in their development, that’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just the way it is. Look no further than this past year’s draft picks and the roles they are playing on each team. Give it a year or two, the separation will be razor thin.

  • kittensandcookies

    God that was terrible.

    Full marks to the Oilers. They’re playing as a team, they have three legit lines going and they even have decent goaltending now.

    I make fun of them, but hey, they stopped being a dumpster fire. Only took them ten years.

    • HockeyRulz

      thanks, it was a painful ten years!

      I actually live in Calgary, and talking to all the flames fans over the years (rationally about the Teams problems) I now see from last night what the flames are missing. Toughness!

      Now for a long time you guys had Iggy and the boys, which provided some amazing toughness to the flames. Remember Iggy beating up Souray. Iggy was one tough SOB. Truly ask yourself who provides that now? Ask yourself what player from the flames scares the Oilers Now?

      Last night shown the Flames true problem. I am not trying to knock the flames, I am just saying the Truth.

      Think about it, Matthew Tkachuk gets crossed checked in the FACE and not one thing happens. Larsson cross checks Johnny after Johnny tries to slow foot him. And… nothing, plus lays a huge hit on him before that. nothing.

      Sorry to say but last night proved it, the Flames are wimps. They need to get tough. they have the skilled players, but don’t have the “support” players to allow their skilled assets to play their game.

    • someguy

      And what have the Flames done in those 10 years? I hardly think you have any bragging rights in this.

      At least the Oilers rebuilt themselves to the point of being a competitive team.

      All the Flames can hope for is their yearly tradition of squeaking into the playoffs only to be bounced out in the first round.

  • Armchair genius

    Calgary has 51 points in 49 games. The simple math is, there are 33 games remaining for them. Analysts are predicting 90-94 points to make the playoffs. That means they need 39-43 points to make it in. Let’s use 40 and 44 for easy math. They need to win 20-22 games or combination of wins and loser points the rest of the way, a pace they have held or kept all year! However, for all their hard work they can earn themselves a middling first round pick. This is why Calgary has been irrelevant for 20 years.

  • Darjohn10

    Watching the flames play last night was like watching my Oilers of previously years,with the exception of a slightly better d-core.They have a lot of talent but are missing that edge that they once had with players like Iggy ( yes irreplaceable), Robyn Regehr (Oilers assassin), they need to bring player like those two help this young core get that edge back,plus a goalie because the two the flames have are awful.

    I think they need a new coach (GG reminds me of Eakins which is not good) I think a great coach for the flames team if becomes available would be Claude Julien.

  • Burnward

    Wait. We’re surprised Oilers fans are boasting?

    They’ve been through a decade of what we saw last night. This is like hockey heaven to be respectable for them.

    Could you imagine years of being the laughingstock of the league?

  • Pond Hockey

    First of all get to the playoffs, get your arsholes handed to you by a smaller skilled team, and then come back and trump about the merits of being bigger.

  • cf89

    KenBone18 wrote:

    Elliot Vs Talbot – I’d take Elliot

    Gio Vs Larrson – I’d take Gio

    Johnny vs Ebs – I’d take Johnny

    Johnson vs Guastavson – I’d take Johson

    Monny vs Nuge – I’d take Monny.

    Tkachuk vs Pullijarvi – I’d take Tkachuk.

    Bennet vs Drasitil – I’d take Bennet.

    Jokipakka vs Benning – I’d take Jokipakka.

    Please tell me how the oilers have a better roster than the flames.

    (another post) from kenbone18:

    If they hired me I’d take the job.

    I’m smarter than Tre.

    First things first I’d lock up Tkachuk to a long term deal – I’d do a 6x 6 mill. Overpay in the first year but then it’d be a value contract from years 2-6.

    Then, I’d trade Johnson for Price.

    Then, I’d package Backlund or Ferlund and Weideman for either Doughty or Peitrangalo.

    Then I’d look at getting a solid skill RW for the 1st line that can finish – maybe get Vrbata from Arizona for a 2nd round pick.

    Then I’d create a machine to catch all the Oilers fans tears in the 2017-2018 season. That way, when my team wins the cup, I can bottle up the salty liquid, and sell it in Calgary as popcorn seasoning at the Saddledome. Burke if you are reading this look me up on LinkedIn…end quote

    this guy is just embarrassing, i can’t believe he posted this on Oilersnation. if he got banned from both sites, everyone would be better off for it!

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    So disappointing. I don’t live in Calgary (hours away) and this was my 1st game of the year I have had a chance to make it to the dome. It seemed all the conditions were right for a great game. My team let me down and I left the dome disappointed. Don’t know if I’ll get a chance to make it to another game. Atmosphere was crap. My section had more Oiler fans than Flames fans and they were extremely obnoxious – I actually snuck down to a lower section for the third so I could focus on trying to enjoy the game. I feel this game will be a turning point for the season either for the good or bad.

  • TX Flame

    Mike,
    I thought an analytics guy like you would have been thrilled with the Flames resounding victory in the Corsi game. Unfortunately, the Flames and Oilers were playing hockey, not Corsi, and in hockey you can’t score on shots that get blocked or miss the net entirely.