Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Futility Watch

Commenting on the Flames is an exercise in futility and ironically most of my day is spent working in manner reminiscent of futility so call me a futility expert

This road trip started well. The middle was bad. The ending was . . . lame. The Wings at the Joe are a must beat team. If 3 defensemen can't stop one guy weird things start to happen. You hear murmurs of a superstitious nature. Suddenly a trip to the Joe is more like walking through the gates of Hell itself instead of a day at the office.

Where do we start? I don't know anymore. We have the pieces necessary to bring home Lord Stanley's hallowed beer stein. This is a fact we can take to the bank given that each game we see glimmers of hope from all potential aspects of the game we call hockey. However, it would be pretty neat to see all things working in one game at the same time. I won't presume it's anyone's fault but rather the failing of the team to pull it together on a collective basis.

While I do not believe the Flames are on the ropes, they aren't in the same situation as the Leaf's, I would not say they have turned the corner. Instead we are restricted to a special place, a purgatory if you will, where the Flames will still hit lots of posts, have at least one portion of their game stink each time they step on the ice in regulation time and sadly not accumulate the points necessary to choke the competition.

And, it makes me sad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't Lose the Dayjob Dion

Dion Phaneuf's air Guitar is broken!! - Watch more free videos

More hockey stuff later, I'm reeling from all the sporting events this weekend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flames Exhibit Athletic Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Maybe it was the yelling earlier in the week. Maybe the it was the long overdue promotion of Lombardi to the first line. Maybe it was Owen Nolan's offensive prowess awakening. Anyway you cut it, the Flames eked out a win against a divisional rival. Against the Avs no less.
I abso-freaking-lutely REFUSE to prognosticate anything based on the Flames performance last evening. Historically, this season, we can expect to lose the next 4 games despite the team playing halfway to their potential Tuesday night.

It's been mentioned that the Flames Defense needs to move the puck more reliably. When the scoring summary reads, "Iginla Goal, assisted by Lombardi, Regehr" one can only point and shriek excitedly ABOUT DAMN TIME. For two reasons: lombo is on the 1st line bringing the level of speedy play by that unit up to lethal status. The second reason, maybe Regs can learn to move that puck. Maybe. I don't want to get excited here because I still witnessed some stellar defense idiocy (ie Sakic being all alone in the offensive zone) but perhaps there is life in the Flames after all.

Nolan - Connie - Nystrom. This. has. potential. Leave it alone Keenan. Kipper looked ok as well. Now, if we could only build on this instead of whiplashing back into the mediocrity of last week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

MacT is mental

so silverfox MacT came up with new line combos i guess when he was in the shower, and came up with this genius matchup for tonight's game:


stortini on a checking line vs the two homos. i say stortini will be at -6 by the 10min mark of the first period.

Flames Quarterly Report

DRAMA! So, Keenan weighed in on the Flames. After he yelled and screamed and banged his stick against the boards repeatedly. Aucoin mentioned that Keenan was right to finally snap. Ya think? Anyhow, Keenan's not saying anything the rest of the Flames bloggers haven't said already. MG probably wrote the report for him. The statistics speak for themselves.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Canucks Bollocks Flames

The Canucks have improved to 8-0-1 when facing divisional opponents. I think I liked Luongo better when he was a Florida Panther. I am starting to feel, as a Flames fan, we're in for a long season. Every time I get excited they bollix it up. Despite registering 9 more SOGs than the Nucks, the Flames failed to get more than one goal on Lanky Lou.
Most of the NHL pundits thought the turning point of the game was Vancouver's kill of the Flames 5 on 3. Personally, I disagree. Our PP is erratic at best. If you wanted to isolate the real turning point look no further than 3 seconds before the first Vancouver goal. When our Defense collided leading to the turn over that Sedin buried. For the love of all that is proper, could we please stop piling into each other? I've watched novice kids not crash into each other at age 9.
In other news, Regs took a slapper to the head, and had to leave the game. This is not great news but hopefully the Regster can pull it together in time for the Avs because we desperately need to win some divisional games. We can leech all the points off the Oilers we want, but SO WILL EVERYONE ELSE! Point of order here, the Canucks only had 5 defensemen and they still took it to us.
On a go forward basis this game speaks volumes. Kipper is a solid goal tender but he requires a much stingier defense corp in front of him. Our Offense is delivering a decent number of SOGs but the quality of chances needs to be improved. A good goaltender stops every shot they can see. A great goalie can anticipate, so you have to be more aggressive in front of the net. The Flames can expect to see the Canucks in the playoffs, so they better get sorted out when facing them.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ohlund out for 4 games!

I dunno, I think Koivu was diving . KIDDING! I like the injury report, Koivu is out with a broken bone in his leg. You don't have too many bones in your leg so it must be serious. This bodes well for the Flames. This doesn't bode well for the Wild.

Battle of Alberta

Well, that was a solid game on all levels. The Flames definitely deserved the win in my opinion and if you're an Oilers fan I would be getting very excited about the future of that club. This post is scant on details because the Flames are up again tonite against the 'Nucks.

Welcome back guys you had me at DEFENSE. Granted the oil are fielding a young team but they have been playing extremely well of late and Garon is backstopping like nothing else. Still, at the end of period 2 the shots on goal were 8-20 in Calgary's favour. That's what I like to see. As for offense, the Nystrom, Nolan, Lombo line was incredible. Speed, scoring, grit! Oh yeah! And Connie, bout damn time. Kipper looked stellar as well. Tonite's tilt against the Canucks will be a true test.

Man, the first period had so much energy and I would credit 60% of it to the Oilers. This team is going to be a serious contender towards the end of this season and definitely next season. Garon looks better than Rollie. More than anything the Oil need a goalie that can steal some games for them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Guerilla of the Week

Begrudgingly, Jeremy Roenick has made the cut for this week's GotW. Congrats to Jeremy on his 500th goal. Roenick is no stranger to controversy but this year it seems the Leafs cast of rogues is outdoing him. Poor Jiri Tlusty, didn't he see Justin Timberlake's instuctional video? Clearly, Tlusty missed step 2.

Some of you may be wondering, why is that Richard Simmons' picture? Well, I have a strict no-Roenick policy. In fact, I may have been forced to write this post at gun point.

Guerilla Tactics: Hypothetically Speaking.

Due to the vulgarities of reality, things have been a wee bit slow at GSN headquarters. Never fear dear reader, we are not dead, we are merely resting.

At the start of this exercise, I never really appreciated the depth of the NHL blogosphere. Now, I cherish it with a wild and reckless abandon. Many of the NHL blogging community contribute to a tree of knowledge, so tasty and ripe, I laugh at the average color commentator. Sadly, I do not contribute as effectively as my counterparts so I aim to pick the fruits of their labour and ensure they get even more exposure. Today is a classic example.

Today I wanted to discuss a hypothetical situation regarding the tenure of Mike Keenan. I can say with authority, fiveholefanatics and penguinBuzz have kicked my ass soundly with their co-posting adventure of Flames-Pens trading. But Back to Keenan for a moment. A local news publication, known fondly as 'Metro', had a column done by Marty York claiming that Keenan's time at the helm of the Flames may be coming to a close. Marty has a knack for breaking stories (according to his metro profile) . . . in the CFL so I can't really back the guy up here (anyone can break a story if they wildly predict every outcome). However, were the Flames to ditch Iron Mike, who would take the reins? I could only hope Sutter would make a return to the bench but I highly doubt it. Playfair wouldn't step up which leaves one distinct possibility, Wayne Gretzky. HA, kidding of course.

The BoA had a phenomenal post on Wednesday regarding mainstream media and blogs. I would advise reading it. Clearly the 'staff' here at the GSN are not journalists nor do we adhere to strict journalistic principles but Andy has me thinking about the quality of our content. For that, I am in his debt.

That folks, ends this weeks installment of Guerilla Tactics. We now return to our regularly scheduled sarcasm, misspelling, and poor grammar related to things NHL.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Five Game Skid Snapped

Well well well, finally something fun to post about. A Flames Victory!
Yesterday's tilt was extremely well pre-gamed by the crew. Read about it here, here and here. As well, bid WI well on her trip across the pond.

So, to 'bidness. I was relegated to highlights mostly as I was rocking out at a concert. Travis is an extremely talented band and the show was equally awesome. However, I made sure to catch most of the first period. I saw some speed! I saw some life! Maybe the woes of late were related to the 'strep throat' going around the locker room? (not likely)

Anyhow, Dion scored the only real goal for the Flames. The rest were lucky and it's damn nice to see the luck going our way for a change. Iggy's goal was legendary and deserves a moments appreciation for the laws of physics. I am amazed Juice's goal was allowed as it seemed to rip apart the space time continuum while finding a way past Backstrom. Kipper stopped 26 shots enroute to the win but still seems plagued by nasty bounces and sketch D puck side pressure. Actually, I'm not sure that sentence makes sense, I think the Flames need to do the trash drill from disney's the Mighty Ducks.

I will not sit here and tell you the Flames woes are over. They are not. Minnie didn't dress a few key guys last night so while we can enjoy the victory, we shouldn't savor it. CGY has more potential than drawbacks, but the team must persevere through adversity. They need to bail out the Kipper, the hockey gods know they owe him huge, while he finds his feet. Hard work, discipline, and a strong sense of team need to the main thoughts of every member on that team for the rest of this season.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The Flames Blogosphere is oddly quiet after the Flames performance during hockey night in Canada. Oddly quiet. I feel a long post coming on . . . Perhaps it is time to reflect on a great many things. As fans we want our team to win. Not unlike the Roman mob in ancient times we are a fickle bunch. When our team does well we love them. When the Romans' blood lust was not satisfied heads started rolling in the sandy dirt of the Coliseum. Or in our case, the firing of coaches, the public criticism of players and the terrifying bag skate during practice. As fans, especially Calgary fans oft accused of being bandwagoneers, we need to learn patience. If you only support the winners you'd be a Senators fan this year but a Wings fan last year. Allegiance is a good character trait.

What is going on:

Kipper is not Kipper right now. I cannot provide a solid reason but his .867 save percentage and GAA of 3.73 are wildly uncharacteristic. Equally odd, a 5 game skid. This hasn't happened EVER in Kipper's tenure as a Flame. Expect a wild turnaround in short order.

the PK.
Once regarded as the stingiest, grittiest, and hardest working team in the NHL, the Flames are now an even money bet on the PK. Opponents salivate during 5 on 4s because they can taste the rubber and twine mixing after a blast from the point sneaking past a screened Kipper. Oh the humanity, when Edmonton scores on the PP you know things are in trouble. 69.6% effective on the PK, that's a painful stat.

Coming off the heels of Rocktober, scoring a healthy 3.5 goals a night the Flames offensive output has, apparently, gone on strike. A measly 1.4 goals an outing thus far in November. Secondary scoring or not, this is not a good stat when your goals against is high. Get stingy or get scoring.

The Keenan Factor:
We have not progressed far enough into the season to know the impact of Keenan. Is he losing the room? Crushing confidence and ego with reckless abandon behind closed doors? Or is he ridding the Flames of the lackidasical whimsy that afflicted them last season?

Sutter and Contracts:
We have some big names on the cusp of free agency. Are these players worrying more about themselves as individuals than as members of a championship worthy team? I would not presume this to be a large factor but it would be on the minds of Juice, lanks and Dion. If the team continues to slide these boys may lose solidarity and confidence in the team as a whole. Have Sutter's more dubious personnel decisions come to haunt him? Kobasew and Ferrence look mighty appealing right now given the numbers Kobasew is posting down in Boston. Andy was always a strong leader in the dressing room. I look at the current faces, Aucoin, Nolan, Eriksson and I long for some of the 2004 vintage grit and determination.

Identity, Edge and Confidence
Right now the professional analysts like to truck out the concepts of edge, identity, and confidence as they relate to NHL teams/organizations. I have never been fond of the hazy abstract concepts of confidence and edge. In my daily work life, my employer rarely evaluates my confidence. I am a resource, a unit of work. Basically, I do shit. If that shit does not get done there is someone beating down my door until it is done. If I fail, I am replaced. Not much room to build confidence in there. Edge is another ill defined concept. NHL pundits act as though edge is a commodity, something you can package and sell. I tried putting it in the soft skills section of my resume and was laughed out of an interview. But identity I understand. This is the brand the Flames provide, what defines them as an opponent, what they can sell down at the marketplace commonly known as a rink. I would contend the Flames are embroiled in an identity crisis. Who are they, how do opponents view them and when you step on the ice against them what are you facing? In years past it was a gritty, highly defensive, low scoring jauggernaut with the conditioning and discipline to make opponents wary of crossing the blue line. The Flames made you earn your pucks in the corners, they made those little battles in the neutral zone pivotal and if you wanted that bit of bouncing rubber you best be prepared to eat plexiglass to get it. Discipline, determination, grit and winning battles for loose pucks formed the mantra of a winning Flames team. Were I a member of the Flames, I would remember this now and return to the style of game that made them great. Gentlemen, remind your rivals why they should fear you.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Canucks beat down the Flames

Wow. Any Flames fan who watched the game last night can't be a happy camper today. Come on Flames, at least win one for the Kipper! I am going to cover the bad, the ugly, and the worse.

The Bad:

  • Losing Lanks to a crappy hit from behind. Way to go Cooke, any time you play the Flames they will be looking to kill you.
  • Our Defense. AGAIN. The highlight was Eriksson standing in the crease when Burrows scored. He looked confused. Or was the highlight when Hale passed to Linden who set up Burrows. With so much ass-tastic play to choose from, it's difficult to narrow it down. At least they were trying to block shots.
The Ugly:
  • Flames Offense. GET IT TOGETHER! Stop acting like you've never played with your linemates before. If I hear one more: 'Conroy overskates the puck, Tanguay takes a pass in his skates, Lombardi is in all alone' I just might flip out.
  • Speed. I've noticed the Flames are slow. It appears they can't capitalize on rushes because they move like molasses in January. Get some legs!
  • How about the call on Sedin for diving? Classic.
The Worse or What is wrong with the Flames:
  • Could the delays in re-opening Cowboys Nightclub be affecting their performance?
  • Does Keenan have to get all Keenan with them?
  • Are expectations crushing the Fragile Flames?
    It is because they are not the underdog, the perennial cellar dweller, the team least likely to succeed? The only thing missing from the team compared to the year of the last cup run, is the underdog label. Weird how that works.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

PreGame: Flames v Canucks

Well the Flames face of against an injury riddled Canuck squad tonite. The Flames blogosphere has been quiet so I will weigh in on my prediction for this evening. Canucks, 3-1. This isn't because I dislike the Flames, have been beaten senseless and suddenly think the Sedin twins are actually human and not aliens . . . I predict this because the Flames haven't hit rock bottom yet. They haven't pushed Keenan over the edge into a murderous rage. I think they want to. So, watch for the defensive gaffes to continue and despite Kipper heroics we will lose. Then Keenan will flip. Then the winning will begin.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

oilers vs minnesota

so i guess the oilers lost 5-2 last night in minnesota
i didn't watch cause minnesota puts me in a coma
i elected to watch heroes instead

kristin bell's power is she can never appear in the show

go oilers

Flames Buried by Avalance

Not even the heroics of Kipper could save the Flames in Colorado. I don't have much to say on this other than I remain hopeful that the Flames offense finds it's road legs sooner rather than later. More SOGs!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pre-Game: Avs vs Flames

This evening the Calgary Flames look to stave off a 3 game losing skid while on the road. Of course, the could not have picked a better team to play; the Colorado Avalanche. Despite losing to the Avs in their last 6 meetings and who can forget blowing the 4 goal lead last time they were in the Pepsi Centre, Iggy and the boys remain confident they will prevail against the likes of Sakic and Svatos. Keep in mind, it was Sakic and Svatos that engineered Calgary's lame assed defeat October 16th.

So what can Calgary do to ensure victory? Well, leave eriksson at the hotel for starters. Perhaps light a small but very hot fire under the ass of Robyn Regehr. MetroGnome at FiveHoleFanatics has some stellar indepth analysis of the current Flames defensive situation. While I hope for a Flames win, I predict this will be a loss in OT or the shootout.