Thursday, February 20, 2014

“I shot and it went in,”

Marie-Philip Poulin, on her goal to win the Gold Medal for Canada at Sochi Olympics.

***

I loved watching that victory. Come from behind with time ticking away, against the rival to force overtime. If we had not even won, dayenu.

It is what sport is about, and it is what myth making is about. In the book 'Plucky, Never-Give-Up, Eternally Underdog Canadians', another chapter is written. It is wonderful and glorious and it is the very best of jingoism. I had a better day today because Canada won. I feel better about myself because Canada won. I feel better about the people around me because Canada won. The food tastes better and the water is sweeter because Canada won.

And while it would be a nice victory in a vacuum, it elicits the response it does in me because of the fashion in which Canada won. We won like good ol' Canadians should. Coming from behind, fighting against adversity, back against the walls, as the underdog. Like the myth demands.

For a Gold Medal, a symbol of the Champion originating from the very land of the gods of Olympus.

It is so perfect as to be unbelievable. Surely this was scripted?

Sports are magic. Sometimes I get to thinking that Sports are just a way to punish oneself. You need some displeasure in your life, and may you blessed that it only comes from something as jovial as Sport. You follow a team and, for most, it doesn't win. Most fans have their hopes raised only to be dashed to pieces on the sharp, cold rocks of reality. But then you win, and in such a way. It is magic. Your soul soars. You are inspired. You can't help but be.

And you get to have these emotions, you have a right to at least a small sliver of the joy of the women in red and white who had to play the game and shoulder the actual responsibility to deliver victory, because you are Canadian.




Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hey! Why Don't We Ask Brian Burke About The Shutdown Of The United States Government?

As you all know, the United States Government was recently shutdown due to partisan bickering. You may have heard about it. It is making a lot of news down south.

We don't really understand it though. I mean, all poli-tricks look the same to us. And it is especially difficult to read the political climate and cultural undertones surrounding an event that takes place in a foreign country.

It is for that reason that we here at Dome Beers decided that we should probably ask somebody with some knowledge about these things if they would be willing to clarify the issues for us. So with that said, who better to ask than Brian Burke? I mean, America!

Dome Beers: Brian, the United States government has recently shutdown. What do you make of President Barack Obama's performance during this situation?

Burke: All I’ve seen are flashes of brilliance. And flashes of brilliance are fine if you’re working at a university but they’re not much good to people in an NHL building.

Dome Beers: Hmm. Interesting. The Congress in America is playing a much larger role in this than the President, though, right? What do you think of how Harry Reid is handling the strategy of the shutdown?

Burke: He’s got to learn there’s three zones on the ice surface in this league. I don’t see that he’s learned to play or compete in two of them.

Dome Beers: Very insightful. Switching angles, Brian, what are your thoughts on John Boehner's leadership of the House? Do you think he is being responsible here with his tactics?

Burke: He’s gotta learn there’s a clock in this league, so many minutes in the game, and you’ve got to compete through all of them. And all I see this is a guy focusing on one area, then only sporadically.

Dome Beers: Wise words. As you know, a foreshadow to this event was Senator Cruz and his mini-filibuster. What do you think of the Senator of Texas by way of Calgary?

Burke: I’m not ready to quit on a young kid, not ready to throw him under bus here today. I’m not going to rip him. I think you can tell from my comments that I see big holes and a lack of commitment that’s not going to get him anywhere in my books.

Dome Beers: Thank you for your time, Brian. Greatly appreciate it. You really helped clear things up for us.

Burke: Truculence.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

**
Quotes stolen from Johnson of the Calgary Herald.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Probably Will Start Writing More After The Draft

Hi guys.

I'm finding it hard to bring the chainsaw out when the situation is fluid the way it is. After the draft I suspect the situation and the team will define itself a little better, and then I can go full H8R again. Or maybe they will draft Barkov and I can swoon.

Time Will Tell Trade Mark.




Monday, May 6, 2013

Thoughts On Calgary Sun's "You Be The Boss" Survey

The Calgary Sun does this "You Be The Boss" 'survey' thing every year.

It's not the greatest of surveys. The questions don't leave a lot of room for nuance in them. Nevertheless it is an interesting exercise, if only as a way to take the temperature of the fanbase at a particular point in time.

If you have been reading me for even a little while, you know that my hobby horse is 'Fire Ken King'. It's been a cause I have been championing for a few years now, as I think he has been a poor shepherd for the club (he meddles in the hockey operations, which would be fine if he had a track record of success in that area, but he doesn't, and as to his ability to run the business, I will say that selling hockey in Calgary is like selling water in the desert, and even then, his ability to do that was greatly enhanced by the Miikka Kiprusoff acquisition and the subsequent (and in hindsight, flukey) run to the Cup finals.)

So imagine my surprise when, while filling out the 'You Be The Boss' survey this year, I saw Ken King had his name included in the survey. 77% of the people who answered the question chose to 'Let him go'. I must be convincing at least some people.

I had to check last year's survey to see who was on the list, and it turns out Ken King was not on the list last year ( http://www.calgarysun.com/2012/04/08/flames-you-be-the-boss-results ), which, again, speaks to the changing perception that the fanbase has of the front office. If I played a little part in it, I am pleased.

Now, what I thought was interesting about the results themselves was that the Ken King question got a very different response from the survey takers than any other question. Generally very few people skipped answering any of the question; the skip rate ranged between 2% - 5%. On the Ken King question, the skip rate was 51%.

Does this mean anything? The fact that the skip rate was so abnormal suggests it means 'something', whether that is a big something or a little something, I really don't know. One theory I am kicking around is that many people either don't know who King is and/or didn't think they knew enough to answer the question, and those that did know the name or felt they knew enough to answer the question wanted him fired (which is interesting). There could probably be other explanations, but look, I will be real: as a pamphleteer peddling in propaganda, I am not really interested in fleshing them out.

Whatever the explanation, I think the very fact King's name is being thrown around when discussing what ails the team is a good thing. The more asses you can put on a hot seat, the better, as we need the front office to start performing.
...

Other thoughts on the survey:

Ya'll aren't as madly in love with Steve Begin's accent as I am, it seems. That hurts, Flames fans, that hurts deep.

Always amused by the votes on the assistant coaches. Because I am sure people have an understanding of their role on the team, and all that (yes I am smirking). The coaching staff generally received ok marks, they all hovered around 80% approval, which I take to mean that the fanbase blames the front office for this season more than they do the coaches (ie: they think the players the front office provided the coaches were not great).

That's generally in line with how I feel about the coaching. I don't think we got the best coaching in the league, but I don't think they took 10 points off the record or anything.

The other thing that made me laugh was the votes on Feaster. Last year Feaster had a 69% approval rating, while this year his approval rating was 50% (with 48% or respondents wanting him gone). At first glance I thought the 50% approval rating was high, considering the O'Reilly fiasco. However, looking back at what he got last year, and a 20% drop is pretty steep. It certainly appears the fanbase is only ready to give him one more year before they demand his head on a pike as well. As well they should.

If anything else caught your eye, leave it in the comments. I didn't really find the 'Burning Questions' all that important or sexy. Again, I think the take away from the survey and the questions is that people think the front office needs to start performing better. I would fire them all, myself, but that's me.

Oh wait! Sun Sports Editor, I have a beef with you: Why didn't you ask about the goal song or the TV broadcast booth in the survey?

Furthermore, I think Ken King should be fired.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hey Calgary Flames Can You Fire Ken King Please?

Please?

Pretty please? With a cherry on top?

...

Quickly, my list of "Things I Would Change", ranked in order of importance.

#1: Goal Song*

#2: TV Broadcast Booth

#3: Beer

#4: Front Office


The front office has sold the fans a bill of goods for several seasons now. I would fire them. Ken King brought in Feaster and friends, who have been a disaster. Firing Feaster and Friends probably is a useless move if King is allowed to stay on and replace them. He's not a great judge of GM's.

Seriously, he is on his third GM now? Button, Darryl, and Feaster. Do most GM's get three coaches? And the scary thing is, of course, the rhetoric kinda hints at that they may be viewing next season as the start of the rebuild. Which probably means Feaster has another three years of rope to hang the franchise with.

Mazel tuv.

Have I talked about 'hope' before? It's based on 'faith', which is based on 'belief'. I you don't have belief, it's hard to have faith, and it's impossible to have hope. I don't believe in the management abilities of the front office. So I don't have any faith in them to turn this ship around in under seven years (which would be 11 years out of the playoffs). So I have no hope. I doubt I'm the only one with this thought process. The consequence of a lack of hope is a that it kills the interest in the team. You could already see that the second half of the season when the Saddledome, although sold out, looked like it was missing a number of people in the stands.

Firing King would mean that you bring in new people (#analysis). New people (with qualifications)? Belief springs up again, which allows us to give the new crew the benefit of the doubt (faith) and the franchise can once again sell 'hope'.

The added, additional benefit? I don't know if you know this, but I am going to tell you a not so secret secret: NHL teams do not like dealing with the Calgary Flames (and not because they drive hard deals, but because they leak trades before they happen, they agree to trades and don't follow through, they overpay free agents, and they offer sheet people in shockingly dumb fashion). If you fired King and his Kronies, that stigma probably goes away as well.

Is this hard to figure out? Let me know if I should go slower.

* On the infamous goal song: I went to the last game of the season, and we stole some pretty sweet seats due to the fact that about 5000 of the fans are indeed true bandwagoners (I mean, it was Kipper's last game at home, potentailly forever, and the fanbase couldn't muster a true sell out. Kinda pathetic.) The lower you go you both get more corporate and more family, and so we were sitting by the latter half of that equation. A Flame scored a goal and the little girl we were sitting by, maybe 5 years old at the max, started signing the goal song.

I hate the goal song. That won't change. But I can sorta see the appeal now I guess. Little girls like it, so their Dad's do, too.

Furthermore I think Ken King should be fired.



Monday, April 22, 2013

About A Week Out Since I Promised To Change The Girls I Still Have Not Done So

(It suddenly becomes apparent why I can't keep a woman long term...)

Lolzipops boys and girls, how ya'll doing?

I hope you are all doing well. As I write this I am staring out a window into the bright sunshine. It's quite pretty. It's also a trap, of course. The sun is out but it's -5 outside. A Calgary mirage, if you will.

...I was going to use that little opening to talk about Iginla, but I can't bring myself too. It seems too harsh. I feel like accusing the guy who spent a decade and a half hear spearheading the team on the ice but off it too of being a mirage might be a step militant, even for me.

However, I can't help but notice the speed in which he has...abandoned the city which embraced him so warmly. 

"Abandoned" is undoubtedly too heavy an adjective to use. Fuck it, I'm using it. I might not have used it had Iginla not smiled his ass off in barely contained excitement at the press conference to announce he was being granted a ticket off the sinking ship, but he did. So I will.

And now the word comes he is selling his relatively newly built home in  Calgary. He didn't even wait until the current NHL season is through. How rude.

There is some neighborhood scuttlebutt around why he is selling the house. If you live in the neighborhood you would have heard it, and if you don't then you may not have. I'm not in the Iginla's circle of friends so I have no idea if the hearsay is true or not, and instead of speculating on it, on something that is essentially ether until it becomes tangible, I will speculate on the motive of the sale based on what is out in the public: Jarome has no plans to re-sign here.

I don't think this particular revelation is shocking, or even news, to most people. I myself was disabused of the notion that Jarome was going to win his Cup in Pittsburgh and re-sign with the hometown team to play out his remaining years when I heard him interviewed by Pittsburgh radio personality Mark Madden, and Madden asked Iginla what it would take to keep him in Pittsburgh, and Jarome replied "It's up to me to play well to convince Shero to keep me."

Not a lot of room for interpretation with that statement, eh?

...

What did I want to write about when I sat down but before I looked out the window...Oh yeah that's right. Some statistics, boieee.

A lot of the shit I talk about here is obvious, and here is another one: Many stats look like they are telling you something, but they incorporate so much data, they aren't really telling you anything.

This is obvious. This is why we don't like ERA or GAA or +/- or .Avg. So why am I talking about this? Mainly as a filter for my own thoughts. I was looking at the stats page on NHL.com because it has two stats that I like. It has the 5-5 for and against stat, and it has the goal differential stat. I have noticed over the years that these stats seem to correlate well with who gets into the playoffs or not, in that teams with positive 5-5 F/A stat and a positive goal differential tend to make the playoffs.

So what, right? These stats don't tell you anything, really. Oh sure, they tell you something: they tell you that a team has a positive goal differential, or they tell you a team has a positive 5-5 F/A, but they don't tell you why, and it is the why that is actually worth anything.

Because once you know why, it is a simple task to figure out how. (The trick, of course, is being intellectually open enough to realized there could be a multitude of variations on the how.)

I've run out of time, I'm afraid. We will have to revisit this topic.

Furthermore, I think Ken King should be fired.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Promise Tonight I Will Change The Girls

I had a rant or something but as I sit here to write it I am totally blanking.

I mean it is what it is. The death march doesn't get my panties wet.

I've been watching more of the games then I thought I would be. I find myself cheering for the team to lose, obviously. Tanguay has been great on that front; if we somehow find a way to catch Colorado the team should pay him Cervenka's bonuses.

Glencross keeps trying to monkey wrench the shit. Someone needs to sit that boy down and have give him a little bit of a talkin' to.

Don't look now but Carolina is making a late charge for the top spot of the loser division as well. And they have Russians.

Gonna be a close thang.

But then what? What comes next? Draft and junk followed by free agency overpay day?

Are any of these events going to be bringing us closer to the promised land?

I've written before how I suspect the front office was putting off rebuilding because they were scared. And I think this year was an example of that. I mean, they spent money going into this year! This team was sold as being better than last years version. Only a couple of points away, they said. Add a few players, they said. And now we are battling for last place.

Someone in the front office made a bad forecast. Thank the fates that they miscalculated so bad we were out of contention before the trade deadline. Now I have been quite vocal about not being a fan of either the Iggy or JBlow trades, however, I do wonder if the team would have made them if we were within one or two points of a playoff position when the trade deadline came around.

That is, I have a bad feeling about the start of the rebuild. I have a bad feeling because I think it was kinda forced upon the front office. I don't think they had the intention of going for the first overall pick of the draft when the season started. And I don't give the guys running the show the benefit of the doubt when it comes to strategic planning, because the last decade happened.

I hope they aren't plotting their course as they walk it, but I operate under the assumption that they are. So far the only defining characteristic we have seen in the admittedly young rebuild is that we are mining the college ranks.

And while scouting talent is awesome and good for them for doing it, I just don't think college players are a giant untapped pool of unexploited talent. Like, they were in the 80's when Fletcher started mining the college systems, but my calender says it is 2013.

What I am trying to say is that I don't see a shortcut. And I don't trust the front office to be able to rebuild without the aid of a shortcut.

So I am terrified. I am terrified that they will approach the draft and free agency in some completely irresponsible and ultimately incomprehensible way. I am terrified they will somehow find a way to fuck it up.

And really, that's probably just from years of condition acquired from being a fan of this team. We probably, most likely, hockey gods willing, will have a top three pick in the draft this year. Those can be fucked up, however, and I wouldn't put it past the Flames. I shudder to think about which one of this years mercenaries they decide to back the dump truck up to, but my real concern is that they trade some of the surplus picks that they have for a bad hockey player on a bad contract.

I'd like to see the club not do that, not because I value late round first rounders all that high, but because my personal preference would be to see the team lose out next year as well.

I'm working on The Dome Beers Unified Theory Of Hockey, and one of my hypothesis is that it takes at least four forwards and two defencemen (and by that I mean of the top 20 guys at the positions in the league) plus a solid to above solid aka elite level goaltender to have a legitimate shot at making a run for the Cup.

I don't think we have any players like that in our system at any level. The easiest way to get those players is to draft them, and the only way to draft them is to draft, usually, at the number one spot. Hence, I'd like to lose next year, and that way we should, Whalen willing, have at least some building blocks in place.

Vive La Mort

Furthermore I Think Ken King Should Be Fired.