Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thanks To The STH's, Other Stuff

We can't stay away.

Ken King said, at that famous press conference from last year, that there was no problem with the team because 98% of the season ticket holders renewed, or something. Several months later, Darryl Sutter is fired, a direct acknowledgement of the problem that wasn't there because 98% of the season ticket holders renewed. It therefore seems likely to us that season ticket holders came through big time for us and got Darryl's scalp.

This points to the obvious truth: the Flames are about money. Specifically, taking yours. We won't discount their talk about winning, but let's be frank about the situation. This team wasn't good at the beginning of the year. It was far more likely for it to not make the playoffs than it was to make the playoffs. Yet Darryl wasn't fired, and he wasn't fired because season ticket sales hadn't suffered. Ken King smelled the coffee and rightly concluded that wasn't going to be the case this year. Ken King then had a decision to make: He could stick by Darryl, and let him try to dig his way out of this mess (disregard the first rule of holes), actually live the loyalty rhetoric he chooses to use, or he could do the quick and easy thing, and sacrifice Sutter to the god of Sales on the altar of fan satisfaction.

Don't get us wrong, we are fans. Fire Darryl! In Sutter We Trust only lasts as long as the team has goodwill on the balance sheet. When that was pissed away, the skeptics found themselves as the possessors of the Voice, and with it could set the Narrative and the Environment. Sutter never adapted to the changed climate. You cannot trade for Ales Kotalik when the fans are panicked and don't trust you. Even if it had panned out. Can't do it. That type of move requires the goodwill that Sutter no longer had, and it requires skeptics (or TSN) to keep quiet, something they wouldn't do anymore. Last season Sutters moves where under the microscope. He needed to be conservative and prudent, and instead he drank the Milskey and went gambling. And he crapped out.

And you know what, he would have been able to get away with it in 2006. Back then he still had rope. But all these years later, with all the rope he had been given, he had tied around his neck a pretty nice noose. He still would be here, today, if Ken King hadn't been forced to push the chair out from underneath him. The only people who could have forced Ken to have done that are the season ticket holders. The advertising contracts, the broadcast rights, those are already sold for years. The only pressure base the man can feel is the season ticket holders, and they came through. You guys fired Darryl. You guys finally got Caesar Dictator. Et tu, Season Ticket Holders?

So the next time you hear about how you, the Calgary season ticket holders, the Calgary fans, are Toronto West, kindly punch the purveyor of that nonsense in the face. The Flames care most about making money. Darryl was becoming a hindrance to that goal, so Darryl was canned. The arrogance and hubris of the organization that was on full display at that season ending news conference is now replaced with a contrite countenance. That's because you, the fans, threatened their sales, threatened 98% renewal, and Ken King and the Flames, all things considered, would dearly like to keep your money. Good on you guys for threatening to take your business elsewhere.

We are terrified of Feaster. We should give him a chance, but look at it from our perspective. Brad Richards for Mike Smith and a few other players who don't play for Tampa anymore. You can sit there and talk all you want about how he was forced into that trade. Bullshit. He may have been forced into a trade, but he wasn't forced into that one.

Feaster had been charged with getting rid of Richards contract. Instead of getting rid of that contract for draft picks so he could choose his own prospects, he instead traded the man to Dallas for a goalie prospect who had played 44 games in the NHL and had a save percentage of about .910. He traded Brad Richards for a back up goalie. He didn't have to do that, he could have traded him to other teams. There are plenty of big money teams in the NHL who would have taken on the contract. He chose Dallas, and he chose Mike Smith. That's on him.

So we are scared, because we don't want to see Jarome traded for Semyon Varlamov and a fourth round pick.

And one more thing. If Feaster really felt that strongly about not trading Brad Richards period, he should have resigned. Because to us it comes off as Cover Your Ass more than anything, his mea culpa's about his time in Tampa. If he thought what he was doing was wrong, he should have done the moral thing, hell, the Man thing, and resigned. The fact that he didn't, we think, is telling.

Jody Shelley sucker punches everyone on Vancouver and the Canucks do nothing about it? They aignt making it past the second round.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reign of Error

Alternative titles: Welcome to the Errordome, By the Time I get to Error-zona

(Get it? Darryl was a 'Public Enemy'? You are too funny, DB)

To be quite honest (which will be Darryl's lasting legacy, besides Stajan), we wanted to go on vacation from this here old blog for like a week. Then the guillotine was dropped on our Prairie Green Incorruptible (we read history, you should too), and nary a Patriot could be found who didn't show up to the Champ de Mars to see the Sutter's severed head paraded on a pike.

We are Patriots too, and so we did indeed have to vacate our vacation, short our sabbatical, to take in the beautifully violent visage. As Thomas Jefferson once said, the tree of Liberty, from time to time, must be refreshed with the blood of Tyrants and Patriots. And as it pertains to the Calgary Flames, Darryl was both.

So rejoice, dance, and drink deep, fellow Patriots, fellow fans. The leader of the Sans-'clue'lottes, the head priest of clutch and grab, defence first, the trap, the architect of an almost two year campaign of 'Institutional Error' (quibble, but Cammo should have been resigned, and the crazy only multiplied from there), was finally removed from his position of power by his fellow members on The Committee For Public Safety (you don't know how badly we wanted to go with the French for that), notably one Ken King.

And while the good patriots will hold parties and dance in their flesh coloured drawers, it is prudent to ponder: What next?

Looking back on our good French Patriots, we see what two years of Terror in their case, or Error in ours, can do to civic fabric. For the French, 'flesh coloured drawers' represents a nation exhaling. And in the gust of wind and turbulence that is unleashed when a great nation exhales, institutions are shaken to the ground, cultural touchstones destroyed, monuments are toppled. The great gust destroys, but in it's destruction it also creates more room to breathe. For the French, what came next was Napoleon, the toppling of European feudal tradition, and total war. What came next was not a return to the Bourbons but a complete rejection of it. What came next was not a return of the Ancient Regime, but it's total destruction.

Fellow Patriots, we worry about what comes next for our Flames. When Darryl's head was removed from it's basket and held up by Ken King for us all to see, it was not the Danton-esque vein ("Show my head to the people, it is worth seeing") but rather in a melancholy, tragic way. Ken King mourned for Darryl, and demanded we all did too. Mr. King feels we robbed him of a Patriot, he stands against us. He is an 'ami du roi'. And he is dangerous because of it, because he controls who ascends to the throne.

Ken King names Fat Feaster to replace the Tyrant. Fat Feaster, by his own admission, has a lot of respect and admiration for Darryl. Fat Feaster, by his own admission, thinks Darryl's strategy of 'from the net out' is a sound one. From his own admission, he feels that the coaches Darryl has assembled, who play defensive, trap hockey, are good coaches. Fat Feaster maintains the state lie about making the playoffs.

Have we simply replaced one dinosaur with another smoother talking one? Have we replaced Darryl to continue going in his direction? Is it simply PR? Or if it is not, to what lengths is Fat Feaster willing to go to prove he is not a foot soldier of the Bourbons?

Be prepared, fellow Patriots. Gusts of exhaled breath, as we said, topple monuments. The monuments on this team, Kipper, Reggie, Iggy, best test their foundation. And the man we have placed in charge of it all once traded Brad Richards for Mike Smith.

On the timing of the whole thing: Yeah, we don't get it either. At least we don't get why they allowed Sutter another offseason. Misplaced loyalty mixed in with some mercy, we imagine. But Sutter had to be fired before January. The work and preparation needed for a trade deadline couldn't be put off much longer than it has been, and with the Winter Classic coming up, the organization didn't want all the media stories being about how Sutter had ruined the team, and why wasn't he fired yet, or his brother, ect. The organization wants the Winter Classic to be about the Winter Classic, and that would not have been the case had Sutter been employed when it came around.

But yeah, why they waited until December when it should have taken place last April (if not seasons sooner) is beyond us. Ken King weaseled out of answering the question at the press conference.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired. Feaster, too. We had forgotten that they axed some of the scouts in the summer. Time for Tod Button and the rest of the Sutters to go as well.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And That Ruins That Plan

Fuck, the moment we go on vacation Darryl gets fired. Too funny.

We aren't here to hate on the man now that he is gone. Darryl should have been fired, at the very least, at the end of last season, if not at the end of the season before. That's not on Darryl, that is on Ken King and Murray Edwards.

Darryl did a lot for this franchise, bringing back its legitimacy, both in the local market and across the league. He took the team from being a 70 point one to a 90 point one. We thank him for that, and we will always thank the man for reigniting the fan base with the magical Cup run of 2003-2004.

But the man went crazy. He was like one of those Chinese Emperors who drank mercury and lost his mind. Kotalik? Stajan? Ivanans? And that's just this year. That is us not even talking about Keenan or Joseph or Marchment or all the traded draft picks.

He had to go, but at the end of the day, he wasn't the only one who has to go. His brother continues to bench rookies, even though the team is last place. Ken King, the link between the owners and Darryl, still has a job, probably because Darryl doesn't right now. King gave Darryl the cover to do what he wanted, so he has blood on his hands, too. The owners, at the end of the day, kept the man in power too long, which has set this franchise back at least two years. So they have some blame for this as well.

Jay Feaster is a terrible person to have running the team. The owners cheaped out when they hired him, and if they keep him in the position it is most certainly because they are cheaping out again. Feaster didn't build the team in Tampa that won the cup, because none of the key players on that team were acquired by him. He is an idiot who has a worse draft record than Darryl.

This team needs someone serious to come in. Bob Gainey, that sort of thing.

The question is whether Feaster has a mandate from ownership to make the playoffs this year. Will Feaster go out and make a panic trade at the deadline to grasp eighth? We hope not.

From the release:

“We will move forward under a new administration with Jay leading our hockey operations as Acting General Manager,” said King. “For the remainder of this season, Jay will be provided the opportunity to evaluate the team from the GM’s chair and build a long term plan. We believe that while we continue to compete for a playoff position this season, this period will provide both the organization and Jay time to decide on critical future decisions.

Fuck no. They think they are still competing for a playoff position? Hopefully that's a lie. The other shit, about how Feaster is going to build the long term plan, ect. suggests that they may hire the guy. Fuck, that would be a terrible move. Feaster thought Mike Smith was a legit goalie for Aunt Jemima's sake!

We think this story deserves some thought, but right now, to be honest, we want to go skating.

Oh yeah, while we are firing people, how about we fire Stajan?

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Off Till New Years

We will be closing shop until after New Years. We are bastards for doing it, we know, but we are doing it nonetheless. During our time off we are going to work on a few bits here and thee. We will of course maintain our macroview of the Flames, along with our microview bitching (like why is a last place team benching the rookie centre?).

Good luck to all the Domebeer-aholics in their endeavours in the new year. And a special thanks to all of you Domebeer-aholics for coming here to read our...musings. It wouldn't be worth doing it without you all, and we appreciate your support and the time that you spend here very much.

We may update this space if we have anything to add to the noise level before New Years, but we wouldn't be looking for it.

Hot girl? Sure!

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Special Holiday Post

There will be no RTPIC today due to the fact that we just spent five hours in a veterinarians office dealing with our dead neighbours dogs bleeding anal cavity.

Let the jokes begin.

Merry fucking Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What About Bob?

With all the local consternation over managements constipation, that is, the refusal of Nyarlathotep Murray Edwards to deliver Darryls Sutters head to the Hôtel Crillon (tell me one of you gets that), we thought it would do the soul good to offer some sustenance for the people looking toward the day where the GM chair sits empty and vacant.

On this site in the past, hell, the last post we did, we have talked about possible replacements, guys we think could come in and take charge of the franchise, assume the mantle of GM, and start steering the ship in a better direction. We have discussed amorphous men like 'Accountant' and 'Oil company CEO' as well as flesh and moustache figures like Lanny McDonald (our preferred choice) and Michel Goulet.

Today we offer a figure that we have not yet heard discussed. What about Bob?

Bob Gainey, that is.

Yes, 'Le Capitaine' himself.

Why Bob Gainey? Why not, really. But ok, ok, some specifics. Just off the top of our heads? The guy is bilingual. And look, we know Darryl is bilingual too, it's just that Gainey speaks two human languages, English and French, whereas Darryl speaks one sorta human language, muffled English, and one animal language, Horse.

We are a little more impressed with Gainey's bilingualism.

Still not sold? Geeze, it looks like it will be harder to close the deal with you then with Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz (obscure historical Church reference)!

Besides the obvious intellect that the man displayed by learning two languages fluently, Bob also had an illustrious playing career. A Hall of Famer, the man affectionately known in Montreal as 'Le Capitaine' had 501 points over his career, to go along with 585 penalty minutes.  Contrasted with Darryl's 279 points and 288 PIMS, Bobs numbers look quite impressive. But the real important number you will find if you flip Bob and Darryl's cards around is that Bob has a leadership skill of +9, which, frankly, is just flat out insane. Darryl, despite a carefully constructed appearance, only has a leadership skill of +4, which is why, for instance, he does things like trade for Steve Staios (Leadership: +5).

With the 'Inteligence' and 'Leadership' boxes checked, we can move on to other categories, like 'Sucess' and 'Accomplishment'. Although you would never know it by talking to the man, Darryl Sutter has never won the Stanley Cup as a coach, a GM, or as coach/GM (or, for that matter, as a player). Bob, on the other hand, was able to kiss Stanley on 5 separate occasions as a player, and once as a GM, for a total of six times more than Darryl Sutter. Which is another way of saying that unlike Darryl, Bob can talk the talk and walk the walk. (Wait...Darryl can talk?)

 Bob achieved a lot of his success by being able to acquire quality players from teams that didn't have the ability to pay the costs of escalating player salary. He got Joe Nieuwendyk from the Calgary Flames, for instance. Darryl Sutter once traded Ryan Wilson for like two months of Jordan Leopold. So by making the switch, instead of having a GM that gets swindled (DARRYL TRADED PRUST FOR KOTALIK?!?!), hiring Bob Gainey at least represents the chance, the ability, to swindle others.

With 'Leadership' 'Intelligence' 'Success' and 'Accomplishment' checked off our list, we turn to the all important ability of a GM: The ability to fire your coach for mistakes made in the summer at the draft and free agency. We will call this 'Scapegoatability'. Sadly, this is one category Bob loses out to Darryl. Gainey was coach/GM of the stars until he fired himself to hire Ken Hitchcock. That works out to about two coaches in about 10 years in Dallas, compared to Darryl's three in about seven years. Gainey would go through coaches a little faster in Montreal, however, going through two coaches in about six years. In other words, Gainey has less coaches scalps than Tammy Wynette has had marriages (stand by one man?).

Clearly Bob Gainey has all the qualifications and pedigree necessary to win in the NHL, and to turn around the struggling Good Ship Flames. The man is a free agent, and with Mike Keenan coming off the books, as well as with the soflty rumoured expiration of Darryl Sutters contract at the end of the year, the Calgary Flames definitely have the need and the payroll space to hire the guy.

The only question is whether or not N. Murray Edwards wants to step up to the plate and write the man a big fat cheque. And after charging fans some of the highest rates in the league for tickets to come and watch a last place team that losses must win games to the Wild on home ice, he kinda owes it to the city to cut that aforementioned cheque.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Monday, December 20, 2010

All We Want For Christmas Is A New GM And Coach

With the Flames latest foray into futility, the listless loss to the Wild at home, concluded, and the season with it, the question becomes: How does Darryl Sutter and his junior coach brother still have gainful employment?

It's an honest question. With Darryl turning the team into a punchline, and becoming a punchline himself amongst his peers in the industry, it doesn't seem plausible that Murray Edwards would continue to suffer the embarrassment employing him and his tactically challenged bother entails. So how come the Sutter's are still employed?

Obviously, Murray is going to fire them on Christmas, salvaging the season, and giving the fans a wonderful present for the holidays.

And while the pink slipping of the Sutter's would be a terrific present in and of itself, it wouldn't be a complete one in and of itself. Sutter cannot be fired for nobody. He will need to be replaced, in the interim basis and permanently, for the present to be completed. To that end, we offer some suggestions for Murray Edwards when he goes Christmas shopping.

1) McDonald + Goulet

Lanny McDonald is brought in to replace Ken King, who seems to have a bizarre man-crush on Darryl, and who reportedly kept the Jolly Rancher in his job this year by threatening to quit if they fired Sutter.

Mike Goulet is promoted from his position of scout to the office of the General Manager. Goulet is allowed to hire whoever he wants as coach, even if he is a francophone. Goulet is also allowed to draft who he wants, even if they never played a game in the WHL and actually have hands.

The entire scouting staff is to be gutted. Everyone who has been involved in scouting under the Sutter regime gets the ax, and Lanny and Goulet get to re-staff it, preferably with former Flames alumni. Or, barring that, people who know what a goal scorer looks like, as opposed to the fourth line plugs Sutter has been apt to draft (who are we kidding, Sutter can't even draft pluggers).

Craig Conroy is retired and brought into the booth, to work alongside Theo Fleury, and they will do colour. Peter Loubardias would be fired in a humiliating fashion, and replaced by Jamie 'Gold Medal' Campbell, if for no other reason than to prove once and for all that anybody can do play by play better than Loubardias.

2) Super Agent

Much like Vancouver, the Flames could put the organization into the hands of someone who actually operates in the business of hockey. Ken King can stay on as President if he pleases, or he can be replaced by anybody, because it isn't hard to sell Flames swag in this city.

The super agent allows the team to tap into his extensive Rolodex of clients, and because the agent has to operate in the cap environment, he may actually know how to manage a contract negotiation without having to give away NMC/NTC like they were condoms at a pedophile party in Thailand.

The super agent can keep Brent or he can get rid of Brent, it's his call. The booth, however, will still have to go. Loubardias and Simmer can be replaced by an electric fan and a ticking clock at this point, and it will be more entertaining.

The agent that immediately comes to mind? No, not Don Meehan. Drew Rosenhaus.

3) Accountant

The GM is to be fired and replaced with an accountant. The accountant can hire or fire Brent at his discretion.

By bringing in a professional to be the GM, as opposed to a 'hockey guy', the office will be run in a manner more consistent with how a business is run. This means, for one, that dumb as shit moves like trading for Ales Kotalik are never even contemplated, let alone considered, or God forbid given the green light. It wouldn't be, because an accountant would be able to, and understand that he has to, forecast the salaries into next year, a skill Darryl seems unwilling to learn, or simply doesn't appreciate. Addition and subtraction are not hard for an accountant, but these concepts have proven to tough for Darryl to wrap his head around in the past.

Furthermore, because evaluations are a big part of what an accountant does, we may finally see some sane contracts handed out. An accountant could quantify certain skills, like goal scoring, and be able to have grasp on what a player should earn, before entering negotiations. Value contracts would be more possible because the GM would understand value.

4) Bob Nicholson

Nicholson was reportedly close to accepting a job here last summer, and if that was the case, the organization should reach out to him again. Bob could become the President of the team, and hire his own GM and coach, guys he is comfortable with.

Nicholson is accomplished, having run Hockey Canada since 1998. He shouldn't be overwhelmed with any of the duties tasked to him, and in fact probably has more experience running a hockey organization than anyone currently involved in the Flames save Brent, who runs the Rebels. On top of this, he has been involved with some of the best people in hockey, so should be aware of the best practices of the best players and organizations, which he would be able to bring to the Flames. Add to this the fact that Bob is an aerospace engineer by trade, which means he is fucking smart, and we are pretty sure Sutter doesn't even know how to spell 'A-E-R-O-S-P-A-C-E'.

5) Oil Company CEO

Calgary is home to many head offices of Oil and Gas companies, and this is something that should be embraced. The Flames could dive deep into the available talent that exists in this city and hire a CEO from one of the big firms to run the Flames. Murray Edwards is in the Oil and Gas business himself, and may be able to supply one.

The advantage with the oil company CEO is that the guy is presumably a serious person, who can run a high risk operation. This should allow for better decision making (no more Dion panic trades) in the heat of battle. Also, because of the nature of the oil business, the CEO would be aware of the importance of long term planning, and would be able to bring that discipline to the Flames. We wouldn't see salary gridlock of the type that Sutter has created for next year.

Again, the front office would become more professionalized, which should lead to better decision making, both in the short and long term.

As with all the plans, the booth gets fired and we never have to listen to Loubardias and Simmer make boring hockey sound so...boring, ever again.

6) Sutter Switch

The least dramatic of the options. This involves making Darryl the coach again and promoting Brent to the position of GM. Brent actually runs a hockey team, so is probably more familiar with that side of the business than Darryl is. And Darryl may be a lot of things, but a shitty coach isn't one of them. Now this isn't an option we are in love with, because we want them both fired, but it is one that makes some sense and allows Murray to at least save some money.

7) Harvey The Hound

Because if we are going to employ a clown as GM, we might as well employ Harvey.

There you go, folks. Some ideas for you to kick around the water coolers when you discuss who should be brought into fix the team. Also, some direction for the ink stained as to who they should start writing about as a replacement for Sutter. You will notice Fat Feaster is not on that list. That's because Fat Feaster didn't draft Vincent Lecavalier. In fact, Feaster was employed from 2002 - 2008 as the GM of the Lighting, and during that time the Lighting drafted shit, which would imply to us that Feaster doesn't know what a hockey player looks like. You can check out his draft record yourselves if you don't believe us.

Anyways, we are awaiting Santa Claus and the pink slips he is surely to bring with baited breathe. No way Murray Edwards allows Darryl  or Brent Sutter to continue in their posts past Christmas...right? No, that would be too irresponsible, even for an absentee owner like Edwards. So thanks for firing the Sutter's in advance, Mr. Edwards.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rabble Rabble Rabble

We make fun of one Eric Francis over here, but we have to give some dap to the man. His latest piece, in which he deftly maneuvers Darryl into sticking the sword into his own chest, was pretty good. Seriously, the more Darryl opens his mouth, the deeper his grave is dug, so kudos to Francis for serving the rancher up some Milskey before the interview started.

Honestly, where to start the scalpel into all this Darryl Sutter provided horse shit?

- We had to trade Dion to keep Gio and Bourque

No, no you didn't. Anybody with some experience in finance should be able to inform you that money is fungible. What this means in this context is that money for something can from anywhere you can generate money from. Say you have a rental business. You also have a widget business. You can use money from the widget business to pay bills for your rental business. You don't have to sell the rental business to generate the capital.

Same thing here. Darryl didn't have to trade a guy he signed to an inflated contract years before acquiring either Bourque or Gio to sign Bourque or Gio. It's a stupid suggestion on it's face. Darryl would have had the money to sign Bourque or Gio if he didn't sign Sarich, or JBlow, or extend Iggy, or if he had traded Langkow, or any number of possible combinations of events. What Darryl is really admitting to here is that he mismanaged the salary cap, and because of that he had to then go out and make a trade, not for pure hockey reasons, but for financial reasons. Which, again, SHOULD PROBABLY GET HIS ASS FIRED. People, Tallon did the same thing, really. The only difference is he won a Stanley Cup. And he got fired. It's a joke that Darryl has a job.

- Dion Didn't Want To Play Here

Darryl Sutter no longer gets the benefit of the doubt with us. We think he is lying because we can see his mouth moving. So when he suggests, again, that Dion wanted out (because Darryl didn't make him the captain, or whatever Darryl was suggesting) we tend to take it with a grain of salt. Dion had millions of dollars and a city full of puck bunnies to play with. We highly doubt he hated his time here.

Now, in the Darryl's defence, Dion is a selfish player on the ice, and as more and more stories come out, it appears he may have been selfish in the locker room too. So we can definitely see a situation where some of his teammates didn't like Dion playing here. But that's entirely different. So which is it, Darryl? Because in this interview he implies that Dion wanted out, which Dion and Burke have denied, and that Dion's teammates wanted him out.

Also, can we take a step back for a moment and reflect on the fact that we have a GM who seems to not worry about the future effects of airing out a players dirty laundry in the media? We'd like to be able to sign some good free agents in the future. If they think Darryl is going to rat them out the moment things turn a little sour, that becomes more difficult. WHICH IS ANOTHER REASON DARRYL SHOULD BE OUT LOOKING FOR WORK.

- Darryl Only Talked To One Trade Partner Because Only A Limited Number Of Teams Could Afford Dion

Again, we have to call bullshit on this. First off, most obviously, how do you know if you don't ask? Honestly, you don't know that some owner wouldn't increase payroll to bring in Dion, to generate some buzz for his hockey team, especially if you don't ask. Poor people don't own hockey teams (actually, this is the NHL we are talking about...) which means that there was the potential out there, even for teams that don't spend to the cap, for some owner to step up to the plate and assume Dion's contract. The Senators just committed 5.5 million dollars to the cap, for 3 years, to sign a 36 year old Gonchar. They wouldn't have traded for Dion?

But Darryl doesn't know because Darryl didn't ask. We know he didn't ask because the GM of the Sabres told everyone he didn't ask.

Darryl says in the article (paraphrase): There are about 15 teams in the league that had no chance at Dion because they couldn't afford him.

Fine, even if we accept that presumption (which we don't) that means that there are 15 teams left for Darryl to go out and create a bidding war for Dion with. And he still didn't even do that. WHICH, AGAIN, IS A GOOD REASON THE MAN SHOULD BE OUT OF A J-O-B.

- Matt Stajan Needs To Be Our Daymond Langkow

Yeah, Darryl Sutter said that. Where is RO when you need him, eh? We are tempted to reach out and let him pen a piece on that line alone.


We can't state it any more clearly than that. Daymond Langkow plays against good players, and on his career is a plus 82. Matt Stajan is Matt Stajan and is a career 0. How does Sutter keep his job?

- Nik Hagman Is A Top Six Forward

Yeah, on the Islanders.

- Trading Ian White For Badsuck And Two Years, At A Million Dollars, Of Tommy K.

This was, again, a purely financial trade. It was done to save a million dollars. Why did Darryl need to save a million dollars? Was it because his other contracts proved to be so poorly valued? Was it because the NHL doctors were going to green light Kotalicksballs and Darryl was forced to find cap space to play the worst contract in the NHL's (well, besides the Phaneuf one)? No, not at all.

He had to trade Ian White so he could sign Bourque and Gio...

This is getting more and more embarrassing by the day. You guys ever hear of a cat by the name of Rasputin? He was a sleazy opportunists that managed to worm his way into the Russian Tzars court back in the day. Once there, he promptly began giving the Tzars wife the dicking she was missing and ended up having a big say in matters of state. This wasn't a problem in and of itself, except for the fact that a) Rasputin was fucking crazy and b) it doesn't look good on the Tzar to have the guy who is boning his wife make decisions that affect the state. It was a wholly embarrassing situation both for the Tzar and for Russia.

But you know what? The people around the Tzar couldn't get rid of him. No matter the latest fuckup, Rasputin was safe in his job. It got very frustrating for the Russian court. The Tzars wife, a woman who had a head in the clouds and no anchor in reality, kept Rasputin ensconced in safety, because she was loving the dick (if you are going to talk to me about her freak son, grow the fuck up). The Tzar loved his wife so he was paralyzed to act. He figured he could buy time and ride the situation out, and everything would work out. But obviously it didn't, because why would it?

So you know what happened? One day everyone at the court but the Tzar went Roman Senate on Rasputins ass. They poisoned him, they shot him, and eventually they threw him in a river and drowned his ass. And guess what? Shit improved after, because some mercury swilling huckster wasn't at the levers of state power anymore.

Moral of the story? Crazy people don't get less crazy. The longer they are allowed to stay on, the more damage they do. And the harder it is to get rid of them.

Good story eh, Murray Edwards?

God Bless King Ralph. Best wishes, get healthy.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired. Especially after saying that Mike Keenan ruined Dion's development by playing him lots of minutes against good competition. That man comes off more daft than Darryl. And we like how Kerr has lots to say about Keenan the moment Keenan leaves the room, but never had anything to say about the man while he was here. Stay classy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We Have To Write About This Punk Again?

(A Z R here. Before we begin, I just want to note that this article is going to require you to bring some prior knowledge to the table, like most of the posts. Just pointing out that if you come across something you want confirmation of, well, Google is your friend)

Come on people, are you serious? Why boo Dion? Are you kidding me?

Why do we have to justify the urge to boo a thin skinned spoiled brat? Is he going to kill himself if we do? Honestly, that's the feeling you get, isn't it? Brain Burke is out defending him, trying to, we don't know, intimidate people into not booing his precious power play specialist (with a whopping one goal on the season), for the second time of Dion's career as a Leaf. That's not a little odd, not at all. The national media is out in full force with the 'don't boo Dion' because...why? Maybe they think if they have his back he will talk to them more, we don't know.

The fact that there is apparently this blood thirsty mob waiting and wrapping itself up in anxious tension to get a chance to viscerally and verbally tear into Dion's hide...should speak volumes in itself.

If you want to know why we are going to boo Dion on Thursday, it's simple. Regardless of what you read in the newspaper, the assistant general manager of the Calgary Flames is not Fat Feaster. The assistant general manager is a nice gentleman who goes by the name of Jarome Iginla. You may have heard of him. Since the Sutter era began, every major acquisition or trade has been brought to Jarome first, for either his yeah or neah. Do you think they would abandon this pattern when it came to the Dion trade?

Jarome obviously was asked about whether they should move Dion, and Jarome obviously gave his green light. Period, point blank.

There is a lot of rumours and innuendo about why. Who knows. We can't think Darryl Sutter is a habitual liar and then give him the benefit of the doubt as it pertains to that famous press conference where he declared he traded Dion because of locker room issues, right? Sutter was most likely lying to save face. We don't know if Dion was sleeping with other players wives. All we know is that everyone on the team, including the ice girls, had a NTC/NMC. Well, everyone but Dion. And in a year where the club was strong on the blueline, Sutter figured he could trade Dion, who doesn't really, you know, defend, for some scoring. He figured the defence would remain in the top of the league (which it did) because, again, Dion doesn't play effectively in his own zone, the neutral zone, or the oppositions zone, and with the added scoring Sutter would acquire through trading Dion, the team would manage to score enough goals to win enough games to sneak into the playoffs. And Darryl Sutter is a Billy Beane type manager in the fact that he believes that the goal of the game is to just make the playoffs, because once in the playoffs it turns into a crapshoot, and an eighth place team has a shot at a Cup. (acerbically we ask: How many World Series has Billy Beane won?)

It didn't work out, but that's life, right? Now, on it's face, we think the thought process behind the move is sound enough, but because the team had lost like 99 games in a row, and spirits were down, it seemed like a panic move. The smell of panic didn't dissipate when it was learned that Darryl didn't shop Dion around and create a bidding war for his services, but rather dealt with one party, and one party only, Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But was it a panic move? Who is to say? Sutter had a blueline with a 6.5+ Dion on it and a 6.5+ JBlow on it, plus 4+ for Reggie, 3+ for Sarich, a Gio that needed to get his, ect. He had too much money on the blueline for the amount of production it was generating. Something had to bend, and it was pretty obvious the guy who was going to be moved was Dion. Again, no NTC/NMC, and no real improvement in skills in his time here in Calgary. We all knew that Dion was going to get traded. He isn't very good, and not very good defencemen can't be paid 6.5 million dollars (yeah, the Blackhawks have the midget Campbell, but they also have Seabrook and Keith) if you're club is to survive. Especially if you are already overpaying guys like JBlow and Sarich et al, guys who hold NTC/NMC's.

The panic label comes from the timing of the trade. Dion should have been moved in the offseason prior to the 2009-2010 season, or at the conclusion of it. At the very least, he should have been moved only after Sutter talked to every other GM in the league. That's another reason to fire Darryl. Not because he traded Dion, but because he handled the trade so poorly. And this is Trader Darryl we are talking about here!

Look, we really don't think too many Calgary fans are upset over not being able to watch #3 turn the puck over and then not skate back hard. We don't think many of the fans miss Dion trying to kill whoever was standing in front of the net because he can't aim his slapshot. What the people in Calgary are upset about is that they traded Dion for what amounts to be a bunch of shit nothings in Stajan and Hagman. And then Darryl extended them (well, Hagman was already on a contract, Darryl extended Stajan). Stajan and Hagman may be NHLers, but they certainly have proven they are not impact NHLers, and many of the fans feel that if you trade a former top 10 first round draft pick, a former Norris nominee (what a joke that was, eh?), you should get back an impact player. Personally, we would have been happy with the trade if Sutter had let Stajan, White, and Mayers walk at the end of the season, and recouped the cap space so we could sign another impact player. Another reason to fire Darryl.

Look, we will be honest. We don't like Dion, and we know the above seems to point to Darryl as the villain, but really, they both are. Why boo Dion, besides the fact the Captain had no problem trading him? Well, how about the fact that when Dion was first asked about who his leadership influences were, upon being named Captain of the Maple Leafs, he answered with 'Bryan Marchment'? You want to know why we think Dion is a punk? That's why, that's the illustration of punkness right there.

But please, if you are going to boo Dion, whatever your reason, remember to also boo the guy who failed to create a bidding war for #3's services. Save some throat for the 'Fire Darryl' chant.

Hey, with Dion back in town and looking to create a splash, Thursday would be a wonderful time to play Matt Stajan, don't you think?

People, we wanted to write about who is going to come in and replace Darryl Sutter. Obviously Lanny McDonald is the answer, but whenever we write that we get pushback, so we have come up with about four other options that are viable. We will probably go with that you will probably have to endure one more Eric Francis piece where he calls for the head of the GM without offering any alternatives. Sorry about that.

And to finish, a lame drinking game.

Dion misses a shot from the point: Drink.

Dion turns the puck over: Drink.

Dion misses a big hit: Drink.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brent Sutter Has This Club On Pace To Give Up 237 Goals

Cards on the table moment here people.

The media in this city have a bad relationship with Darryl. So Darryl is a fuck up.

The media in this city have a good relationship with Brent. So Brent is in no way culpable in the current collapse.

That's bullshit, in our opinion.

It's hard to defend, right? Coaches aren't brought in to teach scoring, they are brought in to teach systems, and every system is designed to prevent goals. You may think we are crazy, but we see offensive production as a product of the GM, and defensive production as a product of the coach. Bare with us.

GM's bring in the talent. Talent is what scores goals. Coaches implement systems. Now, a coaches system can either enhance the amount of shots his team generates, which would affect the offense, but a system also seeks to mitigate shots against, which effects the defence. Very few teams in the NHL run systems that enhance shots for, most run systems that seek to limit shots against. Furthermore, a coach has an obligation to provide his team the best chance to win, that is it is the coaches job to try to hide talent deficiencies. Which means that a coach has a big effect on the game, as he has direct control over how the team plays, and specifically, how the team plays when it doesn't have the puck. Because of the control the coach has over the flow of the game, and the defence is where the coach implements his structure (Brent has said on multiple occasions he lets the players play when they gain the oppositions zone), we feel he has a large amount of influence over the defensive fortunes of the team.

The Calgary Flames, under the batshit crazy leadership of Darryl Sutter... actually, this calls for a spreadsheet.

Do you people see that? Last year, we didn't score enough, but we were great defensively. Darryl was tasked with adding scoring. Guess what, he did. If you extrapolate the data, that works out to about 213 goals over the season. 213 is greater than 201, so Darryl improved the scoring. He did his job.

The defence was set. JBlow, Gio, and Reggie are the defencemen that matter on this team, and those are the same from last year. Dion was on this team last year, so if anything the defence should have improved this year, right? But it hasn't. The defence has gone from the 5th ranked in the league to the 21st ranked in the league. Darryl's responsible for that? Darryl's responsible for giving the team 3 premier-ish defenceman, Brent's responsible for not using them properly. We are on pace to give up 237 goals this year.

Last year we gave up 203 goals to 201 goals for, for a minus 2. This year, with largely the same team (yes we are missing Langs, we know this. Believe us, we are painfully aware) the team is on pace to give up 237 goals to 213 goals for, for a minus 24. That's degree's of magnitude greater than last year.

Tell us why the defensive collapse of a defensive team with a defensive oriented coach isn't that coaches fault, again? Oh, it is? Thank you.

Look, we know he talks to the media guys, and Darryl doesn't, and for some reason, this plays on the presses insecurities (if Johnson can play pop psychologist : "The Darryl Sutter who carries his omnipotence and condescension and (whether he wants to admit it to himself or not) his insecurity room-to-room, door-to-door, a Welcome Wagon of misery." then so can we). That's why nobody is defending Darryl Sutter in the press, and why they are going to the hilt to defend his brother. We think it's bush league. If we also didn't want Darryl fired (he traded for Kotalik people) we would push back on this meme harder. Darryl brought in Bourque, he brought in Tangs, he brought in any number of people. His mistake was trading Dion for people he wasn't able to flip for another star calibre player. But even then, he was able to bring in the depth that the fans of this team were calling for.

His moves didn't work out, we understand that. This team is a bad team. Peter Maher's magical 20 game mark has come and gone, and we are a basement team. Why? The team, media notwithstanding, is scoring goals. If the team had maintained it's defensive prowess from last year, it would be a top team in the league, and a contender for a Stanley Cup. The problem with the Flames is that they give up too many goals. The problem is the defence. Who is responsible for the defence? The coach! Why is nobody talking about this?

Here is more. The people in the media are calling for Darryl's head, but at the same time pleading with the fans that it isn't Brents fault. What the hell is wrong with these people? When you fire a GM, guess what? You fire the coach he hired, too. Because the coach he hires is a reflection on the GM. These people think a new GM is going to come in here and not fire Brent? What planet are these people on?

We get it. Brent is a personable guy and Darryl isn't. That matters in terms of hockey how, exactly?

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quickly On Fat Feaster

A DB post on a Sunday? While the Steelers are playing?

With all the hullabaloo in this city about the GM and the coach, and the talk that they might both be out so the Calgary Flames can have the privilege of handing over the reigns to Feaster, we thought it would be a prudent time to remind the folks about what a complete disaster that would be.

From TSN (2/26/2008):

After much speculation, the Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to trade one of their 'Big Three' forwards, sending centre Brad Richards and goaltender Johan Holmqvist to the Dallas Stars for goalie Mike Smith, centre Jeff Halpern, winger Jussi Jokinen and a fourth-round pick.

So the genius that is Fat Feaster traded away arguably his best trade chip for an AHL goalie, two pluggers who are currently playing for other teams right now, and a fourth round pick.

You want this guy making the decision on Iggy, Kipper, Reggie, Bourque, et al?

No thanks.

But wait, there is more. Remember when Fat Feaster had to trade the no talent bum Dan Boyle?

From TSN (7/4/2008):

(Boyle) signed a six-year, $40 million extension in February just before the trade deadline and fired some verbal shots at Lightning management on his way out of Tampa Bay.

"I don't have the nicest things to say about the way things happened," Boyle said in a conference call.

"I was misled and disrespected and it really was not the right way to do a lot of things. I don't have actually anything good to say about how this all went down."

That's a good sign, right? Fat Feaster having a player claim that he disrespects and misleads people is a sign of a good GM, right?

Please, let's end this nonsense now. Feaster is not the White Knight. Darryl Sutter may have warts, but he is a better GM than Feaster. If we are firing Sutter for Feaster, that is a step backwards. Feaster burned the Lightnings organization down around him and then jumped ship. That's not the kind of person we should have running the good ship Calgary Flames. Don't bring in a tired, fired retread. Bring in someone new. Bring in a Lanny McDonald to be Club President, and then let him hire a new GM and new coach, if it comes to that.

There are other names out there. We suggest Lanny because of all the synergy. But whoever is brought in to fix this mess, it shouldn't be Fat Feaster. If the ownership is cleaning house, he should go to.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award

It's Friday, and that means one thing: Flames lose! Flames lose!

What? Oh yeah, that's right. It is also that time of the week when we present the Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award (the RTPIC)!

As you all no doubt know, to win the award, one must make it through a gruelling gauntlet of numerous nominees. Nominees can come from all walks of life, and can be people, places, things, events, most anything, really.

And this week, like all weeks, the nominees for the Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award are strong. And they should be, as a lot of ish went down this week. We had Obama negotiating with the GOP to extend the current tax breaks, only to have his Democrats kill it. We found out Ivy League professors like to sleep with their family members, and that Bea Arthur was a Marine (Tripoli pirates watch your backs). But today, we have to start with the news that every red blooded male has been waiting for. Yes, that's right, Miley's legal!

And she celebrated turning 18 the way any packaged, plastic, pop creation would: by hitting the bong! Steinberg just got excited. Seriously though, this is a great example of marketing in action. Are we to believe that a girl with a lot of endorsements to lose would just let herself be videotaped hitting a bong? Of course not. Miley is changing genres, and her label is having her look made to look a certain way, as they are targeting a new consumer group. So how do we show Miley is edgy and tough and not just for 8 year old girls anymore, but 16 year old girls too? Hit the bong, dude! (On an unrelated not, how does white trash like Cyrus and Spears keep getting album deals? Is North America really that full of pedophiles?)

While we are on the topic of sexual deviants, we bring you the story of an Ivy League professor who was fucking his blood relative. FUCKING GROSS. David Epsein is the cats name, and he taught at Columbia, and has taught at Harvard and other bastions of deviants, err, higher learning. Oh, and he wrote at the Huffington Post. You knew we were going to go there, right? And really, we had too. Not that all liberals are sexual deviants, because certainly deviancy exists on whatever side of the King you sit on. We bring up the fact that a liberal professor at a liberal school was involved in an incestuous relationship because...we need a segue into an Obama story.

Speaking about liberal professors from liberal schools (that wasn't forced at all), has anybody in a position of leadership proved themselves out of their league faster than this Obama cat? Even Darryl managed to keep us buying the hope for at least five years. Obama isn't two years into the job and he is losing everybody (yeah, we read Peggy, what of it?)! And while our political sympathies do not lie with the man or his agenda, it is still very, well, sad to see what is happening to a man that came to the stage with all the hype and promise that Obama did. After taking a historic pounding in the midterm elections, the tin eared President actually made what we thought was a good political decision, and brokered a compromise with the GOP over extending the current tax rates. In exchange for not raising taxes on all Americans, the GOP gave Obama a 13 month extension on unemployment benefits. The two sides also negotiated a payroll tax cut, which would have provided immediate 'stimulus' to families just in time for the holidays. And then Nancy Pelosi heard about how Obama was crafting good politics and she snapped. The House, you will recall, is where the Democrats just lost 63 seats (which is, again, a historic rebuke). The House Democrats, because they all just got fired, really have no political authority to kill this bill. Yet they did. Nancy Pelosi said she would menstruate on anybody who voted for the compromise, and her caucus, trying to avoid some red rain, relented.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is insane. Nancy Pelosi is telling the President what the agenda is going to be? Uh oh. The President has spent the first two years of his time on the job pissing off people who are to the right of him politically, and at the same time pissing off the people who are to the left of him, politically (which, by the way, is telling. Obama got socialized medicine passed, and these kooks aren't happy?). Because of the way he went about passing his agenda, he turned off the independent voters as well. Do you know how bad at politics you have to be to alienate your base, your enemies base, and the independent centre, all at the same time? And because he is so terrible, and he has lost everyone, who is he going to call to provide backup when he needs it? Nancy Pelosi, lame duck, can dictate the agenda to the President because she isn't scared of him. She isn't scared of him because he has no allies. And he has no allies because he spent his time as President acting like a child (Obama famously told the GOP, during a negotiating session over the stimulus, that he didn't need to listen to the GOP because 'I won'). So much for being the smartest, coolest person in the room.

Also, while we are discussing cool people, Bea Arthur, anybody? The 'Golden Girl' was a marine during the fight to crush the Huns (which one, right?) and get this, during her time serving, she got written up! Yeah, she got 'disciplined', and had herself written up in a 'misconduct' report because...she got venereal disease! Hell yeah she was a Marine! OOHRA!

This weeks winner of the Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award: Alaska Nanooks, and their bad ass fucking Polar Bear!


Please, we implore you, watch those videos. Seriously, they are made out of the same subatomic particles that they make Awesome out of.

Watched the vids? Good. Your life is probably brighter now, right? Your spiritual muscle just got a little pumped, right? How could it not? But what you probably are also thinking, and we know because we thought the same thing, is that you are currently wasting your life. Are we right? You saw that video, and you thought to yourself "Wow. That's what I should have been doing. I should have been making completely insane video's featuring a Polar Bear blowing up oil tankers with hockey sticks made out of lightning." We know you thought this, because that's exactly what we thought, too.

Unless you work in the Flames in-game entertainment department. You saw that shit and were like 'I hope nobody shows that to Ken King, because then we are all out on our asses!' Which, you should all be, by the way, because the video montages at the Dome suck and are boring.

But you know us, we aingt here to just hate. We got an idea for you, Flames in-game entertainment department, and you can go ahead and steal it. Because we stole it. That's how you get good ideas, you find them and you adopt them, like Caesars Roman Legions used to.

We don't know how many of you have ever been to a California Angel game, but we have. And they are fun, let me tell you. You know why they are fun, and are fun, divorced from the baseball game? Because they do goofy shit with the teams mascot, the Rally Monkey. The Angels in-game videos feature a famous movie scene, and they will cut out one of the stars in the scene and replace him/her with the Rally Monkey, which is cheap hilarity, but that's exactly what you are after at a sporting event.

You see where we are going here, people? The Flames have a mascot everyone loves in Harvey the Hound. Why not put the Hound in some videos? Why not use, as an example that might be able to generate some laughs, the scene from Ghost, where Swayze and Demi are doing the naked pottery thing, and replace Swayze with Harvey? See? Cheap, easy humour everyone can have a laugh at. Much better than videos of a serious looking Morrison looking seriously at the camera with a serious look on his serious face.

Or better yet, spoof Godzilla. Have Harvey rise up from the waves to destroy Tokyo. Have Harvey beat up Mothra. That would go over huge.

And while we are on the topic of using Harvey as a marketing tool, do any of you out there not wonder why the Flames don't sell little Harvey The Hound teddie bears? Especially during December? Ken King, who do you have working in your marketing department? Why are we supplying them with ideas that they should have come up with years ago? Ken, look man, we like the Flames. Despite the tone of the site, we really do. We want to help the team be better. We aren't saying that you should hire us, although you should, but send us an email, we can help. We did invent the Domes 'Retro Night', after all (true story).

For being more entertaining than the hockey game last night was, the Alaska Nanook's opening videos win this weeks Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award!

Seriously, can you believe they are not selling plush Harvey The Hound dolls? It boggles the mind. The Flames seem to be making money in spite of their marketing department, not because of it. When we are picking stocks, we look at how efficient a corporation is at generating value. Well, if we were looking at the Flames, we would see an organization that is letting opportunities to create profit slip away because the status quo is working today. Which is to say, we don't see an incredibly well run one.

Bourque should be benched for the first period of the game today. Him, Glencross, Olli, all of the players who seem to think they are more important than the team, and seem to think that taking selfish penalties is ok. We are fucking sick of the selfish play. How do you reign that in? You take away minutes, that's how.

This team is full of veterans. That means they are supposed to be smart, and know how to play. These guys are not smart. They are dumb and selfish. The coach has to be harder on them because they cannot be trusted to self police. Look, one of the empty words that gets thrown out a lot about this team is 'leadership'. Normally we would discount the concept. Well, we would like to know if Jarome went up to Bourque yesterday and threatened to pound the shit out of him if he keeps taking stupid, selfish penalties. That's what leadership is, straight up. And we doubt he did.

This team does not self police, even though they are a veteran group. Coach Sutter has been put into a shitty situation by his brother. We understand that. But if this team won't self police, he has to be the cop. Even if that smells like Pee-Wee. 

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Olli Sucks, Conroy Is The Man, And Other Things You Already Knew

(I go to TSN to find some stats, and the page loads up, and OH MY GOD WHATS WRONG WITH THAT MANS FACE! SOMEONE GET A PAPERBAG FOR THAT THING BEFORE I PUKE IN MY *HURL* TOO LATE! Dion is ugly will never get old.)

Craig Conroy: 17 GP, 2 G, 0 A, -1, 9:25 ATOI

Olli Jokinen: 25 GP, 2G, 8 A, -5, 17:24 ATOI

We all hate Olli, right? At least, we here at DB do. We put the above stat line to illustrate the fact that we think Olli should be sitting, and Craig should be playing. We aren't going to only use stats that show Craig is better. We could, and who would notice, but we won't. So when we start looking at the stat lines at the end of this paragraph, we will include Corsi rel Qualcomp/Qualteam, ect. even though they might hurt our case. After all, we might as well find out together if we are crazy or not.

And thems the charts. Maybe not so crazy, after all.

What do we see? Look, we know the minute difference between the players skews some things. Olli has had more minutes to prove he is useless and ineffective than Conroy has. We get that. We just don't get why. Actually, that's disingenuous on our part. We know why: Sutter paid the man, and took a big hit to his reputation to do it, so dammit Jim, the man's going to play.

But really, he shouldn't be. We aren't saying that Conroy is going to step in and put up 50 points. We are saying that he probably gives you more than Olli does, especially if you use the guy to send a message to Olli. If Olli is going to play like winning doesn't matter, then play Conroy. The fans would rather see him not score than Olli not score. Besides, Olli came into this year talking junk about how he was going to get back to being a point a game player. That aignt fucking happening, if you haven't noticed. But if the team harbours any hope of it happening, it would be wise to try to humiliate or embarrass Olli, in the hopes that it will light the fire in him (assuming there is any left). Sitting Olli to play Loubardias's replacement, Conroy, would be a good place to start.

The stats that jumped out to us were the ZS%, because those imply that Conroy is more adept at moving the puck, or at the very least keeping the puck, in the offensive zone. It is the offensive zone, you will recall, where fun things like scoring on the other team occurs.

But really, most any of the stats you look at show Olli isn't head and shoulders above Conroy, a guy many believe is done in the NHL. Some of the Corsi ones paint Olli as better, but let's take a bit of a look. Corsi is really just a measurement of pucks directed at the oppositions goalie by your team or against your own by the opposition. So Corsi Rel Qualcomp is Corsi relative your competition. Well, relative to his competition, Olli is a plus player. That looks good until you see that Corsi relative his teammates, he is a negative. That implies to us that Olli is a drag on his line, a line that goes out against some stiffer competition. Olli is hurting that lines opportunities to be productive. Conroy, on the other hand, while negative on his Corsi Rel Qualcomp, is a plus player in Corsi Rel QoT. Which means that Conroy isn't hurting his lines chances at getting opportunities to produce. Now negative Corsi versus 4th line players isn't something to be heralded, but at least he isn't actively hurting the team in the role he is employed in, unlike Olli, who is.

The decision to play Olli Jokinen regardless of what he is actually doing on the ice is a stupid one. That's a decision of the genius Brent Sutter, who is at no fault whatsoever for the teams struggles, even though he is paid to keep the team consistent. Unless, of course, the GM of the team is telling the coach who to play and who to sit, in which case why employ two Sutters if one is going to be GM and coach anyways?

Olli Jokinen should be benched. We have seen what he brings. Give Conroy the chance to play his way out of the NHL, at the very least. It won't hurt the teams competitiveness, and in fact, may help it.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking At The Goalies *UPDATE*

Miikka has let in his fair share of softies this year, but whenever the teams struggles are discussed, his name is curiously absent. This isn't fair. If Jarome Iginla is expected to be the offensive driving force of this team, score 500 goals a game and be a 2 point a game player, by extension then Kipper should be expected to post 82 shut outs a year.

These unrealistically high expectations come from the players past performance, and their current salary. They also speak to desperation (because the team has been built around these lofty assumptions about these two players in particular, they have to pan out and become reality if the team is to have any chance).

Whether it is fair to have these expectations about the players is moot. Some will say it is based on what they make, some will say it is unfair to expect greatness year in and year out from mortals. We here at Dome Beers find the concept of 'fairness' inherently disgusting and communist. The expectations are the expectations, for whatever reason. The question is, did you meet them?

The way this team is built, and has been built for several years now, there are expectations on Miikka. The year this team most recently went to the Stanley Cup, Miika posted a SV% of .933. The year we won the division, he posted a SV% of .923. Miika's historical SV% average with this team, going back the last seven seasons, has been .917.

Clearly, this team is built around Miikka being able to stop pucks at a higher than average clip. If Miikka can do that, some of the issues this team has scoring goals are mitigated, and the team is hoping at the end of the day, when everything comes through the wash, the goals they can prevent being scored on them outweigh the goals they were not able to score (do to inability to score, the whole list). That is, the goals Miikka prevents the other team from scoring are goals the Flames do not need to score, which, in theory at least, means the Flames need to score less goals than an other team who is using an average goalie does to win games.

Fair enough. And we have all seen it work, to one degree or another, in the past.

This year, Miikka is sporting a SV% of .907. That is the lowest among starting goaltenders (starting goaltenders being defined in this case as goalies who have received the most GP for their team so far this year), save for Edmonton, Colorado (in this case we are counting Budaj as the starter as he has started more games than Anderson, even though we are aware Anderson is the superior goaltender), Chicago (Turco, Crawford has a better SV% than Miikka), and Columbus (although Garon, the 'backup,' has a SV% of .931 in 10 games.).

You want to know why the Flames aren't in the middle of the pack, in the thick of a playoff race? Well, the play of the goaltender may be a reason for it.

Sacrilege around these here parts, we know.

Anyways, here is the chart. Again, first goalie is defined as the goalie who has more games played at this point in the season. We also averaged out the numbers of GP and SV%, to show how far above or below the average the Flames were in the respective category.

And that is that. The team is built around, among a myriad of other assumptions, one that asserts Miikka will play the goal position at an elite level. This isn't happening right now. He is, in fact, playing at a slightly below average level. He isn't playing terrible, just not good enough, which is really the story of this team. Not terrible, just not good enough.

For more nightmare fuel, we offer this fact. Last year, the year we didn't make the playoffs, do you know what Miikka's SV% was? .920. Gulp.


As was pointed out in the comments, we should have looked at E/S and PK SV% seperately. And we have now done so. Chart in 3, 2, 1:

Looks better than the first chart, certainly, but it still shows the cat is playing average goal, when the team needs him to play above average goal. It also illustrates the fact that there isn't just one problem with this team. Kippers stats may be 'average' but that doesn't mean they are not good. He is within 11 basis points of the leader of the category, although the expectation is that he be the leader in this category. But to get back to the point, a .921 SV%, we don't think, could be considered 'sucking', in and by itself. The team is hampered by not being able to score, and it gives up too many goals. As simple as it sounds, it is that simple.

In other words, good teams are not average, they are above average. Not in every category mind you (although, if a team was, it would be a great team, not a good one), it just has to be above average in at least one, and you strive for more. The Flames are a below average team on 5 v 5 (with a 5-5 F/A on 0.94, good for 20th in the entire league), below average on special teams (PP% of just 14.5%, good for 24th in the league, and a PK% of 80%, good for 24th spot in the league), and are receiving just average goaltending. They might not be last place bad, but they certainly deserve to be in the bottom half of the conference, and the league.

Getting off Kipper for a moment, when you think of all the one goal games this team has had, or games that are one goal until the opposition scored on the open net (and by our rough count it's like 8 - 10 games), a few PP goals may have saved the season, or at the very least, preserved hope among the fanbase. Again, the shitty PP is the fault of the players because they are on the ice blah blah, but it is also Dave Lowry's fault, because he has been in charge of the thing for two years now. Uhh, would somebody please fire fucking Lowry and can we then hire Fleury or Bure or someone who knows how to score to come in and coach the PP?

We don't think the guillotine for someone who has failed at their job for two seasons is too much to ask. We want Lowry's head in the basket. That doesn't make us bad people, it marks us as concerned Flames fans.

Also, for those interested, here is Kippers stats and where the team has finished.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Have Done This Post Before

Flames lose. They lose a game where they manage to take 20 Cent out in the first minute. They lose a game that despite the fact they took 20 Cent early, they gave up four powerplay goals.

Look. The Sun, Herald, Flamesnation, M&G, us, we have all declared the Flames season dead. Nothing the team did last night changed that assessment, and nothing probably would have, save had they beat the Blackhawks by a 10 goal margin.

Is the team a last place team? No, it has more talent on it than that. But is it a team that can legitimately challenge for a Stanley Cup? No, it's not. You can't lose all the one goal games this team does and expect it to be able to win one goal games against good teams when the pressure is on, which it would need to do to win a Cup, provided the team can even make the playoffs.

So nothing really is new. The team, honestly, is probably a good bad team. Which is the worst type of suck, isn't it? The 'we are in the middle of the pack' suck. Now maybe the team is worse than the Oilers and the Islanders, and we continue being awful for a full season and earn a good draft pick with our terrible performance. But we really don't think the team is worse than those two bottom dwellers. Some time this season the Flames will pick it up, end the year in 9th place, get a middle to late first round pick. Which won't be a total disaster, as draft picks are question marks anyways, but it won't certainly be characterized as a good thing, either.

Let's aim for a top 5, Calgary.

We know the coach gets a lot of leeway from the people who cover the team. All the coaches do, the assistants too. We know why. They have personal relationships with them. That's cool.

But enough with this shit about how the coaching staff is good. Enough. Individually, and in a vacuum, who knows, Brent Sutter may be the worlds greatest coach, employing cutting edge strategies with the latest and greatest in motivational techniques. Who knows, right? But on this team, on the Calgary Flames, Brent is a bad coach, and it's time someone in the media started questioning him.

What is the job of a coach? A coach is given a roster, and is told to win games with it. So at the end of the day, a coach needs to win. A good coach is one who is able to win with the roster given to him, a bad coach is not. This is a terrible way to evaluate the position. There have been good coaches saddled with bad teams, and if you have a bad team, the coach isn't coaching to win anyways, he is coaching to not get embarrassed. So we understand that some of you will shout 'not fair' to what we are about to say.

Evaluated on wins and losses, this coach, Brent Sutter, is worse than Playfair or Keenan. WORSE THAN RUSTY MIKE KEENAN.

A coach needs to get his players to respond. Do you remember 2004? Of course you do. Do you remember how the coach at the time, D Sutter (oh why oh why do you not come back and coach?), as cliche and stupid as this sounds, managed to get 110% out of his roster, probably 90% of the time. And he had to because that was the only way the team was going to win. This current Sutter head coach, while his team may be more talented than the AHLers we were rocking in 2004, still needs to work 110%, 90% of the time if it is (or was) serious about contending. And he isn't able to juice stones to that degree.

Look, it's harsh because he is working with a bad roster. But the roster isn't last place bad. Some of that has to be on the coach. This coach isn't able to connect with this group of players. The problem is that this group of players is the same group we will have next year, barring major reconstructive surgery. If he isn't able to get them to buy in during year two of his reign as coach, what makes you think he will be able to get them to buy in year three?

He may be a good coach. Cool. But he isn't here, not with this group.

You know how we know he isn't that great? The team has had like 20 closed door meetings with the team in 24 some odd games of the season. That's normal right? Good coached teams have that happen, right?

And do you all have twitter (follow us!)? Last week Roger Millions sent out a tweet about hot the assistant coaches are working really really hard and it would be so unfair of us to correlate the shit product we see on the ice with their efforts. Honestly, when we read that, we threw up in our mouths.

What bullshit wagon circling. Look, we like Rog, sat in his seats at Stamp games, think he is a much better play by play guy than that human boredom machine Loubardias. But fuck off with this shit, we aignt stupid. How you can tell me it isn't Dave Lowry's fault that PP sucks, even though he has been coaching it for two years and the PP is actually where a good X and O coach can steal some wins for his team? Look, the roster is Darryl's responsibility at the end of the day, so if we are taking logic to it's end, then yes, it is Darryl's fault. Darryl built the roster so it must be his fault. But Darryl isn't divine. He can make mistakes. If he did, it is up to the coaches to mitigate the mistake. If he gave this team such terrible personal that it is a matter of fate that it would be in the bottom of the league in terms of PP effectiveness, that would be one thing. But he didn't.

This team has Jarome Iginla on it, has a Bourque on it. It has passers in Stajan and Tanguay. It has a point from the shot in Babchuck (who will be known on this page as Badsuck forevermore), well, it would if he could ever hit the net and not try to decapitate whoever is standing in front of it. It has the pieces necessary to score on the PP. So it isn't Darryl's fault this time. This particular problem with the team is entirely on the coaching staff, Roger Millions obfuscating notwithstanding.

The Steelers are awesome. That was a great game last night. Did you know that the big bad Ravens can't beat a team that is starting the fan sitting in row 8 seat 3 at left tackle? Seriously, the Steelers have no O-line right now, and even lost more members during that game, and they still won. Pathetic, Baltimore.

The Steelers gave the ball to this backup, Redman, and he ran the ball in from about 10 yards out. That is what we are talking about. When your number is called, make a play.

This website is getting to be a big downer. We are going to do a fake interview or a skit or something this week, we promise. Even if it tanks, at least it won't be on how the Flames are sucking.

Maybe we will have the Hair's discuss geopolitics. Should be fun.

Furthermore I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award

Leslie Nielsen and Ron Santo? Noooo!

Leslie Nielsen was a big influence on me, and the nation, really. His style of the absurd straight man was not new, but he did it better than most. I celebrate the clowns, the court jesters of this world. If you don't laugh, you cry, and this world certainly provides an engaged observer plenty of opportunities to shed tears. The clown, the comedian, lifes escape artist, to me, is therefore a noble profession. Leslie was one of the best.

Ron Santo, one of the best Cubs players I never saw play. You think it's bad being a Flames fan? I have chosen, eyes wide open, to jump in bed with the Lovable Losers from the Second City! Yeah, fruitless and frustrating summers followed by disappointing winters (and I'm not just talking about me trying to pick up girls!).

One of the things that makes baseball great is that, in theory at least, you should be able to look at a guys stats and be able to compare them throughout the history of the game to players of different eras. Inside these numbers, a players worth is supposedly gleaned. Who knows, right? I think a players worth happens to be measured on how he impacts his community. I'm not getting soft. Championships do the most blessings to a community, so winning is the most important thing. But Ron Santo, being a Cub, never was able to bring a championship to his city. He played in Chicago his whole career, every year but the last as a Cub. But instead of being bitter that this All-Star wasn't able to get the team over the hump (though I am sure there is some of that in some of the older fans) everything I have ever read about the man or heard about him suggest that he is a beloved figure in his city. Which in turn leads me to believe he was a good person, and treated the people in his community with respect. That is the true measure of a man, really.

So this week, the RTPIC is going to go to these two gentlemen. I know I have been slipping with the RTPIC's, much to the chagrin of the DB crew and the audience. I will get back to the old school versions eventually.

RIP Leslie Nielsen (Police Squad!):

RIP Ron Santo (Oh no! He dropped the ball!):

And let's tie it all together, now:

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Thoughts On Last Night

Simply put, last night was an embarrassment. It was an embarrassment for the fans, the city, and the franchise.

You all know we had an all-star team in the Eighties, right? You all know the fans in this city didn't support the team and the all-stars had to be traded away because the team couldn't afford them, right? You all know that now the franchise has basically unlimited fan and corporate support, it should be striving to be regain the form of the world class operation it was in the Eighties, right? You all know 'just good enough' isn't, right?

At some point, efforts like last nights begin to tarnish the 'C' and erode the value of the brand.

The players quit in the third. Forget for a moment that the Canucks are a much better team than the Flames currently. The players quit. At some point, you have to decide whether you are going to fire all the players on the team, or fire Darryl and Brent.

Something has to be done. This franchise isn't loved in Canada. It doesn't take much for it to turn into a laughingstock nationally. That is what it is becoming. And it is embarrassing.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Column For Wednesday, Dec 1

Two months of the season are done. Four and some change months remain.

How has the team fared so far?

The team has 22 points in 24 games, which is fucking deplorable when they are spending the money they are spending on what was at one time hockey talent.

So that isn't great. Have they beaten anybody, at least?

Why yes, yes they have. They have beaten eight teams for a total of ten wins on the season. Besides Killadelphia, who play in the East and should have won that game save for the NHL and it's continued pussyfication of the game, Calgary has beat the Columbus, Colorado, and Chicago, all teams who enjoy (currently) a position at the top of the standings in the West.

That's right. If you used 'C' as the starting letter in the name for your city, and that city has an NHL team, prepare to take big thick 'L's to the face when Calgary comes to town.

So if you are looking for positives, there is that. The negative is that the team is losing to teams in the bottom half of the conference, and they should probably not be doing that if they want to achieve some post season gates for the owners. Also, they have played the Red Wings three times and have lost all three (but they have been close games until the Wings decide to turn it on and win in the five last shifts of a hockey game).

We are now looking for the team to go on a good stretch, get on a winning streak, and then maybe they can play themselves up to 9th, and then they need to make another push, go on another streak, and maybe, if the stars align, they can make the 7th spot.

The team, it's managers, coaches, and it's players, put themselves in this position, so we don't feel sorry for them. If they want to be able to carry their heads with pride around this city, then they got to win, and that's up to them.

But the situation does put a big bright spotlight on games like tonights. Even if the team was in last in the conference with no hope, this would still be a big game. Beat Vancouver.

If the Stamps are underachieving (in the regular season, we have come to expect it from them in the postseason) then the season can still be salvaged if they beat the Eskimo's. Well, same shit applies here. If the team sweeps the Canucks, it will make the bitter taste of a wasted season less difficult to swallow.

You can't sweep a team if you lose to them the first time you meet, which makes this game an important one for the Flames. But this could get ugly in a hurry. The Canucks have won four games on the road this year, and two of those wins came against teams in the East, which is to say, bad ones. You know their coach is hoping to get his guys fired up to start winning on the road. It will be interesting to see how they (the Canucks) respond, how the Flames respond, ect. The Canucks play the Blackhawks next, in their (Chicagos') barn, so this thing could be a trap game for them.

This is old, but we haven't talked about Nystrom admitting to the world he was mentally weak, yet.

What the fuck is with the people in this city and their love affair for a first round draft bust who fled this team for a paycheque? Why are fourth line scrubs like Nystrom even getting interviewed in the media?

Look, we aren't the worlds most experienced travelers, but we have seen different markets in North America and how the sports media in different markets operates. Maybe the newspaper guys thought running a story about how playing in a Canadian market can be so tough, and how the Calgary chapter got a scalp in the form of Nystrom, would make their wives pussies drip. We don't know. But we do know that if you think the Calgary media market is tough, then you are a complete wimp. The fact that blogs like this exist is testament to the fact that the media in this city is not combative. The FAN960 guys aren't lobbying for players to be traded, or coaches to be hired or fired. They barely made a peep about Keenan.

This is a nice media market. It may be a loud, semi claustrophobic one, but it is a nice, professional one nonetheless. Phoenix has tougher media than we do. Or they would if the Coyotes could make it into one of their sports sections.

Enough with this noise about how Canadian markets kill their sports figures. They kill the sports figures who are here to collect paycheques and live the lifestye. Seriously, it's like that, and that's it. Nystrom likes sleeping in fancy hotels, he likes being treated like someone special, likes the money and the lifestyle. He jumps at every chance he can to do an interview, so you know he likes feeling like a 'star' and being famous. But he doesn't like the media and it's tone when the team decides to go on vacation in December and lose nine straight games? He doesn't like the responsibility of having to actually win, is what he doesn't like. He doesn't like 'expectations'.

A player who was drafted for his last name, who gave this organization 39 points, is talking about the pressures of playing in the NHL? Child, please. He is lucky he isn't talking about the pressures of having to play four games in five nights in the ECHL.

Fuck off and go away, please, Nystrom. We loved Kerr's take on the issue. To paraphrase, he said (sarcastically) something to the effect of 'I (Kerr) drove Nystrom out of town.' Exactly. Kerr has all the time in the world for the organization and it's players, and was a Nystrom cheerleader. Press like that was too tough? Good fucking riddance.

Fuck, you see what the good Mayor Nenshi is pulling? We will be upfront. We thought the guy was a product of academia, so we thought he would go soft and left when he got into power. Who knows, he may still. But so far, so good, right?

He wants to cut sending! Hurray! Even if some of his cuts are only symbolic, they should still be applauded. We never understand people who get mad at spending reductions if they are small and negligent on the budget. Yeah, there is still work to do, but every penny counts, and at least having the personal inclination to want to cut spending is a good thing (you know spending is out of control when we characterise $10 million dollars in cuts as 'symbolic').

Also, we like how Nenshi has made it look like a 4%+ tax hike is, like, a good thing. Shows the man can market, which isn't a terrible skill to have as Mayor.

And Nenshi beefs with the councils biggest tool, Pincott, which earns him mad kudos with us.

This talk about Jay Feaster being next in line for the GM post if Sutter is fired needs to fucking end, because if that is the plan, we are getting off the Fire Sutter train. Feaster is worse than Sutter. At least Sutter had played the game, could command some respect from free agents, and had access to the NHL GM's Old Boys Club (for better or for worse). Feaster is the guy famous for jacking up Tampa Bays salary structure so bad that they were forced to trade away real players like Boyle and Richards for monetary breathing room. It's a fucking joke this guy is being considered to run the team, especially considering this club could have gone with Nicholson and Yzerman if they had only been prepared to dump obnoxious piles of money in front of them.

Please, before we hired Sutter the organization was being run by a nice enough fellow in Button. But Button was a very bad GM, and we needed Sutter for the stability and seriousness his presence gave the organization. He may have plateaued as far as his abilities to improve the teams chances of winning a Stanley Cup are concerned, but that doesn't mean when you hire his replacement you hire down, and go backwards. If this club gets rid of Darryl it better be for someone with more cache, more bonafides, not less.

We know some more established media read this blog, and we implore you to stop this 'Feaster as legitimate option as GM' story now, before it garners traction. If you are going to talk about replacing Darryl, talk about Lanny McDonald, or hiring Nashville's GM (and their coach, too) away with the chance to build a team that he has the budget to maintain it, or whomever your particular favourite candidate is. Just stop talking about Feaster, and stop giving the idea legitimacy.

Everyone at the Flames ingame entertainment department should be fired. Fuck off with the techno, just fuck off with it, already. The crowd in the lower bowl doesn't respond to techno music because they aren't 17 year old girls with mouthfuls of ecstasy and a desire to dance all night. Are we being clear enough with you nimrods?


You know why people like country music? Well, lots of reasons, but a big one is THEY HAVE EASY AND FAMOUS CHORUSES! You want people to make noise? PLAY A SONG THEY CAN SING THE WORDS TO!

Look, the techno they play isn't even that good. It's pop techno. It's garbage. But we will try to meet you halfway. The next time the Flames score, play 'Thank God I'm A Country Boy', and if you want, go ahead and play the techno version (that's us meeting you halfway). We guarantee the crowds response to that will be 1000 times more noticeable than what you guys get with your stupid techno music.

Finally, a salute to the Irish for not raising their corporate tax rates, even after they just sold out most of their sovereignty to the IMF. Oh, and fuck German exporters. What, it's only currency manipulation when the Chinese do it?

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.