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.