Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea." - Samuel Johnson

Words fail. How can words, mere symbols, hope to express the raw fires of emotion that burn in the human soul?

We are civilians, and as such, have the strange desire to romanticise the war and combat. We have deleted this column several times; but the more we write, the greater the temptation. We know this offends some soldiers, and hence the reluctance to indulge.

War is hell; Fathers weep for sons. But war is not evil. The Canadian soldiers who liberated Europe, twice in a span of mere decades, the soldiers who fought in Korea, the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, they fight on behalf of an honourable nation, for a noble cause.

Words fail. We are proud of you. And you give us cause to be proud. 

Allow us a moment of blind nationalism: You, the Canadian soldier, defeated the Germans. Twice. You destroyed Prussianism. You either understand the magnitude and breadth of that accomplishment, or you don't.

We will end with the motto of the Cameron Highlanders Of Ottawa: "ADVANCE!"

God Bless The Canadian Soldier

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Check Back Tomorrow

Team got shut out at home. Speaks for itself.

Actually, a few things:

Matt Stajan got 27 seconds of PP time? If we are pretending we are trying to win, getting Matt Stajan going again would help that cause. Coach has a great opportunity to give him some minutes where there is the potential to get points, and chooses not to use it.

Don't like it. We aren't here to champion Stajan's cause; he is a tumour on the Flames. But if we are to get rid of this tumour, we might be served to at least juice his numbers up a little bit so that we can maybe trade him one day.

Whatever. The other thing is the coach himself. We watch a lot of sports, and we don't think there is another team out there that gets verbally murdered by it's own coach more than the Calgary Flames.

Last time we checked, it was Coach Sutter who decided who jumped over the boards. If the players the coach was sending over the board were sucking on the PP, perhaps the coach should try tapping other shoulders?

Anyways, we don't like any of this. The situation is getting sour, but that is a result, as we said last post, of the expectation level (on behalf of the front office) being higher than the talent on the roster would suggest it should be. Still, the sourness isn't good. People and players will get resentful and then the will have a mutiny on it's hands.

Domebeer-aholics, it's a little yawn inducing... the rampant suck of the club isn't making our muse move. When is Shea Weber getting here?

We will be better next time.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias Ken King should be fired.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fatster Speaks

First, before we begin: How often do you think he shaves his head?

Anyways, some real life honest to goodness noise broke over the weekend, kinda, sorta.

Have you heard the Flames are interested in trading for Kyle Turris? Oh you did? Like, a month ago?

Alright, we probably aren't going to waste our finger taps on that subject then. For the record, in case anyone is interested, we don't really get this whole 'Kyle Turris' thang. If this team feels it needs a centre, it makes them trading Daymond Langkow look really stupid. Not that it didn't look stupid at the time.

CAPSPACE! Oh yeah, we forgot... Hey, how many points does CAPSPACE have on the season again? Because Langkow has eight, which would put him ahead of every centre on this team, save the one rocking the tramp stamp.

Getting back to the point: Fatster managed to pull himself away from the buffet table long enough to make some loud, bravado-toned noises about the direction of Ken Kings club to the media. Fatster has been making noise for the entire road trip, but what is getting a lot of the buzz is his interview with Roger Millions during the games last night.

(An aside: We go to take a hot tub at like 11:30 last night, we turn on the radio and who do we hear but Pat Steinberg still doing Overtime: He plays the Fatster clip and then starts to wind down the show. AT 11:30! Who the fuck is calling the show instead of watching football?)

During the interview with the Million Dollar Man, Fatster talked about how the organization feels the team is a playoff team, how them not being in the playoffs isn't good enough, etc. The stuff he had said to the papers. He says the Turris thing is a media driven story (which he seems only to happy to fuel, by the way) and he isn't going to put in an offer sheet on him because Phoenix will match it (?).

Fatster then started to get very puffy and huffy as he began to talk about how the team is playing. He said something to the effect of "We (The Flames) don't score on the rush, it's been proven statistically this season, we need to cycle the puck to score." He then went on to say, and we paraphrase, "This team can't trade turnovers; It can't turn the puck over at the blue line or the neutral zone."(You know, unlike those fucking Canucks, who's entire gameplan is predicated on how many times they are able to turn the puck over in their neutral zone. What the fuck was Fatster trying to say?)

Obviously, if it ended up here, we are going to take a run at it.

#1: We (Flames management) think this is a playoff team.

And we wish we was a little bit taller.

Refresh our memories, did the Flames make the playoff last year? No? Oh, ok then. Did the Flames add any talent in the offseason that would help them make the playoffs? What's that? Oh, no they didn't? Ok then. What did they Flames do in the offseason? What's that? You say they traded Regehr off their blueline and Langkow was dealt because the team had so much centre depth they desperately tried to sign Brad Richards and trade for Kyle Turris?

So if we are following you, you are saying that the team got worse over the offseason, following a season where they did not make the playoffs. And management expects them to be a playoff team? Why?

Here is a chart we made last season, March 22nd, 2011.

The chart says the team didn't beat any good teams last year. Second half run and all.

Now, a team that was not able to compete with the big boys goes into the new season without having upgraded it's talent level (and because the team is old, one could argue they allowed the talent level to erode by bringing back the same players that didn't get it done last season, only this season they are a year older), in fact, having traded quality players off the roster, finds itself sitting outside of the playoffs. SHOCKING! WE ARE FUCKING SHOCKED BY THIS TURN OF EVENTS! WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING BESIDES EVERYBODY WITH BASIC OBSERVATION SKILLS?

Not to belabour the point, but if the Flames feel they are a playoff team with the roster they currently have, they cannot be thinking they are going to be a high seed, if they are being intellectually honest. Is it shocking that a bubble team would find itself two points out of a playoff spot in November? No, it isn't. The question then becomes why is the team acting like it is?

If Ken King and Jay Feaster sold ownership on this team being a good one, then that is on King and Feaster, not on the players. The players are who we think they are. They have been for at least two seasons. If management still has unrealistic expectations for them, or if they kept their jobs in the offseason by selling those expectations, that speaks to the talent and ability of the management, if you ask us.

#2 The organization is losing patience

Really? Ken King has had his job for a decade. Besides that, if the team is still operating in 'win-now' mode, why did they fire Darryl? At least Darryl could swing a trade, something Fatster is apparently having a little trouble with at the moment.

Honestly, the team fired Darryl because he went crazy. Fine, but he went crazy because he had been in 'win now' mode for a decade. You would think that by firing him, the team was saying "we are getting out of win-now mode". Which would have been smart. Instead, they are still insisting on running the club in 'win-now' mode, except now they have a less capable management team in place, which suggests they didn't really learn anything. Actually, it suggests that Ken King fired Darryl as an exercise in public relations, and nothing more.

#3 "We are not a team that scores on the rush...we need to has been shown statistically this season."

Two parter. First, 'we are not a team that scores on the rush, we need to cycle the puck' is a bit much coming from a man who just gave Alex Tanguay a contract that lasts until the 2016 season.

Besides that, does that statement make sense to anybody? How do you get a rush in hockey? You force a turnover. Is Fatster saying this club doesn't have the ability to create turnovers? Olli Jokinen is in the top 10 in the league in take-aways this season.

This sounds like Fatster echoing the frustrations of a coach who can't get his team to buy in.

The second part is 'it has been shown statistically this season'. Obviously that is bullshit. Unless Fatster really is saying they have looked at a sample size of what would have been 12 games or less and come away with the clubs formula for winning. In which case he should be fired.

#4 The team can't trade turnovers

Well, obviously, right? Is there a team out there who thinks they can win by trading turnovers? Teams want to generate more turnovers than they give the puck away.

More charts:
Seems to show that the teams that are scoring the most in this league don't do it by trading turnovers, they do it by generating turnovers.

Which sucks for the Flames, because we employ the Bakery Brothers (Jay Bouwmeester and Chris Butler) on our blueline. 

Our two cents: The outbursts from Fatster over the weekend may be from the frustration the front office has with it's team, and more specifically, of this team not playing up to the expectations of the front office. The question is then who is right? Does the front office have crazy expectations, or are the players indeed a bunch of bums?

Life being what it is, we are inclined to think it is a little bit of both. However, Fatster made the playoff guarantee, and he said the team would be challenging for the division title, and he said the team would make the playoffs as a high seed. So if are going to be fair, we have to say that it certainly looks like the front office of the club misread the talent level of it's roster. Which should bring into question the abilities of the men who make up the front office, Ken King and Jay Feaster.

But of course, those men provide access, so it is much easier to write about how the players are bums, whine about how Bourque isn't a 40 goal scorer, etc.

The team is who we thought it was. If Ken King and Fatster are surprised by that, that speaks to their abilities to forecast, evaluate and manage. Not the players.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias Ken King should be fired.