Everything Else

Been meaning to get to this for a few days, because no doubt those of you who’ve been with us for a while probably guessed we took unique glee when the news broke the Jaromir Jagr decided living and playing in Canada was too hard for his aged, check-cashing ass and is going to take his  ball and go home. Or more to the point back to Europe where he can continue to rack up points no one gives a shit about and earn a paycheck to pay off whatever kind of debt he assuredly owes to Russian mobsters from his time at Omsk. And remember, it was his time in Omsk during the lockout with Roman Abramovich that apparently “inspired” him to play hard in the NHL again, not the millions he was being paid by NHL teams or the teammates that looked to him to make a play when they had to have it that he hasn’t made since the fucking 90s.

Let’s be clear: Jagr will slink out of this league having scored one playoff goal in 39 playoff games. And before you get all, “Yeah but he scored in the regular season and he’s old!” just stop yourself. This is a sport and a league that has always valued, overvalued more likely, what a player does in the playoffs than what they do in the regular season. If Roberto Luongo’s first-ballot Hall of Fame career is in any way tarnished because of his playoff failures–and Luongo had a lot more to do with the Canucks getting to where they did than Jagr has had on any team since probably 200-fucking-1, then Jagr shouldn’t escape either. And I could sub in the Sedins, or even Hossa as some use his playoff scoring record against him despite him being basically one-and-a-half-Jagrs.

Because what would have one more goal meant to the Bruins in 2013 in Game 1, or Game 4, or Game 5, or Game 6? It would have mean the series flipping completely, except he couldn’t be bothered to try until the B’s were on a two-man advantage. Fuck that noise right in the ear. He never intended to go on a deep playoff run and would have been far happier had the Bruins ate it in that Game 7 against the Leafs as they probably should have. The only person not dressed in blue upset about the Leafs collapse in that 3rd period was Jagr and you can fucking book it.

Remember this was the same guy who torpedoed the entire Capitals organization because on most nights he didn’t feel like it. And after his return to Philly after ditching the Rangers, who made him captain by the way, so he could sit in a hot tub with Abramovich for three years, look where he chose to play. Dallas when they sucked, New Jersey when they sucked, and then Florida. Three places where no one bothered to watch and he could just rack up his points that didn’t fucking matter and checks in anonymity. And when the Panthers were playing games that mattered? NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. Two assists in six games, highlighted by letting Thomas Hickey simply waltz down the middle of the ice while Jagr shit himself near the blue line for an OT winner in Game 3. What would have happened if the Panthers went up 2-1 in that game? They probably win the series, their first series win since 1996 and what a difference that could have made.

So for the first time in forever he signs in a market that actually pays attention and cares with a team that had real aspirations, and he snuffs it. “Oh wah, the coach isn’t playing me on the top six!” Never mind  he actually doesn’t deserve to be in the least so shockingly everything hurts now. How can that be, because the hockey media couldn’t wait to tell me for five years or more now just what a workout fiend he is and how he could play until he’s 50 if he wanted to! Once again, hockey media is shocked by any player that actually gets in a gym.

So he’s fucking off, and his soulless pursuit of points and games played and most importantly a check will go back to Russia or even his homeland. Maybe he’ll even play in the Olympics where hockey media can get even more weepy about him beating up on some campers who got lost in the Canadian Rockies and the Hockey Canada just tossed a jersey on them and sent them to South Korea. Then again, the last couple times we saw him in the Olympics Alex Ovechkin was either rocking his ass to sleep or the Czechs were going absolutely nowhere.

Good riddance.

Everything Else

 vs. 

RECORDS: Hawks 18-14-5   Flames 18-16-4

PUCK DROP: 8pm

TV: WGN

FRIENDS OF CAL AND GARY: Flames Nation

The Hawks will close out 2017 in southern Alberta, because honestly where would you rather be, and for the most part 2017 has been a year the Hawks and their fans won’t shed any tears over. It started back with some brilliant hockey in the middle of last season, but ended with a humbling, if not downright humiliating, playoff defeat and a stop-start half season to this one. Things have to get better when the calendar turns, that’s for sure.

What they’ll find is a Flames team that is just about as weird and stop-start as they have been. Before the season, looking at the Flames top four and at least their top two lines, you thought if Mike Smith could at least be competent (a big ask) they should challenge for the top of the Pacific. And the thing is, Mike Smith has mostly been competent. His backups have been anything but, but Smith has been ok. And yet the Flames still find themselves complaining that the goggles do nothing.

It’s been more than one problem for them. For one, that top four hasn’t been THE TOP FOUR you would have expected, at least not until of late. Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton (a grown man named “Dougie”) have been beyond excellent, but for the first two months T.J. Brodie and newly-acquired Travis Hamonic couldn’t find the A-button on a Nintendo controller. They’ve somewhat regulated of late, but it hasn’t been the bread and roses Flames fans hoped for.

Secondly, the Flames have been especially agoraphobic in front of the net — i.e. terrified of putting the puck in an open space. They can’t score. Both on the power play and at evens, they have some of the lowest shooting percentages in the league. Their underlying numbers are where you want them to be, they should be scoring more, and yet they’re putting it everywhere except where it should go like it was post-prom.

Combine that with Jaromir Jagr being hurt and old and thus unable to give the Flames a representative third line, and you see the problems. He’s moved to replace Michael Frolik on the 3M line now that our beloved Fro’s bottom jaw is currently a jigsaw puzzle. A couple promising kids in Jankowski and Bennett are trying to give the Flames a third option at the moment.

Still, with Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland and the 3M line that’s more than a lot of teams have. And the Flames are going to have to find another option because Smith’s numbers have declined as the season has gone on. Odd for a goalie who is 35, I know. And we still aren’t really sure if head coach Glen Gulutzan Glenross is a Moron or Not A Moron.

As for the Hawks, the lineup will remain the same as it was on Friday, including Jeff Glass in hs hometown. Again, this is a great story but asking for more than what you’ve already got from him seems an awfully big risk. On another night, with that rebound control, Glass could have given up a touchdown. He might not be so lucky tonight, and Anton Forsberg has not been bad outside of a couple of ugly outings. Vancouver certainly had nothing to do with him, so what are you doing to his confidence? He’s clearly the more important of the two going forward.

But hey, we get more Kempny and we get more of that intriguing third line with the three kids. So let’s not head into the new year bitching that much.

The Flames and Hawks are going to be competing for the same wild card spots, or at least that’s how it looks. So these two points are going to matter when we total it all up in April. After biffing Vancouver hardcore, the Hawks simply can’t here.

 

 

Game #38 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

We don’t know what it is Mike Pfeil does. He claims he works at Hockey-graphs.com but we’re pretty sure that’s a front. We do know he lives in Edmonton, we’re sure we don’t know why, and we’re more sure he doesn’t know why either. Anyway, he’s a Flames guy, further proving just how lost he is as a human. But he found the time to answer our questions, which doesn’t say much for him either. 

It’s been a disappointing first half for the Flames. What has been the problem(s)?
Luck, the lack of stolen vaccines from the provincial government, and some roster/usage issues. Hitting post, after post, after post is exhausting; Mike Smith letting in some weirdo goals (that he’s known for) can be tiresome; a lackluster power play at times; a penalty kill that cratered (and made my PK project difficult); and some awful roster management have been factors. All that said I put more stock on the lack of stolen vaccines being provided.
 
Did moving to Calgary give Travis Hamonic brain worms?
Are we so sure he didn’t get them while he was in Long Island? I’m pretty sure most drinking water in New York state is contaminated given the cretins that exist out there. He’s also from Manitoba originally and that place has lots of mosquitoes so maybe they laid mosquitoes in his brain, too.
He’s getting better though and I think “adjustment” period of playing with a guy like TJ Brodie has been hard. Brodie loves to skate and jump up in the rush while Hamonic prefers more conservative means to being involved. Part of the improvements have come from Gulutzan’s deployment of the pairing (more on-the-fly usage versus actual zone starts) which has helped immensely. Plus you know hockey terms like poise, confidence, composure, tenacity, pugnacity, all the nacities, and his shaft is firm.
 
Jaromir Jagr, seven points in 19 games. One goal. Can you believe signing someone closer to 50 than 40 hasn’t worked out for the Flames?
Injuries, no training camp, and playing along side Hawk alumni member Troy Brouwer will do a number on your counting stats. Still, I’m worried that a gust will break his hip and we’ll have to send him to the nursing home up north. From a fan perspective – whatever is left of that in me – I want him to succeed, but the cold number-loving analyst has made me question whether or not it’s best to play him every night he is available.
Every time we watch the Flames the broadcast mentions how much they miss Kris Versteeg. That can’t really be true, can it?
It’s tricky because on one hand I love the dude, but it’s a bit of a media-driven narrative. From a locker room/glue guy/intangibles angle yeah he’s missed. The tangible aspect he brings was from a power play perspect; Dave Cameron and Gulutzan used him on the first unit as a zone entry guy and half-wall option in the 1-3-1. He’s nowhere close to where he was last season or even during his prime but he has value even if he’s fast approaching Martin “Pelvic Mesh Imploding” Havlat territory.
 
Why is Matthew Tkachuk such a shithead? Typical rich kid stuff? Or did Dad teach him “well?”
He’s the equivalent of the Dreaded Laramie from the Clickhole quiz “Which One Of My Garbage Sons Are You?” He’s out on the ice yelling “Saab demolition” at every opposing player and spray-painting ISIS on their cars. There’s definitely that reputation established, but every team  wants someone like him. Tkachuk is really fantastic blend of shit heel antics and legitimate hockey skill — anyone who tells you he’s a passenger on the 3M line is a cop. If he keeps it up and his point production continues to improve he could be a top-end winger in this league.

 

 

Game #38 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

We here at the FFUD labs get accused of being overly negative. And it’s true, we are, and we need to work on that. When you’ve done this as long as we have, and have to watch the same stupidity over and over again–from front offices, from media, from fans–it leads one to get jaded. There are so many things we do enjoy about doing all of this, we just have to sift through a bit more than we used to to find and hang onto them.

So let me say that the fact that Jaromir Jagr can at his age, be a useful if not plus-plus NHL player is quite amazing. His metrics really do standout, and it probably will be a while before we see someone who does the same thing at his age. Not that someone couldn’t stay in shape that long–hell, Hossa would have done it if his skin would allow–but is the motivation really there when you’ve made so much money and maybe won all that you set out to win.

Here’s the problem with Jagr’s production, though: None of it has mattered in years.

Everything Else

Pavel Nedved is certainly more worth talking about than any of the players on this squad. Come at me.

We finish out Group A with the team almost certainly destined to be the wooden spooners of the group, the Czech Republic. It’s hard to believe now that when the Olympics first allowed the professionals to be involved, and just two years after the US had won the first World Cup, the Czechs were the ones taking home the gold medal. That’s what happens when you have the two best players at the time, one in goal in Dominik Hasek and one at forward in Jaromir Jagr (was this the last goal Jagr scored that actually mattered for anything? Discuss amongst yourselves). Sad to say, that was probably the last time the Czechs mattered on the international stage.

I’m not sure this preview has to go much further than to point out that Roman Polak is on this squad. That’s how you know it sucks deep pond scum. One day, people will figure out that Roman Polak simply can’t play. I await that day excitedly, a bottle of champagne constantly chilling in my fridge.

Everything Else

pack up the cats vs evil empire

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Jimmy Buffett Sucks: Litter Box Cats

In today’s episode of the family favorite series Not Tone Deaf, the following is presented free of comment:

Everything Else

oldschool at obedience

Game Time: 6:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
The Easter Bunny at Menlo Park Is More Convincing: In Lou We Trust

In what is already their 846th back to back of barely half a season, the Hawks will traverse the Five Boroughs and head right across both rivers to Newark to meet the Devils. The blizzard conditions that are now news because it’s hitting New York despite the fact that it just dumped over a foot of snow here three days ago in the part of the country that doesn’t count will almost assuredly be blamed for what will be a low turnout, as has been the case since the Devils moved to The Rock. And based on the type of game the Devils play, they can’t really be blamed.

Everything Else

obedience vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:00PM
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: In Lou We Trust

Somewhere John McDonough is livid that the Devils are in town on Christmas Eve Eve, the biggest marketing bonanza of the year, and there’s now not an extra dollar he can wring out of it with some punny or hackneyed take on their name or anything to relate to Christmas. The Devil and Christmas; never the twain shall meet outside of the brilliant mind of David St. Hubbins. And if McDonough really had any foresight, he’d make the Hawks wear home whites just to make the jolly fat man on the opposition have to wear red.