Hockey

Milan Lucic – By god he found another home. It’s amazing how many teams are willing to take a chance on a player because they might provide “grit,” the most nebulous and overvalued skill in any sport. Lucic still can’t move, still can’t score, and no one gives a shit about his antics because he’s such a boon on the ice to the opponent. And he’s murdering the Flames’ cap just as he did up the road in EdMo. This guy’s been an albatross for five years. You have to almost be impressed. But hey, maybe after a whistle he can spear a guy in the nuts. That’ll get the Flames up the standings.

Whichever of Keith Tkachuk’s Garbage Sons Is Here – Not that there’s any difference. They all run their mouth and start shit all the time. But when you watch them do it you know this is just an extension of when they would go throw things at homeless people with their other private school friends. They’re just spoiled rich kids who never got told to shut up or got the shit kicked out of them because of who dad was, and got all the best training in hockey because he was rich. You know the Tkachuk’s, they just have a different name.

Not Using The Retros All The Time – The old look at home is great. Then the Flames debuted their retro whites this year, and it’s clearly what they should be wearing all the time. More teams need to learn that having black as a lining or a color, unless it’s a main color of the team–only deadens the look in HD and live. The Hawks only have the stripes on sleeves and waist which is why their jerseys still pop.. Thank god the Flames are going to these full-time next year. Enough with the superfluous piping and stripes and whatnot.

Everything Else

Much like his father, Matthew Tkachuk is extremely annoying. Apple doesn’t fall far from the fuckstick and all that. He has pissed off pretty much every fanbase and player in the Pacific Division, and if he isn’t already he will soon reach Ryan Kesler levels of vitriol by anyone who has to deal with him regularly.

And much like his father, he’s a real weapon. Keith was a center you couldn’t move from around the net, when he wasn’t busy yapping about how much money he was making. You can’t move Matthew much either, and he could soon be yapping about how much money he’s going to be making. Which might make the Flames a little nervous.

Tkachuk is on a real heater this season, He’s at 18 goals and 29 assists, good enough for 47 points. His career-high in points is 47 set last year. So the 90 he’s on pace for now obviously blows that out of the water. Which makes him awfully expensive, as it just so happens that he’s coming out of his entry-level deal.

This is where the Flames might not want to hear the word, “Nylander.” As he’s reset the market for players coming out of entry deals, there are going to be others who want to take advantage of that. Keep in mind that William Nylander only put up 61 points in his year before his extended holdout. Tkachuk looks a good bet for at least 80. $7 million might not even be the upper-limit for what he seeks. Tkachuk can’t even be knocked for benefitting from playing with Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan, as he’s spent most of his time taking on much harder assignments with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik in the 3M line you’ve heard so much about. Tkachuk’s agent will be thinking about a lot more than 3 Ms come the summer.

Which will put the Flames structure and policies under the microscope. Gaudreau earns $6.7M per year, signed out of his entry-level deal. He’s clearly the Flames top star. Monahan comes in behind that at $6.3M. Are they in a hurry to pay someone more than him? We like to pretend these aren’t big deals in NHL dressing rooms, but we also know that’s a fallacy.

The Flames aren’t blessed with a ton of room, with somewhere around $14M available next season. Tkachuk will eat up about half of that next year, or he could. Both of their goalies are free agents, and while they’ll be delighted to send Mike Smith on his way, if Big Save Dave Rittich takes them far in the spring he’s going to need a lot more than the $800K he’s getting now. The season after next both TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic are up, and the Flames are going to require a second pairing. Brodie especially could command a raise from his current $4.6M.

Man, what a burden it is to have a lot of good young players in the NHL.

It’s another example of just how hard the line is to balance. Looking it over, the Flames only have one really bad contract on the books. That’s James Neal‘s free agent deal from this past summer. But they’ll still have to figure out how to fit Tkachuk and others around that in the next two summers, while adding so they can get over whatever obstacle presents themselves. One more bad deal, to either their own or another free agent, and the Flames could start losing talent.

Which makes the hardball Tkachuk could play this summer a real adventure for them.

 

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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.

 

 

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They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but in the case of the Tkachuk family, I think it’d be better to say that the shit doesn’t flow far from sewer. Keith Tkachuk was often a shithead and an occasional committer of the dirty hit/play. He averaged 1.85 PIM/game in his career, so damn near a minor penalty per game, which is honestly almost impressive. The only redeeming quality of Keith was that he was a good hockey player, with 1065 points in 1201 career games, or a .88 PPG.

His son Matthew is none of those things. No, Matthew is always a shithead, and a frequent committer of the dirty play, as you can see here. Seriously, what kind of special asshole do you need to be to have enough evidence of you being an asshole that a twelve minute video can be made to document you showing your ass just one year into your career?? He doesn’t commit penalties at quite the same rate as his dad, but with 143 PIM in 112 games so far in his career, he’s at 1.28 PIM/game already with potential to climb. He doesn’t even score at a similar rate to his father, with 70 points in his career thus far, or a .625 PPG. That basically makes him Milan Lucic (coincidence? I think not).

The problem with young Tkachuk tho is that he sometimes manages to be fun to watch. He managed to do this just a few weeks ago, which was pretty cool. And he sometimes has good taste in targets for his bullshit. But being fun to watch isn’t a redeeming quality of an asshole. If anything, it makes it more frustrating, because there is no need to engage in that useless bullshit when you can do cool hockey things instead.

But being a hockey fan might be less fun if we didn’t have villains to hate, and while there were no shortage of those before Tkachuk hit the league, it’s nice of him to be such a willing participant in ensuring there won’t be a shortage in the future either.

Game #38 Preview

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