Everything Else

If you’re number-y like we are, then you’ll come to realize that over the past two seasons, you’d be hard pressed to find a better d-man in the West than Dougie Hamilton. In fact, you could make an argument he’s been better than anyone else, even Erik Karlsson.

Over the past two years, no d-man has a better relative Corsi mark or relative expected goals percentage than Dougie Hamilton. And it would be easy to chalk that up to playing with Mark Giordano, himself deserving of Norris consideration for a long time now.

However, it’s Giordano who suffers more without Hamilton than the other way around. Last year they spent nearly 300 minutes apart. In that time, Hamilton was still a 51 CF% player. Giordano was 47%. Together they’re 56%. This year they’re at 58%, though Giordano is doing better in the odd shifts without Dougie this time around. Still, as you can see they’ve been utterly dominant together, and without them this Flames team would probably have already moved to Quebec and no one would have really cared.

What makes the Hamilton-Giordano pairing is it’s not the usual puck mover/center fielder dynamic that most teams go to. They’re kind of the same guy. Both can really skate, both like to get up the ice, and both can get back and recover themselves when they have to. They’re both all over the ice, which you’d think would leave them really open but they both are mobile enough to recover. Which makes you wonder if this isn’t how pairings will be constructed going forward, as Ryan Lambert went over yesterday on Puck Daddy talking about the Leafs.

Thanks to Giordano, it’s unlikely that Hamilton will get too much consideration. It’s the dreaded “split-vote” phenomena. One will take votes from the other, and everyone will vote for Drew Doughty just because Kings fans keep bitching. But whatever you ask of a d-man, Hamilton is doing it as well or better than everyone. It should be him and Hampus Lindholm. It will be Subban (which is fine) and Klingberg because their leading their teams in scoring.

Which makes you wonder why teams seem intent on trading him. As we all know, Boston didn’t want to sign him and shipped him off to Calgary for three draft picks, none of which have made it up yet to The Hub. Sure, the Bruins look to have recovered by there still doesn’t seem to be a Chara-succession plan and Hamilton would have been a big part of that. And the Brandon Carlo dream will end one day. Earlier this season and over the summer there were rumors flying that the Flames were looking to move him along as well. He must be a raging asshole or something.

Somehow, Hamilton is only 24 and with Giordano looking this spry the Flames look to be set for a long while at the back. If they can somehow get the plague that Travis Hamonic has become and cure T.J. Brodie, they’ll be even better off. It’s an expensive top three though, clocking in at a combined $17 million combined. This might be the reason the Flames thought about moving Dougie along. They don’t have anyone to pay yet this summer except for Mikael Backlund, but if underlying numbers are used in contract negotiations then he’s getting a raise from his $3.5 million. It’s the summer after that that could be worrisome, when Ferland and Tkachuk are up. The Flames need a rising cap, for sure. Though they’ll probably just cry poor thanks to their arena and try to use that to get the city of Calgary to pay for a new one.

Either way, whatever the Flames do this spring is probably going to be on the back of Dougie, whether they want him or not.

 

Game #53 Preview

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@BookOfFLoob is just one of those things that stuck to our shoe on Twitter. That sort of thing happens in the digital world. Everyone calls him Floob. If you want to make jokes about “Loob,” go right ahead. But he won’t have any idea what you’re talking about. We’re fairly sure he’s afraid of girls. And they of him. 

Last time we saw the Flames on New Year’s Eve, they were just hovering around the last playoff spot, not meeting expectations, and still waiting to take off. A month later, they’re hovering around the last playoff spot, kind of not meeting expectations, and waiting to take off. Why hasn’t it come to a boil in Calgary?
There are several different things, both real and real but exaggerated, that I could blame this on, and that list is too big to write it all out. But I’m going to try:
  • Troy Brouwer. You know the monorail episode of the Simpsons where Homer throws the M off the Monorail sign as an anchor and it sticks into the Lard Lad donut to stop the train? Like it’s anchor designed to slow everything down and halt everyone’s production? Remember that one? Me neither. Troy Brouwer fucking sucks. (See? -ED)
  • Flames fans doing the C of Red chant during the American anthem (if you don’t know, I won’t tell you. There’s no way you come out the other side of that rabbit hole a better person)
  • Dave Cameron’s experimental power play where he attempts to figure out how long you can try something that doesn’t work over and over again until maybe it does work once except it doesn’t and everyone is miserable. Dave Cameron is a capitalist.
  • You. Specifically you, Sam Fels.
  • TJ Brodie’s slow descent into shithood. For a guy that once looked like he was going to crawl his way into top 10 defensemen in the league territory, he’s decided his new plan of action is to Seabrook this entire operation. The prevailing theory now is he once looked amazing due to his pairing with Mark Giordano, and maybe that means Giordano is just a little bit incredible.
  • The death of Scorch. We always knew that was going to have lingering effects. Miss you every day forever, Scorch.
  • Goaltending. I’ll get shit on for this one, but Mike Smith, who indeed has been amazing at times, is flipping that other side of his own coin where his great performances are being met with his garbage ones. The next time he tracks the puck will be the first time. He’s like a bigger, dumber Jonathan Quick and is luckier that more pucks hit him than don’t.
  • I have to think 9/11 is at least a little bit responsible.
 
Do we know if Glengarry Glen Gulutzan falls into the “Moron” category or “Not A Moron” category yet?
 
First of all, he’s Glen Gu Tang Zan, if we’re doing nicknames. Anyway, if you and I are morons, and we most certainly are, than yeah, of course, Glen Gulutzan is a Hall of Fame oaf. There are so many wrinkles that need ironing and he ignores them like women ignoring Sam’s phone calls after the first date (Notice a theme here? -ED).
But that’s not to put the blame on him for what’s been going on lately. There are maybe 4 or 5 coaches in the league that have that profound an effect on the results, and he ain’t one of them. His usage of players is troubling, to put it mildly, but the guy knows how to craft a breakout, so it kinda evens out. The team just KILLS it 5 on 5, it’s when they have to call on the special teams (Hi there, Dave Cameron’s power play) where hockey goes to die.
There are a lot of fans out there who want Gully fired. And to those people I say “Congratulations, here’s Dave Tippett. Try to enjoy another hockey game even once before you die.”
You can’t.
At least there’s Dougie Hamilton, right?
I just defended Glen Gulutzan, but it is borderline criminal to keep Dougie Hamilton off the ice as much as the coaching staff in Calgary seems to delight in doing. I am extremely good about talking about this in a calm, rational way, which is good because it would be really easy to fly off the goddamn handle about how you have an elite goddamn defenseman who can carry a team on his back and make you look like a bunch of Gods, but no, you’d rather give more ice time to Michael fucking Stone, because some shit about how he’s less of a liability defensively, like you’d even fucking know what that means, you clod, why don’t you go fuck yourself if you’re not going to play the guy who gets shit done every time he’s on the ice. It’s the same garbage from last year where it took you half a season that you’ll never get back that he should be getting closer to 30 minutes anight so you don’t need to “rely” on Deryk Engelland, holy FUCK, Deryk Engelland, and why did you go back to that formula this year and why is it taking longer to right the ship? What in the hell is going on out there? Who hurt you Glen? Was it Dougie? Did he call you names? Did he give you a noogie? Did he do something so heinous that you would actually lessen your chances of winning every game by not playing one of the 4 or 5 most important players on your team for way more time than you already do?
It would be pretty bad if I couldn’t keep my cool while talking about it.
The Flames don’t seem to be in a position to just punt on the season given their development curve, so what might they do at the deadline? And are you afraid it’ll be stupid?
Oh, trust me. It will be stupid. But it doesn’t have to be.
Michael Frolik has come back from injury, and he gets back on a line with Mikael Backlund and the beautiful boy Matthew Tkachuk, forming the world’s most perfect trio. They’ve called up their best player from the minors in Andrew Mangiapane, and once they learn to give him some ice time, that will be another bonus. Also Kris Versteeg is coming back sooner than everyone thought, and I know Blackhawks fans have a hard time believing this, but he’s been really effective in Calgary, and they’ve certainly missed him.
The biggest factor is Rasmus Andersson, a defenseman who is WAY too good to still be in the minors, and could theoretically be playing on the second pairing in Calgary right now. The thing that’s holding him back is a traffic jam of veteran defensemen who Rasmus is better than, and ones who could be traded. Michael Stone has trade value, somehow, despite being a Tanooki Mario statue, and could be traded out of town to either recoup some draft picks or get a good prospect from some of the dumber GMs out there. Getting rid of either him or Travis “Whoops This Didn’t Work Out At All” Hamonic would pave the way for Andersson as well, and balance would be restored.
Which is why they’ll probably trade for like Dan Girardi or something, because apparently they’re not mean enough.
Given that the Kings actually suck and the Ducks are weird, the Flames really should still get into the Pacific’s three playoff spots, right?
 
Isn’t it great that the Kings suck again?
I can’t believe Vegas is going to be the thing that probably somehow ruins this for everyone.

 

Game #52 Preview

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Maybe a week ago, I would have told you that I was pretty excited to see what the Calgary Flames have in store this season. It has one of the most exciting young players in the game in Johnny Gaudreau, even if he’s a MAGA dipshit. He plays on a very entertaining line with Sean Monahan (is there a chance he could bend?). They have Michael Frolik whom I adore, who’s on a line with fellow hockey Zobrists Michael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk. They have three #1 d-men, and just added Travis Hamonic who could be one of the better #2-3s in the game. And VERSTEEG! is here!. They look poised to make some serious noise in the West since 2004.

And then their owners started bitching about their arena deal not getting done and now I hope they go 0-82. Because fuck those guys. And wear the fucking throwbacks all the time, dillholes.

Cal And Gary Flames

’16-’17 Record: 45-33-4  94 points (4th in Pacific, torqued in 1st round by ANA)

Team Stats 5v5: 50.5 CF% (10th)  50.5 SF% (10th)  49.9 SCF% (18th)  7.6 SH% (16th)  .920 SV% (22nd)

Special Teams: 20.1 PP% (12th)  81.5 PK% (12th)