Saturday, November 20, 2010

Segment Review #3: Games 11-15

To best introduce the theme, let’s start off with some numbers from Segment 3:

Games Played: 5
Record: 1-4
Home wins: 0
Goals For: 12           
GPG: 2.4
Goals Against: 18
GAA: 3.6
Players arrested: 1
Players arrested with bloodlines to the Coach and GM: 1
Players traded since this segment: 2
Goals for Iginla: 1
Goals for Jokinen: 1
Goals for Tanguay: 1
Games Played for Henrik Karlsson: 0
Games Played for Steve Staios: Too many
Current Western Conference Seeding: 14th

So um... UH OH

Despite being 14th in the Conference, this team is actually playing like a 13th place team – phew, that’s reassuring. An endorsement you say? Not at all, as the Western Conference is more competitive than ever this November; So... strictly bad news. Of course, it’s more fun to blame the rest of the division anyway: Hello Minnesota and Columbus? You’re not making The Sutters feel better by comparison this year... why all the winning?

No timely scoring + untimely miscues leading to goals against = a poor use of time

The storyline for this segment has returned to what we’re more used to seeing: prolonged losing streaks, and a lack of timely scoring:

4 losses this segment; 3 losses by one goal

There has been no flow to the offensive game for this team, and the “go-to” guys have been gone to, and we’ve come back with nothing. Here’s a look of the best performers in a bad stretch of games:

Rene Bourque: Rene, like many players on this team, has been very inconsistent. However, his ability to contribute offensively shouldn’t be overlooked. Much has been made about a “passing of the torch” from Iginla to Bourque, but I’m not sure we’re at that stage just yet. If anything, the line of Jokinen alongside Hagman and Bourque has reduced some of the top match-ups against Iginla’s line, which is a win-win for the team. Bourque needs to upgrade his level of consistency before he’s handed that figurative torch.

Mark Giordano: I haven’t been particularly fair to Giordano in my player recognition to this point, mostly because we’ve grown so accustomed to seeing this guy play a solid game in all areas. Alongside Kiprusoff, Giordano has become the most consistent player on this team. He keeps his game simple, uses his feet, and finds ways to contribute offensively. He’s effective on the power play, shuts it down on the penalty kill, and ties it all together by playing downright mean. He’s shown no signs of slowing down since signing a long term deal with the Flames, and should be a valuable leader for this team moving forward.

If there’s anything that can distinguish this segment from last, it’s the urgency for results. Many of us, myself especially, spent most of the 2009-2010 justifying a lack of results with “The team lost, but...” The Flames don’t have the luxury of getting by on the ‘little victories’ of a game. This team needs results, and fast, or the season could slip away – fragility and inconsistency intact. The Flames have chosen a win-now approach, and have for several years now. This means that “we’re getting better” and “it’s coming along” will no longer do the trick. Two straight seasons with no playoff appearance, and that approach could take a 180 degree dive. Here’s hoping we’re able to recognize the players on this team next November. 

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