Tuesday, January 19, 2010

so uh.... i guess THAT happened.....

i think that's all that needs to be said on that front. as mentioned in the hundreds and hundreds of comments over on the M&G gamethread and postgame (where i'm responsible for about $75.00 worth of my two cents) i am starting to think that the flames look a hell of a lot like the toronto maple leafs and i've developped a little breakdown to support my theory. if you remember at the start of the year, we all wondered aloud who would do the flames' scoring, well, that query has reared its' ugly head once again.... at the same time, leafs fans joked early-on about having four 4th lines..... hmmm.... coincidence ? ah, this shit writes itself.... ;) i'm not gonna go by position, even though that makes the most sense, i'm gonna go by impact.... i won't even bother with the bottom 6 since i have a feeling it'll be pretty muddled ....

1. iginla (RW 7M: 21G / 22A) - kessel (C 5.4M: 15G 13 A)
kessel and iginla have similar numbers (the former missed 12 games to start the season), are both considered to be their team's "elite forward," are both the highest paid guy on their respective clubs and are both struggling in 09/10.

2. jokinen (C 5.25M: 10G / 22A) - blake (LW 4M: 10G / 16A)
fans love to hate these guys and are both a product of bad GM moves (olli in a trade, blake in a contract). for skilled guys they seem to have a lot of trouble getting pucks in nets.

3. bourque (LW 1.35M: 17G / 21A) - stajan (C 1.75: 14G / 22A)
these players both battle hard every night and come up with some beautiful and timely goals. neither are afraid to get dirty in the corners and both show good value contracts.

4. dawes (LW 850K: 10G /15A) - hagman (LW 3M: 17G / 11A)
i don't know that much about hagman but i'm thinking this is the best comparison. smart, useful, second line winger.... ?

5. langkow (C 4.5M 11G / 19A) - ponikarovsky (LW 2.1M 16G / 15A)
steady, steady, steady... always dependable. both have historically had top-line assignments but often find themselves relegated to second line duties. both play significant roles on the PP and PK.

6. bouwmeester (D 6.68M: 2G/16A) - kaberle (D 4.25: 5G / 36A)
a couple of strong, solid, smart puck moving defensemen. both play big minutes at EV, and on the PP and PK. both are bonafide #1 guys but often considered to be 2nd pairing....

7. phaneuf (D 6.5M: 8G / 11A) - beauchemin (D 3.8M: 4G / 16A)
both spend enormous minutes on-ice (EV, PP, PK) and are counted on to provide some offence. heavy hitters. neither (IMO) are super hockey savvy....

8. regehr (D 4M 1G / 12A)- komisarek (D 4.5M 0G / 4A)
both injured (i'm guessing at regehr, here but kommie's missed 16 games). both used to be pretty awesomely tough, stay-at-home, shutdown guys, and both are kindof painful to watch these days....

other comparisons:
nystrom - stempniak: occasional flashes of brilliance. hard grinders.
glenX - kulemin: get moved up and down the lineup a lot.
boyd - mitchell: underpaid, underrated, young.
sjöström - primeau: both fast, good PK types, both pressbox sitters.
prust - mayers: 4th line grinders/pugilists.... some ability.
mcgrattan - orr: classic textbook goons. period.
pardy - schenn: young defensemen with rosy futures.
finger - sarich: overpaid for ability but still decent blueliners.
white - gio: highest value contracts per club. huge minute-eaters.

flames fans this year have been laughing at toronto getting run out of rinks night after night all season long.... but i gotta say, the make-up of their squad is not unlike the one we cheer for: frighteningly bottom-heavy with very little in the way of naturally talented scoring forwards. when healthy and "on their game" calgary's blueline is far superior, but lately i think the two have pretty much evened out.

the main difference between the two clubs is that the leafs have gone with a two goalie system (both netminders riddled with inconsistance) while the flames rely on workhorse kiprusoff for most games. backelhinney gets (and loses, it seems) only the occasional start. infact, it's in this capacity that i see the teams' divergence and the result seems plain, whether or not the stats are there to back me up: kiprusoff > toskala / gustavsson. quite simply, kipper has stolen games which we had no business winning, leading in no short part to why the flames' record is better than the leafs' in 09/10. end of story.

yeah, you heard me right... now: bring on the angst.

interesting reference pages: calgary player contracts/salary, toronto player contracts/salary, sportsnet player comparison page.


Chris Kane said...

Here's another similarity between the Leafs and the Flames: the sunny dispositions of their respective GMs.
And, I'm not "angsty," I'm just kind of resigned to my fate as a Flames fan. It's a feeling similar to what Liam Neeson's character must have felt at the end of Batman Begins.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting tidbit regarding your comparison: most of the Flames' major players cost significantly more than those on the Leafs (some of it being warranted, some of it not so much). I think your point about goaltending is a good one, because I've seen the Leafs play well, and they even look fairly similar to the Flames (outchance/outwork the opponent, still can't score to match their effort).

The unfortunate thing is that the Flames are in a similar boat to the Leafs, but they're doing it wrong. The Leafs are in partial rebuild mode, which they should be, and have a number of good value contracts. Instead of rebuilding, the Flames have a revolving door of free agents and stupid trades (mixed in with some good ones), and multiple contracts that I think are bloated.


walkinvisible said...

i should have, and will momentarily, added links to the nhlnumbers salary pages for a contract perusal/reference. also i found a pretty interesting player comparison page ---all it gives you is your standard metrics (goals, assts, pts, +/-, PIM, PPP etc --and doesn't note games played, so you have to do that math yourself).

another NOTABLE difference is that this is a contract year for more than half of the leafs current roster, where the flames stand to lose about 8 guys (and, for some, i'd say good effin' riddance).


duncan said...

Seen a few Leafs games this year, what with living in Toronto and all. I can understand the frustration and, in a lot of cases here (Blake/Jokinen, who are both maddening and useless with the puck), you're way too close to right.

Biggest difference IS in goal, but I'd say the counting numbers aren't the best comparison here. It isn't ALL Kipper, even it it seems like it some nights. In most of your side-by-sides, the Flames player is better in his own end of the rink.

Still, this does make you think ...

walkinvisible said...

kent pointed out that the nystrom - stempniak coupling is probably the worst of the lot, and i agree that its presence kindof weakens my thesis.... stemps and moss ? meh, no matter. the point is that i'm convinced (as a former torontonian) that the two teams are, infact, a lot alike....

which is, of course, totally depressing.

walkinvisible said...

also ---
would a maple leafs player (as an example: stajan) be better defensively if he played under a western conference/calgary flames/ brent sutter system ? i would argue yes....