Wednesday, April 27, 2011

lunch and other tasty morsels for STH's

first of all, i want to apologize personally to ken king on behalf of myself and my bloggy colleagues from hitthepost who attended the season ticket holder's luncheon today and didn't speak up when asked "is there a blogger in the house ?".... people who have met me know that i'm super personable and easygoing, but in a room full of strangers i get painfully self conscious and ridiculously uncomfortable speaking out (the exception to this rule: karaoke'ing kriskross 'jump'...).

put it this way: my alias isn't walkinvisible for nothing.... but i digress

i will also point out to the masses that i don't believe we would've been persecuted by the org for being nerdy bloggers... unless a rep from domebeers had infiltrated the bowels of the 'dome on an offseason wednesday afternoon. part of me thinks kk wanted to know what a real-life blogger looks like (and part of me thinks he'd know exactly which of the 50-or-so folks we were), but he suggested that he was just curious how fast the following information would spread to the world:

there is a chance that the flames will purchase the calgary roughnecks lacrosse team.

[ps: ken ? if you're reading ? feel free to contact me at ---i'd love to talk to you about having a fulltime flames' blogger/tweeter. i write good reports and would even promise to not swear and i'd TOTALLY use caps] ;)


here are some other things kk touched on, in the order of (my) interest:

he talked about the coaching staff evaluations, and how it led to the dismissal of mcgill, cookson, and ("uhhhhhhhh....." king's eyes close... hand goes to forhead....looks to rollie cyr for assistance...) McLENNAN. sorry to say it, noodles, but the org president forgot your name for a sec. OR, alternately, refers to you so often as "noodles" that he couldn't remember your REAL name in a formal setting.... anyhow. not much info on gilly but it sounds like cookson lost his job to some tech savvy "consultant" who will be much better at operating the new fandangled video playback equipment. also, according to king, cookson wants to be an "on-ice" coach so the non-renewal of contract (aka: firing) is really in his best interest... as for mclennan, he was offered another unnamed position with the org that king suggests is not a demotion. i was gonna inquire about it but he probably wouldn't have told us anyways since he touched on the subject in his pre-emptive opening monologue. he did, however, offer the info that noodles has until "the end of the week" to make a decision on the offer. ie: two more days. [my feeling ? he's gone.... and i'm TERRIFIED he'll resurface in vancouver... ] king also noted that they wanted a bigger "veteran coaching presence" behind the bench, which hopefully means it no longer applies to the players. my fingers are crossed for the hiring of former AHL affiliate, lowell loch monsters, assistant tom rowe. natch. ;)

as far as announcing feaster as the official GM of the team, well ---don't hold your breath. they are still "going through the process" to ensure the "right fit." from the sounds of it, they want to announce the "package" in the front office all at once and are still filling in the gaps (this may also include coaching, that was unclear). kk DID suggest that feaster was currently in abbotsford reviewing things there, and that they were allowing him to choose his own people ---such as asst. GM--- which leads me to believe the "acting" title is in name only. i think it's fair to say it's been decided that this is the guy that will run the flames' future. hmph.... king said nothing about his own position, though i don't recall him having "CEO" after "president" in his job title before...?

3. UFAs
we were told that offers are out to "more than one" of the UFA players, and that they "want to sign" tangs, glenX & pardy, and that they "like" babs, karlsson & *gasp*staios ---for the right price. he went on about how much the org believes in karlsson & thinks he can take on 22 or-so games, and he also discussed glenny's deal; noting that 29% of his output came during 13 games. while that stat is interesting, more notable is the fact that the org is AWARE of this stat, and the presumption that they're using it to lower glenny's worth. [my feeling ? he's gone.... and i'm TERRIFIED he'll resurface in vancouver... lol]. king admits to the club (*cough*darryl*cough*) having overpaid some contracts, but doesn't mention bouwmeester, stajan, jokinen, bourque, sarich, hagman, kotalik, staios, or ivanans directly. ;)

using the classic businessman runaround model, kk suggests something to the effect of "just because we have room for young players doesn't mean we will have young players on our team." he did seem positive, however, about erixon and brodie, and mentioned them plus nemisz and bouma as the four frontrunners in this capacity. he also suggested "a couple others," though i can't imagine who he's thinking of, unless they feel they want to give jon rheault an actual contract, they're wanting to skip max reinhart straight from the dub, or he's forgotten keith aulie got traded to the leafs for a sack of pucks.

- they're looking at alternate urban sites for a new arena. places they're looking ? "to the north, uhhh, east, and south.... and west." lol. best quote of the day. ;)
- the salary cap should go up next year "by the cost of one of our UFA's salary." obviously that is massively different if we're talking pardy or tanguay but some maths thrown around were "57% of the total of the new USA tv deal divided by 10." or something equally perfectly clear.
- the next new 3rd jersey will be in three years at the earliest
- they're raising the price of beer by 25cents and will experiment with bottom to top pour technology.
- the team will not be going back to PPVs (sorry, nybo) based on inferior production quality.
- coaches grade the players after every game on a 0-5 type scale, and then there was something about these numbers being plotted on a grid. inneresting.
- conny's fitting in "like a glove" in the front office. sounds like he's going hockey ops direction, is a good player-to-mgmt 'go-between,' is dabbling in player scouting, and even looking into puck technology. no doubt doing it all with that big ol' conroy smile on. ;)
- the flames foundation is returning appx 2 mil/yr to the community. kk seemed very excited about a new project that will be announced sometime in the next year or so.
- asked when they're retiring #14, kk suggested the org is moving away from jersey retirement and towards more acknoledgement-type ceremonies. ie: iggy will get retired and fleury won't. that ticks me off.
- per game playoff revenue (lost) is "north of a million, south of two."
- kk discussed traffic concerns around the 'dome on gamenights and revealed the org has hired a traffic consultant to help make improvements. he wouldn't, however, go into detail because "if it doesn't work, we'll look like idiots."

...kindof like the 10/11 season, hunh fellas ?


JA said...

KK's been CEO since he was hired.
If Staios gets resigned, please kill me.
No retirement for Theo? Boo-urns.

mikeH said...

GlenX is going to be tough to re-sign no matter what you say about his performance. Some other desperate team is going to pay for his counting numbers from the past season and we won't match. It will be sad to see him go.

Unless he loves Calgary to the tune of a few hundred grand and a year or two of term, I'd say he's packing up his chuckwagon and hitting the dusty trail.

walkinvisible said...

fyi: i've updated the links. lol

KingJafi said...

Thanks for the writeup wi, but that has to be the most depressing piece I've read in a long time. So the Flames are staying old, The Feast is getting hired as full time GM to tank this organization even further, K Squared keeps his job, Theo will never have his jersey retired and they're raising the price of Domebeers. Are you f'ing kidding me?

A shitty underachieving season and two assistants and Noodles pay the price.'s their fault...totally. Makes a whole lot of sense. The arrogance that stems from this franchise is unreal. And I'm not blaming K Squared anymore, it's the owners who are morons...they do a shitty job watching over their investment. Out if curiosity, was this meeting supposed to get season ticket holders excited about the future?

Wow. I am so not looking forward to another season of Flames hockey.

wrkd4it said...

Wow! Did you take notes?

Kent W. said...

Most of the time when NHL teams bring up "stats" they use, it depresses me. The Flames chart the coaches subjective rankings of the players? For goddsakes, why? You aren't measuring anything besides what the coach thought about the dudes performance that night, which may or may not have much to do with reality.

I hope to god that's not all the Flames do to understand their guys performance.

mikeH said...


I 100% agree and hope that they are using other metrics to analyze player performance, but I think the "Player Grade" method isn't uncommon around the league either. Some part of the analysis is going to be subjective/qualitative, and based on the coaches' judgement. Its no different really than Lambert's subjective grading over at FN (which was ably supplemented by your quant stuff).

Don't you think if KK pulled out a bunch of Qualcomp/PDO/Corsi discussion in the middle of a season ticket holder luncheon, the average attendee would have thought he was nuts?

mikeH said...

Oh, and since we are using the lower case "god", we should probably agree on which one we're hoping/praying to. My suggestion: Perses, Titan god of destruction.

A Z R said...

Ken King doesn't know Noodles name?

Fuck, I have to be a manager at work. I know all my employees names. It's called being a manager.

Ken King is a piece of shit, period. He is boys with all the newspaper guys so they will never say it, but come on. This guy wants to be the GM but he can't remember Noodles name?

Fuck that fat piece of shit. Period. KingJ, the owners of this team are way to big time to be hands on, but it is their fault they have let Ken King stay on for so long. It's insane. Ken King is a hack, and it gets exposed more and more the longer it goes.

walkinvisible said...


i was actually gonna sweep that bit (about kk forgetting noodles' name) under the proverbial rug in this post, cause i thought it would dissuade mclennan from taking the flames job ---on the offchance he reads this.

BUT since we know @domebeers follows @jamiemclennan29 on twitter, and we know that the org secretly follows @domebeers, i guess you should tweet something about him making sure he takes the right job. cause he's a fucking solid dude, and should have a fucking solid boss.

GeeWiz said...

My father saw Rolli Cyr at the gym (no, this is not a made up story, but it sure sounds like one), and Rolli said that McLennan has been offered an assistant coaching job with the Heat. Not sure why he thought it would be okay for my dad to know about it, but I don't think Rolli would just throw that out there to the public if it wasn't true.

In which case, it's tough to say whether that's a demotion or not: associate goalie coach in NHL to full-time assistant in the AHL

Just what I was told, for what it's worth

Kent W. said...

MikeH: Yeah, I've heard pretty much every team uses the "player grading" thing. What I found funny was putting it on a chart. "Let's see how our perceptions of the players performance changed over the season!" is something I bet they DON'T say when looking at it. But that's pretty much all it is.

I think it probably makes sense to track that stuff in some sense. But the quantities in such an exercise are meaningless in and of themselves, so graphing them or charting them strikes me as silly.

As you say, they probably use other methods. And I hope they do. And I hope they're more meaningful. Sometimes, though, you wonder...

walkinvisible said...

asst. coach with the heat would make sense as the offer, since he spent some time with them earlier this year (even accompanied meyers to the hospital in austin... i think they cuddled... jk).

since ortio is pretty much mclennan's pet project and will probably hit the A next season, i could see it happening. but abbotsford ??! i dunno. he's claimed to love vancouver but then couldn't he just get a job with bobbylu ? methinks yes....

noodles seems like more of a bigcity dude to me... perhaps he'd dig the commute.

Anonymous said...


I really think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill here. I mean, is the coaches perception of a player's contribution from game to game going to be any more misleading than corsi totals or on-ice scoring chances measured only on a game to game basis are misleading of a player's overall abilities? You really think that an NHL coaches impression over a whole season of a player's performance is going to be drastically different than what those measures tell us aggregated over a whole season?

Unless I drastically misunderstand the purpose of these statistics (and I don't think I do) they are designed to act as a check against the "saw him good" or "saw him bad" type perceptions of players, particularly where boxcar numbers might otherwise influence that perception unduly. We see a guy get score a goal in three straight games, we think "geez, he must be playing great" but we go pull up his corsi and he is underwater and his shooting percentage was 40% or something. So we maybe don't sign him to a $4 million contract. But if we don't record those actual perceptions in the first place, we aren't checking against anything.

Furthermore, the coach and management's job is to form a prediction of which player's are most likely to help the team win in the future, and which roles they can do that in among the rest of the team. For all the guff we give management about cowbells and undue bias to veterans, the vast majority of players play in roles where they are most likely to have success. High draft picks are more likely to be hockey players than later draft picks. For every Ales Kotalik where management made a bad bet (or this year Alex Tanguay when it comes to every team except Calgary for that matter) there are 4 other players on the ice who are doing almost exactly what coaches and management thought they could do. That is because coaches and managers have watched hundreds or thousands of hockey games with thousands or 10s of thousands of player games played. They can recognize a good game and a bad game.

Not only that, but for as good as corsi etc. are good for measuring which players are playing well, they are terrible at explaining why certain players are playing well. I trust that coaches are much more able to pick up on decision making and skill plays which lead to increasing those results than those stats can tell us about the causes behind them.

Frankly, if I had heard that Flames management wasn't tracking this information, I would have been disappointed.


walkinvisible said...


while i don't disagree with most of the stuff you say above, i HAVE to use staios as an example of why stats (and advanced stats) are more important that subjective grading.

it appears that the coaches LIKED what staios was doing on the ice, whereby he was underwater in every measure (if i recall correctly ---i couldn't be bothered to look it up). my guess is that he didn't get a lot of zeros from the coaches but probably hovered around average in the post game reviews...

anyhow. just rebutting from a non-statistical genius POV. ;)

Kent W. said...

You really think that an NHL coaches impression over a whole season of a player's performance is going to be drastically different than what those measures tell us aggregated over a whole season?

In a word - yes. At least, it's entirely possible. I think coaches are generally pretty good at this stuff. My hope is simply that they don't misinterpret perceptions of performance for performance data. The list of biases that can skew perception - even the perception of highly intelligent guys like NHL coaches - is a very long one. The most intelligent and informed people can often be MORE swayed by bias, depending on certain factors. See: Mike Keenan on Todd Bertuzzi.

I'm not against the player grades themselves. I just hope there's more to it than that.

KingJafi said...

This is most action we've had on an htp comment thread in months! All it takes is an appearance from the godfather Mr. Wilson himself and VOILA! 10+ comments to the thread. Awesome. Now if only I could finish my post about Calgary Flames cupcakes we could get even more major traction! Steinberg...I'm waiting for your comment...

walkinvisible said...

steinberg's in yyz for ufc129. he will not weigh in on this for another few days, if ever.

KingJafi said...


In other words never. htp is not family friendly enough for Patrick's squeaky clean image. ;)

walkinvisible said...

htp has never claimed to be "family friendly." and for the record --neither has steinberg. he just does it for the radio.


JA said...

I can pretty much guarantee that anything Steinberg does isn't family friendly.