Combustion & Calculators - Get Your Geek On

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 10: Mikael Backlund #11 of the Calgary Flames and Brayden Schenn #10 of the Los Angeles Kings follow the bouncing puck in third period NHL action on October 10, 2010 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

 
While it's a football quote, I think the message comes through loud and clear.  The team over at SBN's Stampede Blue wrote about this line from Colts punter Pat McAfee on Twitter:

"Randy Moss for a 3rd round draft choice? Im not a mathmetist nor a scientician but that doesn't add up"

My goal is to make "mathmetists" and "scienticians" out of all of us.  Why?  Because it helps us understand what's going on in the game that we don't always pick up just by watching.

For most loyal M&G readers, none of the stats I plan on using should be earth-shattering or new.  Writers like Kent Wilson and Robert Cleave in the past and Hayley, R O and others in the present are all very versed in the language of Corsi, Zone Starts, QualComp and many others.  When new findings creep up, I'll try to relate them to the Flames.

My goal is to give you weekly insight into team performance, player performance, upcoming opposition and league trends.

Most of all, I hope you like reading what I throw out there.  So if there are topics you want me to look into or explore in further detail, please post them in the comments section or email me.  This is a community, not a podium for me to spew a bunch of garbage that none of you care about.

More after the jump......

Just a quick note before you see the stats.  I did all the stats on Saturday morning, before the Oilers game, but didn't want to post yesterday and bump the game thread down the list. 

 

Weekly Player Spotlight (please give me a better name for this section)

 In the offseason, most Flames fans wondered if Mikael Backlund would be able to hold his own with the big club.  Let's take a look at how he's doing so far.

Corsi/60 = 34.5 (leads all centers)

Corsi QoC = -6.9

Zone Starts = 65.4%

Relative +/- = -0.2

Pts / 60 = 0.0

Blocked Shots / 60 = 3.8 (leads all centers)

Pen Diff / 60 = 1.9 (leads all centers)

Faceoffs = 50%

Turnover differential = -1

At this point, he hasn't had a big scoring impact but the young Swede is definitely holding his own.  He's getting some prime icetime but his line is generating shots and chances, they just haven't found the twine often enough.  That said, compared to the rest of the team, he's playing fine.

Bonfires and Pilot Lights (best & worst) 

Each week, I'll just give a snapshot of the Flames best and worst players using a variety of statistical categories.  Obviously, for the first 20 games or so we'll get some pretty wild swings in numbers, so the absolutes aren't as important as the comparables.  Glencross is definitely the Flames best Corsi guy so far, but the likelihood of him being +37 per 60 all season is pretty low.

Also, I've left out some things like shooting percentage and PDO until we've got a few more games racked up.

 2010-10-15_first_column_medium

One of the first things that will jump out to most of us is the Pardy vs Staios comparison. When Pardy was injured, Staios was inserted into the lineup in his place, so it's interesting to see the difference.  While Pardy was miles better in terms of possession stats (Corsi), he was given some of the easiest icetime out of any teammate, while Staios was put out against top competition.  That said, with only 3 games played, Staios' competition might look good at this point just because they played against him.  Either way, the combination of Staios' poor raw Corsi and terrible Relative +/- means he had as bad a game as any player could against Florida.

Olli Jokinen continues to disappoint.  With plenty of icetime, he's still terrible from a +/- standpoint and was pretty ugly at the faceoff circle too.

On the positive side, it's nice to see fan favorites like Glencross and Conroy pulling their weight.  Glencross leads the team in Corsi and Conroy had a very healthy 16.3 Corsi/60 despite having brutal zone start numbers.

Kipper's meager 89.3% even strength save percentage is definitely not something to be proud of but there have been many times where his defenseman have hung him out to dry.

Team-level Performance 

Here is how the Flames are doing as a team in the key situations:

 

Flames League Rank
ES +/- per 60 -1.8 29th
5-on-4 +/-per 60 0.0 30th
4-on-5 +/- per 60 -3.0 8th

It's pretty obvious from watching the Flames that they'll need to find their powerplay prowess very soon if they want to win any games.  On Thursday night against Florida, it was beyond pitiful.  I personally don't like the way Bouwmeester has played on the PP, and would prefer to see White with Giordano as the point men.  Bouwmeester may carry the puck up ice well, but seems to panic with it at the point.

Upcoming opposition

After hosting the Oilers last night, the Flames then hit the road for three games against Nashville, Detroit and Columbus next week.

The Oilers have the 4th best goal differential in the league at even strength, so the Flames needed to get their matchups right and try to counter a speedy young lineup.  Edmonton's penalty kill hasn't been great though.

Nashville has the 5th best goal differential at even strength and 4th best powerplay in the league.  However, they also have the second worst PK in the NHL, so hopefully the Flames can make some progress in getting their powerplay woes solved then. 

Detroit is playing teams to a draw at ES, but still has a top ten PP and the 6th ranked PK in the league.  If the Flames don't beat them 5-on-5, they could get destroyed on special teams.

Columbus has been under-water at even strength and just as pitiful with the man advantage.  With a penalty kill that is also in the bottom half of the league, this is a game the Flames have to win.

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