We've hit the mid season mark and the Flames still occupy 14th spot in the West. That doesn't sound good but the 8th spot is not running away, just 6 points out of reach and 4th place only 8 points away.
8th place is looking like 93 points presently so 54 points in 41 games is neccesary.
An analysis of the schedule and indvidual report cards follow.
The fact that the Flames sit outside of a playoff spot today can be directly linked to their record against the weaker teams in the league. With 16 of 26 games completed against the potential cellar dwellers the Flames have only 17 points. just barely a .500 record. 3 losses to Minnesota, one each to Edmonton, Columbus, Florida and the Islanders are all ones that got away. Even 2 more wins out of these 7 losses and things would look much better.
Only one game left with the Wild and the Blue Jackets, those are critical, as are the 3 left vs Anaheim. I had projected 36 points as required from this group which means they need to get 19 of the remaining 20 points or play better against tougher comps. .
The mid range group of teams, Calgary has 8 points in 6 games with 12 yet to play against St Louis, Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas, plus one each with Carolina and Toronto. Continuing a winning record against this group would go a long way to staying in the race. The projection was 25 points in 20 total games, so 17 points in 14 games is neccesary, probably more to compensate for the wasted points against the low rent district.
Against the top teams, the Flames are also short of the pace they need. I had only projected a record of 0.444 in 36 games (32 points) as neccesary - assuming the easier 2 groups came through With 14 pts in 19 games, another 18 is required in the final 17 games. Becoming Vancouver's nemesis would be great, with 4 more yet to play against them.
Alex Tanguay 17 pts in the first quarter, 14 in the second, on pace for 20-40-60; excellent value for his contract.
Mark Giordano -leads the defence in every measure except hits. Again excellent value.
Tim Jackman - Solid play and contribution in limited role and has even improved as the season has gone on.
Jarome Iginla - continues to put up numbers at or near his career average. At times his line gets eaten up by oppositions' best units though.
Robyn Regehr - blocks shots and hits guys. Plus 6 on a team that is minus.
Cory Sarich - Are you suprised as I am to see that he leads the team at plus 8 ?
Jay Bouwmeester - Best 20 games he's had in Flames togs. Need that and more to be full value for contract.
Miikka Kiprusoff - 9-7 this quarter, save percentage only .905 compared to last years .920. .
David Moss – recent play very good leading the 4th line - can he maintain it ?
Brendan Morrison –15 points in the first quarter, only 5 in the second. Not hurting the team, but not leading the likes of Bourque or Hagman out of their slumps either.
Mikael Backlund - Inexplicably benched despite consistent and improving play.
Olli Jokinen – Has improved slightly, but still on pace for a fourth consecutive yearly decline in shots and points, while 16 goals would be one more than last year,it is hardly the 'bounce back" that we were hoping for.
Henrik Karlsson – A slight upgrade from the D I gave in quarter one. 1-2-2 in 5 starts with a 2.11 GAA this quarter, best we've seen from a backup in a long while.
Rene Bourque - only 4 goals this quarter. Invisible on many nights. Not proving new contract worth
Adam Pardy - Not a minus player, despite being saddled with Babchuk most nights
Niklas Hagman - Another disappearing act since the end of November with only 2 goals
Tom Kostopoulos - not being fooled by recent "hot streak" - 0 points in 17 games during this quarter.
Matt Stajan - benched, which motivated him for the Toronto game. Pointless in 10 of last 12. Not good since he doesn't bring much else.
Curtis Glencross - another guy that has tanked with only one assist in his last 16 games.
Anton Babchuk - Has put up some points, but not enough to make up for his defensive deficiencies.
Craig Conroy - Can't do much from the pressbox.
Raitis Ivanans – A waste of a roster spot.
Steve Staios - $2.7 million
Ales Kotalik - 1 goal .$3m. One more year.
On pace to score a little more than last years 201 goals , but only slightly. 22nd in the league in goals per game, 25th in shooting percentage. Outshooting the opposition by nearly 3 shots per game.
A 2.79 GAA is only good for 18th, a long fall from 2.45 GAA for 6th for the entire year last season. The positive is they are allowing fewer shots, 2372 total allowed last season, and are on pace for just under 2300 this year. Both goalies statistically better in the second quarter; perhaps this standing will continue to improve, but 25th in overall sv % is not good enough.
25th in PP% (15.1), 23rd on the PK (79.3), plus 2 more SH goals allowed than for. That combination makes for 27th best special teams totals.