Thursday, August 26, 2010

Face Off Masters?

First off I want to start by saying; it’s starting to sound like my prediction on Langkow could be wrong! He has not been cleared to skate yet. It is a belief that he will be at main camp but in what role or duties we do not know, he should be skating by then but that will probably not be enough to get him ready for opening day. I trully hope he gets better real soon, we need him.

Since we are talking about a centre man, let us take a look at the centres and their faceoff abilities.

Last season the Calgary Flames were the 3rd worst face off team ahead of Colorado and Edmonton with a whopping 48% win percentage. Compare that stat with the previous few years and it does not look good that the Flames’ last few season face off win percentage looked like this;
’09-’10 48% 28th S.J. Sharks 1st 55.6%
’08-’09 51.3% Tied 8th
’07-’08 49.5% 18th
’06-’07 48.4% 23rd
’05-’06 50.4% 11th

It has definably been up and down the past few years but why so bad last year? Jokinen at 49.3% will get the brunt of the blame from the fans regardless of his stats and followed by Conroy but he was a respectable 51.5%. Together that is an average of 50.4% so clearly there must have been others worse… Let’s look at Langkow the man many believe could become our shut down guy. As much as I like Langkow and I do believe he is a massive part of this team and this team moving forward, his faceoff win % last year was 43.5% and the previous year 46.9%. Those are not pretty numbers and not for a guy who is getting older and will have to fill a more defensive role and win key face-offs.

So how will we improve? When you look at the stats of Stajan and Backlund with their time in Calgary last year they show a glimmer of face off hope. Stajan 52% success rate (51.6% with the Leafs) and Backlund 53.4%, but my pick is Kotalik with 8 face offs taken with the Flames last year he won 5! 62.5%!!!! All kidding aside the Flames have some work to do in that category. My question is, was Backlund and Stajan’s success only because western conference teams didn’t know them too well yet? Or are they going to be the two main guys when it comes to important offensive face offs? I know I can break down the “offensive” and “defensive” zone percentages but why, overall we were terrible last year and it is an item that needs to be fixed in both zones.
Last thing I wanted to throw in some rumoured players’ face off stats from last year just for fun… here you go:
Jeff Carter: 52.4%
Marc Savard: 48.8%
Tomas Fleischmann: 43.1%
Jason Spezza: 50.5%

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Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.