how to fix the Calgary Flames: more heart


Wow, the Calgary Flames are so bad right now. If only they had more heart then they could really become the team they were destined to be. Well, I guess it’s high time general manager Brad Treliving goes out and hires Ma-Ti of Captain Planet fame. I wonder what that kid is up to these days? Well I guess he’d be an adult, presumably in his late forties at this point, with a bleak and menial career too. I wonder if his wife loves him or if his kids respect him? Maybe a job with the Calgary Flames could reinvigorate his life?

Or maybe, the whole entire concept and narrative isn’t real? Maybe, although the likely culprit in any below-average team, performing at the embarrassing levels of mediocrity are a variety of factors. All which are not the mythical intangibles that so many benign fans eat, live, and vomit on a daily basis. What if, and follow me here folks; we just continually tweet the team saying we #believe in them? Or maybe I’m wrong and everything in this mortal plain is dominated by a series of principles like heart, grit, and glue.

There is no actual way to quantify heart. I do know that I have a heart, it pumps a bunch of red stuff through my body. I know I need it to live, but I do know I don’t win all the time in life. Do I have enough heart? Should I acquire more heart for myself? Can I buy a heart from a winner? Is that legal? These are the questions I wrestle with regularly. Perhaps I am just not the kind of guy who could have been a hockey player. Is it legal for me to carve a heart out of a guy known for having “lots of heart” and consume it? I wrestle with these questions every day.


Fortunately, I spoke with a die-hard supporter of heart and someone adapting analytics into measuring heart. After speaking with them for less than five minutes, I had a headache and wanted to throw myself into a cactus. Since this was Edmonton and cacti do not grow here, I was forced to throw myself into an open pit. When I awoke, I was in the heartlytics supporter’s home, being tended to with such compassion. He showed me some of the projections he had been working on and I was astonished by his numbers.

remarkable wow seriously this is going to make guys like brian burke so fucking happy

The horizontal axis is games in the season, while the vertical one is heart%. The Flames started the season at 50% quickly sliding down to zero after losing to Washington. The unnamed fellow argued that if the Flames just believed in heart and themselves more 385% than normal that they could win every game this season. Facing a reality that this could end up on Twitter, sparking another intangibles war, I sabotaged all of his work. I couldn’t live with myself knowing this data could get out, but fortunately I’m going to put it all to rest by introducing a smear campaign against heart. Before I stormed out of his house, with his data he explained some logical factors that contribute to depleted heart%:

  • Lance Bouma’s injury. Studies he ran showed Bouma was composed of nearly 69% heart. Nice.
  • Ladislav Smid’s injury and lack of existence in the roster. He is a funny dude and funny thoughts are born in the heart.
  • Brandon Bollig wasn’t being given top line minutes
  • Deryk Engelland wasn’t in the top-four anymore
  • Kris Russell hadn’t blocked 69,420 shots so far this season
  • There are not enough real fans in the Calgary Flames fan base anymore. Too many folks are logical, conscious of learning, and believe in the dark arts (math)


The abstract notion of what “heart” is, was likely stolen from Captain Planet in the early 1990s by NHL coaches is very possible. Coaches are unoriginal and by the 1990s, all the narratives were dried up. The days of slightly modifying the ever so racist quotes of the NHL’s chief racist Conn Smythe were over. Stumped and dreading the regular media scrums that plague their existences, coaches came together in a secret conference atop the biggest mountain in Manitoba: Baldy Mountain. There, a collection of straight white men whose genitals were so shriveled up with stress watched television show after television show in hopes of finding something they could steal.

I couldn't find a picture of this Manitoba of a mountain.
I couldn’t find a picture of this Manitoba of a mountain. Plus Manitoba sucks.

Then, at the eleventh hour, coach of the Quebec Nordiques at the time Pierre Page found his answer: Captain Planet. The entire show is a secret neo-socialist liberal front for hippie ideals and saving the earth mother. The premise is as follows:

  • Some kids from around the world are given magical rings with various powers (cool)
  • Those powers are earth, fire, wind, water, and fucking heart (four awesome characters, one bad one)
  • When those powers were combined, it summoned a guy named Captain Planet (good thing, he has a mullet)
  • He has a bunch of abilities and probably eats quinoa every morning (I’m not sure)
  • His hair likely smells like patchouli and really shitty weed (bad thing)
  • He fights people who pollute and do bad things to the planet (good thing)
  • There is a fucking kid named Ma-Ti with a ring that has the power of heart (bad thing)
  • Ma-Ti is literally the worst (seriously)
  • Although if Patrick Marleau had him in his life it’s possible former-NHLer Jeremy Roenick would have left him alone (actual fact)
Seriously, that mullet. That’s a man with a lot of heart, what a leader.

Page alerted his colleagues of this “heart” concept. “It’s perfect, guys! It’s abstract and the media will run with it. Think of how easy it is for everyone to avoid accountability in our jobs now! All we have to do is blame the captain or the players for a lack of heart and we’re absolved of criticism.” Page recanted, drunk with fervent shitbabyism¹. The coaches all agreed that evening that if one thing was going to happen, it was the mysticism of heart. Year after year, game after game, season after season the narrative grew. It spawned useless discussion after useless discussion while fans grew more and more enthralled with heart.

Disappointing writers from around the league began writing books and articles that tried to pinpoint the pinnacle of heart. Historians of the game rewrote history, implanting heart where it was needed to emphasize how a useless player was actually valuable. Then, finally heart met it’s match: math. As the advent and pursuit of analytics in the sport of stick-puck grew from an exasperating infant, covered in it’s own fecal matter to a pimple covered neckbeard, way into anime in his parent’s basement the legend of heart was confronted. No longer could shortsighted chronicles of ethereal concepts run rampant. The analytics movement thrust forward with vicious ferocity, like the elastic band of a pair of sweatpants snapping under the weight of a cheeto enriched gut.

The old guard of writers and folks who played the game became defensive, calling out everyone who dare question their beloved heart. For you see, if you didn’t play the game or if you spent your entire life obsessively living at rink after rink, asking the same mundane fuckwit questions to athletes then your opinion never mattered. But analytics fought back with more voracious charts and mathematics that proved things wrong. Soon teams were hiring these anti-heart nerds and teams became overran with spreadsheets. SOON COACHES, GENERAL MANAGERS, AND FANS QUIT WATCHING THE GAMES! THEY ONLY RELIED ON SPREADSHEETS AND WEBSITES TO RECOUNT WHAT HAPPENED!

Oh the pain, the pain of fans who just want to keep their intangible-laden sport protected from the threatening and often disgruntled nerds. If you’re tweeting about hockey or more importantly the Calgary Flames as of late, just stop with the heart stuff. It makes you sound like Ma-Ti from Captain Planet. Every team has like 23 hearts in the locker room. That’s a lot of heart, in fact most hearts weigh between 300 and 500 grams. On the low end, so the Calgary Flames right now, who apparently lack the necessary heart-levels would have 6.9 kilograms of heart. That’s a nice number of heart right there.

Or maybe, just maybe it’s some other bogus unearthly thing like GRIT or COMPETE or CHARACTER?

I'm a weak diaper eating baby named Ma-Ti.
I’m a weak diaper eating baby named Ma-Ti.

¹ – shitbabyism – a term used for a grown man acting like a baby who just crapped himself.

To be very clear, this is my bad take on satire. I love Big Corsi and all my analytics pals. There is no such thing as heartlytics.

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