Tuesday, July 19, 2016

FF80F Podcast: Episode 2 - Haynes and Kerr Mull Over the Flames Season-Opening Roster

Well, here we go again.

With my impromptu podcast debut last week seemingly well received, despite the fact I didn't have anything resembling proper equipment nor did I have much of a plan or any know-how, the trial continues this week with episode two.

Addressing the number one piece of constructive criticism from episode one, I used much better technology this time as I got together with Sportsnet960 Radio's Rob Kerr and we used his broadcast-caliber gear. Meanwhile, I've ordered a Blue Yeti microphone that will arrive this week.

I will say that having Mr. Kerr as a co-host did make for a different and better dynamic than a solo flight. How I will proceed moving forward -- same co-host, rotation of co-hosts, no co-host, some combination of those options -- is something I haven't yet decided.

Experiment Continues

A few things remain a work in progress.

For one, there's a couple audio things that I'm still learning and working through. One is trying to level off the volume so the music doesn't come on so loud in comparison to the dialogue. That said, consider those periodic interludes of music to be alarms to jar you back awake! After all, it is 90 minutes long.

Also, there is a way to export the MP3 file so the voices are more consistent and not so left vs. right separated. But I have to figure out how to do that still. Living and learning, truly.

Secondly, it seems a little long. Turns out that the two of us can really ramble as when all was said and done, nearly 90 minutes had come off the clock -- more than twice as long as I had intended. As they say, time flies when you're having fun.

It seemed most of you were good with last week's episode length of 45 minutes but doubling that seems like a lot to ask. Not sure how exactly one goes about consuming a podcast of this length but I'll leave that up to you to figure out. In instalments? Bluetooth it through your car radio?

Rob did show me the list of podcasts he listens to regularly and they're all in and around the same length of 90 minutes or so with some as long as two-plus hours. So maybe it's not that big of a deal.

Thirdly, I've still got some work (and learning and reading...) to do in order to understand how to get this thing to the point where it can be found on iTunes and all the various podcast listening software and applications you use. But we'll get there eventually -- hang in there!

On that now, enjoy our respective takes as we begin with the goaltending, examine the defence and then close with a review of the forwards in this look-ahead to what the Flames line-up could look like when Calgary opens the regular season in Edmonton on October 12.

          Download (or Stream) the Podcast from SoundCloud

Like always, I welcome and look forward to your feedback.

By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.


Recent Flames Reading:


  1. I've never really used SoundCloud before, and this might be a dumb question...but is there a way to download the episode rather than streaming it?

    1. I think you have to pay to download podcasts, but I could be wrong.

    2. Thank you for your patience as I am very much in live-and-learn mode with this stuff. It took some digging but as it turns out, the default when uploading a file is to disable downloads. I have now gone in and enabled downloads so you should be set. Eventually, this thing should it become a regular thing should become something that is downloadable from iTunes, etc. but I need to do more research on that! Cheers.

  2. I am listening in small parts. The only thing I would recommend is to turn the intro music volume down a little, because it is three or four times louder than it should be. Thanks, Darren.

    1. I've been using the audio editing program Audacity for about four days now so still trying to find my way. There is a way to level out the music and dialogue but I'm still getting a feel for the best way to do so, etc. This is not my forte. For now, consider the intermittent musical interludes/blasts (which I like, brings some energy, I actually purchased that track) as my method to jar awake the reader, who I assume will fall asleep multiple times during a 90-minute epic like this! Ha ha. Thanks for the note.

  3. Hi Darren,
    I listed this comment on the sound cloud site but am not sure if it posted so I will repeat it here. Enjoy the podcasts and I have no problem with the length. I would also concur with the music suggestion above.

    Next time, while I enjoyed, and usually do, "rusty", I think we here this voice quite a lot and I personally would like more from you and perhaps some of the other voices in the community that we don't here from quite as often. (sorry Rob, not that I don't love you and all, but your takes are fairly well known)

    Love the format and hope you will continue to bring them to us.

    thanks again.

    1. Thanks for re-posting as I didn't see it on the other site. So many sites! Your feedback is valid and while I haven't thought that far ahead, I can see this being more a rotation of co-hosts. For example, there are other Flames scribes out there that would be great co-hosts that would provide that fresh voice and something different from what people hear everyday. Anyway, I'd be lying if I told you I had a well thought through strategic plan for this. Pretty much winging it, but feedback like this does help and is appreciated. Thanks for listening.

  4. The righty-lefty effect is obviously too prounced, but I liked it in theory and I'd prefer it be kept with some tweaking. The key to mixing the separate voices won't just be to mono it, but to have a 35/65 on the side. One thing you're going to need to do in general is keep every separate "channel", well, separate - so you can mix them in isolation. That would let you do something as straightforward as lowering the blaring music volume rather than trying to tackle it in post-production.

    Now for what really matters - the content itself because that's why I'm listening:

    - I disagree with you guys on Wideman's struggles being something that manifested this last year. What manifested this year was, rather (aside from the trickle-down effect of poor goaltending), Wideman's very specific need for a suitable partner.

    While Russell was obviously not a middle pair defenseman due to his well-documented flaws - he was still the perfect style of partner for Wideman - left shot, mobile with a strong stick to cover in transition, and with a quick first step to win races in the D-zone. Wideman spent way too much of the season anchored down by Engelland. People love Engelland's intangibles but what he is is a drag on offense, who happens to have the same stick-handedness as Wideman, and doesn't have the mobility Russell offers. Wideman produced 1.40 5v5 P/60 with Russell, which is actually a HIGHER offensive production rate than he produced in 2014-15 with Russell (1.10 P/60).

    DId Wideman struggle on the PP? Yes, and he also had some huge cold PP stretches in the middle of his career year in 2014-15 that people forget. That's who Dennis Wideman is, a pretty streaky shooter.

    Who is the best partner for Wideman? Well, obviously it's Brodie but Wideman is about the third-best partner for Brodie, so that's a no-go. Who is the second-best partner for Wideman? I really want to see Brett Kulak take the next step to a legitimate #5/#6. Not only does he have all of Russell's strengths, he doesn't have Russell's inherent weaknesses. Before giving up on Wideman and shipping him off, I would rather see every effort to support Wideman. Getting offense from the backend, for this team especially, is crucial, and being able to ice a third pair that isn't a liability would be ideal. How did Kulak look near the end of the year? A fringe #5/#6, could maybe use some more development time in Stockton but Wideman is a good, experienced veteran who sometimes doesn't get enough credit for his D-zone play within his limits. Wideman can definitely lead a 3rd D pairing if his partner has the mobility and hockey sense to follow. Okay, but maybe Kulak just isn't ready. I still think a Wotherspoon-Wideman bottom pair is well worth a shot - sort of a bottom pair version of Paul Martin / Brent Burns. Spoon is absolutely an NHL #6 right now, but I don't know if he'll mesh with Wideman.

    The one thing we can't do, is give Deryk Engelland overly favourable treatment for off-ice intangibles or perceived success in a top 4 role that was really just "TJ Brodie/Mark Giordano are amazing partners for anyone". Engelland-Wideman is a pairing that is doomed to fail no matter how you approach it. Period. And Engelland in the top 4 is also doomed to fail.

    Wideman is a player you have to give an opportunity to, because his potential in a given season can be the difference between no playoffs and playoffs, or even playoffs and cup contender. Offense swings games - anyone in the NHL can pray their goalie makes a save, but only a few guys can see plays develop and execute like Wideman. I'm not even his biggest fan, but you may as well try to have the most effective bottom pair in the NHL instead of trying to pidgeon-hole certain enforcer/crease-clearer roles while they are not working (Poor Smid).


    1. Okay, Wideman diatribe over. I also disagree vehemently that Sam Bennett is a winger. He looked awful on the wing this year, in terms of actual feel for the position. Yes, he had some offensive success playing on Backlund's line - duh, everybody does. That wasn't the position helping him, it was Backlund's awesomeness. And it was suggested that Bennett's struggles began when he was moved to centre. Well, no. He had some good games centering Ferland, Bouma, and Colborne, Jooris, Gaudreau, Frolik, and Hudler. By the end of the season his two-way play was at a point where Hartley was throwing him to the dogs of the division (Getzlaf, Kopitar) and he was swimming(for the most part. He's still young). Earlier in the year, when Bennett was centering Gaudreau, that line had better chemistry and "rabid-dog-domination" than Monahan-Gaudreau has ever had, too.

      When did his struggles actually originally begin? I would point to his month-long stint on Markus Granlund's wing. Granlund was the one who failed and crashed hard, and he dragged Bennett down with him.

      I also don't see Brouwer as the right partner for Bennett. Maybe the right third wheel, but Bennett needs a guy like Tkachuk as the #2 on the line. If not this year, then hopefully a Shinkaruk or a surprise by Poirier.

      As for Mark Jankowski... I think he is an NHLer right now. To what extent, I don't know. But the best thing for him is to go down to Stockton, play in every situation and get a call up when there is an injury to one of our centres, not for him to play wing. Sure he can play wing. But his value to the team increases profoundly if he can play centre with confidence.

    2. It may not have come across as intended but I don't think Bennett played bad at centre, but his offence dried up when that switch happened for reasons I suggested, which was mostly relaying what he told me directly at garbage bag day when I talked to him specifically about the challenges of that switch. Inconsistent linemates was a factor, so was learning the position. Those were two things he mentioned. I agree he will be centre this season or at least indefinitely as that's what the GM has indicated, that's what the player wants, so that's certainly how it will begin. Thanks for listening.

    3. The music is a separate track that was added in post-production so I know there is a way to lower the volume for that separate track but I've never used audacity before until three days ago so as we speak, I'm trying to figure out how to do it so I know.

      As for Wideman, that was quite a diatribe, indeed. The root of why I'm skeptical he'll be back is I've heard there could be some stuff going on behind the scenes dating back to his suspension and his concussion and how it was handled/not handled by the trainers/doctors and how that all played out. But maybe some mending has gone on.

    4. FYI - I did convert it to mono because this is not my area of expertise at all and I could find no way in Audacity to do a hybrid combining of tracks so it's 65/35 as you suggested. Of course, now that I've combined the tracks, people are complaining that they liked the left-right split. Goes to show that you cannot please everyone, which should have been something I learned long ago but I was determined to try and be the first to please everyone.

    5. Mono is fine too. But it's a nice effect to get a sense of two people talking back and forth - if you want to give it a shot, try this plugin for Audacity:


      Then just copy each stereo channel and adjust accordingly. Have fun. I always enjoy your stuff.

    6. Thank you for this. Will definitely check it out.

    7. I think I nailed it. Downloaded the channel mixer as suggested and did the 65/35 split as recommended and I like how it turned out. I replaced the file this morning with the new version. It's stereo again so the quality is better and if only listening to left or right, you still can hear both, yet it's in stereo so there's still an intended effect of one guy in the left, the other in the right, and you're right there in the room. Pretty cool. Thanks Granteed EV for the tips and tricks!

    8. It sounds a lot better and definitely professional-grade now. One final tweak, probably not worth it for this iteration but worth exploring for future stereo podcasts, would be to add about 400 to 600 μs (0.0004 seconds) of delay (Effect menu --> Delay) to each "35% channel". The "65% channel receives no additional delay". This will make localization a little bit better for people listening on their headphones.