March 10 2014 10:34PM
Tonight's game may be encapsulated by Joe Colborne beating out a defender but over-skating the puck - the effort's there, not the execution.— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) March 11, 2014
The march towards slow, grim death steadies on with a consistent cadence, and on this night, the Los Angeles Kings rolled into town to aid in this ominous reality for your Calgary Flames.
To call this game a pretty one would be to call the works of Thomas Pynchon a study in eternal whimsy. Choppy play. Sustained action lasting sometimes almost as long as 8 seconds. A Ben Stein pace. That's what this game between storied Pacific Division rivals amounted to in this one, and if you missed it, life is good.
Sure, watching the kids can be fun. A vision of the future not falling flat on their face is an encouraging sign. But when you're missing Stajan, Hudler, Glencross, Wideman, Jones (okay, not Jones), and have Lance Bouma on the first line (look we all love Boumer, but let's be honest here), these are the kinds of games we're going to see. Tonight, it was watching the Kings and former Calgary Hitmen standout Marty Jones choke even just a little bit more life out of the Flames season, and well, let's just land on "it'll all be over soon".
No big deal, just dominating possession against the Kings.— The Book Of Loob (@bookofloob) March 11, 2014
/Kings score 4 seconds later because the guy who tweeted that is a moron.
Yes, in the early moments of this game, the Flames were all over the Kings, playing kitty by the back door in the Kings end for a good minute and a half before the Kings broke out of their zone ONE TIME and Justin Williams scored on LA's first shot of the game.
Kind of a metaphor for this whole contest, really.
Despite a pretty good effort and some demonstrative control of the game, the Flames found themselves down 2-0 at the first intermission after a Trevor Lewis (!) notch. No one understands how this happens, but sometimes hockey is a cruel mistress.
Nothing interesting happened in the second period save for Kings center Jarrett Stoll trying to kill anyone with a Flaming C on their chest. Markus Granlund left the game with an upper body injury after sustaining a hit from Stoll, who then later tried to drill Norse God Mikael Backlund into the boards, whose superior Swedish genes allowed him to escape injury, to the relieved sighs of everyone in the whole damn world. You're a Stanley Cup champion, Stolly, why are you so angry?
The Kings held control of the game for most of the second, but didn't capitalize, in part because Joni Ortio was pretty tremendous, lending us to wonder what we were all thinking when we wondered if he could handle the NHL game.
Anze Kopitar tipped in a point shot midway through the third, and I started to write this post game report thinking the Flames weren't going to make it interesting.
So of course the Flames made it interesting.
Mike Cammalleri clocked a slapper off of Slava Voynov that bounced past a helpless Jones to ruin his shutout bid with 4 and a half minutes left, proving once and for all that not trading him at the deadline is Brian Burke's strongest move as Flames GM. Then current Flames sniper Brian McGrattan scored his second goal in as many games, you know because he's really good at hockey, and holy crap, was I going to have to re-write this whole post game report? I hope so!
But nope. Time ran out. 3-2 Kings final. Blugh.
The Flames outshot Les Reyes 26-23 on the night and spent a decent chunk of time being the better team despite being a peace meal nameless ragtag squad of misfits, but in the end, the talent outshone the effort.
Mikael Backlund is still awesome though.
Why The Flames Lost
Lack of skill? Lack of luck? WHITEY? Maybe there's a Costanza situation here where he switched the team over to cotton jerseys and they just weighed the Flames down?
Maybe it's all four?
No, it's because the Kings are a talented team who had won 7 in a row and the Flames are a bunch of damn rookies playing for pride and roster spots, and the good teams get the bounces. Sometimes it's as simple as that.
I guess Marty Jones was pretty good too. What happened to you, Marty, you used to be cool.
The Red Warrior
There were some decent performances tonight, but what the hell, I'll go with Corey Osmak.
The Flames assistant equipment manager worked his 1000th NHL game tonight, a tribute to longevity in a world where such a trait does not usually exist. Osmak got some dap all night on the Sportsnet broadcast, even getting interviewed by the Million Dollar Man during the second intermission, and it was all pretty cool.
Also I'm sure as hell not giving it to McGrattan, so stop asking.
The Beat Goes On
Did you guys hear George Strombolopolous is going to be the new Hockey Night In Canada host? What's that about?
March 10 2014 01:29PM
A couple weeks back, the Calgary Flames hosted the Los Angeles Kings in their first game back from the Olympics. That was a rusty Flames team that couldn't solve goalie Jonathan Quick, and lost 2-0. Since then, the team's been rather energized by a bunch of recalls.
The pesky Flames boast eight rookies right now - Joni Ortio, Sean Monahan, Joe Colborne, Markus Granlund, Max Reinhart, Tyler Wotherspoon, Ben Hanowski and Corban Knight. While Abbotsford's line-up is decimated, but at least the organization is able to actually evaluate guys at the NHL level, playing against NHL teams fighting for their playoff lives. (And Edmonton.)
Now the Kings are back, and the Flames should be motivated to prove that they can score a goal - or even beat - the Kings, who played the night before up in Shelbyville.
March 10 2014 10:34AM
Let's kick off the week in hockey with a quick shout-out to Matt Stajan and his wife, Katie. They're obviously going through a rough time and our thoughts and well-wishes go out to them.
The hockey world meanwhile, keeps a-turnin'. NCAA conference playoffs are underway. Junior playoffs loom. And everything else chugs along
March 09 2014 10:14AM
Don’t try to bully a bully.
That’s the statement Brian Burke made to his fellow hockey executives this week while stubbornly clinging to Michael Cammalleri despite the knowledge that the pending unrestricted free agent is almost assuredly moving elsewhere come July.
In Burke’s mind, something is not always better than nothing. Especially when that something means you will be perceived as weak or easily manipulated.
March 08 2014 11:59PM
Just over 24 hours removed from an emotional come-from-behind win at home against the New York Islanders, the Flames visited Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Aside from a brief skirmish between Mark Giordano and Kevin Bieksa in the first period, the Flames didn't have as much intensity and emotion as they did against the Isles. Their execution was also a bit lacking, particularly around the net.
As a result, the Calgary Flames were defeated in a tight-checking 2-1 game that was alternately sloppy, choppy and occasionally hard to watch.