Postgame: Mulligan?

Pat Steinberg
October 07 2010 10:55PM

ALBERTA, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 29: Ales Hemsky  of the Edmonton Oilers is congratulated after scoring in a shootout by teammates Ladislav Smid , Gilbert Brule  and Ryan Jones  against the Phoenix Coyotes. The oilers went on to win 4-3. on September 29, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

We'll just pretend Thursday's Calgary Flames opener was the eight preseason game.  The regular season starts on Sunday, lets go with that.  Fact is, the Flames were not the better team at Rexall Place in Edmonton, and the new look Oilers were full marks for a 4-0 win.

What Happened

A poor, flat footed first period for the Flames gave the Oilers the jump they needed.  Gilbert Brule opened the scoring on the powerplay, as Calgary found themselves trying to keep up with their fired up opponents.  Calgary took four first period penalties, including two for delay of game from Adam Pardy and Jay Bouwmeester.  All four of those minors were the result of Edmonton pressure and skating, and the Oilers were unrelenting for 19 minutes.  Shots were 19-9, but I got the feeling they weathered a bit of a storm, and only being down 1-0 could be looked at as a positive.

The middle frame saw things tilted back to the visitors.  They started playing their game, using their down low advantage to generate shtos and draw penalties.  But they were unable to score in that second period, as they ran into their old nemesis Nikolai Khabibulin.  The problem with Calgary's period was their lack of ability to get the puck with speed to the net.  They'd gain the zone fine, but most of their shots came from the perimiter.

Two goals in a span of 1:19 in the final frame closed this sucker out, as Jordan Eberle snuck behind T.J. Brodie to put the Oil up 2-0 before Ales Hemsky blasted a shot past Kiprusoff off the right wing.  Shawn Horcoff's ankle deflected an Eberle PP shot to give the Oilers their four goal bulge, and seal their first victory over Calgary since the 2008-09 season.

One Good Reason...

...the Flames lost?  Well, plain and simple, they were flat footed in the first and to start the third period.  If you're not going to score on your 18 second period shots, you can't let two go in in under 80 seconds to start the final frame.  In a one goal game, you can't let in an early shortie like that.  Of course there would be more reasons I'm sure you'll get to in the comments section belo...

Red Warrior

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 3: Mark Giordano #5 of the Calgary Flames clears the loose puck in front of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff #34 in a game between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game on October 3, 2009 at Rexall Arena in Edmonton, Canada. The Flames defeated the Oilers 4-3. (Photo by Jimmy Jeong/Getty Images)
 

Not a whole lot to choose from on this night, but I'll go with Mark Giordano.  He was by far the best Flame on the ice.  How many times will we say that this season?

Sum It Up

Just not good enough.  The Steve MacIntyre KTFO on Raitis Ivanans kinda told all you need to know...Oilers win big (hope all the best for #41 though).  The top line was dismal, the powerplay looked mediocre, and the Flames didn't cash in their opportunities.  Um, just be better Sunday at home.  No good.  *shakes head*

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 PrairieStew
October 08 2010, 08:54AM
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At the end of the year, Edmonton will be rating this as one of their top 5 games of the year; everything clicked for them. The kids were good. Hemsky is back and Horcoff and Penner did not look terrible. Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney each played nearly 25 minutes, Khabby was very good and the Oil won the fights.

The question for the Flames is : will this be one of the bottom 5 games of the year or an all too frequent occurence ? Attention top line : Toews, Thornton, Sedin, Datsyuk lines all will be tougher to play against.

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#2 Eddie Beerz
October 08 2010, 09:32AM
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@PrairieStew

The Flames still have and identity crisis... why does this team look so bored/flat everytime they hit the ice...

We need to talk about this more, the fact that this team can't get up for games is so old.

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#3 hugeoilfan
October 08 2010, 12:13PM
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Don't worry. At least you won the pre-season games. You even got some goals. hip hip hooray

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#4 everton fc
October 07 2010, 11:07PM
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I only saw half the second, and the third. Random thoughts...

Regher showed some leadership.

Ivanans was lost out there. Even before the KO. Waste of space. Cap space, I mean (can you imagine Owen Nolan w/Sutter and Meyer?) D.J. King would have never got TKO'd by Macintyre. Ivanans, like McGratton - washed up.

Comparing our first line to Edmonton's is depressing. Really depressing.

White didn't look so good. Comparing Backlund to the Oilers young guns.. also depressing.

3rd line looked okay. I like Jackman. Don't ask me why.

I still like Meyer, as well.

Here's hoping we re working a trade for a big, young, FAST forward. (I have no names in mind at this late hour!) I still think we'll make the playoffs.

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#5 Jeremy
October 07 2010, 11:10PM
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@everton fc

Regehr looked good he was our best D.

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#6 marty
October 07 2010, 11:12PM
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my cats breath smells like cat food. that is all i can say no point breaking down the game it was obvious but nonetheless one game. la is a better team so get fn ready for sunday. i want something to be thankfull for

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#7 Kent Wilson
October 07 2010, 11:13PM
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I didn't notice Morrison at all. And he got killed on the chance count.

Flames don't have a center worth a damn right now.

Also - Jokinen is just awful.

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#8 sincity1976
October 07 2010, 11:14PM
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I thought Sutter looked okay out there as well and was, in my opinion, the Flames best forward. Regher looked decent. Gio was good.

Bouwmeester, Jackman, and White were stinkers. Bourque and Hagman need to pick it up. I didn't like Morrison on that line.

Tanguay showed glimmers. Kipper was good other then a break down in the third.

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#9 Ro
October 07 2010, 11:16PM
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It's just game one so i won't go on the 'darryl sutter bash' even though the two year deal for ivanans looks stupid right now.

all in all the top line wasn't the top line, and it was evident morrison isn't the answer on the second line but what can you do with injuries galore?

Kipper was his usual self. But after that, man, same flames from last year just older and slower...

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#10 rod blogojevich
October 07 2010, 11:23PM
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@everton fc

That leadership component you speak of was critical. The difference between a 4-0 loss to a 9-0 loss. We probably will be able to will ourselves to 2-0 losses once Staios Is out there.

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#11 Wanyes bastard child
October 07 2010, 11:26PM
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Ro wrote:

It's just game one so i won't go on the 'darryl sutter bash' even though the two year deal for ivanans looks stupid right now.

all in all the top line wasn't the top line, and it was evident morrison isn't the answer on the second line but what can you do with injuries galore?

Kipper was his usual self. But after that, man, same flames from last year just older and slower...

Your top line out of the first period played against two rookies (Hall and Eberle) for the final two periods.

How does that make you feel?

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#12 Jamie Macouns Love Child
October 07 2010, 11:27PM
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Whoo not a good night for the red guys..

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/97306

This was nasty... and hope Raitis is going to be ok.

Trainer - "Raitis where are you"

Ivanans - "Riga??!?? "

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#13 Rain Dogs
October 07 2010, 11:27PM
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Gio??? Wow!, I would have never thought it. To my eye he looked like crap tonight. Of the defense, Regehr was the best defender on the ice IMO.

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#14 Benhur
October 07 2010, 11:28PM
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Cio was the best Dman and Iggy was dangerous but really didn't have the support he needed, The Oil looked like the 80's Oilers fast and skilled.........WATCH OUT!!! ALSO THEY ARE TOUGH! GOD HELP THE FLAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#15 Brian
October 07 2010, 11:50PM
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We looked so slow compared to those you bucks up north!

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#16 brian
October 07 2010, 11:51PM
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@Brian

Young...not you

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#17 SmellOfVictory
October 08 2010, 12:15AM
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@everton fc

re: Backlund comparison:

You have to take linemates into consideration. The Oilers' kids were playing with other good offensive players. Backlund was with who, Meyer and Jackman most of the night?

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#18 Nolan
October 08 2010, 01:04AM
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Didnt i say this before. Jokinen is overrated, Morrison is a waste and the Flames cant' score. Same ol' same ol'.

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#19 Dan
October 08 2010, 01:16AM
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So I give this team roughly 10 games before giving them a full true evaluation.

But do we ever look old and slow out there tonight??

I think Tanguay will end up doing ok, but holly did Olli look terrible tonight....

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#20 44stampede
October 08 2010, 02:48AM
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I didn't get to watch the whole game but the spurts I saw were full of giveaways from the Flaming Cs . They looked a step behind and gave it away a ton.

It's just the first game. We'll see how it goes soon enough.

I will say that the Oil should be good in a few years...(maybe less) That stinks because we are going the other way. It's the way it goes I guess. They have sucked for a while so good for them.

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#21 CitizenFlame
October 08 2010, 04:56AM
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@Rain Dogs

I thought that Regehr looked good tonight too but if you look at Kent's piece on the scoring chances Gio was probably the best defender on the night. I wish he could hit the net though. instead of ricocheting around the boards and out of the zone.

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#22 everton fc
October 08 2010, 07:22AM
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@Brian "We looked so slow compared to those you bucks up north!"

We have looked slow for years. Remember, too, we are full of injuries.

Moss-Meyer-Sutter, or Moss-Meyer.Sutter-Morrison would be a nice fourth line. Or swap Morrison for Conroy, while swapping Sutter/Meyer for Jackman.

Having Jackman on the third line shows how far off we were from a true first team.

Can Backlund centre Glencross-Kotalik? Eventually? Could Backlund perhaps centre Glencross-Moss? (Backlund was w/Glencross and Jackman)

All those who wanted to punt Regher... for youth... He is the leader out there. And probably in the dressing room. Not Iggy, me thinks.

Meyer and Sutter did just giver. I like them both.

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#23 everton fc
October 08 2010, 07:33AM
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As for Morrison... He's been with the team, what, three days? I think he'll fit in. He looked a lot more comfortable in the third.

Backlund centering Glencross and Moss... or Kotalik... Interests me. Perhaps try Backlund with Hagman and Bourque, Morrison with Glencross and... Maybe have Conroy centre that line, move Morrrison to the wing?

We are screwed right now, when it comes to centres... and our third line. And Bouwmeester... He looked poor. Out of place....

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#24 Kent Wilson
October 08 2010, 08:08AM
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everton fc wrote:

As for Morrison... He's been with the team, what, three days? I think he'll fit in. He looked a lot more comfortable in the third.

Backlund centering Glencross and Moss... or Kotalik... Interests me. Perhaps try Backlund with Hagman and Bourque, Morrison with Glencross and... Maybe have Conroy centre that line, move Morrrison to the wing?

We are screwed right now, when it comes to centres... and our third line. And Bouwmeester... He looked poor. Out of place....

Given they they performed last night against a bunch of kids, we're screwed right now when it comes to a first line.

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#25 SS
October 08 2010, 08:26AM
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@Kent Wilson

Is it true that Iggy, Olli, and Tanguay played two periods against Eberle, Hall and Horcoff? And got outplayed by a pretty wide margin.

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#26 Kent Wilson
October 08 2010, 08:29AM
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"Oh, we expected it to be that way," said Iginla. "They’ll be young and have good energy all year, I imagine. They’ve got some good young players, but, you know, as much as we want to give them credit . . . our specialty teams were pretty tough (surrendering two power-play goals and one shortie) tonight.

That from Cruickshank.

Actually, Jarome, you were lousy at ES too. They beat you up in all facets of the game.

Is it true that Iggy, Olli, and Tanguay played two periods against Eberle, Hall and Horcoff? And got outplayed by a pretty wide margin.

We don't have H2H ice time right now, but that was definitely one of the match-ups Renney went for. Iginla also saw some of Gagner-Hemsky-Penner.

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#27 Graham
October 08 2010, 08:30AM
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With the money committed to the def corp, we should have one of the better d corp's in the league. Problem is we don't have the high end stud (Pronger type) a true power play quarterback, a true shut down pair, just a bunch of pieces that don't seem to fit together. No one seems to complement Gio, or White... Can you say lack of chemistry...

The Flames looked worse than last year, lets hope it is just a one game thing, or this is going to be a very very long season!

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#28 B
October 08 2010, 08:51AM
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...the Oilers young legs outskated the Flames, plain and simple.

...the Flames have to be a physical team against teams with more speed than them, they weren't anymore phsyical than the Oilers last night.

...Sutter looked ok on the 4th line last night. ...Jackman looked ok, but I'd rather see him getting 4th line minutes. ...Jokinen has to use his size and look for rebounds around the net from Iggy shots. ...the Oilers look good and it looks like the they are going to be crazy good in a couple years.

...I could analyze more things but thats enough for now. The Oilers are fast man!

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#29 walkinvisible
October 08 2010, 09:25AM
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@Ro

@RO

It's just game one so i won't go on the 'darryl sutter bash' even though the two year deal for ivanans looks stupid right now.

RIGHT NOW ???!! the ivanans signing looked ridiculous when he signed it, and moreso when you consider he waived an actual nhl player to do so.

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#30 everton fc
October 08 2010, 09:40AM
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@PrairieStew

Agreed. Last night, outside of Regehr, and I think Bourque... Where was the leadership??

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#31 everton fc
October 08 2010, 09:41AM
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@Kent

"Given they they performed last night against a bunch of kids, we're screwed right now when it comes to a first line."

One could argue our second line, as well. It's not an NHL first line. Agreed.

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#32 Dave
October 08 2010, 09:57AM
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We have to remember it's only one game. It was an aweful game though. Way to many giveaways and low percentage shots. This team looks like the same team as last year.

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#33 Red Mile
October 08 2010, 09:59AM
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Yes, it was a bad game but it was ONE game! Things don't look all that good but the second period gives hope.

Iginla cherry picking will pay off big time throughout the year.

We took a lot of shots on the DUI Goalie but the quality wasn't all that great.

Regehr played a good, tough game. Bowmeester needs to step it up some.

The PP didn't look all that intimidating.

I am behind Brodie 100% (but disagree with his number. There is only one 66 and he lives in Penssylvania).

Bring on the Kings! It'll be a much better effort for game #2.

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#34 JF
October 08 2010, 10:04AM
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walkinvisible wrote:

@RO

It's just game one so i won't go on the 'darryl sutter bash' even though the two year deal for ivanans looks stupid right now.

RIGHT NOW ???!! the ivanans signing looked ridiculous when he signed it, and moreso when you consider he waived an actual nhl player to do so.

Worse, he bought out an actual NHL player to do it.

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#35 PrairieStew
October 08 2010, 10:05AM
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@Eddie Beerz

Well one can certainly understand how Edmonton was more up for the game - 3 highly touted rookies playing their first game ever - birth of a new era and all that.

From our vantage point it is hard to imagine why you wouldn't be up, but I'm sure it does get old and or guys try to not get too high to get too low. Using Morrisson as an example - first game with the Flames, but his 830th overall for his 6th team - not the same excitement as Taylor Hall.

It's not an identity crisis, that would imply some uncertainty about who they are, and to paraphrase Dennis Green " They are who we thought they were" which is an old team that may win some games with guile and veteran savvy; but they are too old to be a contender. They may be competitve on many nights, but there are going to be nights like this one too when the young skilled teams make them look bad.

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#36 Oilersrock
October 08 2010, 10:06AM
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Oh Kent, I told ya so. I feel for you flames fans. Man that first line of yours looked slow. Nice pick ups- olie and tan... Haha. Fire the sutters.

Have a good year and here's looking down on you.

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#37 walkinvisible
October 08 2010, 10:06AM
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JF wrote:

Worse, he bought out an actual NHL player to do it.

good lord, apparently i blocked that out. ;)

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#38 Domebeers.com
October 08 2010, 10:10AM
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Heres what I noticed. For the second year in a row the team seems to not be listening to the coach, because, I suspect, they don't believe what the guy is selling. This is a big problem. A big problem.

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#39 PrairieStew
October 08 2010, 10:14AM
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@Domebeers.com

Dome :

In what way do you think they are not listening ? Failiure to exectute the system - offensively, defensively - what ?

Do the veterans think they know better ? Or will be forgiven because of who they are ?

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#40 Kent Wilson
October 08 2010, 10:18AM
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Domebeers.com wrote:

Heres what I noticed. For the second year in a row the team seems to not be listening to the coach, because, I suspect, they don't believe what the guy is selling. This is a big problem. A big problem.

See, here's the problem - separating a team that can't execute from a team that doesn't want to is a tough thing to do when just watching the games.

I lean towards the former rather than the latter until I have other information to suggest the players have tuned out the coach.

What we saw last night was what I and some others feared heading into the season (Jokinen not all that good, Iginla no longer elite, lack of Langkow, etc.) plus a good dash of some guys playing poorly on the back-end and the Oilers kids all having good nights.

The Flames have a half dozen regulars out, have a question mark for a first line, didn't dress the best roster (Ivanans over Conroy? Pardy over Sarich?) and had $6M sitting in the press box. That's a whole cluster of inefficiencies and less-than-ideals.

I'm not racing to defend Brent Sutter or anything, but I don't think we can safely say the team isn't buying in. Yet.

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#41 dotfras
October 08 2010, 10:28AM
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Flames weren't rough enough on the new kids. I was expecting Regher or Gio to line one of em up early to set the tone.

They gave the kids too much room out there and didn't make them pay for anything.

LA should be better at home on Sunday.

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#42 Kent Wilson
October 08 2010, 10:30AM
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dotfras wrote:

Flames weren't rough enough on the new kids. I was expecting Regher or Gio to line one of em up early to set the tone.

They gave the kids too much room out there and didn't make them pay for anything.

LA should be better at home on Sunday.

Lord I hope so. Problem being, the Kings are a much better team.

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#43 Rain Dogs
October 08 2010, 10:42AM
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@Kent Wilson

You know, I agree with both of you. I cannot say what it is, but for whatever reason, it's like the players have forgotten how to play efficient hockey. It is excruciatingly frustrating to watch.

"Ok, good now go there...no not there, why would you try that pass? Ok crap, here we go. Nooooo..ok good, save Kipper, control...ok, we've got the puck back. Why? Why now just fire it up the boards? Icing. Get off, you guys suck. Ok, new line, we've...MOVE!!!...stop standing around!, arrgghh. Oh jeebus, another forced pass, and now...oh right, NOW you try to carry it in and put three guys offside. OH great, now these guys come out... and on and on."

I cannot believe that Sutter is telling them to do such things as back-to-back behind the back passes by Olli and Jbo which failed to generate any speed or make for a good breakout.

However, I can't explain why the team consistently looks like a deer in the headlights. They just have no idea how to get the puck out of the zone and move with any amount of fluidity. It may be a new year, with new players, but the same inexplicable motions are being made and that is very very scary.

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#44 Kent Wilson
October 08 2010, 10:47AM
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I hear you Lawrence. It's frustrating as hell.

There was one point last night in the third (with the outcome already decided) where the Flames had the puck in offensive zone. I think it was Glencross in the corner, but I'm not certain.

Anyways, he pulls out a tad from the corner, puck on his stick, looks out to assess his options...and the rest of the Flames just stopped dead in their tracks. Literally stopped, like (as you say) a deer in the headlights. Completely static. The Oilers tightened the formation slightly, knocked the puck off the players stick (he had no options to speak of) and the play died.

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#45 Rain Dogs
October 08 2010, 10:50AM
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You know what it is? Just watching bits again. At least one part. Puck support. There is very very little puck support. Long passes, cross ice passes, when we gain the zone it's one guy by himself.

Everyone seems set up to be one-on-one with no short, quick option. Olli was terrible last night, but in defense of him, he had no safe pass to make. He winds it up and instantly is faced with a one-on-one and has to force a pass, try a behind the back pass, curl back or risk coughing it up. Brutal.

Hockey is a game of two-on-ones. You want to support the puck carrier, by giving them an option to dish to and get it back, and break every battle down to a two-on-one. That just doesn't happen with this team.

And what happened to D joining the rush? Nothing last night. Edmonton did all those things well. Look at the shortie. Perfect, 2 on one battle against Brodie on the boards, then against White, then in the net. AND they were short!

Give and go, guys, give and go. Fundamental, yet impossible for this team.

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#46 Backburner
October 08 2010, 10:58AM
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I think we all expected the Oilers to be up for this game... I knew they would most likely take their home opener. Don't expect any change in the way Calgary plays from last season. Tanguay? so what? same team. On the other hand... it will be funny to see this Oiler team finish in last place again this year in the NW division!

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#47 PrairieStew
October 08 2010, 11:00AM
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Though I have been a summer long skeptic, I am not ready to set the house on fire after last night. Give some credit to the Oilers - they were up and played perfectly - I guarantee you they are not going to look like that every night. The second period was Ok - but the stupid highlight reel goal by Eberle killed the energy and Kipper muffed Hemsky's. You said last week Kent part of the team's problem is the negative territory the Flames are in when it comes to drawing and taking penalties. That showed through again last night with a 6-3 disadvantage. You'd think with a veteran squad that this would be in the plus as opposed to the negative. Speed kills I guess, and lack of speed kills too - just more slowly !!

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#48 sam
October 08 2010, 11:04AM
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Mulligan? No way! Last year was their Mulligan! Sadly it looked a lot like last year. Same players stinking.. Same mistakes... Same results... I fear she's gonna be another long sad fuitless year. I hope not, but if last night was any indication, we are going nowhere. FAST!

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#49 fearless franco
October 08 2010, 11:10AM
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@everton fc

They are who we thought they were. Too old too small and too slow.And they have no skill. Top five pick in the draft.

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#50 JF
October 08 2010, 11:13AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I hear you Lawrence. It's frustrating as hell.

There was one point last night in the third (with the outcome already decided) where the Flames had the puck in offensive zone. I think it was Glencross in the corner, but I'm not certain.

Anyways, he pulls out a tad from the corner, puck on his stick, looks out to assess his options...and the rest of the Flames just stopped dead in their tracks. Literally stopped, like (as you say) a deer in the headlights. Completely static. The Oilers tightened the formation slightly, knocked the puck off the players stick (he had no options to speak of) and the play died.

That's it. I've been trying to figure out exactly why Flames games were boring last year (Beyond just "less goals") as opposed to 08-09 where games were exciting as all hell... The 09-10 Brent Sutter Flames stand around alot while the 08-09 Keenan Flames were usually in motion.

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