Postgame: Better, But Another Loss

Pat Steinberg
November 13 2010 11:32PM

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton (R) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Stockholm October 9, 2010. REUTERS/Bob Strong (SWEDEN - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

There was plenty to like about Calgary's game on Saturday night in San Jose, but it goes down as another loss, this time 4-3 at the hands of the Sharks.  Lots of good things happened...Jarome Iginla scored a timely goal and Jay Bouwmeester showed some offensive flair...but in the end, Joe Pavelski's line was the difference, and they drop the Flames two games below. 500.

What Happened

This game had the look of an ugly one for the visitors, as they found themselves shorthanded just 58 seconds into the game...and just 66 seconds in, they found themselves down 1-0, as Joe Thornton snapped his sixth of the season past Miikka Kiprusoff.  The Sharks would stake themselves to a 2-0 lead at 10:24 when Pavelski threaded a gorgeous pass to Ryane Clowe who zipped it through, and it was 2-0 after one.  San Jose severely outchanced Calgary in that first period, 15-4 in fact, and Kiprusoff needed to come up with some large, timely saves to keep this game within striking distance.

And Calgary was able to close the gap early in the second period, thanks to a 5-on-3 powerplay, as Mark Giordano snapped his second of the season just 51 seconds in, but the Sharks would answer right back thanks to the Pavelski line again...Joe potted his fourth at 16:22 to stake San Jose to a 3-1 lead after 40.  Give the Flames credit, they generated some chances in the middle frame, thanks to some powerplay time, but it gave them some optimism heading into the third.

Once again, Calgary reeled the Sharks back in, this time at 9:14 of the final frame...a real good shift lead by Jarome Iginla yielded a great cycle, and Jay Bouwmeester popped into the play at the right time to pot his second.  But once again, Calgary couldn't keep the Sharks from coming back...a bad step up from Brendan Mikkelson set up an odd man rush the other way, and this time Logan Couture made the Flames pay, with his sixth at 14:10.  And yet, Calgary battled back once more, and it was the captain who got them back within one...Jarome Iginla fired his third of the season at 19:23 from the left circle off a nice feed from Alex Tanguay, and it set things up for a frantic finish.  Calgary got their offensive zone faceoff, but in the end, once again...it was too little, too late, and Calgary drops to 6-8 on the season.

One Good Reason...

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 16: Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks looks down while taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 16, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
 

...why the Flames lost? It came down to two things ultimately for me, but more than anything, they could not contain Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe, who were absolutely dominant on this night.  They were matched up primarily against Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque and outplayed them fairly consistently...both Glencross and Bourque were outchanced 9-0 at ES, while Jokinen was behind 8-1.

Calgary's powerplay also let them down, going 1/7 with some opportunities to tie the game.  I know they scored on the 5-on-3, but when you're in a game like this, it's gotta be a little more timely.

Red Warrior

Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla (R) controls the puck against San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic during the first period of their NHL hockey game in San Jose, California November 13, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
 

I'll go with the captain...Jarome Iginla responded on this night for the Flames.  He had the late goal, played 20:33, and his strong shift lead to Bouwmeester's goal in the third period.  I liked a lot of what we saw from him, and it came against pretty strong opposition, playing against San Jose's top line for good chunks of this game.  Lets hope it's the start of a trend for him.

Sum It Up

Once again, it was a better effort for the Flames, but I know a lot of people are getting tired of hearing "good things, but not good enough."  I for one don't buy the argument that they're not good enough to win games...I certainly don't think they're a top team, but I also think they're better than 6-8.  However, eventually you have to start winning games when you play fairly well in them, and if the hole ends up being too deep, at some point it's going to be too hard to dig yourself out.  The Flames take on Phoenix on Wednesday.

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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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#51 the-wolf
November 15 2010, 12:48PM
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dotfras wrote:

I don't think we need to "rebuild".

We have some great prospects, and some young players who are already stepping it up.

Darryl has dug himself into a bit of a hole with all of the multi-year deals linked with NTC's.

Hagman is tradeable. At this point I don't think Tanguay is a guy we should resign unless it's for less money, Staios & White are outta here.

Does Langkow's money come off the books if he retires?

Regardless we are going to have a bit of cash to play with, some notable UFA's are Semin, Leino, Laich, Richards, Hejduk.

Next year a couple of our prospects should be at a place where they can compete for a spot on the roster - Nemisz, Wahl, Cameron, Brodie, Bouma, I think the biggest thing for next year is that we don't sign any stupid contracts & try to develop the prospects, even if it means icing a somewhat inexperienced roster ex. Colorado last year.

It wouldn't be a rebuild because we aren't blowing up the roster (I don't think it's even possible with all of the NTC's) but a shift in the mindset of "being one or two tweaks away", that has been our biggest downfall in the last few years, Darryl was always making tweaks & throwing old guys in there instead of developing young talent.

Really? Name them. 12 points in 19 games, not one player close to the top 20 in scoring.

Nemisz and Wahl need at least 2 full seasons in the AHL. By the time either makes an impact in the NHL you're looking at about 5 years. Howse is their top offensive talent by a mile, but it's s lot to assume he can jump straight into the NHL, especially since his defensive game needs a lot of work. Probably 3 years at least from making an impact in the NHL.

Maybe Hagman is tradeable, so what? For what? Some pucks and tape?

And we have no cash to "play" with. This team sits at the max, 11 players have no trade clauses, 18 million is committed to defense.

Sorry, but anyone who thinks this team can change it's fortunes around through tinkering has been asleep the last 6 years.

As far as that useless idiot King is concerned and his comments about 97& renewal, well, that's just more proof to me that the Flames' owners are no different than people like Jeremy Jacobs, Bill Wirtz and Harold Ballard. They could care less about contending, only making money. "Just good enough to fill the seats." GO SPIT! is what I say. I want a winner!

It's like the guy knocking Chicago, I don't get it. they won the CUP! That's the goal, not to be "competitive." Hoping you claw your way in and ride the back of a hot goalie is not the solution. Who cares what it took for Chicago to get there, they won the CUP! 'Nuff Said!

All 4 GMs since Fletcher have had one thing in common, no true rebuild, be competitive now. Even in the Coates years, "something for now, something for the future, we have to be competitive now." Well, it killed the franchise. A few spots higher on some picks, a few better more picks, a few more prospects and a dedication to scouting with a rebuild in mind and all those guys chosen from 94 to 98 would be our core right now.

So how can all these GMs want to be competitive now? The philosophy must come from the owners. Well, here's the only stat Flames fans need to know:

ONCE PAST THE FIRST ROUND IN 21 YEARS!

Yeah, sure seems like a sound strategy vs. the rebuild.

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#52 R O
November 15 2010, 12:50PM
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Yeah I'm sure Brent was the guy who drove the bus in NJ. Couldn't be Parise, because he's terrible.

You don't see successful teams do what the Flames D are told to do which is to maintain 10-15 foot separation no matter what context. F back support, no support, 1 opposing F, 2, 3... The same move almost every time.

I'm still waiting to hear from you about exactly what is wrong with the PP. I doubt you even know.

It pays to have a worthwhile opinion before expressing it.

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#53 B
November 15 2010, 12:55PM
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@the-wolf

...as long as the team is selling out regular season games and making money via a few playoff games the owners will be happy. No owners wants to go through what Chicago went through and have 5,000 fans at the games with no playoffs for the better part of a decade. Many owners have BBA and are accountants. Most of what they see is black vs red on the balance sheet.

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#54 the-wolf
November 15 2010, 01:02PM
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As far as the article goes, the Flames have at times been opportunistic; good on them.

However, tell me how many times you've watched the opposition bring their "A" game. I mean watched them and thought "wow, that team really brought it, I mean they were at the top of their game for 60 minutes."

And yet Calgary still won.

I can't think of any outside maybe that 1-0 win against the Preds.

Sure as heck, SJ and LA didn't bring it int their losses.

We're lucky that we're not chasing Edmonton.

I may as well start it now:

It's the Couturier, Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson sweepstakes countdown! Which one do we get?

Or does Darryl trade it for Mike Modano (former 40 goal scorer people!)?

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#55 B
November 15 2010, 01:19PM
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@R O

...just because you negate Brent's input doesn't make you statement true. With any team sport you can make an arguement such as the one you made.

...actually I feel most people on this board have an idea of what is wrong with the Flames PP (sadly RO, you are not a genius that exclusively has the all prevailing answer). How many times do the Flames carry the puck to just inside the blue line and have it taken away and iced? They don't have the players with the speed, puck control, or offensive sense to gain offensive zone control off the rush. Is that the only reason for the Flames lackluster PP, no, but a main reason out of many.

...stop with the childish insults RO, your not impressing anyone.

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#56 the-wolf
November 15 2010, 01:37PM
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@R O

Sorry, but I'm having trouble with this 10-15 foot thing. Is this something you read or just your observations?

Maybe you can explain it better, because I'm just not getting how this is feasible and may not know exactly what you mean here?

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#57 Tach
November 15 2010, 01:47PM
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This is a threadjack, but I just saw the All-Star ballots come out. The Flames nominees are Iginla, Bouwmeester and Kiprusoff.

I know this is just the All-Star ballot and totally meaningless but it encapsulates so much of the Flames since December of last year that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

On one hand it is obvious these players, at least to this point in this season, are far from All-Star calibre (and yes even Kiprusoff who is 31st in the league with a .903 sv%). Yet, name one other player on the Flames who would be even close to being an All-Star? Maybe Bourque, and that is a huge enormous stretch.

Our "star" players have played bad to average and our secondary players, while some have exceeded or met expectations, are still decidedly mediocre.

Double infuriation bonus: Regardless of his point totals, Iginla will still get picked by one of the captains and make the team. Book it.

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#58 dotfras
November 15 2010, 06:33PM
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@the-wolf

Bourque, Giordano, Glencross, Moss, are all great players, you are ignorant if you can't agree that these are all younger guys playing well. Without them we would have less than the 12 points in 19 games we currently have.

Staios, White, Langkow, are all coming off the books.

Thats over 10 mil right there.

So that would be cash we have to do something with.

We still have Pardy & Mikkleson who are decent 3rd pairing choices & Brodie who will be ready for a spot next year.

I never once said that the current lineup with a few moves will succeed, I actually said that this strategy won't work. But I also don't feel a complete demolition & reconfiguration of the team is necessary.

I believe that there is a middle ground between trying to stay competitive to sell tickets & completely rebuilding.

It all comes down to Darryl, he needs to stop signing contracts & star infusing the team with prospects, I'm not buying Nemisz, Wahl & Howse are 5 years away from making any impact in the big league.

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#59 B
November 15 2010, 06:54PM
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@dotfras

I believe that there is a middle ground between trying to stay competitive to sell tickets & completely rebuilding.

I COMPLETELY AGREE.

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#60 PrairieStew
November 16 2010, 08:28AM
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@the-wolf

"Sorry, but anyone who thinks this team can change it's fortunes around through tinkering has been asleep the last 6 years."

They have been tinkering, and they have been close, however there have been 3 years of consecutive declines in expectation and performance of the key personnell (save for Kiprusoff's awesome bounce back last season) Now the value of some of the assets are diminished again, and cupboard looks bare.

I can understand both the fans' and management's trepidation in committing to the rebuild through the draft, since this since this team has drafted abysmally since, oh, 1985.

Going in to this year - the prospect stable was ranked around 26th - so wolf you are right there are no impact players there. I would suggest that by the middle of the season that ranking will come up as AHL rookies Wahl,Brodie, Cameron and Nemisz appear to be better than some of the 24-25 year olds they let walk.

I think that if you are out of the playoff race by the All Star game, you do have 3 assets that would draw interest: first Glencross, then White and finally Hagman. If moving those guys helps restock the farm, that's the best we can hope for. If you assume Hagman stays and Langkow retires, you have 16 players under contract at $51.5. Add Brodie and one of either Pardy or Mikkelson and a backup goalie adds 2 million. This leaves less than $10 million to add another defenseman and 3 forwards - will there be some $2 million "bargains" available ? Maybe. Will they have enough impact to make this group better? Doubful.

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#61 the-wolf
November 16 2010, 11:27AM
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"Bourque, Giordano, Glencross, Moss, are all great players, you are ignorant if you can't agree that these are all younger guys playing well."

Define "great." They're good players (jury is still out on Moss), none are first line impact players. I'd like to say Bourque, but he's maddeningly inconsistent.

"Staios, White, Langkow, are all coming off the books."

And at least 1 of those positions needs to be replaced and ideally it'd be nice to have a little more cap room. So maybe you can sign an impact guy. So far that hasn't worked out too well for Darryl.

"I'm not buying Nemisz, Wahl & Howse are 5 years away from making any impact in the big league."

Their numbers dictate otherwise. Remember, I'm talking impact, not yet another 3rd line guy.

"I can understand both the fans' and management's trepidation in committing to the rebuild through the draft, since this since this team has drafted abysmally since, oh, 1985."

Then that's what needs to be fixed. Fans need to understand that 2004 was lightning in a bottle. They had the right chemistry at the right time, under the right set of rules and rode the back of a hot goalie. Once you look past that it's 4 GMs not moving past the first round in 2 decades. 4 GMs since Fletcher all trying to re-tool and win now. Doesn't work, obviously.

I think you could've re-tooled a few seasons ago. Which is when I wanted to trade Iggy (right after his 50 goals and 98 points). Because looking at it I knew that if Iggy could score like that and they still weren't good enough to go anywhere, then changes were needed.

As well, at 30 years of age and those stats, I knew that his was height, max trade value was to be had and teams would've given away a fortune.

Now? It's too late. The bargaining chips just aren't there to do a re-tool that will result in a contender.

The one time this was successful, remember, was when they did build through the draft. That '89 team contained many home-grown players: Vernon, Nieuwendyk, Roberts, Loob, MacInnis, Suter, Fleury, Hunter, Peplinski, etc.

We also picked guys like Hull, Reichel, Nylander, etc. which allowed us the assets to trade and go all the way and remain competitive afterwards.

The only way to win the Cup is to build a team through (even the '94 Rangers drafted Leetch and Richter, at least as important as the ex-Oilers that came in) shrewd drafting and proper development. And the best way to do that given the Flames roster is a blow-up. The parts are worth more than the sum in this case.

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