Postgame: A Rough Night

Pat Steinberg
November 22 2010 08:06PM

NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammates Marian Gaborik #10, Michael Del Zotto #4 and Brandon Dubinsky #17 on January 19, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

A day after a strong performance minus the correct result in Detroit, the Flames were unable to pull things out at Madison Square Garden, falling 2-1 in their only meeting with the New York Rangers.  It was a game filled with hard hitting, chippy play...and one crushing hit delivered by Marc Staal to Calgary's Matt Stajan.  Regardless, the Flames are three games below the .500 mark heading into New Jersey on Wednesday.

What Happened

The Flames were not good to start this game, playing a very listless opening 20 minutes.  Kent had scoring chances 9-2 in that opening frame in favor of New York, and had Calgary registering zero at even strength, which is unacceptable.  But the Flames caught some breaks...the Rangers had finish issues, Miikka Kiprusoff made some saves, and this one was scoreless after one period of play.

The Flames seemed to reel things back in in the middle frame, but made a key mistake early on...an awful line change sent the Rangers in 2-on-0, and as Brendan Mikkeslon tried to get back into the play off the bench, Brian Boyle's pass went off his stick and into the back of the net.  Boyle got credit for his ninth of the season at 2:08, but it didn't take long for the Flames to tie things back up...an odd man rush the other way lead to a nice passing sequence, when Jay Bouwmeester found Jarome Iginla in the right circle, and the red hot captain snapped one past Martin Biron to tie things at one.  As things went back and forth, Ryan Callahan would deliver a clean hit on Jay Bouwmeester...something that Curtis Glencross decided to avenge.  His retaliation put him in the box and New York took advantage in short order, as Dan Girardi wired one past Kiprusoff just 14 serconds into the powerplay to put New York up 2-1 after 40.

The third period saw Calgary fire 15 shots on the Rangers net, however only five of those were counted as scoring chances...Kent had chances 5-4 in favor of the Flames, and counted none on their only powerplay of the frame, which again, can't happen.  New York went into a very visible shell and the Flames had difficulty breaking through, and Biron made a few key saves...two in particular on Jarome Iginla.  The final would end up 2-1, as Calgary opens their five game road trip with two losses, albeit earning the one point Sunday in Detroit.

One Good Reason...

...the Flames lost?  Calgary didn't really show up until they were down by a goal, and with how this team fights the puck at times, it just can't happen.  The first period was an absolute write off, as they were controlled and lucky not to be down a few goals.  After Iginla scored to tie it, they had a nice push for two or three minutes before things settled down once again.  Their third period wasn't poor, and they fired 15 shots on net...but we've heard "too little, too late" a little too often as of late.

Red Warrior

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 28: Jay Bouwmeester #4 of the Calgary Flames in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 28, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Flames 3-2 in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
 

With no Robyn Regehr in this game, Jay Bouwmeester really stepped up on this night.  I've been very impressed over the last number of games, as he's been solid in his own end and has been an offensive factor more than he's ever been in his time with the team.  He lead all players with 25:45 of ice time and logged some tough minutes as well...he was under water in chances, but very few players weren't in this game.  I liked Bouwmeester in this game.

Sum It Up

It sets up another November must-win on Wednesday in New Jersey, and it makes you wonder...who the heck gets the start in net when Calgary crosses the Hudson River?  The original thought, going back as far as the weekend, is that Henrik Karlsson would start against the Devils...however, now, the speculation would be that is not the case.  It's an extremely difficult debate, because you can see both sides.  But do you really want your goalie playing 5 games in 7 nights?

The Marc Staal on Matt Stajan hit obviously needs to be addressed.  I'm still formulating my take, but I think Staal was targetting the chest and made impact with the head.  Therefore, I think it should be looked at by the NHL, but I don't know if anything will come of it...this will certainly put to test the new "blindside" rule, as you can make a debate that it is or isn't from the blindside.  I think it was, which is why I think it should be looked at...but who knows with how disipline is handed out in this league.

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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 reluctantcitizen
November 23 2010, 06:56PM
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John F wrote:

So far you've offered no facts just your opinion, to which you are entitled.

Try to appreciate the distinction!

Now return to the Leafs blog where your "facts" are appreciated.

Take another look at my original post and you will notcie quite a bit of fact actually. Age? Fact. Cap space? Fact. 2 goalies? Fact. Prospects in the system or on the team? Fact. (At least to everyone who is not a Flames fan) No Sutters? Fact.

Sure i sprinkled some opinion in there, such as team speed and the depth of the defense and questioning the know-how of your GM, but I would wager that a lot of people who are neither Flames or Leafs fans might agree.

So yeah, I do appreciate the distinction between fact and opinion. I included both here, which apparently you weren't able to discern.

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#52 Rain Dogs
November 23 2010, 06:57PM
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@ Tach

I'm done. You don't thoroughly read my comments, and when I do type responses out, Flames Nation doesn't post them.

It's not worth my time.

I'll do my analysis, you continue thinking own goals are "stoppable" shots and that our goalies somehow influence shutouts against. Maybe they should start scoring as well?

Moving on.

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#53 Rain Dogs
November 23 2010, 07:02PM
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@Tach

"The team is above average, 13th, in offence with an average payroll up front. Kiprusoff appears to be below average in stopping pucks, but has an above average salary. Hence, he is as much to fault for the record as the others."

Lastly, you might want to examine what role defenders bring, or back checking forwards, or penalty killers.

I forgot. It's five forwards who shoot the puck and do nothing else and a goalie... riiiiight.

They're a team. It's funny how one position represents everyone's defensive duties.

Not every puck that ends up in the net, falls on the blame of the goalie. You try separating those two issues, if you don't like my method.

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#54 R O
November 23 2010, 07:55PM
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I don't know about this Quality Starts stuff (and the fact that it's from Puck Prospectus is a minus IMO) but you were convincing me with EVSV% already Lawrence.

My beef with Kipper is that he opens up total non-scoring chances into goals (outside the dot, the wraparound, from the goal line!!!) but for his larger body of work (5+ years), results are results.

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#55 John F
November 23 2010, 08:14PM
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reluctantcitizen wrote:

Take another look at my original post and you will notcie quite a bit of fact actually. Age? Fact. Cap space? Fact. 2 goalies? Fact. Prospects in the system or on the team? Fact. (At least to everyone who is not a Flames fan) No Sutters? Fact.

Sure i sprinkled some opinion in there, such as team speed and the depth of the defense and questioning the know-how of your GM, but I would wager that a lot of people who are neither Flames or Leafs fans might agree.

So yeah, I do appreciate the distinction between fact and opinion. I included both here, which apparently you weren't able to discern.

The Leafs do have about 3 million in cap space so they probably have the ability to pick up 1 player during a stretch run to put them over the top. That is if there is a stretch run otherwise it is just unused cap space.

Age-as Detroit demonstrates age is no automatic indicator of superiority.

Prospects on team or in system-that is an opinion and picking an age of 26 is arbitrary.

Leafs are a grand total of 2 points ahead (which just occurred last night) with a -8 goal differential, so good timing to take shots from your lofty position in the standings.

Flames are a -2 differential and10th in scoring/Leafs are 27th.

Normally everyone is entitled to an opinion on another team and if the team has demonstrated success and makes comparisons that is fine, however when a Leaf fan starts taking shots at the team and trying to show their superiority I must take issue as they have no recent performance criteria to back it up.

Flames had 90 points last year and Leafs had 74. They are a grand total of 2 points ahead this year-enough sad.

.

If

F

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#56 reluctantcitizen
November 23 2010, 09:03PM
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John F wrote:

The Leafs do have about 3 million in cap space so they probably have the ability to pick up 1 player during a stretch run to put them over the top. That is if there is a stretch run otherwise it is just unused cap space.

Age-as Detroit demonstrates age is no automatic indicator of superiority.

Prospects on team or in system-that is an opinion and picking an age of 26 is arbitrary.

Leafs are a grand total of 2 points ahead (which just occurred last night) with a -8 goal differential, so good timing to take shots from your lofty position in the standings.

Flames are a -2 differential and10th in scoring/Leafs are 27th.

Normally everyone is entitled to an opinion on another team and if the team has demonstrated success and makes comparisons that is fine, however when a Leaf fan starts taking shots at the team and trying to show their superiority I must take issue as they have no recent performance criteria to back it up.

Flames had 90 points last year and Leafs had 74. They are a grand total of 2 points ahead this year-enough sad.

.

If

F

A little defensive are you?

First let me say that you are taking my points and arguing against them assuming I meant them in a certain way.

The original intent of my post was to offer a rebuttal for the guy who said the Flames were just like the Leafs. I did not set out to say team X is better than team Y and here are the reasons. I was merely showing a few examples of how the Flames are NOT like the Leafs. I wasn't saying the leafs are better because they have ore cap space, or better because they are younger, just DIFFERENT.

So I'm not here to argue which team is 'superior' as you like to say. And the 'shots' I'm taking are kind of common knowledge. I'm not saying things that aren't pretty well known already- even by the media in Calgary that covers the Flames. So don't give me that, "you can't bash our team 'cause your team is no better" crap.

That being said, do I think the Leafs are in a better position for success this year and the next few? Absolutely I do. Do the differences I pointed out make the future look brighter for one team than the other? For sure. I'm just sayin...

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#57 dotfras
November 23 2010, 09:38PM
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@reluctantcitizen

I have the pleasure of living in Toronto and listening to all of the blue koolaid drinkers on a regular basis, I root for the leafs most of the time, but I can't say I'm a fanatic. Kessel & Phaneuf are NOT guys you want to build around.

When I refer to the leafs of last year I'm talking about post-Phaneuf. Since then the leafs have:

Swapped Stalberg for Versteeg. Added Armstrong, MaCarthur & Mike Brown. Picked up Brett Lebda. Swapped Poni for Caputi.

Please explain how this is totally different & anything more than a minor improvement on what they already had.

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#58 44stampede
November 23 2010, 09:46PM
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Amazing how out of all the fans that would certainly have enough stats and reasons to brag and claim superiority, we get a leafs fan. Comical actually. At least it's been entertaining. It actually is a microcosm of most leafs fan's beer goggles. Blind devotion to a really crappy team.

And backtracking claiming that you are simply saying the teams are "...just DIFFERENT." isn't fooling anyone.

Thanks for the kicks reluctant.

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#59 reluctantcitizen
November 23 2010, 10:19PM
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@dotfras

It's not just about player personnel that makes the team different, the team is just playing different. Mainly they are much more focused defensively. Sure they still give the puck away too much and yes their pk needs to be improved but overall they are playing better defensively. And I do believe bringing in Versteeg, Armstrong and Macarthur have made a difference. Not leaps and bounds different, but a better team? Yep, I think so.

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#60 reluctantcitizen
November 23 2010, 10:55PM
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@44stampede

If by 'backtracking' you mean going back to reiterate my original point, than yes, I guess I did backtrack.

I don't have beer goggles, or blind devotion... I know that the Leafs aren't that great of a team, I'm not out here saying they are going to make the playoffs for sure or anything like that. What I am saying is the Leafs and the Flames are in two totally different positions with two very different outlooks.

The Flames are an aging team, cash-strapped, few legitimate prospects, a tiring goaltender, a GM that I'm not sure even has a plan and are in difficult division and conference. To say that is in any way like the Leafs is strange at best.

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#61 John F
November 24 2010, 07:37AM
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reluctantcitizen wrote:

@44stampede

If by 'backtracking' you mean going back to reiterate my original point, than yes, I guess I did backtrack.

I don't have beer goggles, or blind devotion... I know that the Leafs aren't that great of a team, I'm not out here saying they are going to make the playoffs for sure or anything like that. What I am saying is the Leafs and the Flames are in two totally different positions with two very different outlooks.

The Flames are an aging team, cash-strapped, few legitimate prospects, a tiring goaltender, a GM that I'm not sure even has a plan and are in difficult division and conference. To say that is in any way like the Leafs is strange at best.

If you go back and look at pre season prognosticators for the last 3 years they have indicated they are a young team with young talent and going in the right direction. Maybe go on the NYI site and talk about why the Leafs are going in the right direction.

Oh and they have a lot of cap space so they should be in real good shape.

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#62 dotfras
November 24 2010, 08:46AM
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Dude, before you state that we have few legitimate prospects you should do some research.

Backlund is already playing well at the NHL level. Guys like Brodie, Nemisz, Wahl, Howse, Erixon, are all great prospects.

Remind me who the Leafs have as "legit prospects".

Bozak is pretty good, Kadri is a legit prospect, Brent & Hanson are brutal. But look on the bright side, at least you guys will have a top 5 pick thi.......oh wait, no you have Phil Kessel.

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#63 reluctantcitizen
November 24 2010, 11:24PM
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@dotfras

Well apparently we have differing opinions on the value of the Flames prospects. :) Which is fine. I'm just not seeing how any of those you named would classify as 'great' prospects. Mitch Wahl? TJ Brodie? Just not seeing it.

As far as the Leafs, I agree about Bozak and Kadri. But then I'm not sure what you were trying to say. Tim Brent hasn't even been a prospect, Burke signed him in the off-season. And he's far from awful, he's made a decent contribution to the team as a bottom 6 forward. Jury is still out on Hanson.

Other guys to mention- Caputi, D'amigo, aulie, marcel mueller, brad ross. None of these are grade-a prospects but still could be something.

What you have to factor in is a lot of the Leafs 'prospects' are already in the nhl. Schenn, Kadri, Bozak, Kulemin. And don't forget Phaneuf is only 25 and versteeg is only 24- still room to grow for those guys.

And as far as your crack about having a top 5 pick, sure we lost out on seguin and POSSIBLY a top 5 pick this year but we have Kessel who is a legit goal scorer and only 23 years old- the draft is always a crap shoot. Would you like to have any of these top 5 picks instead of Kessel: Benoit Pouliot, Blake Wheeler, nikolai zherddev, thomas vanek, andrew ladd, kyle turris? Those were all top 5 picks. Sure hindsight is 20-20 but my point is that you never know with the draft. Having a first round pick in back to back years would be nice but you just never know.

If you want an interesting read on NHL prospects, check out this website: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/

Take a look at the NHL Organization rankings and let me know what you find. I'll give you a clue: it's not the Leafs who are ranked 30th.

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