FGD: The gathering Mob

Kent Wilson
November 05 2010 02:20PM

EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 21: Jose Theodore  of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Edmonton Oilers on October 21, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

Both Steinberg and Lambert are out of comission today (drinking and freebasing heroine, respectively I assume), so this post will pair as the FGD and gamethread.

The Flames are in Minnesota tonight (6:00pm SNETW, FAN960) and will perform in front of a fanbase equally as rabid and weary of mediocrity as Flames fans. Wild fans are long suffering and the changes promised by sweeping out the prior regime have been rather minor and haven't delivered Minnesota from their fate of being perpetually middling. Robert details their current struggles below.

THE LINEUP

Steady Steve Staios draws back into the active roster because...well, I don't know. Everything about Staios' presence on this team is a mystery, right down to him being acquired in the first place, so I'll continue to not understand his pulling on a Flames uniform for as long as it continues.

Curtis Glencross is also out, reportedly with a minor injury and Stefan Meyer will draw back in to take his place. The lines in practice this morning settled into familiar patterns otherwise:

Tanguay-Stajan-Iginla

Hagman-Jokinen-Bourque

Morrison-Backlund-Moss

Meyer-Conroy-Jackman

I'm not certain of the d-pairings, but according to Inside the Flames, Staios may patrol the third pairing with Sarich:

Regehr-Bouwmeester

White-Giordano

Sarich-Staios

These are sensible groupings and the issue of match-ups isn't as pressing against Minnesota. They have one heavy hitter in Koivu and another sort of one in Havlat (who was killing things in CHI but has been various flavors of meh since signing with the Wild).

THE OPPONENT

According to Mike Russo, The Wild's units will look like this tonight:

Brunette-Koivu-Clutterbuck

Cullen-Brodziak-Havlat

Nystrom-Madden-Wellman

Kassian-Almond-Staubitz

Yeeeeeiiiikes. I have all kinds of time for Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak, as long as they are bottom-six role players and aren't being tasked to carry the offensive mail. And John Madden is a capable enough checking center, but asking him yo get anything done with Eric Nystrom (god love him) and Casey Wellman (who?) is a tall order. Their 4th unit probably wouldn't even be a top line in the AHL.

This line-up is obviously the result of some injuries (Kobasew, Bouchard, Latendresse and Mietinen are all hurt), but the make-up of the squad overall doesn't help things either.

On the back-end the Wild are a bit stronger, with Burns, Shultz, Zanon, Barker, Zidlicky making up the core. Burns in particular is a legit talent whenever he's actually healthy, so keep an eye on him.

THE STORY

The Flames have lost three in a row and blood pressures are really starting to rise in town despite the calender. Part of that is rabidness of the market, of course, but another large portion is the manner in which the organization fell on it's face last year and then went about re-establishing the status quo during the off-season (outside of some tinkering with the scouting department, hiring a psychologist *cough* and bringing in Feaster to deal with the press that is). Like the mediocre student who every summer swears he'll strive for high marks when the new school year roles around, aspirations for a step forward were high in town come October. However, after rolling to a .500 record through a relatively soft schedule, there's the encroaching but familiar doubt that this team is, again, a 'C' student.

A win tonight will probably just hold the doubts at bay. A loss and the faint sound of torches and pitch forks being readied will begin to gain volume.

OF NOTE

One of the few games I attended in person last year was one in December against the Wild. The Flames were still hanging around near the top of the division despite some shoddy underlying numbers and expectations of hammering an apparently discombulated Minny team were high.

What happened instead was thrashing in fact (if not in score). The Wild ran things in the Flames own building and outshot them more than 2-1 if I recall correctly. The final tally was 2-1 or 3-1 in favor of the visitors, but could have been a far sounder beating had pucks bounced in a different manner. I remember that game as one of the first true indications that all wasn't right with the club last year.

Here's hoping we can avoid that sort of outcome this evening.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Robert Cleave
November 05 2010, 02:50PM
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The Flames lost the game you attended in OT, and Kipper saved them from an outright disgrace. I spent the night tracking the scoring chances wondering, "uh, they do know that they can't score from their own end, don't they?"

Staios. Sigh. If they actually used him on the third pair, I still wouldn't like it, but at least that would be more rational than the Pavlovian nonsense that sees him automatically positioned him with Bouwmeester when he's dressed.

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#3
November 05 2010, 02:58PM
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"The Flames have lost three in a row and blood pressures are really starting to rise in town despite the calender"

I disagree with this statement.

I don't sense anger anymore.

I sense APATHY.

People are now turning their attention to other forms of entertainment.

Go onto Ticketmaster or any of a number of secondary market websites, there are plenty of Flames tickets available.

Flames ownership should be concerned.

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#5 everton fc
November 05 2010, 03:42PM
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I've got tickets for the Wild here on the 29th.

And I'll be in the stands, cheering for my team. (Note - Tickets were free. A gift from a client)

Anyone who didn't jump ship after the 96-97, or 97-98 saeason, when guys like Ed Ward and Todd Hlushko got decent minutes... Shouldn't be thinking the same, these days! You pull for your team always. Regardless.

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#9 JF
November 05 2010, 06:29PM
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Ok... is Glencross hurt or "hurt". I mean the guy took one bad penalty and has otherwise been our most consistently good forward but finds himself bumped down in the line-up (!) and now not playing (!!) and apparently perturbed at practice(!!!)... something smells funny to me.

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#10 coptin_
November 05 2010, 06:30PM
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OH NO we scored first,i guess thats 4 losses in a row

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#11 coptin_
November 05 2010, 06:33PM
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ya i didn't see glenx get hurt

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#16 dickshilling
November 05 2010, 06:59PM
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I have a man-crush on Jackman and Meyer. I could seriously watch those two guys play all night. Pure heart.

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#19 coptin_
November 05 2010, 07:21PM
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everyoe fall asleep watching this

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#24 Justin Azevedo
November 05 2010, 08:08PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Of course it has to be Havlat.

Surprised that they let him play...you think all the grease from his hair would interfere with the puck. Actually, that makes sense. The grease on the puck was the reason it snuck through Kipper.

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#25 SmellOfVictory
November 05 2010, 08:08PM
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Frig, Iginla can't buy a goal tonight.

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#27 Justin Azevedo
November 05 2010, 08:33PM
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urghhh!

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#28 coptin_
November 05 2010, 08:45PM
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weds the 24th we play nj i think that may be the only winnable game this monh

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#29 dustin642
November 05 2010, 08:46PM
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Seems to be a lot of talk about the Flames and the fans no longer wanting to watch this team. It is unfortunate that we are losing right now, to go along with all the other "misfortunes" that have come our way the last say 5+ seasons, but even if the Flames lose every single game for the rest of the season (though I will not be happy and will end up bitching a lot more), I will still proudly wear my Flames hat even though I live deep in the heart of Canuck land and watch all the games and go to as many as I can whenever I am in town (November 19 I will be in town and looking to buy tickets if anyone has any to sell ;) ).

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#30 dustin642
November 05 2010, 08:48PM
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Oh and on a side note, can we PLEASE give Staios the Souray treatment and send him to another teams AHL affiliate? That dude is so terrible I do not want him stinking up the Heat with his "intangibles"

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#31
November 06 2010, 10:54AM
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@Kent Wilson

I respectfully disagree.

Look at the seats in the Avison Young Club.

Most of those seats are owned by coporations and are written off so no one cares if they're not used.

As the season has progressed, more and more of those seats are empty during games.

This means that they can't give them away.

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#32 walkinvisible
November 06 2010, 01:14PM
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coptin_ wrote:

weds the 24th we play nj i think that may be the only winnable game this monh

i intend to attend that game. i intend to buy bleeders and sit seventh row. i intend to do so because their attendance is down 25%.

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