Postgame: Very Blue

Pat Steinberg
October 10 2011 03:09PM

For a second straight game, the Calgary Flames opened nicely but were unable to put together anything of note in the middle stages of the hockey game.  On Monday afternoon in St. Louis, the Flames opened the score before being done in by four goals against in the final 40 minutes, falling 5-2 to the Blues.  Calgary is not 0-2 on the season, starting off a three game road trip in an unimpressive fashion.

What Happened

Once again, I really liked Calgary's start, as they were very effective on the forecheck and had the Blues running around and coughing up pucks.  At the other end, the Flames did a strong job keeping their opponent to the outside and not allowing them to turn possession into scoring chances, so I liked their start.  Calgary also opened the scoring, and for a second straight contest, it was Curtis Glencross doing the job, firing his second past Jaroslav Halak at 8:03 of the opening frame.  The goal came on a nice rush up the ice, and while it wasn't the strongest goal against for Halak, it was the right decision for Glencross.  However, a nice rush the other way evened things late in the frame, with Alex Steen pouncing on a rebound in the blue paint for his first of the season and a 1-1 tie after 20.

The second period saw the Blues run things, and they took the lead for good early on, with Kevin Shattenkirk sniping one from inside the blueline at 3:39.  The St. Louis defenceman was all alone with far too much clean ice in front of him, as it looked like Glencross had skirted his man, allowing the Blues to take a one goal lead.  At 15:30, Alex Pietrangelo would tally his first, taking advantage of another uncovered point and a Chris Stewart screen in front for a 3-1 St. Louis lead.  On the powerplay, it was Calgary getting back within one, as a Mark Giordano point shot was stopped initially leading to a chance for Jarome Iginla; he's snap home his first, with the Flames trailing 3-2 after two frames.

The third period was very troubling, with Calgary trailing but delivering no punch whatsoever.  Unlike Saturday's opener, the Flames generated next to nothing of note in the third period, with just one scoring chance overall while allowing five the other way.  After a David Moss penalty negated a Flames powerplay, Niklas Hagman would chip too early allowing Stewart to break down the left wing; his backhand saucer shot would elude Calgary starting goalie Henrik Karlsson at 3:44 before Jason Arnott would seal the game at 14:22.  After Scott Hannan was stripped of the puck by Andy McDonald, there was no one covering Arnott and his uncontested shot from the high slot took us to our 5-2 final score.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames lost?  Because they were listless and ineffective in all areas at even strength.  Calgary generated next to nothing 5-on-5, never with more than two ES scoring chances in a period.  That's just not going to get it done.  When you couple some iffy, iffy stretches from their own blueline in and some suspect neutral zone gaps with nothing offensively you get a loss much more often than not.

Red Warrior

Big sigh.  This is a tough one.  I can't go Mark Giordano cause I did that last game, so I'll point to Alex Tanguay, who I didn't mind on the top line.  While that trio didn't do much of anything, I still felt Tanguay was dangerous offensively, and helped trigger Calgary's powerplay goal.  I thought Tanguay was the best member on his line for a second straight game.

Sum It Up

Not good enough.  20 minutes of decent hockey and 40 minutes of poor hockey is not a good equation, and it was exactly what we saw on Thanksgiving Monday.  This road trip continues with some a beat up Montreal team on Thursday and an improved Toronto team on Saturday, so inconsistent efforts like this will spell more losses for them, so the challenge is clear.  The Flames have a six game homestand starting next week, so don't put yourself too behind the eight ball heading into it.

1cd23297a0d13720ec2fc6d9740ce395
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 skiing
October 10 2011, 03:18PM
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Ugh...

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#2 happyfan78
October 10 2011, 03:37PM
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Another slow start? Hmmmm! The guys need to remember that the season starts on October 9, not December 23, like last year. Pick it up guys!

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#3 Kevin R
October 10 2011, 03:48PM
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Well this start certainly can get ugly, Toronto & Montreal will not be easy games. Despite the loss, I am really suprised and pleased the Tower played today. We really need to see where this kid is going forward & I think Feaster & Sutter are thinking the same thing. I felt a turd in my shorts when I saw Babchuk was sitting in favor for Smith. Is he injured or what's going on??? Makes signing him look a little stupid. Would like to see more flow & transition to their game & there is no excuse as they are a team with the fewest changes in the NHL.

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#4 Justin Azevedo
October 10 2011, 03:53PM
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hey remember when regehr got traded and there were people telling me it wasn't a big deal?

what does 72-37 say to you exactly?

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#5 Justin Azevedo
October 10 2011, 03:53PM
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@Kevin R

except babchuk sucks

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#6 Robert Cleave
October 10 2011, 04:15PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

hey remember when regehr got traded and there were people telling me it wasn't a big deal?

what does 72-37 say to you exactly?

If Robyn Regher's presence is really worth a 15-20 shot differential per game, he should be getting paid the cap maximum.

Sheesh, people, they've played two crap games. They'll play more crap ones, too. But they aren't as bad as they look, because no team is as bad as they've looked this weekend.

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#7 SmellOfVictory
October 10 2011, 04:18PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

hey remember when regehr got traded and there were people telling me it wasn't a big deal?

what does 72-37 say to you exactly?

It says that Cory Sarich and Anton Babchuk have been terrible together. I don't think we'd see any appreciable difference right now if Butler and Regehr were swapped for each other. And that Karlsson loves to give up giant rebounds all the time.

It also tells us that the team is currently terrible at generating offence (average of below 20 shots/game? really?). You KNOW Regehr wouldn't have affected that in any fashion.

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#8 Justin Azevedo
October 10 2011, 04:28PM
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@Robert Cleave

I know it's not that big of a difference, but that money is just sitting on the cap right now. more and more I'm convinced the owners just don't want to pay for the best team possible.

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#9 Justin Azevedo
October 10 2011, 04:30PM
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@SmellOfVictory

this is true, but Butler (who somehow played more then Gio) was a -5 in ES chances today. he's in way over his head.

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#10 Robert Cleave
October 10 2011, 04:42PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

I know it's not that big of a difference, but that money is just sitting on the cap right now. more and more I'm convinced the owners just don't want to pay for the best team possible.

I can buy that to a degree, Justin. I'd suspect that this group has 20-30 games at the outside before Feaster gets the nod from Murray Edwards to start the sell off.

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#11 Smokey
October 10 2011, 05:25PM
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Why did the flames trade Rheger....

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#12 Kent Wilson
October 10 2011, 05:27PM
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Yeah, no team in the NHL is actually this bad. The Flames will start closing the gap at some point. Sooner rather than later would be better though. This is a club that doesn't have a month or two to get up to speed.

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#13 negrilcowboy
October 10 2011, 05:38PM
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great signings and trades. minus 5 yikes. badchuck sitting already more yikes. limited offensive upside double yikes.

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#14 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
October 10 2011, 05:54PM
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Gentleman, Robyn Regher would not have been a game-breaker for this team. I mean, if that was the case why did we miss the playoffs the last two years???!! Give the defense some time to gel, and look to improve the corps throughout the season or the off-season. We've got some nice pieces, but need a physical top-4 dman with more mobility than Regher.

IMO, two glaring weaknesses are evident from the first two games. The first and most obvious is that while our wingers are capable, we are probably the team with the weakest group of centers in the league. Moss has no vision; Jokinen is a shooting center; Horak is a rookie right now best suited to the fourth line; and Stajan is, well, Stajan.

We need a playmaking, possession-driving centerman. This is priority number one and the reason Feaster created cap-space by shipping out Reggie and Langkow. The return of Baclund and Morrisson will alleviate things a bit, but I think the situation will resolve itself only later in the season via trade, through the draft (Galchenyuk, where are you?), or via free agency (nobody fits that bill in this year's crop, however).

Secondly, get rid of Butter. Absolutely infuriating coaching decisions are killing this team. Butler on the top pairing with Bouwmeester going against the oppsing team's top threats? Is he insane? Hannan and Gio are far better options. And what the hell is Karlsson doing in net in the second game of the season? It is too much of a gamble this early in the season! The kid made some decent saves, but his rebound control was abysmal. He still needs some seasoning, although there is good potential there.

And for the life of me I still don;t understand why Horak is centering the third line, and is out on the first power play unit in the first!!!! The kid is defensively responsible -I get it- but right now he is not creating much offense for his wingers. I mean, this is a coach that demoted Backlund to the fourth line for a whole year, but thinks Horak is the second coming of a young Langkow (on this note, mark my words, Reinhart will be the second coming of Langkow in the next couple of years). I could also rant about his decisions regarding match-ups and line changes, but what's the point?

Dutter may have gone bonkers at the end there as a GM, but he was and is still a much better coach than Butter.

I think somebody should get a petition going to bring back Dutter as a coach!!! (lol, I'm just kidding; or am I?)

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#15 jeremywilhelm
October 10 2011, 06:06PM
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This team is so devoid of pure talent, it continues to show every year. They just cannot compete. No team can ever hope to be a real playoff threat when their single ability to win a game is to compete harder. Some skill IS required.

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#16 Kent Wilson
October 10 2011, 06:07PM
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@If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin

If Brent bites the dust, I hereby demand no more Sutters grace this organization.

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#17 RKD
October 10 2011, 06:08PM
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Yes, I know it has been only two games but this is definitely not the start the Flames want.

They are badly outplayed in the second period and so far have been outshot like 72-37 in two games.

Defense so far is this team's achilles heel. They will feel the loss of Regeher and Langkow.

Feaster is gambling on guys like Smith and Butler. Even the Hannan signing might not be enough.

Was surprised to see Karlsson get the start so fast. Kipper has always started game two of the season but they committed to playing him less this season.

On a brighter note, congrats to Iggy on passing Lanny McDonald.

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#18 jeremywilhelm
October 10 2011, 06:12PM
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Ps. Watching the Coyotes game today and Langkow looks fantastic.

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#19 craigero
October 10 2011, 06:28PM
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Looks like its going to be a long year... time to trade Iggy and get some young talent.

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#20 Wanyes bastard child
October 10 2011, 06:46PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yeah, no team in the NHL is actually this bad. The Flames will start closing the gap at some point. Sooner rather than later would be better though. This is a club that doesn't have a month or two to get up to speed.

There's an Oilers joke in there somewhere, good on you for not using it :)

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#21 jr_christ
October 10 2011, 07:57PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

If Robyn Regher's presence is really worth a 15-20 shot differential per game, he should be getting paid the cap maximum.

Sheesh, people, they've played two crap games. They'll play more crap ones, too. But they aren't as bad as they look, because no team is as bad as they've looked this weekend.

...probably a bad time to remind you this is how they've played for 2 years now?

just sayin'...

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#22 jr_christ
October 10 2011, 08:00PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

There's an Oilers joke in there somewhere, good on you for not using it :)

haha, well the oilers are likely that bad. However, there is no question mark regarding how awesome the fire power will be on the oilers. The defense is easily worst in NHL by a mile though.

The flames have average offense and I'm not sure how the defense would rank anymore. I thought Regier was a HUGE monster for this team. Not only from a leadership stand point, but also from a shut-down stand point. I really think regier was more important to this team than Bullwinkle.

First 5 games mean nothing. Van went 1-3-1 last year in first 5 and they did ok last season ;)

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#23 ChinookArch
October 10 2011, 08:26PM
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Time to re- unite the OMG line. Iggy and Tanguay are good enough to play with any of the other options for center, including Stagan. Moss is getting killed as top center, and he is plain and simple effective as a winger with Jokinen and Glencross.

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#24 xis10ce
October 10 2011, 08:33PM
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@ ChinookArch

I agree, Moss is barely treading water on that line. Any idea how far off is Morrison?

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#25 SmellOfVictory
October 10 2011, 08:41PM
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xis10ce wrote:

@ ChinookArch

I agree, Moss is barely treading water on that line. Any idea how far off is Morrison?

Not far enough.

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#26 everton fc
October 10 2011, 08:49PM
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Random thoughts...

Nobody wanted Hannan, And he was our #2 d-man this evening.

Butler would be a good 5-6 d-man. But he and Hannan in the top 4 is more like an expansion team, especially when you toss in Smith as the #6 man this evening.

We will give up a lot of goals...

And, if Langkow resurrects his career in Phoenix... That trade could haunt Feaster. Especially if he scores 50-60 points.

Sure, it's only 2 games... But it doesn't look good, does it?

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#27 MKULLAR
October 10 2011, 08:59PM
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Pat where do I start this game was frustrating I think we need to ship stajan and bourque while they still sum what have a name if you can say that but im not giving up its only 2 games when flames get hot there a great team and when they play with fire and heart. Lets see what team shows up on thursday. What made me laugh was when some one called said there sister has a crush on you lol women are falling for the big man "PAT"i think it was "Mandeep" that was funny stuff man lol love callers that make the mood better on overtime after a brutal game like that.

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#28 Section205
October 10 2011, 09:17PM
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Surprised that Karlsson got the Game 2 start, against one of our West rivals that will be in the playoff chase. In that situation , we should ice the best possible team, which would include Babchuk and Kiprusoff.

That said, since the rest of the team played so poorly, it is fortunate that Kipper didn't have to be the one hung to dry.

I think maybe Gio-Sarich and Hannan-Babchuk would create better balance on D.

Two games where we stake out 1-0 leads, and both times we passively allow the other team back in the game with odd man rush opportunities.

So far the defensive breakdowns are much more about the forwards' poor play than defencemen. It's not the goaltending either. They are all at the mercy of opposing shooters on the rush, due to:

1) Too many odd man rushes off of our turnovers in the offensive zone. (offhand: Moss PK in Game 1, Hagman and Jokinen each in Game 2).

2) Way, way too much open space at the points and wide open trailers. That is the forwards' job and they are blowing it.

The forwards needed a reality check. Teams like Pit and StL are solid, and there isn't going to be alot of pretty passing plays available. Instead of forcing things and creating odd man rushes the other way, they have to take the available shots and fight for rebounds. Or get the puck deep and pressure the defense. More simple, smart hockey and less of the low percentage, high risk/reward decison making.

The wingers, in particular, need to play sharper defensively by picking up open skaters rather than overpursuit of puck carrier. The video highlights speak for themselves.

I would like to see Moss, Jackman, TK play together, at least for a few shifts, because their straightforward play (last December) really gave us something to build on.

If Moss switched lines, I think Stajan (or possibly Horak) should center Iggy and Tangs for a few games. Brent seems pretty stubborn sometimes, so he'll probably stick with Moss until Morrison is healthy.

Either way, it is a simple lesson and hopefully they play smarter in Montreal and T.O.

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#29 Rain Dogs
October 10 2011, 09:41PM
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Yes, it's two games in... no need to panic too much.

It's Karlsson's first game this season, so people should give him a break, although admittedly, he was the worst I've seen him in many games. What happened to the preseason game where he was staying on his feet?

But, again, the big problem is the same problem:

We're lacking on defence and the forwards aren't helping the defence by coming back and supporting the puck.

How many odd man rushes against can we continue to allow without re-addressing our strategy?

This is either: A. players not playing their position (the system) and Sutter has to drill it home.... or B. a broken system.

It's true it's two games, but these mistakes are 100+ games old.

We've got to fix this lack of puck pursuit/team speed and now.

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#30 jeremywilhelm
October 10 2011, 11:18PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Not far enough.

So true. People thinking that Morrison is gonna fix the top line center problem need a swift and vicious reality check.

In the end, Sutters inability or unwillingness to match lines and get Tanguay and Iginla put against weaker competition is gonna seriously hamper this team. Yes, with a real first line center those two may, and I really stress MAY, be able to face a tough shutdown pairing or top line opposition, but with backlund/morrison/moss/Stajan,centering them? Good luck. Might as well just given the other team a free goal.

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#32 VK63
October 11 2011, 12:39AM
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~relax.... they had a meeting~

*closed door too*

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#33 FireOnIce
October 11 2011, 02:01AM
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I had to help a friend move today and was bummed I didn't see the game, but after seeing the result, I am glad I didn't get a chance.

It sounds like Butter is using the same old tactics from the beginning of last season. He needs to pull his head from his ass and take a lesson from Vancouver (as hard as that may be) - put your top line in situations they can succeed in! When you have home ice advantage, put your best players against the weak lines. Start them in the offensive zone, let them score goals.

We have the OMG line et all to start in our zone. Then when you get up ice, put Iginla on, put Tanguay on. They score goals, and the rest can stop the Sedins and Datsyuks of the league.

Also, for the love of god, do not pair Sarich and Babchuk, or Babchuk and Smith. These guys are not ready to be on their own, out there to score goals.

USE STATISTICS! They are your friend, not your enemy. Know when someone succeeds in certain situations, know when someone does not. Do not wait until you're in the basement to start trying things - do them now, or we will not make the playoffs again.

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#34 FireOnIce
October 11 2011, 02:06AM
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I am also highly disappointed to see blogs like Puck Daddy put Karlsson in the "Dishonorable Mentions" list. Only stopped 30 of 35 shots? Seriously, that means the man let in 1 of every 7 shots - not too shabby. We need a backup who can keep the puck out of the net, and he won't do that if not given a chance.

Playing Karlsson is not a sign of weakness, it is a vote of confidence, something the Flames have not enjoyed in a good many years. The defense needs to step up, and the offense needs to score goals. I don't care if Regehr is gone - be a man, adjust your jock strap, and stop the puck. Many teams have done more with less.

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#35 the-wolf
October 11 2011, 06:03AM
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As far as Horak goes - yeah the kid seems capable dfesnively, but that's really not what this organization needs from him. They need an offensive player and he's not there yet. I side with Warrener on the Fan on this one;I don't see what the buzz is over this kid when he didn't even have a point in the pre-season. Yes, there's potential, but he needs to develop his offensive game in the minors.

Right now, he's there for spin. Feaste saying,"look this move I made paid off." Pure PR. It's obvious they wanted one of the young guys (Feaster's, of course)to make it to try and show some organizational progression.

It is only 2 games, but anyone who thought Butler could replace Regehr is deluded.

The team has talent offensively. The problem remains the same as past years. Lack of effort and poor leadership.

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#36 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 07:28AM
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Karlsson wasn't bad..he wasn't great, but he would have needed to steal this game. Can't hang this on him. The defense wasn't good, but they spent almost the whole game in their own zone. The biggest problem I had with this game was the complete lack of intensity in any zone. As Pat mentioned, the only forward who showed any go was Tanguay (he really fought the puck though). Glenx started the game alright, but Bork looked like he was out for public skate. Someone on that team has to WANT to win (aside from Gio)..Iginla needs to find his timing, he'll get better. ANYWAY, I wouldnt press the panic button. This will be a rerun of last season, where the Flames beat up on weak competition and only very rarely beat equal or superior comp. We all expected this.

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#37 Jarom
October 11 2011, 07:39AM
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I know it's only two games, but this isn't good. If the players we have aren't going to produce then changes need to be made. There cannot be a long leash this season.

If this continues I say it's time to start moving more players out. Who for what? I really don't know.

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#38 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 07:42AM
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FireOnIce wrote:

I am also highly disappointed to see blogs like Puck Daddy put Karlsson in the "Dishonorable Mentions" list. Only stopped 30 of 35 shots? Seriously, that means the man let in 1 of every 7 shots - not too shabby. We need a backup who can keep the puck out of the net, and he won't do that if not given a chance.

Playing Karlsson is not a sign of weakness, it is a vote of confidence, something the Flames have not enjoyed in a good many years. The defense needs to step up, and the offense needs to score goals. I don't care if Regehr is gone - be a man, adjust your jock strap, and stop the puck. Many teams have done more with less.

I totally agree with you here! Year after year the sentiment is that Kipper needs more rest. Right now the sentiment is Karlsson needs more experience. I'll tell ya - if we were 30 games in, and the Flames were 3 games out of a playoff spot, do you think Karlsson would be getting any ice? I have ZERO problem with Butter playing him right now.

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#39 Big Cap
October 11 2011, 09:19AM
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Where is Feaster hiding? He made some BIG comments from the saftey of the Off-Season, telling everyone how strong the Flames would be. Assure us NOW after 2 games things will get better?!?!?!?!

But it is very clear this team is to old and to slow to compete night in night out.

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#40 jeremywilhelm
October 11 2011, 09:52AM
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The only problem that I have with Sutter playing Karlsson is, he is a terrible goalie. He was mediocre in Sweden and will show to be less than mediocre in the NHL.

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#41 ALL THE WAY IN
October 11 2011, 10:58AM
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MKULLAR wrote:

Pat where do I start this game was frustrating I think we need to ship stajan and bourque while they still sum what have a name if you can say that but im not giving up its only 2 games when flames get hot there a great team and when they play with fire and heart. Lets see what team shows up on thursday. What made me laugh was when some one called said there sister has a crush on you lol women are falling for the big man "PAT"i think it was "Mandeep" that was funny stuff man lol love callers that make the mood better on overtime after a brutal game like that.

Hahaha that was funny stuff and then Pat made it a whole lot better when he started giggling like a little school girl afterward.

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#42 Kevin R
October 11 2011, 11:02AM
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the-wolf wrote:

As far as Horak goes - yeah the kid seems capable dfesnively, but that's really not what this organization needs from him. They need an offensive player and he's not there yet. I side with Warrener on the Fan on this one;I don't see what the buzz is over this kid when he didn't even have a point in the pre-season. Yes, there's potential, but he needs to develop his offensive game in the minors.

Right now, he's there for spin. Feaste saying,"look this move I made paid off." Pure PR. It's obvious they wanted one of the young guys (Feaster's, of course)to make it to try and show some organizational progression.

It is only 2 games, but anyone who thought Butler could replace Regehr is deluded.

The team has talent offensively. The problem remains the same as past years. Lack of effort and poor leadership.

Agree, I'm suprised Horak was the token kid they kept. I like that he's here but I do mean token kid. With the type of contracts this team have, tone prospect was all we really have the luxury to bring in. This roster does not exactly ooze youth movement & getting faster. It is what it is & there aint a dang thing Feaster can do about it until the trade deadline & next year. I would have thought Byron brinds a little more of what our forward group needs. I support the Karlsson start. Everyone whines Kipper is too burnt out, Kipper plays way too many games, Kipper isnt the goalie he was. Jeremy doesnt think the Tower is any good. Maybe he's right, maybe not, but Karlsson had the best year of any backup last year we've had in years, time to find out if Jeremy is right or not & thats by playing him in at least 20 games. I didnt for one minute think Butler would replace Regehr. I did think Hannan was a great way cheaper option. I think JBO, Gio & Hannan should be in our top 4 & Sarich & Butler 5-6. Signing Babchuk was a head shaker to me & I know he has a great shot on that power play, much good it was from the press box. We need a top 4 dman to get us thru the year on a short term basis. Mccabe on a 1 year deal comes to mind.

If you hear grinding noises, it's me gritting my teeth & trying to bear it out until 2012. Just hope the Mayans were wrong about that 2012 stuff:)

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#43 RexLibris
October 11 2011, 11:22AM
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I remember after last year's opener against the Oilers there were a lot of Flames fans saying their team was too old and slow to compete anymore. Then there was talk about embracing a rebuild around December. By March all the talk was about how awesome the team was playing and that they were a good playoff team that could threaten to go deep. All those same sentiments seemed to cycle through all over again during the off-season.

Now I'm reading again that the team is too old and slow to compete. I'll hold my opinions about the roster and the likely outcomes for another time, but pushing the panic button and piling on these guys after two games seems a little reactionary.

Yeah, it sounds like they haven't exactly put in a good effort in either of those games (although what I saw of the Pittsburgh game seemed like they were pushing the pace or at least keeping up) but give them some time.

My guess is that this team is going to be a little more streaky this year and it might take a little getting used to. I wouldn't be putting that much stock in Regehr's loss being the difference.

From where I sit, you got outscored by one of the top teams in the league (Pit) and outplayed by a team that is fully 2 years younger on average and has been predicted for three years now to have a breakout season. Most predictions have your team between 8th and 12th in the West and you lost to teams that are ranked well above that, who knows, you may make them up somewhere else down the line.

Wait and see how you play against Tor and Mtl, if the Flames go 0-5 to start then you can panic a little.

Or hire Wally Buono.

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#44 Graham
October 11 2011, 11:54AM
Trash it!
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Certainly not time to panic, but once again I have to question this teams 'compete' level. We have basically the same team that finished last season, less two of guys that really did compete day in and day out (Langkow and Regehr). Another shaky start for a team that really needed to come out of the gates strong.

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