Postgame: Not Close

Nation World HQ
December 18 2011 08:08PM

It'll be another year without a win in Chicago, as Calgary's United Center woes stretch to four seasons thanks to a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Blackhawks on Sunday night.  It serves as a fourth straight loss for the Flames in a game that was never really close.  Chicago controlled things from the very start, and even with a couple third period goals, a fifth straight Blackhawks win was never in doubt.

What Happened

It was exactly the type of start the home side wanted, as Chicago controlled the play right from the very get go, save a giveaway that lead to a Lee Stempniak chance early.  Ray Emery was good on the save and the Hawks would open the scoring at 9:23 of the first period, as the Flames got a little mixed up in their own end.  Jamal Mayers would eventually find a wide open Steve Montador at the right point who would hammer home his fifth of the season.  Scoring chances finished 6-2 Chicago after one period.  Also notable in the first, Rene Bourque delivered a check from behind to Brent Seabrook, drawing a five minute major and a game misconduct.  Seabrook didn't return.

The second period saw Chicago play with the puck for a good amount of the time, and they'd score a couple goals in the middle frame as well.  Just over five minutes in, Niklas Hjalmarsson scored another Hawks goal off the point, getting his first of the season as it just squirted through Mikka Kiprusoff at 5:15.  On a Chris Butler tripping call later in the second, Patrick Kane would score a powerplay marker from the slot at 14:55 good for his ninth and a 3-0 Chicago lead after 40.

The third was a formality for the Blackhawks, and they played as such, sitting back and not letting much behind them.  They'd take a few penalties and those would burn them for a few goals, with Olli Jokinen scoring again at 2:35 on the powerplay.  His 11th came on a Bryan Bickell instigator call after he dropped the gloves with Cory Sarich following a heavy hit early in the period.  But T.J. Brodie's highsticking call coupled with Jarome Iginla's unsportsmanlike penalty, the Blackhawks had an extended two man advantage and cashed in around the midway mark.  Marian Hossa's powerplay slap shot from the right point restored the three goal lead at 11:17 before Curtis Glencross scored a powerplay goal at 16:25 getting us to our final score.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames lost?  Because they barely had the puck for the balance of this game.  The first 40 minutes wasn't even a contest, as Chicago seemed to be toying with Calgary, controlling the puck and controlling the play and allowing just five scoring chances period.  The Hawks are a very strong hockey team, but as we said in FGD, the Flames couldn't help em along, and some listless hockey did just that.  Their third period means very little to me.

Red Warrior

Gotta hand it to Cory Sarich, who took it upon himself to make sure Calgary was exerting himself physically.  He had a second strong night and in his two games since returning to the lineup, Sarich hasn't done anything to play himself out of the lineup.  That said, the team seems to be going with a rotation in that spot, so we'll see how that goes.  For this night, I thought Sarich was pretty decent.

Sum It Up

I don't know how many would be surprised to see the Flames lose to Chicago, because that's what they do at the United Center.  It was also a fourth game in six nights for the Flames, so I'm sure there was some fatigue built in as well.  Neither can be excuses though, as Calgary needed to be engaged and playing their game to have a shot in this one.  The score was close, but this was all Blackhawks from start to finish.  The opponents don't get any easier from here on out, with Minnesota, Detroit, and Vancouver serving as the next three tests.

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#1 Nolan Moore
December 18 2011, 08:38PM
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Maybe i should listen to the radio more often. I've listened a bit of the last few games and the flames have scored 6 and never been scored against.

I started listening in the 3rd today.

Remember this is the 4th straight loss not only 2nd regulation loss in x games.

How many times did Robert say Paddy today?

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#2 John Deere Green
December 18 2011, 08:39PM
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Good game by the Flames. Should make the boat load of decisions that much easier come trade deadine day. Here's hoping Feaster and Wisebrod get their collective heads out of the sand and realize what this team really is- a lower end middle of the pack club. Anyone over the age of 29-30 years old should be available for trade. If you can't get anything of value, wait till the summer and firesale all veterans out for picks and prospects. This draft is supposed to be a good one, so a quantity of draft picks would be grand!

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#3 Franko J
December 18 2011, 08:49PM
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So is the final loss before changes are made? Or are the Flames going to wait until after the holidays?

Who will go first --- Sutter or some player moves?

With the recent four game slide this team is finally exposed for what it is and now will ownership and management finally take into account that this season is a wash and it is time to move forward.

Too bad for the Calgary Flames that the Ducks, Islanders, Hurricanes and the Blue Jackets are playing just as poor as they are in order for them to be in a lottery pick position. Right now they the Flames are in limbo or better yet hockey purgatory.

What is next for this team?

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#4 schevvy
December 18 2011, 08:59PM
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I thought Sutter took the unsportsmanlike penalty? Did Iginla just serve it then?

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#5 chris
December 18 2011, 10:00PM
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I'm done... this team is brutal. The longer we cling to false hope the longer we trudge in purgatory.

Oh well, at least we have JBo and Bourque locked up for the next 27 years.

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#6 Nolan Moore
December 18 2011, 10:17PM
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Just going through the draft for last number of years. Looks as though the Flames have never had a top 5 choice (3 #6 choices, 2 of them we can forget about). What i saw was since 1995 usually the top 5 guys have been game changers and turned in to great picks (there are exceptions). Conversely after the 5th pick the game changer quantity drops off (2003 the exception). If the Flames want to work the odds a top 5 pick is needed.

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#7 Bob in the Abbey
December 18 2011, 11:09PM
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Nolan Moore wrote:

Just going through the draft for last number of years. Looks as though the Flames have never had a top 5 choice (3 #6 choices, 2 of them we can forget about). What i saw was since 1995 usually the top 5 guys have been game changers and turned in to great picks (there are exceptions). Conversely after the 5th pick the game changer quantity drops off (2003 the exception). If the Flames want to work the odds a top 5 pick is needed.

But to get that top 5 pick we'd have to be worsr than Columbus, NYI, Carolina, Colorado and possibly even Edmonton (as examples). And then we'd be choked that are high 2nd round pick is with Buffalo. I'm still upset about having to give that up just to get rid of Kotalik. I'll be watching the World Junior's, not just for Baertschi, but to see if Brandon Gormley proves to be a leader and game changer for Canada. He should have been ours, he COULD have been ours.

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#8 RKD
December 18 2011, 11:18PM
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How many times do we have to listen to Brent Sutter say "We weren't ready/prepared," "We played poorly for a long stretch of time or period." Why aren't they prepared? Why aren't they playing the type of game they need to play? You lose three straight on the road and then in the fourth game you come out with your worst effort. C'mon gimme a break. They give up 121 shots in the first three games, very poor defensively. Feaster said the team needs to go .500 on the road, you only get 2 points out 8. What will happen when they start a the long 7 game road trip at the end of the month? What, get like 4-6 points out 14, simply not good enough.

A player in Washington said even though the coach has a system if half the players are not bought in then your team won't succeed. Might not be the right decision but maybe a lot players have tuned Brent out. Brent is one meltdown away from a Jim Playfair ala Hulk Hogan shirt rip rage!

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#9 kevin r
December 18 2011, 11:52PM
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@RKD

Haha, maybe thats what Brent is going to have to do & then Feaster can mimick him up in the press box. We may not win the game but we'll get lots of you tube hits:) Next 3 games are going to be just nasty, if we win 1 I would say thats optimistic. This month has potential of being disaster, possibly 4-5 under .500. We would probably need to win 3 of 4 there after. Anyone see any miracle runs coming up here in 2012? Wonder why I'm not upset about these losses?

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#10 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
December 18 2011, 11:54PM
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For all those who have jumped off the wagon, your wishes of a top-5 pick may just become reality. The schedule until January 6th will most likely sink this team deeper in the standings, while the quality of teams we collectively play in Jan-Feb is much better than those to date. Indeed we only play two games a piece with teams currently below us in the standings: Anaheim and Edmonton in those months. And even those will be tough as Edmonton is due against us, while Anaheim has historically been a tough match-up the last couple of years. This span is followed by a brutal March in which we play 17 games in 31 days!!! Nine of those are at home. March, in fact, may prove to be a harrowing month for Flames fans as most of the veterans will prolly be shipped out by then, and our rookies will be fed to the wolves during an exhausting series of games.

Yep, that lottery pick seems likelier and likelier. Too bad Feaster traded away our second, as it would have pretty much been equivalent to a late-first.

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#11 Tina - @Vistadeck
December 19 2011, 02:26AM
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chris wrote:

I'm done... this team is brutal. The longer we cling to false hope the longer we trudge in purgatory.

Oh well, at least we have JBo and Bourque locked up for the next 27 years.

Oh my here's a virtual kick in the pants for ya LOL - enjoy watching the development of this team change are and are bound to happen. We've had some real bright points recently with some of the folks like Irving, Stempniak, Horak, and will be so interesting to see if we keep them around.

I think when things aren't going as well as we hope, watching the process of team building will be absolutely fascinating and I don't want to miss it. Jumping off the wagon never impresses me. I'm old enough to have been to more than a handful of Stanley Cup parades in my time in various cities I've lived in, but if that's the only motivation one has for enjoying hockey there will always be more let down and disappointment than enjoyment for you in the game.

Still too much left in this season to do stick the proverbial fork into it, and to do so is showing either a lack of understanding of where the team is at in the long run this season or just personal inability to support a team that may not be as victorious as you require.

I always enjoy watching the Blackhawks play, its especially enjoyable when the Flames can get control of the situation which, alas they did not tonight.

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#12 Tina - @Vistadeck
December 19 2011, 02:38AM
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kevin r wrote:

Haha, maybe thats what Brent is going to have to do & then Feaster can mimick him up in the press box. We may not win the game but we'll get lots of you tube hits:) Next 3 games are going to be just nasty, if we win 1 I would say thats optimistic. This month has potential of being disaster, possibly 4-5 under .500. We would probably need to win 3 of 4 there after. Anyone see any miracle runs coming up here in 2012? Wonder why I'm not upset about these losses?

Hi @RKD we did get some points out of a pair of the losses, so that cushioned the trip a bit I think - here's a theory about last night ----

Some Flames might have been under "sticker shock" LOLOL - Chicago is probably the best place on their road trip to do their holiday shopping - and I hope they did pick up some goodies for their wives there ---Nieman, Saks, ooooooh I've shopped the Magnificent Mile and Oh my ! Hope they brought mama Hockey Players back some sweet goodies from Tiffany & Co., Hermes, Louis Vuitton (I know one of the Flames wife Likes Louis Vuitton she had on a lovely scarf of theirs during the Cook Book event at the Flames Game last week - one of my weaknesses too LOLOL)

I bet some of them squeaked in some shopping and maybe shopped till they dropped LOL and dropped when they shopped after seeing the price tags LOLOL - - Haha

I think we can beat the Red Wings -- and the Wild should be a good game (mind you I said same thing about the Blackhawks game .. doh!)

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#13 the-wolf
December 19 2011, 10:25AM
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Tina - @Vistadeck wrote:

Oh my here's a virtual kick in the pants for ya LOL - enjoy watching the development of this team change are and are bound to happen. We've had some real bright points recently with some of the folks like Irving, Stempniak, Horak, and will be so interesting to see if we keep them around.

I think when things aren't going as well as we hope, watching the process of team building will be absolutely fascinating and I don't want to miss it. Jumping off the wagon never impresses me. I'm old enough to have been to more than a handful of Stanley Cup parades in my time in various cities I've lived in, but if that's the only motivation one has for enjoying hockey there will always be more let down and disappointment than enjoyment for you in the game.

Still too much left in this season to do stick the proverbial fork into it, and to do so is showing either a lack of understanding of where the team is at in the long run this season or just personal inability to support a team that may not be as victorious as you require.

I always enjoy watching the Blackhawks play, its especially enjoyable when the Flames can get control of the situation which, alas they did not tonight.

Great, another person who thinks anyone who doesn't think the way they do is an idiot. Or in this case, showing "a lack of understanding."

If you want to play the eternal optimist fine, that's you right, but don't try and bully me through name calling that I'm somehow not smart enough to understand this team.

And "where the team is at.."? The standings tell me where they're at quite nicely, thank you. We have 14 wins in 33 games. More than enough to figure where they'll finish. Which is out of the playoffs. For the 3rd straight year.

Fans have every right to expect that their team is doing all it can to be a contender as opposed to just trying to fill seats by being 'comeptitive.' Clearly, the latter is the case in Calgary.

If you want to support a club that has been past the 1st round once since '89 then go ahead, fine, but I've been "off the bandwagon" since 2006, not last night.

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#14 Kevin R
December 19 2011, 10:45AM
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@Tina - @Vistadeck

Hey Tina! Loved your response to Chris. It's about watching great hockey & achieving victory against the most formidable opponents that makes it great. Sometimes the path can get a little frustrating, which like Chris, many fans are just about at that point. The hope of change bringing victory is natural but usually not with instantaneous results. I, like you, are kind of excited about the changing of guard we are about to see with the Calgary Flames. I like to read other teams blogs & comments by their fanbase & there are so many teams that are in just PANIK mode like we are here in Calgary. Teams with way higher expectations than the majority of Flame fans knew & expected this year. I knew the season of change wont officially commence until 2012, & what is happening is exactly what I figured, parity in the league is making for incredibly tight playoff races & I smell PANIK in the air. With PANIK comes bold moves & overpayments. If we can be one of a handful of sellers, well I just get downright giddy with excitement about the rebuild we are about to embark on. Timing couldnt be better either with the CBA coming up this summer, great time to unload some contracts. So putting a fork in this thing is a moot point. I put my fork in it in 2010 after the Phaneuf trade & did my mourning then. Like you, I am excited about watching the rebirth of exciting hockey. Unfortunately, Ive only been to one Stanley Cup parade, perhaps we can see another in Calgary sometime in the future.

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#15 JohnnyK
December 19 2011, 11:17AM
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The most successful teams in any league are filled with players that want to win. Players that bring their "A" game each and every time. The Flames look uninterested most times. Their level of compete is low and they get outplayed both physically and by skill most nights.

Occasionally, the Flames will catch a team off guard or unprepared and will walk away with a win, which gives all the homers optimism and belief the team is good. Thus the team remains in this "purgatory" state so many people refer to.

There is very little to feel good about in regards to the Flames. Even one of young stars in Backlund looks to be out of his skill level lately. He brings zero value to the team. If anything, he is liability on the ice.

The worst thing that could happen to this team, is to keep them together. Soon, lack of interest and attendence in the stands will be a loud message to owners that Flames fans are not willing to support a losing team.

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#16 BrianSheva
December 19 2011, 12:02PM
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Didn't catch the game last night but the outcome was not in doubt in my mind - two teams going in opposite directions as the season starts to shake out the contenders from the pretenders.

I don't imagine anyone here expected the Flames to make a serious push into the post-season however this strategy of re-building without bottoming out the team ala Edmonton is a rather intriguing one. It has been pointed out that there is a youth movement starting to take place with the Flames and i'm happy with that.

I"ll be curious to see how the Flames WILL restructure both management and the active roster. A cap team with poor results is reflective not only of the team / coach but of the wizards who work behind the scenes. You can move Kipper/Iginla/ Bourque but that needs to be coupled with a re-tooling of the management / scouting staff as well.

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