FGD: Minus Two

Pat Steinberg
September 27 2011 12:04PM

The Calgary Flames play their second to last preseason game tonight when they welcome the New York Islanders to the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 pm, TSN and Sportsnet Radio FAN 960).  Calgary got some positive injury news yesterday, and as they move towards a healthier lineup, it looks to be pretty close to an NHL lineup tonight.

The Lineup

The Flames look to get back on the winning side of things after dropping their last three exhibition contests.  Tonight they'll go with a fairly veteran lineup, with a couple players in there still fighting for a potential job.  The two guys in that category most right now are Roman Horak and Lance Bouma, who have both been solid in camp to this point, and who both have a very realistic shot to crack the opening day lineup.

A couple notes from the morning skate: Jarome Iginla didn't skate once again, however there's a chance he may be back on the ice tomorrow as he continues to recover from back spasms.  I'd be surprised if Iginla played a preseason game, but there's a pretty good chance he'll be in the lineup to start the regular season on October 8th.

Cory Sarich donned a regular practice jersey for the first time this morning, as he was a full participant in the skate.  He won't play tonight, and may not play any preseason action either, but it's very likely he'll start the season.  That's a good thing in my eyes, as Sarich is still an NHL defender, and can give you some value on your third pairing.  He was matched up with Jordan Henry today, and they will serve as the healthy blueline scratches.

Finally, Raitis Ivanans was back on the ice practicing with the team for the first time since November 2010, as major concussion issues have kept him on the sidelines for nearly a year.  He was the extra forward and won't play tonight, but looks ready to return.  Here are lines and pairings tonight:

Lee Stempniak-Roman Horak-Alex Tanguay
Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-David Moss
Niklas Hagman-Paul Byron-Tom Kostopoulos
Lance Bouma-Matt Stajan-Guillaume Desbiens

Mark Giordano-Scott Hannan
Jay Bouwmeester-Chris Butler
Anton Babchuk-Derek Smith

Henrik Karlsson looks to get the start in net tonight after he played half of Sunday's game at home to the Oilers.  Karlsson was pretty solid, however made one error playing the puck which ended up in the back of the net.

The Opponent

While the Flames go with a fairly veteran looking lineup, the New York Islanders go with a much less experienced group.  A couple interesting forwards to watch, including fifth overall pick Ryan Strome from Niagra of the Ontario Hockey League.  He's still around in camp and could very likely start the regular season with the team after a 106 point season.  Kirill Kabanov will also play in this one, the Russian forward who many debated at last year's draft in Los Angeles.  No lines as the Isles didn't skate.

  • Blake Comeau
  • Justin DiBenedetto
  • Trevor Frischmon
  • Trevor Gillies
  • Michael Haley
  • Kirill Kabanov
  • Jay Pandolfo
  • Rhett Rakhashani
  • Marty Reasoner
  • Ryan Strome
  • David Ullstrom
  • Tim Wallace

The blueline has a couple guys with NHL experience, and one guy with significant NHL experience.  You're going to love his Staios tonight, as Steve will suit up for New York as he continues his tryout with the team.  Apparently the Islanders came after him fairly heavily, as there is space available, so the former Flames blueliner has a chance to make the team.

  • Calvin de Haan
  • Matt Donovan
  • Milan Jurcina
  • Dylan Reese
  • Steve Staios
  • Ty Wishart

It looks like Evgeni Nabokov will get the start in net for the Islanders, as he's decided to join the team after not reporting to them last year after being claimed off waivers.  Mikko Koskinen is the other goaltender with New York.

The Story

This is a game the Flames should win, as their lineup is far superior to the one being brought by the Isles.  On top of that, both the coach and the GM have openly challenged their team to show a little more in the intensity department.  I'd be a little disappointed if Calgary didn't walk away with this one.

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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 FireOnIce
September 27 2011, 08:23PM
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@jeremywilhelm

I watched him for a couple years playing in Denver. He was slow and had a -23 playing in Colorado for 4 years (granted on some terrible teams). Was never impressed by his play, and am still not impressed.

Though I'm not too hurt by the loss of Regehr like some people, we replaced him with a defenceman who is just as old and just as slow. We could have had Chris Campoli, who is 5 years younger, for only $750K more, and is much more mobile and plays in all situations.

And Hannan has a NMC.

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#52 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 08:23PM
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Tanguay looks like "WTF is Iginla" out there tonight.

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#53 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 08:25PM
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@FireOnIce

You mean the same Campoli who was jettisoned from the Senators and single handedly won game 7 for the Canucks? No thank you.

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#54 Kent Wilson
September 27 2011, 08:26PM
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@FireOnIce

Hannan doesn't have a NMC.

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#55 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 08:27PM
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@Kent Wilson

And on a 1 year contract I am not sure why it would be a big deal anyways.

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#56 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 08:30PM
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Watching Nabokov play the AWAY from his defensemen is hilarious.

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#57 FireOnIce
September 27 2011, 08:40PM
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@Kent Wilson

According to CapGeek he does...

http://capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=568

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#58 Robert Cleave
September 27 2011, 08:46PM
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FireOnIce wrote:

According to CapGeek he does...

http://capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=568

That was on his old contract, not his current one.

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#59 Kent Wilson
September 27 2011, 08:48PM
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@FireOnIce

I think that was for his previous contract.

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#60 Colin
September 27 2011, 08:50PM
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Feaster just garuanteed playoffs.......so no playoffs confirmed.

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#61 Kent Wilson
September 27 2011, 08:50PM
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Shots are 16-9 through 2. Yikes.

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#62 FireOnIce
September 27 2011, 08:50PM
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Ah, ok. CapGeek normally does a good job with making sure they are up to date, but you guys definitely know better than I do about these matters.

My point still stands that I watched him and did not like what I saw. Term length and money wise, his contract is not an issue. Play-wise, I'm skeptical.

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#63 FireOnIce
September 27 2011, 08:51PM
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@Colin

We should plan the parade!

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#64 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 08:53PM
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Slick little play there by Horak

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#65 everton fc
September 27 2011, 09:02PM
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Seems like Byron is losing the battle to Horak and Stajan. Does Stajan's assist save him?

How are Bouma and Debiens doing? And Smith??

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#66 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 09:08PM
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Babchuk. Yikes buddy.

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#67 Kent Wilson
September 27 2011, 09:08PM
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Looks like Stajan has moved up the rotation in favor of Byron. Bad news for the kid.

Also: Babchuk is just awful.

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#68 schevvy
September 27 2011, 09:08PM
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What an AWFUL play by Babchuk

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#69 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 09:10PM
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@Kent Wilson

And Horak ahead of them both.

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#70 FireOnIce
September 27 2011, 09:13PM
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I don't think one assist for Stajan should mean he moves up in the rotation, or that his chances of being demoted decrease. Staios got 3 goals last season, "clutch", and we still jettisoned him.

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#71 GermanFlame
September 27 2011, 09:13PM
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OLLI SMASH!

Edit- But Horak is also playing with Tanguay and Stempniak, while Stajan and Byron are playing in bottom 6 roles. I havent caught all of the game, only bits and pieces, but anyone that has, has that attributed to Horak looking better or am I mislead here?

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#72 jeremywilhelm
September 27 2011, 09:22PM
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@GermanFlame

Horak is looking good all by himself.

I don't dislike Byron either. He needs linemated that can play on the rush. There really are no flames like that. Tanguay I guess.

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#73 Kent Wilson
September 27 2011, 09:26PM
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@FireOnIce

I was just speaking about this game, really. By the third, Stajan was playing up while Byron was back with Desbiens and Bouma.

I don'tknow how the pecking order truly shakes out. If I had to bet, I'd still say Stajan is on the team come October and all the kids are on the farm.

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#74 icedawg_42
September 28 2011, 07:16AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I was just speaking about this game, really. By the third, Stajan was playing up while Byron was back with Desbiens and Bouma.

I don'tknow how the pecking order truly shakes out. If I had to bet, I'd still say Stajan is on the team come October and all the kids are on the farm.

Yeah, Stajan will make the team by default, because none of the kids really made a push to take it away from him. Stajan showed last night that he can skate well and make plays against inferior competition. It was a sweet pass to Scoreface, but he had a TON of time and space to make that happen - it wont be like that in a week. I'll give him credit though, nice play. Horak was pretty invisible last night, too bad cause I've really liked him so far. And so we start the season with all the usual suspects.

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