POSTGAME: NO DUCKING LUCK!

Vintage Flame
February 07 2012 12:05AM

 

It's no secret that the Flames were going to have to come out with guns blazing against the Ducks if they wanted to attempt any level of success at the Honda Center. It's never been a friendly place to Calgary, having won only once in the past 20 contests. It looked like it was going to be much of the same tonight, but the flames managed to pull it together and for the most part work their way back into this thing. In the end, it was the same old story and a 14th straight loss in Anaheim. The Flames gained a single point but still find themselves 3 points back of 8th place Minnesota.

WHAT HAPPENED

Calgary came out with jump in the first period and it looked like the game plan was to take it hard to the Ducks right off the bat. However, they were unable to sustain it and as Anaheim started to take over, things slipped away fast. At 15:52 of the first period, Bobby Ryan was left alone in the slot, which is never a good idea. With a quick pass and the open Ryan, it was 1-0. Just 1:59 later Matt Beleskey tipped home a shot from the point while screening Kiprusoff and the Ducks appeared to be flying with a 2-0 lead. Though the scoring chances favoured Anaheim by a slim margin of 5-4, Calgary's chances came on the PP and Anaheim made theirs count.

The second period had all the potential to be over early. Anaheim came out strong and at times the Flames were constantly held inside their own zone. It didn't help the Flames cause any having to kill four penalties, including a double-minor 5-on-3. if not for the outstanding play of Miikka Kiprusoff, the game would have been over in a hurry. Despite the Flames finding themselves out-chanced by the Ducks 12-2 at 4:41, Alex Tanguay made a great effort in front of the net after it looked like Scott Hannan totally blew a 3 on 2. Hannan's slap pass/shot from five feet in front of the crease was deflected to the side of the net. Blair Jones jumped on it and threw it in front of the net, where Tanguay was able to stuff it home to pull the Flames within one.

The third period saw Calgary take over the game, out-chancing Anaheim 7-0, and eventually getting the equalizer. On the power-play, Jarome Iginla gets in behind the Ducks' defense and takes a pretty pass from Olli Jokinen; he breaks in on Hiller and makes no mistake, burying it for a 2-2 tie. Once the game was tied, the Ducks went into full shell mode, playing for overtime and the guaranteed single point.

OT didn't settle anything with both teams registering two scoring chances, and the game was off to the shoot-out.

On three different occasions the Flames had the chance to put the Ducks away, only to need Kiprusoff to make another save. in the 8th round of the shoot out, go figure, it would be Nik Hagman to score for Anaheim. When Backlund couldn't reply, it was the same old, same old for the Flames and another one goal loss to the Ducks.

ONE GOOD REASON...

... the Flames lost? I'd like to blame the loss on the play of the first two periods, but when Calgary tied it up and got it to extra time, it was a whole new game. More-so in this one, the Flames just failed to capitalize on the few opportunities they did get. The penalty kill bailed them out of this game, but despite scoring once on the PP, it wasn't enough to get them the extra point; and the Flames got worked at even strength.

RED WARRIOR

Although the Ducks hit enough posts to make their own symphony, I have to go with Kiprusoff.
Calgary's top players played great tonight, especially Iginla and Tanguay; but without Miikka tonight, this game was over before Calgary and it's top players got into it. There is no doubt that his play on the 5-on-3 was nothing short of outstanding, and the spark that got the Flames ignited.

SUM IT UP

It's not the result any of us wanted to see, and it doesn't help the Flames when there is no one that is going to help Calgary out, but when you get to the shoot-out, it's a roll of the dice. I'll give full marks to the Flames for not folding when getting down early. These are important games and Calgary is going to have to find another arena to steal some points from as their unlucky string continues in Anaheim. Most likely, Calgary needs 4 out of 6 points on this trip, so they will have to pull it together for the final two games. It won't be easy either, as they face San Jose and Phoenix in back-to-back games and neither of those arenas have been a safe haven for Calgary either.

E42f2ca09dfb26046c3060ff46473aff
Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 RKD
February 07 2012, 12:52AM
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14th straight loss at the Honda Center, but at least they got a point.

The irony is the Hagman was the hero and Backlund was the goat.

Better luck in SJ.

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#2 First Name Unidentified
February 07 2012, 01:06AM
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I don't understand why the Flames have so much difficulty controlling the puck. Either it just seems to get away from them as soon as they touch it or they just cough it up. Few terrible giveaways in our own zone by the likes of JBo, Olli, Butler, etc. So far the only two bright spots have been the play of Brodie and the pickup of Jones. I'm quite impressed with the speed, skill and hustle of Jones and Brodie looks like he's been doing this for a long time.

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#3 Kevin R
February 07 2012, 01:10AM
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Hey VF! You know, it seems like we've done this before, in fact over & over & over again. Benn there done that kind of feeling. We get into Jan & Feb & these guys start to play pretty good hockey. I have no problem with how we played tonight, in fact, when we sucked Kipper played unbelievable & then that 3rd period was fun to watch as a Flames fan (exception of a few boneheaded moments). The shoot out, we should have had too. I have no problems with the 1 point tonight, it was a great road game. Problem is, we cant afford 1 point games. We must win, end of story. & why did we lose you ask, we lose because we totally suck in Oct/Nov & most of December.

We'll play pretty good, good enough to keep close, even good enough to keep us within hope of striking the playoffs.. We'll do nothing at the deadline & then fade in March as the numbers run out on us. Who cares if we're 9th or 10th or 11th for that matter. We'll lament the injuries & the lost points we should have had & get to hear players & management talk about how close we are & on the verge of turning the corner. Bottom line, another year of no playoffs. Yep, I swear I've seen this one before.

Ever watch a movie & know exactly what is going to happen as if you've written the script yourself? Maybe next year we get lucky, the players go on strike & we start the season Dec 15th & we skip Oct & Nov. Maybe we might have a chance of making the playoffs then. Maybe we wont have to watch this rerun another time.

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#4 FireOnIce
February 07 2012, 01:12AM
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Can we just play Colorado and Edmonton the next 30 or so games?

What is up with constantly losing to the Ducks? Every FGD against Anaheim it's the same old story - "top heavy lines", "Hiller has to be lights out", "defence not deep". Yet, we can't win in Anaheim, and put on a snorefest when it's in Calgary.

Time to go all-in on Jeff Carter! Maybe Feaster can get Ilya Kovalchuk while he's at it. Perhaps Rick DiPietro might like to move to Calgary?

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#6 ChinookArch
February 07 2012, 06:51AM
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@Vintage Flame

Kipprusoff was outstanding but the true Red Warrior was Post.

@FireOnIce

Carter is not coming to Calgary. If Feaster did manage to make a trade for him, it will be a disaster.

@ Kevin R

I really believed that the Flames would be able to take some momentum from last year into this season. There were very few changes and the team seemed to have gained a lot of confidence. In the end, as you said "been there, done that".

MESSAGE TO FEASTER: unload all the UFA's at the deadline. If you really believe you are being intellectually honest, then you know the Flames will not make it to the post season. It's time to think future.

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#7 John F
February 07 2012, 08:10AM
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Ironic that Hagman scores the shootout winner and we pay 1/2 his salary.

Kipper was good in 5 on 3 but 2 posts that the Ducks hit helped as much or more.

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#8 backburner
February 07 2012, 08:25AM
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The reality is that there is no one really available that the Flames could add to make the team any better at this point. Not for cheap anyway, it would be risky for Feaster to trade any more picks or prospects. I would think the best senario would be to sell off the fringe peices, have a strong draft, sign some solid UFA's, and focus on next season. This deadline could be a huge opportunity for Feaster.

(Joker + Hannan to Chicago for McNeil and a 2nd)

Sarich, Moss, Stepniak...

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#9 Bob in the Abbey
February 07 2012, 09:01AM
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As stated by many,a point is OK but we really need W's and the 2 points that come with it. Scoring is still a major issue and until that picks up we'll be hard pressed to move up in the standings.

Props to VF for the pic of Darkwing Duck!

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#10 xis10ce
February 07 2012, 09:30AM
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After dropping last nights game in the 8th round of the SO, KW's suggestion of Frans Nielsen is starting to look that much more appealing. Is there any way we can pry him out of NYI before July.1? Or are we in a bidding war after the 1st? I mean he has some excellent numbers aside from being the best shootout guy in the league for a 2way player, and perhaps the best number he has to his credit is how much he's paid (525k). But I would assume he is in line for a decent raise given his past point tallies.

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#11 Kevin R
February 07 2012, 09:33AM
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Bob in the Abbey wrote:

As stated by many,a point is OK but we really need W's and the 2 points that come with it. Scoring is still a major issue and until that picks up we'll be hard pressed to move up in the standings.

Props to VF for the pic of Darkwing Duck!

With 31 games left, our predicament is even worse. Its OK to get the 2 points & give the other team 1 point to teams like San Jose, Anaheim, Vanc, Detroit, even Nashville or any Eastern conference team, but now teams like Phoenix & Dallas, Colorado, Minny & LA, we "HAVE" to win in regulation time. The loser points become big this time of year. If we have to lose to one of those teams, we had better get the loser point. I agree with Backburner, I dont think we have the ability to hit a homerun and push us over the offensive hump. It should be a UFA firesale. I really liked that Joker/Hannan deal with Chicago. Totally makes sense & I really see Chicago being vulnerable to a deal like that.

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#12 Nolan Moore
February 07 2012, 09:34AM
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One reason the Flames lost? Scoring. Sure look at those OTL games or 1 goal lost games. Sure they're winning a bunch of those but at the end of the season when the Flames look for excuses scoring should be one of them. I thought Comeau was supposed to fix this, Cammi or Jones? Ha Cammi is the only one with the tools but hasnt been able to do it because Brent would prefer to stop goals than score them. He gets impatient when after 2 shifts players dont click. Fire Sutter, he's clueless.

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#13 FireOnIce
February 07 2012, 09:43AM
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@ChinookArch

My comment was seething with sarcasm. I do not want Jeff Carter here, there are better, more willing options that won't cry when they don't have a place to party.

Seems like David Jones might be on the market. Too bad the Avs don't need defencemen... Jones is definitely not the solution, but he's a good young winger and could do well on the third line.

I honestly think we should take a run at Derek Roy. Might have a shot at obtaining him.

The long shots would be Zach Parise (really don't see him going to Minnesota) and Ryan Suter. That'd be scary to pick up Roy, Parise, and Suter - or perhaps it's all this Feaster-ade I've been drinking...

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#14 Subversive
February 07 2012, 10:10AM
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So, if 96 points is your make the playoffs number, then the Flames need 41 points in their remaining 29 games. That's 20-9-1. I'm not feeling too optimistic about that.

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#15 schevvy
February 07 2012, 11:35AM
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Most likely, Flames will need 91-94 points to make the playoffs. They need wins against the crap teams and need to pull out a few games against the top teams. Regulation wins vs Dallas, Minny, LA, Phoenix and Colorado are critical to the team having ANY chance at all. The 3rd period last night was great, and if they can play like that all the time they will have success.

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#16 RexLibris
February 07 2012, 11:52AM
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Whew, thank goodness the Ducks won. I was getting vertigo from being so high up in the standings. Imagine! 28th overall!

Seriously though, I'm going to try and look on the bright side here (that's my Eric Idle whistling impression you're hearing): that single point may turn out to be a season-saver for the Flames as it narrows the gap to three points rather than four and may negate the need for a tie-breaker stat. Also, the Kings couldn't score a bag of weed at a Burning Man festival right now, so they may fall out of contention and open up a second spot in the bottom four playoff positions, thereby raising your chances.

Okay, that's it for positive. Now for the Michael Palin "Nobody-Expects-the-Spanish-Inquisition" evil hand-wringing bit: with Feaster and company coming this close to the playoffs after having declared this season to be about "going for the win" and with so many teams underachieving and bailing water, might he attempt to sneak out a deal for a cornerstone player in order to make the playoffs? I know that it has been often discussed here about the Flames not moving some of their young players or prospects, but what if Feaster were to offer up a Kessel-style deal for a Derek Roy or Thomas Vanek? I know people here are sick of the Carter talk and with Iginla on the right wing it seems unlikely that they would have room for Nash so I'm leaving Columbus out of the conversation for now.

I don't think Suter will be had all that easily. And I'm almost certain, from what I have heard, that he won't be immediately drawn to a Canadian market. He has said that he enjoys the anonymity of living in Nashville and I have to assume that he won't be forfeiting that lifestyle too easily. The good news is that it also means he probably won't pick Vancouver or Toronto either. Parise, from what I have read, has stated a preference for the Eastern travel schedule and a chance to win immediately.

Roy, on the other hand, is a perfect trade asset. He has value, is signed for another year, and is a proven player. I believe I said this before, but my guess is that Regier looks for a Penner-esque return for Roy (a 1st, a prospect, and at least a 3rd). If Buffalo wants to salvage some aspect of this season, moving Roy, Stafford, Gaustad, Boyes, Hecht and Leopold (coach-assault notwithstanding) for a basketfull of picks and prospects in good draft year before making a fresh start next year.

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#18 RexLibris
February 07 2012, 02:51PM
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@Vintage Flame

~Hey VF. I was wondering, could the Flames maybe make a big trade for a piece to push for the playoffs soon. I'd like Tambellini to fleece Lombardi again and we kind of need the Flames to put pressure on them again this year to do that.~

~That'd be great, thanks.~

Conroy sounds like he's getting some pretty good lessons on management-speak. Telling fans that the next ten games before the deadline will determine their trading stance on Feb 27th is like saying that whether or not is snows will determine if I'll be shovelling the walk. Excellent answer with virtually no new information given. I'm not criticizing him, I just think it's pretty funny how often media get stymied for real information by these non-answers.

I would amend one thing about your list of upcoming games. Last season's autopsy revealed that the Flames were too often incapable of beating the teams ahead of them and were thus doomed to mediocrity. To that end, I would say that one of the latter group ("scrounge as many points as you can") has to be a must-win as well. We agree on that entirely. The first group, no doubt that those have to be games that the Flames either win or at the very least come away with a point. As for Edmonton and Toronto, I'm not certain what about Toronto makes you think that they should be a win for the Flames. I don't know the recent record between the two clubs, if the Leafs always play poorly against the Flames, but they've got seven points on the Flames in the standings and are eight places ahead of them in the overall standings.

Is there any player that is currently rumoured to be available that you would like the see the Flames pursue (cost aside)?

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#19 the-wolf
February 07 2012, 02:56PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Most likely it won't take the 96 points to get in this year, that was originally projected. Iginla said in an interview that it's probably going to take 90 or 91 to get into 8th now. I don't think that's far off.

As mentioned, it's no big deal for Calgary to have some 3 point games as long as they are they team getting the two, and the team getting one, is below them in standings. Last night would have been absolutely fine if Calgary had won, but they didn't and that's the part that stings.

Conroy was on the Fan 960 this morning. He said that the Flames have 10 games to go before the trade deadline and they feel like it will be the determining factor as to whether Calgary is buying or selling. Not surprised at this attitude, nor should anyone else be.

Not to say that if the right deal is available to them that they are still going to ride out the 10 games, but I don't see them pulling the trigger on anything major until their hand is forced one way or another.

- Dallas, LA, Phoenix have to be 2 pt wins for the club.
- Toronto and Edmonton should be wins.
- San Jose, Vancouver and Philly.. Do what ever the hell you can. Scrounge as many points as you can, it doesn't matter how you win, but I think the club needs to win at least one of these 3 games.

The Flames should also have no interest in Roy. It would cost them too much to get him, and the return would not be significant enough to help this club.

Problem is, they're not going to be selling anything of consequence, so what's the point? Sell what? Hannan or Sarich? Big whoop.

Roy would be cheaper and probably of better character than Carter, but he's not a #1 center. Calgary doesn't need another 2nd line guy. Injuries and lack of size seem to be catching up to him.

I'm not a massive fan of Carter lately, but at least he's a legit #1 pivot with size. Besides, Spezza matured, Carter could too. I think Carter has more chance of getting back to the 30+ goal mark than Roy does as well. If the team is going to go in, then go ALL in.

Don't like the direction of this team at all, but it is what it is for at least this season and next.

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#21 RexLibris
February 07 2012, 04:30PM
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@Vintage Flame

Alex Steen, Mikhail Grabovsky...I thought you guys had had enough with the Leafs. And when you write that you have to win a trade with them sooner or later, are you saying that or asking? I agree that Calgary doesn't have the pieces that Burke might want, outside perhaps of Jokinen or Glencross. And I thought Kent was going to blackmail Feaster into signing Frans Nielsen this summer?

I think Carter's cap hit is what keeps his name in the market. The looming NTC and his "reputation" would normally put off GMs (and by extension armchair GMs) but he has shown in the past that he can be a first line centre and that always has value. Taking Carter on as the eventual cornerstone of the franchise once Iginla retires isn't necessarily a bad idea and only two years ago the mere thought of the Flames acquiring Carter would have made many fans delirious. It's hard to imagine that he has lost all of that potential in only a few short months.

Speaking of Columbus, I'm starting to wonder if Scott Howson drowned puppies in a past life. First he trades for Carter and gives up at least two key pieces for a franchise in Voracek and Couturier, then he has to trade away that same asset but with a ticking clock in the background and from a position of weakness relative to what Paul Holmgren's was during the initial trade. It's almost tempting to just blow the whole thing up and start from scratch because eventually the roster becomes so full of disillusioned players and selfish malcontents that nobody could fix it. If they move Carter, can anyone think that Nash wouldn't be one step closer to throwing his hands up in the air and saying "I quit"?

I wouldn't want Roy either, but he's a better fit than Tim Connolly has been in Toronto. I've often wondered about a lineup that would have Tim Connolly centring Steve Sullivan and R.J. Umberger with Markov and Sami Salo on defence and Rick DiPietro in net (Pascal LeClaire is the backup)? If ever all of them were healthy enough to play together you would be certain that the end of the world is nigh.

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#22 xis10ce
February 07 2012, 06:31PM
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Well never mind on Frans Nielsen, he just signed with NYI for 11 mil for 4 years

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