Postgame: Mass Hysteria

Justin Azevedo
March 22 2012 10:47PM

 

 

The main narrative in the coming days (besides the unlikeliness of the Flames making the playoffs) will be the debate over Brent Sutter's job; and with good reason. An absolutely childish pair of decisions in the shootout were one of the many culprits in the Flames' 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

The Recap

For the most part in the opening frame, there was nothing doing for either team-the only chance of note was an early oppourtunity for ex-Calgary emergency call up Warren Peters off a pass from Jed Ortmeyer. The Flames were managing to push the puck the right way, however, as Josh Harding was busy in the first. Harding had a couple difficult points where he struggled to control the puck-likely rust from yet another recent injury-caused layoff. The Flames did finish off the period strong with a pressure-heavy power play that led to Lee Stempniak's 13th goal of the season with just over a minute left. The Flames grossly outshot the Wild (17-4), but were somehow outchanced in the period, 4-3.

Anton Babchuk got his first of the year after the Wild took a double minor (courtesy of Olli Jokinen's face) to start the period. Just 10 seconds into that double minor, the Wild would add more to that penalty situation as Nate Prosser decided to play a little catch with the referee. Babchuk potted the aforementioned goal with 30 seconds left in the first half of the 4 minute penalty to put the Flames up two. Dany Heatley would pull the Wild within one when he unleashed a pretty wicked one-timer into the back of the net for the Wild's first goal of the game-on the PP, to boot-at 8:36. The Wild reeled the game in a little towards the end of the period, outshooting the Flames 12-9 and outchancing them 10-9.

If you could personify "meh", it would take the form of the third period. The first ten "exciting" minutes resulted in a grand total of 5 shots and 2 chances, rendering it nigh unwatchable. The action would pick up a little late on, however, as Minnesota would start to push against the shell, breaking it at 12:23 as Darroll Powe would redirect a weak goal past Kiprusoff to tie the game at two. That score would hold true the rest of the way, as the two teams would go to overtime. The Wild dominated in shots and chances, winning both by respective counts of 12-3 and 6-2.

In overtime, EVERYTHING WAS HAPPENING. Giordano hit the inside of a post, Matt Cullen missed a wide open net, Cal Clutterbuck tripped on a breakaway...just a horribly nerve-wracking five minutes, but no one was able to bulge the twine.

The shootout was horrific. More on that below.

The Stars

1. Josh Harding

2. Mikko Koivu

3. Dany Heatley

The Final

First, let me start off by saying that the game was not simply lost because of poor decisions in the shootout. No, a horrible effort in the last 30 minutes in which the Flames sat back-like they always do-started the downfall, as it allowed the Wild to tie the game and allow it to go to a shootout. Saying that, however...

The shootout is a self-contained skills competition. The rest of the game has no bearing on the result of it; unless there was an injury that hampered a shooter or goaltender. To not use your most skilled players in a skill competition is absurd. This team still thinks it can make it to the playoffs; whether or not we (as fans) agree with that is irrelevant. The people in the organization have said that in both private and in public. Thus, it makes little to no sense as to why Blair Jones and Blake Comeau were out there when you have 3, 4, 5 other guys on the bench who are better with the puck then those two. If players were sat to teach them a "lesson", that's stupid. Why would anyone ever want to lower their chances of winning?

Anyways, the Flames probably need 9 or 10 points to make the playoffs. They play next on Saturday against the Stars. Game time is 12 Mountain on FAN 960 and some television station that is unknown.

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Justin is a 22-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#51 JF
March 23 2012, 03:49PM
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Scott wrote:

Re: The shootout selection

I'm very surprised at the outrage at the selection of players in the shootout, Tangs had 1 goal in the shootout this year, why send him out there? I think it was good to try some new players at the shootout, maybe not all 4 new guys, i liked Stempniak and Stajan getting a shot, and comeau I am okay with. In my mind, when it came to the 4th round still tied, thats when you go with a leader and a scorer.

Listening to sportsnet yesterday, and how Doug Maclean related not playing Iggy in the shootout was like not playing Gretzky in Nagano made me laugh. What a poor analogy.

You shouldn't be... Tanguay and Joker both have above average career S% in the shootout. Sure tangs hasn't been good at in his opportunities this year (Joker's been good though) but his opportunities this year constitute such a small sample size so as to be functionally irrelavent. Truthfully, career marks are also SSS but they're still the more valid of the two. I was fine with using Stempniak but Stajan and Jones (to say nothing of Comeau)should not have been anywhere near the top of the shootout order.

Also, Doug Maclean related not playing Iggy in the shootout was like not playing Gretzky is not a poor analogy. It's actually very apt. Neither Gretzky nor Iginla consider the shootout to be an aspect of the game in which they consider themselves proficient (Iginla has said so in interviews and Gretzky said so in his biography IIRC). That's not to say that I think Iginla should have shot in the first three but I'd have put him (along with many others) out there before Jones & Comeau at the very least.

Butter was being stupid. Flat out terrible choice on his part. I think that decision (especially in lieu of the reported shouting match with Feaster afterwards) sealed his fate if it wasn't sealed already.

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#52 the-wolf
March 23 2012, 04:23PM
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JF wrote:

You shouldn't be... Tanguay and Joker both have above average career S% in the shootout. Sure tangs hasn't been good at in his opportunities this year (Joker's been good though) but his opportunities this year constitute such a small sample size so as to be functionally irrelavent. Truthfully, career marks are also SSS but they're still the more valid of the two. I was fine with using Stempniak but Stajan and Jones (to say nothing of Comeau)should not have been anywhere near the top of the shootout order.

Also, Doug Maclean related not playing Iggy in the shootout was like not playing Gretzky is not a poor analogy. It's actually very apt. Neither Gretzky nor Iginla consider the shootout to be an aspect of the game in which they consider themselves proficient (Iginla has said so in interviews and Gretzky said so in his biography IIRC). That's not to say that I think Iginla should have shot in the first three but I'd have put him (along with many others) out there before Jones & Comeau at the very least.

Butter was being stupid. Flat out terrible choice on his part. I think that decision (especially in lieu of the reported shouting match with Feaster afterwards) sealed his fate if it wasn't sealed already.

How is a one game shot at an Olympic gold the same as a regular season game in the NHL?

And how is not letting some of your top players who aren't getting the job done in regular time, OT or SO for the last while the same as not letting the greatest player of all time shoot?

Everyone complains about using the same guys, evryone complains when it's mixed up.

Everyone complains Kipper is overplayed, everyone complains when he sits.

Stajan has been re hot lately and deserved a shot. Stempniak can score and did so his first game back. Did I agree with Jones and Comeau? No, I'd have done something differnt, but I don't blame Brent for mercifully allowing us not having to watch Iginla, Tanguay, Glencross and Jokinen come in and so the same lame move again.

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#53 RexLibris
March 23 2012, 04:55PM
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@the-wolf

The Nagano comparison is ridiculous. It is hyperbole and, frankly, while I have never liked Crawford as a coach, Gretzky had a very poor historical record on shootouts.

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#54 JF
March 23 2012, 05:47PM
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@the-wolf

"How is a one game shot at an Olympic gold the same as a regular season game in the NHL?"

The venue and stakes of the game are irrelavent, it's the situation and circumstances that matter... You have two players (Gretzky & Iginla) both considered the best player on their team at least by reputation, you have a shootout situation, the two players have both publically acknowledged in the past that they are not good at the shootout, you have a coach who doesn't put them in, you have a loss. Frankly, I don't see how anyone can NOT see the two situations as similer. I don't even think not using them (both Gretzky then and Iginla now) was the wrong call but the situation is absolutely similer. If you want to get on MacLean for insinuating that it was the wrong call, sure I'd buy that, but don't get on him for comparing the two because they ARE very comparable.

"Everyone complains about using the same guys, evryone complains when it's mixed up."

I know I've never complained about the usual guys (Joker + Tangs + Other). I don't know where this "everyone" is coming from. I'm not even sure "most" people complain about using the usual guys let alone "everyone".

The smart money is always on playing for favorable probability and the best probability choice based on career totals last night was Tanguay, Joker, Stempniak I'm not sure who I'd have gone with as the #4 shooter but it sure as hell wouldn't have been Comeau.

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#56 Kevin R
March 23 2012, 06:52PM
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JF wrote:

"How is a one game shot at an Olympic gold the same as a regular season game in the NHL?"

The venue and stakes of the game are irrelavent, it's the situation and circumstances that matter... You have two players (Gretzky & Iginla) both considered the best player on their team at least by reputation, you have a shootout situation, the two players have both publically acknowledged in the past that they are not good at the shootout, you have a coach who doesn't put them in, you have a loss. Frankly, I don't see how anyone can NOT see the two situations as similer. I don't even think not using them (both Gretzky then and Iginla now) was the wrong call but the situation is absolutely similer. If you want to get on MacLean for insinuating that it was the wrong call, sure I'd buy that, but don't get on him for comparing the two because they ARE very comparable.

"Everyone complains about using the same guys, evryone complains when it's mixed up."

I know I've never complained about the usual guys (Joker + Tangs + Other). I don't know where this "everyone" is coming from. I'm not even sure "most" people complain about using the usual guys let alone "everyone".

The smart money is always on playing for favorable probability and the best probability choice based on career totals last night was Tanguay, Joker, Stempniak I'm not sure who I'd have gone with as the #4 shooter but it sure as hell wouldn't have been Comeau.

Well everyone that writes articles on hockey sites including FN & most posters whine about the fact the points we have lost because we cant seem to win a shootout seems to me an idictment of the player selection & the fact we are outside looking in. Brent chose to try something different.

I would imagine Feaster was politely asking Brent why he went with the shooters he did & they discussed it. I think B Sutter could care lees about a contract extension at this point. He could question Brent all he wants but I do recall Feaster having a similar meltdown on our usual pisspoor effort, you know "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me", I wonder what the next saying is on that, "Fool me 3 times & I'm a flicking idiot".

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#57 Captain Ron
March 23 2012, 10:09PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Well there are lots of things that can be done to change the club, to take a new direction, to change the culture. But if I were a betting man, Feaster wont because King & Edwards are saying he cant. Feaster kind of scares me but no point in griping & predicting end of days with him, he's there, he wont be going anywhere & he's the guy driving the ship. Embrace the horror & get used to it. Cant be much worse than the last couple of years of Darryl.

As for coach, it really doesnt matter, why would Brent even want to stay in this gong show. The problems in the dressing room he cant bench, he cant healthy scratch, he cant complain about in media, he can only pat their behinds when they decide to play the way they should & we win a game. The GM/Management cant trade these guys because they arent allowed to. Why would he stay? Brent will probably tell these guys to go pound & shove this job up there "erectumus glutomus carepete' " If you want to know what that means, I'll give 3 guesses. Its an old slang from the hood in Southwood.

Thats funny Kevin. I was thinking the same thing about Brent. He might be the first coach to actually quit on this group before he gets fired. If that happens it might be the best message anyone could send to the owners and management of this team. I'm 50/50 on B Sutter staying or going whereas at the time he was hired I thought he was truly a good coach for this team. Now I don't know what to think of the situation anymore.

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#58 burntagain
March 23 2012, 10:13PM
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I can't wait for this team to go 0-0-82 next season and for the powers that be to talk about how they were "in every game". I have had enough and fully believe the owners need to be called out here. This is not to say they dont spend the money or are greedy, but I fully believe that somehow the goal of winning a Stanley Cup is about priority number 48 un their list of things to do. (Well behind their sellout streak and havin Jarome come to their grandkids birthday parties) At some point I think that group has to sell or become more centrated into one or two individuals who have a big stake in the teams success. The fact that they have employed a used car salesman like Ken King for so long says all we need to know about them...Too cowardly to make any kind of tough decision.

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#59 Kevin R
March 24 2012, 12:23AM
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Captain Ron wrote:

Thats funny Kevin. I was thinking the same thing about Brent. He might be the first coach to actually quit on this group before he gets fired. If that happens it might be the best message anyone could send to the owners and management of this team. I'm 50/50 on B Sutter staying or going whereas at the time he was hired I thought he was truly a good coach for this team. Now I don't know what to think of the situation anymore.

Hey Captain! Hope all is well. Like you, I really liked when Brent came on as coach, kinda liked when they signed JBO & while I'm at confession, I was totally pumped when we traded for Joker. My how time can change things. I actually feel bad for Brent. He got jerked around by Daryl his first 2 years & there just wasnt anyway to really put a team together he thought could mesh together. I loved the fact he was irrate at losing the other night. I'm sick & tired of these stupid interviews after each loss, I wish I got paid $10.00 every time I heard the same old lame reason they lossed. I would just like to see some out right anger, frustration & be just ally cat mad & mean about losing.

I truly think its time this summer to light the match. It may be a few steps backward next year or two, but I just dont see the path moving forward with this old core anymore.

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#60 Franko J
March 24 2012, 10:47AM
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The fantasy is Yzerman as GM.

Tippett as coach.

Ken King gone as President.

However the reality is that the drafting and development by the Flames from 1996 until the last two drafts have been abysmal. Whether it is Coates, Sutter, or Button, they failed miserably to draft a legitimate # 1 center.

Sutter was lucky Kipper panned out. The best draft prospect the Flames have drafted from 2000 to 2009 was a dman who somewhere along the way forgot how to play the game. Oh yeah, we had another who didn't want to be here.

While the scouting department will take the majority of blame for poor drafting, ultimately it is the GM who gets paid to make the final decision. The GM is in place for one sole purpose, to build and make the team better.

The question I have is "Can Feaster draft a #1 center?"

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#61 Captain Ron
March 24 2012, 12:38PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Hey Captain! Hope all is well. Like you, I really liked when Brent came on as coach, kinda liked when they signed JBO & while I'm at confession, I was totally pumped when we traded for Joker. My how time can change things. I actually feel bad for Brent. He got jerked around by Daryl his first 2 years & there just wasnt anyway to really put a team together he thought could mesh together. I loved the fact he was irrate at losing the other night. I'm sick & tired of these stupid interviews after each loss, I wish I got paid $10.00 every time I heard the same old lame reason they lossed. I would just like to see some out right anger, frustration & be just ally cat mad & mean about losing.

I truly think its time this summer to light the match. It may be a few steps backward next year or two, but I just dont see the path moving forward with this old core anymore.

Hey Kevin, all is well. Thats one of the things that really bugs me about this team. Where is the outright anger at losing? I want to hear some chirping about it but its all quiet. Where is the emotion in this situation. I feel like were more pissed off about it than they are. I'm watching the Dallas game right now and its 2 zip less than ten miuntes in. NO emotion right now. NO bodychecking or urgency. I can see how Dallas is ahead of us in the standings. We need more guys who truly hate losing. I don't care what there names are.

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#62 the-wolf
March 26 2012, 07:55AM
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JF wrote:

"How is a one game shot at an Olympic gold the same as a regular season game in the NHL?"

The venue and stakes of the game are irrelavent, it's the situation and circumstances that matter... You have two players (Gretzky & Iginla) both considered the best player on their team at least by reputation, you have a shootout situation, the two players have both publically acknowledged in the past that they are not good at the shootout, you have a coach who doesn't put them in, you have a loss. Frankly, I don't see how anyone can NOT see the two situations as similer. I don't even think not using them (both Gretzky then and Iginla now) was the wrong call but the situation is absolutely similer. If you want to get on MacLean for insinuating that it was the wrong call, sure I'd buy that, but don't get on him for comparing the two because they ARE very comparable.

"Everyone complains about using the same guys, evryone complains when it's mixed up."

I know I've never complained about the usual guys (Joker + Tangs + Other). I don't know where this "everyone" is coming from. I'm not even sure "most" people complain about using the usual guys let alone "everyone".

The smart money is always on playing for favorable probability and the best probability choice based on career totals last night was Tanguay, Joker, Stempniak I'm not sure who I'd have gone with as the #4 shooter but it sure as hell wouldn't have been Comeau.

No, they're not irrelavent. Loosely associated circumstances and completely different situation. Gretzky never missed the shootout 4 times in a row during the Olympics.

0-for-12 is smart money? Glad you're my financial advisor.

From the Herald:

Feaster acknowledged that it had been his decision to keep Sutter away from reporters after the outburst.

While that may have shielded the coach from a barrage of immediate criticism, Feaster applauded the shootout shakeup.

"It's Einstein's definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results," said Feaster. "We were bordering on insanity in terms of what we were trying to do in the shootout. We kept using the same guys over and over and over, and we were get-ting the same results."

Feaster noted that in the four previous shootouts - all losses - the big three of Olli Jokinen, Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay had combined for 0-for-12.

Meaning Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Blair Jones and Blake Comeau got turns Thursday. None converted.

"I don't think one of the top guys - not one of them - said, 'Oh boy, I'm upset,' or, 'I wonder why he's not going with me,' " said Feaster. "I think we would have been remiss if we hadn't changed it up."

It should be noted that Tanguay, because of an unspecified injury, had been unavailable.

"Tangs is one of the best in the game," said Sutter. "I would use Tangs most of the time in a shootout because he's very gifted at doing that. But he informed me, at that point in time, that he couldn't do it."

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/Frustration+boiling+over+Flames/6353549/story.html#ixzz1qEKDGfn6

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#63 the-wolf
March 26 2012, 07:57AM
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Oops....that should say NOT my financial advisor. :)HAR!

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