FGD: Duck Sauce

bookofloob
October 16 2013 10:54AM

 

It took me longer to make that image than it really should have. Shut up.

Well friends, brothers, sisters, Citizens, after what seemed like an eternity, but was really only 5 nights, which in a hockey season is an eternity, your Calgary Flames are back at it tonight, in the frozen barren hinterland of Southern California, to take on long time Pacific Division rival, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Ducks of Anaheim. This game kicks off a 5 game swing through the Left Coast, and I'm going to go ahead and unofficially dub this road trip as "Sean Watch". 4 of these 5 games, assuming Sean Monahan plays them all, will ring up the game tally to nine games and ultimately decide if his short term future will be spent donning the silks of the Flaming C, or rocking a Team Canada jersey this holiday season and hopefully getting traded away from the abysmal Ottawa 67's and off to greener, more Memorial Cup-ey pastures in the OHL.

It's quite the test ahead. 3 of these 4 "Monahan" games present significant challenges to the upstart young punk Calgary Flames and their surprising but nonetheless tenuous grasp of 4th place in the Western Conference.

The other one is against Phoenix.

Fight Card

As usual, lineups provided by Daily Faceoff, who rule a lot and we love them and they're terrific.

  • Glencross - Street - Stempniak
  • Galiardi - Backlund - Bouma
  • Sven - Svean - Hudler
  • McGrattan - Colborne - Jackman
  • Jyordano - Brodie
  • Russell - Wideman
  • #ChristButler - O'Brien
  • Ramo 

LANCE BOUMA ON THE SECOND LINE ALERT!

Once again, I'll read that back to you: LANCE BOUM wait Ben Street is still the top line center, which is even more shocking. Come back soon, Stajan/Cammi/Jones. Yikes.

This is the lineup of a 3-0-2 hockey team, just in case you're one of those "hockey experts" out there who like to cry fowl (Duck joke) about advanced stats and don't realize sample size really makes a big difference.

Daily Faceoff has Ramo getting the start in this one, but I'm writing this the night before the game, and fully expect Joey MacDonald to get the nod again, because of course he will. If you read Kent's breakdown of the numbers in the early going so far this year, you'll see that the Flames have been winning more or less in spite of Joey Joe Joe's Fuhrian performances, and at some point this whole experiment is going to come to a head. With any luck, it's not going to be tonight, but if it is, well we can't say we didn't tell you so.

McGrattan still in the lineup. No words. No words.

This is, suffice to say, not an intimidating offensive juggernaut, but through the budding newness of this campaign they've shown signs of success, so let's hope that prevails tonight. There was some less than accurate reporting yesterday from an unnamed local Calgary newspaper scribe who suggested, quite, er, fallaciously, that young Mr. Monahan was going to have his toughest "can he play?" moments on this road trip because of the matchups against the Getzlafs and Thorntons of the West Coast NHL teams, and that is laughable. Sean is not going to see time against any of these teams' top lines, as the numbers clearly show (again, check Kent's piece) that that is just not Bob Hartley's MO.

Quack Quack Quack, Mister Ducksworth

The Ducks just came off a game where they wore their original purple jerseys and threw "Mighty" back into the ol' moniker for a night, so that absolutely gives me license to make as many Mighty Ducks trilogy jokes as I damn well please.

  • Banks - Conway - Moreau
  • Hall - Germaine - Hall
  • Averman - Duncan - Robertson
  • Wu - Mendoza - Selanne (I needed one more forward)
  • Reed - Portman
  • Karp - Tyler
  • Duncan - Mark
  • Gafney - Goldberg

Actual lineups here. If you thought the lineup above was serious, I must ask you, do you know what sarcasm is?

Let's move on.

At first glance, the forward units on the Ducks might look, let's say less thin than Ryan Getzlaf's hairline, and while it is a very good corp, they're not as deep as one would think. Let's go wading into the lines here (Duck joke). First of all, what the hell is a Patrick Maroon, save for a name that's a built in excuse if he ever screws up, which I'm assuming he does. And why is he on a line with Getzlaf and Perry? Looking at his numbers, the thing that really stands out about him is, uh...

Jakob Silfverberg (come on, how is that possibly the way to spell that name?) has started off the season well, playing on the opposite wing of old balls Teemu Selanne, who is the greatest, but must be made to pay in this one. His bones should pretty much be dust at this point, so maybe if McGrattan is lucky, he can fall over in the right direction by accident and take Teemu out of the play, but man I doubt it.

The Ducks might have the best 4th line in hockey with Palmieri - Bonino - Etem, even though Emerson Etem is going to be a total bust in this league and be a Swiss League star in 2016. Still, that's decent depth on the bottom 6, although the Top units are not all that spectacular outside of Getzlaf and Perry going full ham on the league once again.

The only real notable thing about the Ducks is that Hampus Lindholm is probably the greatest  name in the league this year, and Jonas Hiller no longer has that badass matte black mask anymore, so there is officially no longer any reason to care about Jonas Hiller anymore, who is slated to start this game and probably be awful.

Playoff Race Implications

Like, 9 of them.

Players to watch

Obviously Monahan, because if the team does the right thing you won't be seeing him again for the rest of the year after this road trip. (Troll face)

Bouma might be an interesting Flame to keep tabs on. I suspect that he's not up to the challenge of Top 6 minutes, quite likely facing off against either the Perry line or the Selanne line (The Teemu line would be a better matchup, for sure, but damn it, someone has to be on the ice when Perry and Getzlaf are, and we already know it won't be the third line, and IT HAD BETTER NOT BE THE FOURTH), but he might surprise us and show some adept defensive play skating alongside Backlund (who quite obviously will have to be up to his usual task of taking on the opposition's best players. My God, he's great)

Conclusion

The Ducks are still better than Duck Sauce, who conjured forth that unspeakable chant that haunted the Saddledome for two and a half seasons, but man, there is absolutely no reason to not hate this team. For one, Guy Hebert. didn't everyone hate that guy? Two, Corey Perry is a great player but also a bit of a Cody, and if bad things happened to him (maybe after the Olympic break), you can admit it, you wouldn't feel too bad about it.

This is, I may have mentioned, a HUGE test for our boys in red. The Flames need to see how they stack up against a decent team, and Anaheim fits the bill (Duck joke). If they're not up to the test, well...actually, well I guess nothing, this season is a free pass, but because the Ducks are a collection of noted jerks and the Mighty Ducks movies only fall into maybe #6-8 of the greatest hockey movies ever made, it would be really swell to see the Flames muscle out a victory in this one.

I'll leave you with this, if you need to find yourself suitably angry and motivated to cheer: 

 

(hey, check it out, the coaches of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh)

01f20cee6c900dc633fe87a421630f41
The Book of Loob is the Nation's resident expert in flim-flammery and twaddle. An unabashed Flames fan, when BoL is not intellectually bankrupting Flames Nation, he can be seen rooting for Blair Jones, often to excess, at Book of Loob. Follow him on twitter here.
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#101 Mitch P
October 16 2013, 08:42PM
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Ramo, Smith and Jones > McDonald, Butler, McGrattan right? RIGHT??????!!!!!?????

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#102 thymebalm
October 16 2013, 08:52PM
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Yeesh.

What a bad first period. Oby and Buts were brutal. McD is shaky as hell.. Hartley should put Ramo in now, while we have a chance.

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#103 Kent Wilson
October 16 2013, 08:54PM
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Chances were 7-3 Ducks in the first.

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#104 Kent Wilson
October 16 2013, 08:54PM
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Chances were 7-3 Ducks in the first.

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#105 ChinookArch
October 16 2013, 08:56PM
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@Kent Wilson

Calgary had more then 2 chances?

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#106 Kmp
October 16 2013, 08:57PM
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@Kent Wilson

Flames had 10 blocks could have been worse.

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#107 Kent Wilson
October 16 2013, 08:59PM
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@ChinookArch

Colborne break away, Stemps break away and a Backlund drive.

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#108 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 09:09PM
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Why had there never been a "Bad Lip Reading" video of Bruce Boudreau?

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#109 @TACOcurt
October 16 2013, 09:17PM
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bouma could maybe just be a third liner

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#110 everton fc
October 16 2013, 09:19PM
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Just getting here. See the game misconduct on Jackman. We are essentially a 3 line team the rest of the evening.

O'Brien and Butler make me wish Sarich were still here. I won't go as far as to add Babchuk, of course!

How's Bouma looking? Ditto Street??

We need to replace Jackman (he may have earned it this evening), McGrattan, Butler and O'Brien. We have kids on the farm who'd do better. I'd rather see Ferland get a look, even though he hasn't done much down there yet. Jooris/Hanowski/Knight also deserve a look.

I think a better 4th line unit (which we'll have when Cammy and Stajan return) and a better options at 4/5/6 (Russell in a 5/6 role, for example), and this team can compete. I honestly believe this, if goaltending holds up.

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#111 Kent Wilson
October 16 2013, 09:28PM
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Better 2nd for the Flames so far, even if their PP looks almost as bad as the Ducks'.

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#112 everton fc
October 16 2013, 09:30PM
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They can't win faceoffs... Their PP looks bad... Butler/SOB as a 5th pairing. MacDonald between the pipes....

Yet they still stay close in these games. No blowouts. Amazing.

There's a nice core developing here. Maybe core's the wrong word, but Backlund/Monahan/Bouma/Baertschi... The younger guys... I might even include a guy like Street in this group.

Speaking of Sven - how's he looking? (Street's minutes seem to say he's no longer on the 1st line)

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#113 wot96
October 16 2013, 09:34PM
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So being behind and down one face puncher, why wouldn't Hartley bench the dancing bear and start double shifting some of the more highly skilled wingers to play with Colborne and give him some better minutes in a controlled situation.

Merde. Selanne.

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#114 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 09:34PM
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@everton fc

I agree. I don't know that there is a distinct core of players present, but those that may yet be (Backlund, Baertschi, Brodie and Bonahan, er, Monahan) are at the very least playing in the midst of a cohesive team environment and effort.

You can get a long way on work ethic, often as far and sometimes further, than on pure talent.

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#115 Kmp
October 16 2013, 09:37PM
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Brodie-couple of bad plays last 2 shifts.

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#116 MichaelD
October 16 2013, 09:38PM
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@Kent Wilson

Was about to say the same. The shift before he made similar mistakes as well. Giving the puck away when it should just be deep or out of the zone

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#117 Charleston Kingsley
October 16 2013, 09:38PM
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No goal? Review time.

Ah K, nevermind. Bummer. Raise the crossbars.

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#118 everton fc
October 16 2013, 09:39PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I agree. I don't know that there is a distinct core of players present, but those that may yet be (Backlund, Baertschi, Brodie and Bonahan, er, Monahan) are at the very least playing in the midst of a cohesive team environment and effort.

You can get a long way on work ethic, often as far and sometimes further, than on pure talent.

Everton's done it for years! Work ethic, teamwork, good dressing room... Players will stick around for that. You tend to re-sign guys with that trifecta in place.

I'd add Galiardi in this mix. He's only 25, and has adjusted well here.

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#119 Clyde
October 16 2013, 09:41PM
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wot96 wrote:

So being behind and down one face puncher, why wouldn't Hartley bench the dancing bear and start double shifting some of the more highly skilled wingers to play with Colborne and give him some better minutes in a controlled situation.

Merde. Selanne.

The dancing bear is creating as much or more tonight than many skilled guys and with many fewer minutes

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#120 Kent Wilson
October 16 2013, 09:44PM
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@RexLibris

Chances were 7-5 Flames in the second.

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#121 Lober
October 16 2013, 09:45PM
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Ouch Street only 6:28 of ice time and a -3

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#122 Brent G.
October 16 2013, 09:46PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I agree. I don't know that there is a distinct core of players present, but those that may yet be (Backlund, Baertschi, Brodie and Bonahan, er, Monahan) are at the very least playing in the midst of a cohesive team environment and effort.

You can get a long way on work ethic, often as far and sometimes further, than on pure talent.

Case in point ... Your 2013/2014 Edmonton Oilers :)

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#123 SeanCharles
October 16 2013, 09:56PM
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@TACOcurt wrote:

So if healthy anyone see anything wrong with this line up.

cammy-stajan-glencross/ jones-backs-hudler/ sven-Monahan-stemp/ bouma-street-gallardi

Glencross-Stajan-Stempniak/Cammalleri-Backlund-Jones/Baertschi-Monahan-Hudler/Bouma-Colborne-Galiardi

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#124 ChinookArch
October 16 2013, 10:00PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Hmmm, MacDonald for Omark?

I'd actually do that deal.

Spit and shake!

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#125 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:05PM
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@Brent G.

Ha, depends. How many can Eakins scratch per game?

I doubt that becomes that big an issue. The effort problem has only come up in a handful of players. The bigger issue has been learning his systems and executing them. And the fact that he is willing to sit anyone, regardless of history or draft position certainly sends a message.

Eakins said he wanted to employ several offensive looks, like a football coach with multiple plays, so that players could shift quickly in-game. I like that philosophy and the idea of demanding a more intelligent game from players. The downside is that it takes time and were he not MacTavish's hire it is very likely the Oilers would be on coach #6 within a week.

Part of what is making the Flames successful early is their work ethic, but also, and perhaps to a greater degree, their effective execution of Hartley's system. This advantage may not hold as other teams become more accustomed to their own systems as the season wears on, but for the time being it is a good example for other teams on the strength of team solidarity.

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#126 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:05PM
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@ChinookArch

How about just shake.

I'll call Craig and get him to send you the papers.

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#127 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:08PM
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@ChinookArch

Certainly better than the Pitlick for Elliott rumours going around.

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#128 Charleston Kingsley
October 16 2013, 10:09PM
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SCORE!

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#129 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:10PM
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Quick thinking by Colborne there. Good play.

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#130 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:16PM
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Colborne seems like he's getting a push in the 3rd.

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#131 @TACOcurt
October 16 2013, 10:34PM
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too bad we ran into a hot goalie.

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#132 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:34PM
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Colborne's CF tonight is 80% (29.1), and given this is an away game it is same to assume that that is not all against soft competition.

Monahan's is 35.3% (-27.7).

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#133 everton fc
October 16 2013, 10:36PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Watching the Flames play in Annehiem is really painful. Peter Mahr was on the radio and reminded everyone that the last winning goalie was Roman Turek. Good God how can that be?

Speaking of goalies we have an extra MacBackup the Oilers could get for cheap cheap.

Can you imagine if the Flames tie this up and win in OT? After all these years...

What does that say to us fans? Are we winning the division?! :)

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#134 everton fc
October 16 2013, 10:37PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Colborne's CF tonight is 80% (29.1), and given this is an away game it is same to assume that that is not all against soft competition.

Monahan's is 35.3% (-27.7).

Monahan hasn't has an SOG all game. Neither has Baertschi, though he has three blocked shots.

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#135 everton fc
October 16 2013, 10:39PM
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Glencross & Street, both -3.

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#136 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:41PM
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everton fc wrote:

Glencross & Street, both -3.

That's Hartley's matchups though. Who else are you going to feed to Getzlaf and Perry?

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#137 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:42PM
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Flames keep playing that game and they could make the playoffs.

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#138 everton fc
October 16 2013, 10:43PM
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RexLibris wrote:

That's Hartley's matchups though. Who else are you going to feed to Getzlaf and Perry?

Yep. Street's really getting the chance to play in some high-end situations.

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#139 thymebalm
October 16 2013, 10:44PM
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I'm happy we were in it until the end. Goals off giveaways and not so great goaltending. Please play Ramo.

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#140 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:45PM
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Colborne, Giordano, Brodie and Bouma all had a strong game.

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#141 RexLibris
October 16 2013, 10:47PM
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@everton fc

Kind of reminds me of Mark Arcobello - found money player showing he can do something at the NHL level.

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#142 Captain Ron
October 16 2013, 10:58PM
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Especially Butler. Get rid of him soon, really soon.

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