FGD: A Lone Star State Of Mind

Ryan Pike
October 24 2013 12:22PM

 

 

The Calgary Flames conclude their lengthy five-game road trip – their first of three of that length this season – tonight in Dallas with a game against the Stars. Puck drop is at 6:30pm and the game is covered by the usual suspects (Sportsnet Flames, Fan 960 and us during/after game).

The Flames are getting healthier, having welcomed back Mike Cammalleri in LA and David Jones in Phoenix. Matt Stajan is primed to join the returners club, but some moves need to happen for him to play tonight. Either way, the Flames are 1-3-0 in the first four games of their trip, so they're probably excited that a veteran center who can win face-offs is healthy, because that's a huge, gaping hole in their game right now.

THE LINE-UP

Despite their woes on this trip, the Flames boast a fairly respectable 4-3-2 record – technically below .500 but good for a team that everyone was predicting to finish 30th (or 31st) in the league. Most impressive, as pointed out by Sportsnet's Charlie Simmer on the Phoenix broadcast, is that the Flames have been in every game they've played – even the ones they've lost. Again, for a young team that up until this week was missing their three best non-Glencross forwards, that's full marks.

Via DailyFaceoff, lines:

Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Galiardi – Backlund – Jones
Cammalleri – Monahan – Hudler
Bouma – Colborne – Jackman

Russell – Wideman
Butler – Brodie
Breen – O'Brien

Ramo
MacDonald

Karri Ramo gets his third start, both in part because Joey MacDonald was a bit rambunctious against Phoenix (and lost) and because Ramo was excellent against the Kings and only got rested because it was a back-to-back. Notable by their absences from the Flames projected line-up are Roman Horak (likely back to the AHL), Sven Baertschi and Brian McGrattan (scratched) and Mark Giordano (day-to-day). Giordano reportedly didn't skate today or yesterday, and indications it's a “wait-and-see” type of injury, not a “legs are broken off” one.

The Baertschi scratch is interesting but not shocking – he's got appreciably less points than his two regular line-mates (Hudler has 12, Monahan has 9, Sven has 4) and with Stajan and Cammalleri's return, he doesn't really fit into the top nine. He also doesn't really fit a checking role, so perhaps a stint on the sidelines is what he needs to re-focus. Maybe in future games, Jackman rotates out, Galiardi plays with Bouma and Colborne and Baertschi returns to the line-up? I'm just guessing.

THE OPPOSITION

The Stars are one of 13 NHL teams officially worse than the Calgary Flames, boasting a 3-5-0 record through 8 games. A lot of that can be attributed to some weak offensive starts – Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are producing, but that's it – and an injury to Kari Lehtonen (who's great) requiring them to rely on Dan Ellis (who's capable but not great).

Via DailyFaceoff, some lines:

Jamie Benn – Seguin – Peverley
Whitney – Eakin – Chiasson
Cole – Horcoff – Nichushkin
MacDermid – Fiddler – Roussel

Dillon – Robidas
Daley – Jordie Benn
Connauton – Gonchar

Lehtonen
Ellis

Aaron Rome cleared waivers but hasn't been re-assigned as of yet. Kevin Connauton slots in for Alex Goligoski and makes his NHL debut. Erik Cole was nursing some malady but will play tonight. Lehtonen gets the start. The Stars have been off since Saturday and have lost four of their last five, including dropping back-to-back games to LA and Anaheim over the weekend.

Oddly, the Stars boast a lot of 30-and-older players: Cole, Vernon Fiddler, Shawn Horcoff, Rich Peverley, Ray Whitney (who's 41), Trevor Daley, Sergei Gonchar, Stephane Robidas and Ellis. Heck, Kari Lehtonen joins the club next month. Considering how the NHL is shifting towards a game predicated by youth and speed, their roster construction seems a bit strange.

Of course, the unit to watch is also one of their youngest - the top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly. Seguin and Benn are significant offensive talents and can be handful if left to their own devices.

SUM IT UP

The Flames are finishing up their road trip and while they probably won't have their captain tonight, they will get Matty Franchise back. For a team that's suffered greatly due to losing a boat-load of face-offs, gaining Stajan's services once again will be a huge step towards proving they really are as good as they've played in the past three weeks.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 12:27PM
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If the Flames had played Baertschi instead of Jackman, they actually would have had a pretty decent 4th line tonight. Alas.

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#2 seve927
October 24 2013, 12:40PM
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"The Baertschi scratch is interesting but not shocking – he's got appreciably less points than his two regular line-mates (Hudler has 12, Monahan has 9, Sven has 4)"

All easily attributable to luck - Baertschi was credited with a point every single time he was on the ice for a goal last year. Right now it's Monahan getting those breaks. He's playing much better right now than he was last year when he had his 7 or 8 game streak. I hope that's not why they're scratching him. "Don't have bad luck, or you'll sit no matter how well you play".

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#3 NHL93
October 24 2013, 12:47PM
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"Maybe in future games, Jackman rotates out, Galiardi plays with Bouma and Colborne and Baertschi returns to the line-up? I'm just guessing."

Gotta love the line-up flexibility. I know it's supposed to be a bad team but I think we have some decent middling depth that some teams (Edmonton) may lack.

Go Ramo Go!

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#4 DoubleDIon
October 24 2013, 12:48PM
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Man we have an awful blueline without Giordano. Butler in the top 4 scares the beejezus out of me. What does Jackman bring to the lineup? Bartschi should be playing with Monahan, Cammaleri with Backlund and Galiardi with Colborne. Jackman doesn't even win fights. Bouma can do what he does better than he can, so he's much like the french fries I had with my Angus burger. Completely redundant and bad.

BTW, Smith HAS to be better than Butler doesn't he?

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#5 the forgotten man
October 24 2013, 12:52PM
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Based on a lot of reader comments I read here, one was lead to believe that Burke's public lambasting of Baertschi had solved everything - I'm confused?

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#6 Southern_Point
October 24 2013, 12:53PM
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I'm floored that Baertschi is being scratched. By the eye test he looks a lot better then on the ice then either Jones or Jackman.

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#7 SmellOfVictory
October 24 2013, 12:57PM
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That blueline depth is the stuff of nightmares. What I would like, dear Santa, is for Stajan and one of the current crapbags in the bottom ranks of the d corps to be shipped off for a capable 2nd pairing guy who isn't old balls.

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#8 Hamburgler
October 24 2013, 01:04PM
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Is Manny Malholtra still a UFA? I know we are trying to suck, but the guy can actually win a face off, which would be nice to see. Plus, I think he would be a valuable asset to flip at the deadline. This all presuming he is healthy.

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#9 JumpJet
October 24 2013, 01:06PM
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I really like Monahan between Hudler and Cammy; he'll keep putting up points playing with those guys. I don't think Baertschi deserves to be scratched, but I also think Galiardi has played well enough to be kept on the 2nd line. Jackman should be the odd man out, but Hartley seems to want that extra grit in the line-up. At least it's good to see the Flames seem to have a lot of flexibility in the roster.

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#10 the forgotten man
October 24 2013, 01:24PM
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My biggest issue with the Baertschi scratch is commitment and messaging...I still don't know if the Flames are rebuilding this year or gunning for a playoff spot...some moves by the team indicate they are rebuilding this year while others show a commitment to making the playoffs?? They have kept Baertschi with the Big Club so then play him Top 6, give him PP time for at least half the season...if he flops through that send him back to AHL for rest of season to work on whatever needs to be done. But please do not yank him for Tim Jackman - that makes no sense whatsoever.

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#11 jonahgo
October 24 2013, 01:26PM
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while this season has been fun so far, a pleasant surprise even, the bizarre decision making of the coaches continues to be extraordinarily frustrating.

the seemingly endless mcdonald starts were bad enough, but benching baertschi?? he's played well--leave him in the top 9 and stick galiardi or jones on the 4th. baertschi is a) at least as good as them and b) far more important for the long-term progress of the team...

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#12 Parallex
October 24 2013, 02:26PM
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Why not put Baertshi with Backlund and Jones and have Galiardi slot in with Colborne and Bouma?

C'mon Gio... get well soon.

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#13 jeremywilhelm
October 24 2013, 02:38PM
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Wasn't upset with the scratch until Fartley commented on it. Now I want to punch his face.

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#14 TRAV
October 24 2013, 02:46PM
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Yikes our D are weak.

I couldn't manage to watch too closely as the game was awful but I though Breen looked pretty slow out there. (limited time first game and all that but I am nervous)

Hopeful that Stajan and Stemp can get Glencross going again. They were great in camp and pre season.

I was hesitant to agree with most at the nation but alas I agree... Butler is not a very good defensemen and Joey M is very, very average...(at best)

On the other hand I do like David Jones.

Happy for an earlier start! Go Flames Go!

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#15 Christian Roatis
October 24 2013, 02:57PM
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Omfg Lambert, what are you even... Oh crap, wrong comment thread, sorry.

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#16 EducatedHockeyFan
October 24 2013, 03:22PM
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Hamburgler wrote:

Is Manny Malholtra still a UFA? I know we are trying to suck, but the guy can actually win a face off, which would be nice to see. Plus, I think he would be a valuable asset to flip at the deadline. This all presuming he is healthy.

I think he's on a PTO with Charlotte(Carolina's AHL team).

But I do like the idea, perhaps teach Monahair some face-off techniques!

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#17 coachedpotatoe
October 24 2013, 03:28PM
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Sven sitting, oh no the world must be coming to an end. While I have been reasonably happy with Sven as I have seen improvement in his complete game I'm not sure why people are upset that a young player is sitting. Maybe he has a minor injury or is sick, or maybe the head coach saw something that needs to be addressed and a night off might help. There is nothing wrong with that, it might even happen to Monahan at some point.

A bigger concern has got to be Gio injury. We cannot have Butler playing this role for to long without some dire consequences. The issue becomes why has not either Ramage or Cundari been called up. I'm all for Breen getting a chance but it would be better if the rest of the defensive core was available.

People have been talking about Johny G being with big club at the end of the season will be quite disappointed to know that the Frozen 4 is played after the end of the NHL season and I suspect BC hopes to be there. The NCAA guys might be able to be in Abbotsford at the end of the season. When the Falmes season ends would Monahan be able to play in Abbotsford?

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#18 Alsker
October 24 2013, 03:47PM
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Sorry boys, but tonight will be "horriblecoffs revenge", after years of losing to you guys in Oiler garb he'll pot a hatty. Stars take it 4-3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#19 everton fc
October 24 2013, 04:00PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Sven sitting, oh no the world must be coming to an end. While I have been reasonably happy with Sven as I have seen improvement in his complete game I'm not sure why people are upset that a young player is sitting. Maybe he has a minor injury or is sick, or maybe the head coach saw something that needs to be addressed and a night off might help. There is nothing wrong with that, it might even happen to Monahan at some point.

A bigger concern has got to be Gio injury. We cannot have Butler playing this role for to long without some dire consequences. The issue becomes why has not either Ramage or Cundari been called up. I'm all for Breen getting a chance but it would be better if the rest of the defensive core was available.

People have been talking about Johny G being with big club at the end of the season will be quite disappointed to know that the Frozen 4 is played after the end of the NHL season and I suspect BC hopes to be there. The NCAA guys might be able to be in Abbotsford at the end of the season. When the Falmes season ends would Monahan be able to play in Abbotsford?

There's no way they send Sven to Abby, is there? Just thinking...

We could use one of Meszaros/Liles on defence. Glad to see Breen getting a look. Hope Cundari and Ramage are next.

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#20 Lober
October 24 2013, 04:06PM
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I am not happy about Sven sitting

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#21 Pimo
October 24 2013, 04:31PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If the Flames had played Baertschi instead of Jackman, they actually would have had a pretty decent 4th line tonight. Alas.

I have said it before Sven is not a Burke type player and he has already pissed Burke off. It's just a matter of time that he will be dealt. Hopefully the return is significant.

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#22 Purple Hazze
October 24 2013, 04:35PM
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As bad as our blueline looks, that Dallas blueline looks even worse!

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#23 MAC962
October 24 2013, 05:03PM
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Yeah Yeah Oil fan here, What is with Glencross ? it hurt to lose him to you. Is he just slumping or pouting as some of my Calgary Cousins put it.

Also, as much as it pains me to say. Good Pick with Monahan, the kid is a player. Cant wait till i see the Oil and Flames as elite again, Us before you of course.

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#24 McRib
October 24 2013, 05:04PM
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@Pimo

Just like Brian Burke dealt Nazem Kadri when he was with the Leafs?!?!?! Oh, wait he didn't he took his time with him and groomed him into a solid Top. 6 Offensive Forward.

Even though I'm surprised Sven Baertschi has been scratched tonight (Curtis Glencross could sit for a game or two has been invisible recently... Tim Jackman, Blair Jones....), watching a couple in the press box isn't going to kill him. Hey, he might even pick up on a thing or two that the coaches are preaching.

If you want a team full of offensive minded forwards that have no clue about playing defense and have been praised/rewarded for no reason since the day they arrived to the NHL for doing nothing but loose (6 million a year contracts). Go cheer for the Oilers....

Calgary is trying to build complete players not a slick offensive power play that looses every game 6-5.

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#25 Willi P
October 24 2013, 05:18PM
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@McRib

The words loose and lose are mixed up in writing; for some reason, many people write loose when they really mean lose. But there's no reason to lose your mind worrying about this, just lose the extra o!

Loose

Loose is an adjective, the opposite of tight or contained.

My shoes are loose

I have a loose tooth

There's a dog running loose in the street

Lose

Lose is a verb that means to suffer the loss of, to miss.

I win! You lose!

Don't lose your keys

I never lose bets

Just sayin

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#26 Christian Roatis
October 24 2013, 05:57PM
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@Willi P

a gameday thread... but ALSO a lesson in grammar!

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#27 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 06:12PM
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@Willi P

Your mom is loose.

Did I use it write?

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#28 the forgotten man
October 24 2013, 06:31PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Your mom is loose.

Did I use it write?

I just sprayed a mouthful of beans & franks on my kitchen table...worth the laugh though. FN comeback of the year!!

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#29 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 06:47PM
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Not the best start.

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#30 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 06:57PM
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Brodie looking really good in the first.

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#31 ChinookArch
October 24 2013, 06:57PM
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Listening to the game for the first. How bad was Ramo victimized?

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#32 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:07PM
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@ChinookArch

No chance on the goal.

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#33 ChinookArch
October 24 2013, 07:10PM
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Yikes.

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#34 piscera.infada
October 24 2013, 07:12PM
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Colborne's got some serious vision on the ice. I like what I've seen from him the last 3 or 4 games.

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#35 RKD
October 24 2013, 07:27PM
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Top Heat point guys:

Paul Byron 6, Hanowski, Jooris and Knight all tied with 5. Hanowski leads the Heat in goals with 4. Berra 2.33 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

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#36 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:29PM
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@piscera.infada

Yeah he's looking much better.

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#37 RKD
October 24 2013, 07:31PM
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Iginla finally notches goal #1, before tonight's action he lead all Boston shooters with 26 shots.

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#38 SeanCharles
October 24 2013, 07:39PM
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Sven sitting isn't what frustrates me the most. He has lost the puck a few times in the offensive zone lately and seems to be overthinking things.

What infuriates me about it is that players like Glencross and Butler get free passes. I get it Sven is a young player and can benefit from sitting and watching and what not. But he has been better defensively and when given PP time he has looked good.

I will be infuriated if this goes on longer than 1-2 games more.

He has more to offer this team than some of the players dressed tonight and has played better than some of them too.

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#39 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:39PM
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Good ol Stempniak.

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#40 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:40PM
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Butler is bad again tonight.

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#41 Kmp
October 24 2013, 07:41PM
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Stempniak should get resigned.

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#42 ChinookArch
October 24 2013, 07:44PM
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Alright, just settling in for the game. How have the boys been playing so far?

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#43 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:45PM
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@Kmp

Agreed.

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#44 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:52PM
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Breen is totally over his head.

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#45 Kmp
October 24 2013, 07:57PM
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This defense needs to be addressed.

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#46 jonahgo
October 24 2013, 07:57PM
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i hope baertschi is paying close attention from the press box. lots of great examples of "playing in all three zones" tonight.

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#47 kittensandcookies
October 24 2013, 07:58PM
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Gak. Please Jebus bring back Gio.

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#48 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 07:59PM
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Well, that's not good.

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#49 prendrefeu
October 24 2013, 07:59PM
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!#%#@!$#@!

One and a half minutes and the game is totally different. WTF happened?!"

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#50 Kent Wilson
October 24 2013, 08:05PM
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@prendrefeu

Two bad break downs and a fluke deflection.

The team should probably waive Breen after this and bring up Cundari or something.

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