Post-Game: Moral Victories

Ryan Pike
October 03 2013 08:51PM

 

 

The Calgary Flames began the long road back to relevance tonight in Washington, D.C., with a game in the Verizon Center against the Washington Capitals. With a roster featuring the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, the Capitals were heavy favourites going into their home-opener.
 
However, in a game they were expected to get trounced in, the Flames provided a preview of how they may tackle things this season.

THE RUNDOWN

In enemy territory, the Flames kept things rather simple in the first period. They moved their feet and beat the Capitals to a lot of loose pucks. They back-checked. They fore-checked. They even got into a fight.
 
The result after 20 minutes was a 3-0 lead. For the Flames.
 
David Jones opened the scoring by rifling a shot from the right wing over Braden Holtby's shoulder. The play was created by Sean Monahan, who got his first career NHL assist on the goal, pressuring the puck-carrier and causing a turn-over.
 
Kris Russell and Alex Ovechkin got into a shoving and chopping match in the Flames zone later in the period. Both got coincidental minors. On the ensuing 4-on-4 play, the Flames quartet of Brodie, Giordano, Stempniak and Backlund cycled the puck around well, beating out the Capitals defenders on at least three occasions. On one such instance, Stempniak rimmed the puck around, headed to the net and potted home a rebound off of a Mark Giordano shot to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
 
Later on, Brian McGrattan drew a penalty in the offensive zone. On the ensuing power-play, the Capitals collapsed down low. Brodie and Giordano passed it back and forth, allowing Jiri Hudler to position himself in a shooting lane. Combine that with a nice Mikael Backlund screen and, voila, against all odds the Flames lead 3-0. Braden Holtby's game ended here.
 
The Capitals came out full of piss and vinegar in the second, moving their feet a lot better and executing plays. Outside of a five-minute span, though, the Flames kept beating them to loose pucks. The difference between the first and second was the Flames making a few mistakes here and there.
 
After a power-play, the Flames executed a sloppy line change, allowing young Tyler Carrick to step out of the penalty box and score on a breakaway to cut the lead to 3-1. However, that goal was quickly met by another Flames marker, with Ben Street sacrificing his body to chip the puck behind the Washington net, Michael Neuvirth mis-playing it and Brian McGrattan finding Lance Bouma for a one-timer goal to make it 4-1. (Bouma also had a fight in the first period.)
 
However, after that, the story of the game was the Capitals power-play and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin added two second period goals – both of them one-timers, one of them on the power-play – to cut the Flames lead to 4-3. One of the goals was a weird tip off Jiri Hudler's stick off of a face-off loss, the other was on a PP caused by a David Jones high-stick.
 
The Flames survived the second and generally carried the play throughout much of the third period. They had a couple penalty kills, though. While Matt Stajan got a weird penalty for knocking Karl Alzner's stick out of Alzner's one hand (he had one hand on the stick, which seems like it's baiting that call), the Flames killed the penalty off rather well. However, T.J. Galiardi took a penalty for essentially shoving Neuvirth in the face in front of the net, and Nicklas Backstrom scored the second Capitals PP goal of the game to tie things at 4-4.
 
Overtime solved nothing, despite the Flames playing well and carrying 95% of the play. We went to the home-run derby, er, shootout, where Sven Baertschi and Jiri Hudler failed to score, while Ovechkin and Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Capitals.
 
But hey, at least the Flames got a point.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

First and foremost, the Capitals are a more talented hockey team. Their power-play is insanely good and scored twice, and the Flames should actually get credit for killing off the single penalty they did, as that was the difference between zero points and a single point.
 
The Capitals also destroyed the Flames in the face-off circle. Calgary won 29 of 75 face-offs for 39% on the night. They were at 29% on the PP and 43% on the PK. That's awful, especially that PP number, which is why the Flames only scored once on their five power-plays.
 
However, the Flames generally out-worked the Capitals. They were constantly fore-checking and back-checking, and their four goals were all caused – either entirely or in part via penalties – caused by them out-working the Capitals and causing the Caps to make mistakes. The fact that the Flames fourth line (Street-Bouma-McGrattan) produced offense and drew a penalty is a great sign, as well.

RED WARRIOR

There are a few candidates, but I went with Lee Stempniak. Stempniak scored a goal, played over 20 minutes and led the Flames with 8 shots on goal. He was generally the best guy on the Flames' top line tonight and was always noticeable on the ice.
 
Honourable mention to Mark Giordano (with two assists) and Lance Bouma (with a goal and a fight).

SCORING CHANCES

# Player EV     PP     SH    
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 14:45 4 5 04:57 1 1 00:00 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 21:40 7 6 02:56 1 0 02:18 0 1
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 19:54 6 7 05:52 1 1 00:38 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 20:47 7 6 03:24 1 0 02:18 0 1
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 14:10 4 5 04:58 0 1 01:14 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 04:08 3 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 06:35 5 1 00:00 0 0 00:09 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 19:11 6 5 02:28 1 0 00:44 0 1
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 18:00 8 6 03:07 2 0 01:45 0 2
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 17:01 6 5 03:00 2 0 00:09 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 11:39 1 6 00:01 0 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 14:31 5 7 05:25 1 1 00:00 0 0
31 RAMO, KARRI   17 19   2 1   0 2
38 STREET, BEN 07:34 4 2 01:10 0 0 00:49 0 1
39 GALIARDI, TJ 16:09 4 7 00:01 0 0 01:02 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 16:50 6 8 00:01 0 0 00:38 0 1
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 11:23 2 5 00:01 0 0 00:00 0 0
54 JONES, DAVID 12:58 1 6 05:34 0 1 00:00 0 0
55 O'BRIEN, SHANE 13:10 4 6 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0

 

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 8 8 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 3 8 2 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 8 6 7 4 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0

Flames Chances

Caps Chances

SUM IT UP

The Flames opened the season on the road against a team they usually are awful against. Instead of laying down and accepting defeat, they fought and scraped and generally out-worked their more talented opposition. Their reward for their efforts was a shoot-out loss, but also likely a feeling that Bob Hartley's system might actually work.
 
There aren't a lot of teams in the NHL that are as talented as the Capitals, after all.
 
The Flames (0-0-1) take their point and hop into a plane, as they fly to Columbus tonight. They visit the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow at Nationwide Arena in the Jackets' first game of the season. Game-time is 5pm MT and you can catch the game on the radio on Sportsnet 960 The Fan, on TV via Sportsnet West, and get all kinds of coverage online from this site right here.
 
One game down, 81 to go.

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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 Christian Roatis
October 03 2013, 08:54PM
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I hope MacDonald doesn't start tomorrow.

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#2 Clyde
October 03 2013, 08:57PM
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No need to dress mcgratten in this game. If Sven and Monahan are going to play11 minutes, don't keep them up too long. Other than that, great effort. Man, Brodie is smart and poised. Really liked Backlund too

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#3 Christian Roatis
October 03 2013, 08:58PM
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I was also really confused for most of the game because the effort level wasn't waning and I couldn't believe I was watching the Calgary Flames. In all seriousness, that effort level will win them hockey games, whether or not that's a good thing is another story but it's nice to see compete.

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#4 Pat Steinberg
October 03 2013, 09:09PM
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I love that post game is still using the Red Warrior.

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#5 aloudoun
October 03 2013, 09:12PM
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If you would have told me before the game that we would leave Washington with 1 point, I would have taken that point and ran away smiling. Lets hope this effort isnt an anomaly and the Flames can build on it. I like a lot of what I saw tonight.

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#6 McRib
October 03 2013, 09:24PM
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@Christian Roatis

Also still has to be seen if they can keep that effort level up for all 82 games, but nice start. However, I do think this team has a bit more in them than people are expecting we may not have any stars, but we certainly have more depth than most last place teams. We basically have three mediocre second lines.

When Edmonton finished last in 2010-2011 Jordan Eberle a rookie led the team in scoring with 43 points. Considering the Flames have 6-7 players who have scored that in their careers and a couple of young guys that could as well it says something.

This team reminds me a lot of Ottawa two years ago (maybe not quite as talented), but everyone had them to finish last and they just played with nothing to loose and surprised everyone. Regardless if I'm right or not at least its more entertaining than watching washed up veterans (no disrespect) like Iginla, Jokinen, Tanguay, Hannan, etc collect a paycheck with brutal no effort nights on most occasions. Not that I'm saying we will make the playoffs I think we will be respectable until the deadline where we should then proceed to tank.

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#7 McRib
October 03 2013, 09:29PM
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Lance Bouma is looking more and more impressive every game I watch, I know we are years away from being competitive, but he is developing nicely into the type of third liner you need to have three of to win. Calgary was missing someone like him the last couple of years. Now we just need to insert some stars, haha.

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#8 cunning_linguist
October 03 2013, 09:58PM
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How the eff does Ben Street get PP time while Sven get's none (1 second...whoop-dee-doo)

Maybe I'm crazy, but I would venture a guess Sven didn't make this team based on his 3 zone play and shut-down winger reputation. 1 for 5 on the PP tonight, not terrible, but also not the kind of PP success that should lead Hartley to give all of our man advantage time to the same veterans over and over.

As for even strength, can someone who understands the game better than me explain what Sven and Sean did to earn less than 12 minutes of ice time? Seemed to me like they were holding their own possession wise...Is that just a function of Hartley getting nervous once our lead started slipping? I guess when the Flames say youth will be served this year they're referring to the amazing seats our kids get to watch the veterans play!

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#10 Christian Roatis
October 03 2013, 10:33PM
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@McRib

yeah imo the Flames got literally out skilled in this one. Ramo was solid - no real chance on any of the goals - outside of the shootout and hopefully he can keep it up.

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#11 flames
October 03 2013, 11:08PM
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why do rookies sit when they make a mistake yet tj galiardi gets the first shift after a ridiculous penalty leading to the tying goal?

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#12 flames
October 03 2013, 11:10PM
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why is sven the first shooter in the shoot out?

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#13 beloch
October 03 2013, 11:12PM
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I was really impressed with the positional play of the Flames this game. Players were constantly taking the initiative to harass the Caps, turn over pucks, etc. but their team-mates were always reacting and closing the gaps to cover their butts. Hartley's system seems designed to keep the opposing team off-balance, and this year's team has bought into it hardcore! I don't know if the Flames will be eaten for lunch once their opponents figure out Hartley's system, but they sure looked great out there against some pretty good talent today!

Ovechkin was deadly tonight. The one thing that bothered me is the Flames seemed to be treating him like just another player on the ice, and he took advantage of that. There was one goal where he was entirely alone and casually sauntered (if such a thing is possible on skates) in for a one-timer that blew Ramo's pants off! Even if he looks like he's slacking off, you just can't leave that guy alone! Hartley might want to focus a wee bit more on shutting down star players.

The BJ's should be an easier opponent than the Caps, all things being equal. It's a back-to-back for the Flames while its the first game of the season for Columbus. Hopefully the Flames can carry some momentum into tommorow's game. They really were dominant in OT tonight! I'd like to see Ramo get another start, just to see how he reacts to losing and back-to-back games. MacDonald is a thoroughly known quantity.

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#14 Kent Wilson
October 03 2013, 11:17PM
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@Pat Steinberg

You're a pioneer.

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#15 Jeff Lebowski
October 03 2013, 11:21PM
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The vets dropped the ball. 5 on 3 for 50 sec and nothing? Special team personnel played a lot and were outplayed.

Monahan 's first shift was pretty damn good. His overall play in the game was rewarded by that point. He and Sven were dangerous all night.

Really, Calgary was better team for 2/3 + OT periods. When they were good, they were really fun to watch. How this new group learns to play with leads, come from behind, play well in 2nd of back to back and ESPECIALLY watch the kids take over the special team units from the vets with their skill by end of year, will be super fun to watch unfold.

I'm really looking forward to what Colborne will bring to the group. If he can win some dzone fo and upgrade the PP that will be huge. He kind of brings those elements to me. Those would've helped in this game.

They left a point on the table. Not entirely bad result. Encouraging start!

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#16 T&A4Flames
October 03 2013, 11:22PM
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@beloch

CLB will be a completely different test than the Caps. They are a hard working team as well. Could be a battle of attrition.

Teams I believe that could eventually look at Cammileri and be good trading partners for us;PHO, CLB, NSH. anyone else?

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#17 flames
October 03 2013, 11:28PM
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kris russell

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#18 Baalzamon
October 03 2013, 11:34PM
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@T&A4Flames

Carolina maybe? Thinking something like Cammalleri for Ruuttu +

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#19 jeremywilhelm
October 03 2013, 11:51PM
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39 shots for? Did that happen once last season? Impressive.

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#20 schevvy
October 03 2013, 11:51PM
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Pat Steinberg wrote:

I love that post game is still using the Red Warrior.

Oh god he's back. Pat F'in Steinberg. P-Stein!

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#21 Craig
October 04 2013, 04:48AM
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I really liked Backlund's game, he routinely made great decisions. Same goes for Brodie. I thught Sven had a good game, looked creative and dangerous, and I think could have been a real threat playing with Backlund and Hudler instead of TJ.

I was also impressed with ben street, that guy works his ass of which translates really well on the fourth line, especially playing with bouma.

Fun game to watch.

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#22 Jeff In Lethbridge
October 04 2013, 08:04AM
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Bouma fight: not sure how you felt, but when wilson flipped Bouma - I was horrified. I don't know how Bouma DIDN'T split his head open. Should there not be some sort of supplementary discipline for this? and where was the instigator?

Ramo: Seemed to be sliding around, over-committing a lot. was schooled in the shootout. very average at best.

Galiardi: in a face-palming, what were you thinking moment, he gave the game away. And was rewarded with shifts.

Really enjoyed the game, was very satisfied with the young guys and especially the energy and universal commitment to a single style and system. things we have not seen here for many years.

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#23 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 08:27AM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

"Galiardi: in a face-palming, what were you thinking moment, he gave the game away. And was rewarded with shifts."

To be fair, TJ was REALLY good after that moronic penalty. But yeah, I was baffled about him being out there on the next shift as well.

The thing that bothered me the most about the game was Sven and Sean didn't get a single shift after the Caps tied it (rather they didn't seem to; I'm not actually certain they didn't). This in spite of Baertschi being one of the better Flames out there (IMO). And Monahan was perfectly acceptable as well.

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#24 Craig
October 04 2013, 08:35AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

"Galiardi: in a face-palming, what were you thinking moment, he gave the game away. And was rewarded with shifts."

To be fair, TJ was REALLY good after that moronic penalty. But yeah, I was baffled about him being out there on the next shift as well.

The thing that bothered me the most about the game was Sven and Sean didn't get a single shift after the Caps tied it (rather they didn't seem to; I'm not actually certain they didn't). This in spite of Baertschi being one of the better Flames out there (IMO). And Monahan was perfectly acceptable as well.

They had a few shifts (and scoring chances) in the last couple of minutes of the game, but I agree that sending the kids out in OT would have been nice. an OT line of Sean, Sven, Brodie and Gio would have been awesome and silky smooth.

But they are kids, they were sheltered and they will have to earn every minute they get. 12 minutes a piece last night was an excellent wy to start.

I thought the thing that held that line back the most was playing for the most part with Butler and SOB. Of course that makes sense though considering they were being sheltered.

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#25 seve927
October 04 2013, 08:37AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

"Galiardi: in a face-palming, what were you thinking moment, he gave the game away. And was rewarded with shifts."

To be fair, TJ was REALLY good after that moronic penalty. But yeah, I was baffled about him being out there on the next shift as well.

The thing that bothered me the most about the game was Sven and Sean didn't get a single shift after the Caps tied it (rather they didn't seem to; I'm not actually certain they didn't). This in spite of Baertschi being one of the better Flames out there (IMO). And Monahan was perfectly acceptable as well.

Maher thought Monahan may have been 'shaken up' at some point last night, the reason for his reduced ice late.

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#26 piscera.infada
October 04 2013, 08:38AM
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Can we agree to give Ramo at least a handful, maybe even two handfuls, of regular season games before we all start piling on him as the next Leland Irving?

As far of the kids at the end of game. I get it, and I would have loved seeing them with the score tied, and especially in overtime. That said, I think we'll see it. Keep in mind, this is the first game of the season (Monahan's first game of his career). I'm not too worried about their ice time at this point. The Flames were on their heels for a bit there, and I'm not going to question the coaching staff on it this early in the season.

@Seve927

They said on TSN somewhere during the second that Monahan was getting stitches. Maybe that has a little bit to do with it.

@Craig

I also noticed in the third, that every time the Flames had that line out there the Caps immediately put Ovechkin on the ice. Not necessarily the best match-up for the Flames in a tie game, although Monahan made two great defensive plays on Ovechkin and then Backstrom immediately after. So that's something to build on.

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#27 TRAV
October 04 2013, 08:39AM
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That was fun to watch (other than losing of course). I liked the effort, aggressive forecheck and watching younger guys show what they can do. I honestly thought that Ramo was okay but not good enough. If we are going to win against teams that are better than us our goaltending has to be spectacular. Ours was okay. Agree with others that I would have liked to have seen kids with some pp time. You have to put players in positions to capitalize on their strengths and Sven is gifted offensively.

On a different note I will say that the Parros injury was scary. While I still think that you need to keep one of those guys on your team in the current NHL, it would not upset me to see the league make changes where these types of staged fights and fighters were no longer necessary. A serious and major injury will be followed by a lawsuit. I suspect that this will be the catalyst for change. There is too much evidence of the long term damage that blows to the head have on the brain. Let's hope that Parros is okay.

Looking forward to tonites game. Great to have hockey back with fantastic coverage and discussion here on Flamesnation!

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#28 Primo
October 04 2013, 08:41AM
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cunning_linguist wrote:

How the eff does Ben Street get PP time while Sven get's none (1 second...whoop-dee-doo)

Maybe I'm crazy, but I would venture a guess Sven didn't make this team based on his 3 zone play and shut-down winger reputation. 1 for 5 on the PP tonight, not terrible, but also not the kind of PP success that should lead Hartley to give all of our man advantage time to the same veterans over and over.

As for even strength, can someone who understands the game better than me explain what Sven and Sean did to earn less than 12 minutes of ice time? Seemed to me like they were holding their own possession wise...Is that just a function of Hartley getting nervous once our lead started slipping? I guess when the Flames say youth will be served this year they're referring to the amazing seats our kids get to watch the veterans play!

This is how Ben Street gets PP time.....plays all 3 zones effectively, heads up highly skilled play maker, takes a hit to set up a goal.....reminds me alot of Damond Langkow. Hope Hartley gives him a chance to prove himself!

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#29 Jeff In Lethbridge
October 04 2013, 09:07AM
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@piscera.infada

"Can we agree to give Ramo at least a handful, maybe even two handfuls, of regular season games before we all start piling on him as the next Leland Irving?"

While i thought his performance was average, I couldn't agree more - give him the lion's share of 20 to 30 games and see if he can find his .930 self!

I mean - they HAVE invested the money - what do they have to lose?

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#30 piscera.infada
October 04 2013, 09:11AM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

I was more speaking to the fans, not the team. The team's going to give him the starts regardless - they know they need to see what they have, even if it turns out to be terrible.

I just think if we're actually going to do this rebuild thing we can't just preach patience, we need to actually practice it - regardless of if Ramo has a shutout in his next game, or gets lit up for 25 goals.

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#31 Kevin R
October 04 2013, 09:27AM
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1 game but if we get to see consistently the effort, speed & some of the skills I saw last night, we are way way ahead of what I had to witness the last 3-4 years. I then will be looking forward to this rebuild.

Mark today on the calendar, officially we are ahead of the Canucks & Oilers :-)

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#32 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 09:36AM
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I say this with all due respect to the player, who I think will go down as the best forward in Flames history, but...

I didn't miss Jarome coasting around for 18-20 minutes last night.

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#33 kittensandcookies
October 04 2013, 09:46AM
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Good game. Team had lots of spunk and actually tried to play 65 minutes. I like spunk.

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#34 kittensandcookies
October 04 2013, 09:46AM
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Wait that didn't come out right.

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#35 Craig
October 04 2013, 09:49AM
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Ramo just has to be decent for the next two years until John Gillies swoops in with his gold plated pads and devil may care attitude, and saves this franchise.

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#36 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 10:37AM
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So apparently MacDonald is getting the start tonight. Horrendous decision. They label Ramo as their starter, and give him ONE game.

I hope MacDonald gets badly lit up in the first period and Ramo finishes the game.

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#37 piscera.infada
October 04 2013, 10:45AM
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@Baalzamon

I wouldn't read too much into it, back-to-back games and all. Schneider got the season opener yesterday so Brodeur could get the home opener.

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#38 FireOnIce
October 04 2013, 10:54AM
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@piscera.infada

And Schneider was craptastic to boot. Glorious.

Apparently Monahan took a shot off his ankle today and had to be helped off the ice. Two injuries in two days is not good for him.

I'm not surprised Ovechkin was being put out against the kids. If you have the advantage, use it - it's called coaching. Butter never did that and then he wondered why they lost so much.

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#39 kittensandcookies
October 04 2013, 11:03AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

So apparently MacDonald is getting the start tonight. Horrendous decision. They label Ramo as their starter, and give him ONE game.

I hope MacDonald gets badly lit up in the first period and Ramo finishes the game.

Flames are playing three games in four nights so it's not a surprise. I presume this means that Ramo gets the home start on Sunday.

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#40 Parallex
October 04 2013, 11:03AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

So apparently MacDonald is getting the start tonight. Horrendous decision. They label Ramo as their starter, and give him ONE game.

I hope MacDonald gets badly lit up in the first period and Ramo finishes the game.

It's the 2nd half of back-to-back road games with almost zero importance (in big picture terms)... if that's not a "play your back-up keeper" circumstance I don't know what is.

Relax. Ramo is still the starter we're just starting off the season with a traditional backup start as game two. Besides given the lighter workload leagues across the pond entail we'll probably be seeing the back-up 30ish times this year so as to not run Ramo down.

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#41 negrilcowboy
October 04 2013, 11:03AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I say this with all due respect to the player, who I think will go down as the best forward in Flames history, but...

I didn't miss Jarome coasting around for 18-20 minutes last night.

Amen brother, was thinking the exact same thought all game long. Amazing to see an entire flames crew buy into the coach's plan.

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#42 T&A4Flames
October 04 2013, 11:46AM
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FireOnIce wrote:

And Schneider was craptastic to boot. Glorious.

Apparently Monahan took a shot off his ankle today and had to be helped off the ice. Two injuries in two days is not good for him.

I'm not surprised Ovechkin was being put out against the kids. If you have the advantage, use it - it's called coaching. Butter never did that and then he wondered why they lost so much.

Regardless of Butter, they lost because they sucked.

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#43 everton fc
October 04 2013, 11:56AM
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TRAV wrote:

That was fun to watch (other than losing of course). I liked the effort, aggressive forecheck and watching younger guys show what they can do. I honestly thought that Ramo was okay but not good enough. If we are going to win against teams that are better than us our goaltending has to be spectacular. Ours was okay. Agree with others that I would have liked to have seen kids with some pp time. You have to put players in positions to capitalize on their strengths and Sven is gifted offensively.

On a different note I will say that the Parros injury was scary. While I still think that you need to keep one of those guys on your team in the current NHL, it would not upset me to see the league make changes where these types of staged fights and fighters were no longer necessary. A serious and major injury will be followed by a lawsuit. I suspect that this will be the catalyst for change. There is too much evidence of the long term damage that blows to the head have on the brain. Let's hope that Parros is okay.

Looking forward to tonites game. Great to have hockey back with fantastic coverage and discussion here on Flamesnation!

I see no one in the media crying for an end to Ultimate Fighting and MMA. Is the risk there not a big as a hockey fight? Staged, or otherwise...

That said, the staged stuff is getting old. Some of the great scrapper's of the 80's/90's could actually play hockey. Willi Plett, for one. Tocchett's another. And Terry O. Ditto Stan Jonathan. Paul Baxter. And so on. These guys put up points. Gary Roberts was over 250 PMs for years in the 80s. The guys now - Orr, Parros... And so on... They serve no purpose...

The guys mentioned above would scrap with their rivals... and to protect their teammates, meaning anyone was fair game. Some played on incredible lines. McSorley scored double digit goals multiple times. I hate the staged stuff. Then again, both Probert and Domi could actually play the game a bit.

Lucic is a throw back. So is Clarkson. These guys scrapping is okay by me, because it's usually a response to something that's happened on the ice.

I still say more short and long-term risks currently lives in MMA.

Somewhat related - Bouma was very close to having his nugget split open last evening when Wilson took him down tot he ice. I was shocked at just how close he was to having his head bounce of the ice. Very close call.

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#44 yomamen11
October 04 2013, 11:58AM
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One guy that played above average game was McGrattan. I know he will never be a point producer, but he didnt hurt the team yesterday, had an assist, draw a penalty and was battling for the puck like a warrior. I like his display last night.

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#45 everton fc
October 04 2013, 12:04PM
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yomamen11 wrote:

One guy that played above average game was McGrattan. I know he will never be a point producer, but he didnt hurt the team yesterday, had an assist, draw a penalty and was battling for the puck like a warrior. I like his display last night.

Yep. He's not a liability. And he may actually have more offencive upside these days, than Jackman.

He's changed his game a smidge - meaning, he seems to understand he needs to adapt if he doesn't want to end up shuttled between AB and BC. That's my take.

He's also changed his lifestyle. Another impact, me thinks. To me, if McG keeps playing this way, Jackman is certainly expendable. Heck, they're basically the same age.

Did you know his three goals last season was the best production he's had in his career? And in 19 games. Not to kid ourselves... But he seems to have changed his game to actually include hockey. A good thing.

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#46 Jeff Lebowski
October 04 2013, 12:09PM
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Backlund wasn't bad BUT he reached a level of consistent, strong play at the end of last year that hasn't shown up during training camp, preseason and MOST of last night's game. It started to turn better for him during later shifts.

The only way Ovi's second goal doesn't go in, is if Backlund doesn't lose the draw so clean. The release, velocity of his shot is 99.9th percentile stuff.

When Backlund is 'on' the puck is on a string, he doesn't dangle guys on end to end rushes, rather he sucks defenders at him then dishes with short, clever passes. I kind of felt he let Hudler control the puck too much. Backlund should be the guy who controls the puck, makes his wingers skate through seams in order to recieve his pass.

Backlund is instrumental to Calgary. If he takes another step forward this year he will accelerate the rebuild. First he has to get back to the sublime level he finished at last year and then build. Just think of the Flames' future centre depth chart...tantalizing.

It's coming for him. You could see it late in third.

The vets, although I do love em, just don't have the ability to consistently beat their match ups - 5v5 or special teams. They might sneak a few wins but over the course of the year...

Just look at the numbers of players on the ice during the goals (for and against) for Calgary. Vets because they have the ice time (which they should because you can't have kids getting their heads beat in).

For Baertschi and Monahan to make their greatest impact offensively, they have to do what all offensive players get to do, get some PP time. Hartley either wants them to earn it first, is easing them into these, or is just going with vets.

The best talent in the org is with the youth. Until the youth take over the special team units, Calgary is going to get beat more times than not in those situations.

5v3 for 50 seconds and rarely dangerous. Just one PP goal with all those chances and the game is over.

People are blaming, Gali or Ramo. It's the lack of vet execution during special teams-face offs-zone entries etc- that ultimately cost (and will continue to cost) Calgary the win.

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#47 MonsterPod
October 04 2013, 12:55PM
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everton fc wrote:

Yep. He's not a liability. And he may actually have more offencive upside these days, than Jackman.

He's changed his game a smidge - meaning, he seems to understand he needs to adapt if he doesn't want to end up shuttled between AB and BC. That's my take.

He's also changed his lifestyle. Another impact, me thinks. To me, if McG keeps playing this way, Jackman is certainly expendable. Heck, they're basically the same age.

Did you know his three goals last season was the best production he's had in his career? And in 19 games. Not to kid ourselves... But he seems to have changed his game to actually include hockey. A good thing.

I love McGrattan. I agree, I think he sees the writing on the wall, that the staged fights are on the way out and he wants to stick around. They said he came into training camp ripped. I also agree that Jackman is probably expendable, if only because he's not as good a fighter. But he has been an all heart guy for us for years, so it makes me sad.

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#48 MonsterPod
October 04 2013, 01:00PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I say this with all due respect to the player, who I think will go down as the best forward in Flames history, but...

I didn't miss Jarome coasting around for 18-20 minutes last night.

Waaaahhhh... I do. And I think our PP did too. But I get what you're saying. The effort was impressive last night. And the team needed to get younger and faster to pull it off. I was amazed at the OT dominance by the Flames. Gives me a bit of hope...

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#49 CDB
October 04 2013, 01:26PM
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Scoring chances really painted Russell in a favorable light compared to actual play. Funny how watching a game can really dampen some offseason optimism. I only really watched him when he had the puck in St Louis and CBJ.

Now the cost of a 5th round pick makes a lot more sense!

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#50 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 01:29PM
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@CDB

I didn't like Russell either. The Caps targeted him a bit and he looked completely over his head whenever they got their first line out there against him.

Course, ideally he's a guy who should be on the 3rd pairing, but oh well.

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