FGD: Touchdown

Justin Azevedo
November 18 2013 02:16PM

282/365: The Winnipeg Jets are ready for takeoff!

Via Salvador Maniquiz

The Flames will play their first game in Winnipeg in .78 Justins when they visit tonight to take on the Jets. It's already been quite the day in the Saddlesphere.

The Line-Up

Via Daily Faceoff:

  • Mike Cammalleri-Matt Stajan-Lee Stempniak
  • TJ Galiardi-Mikael Backlund-David Jones
  • Sven Baertschi-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler
  • Lance Bouma-Joe Colborne-Brian McGrattan
  • Chris Butler-TJ Brodie
  • Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
  • Ladislav Smid-Shane O’Brien
  • Reto Berra

Bob Hartley's odd infatuation with Reto Berra continues. I'm not totally sure what Berra has to do to lose his "starting" job, but man, if he hasn't done it by now... Berra's .888 EVSV% is just .004 points higher than Joey MacDonald (.884%). I don't think that should mean Berra gets sent down, but he shouldn't be first in the pecking order anymore. The most important thing for the Flames to do this year with respect to the goaltending position is to try and get Rämö and Berra close to 1000 ES shots each so we can get closer to determining their respective talent levels. As of right now, the Flames are -11 in expected ES goal differential (Rämö -2, MacDonald -5, Berra -4), which is essentially 4 standings points.  

Earlier in the day, it looked as though Sven Baertschi might be a healthy scratch - thankfully, someone gave ol' Bob a call and he came to his senses. There is exactly zero wrong with the way Baertschi is playing right now, and I find it confusing how little lenience people give to a guy who just turned 21 years old. If you're concerned about his lack of scoring, right now he's 9th among Flames forwards in PP time per game. Basically, that means he isn't getting PP time, which can make up as much as 40% of a good player's scoring. If you're concerned about his lack of defensive ability, you should be more concerned with the goalies behind him more than anything else. Get over it.

If the point of having guys like Brian McGrattan is to protect players, why was Lee Stempniak allowed to be essentially assaulted by Andrew Ference on Saturday? Shouldn't McGrattan's presence prevent other teams from taking cheap shots on a top-3 forward? He should be sitting and someone in Abbotsford should have that spot. 

Tim Jackman will sit. There was a day when he was a legit NHLer. No longer. Colborne is where he needs to be right now.

The Opposition

Via Daily Faceoff:

  • Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
  • Evander Kane-Olli Jokinen-Devin Setoguchi
  • Michael Frolik-Mark Scheifele-Matt Halischuk
  • Eric Tangradi-James Wright-Chris Thorburn
  • Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
  • Tobias Enstrom-Keaton Ellerby
  • Zach Redmond-Adam Pardy
  • Al Montoya

Yeah, that defensive set up is pretty horrible. However, it's not exactly by design: Jacob Trouba (4), Zach Bogosian (2) and Paul Postma (5) are all out long-term, meaning that Grant Clitsome is now playing the toughest the league has to offer. Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien are legit top-pairing guys. They're also basically the polar opposites of each other size-wise. Keaton Ellerby and Adam Pardy are, at best, replacement-level players right now.  

Alex Burmistrov would look mighty good playing C on that third line instead of Mark Scheifele. The latter former first-rounder has looked overwhelmed every time I've seen him this year and the underlying numbers back it up. He may yet be an impact forward at the NHL-level, but right now there's nothing positive at the NHL level for him. Ideally, Scheifele would be playing first line minutes in... well, wherever the Jets' farm team is located and Burmistrov would be helping the Jets have a third line that could actually produce.

Al Montoya will likely get the start tonight. He's looked good this season thus far (.917 EVSV%) but is being buoyed by a perfect 1.000 (12 for 12) when down a man. As a result, look for his overall SV% come down a little. I'm a little sad that Ondrej Pavelec isn't playing in this game, because thus far he's having the best season of his career. Previous to this, he's been toying with replacement level in every season he's played. Hopefully for the sake of the Jets and their fans his start is a legit improvement.

Also, you know, Olli Jokinen.

Via Colin Stuart

Sum It Up

The Jets, even though they're decimated by injuries, are likely a better team right now than the Flames are. That might not be true later in the season (depending on Pavelec) but who knows! Game time is 6PM on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The FAN.

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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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#1 maimster
November 18 2013, 02:23PM
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"Earlier in the day, it looked as though Sven Baertschi might be a healthy scratch - thankfully, someone gave ol' Bob a call and he came to his senses. There is exactly zero wrong with the way Baertschi is playing right now, and I find it confusing how little leaniance people give to a guy who just turned 21 years old. If you're concerned about his lack of scoring, right now he's 9th among Flames forwards in PP time per game. Basically, that means he isn't getting PP time, which can make up as much as 40% of a good player's scoring. If you're concerned about his lack of defensive ablility, you should be more concerned with the goalies behind him more than anything else. Get over it.

If the point of having guys like Brian McGrattan is to protect players, why was Lee Stempniak allowed to be essentially assualted by Andrew Ference on Saturday? Shouldn't McGrattan's presence prevent other teams from taking cheap shots on a top-3 forward? He should be sitting and someone in Abbotsford should have that spot."

SORRY TO CUT AND PASTE BUT THAT IS WORTH REPEATING.

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#2 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 02:33PM
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And of course visit our friends over at JN as well: http://jetsnation.ca/2013/11/18/jgd-23-all-roads-lead-to-georgia

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#3 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 18 2013, 03:18PM
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could someone please have Ken King or Jay Feaster give me a call about Sven and Backlund? Someone needs to answer to the people supporting this team as to why these guys are being singled out and treated this way.

ridiculous.

I will be interesting to see if during the next Edmonton game, there is any form of payback.

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#4 Rubberbadger
November 18 2013, 03:19PM
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@maimster

Same thing in the St Louis game... Backus crosschecked Stajan in the face and no one did anything about it...

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#5 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
November 18 2013, 03:27PM
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There are many times I totally disagree with Justin's take, but he absolutely nailed it with the Baertchi and Stempniak fiascos. The latter was an outright joke, given how we have two dancing bears.

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#6 Parallex
November 18 2013, 03:49PM
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@Rubberbadger

And let us not forget Carcillo elbowing Hudler behind the play and then later running Ramo.

It's beyond dumb that McGrattan keeps holding onto a roster spot and dressing for games at the expense of a better player when he doesn't even do what he's supposed to do (however dubious the value or existence of what he's supposed to do).

But go on Big Ern... go have a nice friendly fight over nothing at all and give your buddy a pat on the head afterwards and then do nothing when legit cheapshots occur. Really earning your keep there buddy.

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#7 Kurt
November 18 2013, 04:42PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

could someone please have Ken King or Jay Feaster give me a call about Sven and Backlund? Someone needs to answer to the people supporting this team as to why these guys are being singled out and treated this way.

ridiculous.

I will be interesting to see if during the next Edmonton game, there is any form of payback.

The unfair part of equation has nothing to do with mgmt. The unfair thing is how fans are treating Sven / Backs. We have collectively made them out to be "elite" prospects. These guys are probably good NHLers with long careers. But the organization has been completely devoid of elite talent for so long that fans have starting comparing these guys to Tavares, Hall, Landeskog etc.

Just because they are the best we got, doesn't make them elite.

They aren't. We need to get over that. And realize it takes time to develop players. Look at the sh1tshow down the road. Even #1 picks take time. Give Sven time. Let him develop at his pace. And let him become a good supporting skill player like he should be. But quit expecting a 21 year old middling 1st rounder out to be the next elite player on this team. Some hope we may have that in Monahan but even that is questionable.

I feel bad for the next wave of prospects we have coming up and the unrealistic expectations people have for them. Poirier, Janko, Johnny Hockey. I can only imagine how hard everyone will be on them if (when) they aren't 1st line NHL allstars.

We need 1st overall this year. Reinhart / Monahan up the middle is something you can build a team on.

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#8 mk
November 18 2013, 05:00PM
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@Kurt

I don't think anyone here is under the delusion that Backlund is elite - they're just arguing that he's a more effective player than Colbourne. Same thing with regards to Sven being more effective at hockey than Jackman/McGrattan.

Just because people say A>B does not mean they're saying A=elite.

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#9 cunning_linguist
November 18 2013, 05:05PM
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@Kurt

You are completely misunderstanding what the arguement is here...It's not about fans making Sven or Backs out to be elite AT ALL. It's about fans wanting Baertschi to be given a chance to develop. Sitting on the bench does nothing for him but hurt his confidence, take away a valuable opportunity to work on the deficiencies of his game and slow down his development curve towards whatever his potential may be, whether it is a 1st line winger or even just a serviceable NHLer.

With Backs, however, different story...Nobody is making him out to be elite either, the argument there is simply that he is one of the best (if not THE best) defensive forward on this team. Hartley is punishing a player who has been consistenly reliable, and telling him to be more offensive while at the same time giving him 4th line minutes with enforcers and washed up Jackmans. He seems to have escaped the doghouse for now, but he shouldn't have even been there in the first place.

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#10 cunning_linguist
November 18 2013, 05:08PM
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Also I would wager a guess that 28 out of 30 NHL head coaches would place Baertschi above Tim Jackman on the depth chart...the other two are Bob Hartley and Randy Carlyle...Don't be a Carlyle, Bob....Don't be a Carlyle...#Truculence

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#11 kittensandcookies
November 18 2013, 05:10PM
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And thusly we are firmly in the long dark tea time of the soul.

I feel like that cat holding onto that branch.

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#12 mk
November 18 2013, 05:31PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

And thusly we are firmly in the long dark tea time of the soul.

I feel like that cat holding onto that branch.

But on a positive note, we just acquired the top European player in the league (by Bieska-rating) from the Oilers:

http://canucksarmy.com/2013/11/18/canucks-army-contest-our-winning-entry-the-bieska-rating

:D Solid work over there...

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#13 Kurt
November 18 2013, 05:33PM
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cunning_linguist wrote:

Also I would wager a guess that 28 out of 30 NHL head coaches would place Baertschi above Tim Jackman on the depth chart...the other two are Bob Hartley and Randy Carlyle...Don't be a Carlyle, Bob....Don't be a Carlyle...#Truculence

Well I think the big issue here is expectations. We are heaping 'replace Iggy' expectations on marginal NHL prospects....

BUT, that issue aside, I guess the discrepancy is just in how best to handle development projects. I don't have a problem with making Sven earn his time. I'd be OK with sending him back to Abby. The last thing I want to see is anointing players who haven't earned it. We can look north to see how that works out.

The Coilers are a case study in how NOT to deal with young skill. They gave their kids 20+ minutes of ice without earning it. Guys who actually ARE elite (or at least potentially). And they suck, and are completely wasting their players.

I tend to think Detroit/Babcock would treat Sven pretty much exactly like Hartley is. I want our team to be more like Detroit and less like Edmonton. But thats just me.

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#14 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 18 2013, 06:01PM
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Kurt wrote:

The unfair part of equation has nothing to do with mgmt. The unfair thing is how fans are treating Sven / Backs. We have collectively made them out to be "elite" prospects. These guys are probably good NHLers with long careers. But the organization has been completely devoid of elite talent for so long that fans have starting comparing these guys to Tavares, Hall, Landeskog etc.

Just because they are the best we got, doesn't make them elite.

They aren't. We need to get over that. And realize it takes time to develop players. Look at the sh1tshow down the road. Even #1 picks take time. Give Sven time. Let him develop at his pace. And let him become a good supporting skill player like he should be. But quit expecting a 21 year old middling 1st rounder out to be the next elite player on this team. Some hope we may have that in Monahan but even that is questionable.

I feel bad for the next wave of prospects we have coming up and the unrealistic expectations people have for them. Poirier, Janko, Johnny Hockey. I can only imagine how hard everyone will be on them if (when) they aren't 1st line NHL allstars.

We need 1st overall this year. Reinhart / Monahan up the middle is something you can build a team on.

I'm not sure which fans you are talking about - I certainly have no "elite" expectations for either of them. In fact, I haven't heard anyone say either of them are expected to be elite. But they are both valuable moving forward in their respective roles.

I am not sure whether Backland is a 2nd or 3rd line center... but her certainly must be seen by everyone as more then a 4th liner, 5 minute per night guy.

I love Baertschi, but he still makes "jr." plays, especially in his pass attempts which often lead to turnovers. Nonetheless, he definitely has skill, especially stick handling, and I get uncomfortable when a coach continues to go after one guy, publicly.

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#15 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 18 2013, 06:03PM
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@Kurt

"....Well I think the big issue here is expectations. We are heaping 'replace Iggy' expectations on marginal NHL prospects...."

who the heck are the "we" of whom you speak??? this is bunk.

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#16 Kevin R
November 18 2013, 06:22PM
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Kurt wrote:

Well I think the big issue here is expectations. We are heaping 'replace Iggy' expectations on marginal NHL prospects....

BUT, that issue aside, I guess the discrepancy is just in how best to handle development projects. I don't have a problem with making Sven earn his time. I'd be OK with sending him back to Abby. The last thing I want to see is anointing players who haven't earned it. We can look north to see how that works out.

The Coilers are a case study in how NOT to deal with young skill. They gave their kids 20+ minutes of ice without earning it. Guys who actually ARE elite (or at least potentially). And they suck, and are completely wasting their players.

I tend to think Detroit/Babcock would treat Sven pretty much exactly like Hartley is. I want our team to be more like Detroit and less like Edmonton. But thats just me.

Kurt, most Flame fans are thirsting for elite replacements of JBO, Iggy & Kipper. I guess you don't appreciate things until they no longer work the same or are gone. I think most fans may have a little too high of hope, not expectation. I'm finding this tough love on Sven & Backs a little perplexing. Really, this is the year we should put up with major mistakes from several young players & totally ignore the win/loss record. There definitely is too schools out there as to which environment would be the best way to develop young players. That would be a chase your tail debate, but I agree, I dont mind having Sven earn his ice time, Backlund is just mind boggling in what is happening with him.

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#17 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 06:27PM
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Pretty much all Jets so far. Flames are lucky it's 2-0 or 3-1.

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#18 mattyc
November 18 2013, 06:40PM
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The Backlund line has looked poor to me so far. Also: I can't listen to telecast talk about Al Montoya without thinking "You kill my father - prepare to die!"

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#19 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 06:45PM
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Chances end up 7-3 Jets in the first. Flames escape tied which is the best news from the first.

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#20 Frasis
November 18 2013, 06:49PM
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Me thinkith the coach has 'lost the room'. When you publicly hint to bag (skate) 'em like Hartley did the other day before the Edmomton game, you have lost.

Interrsting to see how the teams work ethic goes once Gio is back. Feel he has more influence than the head coach.

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#21 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 07:02PM
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Just tuning in. How was the first period?

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#22 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 07:17PM
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They made that PP look easy. Nice work by Hudler and Russell.

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#23 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 07:17PM
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They made that PP look easy. Nice work by Hudler and Russell.

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#24 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 07:17PM
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Backlund needed to get the puck out. He coughed it up twice before the goal.

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#25 O REALLY NOW
November 18 2013, 07:20PM
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Yikes Backlund.

Two turnovers in our own defensive end and then gets totally lost on his check Frolik.

Ugh......

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#26 Burnward
November 18 2013, 07:21PM
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Not the way to earn the coach's trust there Mickis. Brutal.

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#27 MichaelD
November 18 2013, 07:21PM
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Backlund to the fourth line, Hartley's gonna hate that as any coach would. Doesn't help his name is Backlund though haha. That should have been hard out of the zone, not softly up the middle

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#28 Veggie Dog
November 18 2013, 07:25PM
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Uhg. I am getting sick of players crapping the bed on simple clearances when they have multiple chances.

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#29 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 07:29PM
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Hideous game from Backs today. I usually defend him, but he's had problems.

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#30 Colin.S
November 18 2013, 07:30PM
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Has Backlund even played since his two giveaways?

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#31 Burnward
November 18 2013, 07:35PM
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Berra's been awesome. Still a chance we have something here.

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#32 mattyc
November 18 2013, 07:46PM
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Yeah brutal game for Backs... Sigh...

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#33 Colin.S
November 18 2013, 07:46PM
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I don't know why we even bother playing certain players:

Colborne with only 5 minutes of ice through 2 periods, did he get injured in the game? Don't remember seeing or hearing anything. McGratton with LESS than 5 minutes of ice, something something toughness/grit/heart/fear...... SoB 5 minutes of ice time, something something toughness/hard to play against/yadda yadda yadda.

Don't get why Baertschi and Backlund keep getting benched but Colborne hasn't yet. Though Backlund hasn't exactly been good this game, Winnipegs goal mostly on him.

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#34 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 07:46PM
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Flames were better in that one, although almost all of their chances came on special teams. Jets win the count 9-7 in the second.

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#35 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 07:47PM
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@Colin.S

No and for a change it's a fair reaction from the coach.

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#36 Colin.S
November 18 2013, 07:55PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

No and for a change it's a fair reaction from the coach.

I hope he at least gets a chance in the third to redeem himself, he wasn't playing that well before mind you, but between him or Colborne I'm still taking Backlund, at least he is more than 50% on his faceoffs.

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#37 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 18 2013, 07:59PM
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is big Mac going to teach Bufflin a lesson?

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#38 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 08:02PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

is big Mac going to teach Bufflin a lesson?

I wouldn't count on it, he did see much TOI in the 2nd.

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#39 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 08:02PM
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@Colin.S

Yeah it happens. Hell glencross looked like that for 10 games.

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#40 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 18 2013, 08:05PM
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power play = pass to monahan in the slot everytime... 10 time so far tonight... and Mony's shot doesnt look overly dangerous

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#41 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 08:09PM
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Franchise has been really good tonight.

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#42 mattyc
November 18 2013, 08:16PM
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PP has looked good. I like Russell on the point. Have been really impressed with him. Even more so tonight not playing with Wideman.

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#43 Subversive
November 18 2013, 08:22PM
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Should Berra really be down already in that situation? Seems like it makes more sense to stay on your feet if you can't see the puck, or am I wrong?

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#44 Parallex
November 18 2013, 08:25PM
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Blah, sometimes I wish I knew where Berra thought the puck was going.

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#45 Subversive
November 18 2013, 08:26PM
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Now *that's* a goal!

Edit: And a nice pick, as I watch the replay

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#46 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 08:26PM
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Really good for Bouma. The guy gets a nice break.

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#47 ChinookArch
November 18 2013, 08:33PM
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I'm beginning to like how much other players hate Smid.

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#48 Kent Wilson
November 18 2013, 08:40PM
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Flames storming back in the third. Baertschi has had maybe his best game of the season.

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#49 clyde
November 18 2013, 08:42PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Flames storming back in the third. Baertschi has had maybe his best game of the season.

Sounds like the coach may have got his attention.

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#50 subz
November 18 2013, 08:43PM
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@Kent Wilson

he will be benched next game or maybe its backs turn

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