FGD: Back To Basics

Ryan Pike
November 20 2013 01:08PM

After picking up a win at MTS Centre, the Calgary Flames (7-11-3) return home to kick off a three-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The puck drops at 8pm MT on Sportsnet West and Fan 960, probably due to wacky TSN rules or something. It's a Wednesday game, so I assumed it was a TSN game, but I was wrong. It's on Sportsnet West, coincidentally after a Subway Super Series game featuring Russia (and Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov) and the QMJHL (featuring Flames prospect Emile Poirier).

After a great October, the Flames kicked off November with a few uneven (and a few plain ugly) games. The club won a track meet on Monday night against another team with at-times wonky defensive zone play. They'll face another tonight in Columbus, who they beat in Ohio in the second game of the regular season. Hopefully the team can play a more consistent 60 minutes.

THE LINE-UP

From our pals at Daily Faceoff...

Cammalleri (A) – Stajan (A) – Stempniak (A)
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Galiardi – Colborne – Jones
Bouma – Backlund – McGrattan

Russell – Brodie
Butler – Wideman
Smid – O'Brien

Berra
Ramo

The Flames return home from Winnipeg with two points, so they hope to continue their moderate success as they embark upon a three game homestand featuring the Jacket, lowly Florida, four days off, and then a visit from the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Outside of bumping Backlund, who struggled in Winnipeg, to the fourth line, not many changes. Jackman and Smith sit again, while Reto Berra makes his eighth start. Fun fact, if he goes the distance tonight, he'll match Karri Ramo's minutes-played so far this season, which may be the point of starting him again. That and he was pretty solid in Winnipeg in the win, particularly in the shootout.

THE OPPOSITION

Daily Faceoff has lines for Columbus...

Foligno – Johansen – Umberger
Jenner – Anisimov – Atkinson
MacKenzie – Letestu – Comeau
Skille – Chaput – Boll

Johnson – Tyutin
Murray – Wisniewski
Nikitin – Savard

Bobrovsky
McElhinney

The Jackets were embarrassed by the lowly Edmonton Oilers last night up in Rexall, setting up the rarest of things this NHL season – a meeting between teams that have lost to Edmonton. Nobody looked particularly good for Columbus last night, so not many changes. Every single player was minus-1 (Savard and Nikitin were minus-2 each) and Bobrovsky got lit up for four goals, so going back with the same line-up (aside from Jack Skille subbing in for Brandon Dubinsky) gives everyone a mulligan.

The Jackets haven't been terrible this season, with a 7-11-3 start that's identical to Calgary's, but the move East hasn't helped them much and the fact that they occupy the basement in the putrid Metropolitan Division probably doesn't sit well with them. The thought is that the one-sided drubbing from the Oilers may serve as a wake-up call, so expect them to come out strong from the get-go.

Columbus is without Nathan Horton, Marian Gaborik and Matt Calvert, who are on the IR, and will be without Brandon Dubinsky. Compared to the group Calgary beat in early October, the Jackets are thinner and more beaten up.

SUM IT UP

The Flames face off against an opponent they've already beaten on the road. This time they'll have last change and have the benefit of being rested, particularly compared to their opponents. There should be no excuses for a flat game for the home side.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#51 Mac962
November 20 2013, 03:05PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

not sure if flames benefit from a "fragile, tired" team, or will suffer the wrath of a team that was humiliated and lost, not because the other team was very good (worst in the NHL) but because they all collectively laid an egg and didn't show up.

Hey Geoff , it really is spelled GEOFF isnt it ?

Worst team in the NHL ? and you lost to them, lol. The Shames will soon take the title, and will be responsible for the turnaround of the Oilers season. You are Jealous of the Oil admit it. Sure we sucked for the first 20 - but the upside is huge and will come to fruition well before the pathetic no Talent flames. Other than Monahan, he is special. " Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear" The Flames have no future - nothing to look forward to.

You spent too much time in the Lethbridge Wind Geoff. I love reading your comments when you TROLL Like i am, just looking for you. Goof - oops i mean Geoff. Damn.

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#52 Kurt
November 20 2013, 05:41PM
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? wrote:

See, Valentines Day Massacre vs Colorado

I believe the final score was 9-1 Flames. And it was only a few seasons ago

Oh ya! I do remember that one! I think it was on the same day Forsberg announced his retirement.

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#53 Lober
November 20 2013, 06:00PM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

I agree that simply having McGrattan dressed does not do much of anything except entertain the fight fans. This is why Hartley needs to tell McGrattan if you wanna dress you might have to take the odd fine and that if he takes a penalty or two sending a message that it is nothing to worry about. I would have no Problem McGrattan taking a penalty to stand up for a teammate (such as Stemp the other night) and obviously there is a time and place for everything.

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#54 TRAV
November 20 2013, 06:30PM
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Johnny G with a goal and an assist so far against Harvard.

Hate to bring it up but any reports on Janko lately. Any hope in making team Canada. I imagine likely not but just wondered if others had heard speculation.

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#55 RexLibris
November 20 2013, 07:07PM
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Very curious to see how Columbus responds tonight and how the Flames approach them.

I'm guessing one of the Flames' goals will be to crash Bobrovsky early and get his game off on the wrong foot.

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#56 Sincity1976
November 20 2013, 07:23PM
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Not sure how Berra has earned an 8 to 1 start ratio over Ramo. Seems like one goalie is going to be ruined due to a heavy workload and the other for too much time on the bench.

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#57 ChinookArch
November 20 2013, 07:27PM
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@Kurt

Peter Mahr had a this date in Flames history talking about joe Niewendyks 4 goal performance against the Noridiques. 9 - 1 was the final score.

The 80's were full of blowout performances. That ended with the Devils and the large acceptance of the trap.

God I hate the trap.

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#58 wot96
November 20 2013, 07:28PM
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Poirier is looking like a super-pest type.

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#59 Kent Wilson
November 20 2013, 07:48PM
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@TRAV

Lambert was on the fan this morning. He watched Janko this weekend and apparently he did nothing...no points, no shots.

He said the kid is still very up and down. Looks good some games, but does nothing for long stretches as well. He has 7 points in 11 games now.

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#60 Jeff
November 20 2013, 08:01PM
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Jackman on the ice for warm ups. ..

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#61 RexLibris
November 20 2013, 08:20PM
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@Kent Wilson

That Lambert, just can't find anything nice to say...j/k

;)

This is the beginning of year two for Jankowski, correct? While I tend to argue that consistency is one of the last lessons that junior-age players seem to learn, this is a season where he needs to begin to develop the ability to at least run with the competition at this level. He need not dominate, perhaps, but competency and the ability to produce at a league average level have to be expectations at this stage.

One factor that I haven't heard much of is the coaching system he's playing under. It'd be interesting to know if some of this is systems, deployment, learning curve, etc.

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#62 Kent Wilson
November 20 2013, 08:29PM
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Yeesh. Flat, flat period from the Flames so far. Wideman looks particularly awful.

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#63 Kent Wilson
November 20 2013, 08:41PM
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Chances 7-2 Jackets.

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#64 mattyc
November 20 2013, 08:42PM
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That Berra save is about 99.999% luck.

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#65 mattyc
November 20 2013, 08:43PM
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@Kent Wilson

He's bobbled the puck a bunch of times (as well as the one that resulted in the goal). Can we call it the Butler(fly) Effect?

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#66 TRAV
November 20 2013, 08:44PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Lambert was on the fan this morning. He watched Janko this weekend and apparently he did nothing...no points, no shots.

He said the kid is still very up and down. Looks good some games, but does nothing for long stretches as well. He has 7 points in 11 games now.

As much as I'd like to blame that on Lambert being negative those stats tell a pretty convincing tale. I remember Feaster said at development camp that they wanted him to step his game up and start seeing himself as an elite player on a regular basis.

Thanks for the info.

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#67 Kent Wilson
November 20 2013, 08:48PM
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@jeremywilhelm

I thought that while watching the highlights tonight too.

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#68 Kent Wilson
November 20 2013, 09:09PM
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Zero scoring chances so far in the second period. For both teams.

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#69 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 20 2013, 09:32PM
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why on earth are the Flames skating to the red line and dumping it in... wow takes me back two years to the pathetic days

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#70 Kent Wilson
November 20 2013, 09:33PM
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Chances 2-2 in the second. Jackets already trapping in earnest and Flames can't move the puck with any kind of efficiency at all.

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#71 SmellOfVictory
November 20 2013, 09:39PM
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Not using it as an excuse per se, but does anyone know how long time change effects normally last on someone? I know teams swapping timezones tend to do worse if it's same day or following day; no idea if it would carry as far as two days later.

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#72 SmellOfVictory
November 20 2013, 09:47PM
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Burnward wrote:

Thank god the Oilers don't have Seguin, Landeskog and Murray.

Murray is the only appreciable upgrade, I think. Lando is better than RNH currently, but I could see that easily changing in the near future.

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#73 Burnward
November 20 2013, 09:55PM
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You kidding me Monahan? I love this kid.

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#74 SmellOfVictory
November 20 2013, 09:58PM
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Brent G. wrote:

RNH has never done anything to impress me. I've never seen him show why he was a first overall pick. I was at the game last night and he looked really small. Definitely not a $6 million player at this point.

Definitely not right now. They jumped the gun on that contract. But he's got a lot of potential still.

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#75 MichaelD
November 20 2013, 09:58PM
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@Burnward

I would agree, and not just cause I hate the oilers. I was a fan of sequin over hall even before they were drafted, Landeskog is one of my favourite players for how he plays the game. And realistically Edmonton could probably use Murray more then Yakupov

OH yeah Colbourne! right on

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#76 Burnward
November 20 2013, 09:58PM
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Yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhooooooooooo!

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#77 Burnward
November 20 2013, 10:00PM
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@MichaelD

Those would have been the right picks for them, I think. Not for every team...but those are the kids that would have been the way to go for the Oil.

Ah well, hindsight and the such.

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#78 Burnward
November 20 2013, 10:02PM
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@MichaelD

This is really the firs time I've seen Murray play as well. That kid is unreal.

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#79 MichaelD
November 20 2013, 10:06PM
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@Burnward

Yeah well Hall makes sense over sequin, and I think maybe the skill has too good to pass up on the other two, but man Landsokog and Murray would look really good in Edmonton right now

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#80 MichaelD
November 20 2013, 10:11PM
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@MichaelD

This game is starting to actually turn into a game now though

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#81 RKD
November 20 2013, 10:34PM
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At least we got a point, the Blue Jackets must have been steaming after that 7-0 beatdown last night from the Oilers. The Flames could have easily folded but they hung tough the whole game.

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#82 Burnward
November 20 2013, 10:44PM
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Ah well. A point is a point is a point.

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#83 mattyc
November 20 2013, 10:50PM
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@MichaelD

I agree the 2 on 1 was misplayed by Smid - but man, that goalie is out in non man's land so quick.

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#84 exsanguinator
November 20 2013, 10:58PM
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mattyc wrote:

I agree the 2 on 1 was misplayed by Smid - but man, that goalie is out in non man's land so quick.

How the hell did he get out there so fast? I was not expecting that. Perhaps Smid wouldn't have been in the way if Berra was in the bloody net.

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#85 Derzie
November 20 2013, 11:00PM
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We suck again! - Schneider in Waterboy

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#86 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 20 2013, 11:00PM
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maybe its time to run a piece on the projected top 5 draft pick in 2014, and updates on the farm.

what ddo you bet sven gets more tough love?

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#87 Captain Ron
November 20 2013, 11:19PM
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Byron Bader wrote:

3 First Overall selections in a row and five years of scraping the bottom of the pool should eventually turn around quicker than a team just starting a rebuild. Yes. In theory.

The oilers did a fantastic job of getting two beautiful NHL94 glitch goals to take the last game against the flames. They're on their way with esso now.

"How'd they finish. Dead last. Yeah they have good players though" - Shooter McGavin ... talking about the oilers

I'm propping you for the Shooter McGavin reference. Haha well done.

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#88 Captain Ron
November 20 2013, 11:25PM
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thymebalm wrote:

What a central-asian fire drill that was.

Don't you mean Chinese fire drill?

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