FGD: Rags vs Riches

Byron Bader
November 27 2013 12:31PM

 

(Welcome Byron Bader, a long time reader and new contributor here at FN! His first article is today's FGD)

The Blackhawks are as close to a dynasty as you’ll find in the modern, parity-filled, NHL. The reigning Stanley Cup champions are the only team to have won two Stanley Cups in close succession (three year span) since the 2004-05 lockout. In fact, they are the only team to have won two Stanley Cups since the 2004-05 lockout.

The Blackhawks are the reigning Presidents Trophy champs, having opened up last season by going on a 24-game point streak and setting a new NHL record. This year, they currently sit as the league’s best after the first quarter and barring extraordinary circumstances (e.g., Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Keith and Seabrook all going down with severe injuries at the same time), Chicago’s a good bet to finish this year as one of the league’s most elite teams. And given their ability to retain their greatest assets at reasonable cap hits and trade valuable pieces in cap-crunch years for high draft picks (e.g., Ladd, Byfuglien, Bolland, etc.) they will no doubt be an elite team for at least the next three to five years.

The Blackhawks and the Flames are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Chicago essentially started their rebuild when they drafted Keith and Seabrook in 2002 and 2003, respectively, and built their elite core with Toews and Kane in 2006 and 2007. Their rebuild officially came to an end when they added the free agent pieces of Campbell (now playing in Florida) in 2008 and Hossa in 2009 to bring them over the top.

All in all the rebuild took about five years (2003 to 2008) and there were some very lean years in that time. If the Blackhawks are the blueprint for success, the Flames are looking at about another four years until they become a good to great hockey team, having officially started their rebuild this year. Calgary may have sped that process up by a few years with some savvy late round selections recently as well as bringing in medium-high potential prospects/players for essentially nothing (e.g., 4th and 5th rounders).

If I’m a betting man, tonight's opponents are a safe bet for this one given the disparity in skill between the two teams. However, after some abysmal years against the Blackhawks in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, the Flames have competed hard against the Blackhawks recently. In fact the Flames won the last content on November 3, on the back of Reto Berra’s first start where he made 42 saves on 44 shots, posting a .955 save percentage. Chicago is going to be very aware of this, so barring another game-breaking performance from Berra, I don’t like the Flames’ chances.

The Lineup

Here’s how the lines should look tonight according to Pat Steinberg at the Fan960:

Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Bouma – Colborne – D. Jones
B. Jones – Backlund – McGrattan

Russell – Brodie
Wideman – Butler
O’Brien – Smid

Berra

Blair Jones is sizzling hot right now after returning from Abby to join the big club. He’s got one goal, one shot and a 100% shooting percentage. Right now he’s on pace for 60 shot and 60 goals. He might fall off a little bit, say 10 goals and 100 shots, but not by much. In all fairness, it’s great to see B. Jones finally get a chance after putting up 21 in 16 with Abbotsford. He looked comfortable on Friday. Now that Jackman has been shipped out to Anaheim, hopefully Jones stays up for a significant period before we start auditioning prospects later in the season and helps create an ok 4th line with either Backlund or Colborne and Brian McGrattan.

The Baertschi, Monahan, Hudler line, which appears to have been promoted from the third to the second unit now, will stay together. They looked good for the majority of the game against Florida, especially Baertschi who finally saw a little bit of PP time and put one in the back of the net on the PP.

Berra is going to get his 7th straight start. Hartley is giving Berra all the rope in the world right now to see what he really has in him. Ramo will likely draw back in on the back-to-back with LA and Anaheim over the weekend.

TJ Galiardi looks to be sitting again. I might be inclined to put his speed in for this game and sit Bouma or McGrats but Harts hasn’t called me for my advice yet.


Galiardi's out with back spasms.  

The Opposition

Patrick Sharp – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad – Michael Handzus – Patrick Kane
Kris Versteeg – Brandon Pirri – Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Johnny Oduya
Nick Leddy – Sheldon Brookbank

Antti Raanta

The Blackhawks have one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. Any team where Marcus Kruger is your 4th centreman, Patrick Kane plays on your second line and Nick Leddy serves on the 3rd d-pairing should be feared and they will be tonight.

Chicago re-acquired Kris Versteeg just under two weeks ago (while also getting Florida to keep half of his salary, the dirty buggers). He was ecstatic to leave Florida and return to Chicago where he started his career and won a Stanley Cup in 2010. He started off playing on a line with Kane and put up a few points in his first few games. However, after the initial excitement of returning to the Windy City, his production has trailed off a little and he’s slid down to the third line for the time being. That could change during the game, however.

Hossa, after attending to some personal matters, is back in the lineup and will likely be with Toews and Sharp. That doesn’t help the Flames chances.

Looks like Antti Raanta will get his first start in the bigs tonight. The Blackhawks signed the rookie Raanta in the summer. They brought him up recently to serve as Corey Crawford’s backup when Khabibulin went down with an injury. He officially made his debut on November 19, 2013, when he played two plus periods against Colorado in relief of Corey Crawford. He allowed two goals on 16 shots in 47 minutes of action and Chicago lost 5-1.

Sum It Up

The game has nearly zero implications in the standings. The Blackhawks are vying for the President’s Trophy and another Stanley Cup and the Flames are vying for good efforts and a Top 3 pick at the 2014 draft. Here’s hoping for an exciting game. The Flames have had plenty of rest, being off since Friday, and should be ready to go. If the Flames show up from the beginning and give it their all it could be a close game, maybe even a 4th straight extra time appearance for the Flames. If the Flames take a period off, the Blackhawks may very well rip them apart with their offensive skill. The teams have had some great matchups over the past few years so it could be a good one.

Note: Don’t forget the 8pm start time.

Also: join us for a live chat tonight!!

Fb039371a1a1b706383cb72243cb4446
Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader
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#1 mk
November 27 2013, 12:44PM
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I vaguely remember a game a couple years ago when the Flames looked like they were turning their season around and were up 5-1 or 5-0 against the Hawks. Final score 6-5 Hawks.

Its super fun watching the Hawks, just not when they're running your own team.

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#2 BitGeek
November 27 2013, 12:44PM
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Good work Byron Bader and welcome to Flames Nation.

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#3 John
November 27 2013, 01:02PM
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I bet the Hawks jump early on the Flames, like a thug on a rich old lady in a dark alley. Yeah, i've picked Chicago players this week in the pool. Lol.

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#4 Flames
November 27 2013, 01:44PM
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What's the event that's happening?

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#5 jonahgo
November 27 2013, 01:46PM
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mk wrote:

I vaguely remember a game a couple years ago when the Flames looked like they were turning their season around and were up 5-1 or 5-0 against the Hawks. Final score 6-5 Hawks.

Its super fun watching the Hawks, just not when they're running your own team.

i was at that game...

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#6 prendrefeu
November 27 2013, 01:51PM
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Flames wrote:

What's the event that's happening?

Live chat. Much easier than hitting 'reload' to see the latest comments.

We'll see if certain persons also sign off their chat messages with their initials like they do their posts.

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#7 Subversive
November 27 2013, 01:54PM
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I see great potential in you, Bader. Welcome aboard. Also, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the coach starts calling.

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#8 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 27 2013, 02:04PM
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prendrefeu wrote:

Live chat. Much easier than hitting 'reload' to see the latest comments.

We'll see if certain persons also sign off their chat messages with their initials like they do their posts.

I'm not the only one that rolls his eyes and/or groans when he sees someone initial his web past? it's so.... well, anyway, let's just say odd.

:-D

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#10 schevvy
November 27 2013, 02:16PM
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Oh man live chat tonight this is gonna be good

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#11 Baceda
November 27 2013, 02:25PM
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"TJ Galiardi looks to be sitting again. I might be inclined to put his speed in for this game and sit Bouma or McGrats but Harts hasn’t called me for my advice yet."

Galiardi is not a healthy scratch, he's out with back problems.

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#13 O REALLY NOW
November 27 2013, 03:08PM
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I watched the Hawks play the Oilers last night. Once the Hawks went up 4-1, they were pretty content in just shutting down the Oilers at the blue line for the rest of the night. As long as Calgary plays a full 60 minutes and doesn't let them get too much ahead, it should be a good game.

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#14 Ryan Pike
November 27 2013, 03:23PM
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Welcome to Byron!

Always exciting when the Champs come to town. Very interested in seeing how the Flames respond to the challenge.

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#15 Lober
November 27 2013, 03:55PM
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LOL "His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart." Probably my new favorite thing ever.

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#16 Charleston Kingsley
November 27 2013, 03:55PM
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Yeah, I'd say the Hawks are likely the league's best team at the moment, St.Louis might have something to say about that though.

We're going to have to take advantage of Chicago's goaltender starting his first career game.

Predictions

Blair Jones, Lee Stempniak, and Jiri Hudler score goals tonight all on penalty shots and break aways. Triple dekes.

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#17 mk
November 27 2013, 04:10PM
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Charleston Kingsley wrote:

Yeah, I'd say the Hawks are likely the league's best team at the moment, St.Louis might have something to say about that though.

We're going to have to take advantage of Chicago's goaltender starting his first career game.

Predictions

Blair Jones, Lee Stempniak, and Jiri Hudler score goals tonight all on penalty shots and break aways. Triple dekes.

I think you mean Blair Jones, Blair Jones, and Blair Jones...

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#18 Scary Gary
November 27 2013, 04:10PM
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Nice work Byron!

The hawks have a lot of fire power, unless Raanta is atrocious (0.875%) we could be in for a long night.

Thoughts on Dmitri Orlov's potential availability?

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#19 T&A4Flames
November 27 2013, 04:21PM
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Scary Gary wrote:

Nice work Byron!

The hawks have a lot of fire power, unless Raanta is atrocious (0.875%) we could be in for a long night.

Thoughts on Dmitri Orlov's potential availability?

Could be a good pick up but I wouldnt give too much for him.

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#20 Christian Roatis
November 27 2013, 05:17PM
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Good read, welcome Byron!

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#21 RKD
November 27 2013, 06:57PM
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First Dreger said 4-5 teams were kicking the tires on Backlund, then said the Flames were moving him. Yesterday, he said Carolina has made an offer on Backlund. However, there isn't a fit yet. The Flames want a comparable player back and of similar age. I wonder what Rutherford offered Feaster?

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#22 Burnward
November 27 2013, 07:38PM
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I had a dream last night I was the GM of the Flames.

Best dream ever.

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#23 Craig
November 27 2013, 08:04PM
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Burnward wrote:

I had a dream last night I was the GM of the Flames.

Best dream ever.

How loose was your tie...?

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#24 Burnward
November 27 2013, 08:24PM
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@Craig

HAHAHA. Nicely played.

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#25 mk
November 27 2013, 08:58PM
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I like when McGrattan fights - then he won't be playing for a little while at least. :)

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#26 Kevin R
November 27 2013, 10:03PM
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RKD wrote:

First Dreger said 4-5 teams were kicking the tires on Backlund, then said the Flames were moving him. Yesterday, he said Carolina has made an offer on Backlund. However, there isn't a fit yet. The Flames want a comparable player back and of similar age. I wonder what Rutherford offered Feaster?

Wonder if names like Ruutu & Gleason are in the conversation.

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#27 the forgotten man
November 27 2013, 10:55PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Wonder if names like Ruutu & Gleason are in the conversation.

Yeah, put Backlund out of his misery...I almost want them to trade him to see if he truly is useless or just mismanaged by the Flames.

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#28 Jibmeister
November 27 2013, 11:16PM
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Why did Butler lead in TOI? Why?

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#29 Burnward
November 27 2013, 11:16PM
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I sense big trade coming. Either that or buffalo.

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#30 aloudoun
November 27 2013, 11:20PM
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What are everyones thoughts on taking Erat off Washingtons hands?

Erat and a 1st for Stempniak (I'm probably way off)

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#31 lrgnav
November 27 2013, 11:37PM
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Team has Too many stick checking D-men. Really how many do we need. last goal is a clear example of how not to tie up a offensive player in your zone with 19 seconds to go.

I have seen this way too often this year. More interested in stick checking and blocking. Not physical enough

More of the same for the rest of the year folks. Poor PK, PP,can't hold a lead, veterans making rookie mistakes. What is cammy doing making a cross ice pass late in the game? He did this several times this year leading to goals against.

Cammy up the boards, work the corners you have a two goal lead make them work for it. And for god sake step into them to at least slow them down and prevent breakout with a trailer. Hartley should keep rewarding the minus players with more ice time

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