FGD: Looking for a Deal in Disneyland

Ryan Pike
November 29 2013 10:33AM

The day after American Thanksgiving is best known as Black Friday, a day where bargain-hunters wake up early to hunt for deals. The Calgary Flames (8-12-4) are no different, as they're up early in Orange County for a 2pm MT matinee date with the Anaheim Ducks (17-7-3), and it's not even the earliest hockey game of the day. It's on Sportsnet's various media properties. The Flames' bad record in the Honda Center is the stuff of legend, as they haven't won in 17 visits to Anaheim. The last visit preceded their run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004.

Moreover, the Flames are suddenly mired in a streak of bad luck, both on the ice and off. Blown leads, bad starts and a rash of injuries have left Calgary reeling. A win in Anaheim would go a long way towards keeping morale on an upward tick.

THE LINE-UP

Max Reinhart and Paul Byron joined the team in the last 24 hours, as T.J. Galiardi, Sean Monahan and Denis Wideman are on the shelf. With a lack of full line rushes due to injuries and the schedule, here's my guess.

Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
Baertschi – Backlund - Hudler
Bouma – Colborne – D. Jones
Reinhart – B. Jones – McGrattan/Byron

Russell – Brodie
Butler – Smid
Breen/O'Brien – Smith

Berra
Ramo

Five regulars are out for Calgary (Galiardi, Glencross, Monahan, Giordano, Wideman) and I'd expect Byron to play one of the next two games, so he'll probably sit to get acclimatized with his teammates before playing. As mentioned before, the Flames never, ever win in Anaheim.

Ever.

They're also a not-great road team in general, with a 4-7-1 record (worst in the West) away from home. The line-up is also super-depleted, most notably their defense, which wasn't great shakes to begin with. If you took the blueline group of a team expected to flirt with 30th place and then took away two of the three best players from that group, well, it'd look like this one.

Optimism: the penalty-kill's been pretty good over the last stretch.

THE OPPOSITION

After filling up on turkey yesterday, the Ducks hope to fill up on the Flames today. Lines from Daily Faceoff:

Penner – Getzlaf – Perry
Palmieri – Perreault – Selanne
Cogliano – Koivu – Winnik
Beleskey – Bonino – Jackman

Fowler – Lovejoy
Yonkman – Vatanen
Fistric – Lindholm

Hiller
Andersen

Like Calgary, five regulars are out (Allen, Souray, Silferberg, Beauchemin, Sbisa, Fasth), but the Ducks have more depth and have been more or less fine lately. They host in a bit of a “slide” (by their standards), having gone .500 over their last 10 and struggling to score a lot.

Saku Koivu is a game-time decision due to an injury he's recovering from, but he's expected to play. He adds a bit more firepower to a group that boasts size, speed, talent, and Tim Jackman – traded to the Ducks last week. Perhaps we see a Jackman/McGrattan face-punching battle?

SUM IT UP

The odds are stacked against the Flames: afternoon game, on the road, in Anaheim, against a team hoping to get back on track, with a line-up that's even more depleted by injuries than beforehand. This 36 hours will definitely test Calgary's mental fortitude. The upside is that very few on-lookers expect the Flames to win given the circumstances, so there's no better time than right now for this group to buckle down, dig in and shock the world with a pair of good performances in SoCal.

And there would be no better way to start that than with a win against the Ducks today.

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Now in his fourth 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 and the Wrestling Observer.
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#51 SmellOfVictory
November 29 2013, 03:47PM
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Carlizzle wrote:

Did I hear that right? Did Rob Kerr actually say that Calgary has only drawn three PP opportunities over the last 3 games? I wonder if they will ever get a PP on this mini road trip.

Byron will draw some because he's tiny and sucks. Guaranteed he'll get "tripped" or something at least once.

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#52 yomamen11
November 29 2013, 03:49PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Berra is big and not much else. Terrible, terrible goaltender. Do we finally see Ramo again?

Oh well, we don't need a real goalie until 2016 season.

Do the Flames reconsider their European strategy? Cvervenka, Ramo, Berra - all billed as the best in the world outside the NHL and all 3 are nowhere close to what was hoped for.

Iam all for Berra. That first goal goes all on him thats the fact, but other facts is: Flames get buttkicked in game and after two periods Hiller is 87,50% and Berra 86.21%.

This same thing happend game after game. He gets some stupid goals I agree, but Flames usually lost the game by wide margin in shots agains. Thats difficult situation for all goalies especially for european rookie goalie.

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#53 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 03:50PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

why doesnt mcgratton slap someone around..

Amen to that.

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#54 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 03:54PM
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I know that Paul Byron is not playing in this game, but, when he plays tomorrow, who sits?

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#55 MichaelD
November 29 2013, 03:58PM
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@Carlizzle

Most people will want McGrattan, realistically it'll probably be Reinhart, just cycle through the call ups is my expectation

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#56 Kurt
November 29 2013, 04:03PM
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Avalain wrote:

Well, I don't know about that. What's wrong with looking everywhere for talent? It's not like we gave up a 1st overall pick for Berra. Also, they really did not seem to go off the board with Monahan. In fact, Poirier seems like a slightly better pick over Klimchuk at this point, and Klimchuk was more "on the board" than Poirier. So he took a long shot on a big, talented center who was a late bloomer (in terms of size)? At a time when Calgary was having a chronic problem finding good centers?

Putting faith in college players who may or may not pan out sounds a lot like putting faith in teenagers who may or may not pan out. Nothing is a sure thing unless you're drafting in the top 3 or so.

Finally, I just don't understand the whole "out smart all the other GMs" concept. Or why this is bad. Do we want our GM to be the middle-of-the-pack kind of guy? Should he never take a chance with any trades or just always take the safe choice? I agree that there is an issue with Feasters optics, where he tries to oversell some of his trades. The idea that he shouldn't be using everything available to him in order to improve the team is crazy, I think.

First off... @chillout - you need to chillout

@Avalain - don't get me wrong. I agree with you. I like creativity. But not at the expense of a good solid bluechip rebuild plan. I feel like at times this team is running around with its head cut off trying to find a way to short circuit things.

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#57 MichaelD
November 29 2013, 04:13PM
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@Kurt

I don't understand? The Chervenka signing was a one year shot in the dark when a win now mentality was still hanging around. Berra was part of a deal with two prospects which is in line with a rebuild. We acquired Ramo's rights a few years ago and the only way to bring him to north america was money, which he had.

What part is an example of management running around with it's head cut off?

Jankowski is about the only shot in the dark

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#58 yomamen11
November 29 2013, 04:17PM
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Butler...

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#59 chillout
November 29 2013, 04:24PM
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@Kurt

hmmmm still preeeeeetty sure you don't have a damn clue what you are talking about. You should stop now while you're behind.

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#60 Johnnydapunk
November 29 2013, 04:32PM
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As I have written before here that I'm an Oil fan but also a huge fan of Berra so I don't come here to be a dick or anything of the sort.

I'm watching the game and I think the biggest mistake the Flames made was bringing Berra up so quickly before he got some serious time in North America. The decent euro goalies usually spend a season or two in the minors before coming up so they can get used to the style of play and rink at a slower speed.

I can only guess as I have only been half paying attention to the Flames goaltending situation and it seemed like the management was more pissed off with MacDonald as he didn't come to camp in the best shape despite having the number one job to lose and now being in a position where unless they wish to lose Berra or even find someone to take the weirdly high paying contract for Rämö (though looking at his KHL numbers, I can now see why he is being paid so much ) the Flames are stuck with the decision they have made since Berra will improve, and Rämö should as well eventually.

All I can suggest is just enjoy the season as much as you can and try to be patient with your goaltending as it will get better with time.

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#61 Kurt
November 29 2013, 04:35PM
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MichaelD wrote:

I don't understand? The Chervenka signing was a one year shot in the dark when a win now mentality was still hanging around. Berra was part of a deal with two prospects which is in line with a rebuild. We acquired Ramo's rights a few years ago and the only way to bring him to north america was money, which he had.

What part is an example of management running around with it's head cut off?

Jankowski is about the only shot in the dark

We are where we are today not because of a plan by Feaster, but because he failed miserably. He openly insisted he would never rebuild, desperately tried to avoid it. He signed free agents from all around the world and the RoR debacle to avoid rebuilding. He waited until JBo & Iggy were worth nothing before he moved them. This rebuild was forced down his throat because of incompetence, failure and unplanned suckery. To me thats head cut off.

If we got RoR we wouldn't have Monahan today. We probably wouldn't have traded Iggy or JBo either so we might not have Poirier or Klimchuk either.

We still would have missed the playoffs, Iggy & Jbo would have walked in the summer. Today we'd have the same team + RoR - Monahan - Poirier - Klimchuk

Thank goodness that didn't work out.... I get there are lots of moving parts, maybe RoR would have worked out better. But logically that was head on collision we missed because Feaster failed.

I'm encouraged by the last few months. But history tells me to be nervous with the current mgmt group. Thats my opinion...

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#62 MichaelD
November 29 2013, 04:53PM
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@Kurt

Well I think that's pretty nieve. If your following, it was only in the last year where a rebuild was made official.

Feaster and the management group are fully responsible for creating the prospect depth, and I might add they quietly did this while under orders from owners to win.

The reason the ROR debacle happened was because Feaster was under pressure to win. The entire organization had a misunderstanding the rules (I am willing to forgive that). You can't use that was a counter argument.

I just don't understand where your coming from. I can understand the reason for every move being made.

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#63 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 04:58PM
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PP Anaheim-4 Calgary - 0 (par for the course)

No fights by McGrattan

How much icetime did Backs end up with?

Berra out of position again and again and Ortio is 9-0-1

What the hell was that on the 5th goal? Simmer called it "indecision."

Why hasn't Ben Street gotten a callup? When he was still up at the show, he was blocking shots, killing penalties effectively, solid on the forecheck, and generating the odd quality scoring chance.

And lastly, let's swap Hartley for Troy G. Ward

Please, do something. I know that this is year 1 of the rebuild and injuries are hitting the Flames hard, but, can they at least try and give the illusion that they are competing?

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#64 piscera.infada
November 29 2013, 05:59PM
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@Kurt

In regards to Berra, Ramo, whomever else you choose to use, the issue is in claiming "they are the best outside the NHL". That said, acquiring goaltending in the "ready to show what they have now" to augment the "younger goaltending" prospects seems like the most pragmatic way to go about a rebuild when your franchise goaltender decides he's done. It's not a short-cut, a short-circuit, or an end-around the rebuild - it's simply rebuilding. So no, you can't heap scorn upon these guys not being legit number ones but really, what was a better alternative? Signing Thomas? Signing Bryzgalov?

So, no they aren't "bluechip" prospects, but I'm pretty sure this "mess" (which we all knew was coming, and I'm not concerned about whatsoever) will sort itself out just in time for the guy who sticks to be pushed by Gilles.

It's not like by looking for players in college (where I must say, we have some pretty decent prospects), or outside North America they're giving up countless first round picks and generally trading the Monahan's and Baertschi's. I would also claim that if there is one thing that's actually seemed to fit the rebuild most since it was announced it would be the drafting of a number of good players who all seem to fit a specific mold (Janko notwithstanding).

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#65 Kenta
November 29 2013, 10:17PM
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chillout wrote:

hmmmm still preeeeeetty sure you don't have a damn clue what you are talking about. You should stop now while you're behind.

You seem to spend most of your time on this blog telling others they don't know what they are talking about. What a lame contribution.

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