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

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#52 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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#53 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 29 2013, 02:24PM
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what the heck... Backlund got one shift on the second line and no more???? or am i seeing things?

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#54 MichaelD
November 29 2013, 02:30PM
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Oh boy Berra, what in the ...

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#55 Byron Bader
November 29 2013, 02:40PM
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Wow. Can someone who's watching the game confirm - are the Flames getting owned as badly as it sounds on the radio?

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#56 Kurt
November 29 2013, 02:45PM
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Dustin Penner has 18pts and leads the NHL in +/-

Weird.

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#57 maimster
November 29 2013, 02:48PM
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What's it like to watch the game?

Anaheim has the puck in the Flames zone for 40 seconds straight, generating a few chances. Flames finally break out, get puck into Ducks zone for roughly 5 seconds, lose puck, and Ducks break back into Flames zone.

Rinse, repeat.

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#58 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 02:52PM
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Let's see if Berra has learned his less..NOPE and a goal. and he is still cheating when the puck is in the corner...(head in hands, followed by face in palms)

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#59 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 02:53PM
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Byron Bader wrote:

Wow. Can someone who's watching the game confirm - are the Flames getting owned as badly as it sounds on the radio?

YUP!

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#60 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 02:57PM
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Kurt wrote:

Dustin Penner has 18pts and leads the NHL in +/-

Weird.

Must be that he is on a pancake free diet. Rob Kerr mentioned that Penner's success is attributed to his weight loss in the off season.

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#61 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 29 2013, 03:23PM
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Flames aren't even in this one... no fight in any of them... looks like theyve already given up on this game

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#62 Carlizzle
November 29 2013, 03:45PM
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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.

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#63 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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#64 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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#65 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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