FGD: Twin City Showdown

Ryan Pike
November 05 2013 12:29PM

 

(photo courtesy Stadium Journey)

 

After opening their road trip with a hard-fought and gutsy win in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Calgary Flames (6-6-2) head north to visit a former divisional rival, the Minnesota Wild (8-4-3) tonight at the Xcel Energy Center. The puck drops at 6pm MT on Sportsnet West, Fan960 and all over the Twitters.

This will be the 75th meeting between the two teams, the first 74 of which took place when both teams were part of the since-disbanded Northwest Division. The Flames have a 41-20-13 edge all-time and went 2-1-2 in five games with the Wild last season.

THE LINE-UP

A bit of tinkering took place with the line-up, as Bob Hartley is parking Derek Smith and Sven Baertschi on the sidelines in favour of the debuting Chad Billins and Lance Bouma. Smith's benching will probably be met with less fanfare, but he's been just fine and Billins' insertion is probably a reward for his hard work and an attempt to gauge where Billins fits in. Roger Millions noted on Twitter that Billins' parents are coming in from Michigan to see his first NHL game, which is pretty special.

From DailyFaceoff, the lines:

Glencross (A) – Stajan (A) – Jones
Cammalleri (A) – Colborne – Galiardi
Bouma – Monahan – Hudler
Jackman – Backlund – McGrattan

Butler – Brodie
Russell – Wideman
Billins – O'Brien

Berra
Ramo

Baertschi was used sparingly in Sunday's win against Chicago, putting up just 13:12 in ice-time and seeing some of his shifts go to Mikael Backlund in the third period, although he still ended up with four more minutes of ice-time than Backlund did. Once again, the question of what Baertschi needs to do to stick in the line-up full-time comes into the forefront. It's probably some version of “play hard in all three zones.” He may not have a lot of offensive upside, but Lance Bouma plays hard.

Calgary's power-play is now officially goal-less in six straight.

THE OPPOSITION

The Wild lack a lot of upper-end star power, but they have a roster that's got a lot of top-end depth. Jason Pominville is having a great year so far with 10 goals, but Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund are also off to strong starts. The Wild last played on Sunday, just like Calgary, when they shut-out the New Jersey Devils.

Via DailyFaceoff, lines:

Coyle – Parise (A) – Koivu (C)
Neiderreiter – Granlund – Pominville
Cooke – Brodziak – Mitchell
McMillan – Konopka – Heatley

Suter (A) – Brodin
Stoner – Ballard
Scandella – Spurgeon

Harding
Backstrom

Per Roger Millions, it appears that Charlie Coyle has recovered from a nagging day-to-day injury and that means Justin Fontaine is headed back to the AHL potentially.

Last year's Masterton winner, Josh Harding, gets the start. He has a 7-2-1 record with an insane 1.10 goals against average and .950 save percentage. A cynic would suggest that he's going to regress (he will), but that's just a great start for a guy that has had a rough couple of years and handled it with great character.

The Wild are one of the better five-on-five teams in hockey right now, with their even-strength scoring differential being roughly twice Calgary's. They also boast the NHL's second-best power-play (behind St. Louis). Their glaring weakness is their PK, which is actually worse than Calgary's.

Either way, the Flames are on an emotional high after beating Chicago in overtime, and they'll need that momentum heading into Minnesota.

ELSEWHERE

While the Flames are in St. Paul taking on the Wild, the Abbotsford Heat return home from a sweep of their three-game road trip and face the San Antonio Rampage tonight. Joey MacDonald joins the Heat, but expect Joni Ortio to start after winning all three weekend games. That game starts at 8pm on TeamRadio.ca, so in theory one could watch the Flames game and then listen to the Heat.

And in the Dub, Brett Kulak and the Vancouver Giants host the Edmonton Oil Kings.

SUM IT UP

The Flames are back at .500 after beating Chicago, and to be honest, probably have more points so far than anybody expected them to get on this road trip. A win tonight could guarantee that they go at least .500 on the trip. And with a back-to-back Thursday and Friday against St. Louis and Colorado, they might not have a better chance to get points than tonight.

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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 Tony
November 05 2013, 08:41PM
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prendrefeu wrote:

Well, yeah, no sh*t dude.

But then again: could either you, myself, or anyone else predicted that GlenX would have been lost in this game? No. Hindsight is 20/20, don't fool yourself.

Original point still stands, follow up answer to your question still stands, and we'll all just have to see what happens going forward.

Both times he benched Sven, they lost 5-1.

Maybe he's benching the wrong people?

Bouma took the penalty that lead to the second goal, Jackman was being stupid again today.

Maybe you should wait to comment on the impact of Hartley's decisions AFTER the game.

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#52 Colin.S
November 05 2013, 09:48PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

20-18-22, 13-8-54, 17-23-24, 47-11-39

I'm fine with scratches. 47 can't be like oiler's divas. Get on the same page. I don't care about your talent. Hartley wants work first. Give it to him and he gets opportunities from the work.

11 hasn't reached level he reached at end of last year.

Hartley has said no one has spot in stone. Earn it. The internal comp will improve them all.

Get in line or get outta the way. Has to be that way.

Hartley should win coach of the year just for culture change. The players work hard cause the coaches work hard. No one is special. I freaking love that.

I don't want to offend but comments like these are so stupid. Want to see how a "hard" working coach or a disciplinarian coach works out, I think the prime example is that idiot Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay(NFL). The hard ass shtick only works for so long before everyone on the team tunes it out. Especially when it is very arbitrary and you set goals that have moving goal posts. People get tired of it fast and if that's all your doing, you are going to fail and hard, because you aren't actually teaching anyone anything other than the fact that your coach is an a-hole.

By your logic and what Hartley is trying to do, Joe Colborne should be a healthy scratch next game. He was a -2, won only 18% of his faceoffs and overall didn't do much, Baertschi or Backlund would get benched for less. And what do tell, have Jackman and McGratton done to receive their spots in the lineup, it isn't by Merit that's for sure, they have not contributed anything of substance to this team.

You can't have imaginary goal posts for guys like Backlund and Baertschi, if it's goals you want from Backlund, it's not happening with Apes on skates for linemates and 8-11 minutes a night at most on the ice and no time on the PP, and you can't say he doesn't deserve it after only 5 or 6 games. Backlund and Colborne have the same amount of games, same amount of points, but he's better defensively and better on faceoffs then Colborne but its Backlund on the fourth and not Colborne? And with Baertschi, either play him or send him to Abbotsford, making guys like him sit the press box does no good. If you want him to learn, it will be by playing hockey, you can't learn to play defence sitting in a press box. Benching him doesn't teach him anything, it's a punishment for which theres no reason to punish him. A much better option is to send him to Abbotsford and learn there from a very good teaching coach. If a guy deserves to sit for being a hot dogger or moron on the ice, sit em, but if you are sitting them for some imaginary goal they are not meeting, that's idiotic.

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#53 exsanguinator
November 05 2013, 12:51PM
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Hartley announced that forward Sven Baertschi and defenceman Derek Smith will sit as healthy scratches tonight. The decision to sit Baertschi is similar to when he was held out of the lineup earlier this year. The coaching staff wants the youngster to get a better grasp of the game in all three zones.

"We're going to have a video session this afternoon. I told him on the ice that I want to show him where we need an improvement. At the same time, guys like Jackman, McGrattan and Bouma, they're bringing something every day to the table.

"Our number one priority as a coaching staff is to win some games. Number two, we want to make sure that we're a solid team, we're a solid family. We need everyone. The best way to stay in the lineup on a game-to-game basis is to perform."

According to Hartley, the mental aspect of sitting as a healthy scratch is also something a young player can learn from.

"That's part of his challenge. Mental toughness ... is a big part of this deal. This is a business for men. This is the best hockey league in the world."

Just thought I would share this from the website so I could see other fans' reactions to his reasoning.

I agree with him to a point but the players he's dressing are somewhat concerning. At this point I'm inclined to trust Hartley, he's been a champion coach at every level so far so I think he knows something about Baertschi that we don't.

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#54 exsanguinator
November 05 2013, 12:54PM
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And holy crap, I never noticed this but the Flames are 5-2-2 in one goal games so far. I wonder what their fenwick close looks like.

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#55 Flames fan in YEG
November 05 2013, 02:16PM
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Parallex wrote:

"We know Sven has had his attitude issues over the past year or so"

We do? I can't think of a single instance where anyone has questioned his attitude.

During an interview last year, he was quoted saying that when he was sent back down to the Heat for a stint, that he had a lot of frustration with it, and that his confidence had hit rock bottom.

"“In the first couple of games in Abby I wasn’t comfortable,” he said. “I didn’t want to be there. And then at the same time, I realized again if I want to go back up there, I’ve got to perform here."

I was also referring to this during the young stars in Penticton.

"He's putting a lot of pressure on himself," said assistant to the general manager Craig Conroy. "We've talked to Sven, told him 'Hey, do what you do. Have fun. Smile.' For a while there, at the Penticton tournament he seemed ... he just wasn't in a good place. He did't seem to be enjoying himself. The weight of the world seemed to be on his shoulders." Conroy wants to see Baertschi return to his speed game and make plays, but time is running out for him to cement his place on the Flames' roster.

Some of the reports out of the tournament suggested that Baertschi wasn't overly thrilled about being there.

I'm not saying any of these things are necessarily true, but some of these things can be related to attitude. (Note: The Flames have to take some of the blame with the way he's been handled)

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#56 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 05 2013, 02:59PM
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@Kent Wilson

It may only be five minutes, but wow, what an amazing 5 minutes!

Where have I heard that before!!!!!!

:-P

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#58 RexLibris
November 05 2013, 03:38PM
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exsanguinator wrote:

And holy crap, I never noticed this but the Flames are 5-2-2 in one goal games so far. I wonder what their fenwick close looks like.

http://www.extraskater.com/team/calgary-flames/2013

Give it a second and let the graphs load and you'll get a good visual.

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#59 kittensandcookies
November 05 2013, 03:40PM
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Brett Sutter waived. Edmonton should totally pick him up.

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#61 kittensandcookies
November 05 2013, 03:44PM
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Damn, Edmonton needs more truculence.

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#62 ChinookArch
November 05 2013, 03:50PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Damn, Edmonton needs more truculence.

And a playing structure, team identity, 2 top pairing dmen, and a goalie.

Funny I haven't heard any S'oiler fans professing the great future of the young oilers since the season started.

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#63 Kevin R
November 05 2013, 03:53PM
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I don't like Sven in the press box either. It's BS & there have been some good points being made here. But this isn't the first future NHL star Hartley has coached. These kids are young, 21, hell I know what my 21 year old kid is like. Sven is pumped, he's serious, he probably takes things very personal & very critical on himself. We know it doesn't make sense in the decision from a performance point of view of sitting him out. There is an off ice development/point that seems to be at work here. I've read many are worried what message this sends to the young player. The message is pretty simple, no one is bigger than the team, no one is perceived greater than his team mates. As a player, you are paid very good to accept whatever role the coach wants you to play whether you think it's right or not. I think they are deliberately putting Sven in frustrating situations beyond his control to get him to handle the ups & downs of having a pro hockey career in the best league in the world. Maybe they are trying to influence his approach to being the best he can be, regardless of the role he plays. Time will tell if this approach to his mental growth destroys a real high potential young player or gets him to become the elite player he possibly can be.

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#64 SeanCharles
November 05 2013, 03:56PM
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Does not compute...

Sven= My favorite player therefore this is extremely frustrating. But I will be patient and hope this is a 'big picture' move.

Monahan, Sven and Brodie are the future of this team so I will trust they know what they are doing. For now.

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#65 CutterMcAwesome
November 05 2013, 04:01PM
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Sometimes a view from above isnt a bad thing. Perspective and Communication. He's still pretty young and has lots of time to figure it all out.

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#66 piscera.infada
November 05 2013, 04:28PM
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@Kevin R

"The message is pretty simple, no one is bigger than the team, no one is perceived greater than his team mates...

Hear, hear.

While I don't agree with the rest of your assessment, I believe this statement is exactly what is going on. In my mind, it should be something that we instill in our young players as well - I don't know if it's actually an issue with Sven.

That said, I hate seeing him sit, but I think it's far too early to say this is definitively going to hurt his development or confidence.

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#68 gussey
November 05 2013, 05:13PM
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My guess: effort (in practice and games), coachability, willingness to do whatever is required to help win. Coaches like that.

Of course we could adopt the oilers policy and play young, entitled, offensively skilled forwards who don't play defence and are more worried about stats then wins. That's working out well.

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#70 Burnward
November 05 2013, 05:29PM
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Maybe the mold for us in this rebuild is Boston, not Edmonton. Build through depth and a commitment to a total team game.

Not saying Sven isn't going to get there, but as a 21 year old kid he will undoubtedly have some nights like this early on.

Breathe guys.

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#71 exsanguinator
November 05 2013, 05:38PM
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Burnward wrote:

Maybe the mold for us in this rebuild is Boston, not Edmonton. Build through depth and a commitment to a total team game.

Not saying Sven isn't going to get there, but as a 21 year old kid he will undoubtedly have some nights like this early on.

Breathe guys.

I'm not too worried about Sven at this point either. I am disappointed that he's not playing as much as I'd like him to but he's also pretty young. If he's still getting this treatment at 23/24 then I'd be worried about his future with the organization.

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#72 exsanguinator
November 05 2013, 05:41PM
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RexLibris wrote:

http://www.extraskater.com/team/calgary-flames/2013

Give it a second and let the graphs load and you'll get a good visual.

I don't know how I missed the graphs when I was there earlier but can someone explain the percentage thing for me?

I'm not really a statistician but from what I've gathered so far above 50% is good and below is bad so their 48.8% is simply... ok? Does a stat like Fenwick close typically regress to a normal range throughout a season or do the good teams usually maintain a high Fenwick or Corsi close throughout the year?

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#73 RexLibris
November 05 2013, 05:56PM
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exsanguinator wrote:

I don't know how I missed the graphs when I was there earlier but can someone explain the percentage thing for me?

I'm not really a statistician but from what I've gathered so far above 50% is good and below is bad so their 48.8% is simply... ok? Does a stat like Fenwick close typically regress to a normal range throughout a season or do the good teams usually maintain a high Fenwick or Corsi close throughout the year?

I'm acquainting myself with a lot of the stats interpretation as well but things like Fenwick don't usually regress to a mean like PDO.

Shooting percentages do somewhat, in that a player with an abnormally high % in the mid to high teens is likely to see a regression towards the low teens high single digits unless they are an historically accurate shooter.

48.8% is a decent number when one considers that the Flames are not a roster that anyone would point too and utter the words "puck possession".

If the Flames can keep that graph close to the middle on most nights and get decent goaltending then they should be able to win a few games through luck and effort.

The range of numbers isn't always terribly diverse from the top to the bottom of the standings, though right now the Sabres are getting their heads bashed in on a nightly basis. They couldn't "play with the puck" if they kept it in their back pockets.

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#74 FireOnIce
November 05 2013, 05:58PM
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@exsanguinator

Woops, nevermind. Had my entire comment wiped and Rex got most of it anyway.

Just to add - FW and Corsi %s show you the ratio of a team's shots while a given player is on the ice to all of the shots taken on the ice by both teams when said player is on the ice.

FW% = (FW for) / (FW for + FW opponent).

If > 50%, that means the team is outshooting its competition while the player is on the ice; if it's less than 50%, they're being outshot while he's on the ice.

48.8% for the Flames means that they're being outshot, but not by much (about 1.5 shots for every 10).

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#75 negrilcowboy
November 05 2013, 06:05PM
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man frontal loumbardis is sure building up berra.

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#76 Burnward
November 05 2013, 06:06PM
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GO FLAMES GO!

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#77 exsanguinator
November 05 2013, 06:07PM
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@RexLibris

From what I've seen on extra skater (thank you whoever is up there for making this site for stat dummies like me) last season and this season a team's Fenwick close does not appear to translate directly to better team. The one team I noticed straight away that didn't belong despite a high Fenwick close was New Jersey.

I guess like any other stat this one requires context so maybe look at other stats like Corsi and PDO in addition to Fenwick. I dunno, I'm sure I'll figure some of this stuff out by the end of the season lol.

Thanks for the explanation Rex.

You too @FireOnIce

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#78 Burnward
November 05 2013, 06:17PM
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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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#79 thymebalm
November 05 2013, 06:20PM
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Bouma with the huge assist. Hartley looks smart on that one.

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#80 Nighteyes
November 05 2013, 06:21PM
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Well I guess my saying that Bouma brought nothing to that line was wrong -- pretty sick assist there.

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#81 FireOnIce
November 05 2013, 06:25PM
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Bad giveaway by Galiardi, leads to sequence where Koivu scores top-shelf off the backhand on a rebound.

Tied at 1-1.

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#82 Burnward
November 05 2013, 06:26PM
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Not Galiardi's best shift ever...oy.

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#83 Burnward
November 05 2013, 06:27PM
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prendrefeu wrote:

One thing is clear, Hartley knows more than many of the people commenting here.

Sweet f&cking Jesus, I hope so. He gets paid well for what he does.

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#84 TRAV
November 05 2013, 06:29PM
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Burnward wrote:

Not Galiardi's best shift ever...oy.

Might benefit from a good benching... :)

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#85 Burnward
November 05 2013, 06:41PM
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Man Berra is a big dude, not much there for shooters.

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#86 Ed Wailin'
November 05 2013, 06:46PM
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Berra had the best paint job on a flames goalie mask in a very long time.

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#87 Justin Azevedo
November 05 2013, 06:47PM
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4-4 in chances

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#88 SeanCharles
November 05 2013, 06:48PM
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Galiardi had a few giveaways, he struggled out there. But Cammalleri and Colborne look to have chemistry.

When healthy we should have good depth:

Glencross-Stajan-Jones

Cammalleri-Colborne-Stempniak

Baertschi-Monahan-Hudler

Bouma-Backlund-Galiardi

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#89 piscera.infada
November 05 2013, 06:51PM
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SeanCharles wrote:

Galiardi had a few giveaways, he struggled out there. But Cammalleri and Colborne look to have chemistry.

When healthy we should have good depth:

Glencross-Stajan-Jones

Cammalleri-Colborne-Stempniak

Baertschi-Monahan-Hudler

Bouma-Backlund-Galiardi

I do like that lineup, especially if you played all those lines fairly evenly. Damn.

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#90 Veggie Dog
November 05 2013, 07:09PM
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Damnit Glencross, it was a simple clearance.

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#91 Burnward
November 05 2013, 07:10PM
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GlenX, Jesus.

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#92 Mitch P
November 05 2013, 07:24PM
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How about that, put Backlund with good players = scoring chance.

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#93 ChinookArch
November 05 2013, 07:26PM
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Good work om the PP. I'm really liking the Russell/Wideman tandem.

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#94 Burnward
November 05 2013, 07:32PM
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Two stupid mistakes, two Wild goals. Otherwise, their chances have been very limited.

20 clicks to go...go get em!

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#95 Brent G.
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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@FlamesSuckRoosters

HOW DO YOU TYPE WITH KEVIN LOWE'S (censored -ed.) IN YOUR MOUTH?!

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#96 Burnward
November 05 2013, 08:08PM
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FlamesSuckRoosters wrote:

.

Prop'd for the effort to get that posted.

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#97 Burnward
November 05 2013, 08:11PM
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@FlamesSuckRoosters

F'd by a cow eh? Sounds like some sweet scissor action!

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#98 FireOnIce
November 05 2013, 08:13PM
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Seeing Matt Cooke anywhere near Sean Monahan, especially in a mix-up in front of Minnesota's bench, makes me absolutely cringe. I know he's supposedly "reformed", but it worries me that he'll make one stupid decision and Monahan gets Cooke'd like Marc Savard.

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#99 McRib
November 05 2013, 08:16PM
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5-1 this is starting to look like our worst loss of the season.... At least since the Dallas game... You know the other time Sven Baertschi was a healthy scratch. Flames are a -8 goal differential during the two losses when they have benched Sven....

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#100 Burnward
November 05 2013, 08:16PM
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Ah well, one of those games.

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