FGD: Flames Host Roy's Boys

Taylor McKee
December 06 2013 11:52AM

 

 

Yikes, I would not have wanted to be in that Avalanche dressing room last night. 

I am guessing things were not to pleasant after the Avs (19-7-0), the Flames opponent tonight, were embarrassed 8-2 by the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night in Edmonton. Consequently, the Avalanche will likely not be in a great mood tonight when they head to Hoth Calgary to play a Flames team that is on a two-game winning streak. 

For the first time this season, the Flames managed to allow fewer than two goals in two consecutive games. The Flames will need to continue this solid defensive play against an Avs team with a lot of weapons up front.

THE ENEMY

The Avs starting the season on an absolutely torrid pace, climbing to the top of the Western Conference for a while. Things are beginning to settle for them of late, as they are 5-5-0 in their last ten.

Here's their roster courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com!

  • Landeskog - Stastny - Parenteau
  • O'Reilly - Duchene - Mackinnon
  • McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
  • Macleod - Cliche - Bordeleau
  • Hejda - Johnson
  • Benoit - Guenin
  • Barrie - Holden
  • Giguere 

 

As you can see, their roster is fairly top-heavy with a lot (like, a ton) of skill up front and a fairly meh bottom six. The Flames will likely try to force the Avs to play a physical, muddy style of hockey tonight in order to compensate for the speed and offensive prowess of the Avs top six forwards. Fans will not be treated to the return of Alex Tanguay tonight as he is on IR with a knee injury.

On the back end, the Avs are very young. If the Flames are going to win this game, they will have to exploit the inexperience of some of these D men and create turnovers. It also appears as though Flames fans would get to see the return of Cory Sarich either, as he is not listed in their starting roster. So, don't bother wearing his jersey to the Dome tonight.

In net, the Flames get J.S Giguere, as Varlamov was the goaltender of record in last night's 8-2 shelling at Rexall.

THE LOCALS

A few changes from the roster that beat Phoenix on Wednesday but it will largely be the same squad, minus a goon-swap. Here is the roster thanks to our friends at Daily Faceoff:

  • Cammalleri - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Hudler - Backlund - D.Jones
  • Baertschi - *Colborne* - B. Jones
  • Bouma - Byron - MacDermid
  • Russell - Brodie
  • Smid - Giordano
  • Butler - O'Brien
  • Ramo

There is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the Flames roster this morning with Joe Colborne missing the morning skate with flu-like symptoms. He will be a gametime decision. Yesterday, Brian McGrattan left practice early with an apparent knee problem. This led to the recall of newly acquired Tim Jackman body-double Lane MacDermid from Abby (Max Reinhart going the other way). For a brief moment there was some thought, however fleeting, that the Flames might try to play tonight without a facepuncher but alas, that doesn't seem to be in the cards this season. 

Backlund had a very strong game Wednesday against Phoenix, playing 14:02 and scoring the game winning goal in the second period. Obviously, playing with better linemates is going to help his production but what is more important is the fact that he got a chance to play regular minutes last game. Backlund had a chance to get comfortable in a game and start to make plays rather than doing his best to make something happen with his six minutes of ice with the thugs. Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue in the upcoming weeks but honestly, with the state of flux this roster has been in so far this season, who knows?

Karri Ramo drew even more praise from the coaching staff after his performance on Wednesday, with one journalist tweeting that the goalie competition is "heating up." Well, this seems like a gross mischaracterization but if you want to call one goalie stopping pucks semi-consistently at an NHL league-average level and the other one...just starting a lot, then sure, things are getting hot!

IN SUMMARY

The Flames are looking to put three solid games together for basically the first time this season. They will have to contend with a pissed-off Avalanche squad who likely got a pretty, um stern, talking to from their coach following their last performance.

Hopefully, the Flames can take advantage of some over-exuberance early and tired legs late and get their third win in a row.

112039ec99211abeba03b81d364735ec
Taylor splits time between UVIC and Calgary studying history. Taylor likes the Flames, the Cannons, Buckshot, and the Oxford comma. Taylor scored on his own net on dome ice when he was 8. Twitter: @TaylorMcKee_
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#1 ?
December 06 2013, 09:32PM
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Watch Sven tie this game up and score the OT winner, and then get healthy scratched next game.

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#2 lionlager
December 06 2013, 11:57AM
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Got a reaaal bad feeling about this one.

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#3 travis
December 06 2013, 08:13PM
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Butler is god awful. I can't beleieve how much of an understatement that is. How is he playing in the NHL

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#4 Kevin R
December 06 2013, 12:13PM
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lionlager wrote:

Got a reaaal bad feeling about this one.

Me too. I see us leading after 2 periods only to allow 3 goals in the 3rd to lose something like 5-3. I would of preferred they sleep walked a win in Edmonton like Phoenix did.

I must say, I didn't like Russell at the start of the year, saw him as another tiny dman when we needed a bruising beast back their, but this kid reminds me of Brodie, he is so smart & so slick with the puck, I think like Brodie, he is going to just get better & better & we will have 2 Brodie type dmen in our top 4. What a steal that trade was. This kid is really seizing the opportunity he never had in St Lou. Thumbs high!

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#5 beloch
December 06 2013, 12:52PM
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If Ramo delivers a quality start tonight his season sv% could finally break through the 0.900 barrier! (0.902 was the sterling standard set by MacBackup last season.)

Am I the only one who, when I hear the name Lane MacDermid, immediately think of the actor Ian McDiarmid and his most famous role, Emperor Palpatine? If the music boys are on the ball they'll play the imperial march when he hits the ice! Or possibly when he hits the box...

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#6 clyde
December 06 2013, 05:51PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

he took some pretty heavy bombs

Gazdic has quite the advantage instigating fights with the windshield on ( I know he has to wear one). He is quite a different fighter when it comes off though.

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#7 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 06 2013, 07:03PM
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Rob Kerr reading the Raven...

eewww, that was kinda awkward and creepy.

:-P

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#8 ChinookArch
December 06 2013, 09:15PM
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Flames are getting dominated in the 3rd.

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#9 Byron Bader
December 06 2013, 12:07PM
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Those first two Avs lines are deadly. I concur with that bad feeling. Franchise is going to have to keep up the beast for the Flames tonight.

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#10 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 01:28PM
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I should be clear that the Avs and Flames close in general 5on5 possession, but Colorado is close to average in score close situations (Flames are still below average). Still, COL is nowhere near as good as their record suggests.

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#11 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 06 2013, 05:17PM
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mattyc wrote:

Avs undefeated when leading after 3 periods.

good one

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#12 kittensandcookies
December 06 2013, 07:35PM
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Baertshi and Backlund get assists? I'm surprised Hartley's head didn't explode.

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#13 ?
December 06 2013, 09:33PM
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? wrote:

Watch Sven tie this game up and score the OT winner, and then get healthy scratched next game.

Aw well, so much for that

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#14 Kurt
December 06 2013, 09:47PM
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Burnward wrote:

The Oilers better be ready tomorrow. Because if the boys are half as frustrated as I am right now...someone's getting smashed!

Why frustrated? Wasn't this about perfect. Solid pushback. Close game. Sven/Backs get on the board. Stajan scores (helps his trade value). No win, or even a loser point. Perfect!

These loses are going to be critical in April when we are battling to secure our top 2 pick.

Or do you still want to make the playoffs? I do get that some people have a deep desire for wins when they do nothing but harm the future of the team because you think the 3 players that'll still be on the team in 3-4 years will be damaged in some way.

But realistically I'd say games like this are basically ideal. Close, battle, good pushback. Still lose.

Now tomorrow, I don't care about the draft standings. Coilers & Canucks are the only games I really hope we win for the rest of the year.

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#15 Burnward
December 06 2013, 10:04PM
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@Kurt

Derp.

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#16 Kurt
December 06 2013, 10:21PM
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Burnward wrote:

That was more intelligent than "Derp." Sorry dude. I just can't bring myself to think that way.

Ya I hear you... It is hard, and I place I realize some can never go. But I'm there. 20 years (minus the 04 run) of watching this team ALL CAPS SUCK and I'm ready to cheer for losses. If I have to grit my teeth and suck it up for 1-2 years so this ship can be turned around for 15 years I'm in.

Does anyone remember the couple of wins last year that cost us Seth Jones? I mean Monny looks pretty good so far, small sample size yadda yadda. But he is not Seth Jones. And we were maybe 2-3 wins away from 4th.

The dropoff this year is apparently dramatic after the top 2.

I just want to not suck. I'm so tired of suck. I just want to be a good team that easily makes the playoffs and worries about home ice/playoff matchups and having a 4th line capable of winning a cup. Oh how I long for that.... I'd cheer for 80 losses in a row if I could have that.

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#17 Parallex
December 06 2013, 12:45PM
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lionlager wrote:

Got a reaaal bad feeling about this one.

Likewise.

Interesting news about Colborne...Mickis might get some PP minutes with Byron pulling PK duty if he's out. The plan has to be to attack that Aves Blueline... it's short on talent and experience.

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#18 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 12:46PM
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I quite like Russel too now. He looked completely overmatched by better players to start the season, but his good qualities seem to outweigh the bad. At the very least, he's a great return for a 4th rounder.

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#19 RexLibris
December 06 2013, 01:36PM
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Probably worth noting that the Avs/Oilers game was close in the 2nd until Perron made it 4-2.

Dubnyk and some less-chaotic defense allowed the team to weather a storm of shots and a 5-3.

In fact, if you want to go by the numbers the Oilers were killed in the CF% (37.3%) but had a crazy 18.8 shooting %.

Hall, despite his four points, Gagner and Yakupov as a line gave up a lot of chances.

So basically, if the Avalanche play that game again with some better goaltending and a marginally better defense they could win.

I suspect on a short turnaround this is what Roy is going to focus on - tell the forwards to keep on keeping on, run the blueline through drills and change the netminder.

So if Ramo gets the start tonight does anyone know whether Hartley has said he would dress the same goalie in back-to-back games, outstanding performances aside?

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#20 TRAV
December 06 2013, 03:07PM
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@RexLibris

Hartley talked about the need to really run with a guy in order to determine if he could be a number one. (Calgary Sun). He gave Berra that shot (much to the chagrin of many FN fans) so I won't be surprised if he rolls out Ramo again tomorrow. Hopefully when given this look Ramo can seize the chance and establish himself as the number one.

Seems like he may face lots of shots tonite against an angry Avalanche squad.

Stupid FN. There was a time in my youth when I would have been excited about the probable McLeod McDermott bout. Now I'm ticked that we didn't seize the chance to evaluate some talent on our fourth. (Ferland?). Oh well, with a few domebeers I may enjoy two guys bringing #gritchart up anyways. Go Flames Go!

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#21 mattyc
December 06 2013, 03:49PM
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Avs undefeated when leading after 3 periods.

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#22 RexLibris
December 06 2013, 03:49PM
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@TRAV

Gazdic took it to Bordeleau last night so he may be even less of a factor on that line.

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/120395

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#23 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 06 2013, 05:20PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Gazdic took it to Bordeleau last night so he may be even less of a factor on that line.

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/120395

he took some pretty heavy bombs

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#24 thymebalm
December 06 2013, 07:23PM
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Kents boys hit the scoresheet early! Took 6 regulars being out of the line up to get them PP time, but it was worth the wait!

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#25 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:26PM
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@MichaelD

Baertschi and Backlund got assists on the goal.

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#26 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:33PM
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MacDermid looks like he can barely skate.

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#27 MichaelD
December 06 2013, 07:57PM
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@Kent Wilson

Hey buddy they're your 'b' boys. I'm rooting for them too, so their my 'b' boys too ...

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#28 Vowswithin
December 06 2013, 08:07PM
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So they are playing Derek smith as a centerman.... Interesting

Duno about you guys but we got a group of guys we call "Da Boys" that include Monahan, Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi, Russell and damn it brings a smile to my face to see 3 of them in on that goal!!!

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#29 Burnward
December 06 2013, 08:41PM
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I was loving this game. Then the no call on Sven and those two quick stupid goals...and I am angry.

Fahk.

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#30 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 08:43PM
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mk wrote:

Sarcasm? Or excellent timing on that give-away?

The latter.

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#31 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 09:05PM
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Wow did I ever curse Ramo with that comment. Neither of the latter two goals were his fault or anything, but I couldn't have timed that comment any worse.

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#32 ChinookArch
December 06 2013, 09:28PM
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@Kent Wilson

I know, my timing may be worse than yours tonight.

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#33 Burnward
December 06 2013, 09:37PM
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The Oilers better be ready tomorrow. Because if the boys are half as frustrated as I am right now...someone's getting smashed!

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#34 Burnward
December 06 2013, 09:51PM
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@Kurt

That wasn't a frustrating game?

You can go ahead and cheer for losses, I'm not that guy.

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#35 Kurt
December 06 2013, 10:01PM
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It was frustrating, but in the big picture it was ideal. Nobody would remember this game in 1 month, but come April when we are picking in the 6-8 range again instead of 1-2 we'll wish we had a few less points.

This win hurts the Canucks playoffs. Helps our draft pick. Was close.

The pointless wins are why we are 10 years removed from the playoff run and suck worse than ever. Embrace the losing. Being THAT GUY is how this team can stop sucking forever, and ever and ever and ever.

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#36 coachedpotatoe
December 07 2013, 08:26AM
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The discussion on whether or not tonights loss was a good one or not is always an interesting debate. As a coach you never like to lose but as a coach you always know there is a chance you can lose. But when you do lose you have to decide what you learned from the loss, I'm not going to speculate here what Hartley should learning from the loss.

As fans we approach the game from a different perspective, we love our team and we want them to win; but if you have really embraced the reality of the rebuild and that we are not going to be in the playoffs then in many ways this game was a good as it gets. We played hard and never gave up. We had some of our prospects play and play well. Our journey to find a goalie continues and for the most part Ramo demonstrated that he is more positionaly sound than Berra (that does not mean he is the one). The loss also will help towards drafting higher and that should speed up the rebuild. Now there will some games that we never want to lose and we really want our team to stick it to the the other team. Tonight is probably one of those nights.

So in my heart of hearts I hate to loss, but more importantly I hate to see our team play poorly (like much of the second and third period) as it hurts the rebuild and hinders the development of our new identity.

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#37 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 12:53PM
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BTW - The Avs and Flames have almost the exact same underlying numbers at ES. The difference in record is thanks to the Avs save percentage of 94.0% at 5on5 so far this year (which obviously won't last). They have the highest PDO in the league so far.

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#38 beloch
December 06 2013, 01:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I quite like Russel too now. He looked completely overmatched by better players to start the season, but his good qualities seem to outweigh the bad. At the very least, he's a great return for a 4th rounder.

Russel seems to have been an underused asset by both the Blues and BJ's, at least in the latter portion of his tenure with them. He was always given a fair bit of shelter but had good possession stats. Perhaps he shouldn't be playing in the top 4 on a good team, but with Wideman or Giordano out he slots nicely into the Flames top 4. Maybe he's taken a step forwards this season too. He had real chemistry with Wideman in the offensive zone. We'll have to see what he can manage with Brodie as a partner.

Another interesting thing is that Smid is penciled into the second pairing tonight. In previous games, his minutes were split between the third pairing and the top 4, probably so Hartley could avoid playing two really terrible defenders at the same time. Will this continue, or is the Butler/O'Brian BOB pair (short for boyohboyohboyohgawdohboy) actually going to be a thing? Yikes!

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#40 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 01:15PM
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@Taylor McKee

I think they'll fall off and get bumped out of the mix.

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#41 Byron Bader
December 06 2013, 01:35PM
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@Kent Wilson

So what you're saying is I shouldn't be running Varlamov as my number one goalie in my fantasy league then? Last place...here I come.

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#42 O REALLY NOW
December 06 2013, 02:34PM
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I saw that Rob Kerr posted a really interesting stat about the Avalanche.

"#Avs the ultimate front runners 17-0-0 when scoring first and 13-0-0 when leading after the first period."

Calgary really needs to get out there, and have a great start.

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#43 RexLibris
December 06 2013, 03:50PM
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mattyc wrote:

Avs undefeated when leading after 3 periods.

Do you have stats to back that up?

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#44 the-wolf
December 06 2013, 04:35PM
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Nice article, well written.

Here's hoping Backs impresses again and convinces mgmt that trading him would not be a good idea.

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#45 mikeH
December 06 2013, 04:46PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I quite like Russel too now. He looked completely overmatched by better players to start the season, but his good qualities seem to outweigh the bad. At the very least, he's a great return for a 4th rounder.

Just imagine how great a return that is for a 5th round pick (which IIRC is all they gave up).

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#46 exsanguinator
December 06 2013, 05:40PM
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Just realized that with a win tonight the Flames will be 24th in the league... officially out of the old lottery system. Didn't see that coming in December.

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#47 CTibs
December 06 2013, 06:37PM
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Colborne is officially out, the Flames are going with 7 defenceman tonight.

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#48 Burnward
December 06 2013, 06:41PM
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@exsanguinator

Imagine if we had a few bounces and no Joey Mac. Might be around .500.

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#49 O REALLY NOW
December 06 2013, 07:06PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

Rob Kerr reading the Raven...

eewww, that was kinda awkward and creepy.

:-P

I couldn't agree more. Not something Rob Kerr should probably try again...

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#50 steve
December 06 2013, 07:13PM
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O REALLY NOW wrote:

I couldn't agree more. Not something Rob Kerr should probably try again...

Saw Rob Kerr in a smoking jacket and went straight to the liquor cabinet! I am serious

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