FGD: Parched in the Desert

Kent Wilson
February 18 2013 03:51PM

In some ways, the Phoenix Coyotes are the anti-Flames: they have a terrible ownership position, lackluster fan support, a lousy budget and next to no expectations every year. And yet, despite those obstacles, the club manages to remain competitive under the steady guidance of Don Maloney and Dave Tippett, each year pressing for a playoff position with a motley crew of apparent has-beens and misfit toys.

The Flames, on the other hand, are well-heeled, supported by, strong fanatical fanbase and has, for the better part of two decades, managed to under perform expectations (with one or two notable exceptions).

It's somewhat unfair to compare the Coyotes to an Island of misfit toys. While their on-oing ownership uh, situation, means next to no budget, the team nevertheless boasts some pretty capable players. Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata have combined for years to form a very strong possession duo up front for Phoenix. Hanzal is the glue guy for the team up front, a strong, two-way center whose value far exceeds his counting stats each year.

On the back-end Keith Yandle tends to get the headlines because he puts up nice offensive numbers, but the true hero is probable youngster Oliver Ekmann Larsson. Although just 21-years old, he is already an NHL veteran and taking on the best the other team hs to offer every night. He already averages a team high 25:03 per game and is poised to be one of the game's better blueliners for years to come.

The 'Yotes are currently 8th in the west and definitely one of the teams the Flames will be jousting with for a playoff spot this year. A win tonight would go a long to way to making that possible.

The Line-up

After two periods of...well, not much, Bob Hartley mixed his lines up again and settled on these combinations in the third frame yesterday. It seemed to work too, as the Flames scored 3 goals and outchanced Dallas 7-1 in the process.

  • Cammalleri - Tanguay - Iginla
  • Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Hudler - Horak - Cervenka
  • Comeau - Begin - Jackman

  • Giordano - Bouwmeester
  • Wideman - Brodie
  • Butler - Sarich

  • Taylor

Danny Taylor gets his first NHL start with the Flames, an honor well earned by his strong play over the last two seasons in the AHL. It's impossible to know if he will be able to transfer that success to the big leagues, but it's nice to see him at least get a chance.

Anton Babchuk pulls the short straw on the back-end, and for good reason...he's just not an NHL caliber defender at even strength.

The new top line featuring both Cammalleri and Iginla makes sense, although that trio wasn't really part of the Flames come-back in Texas yesterday. Im not sure they even generated a single chance at 5on5 in the third period, in fact. It's better than Jarome skating with Comeau at least and will make even more sense if Hartley can somehow give them the high ground.

The Opposition

 Like the Flames, the Coyotes kind of have two or three second/third lines rather than one true offensive or power unit.

  • Doan - Vermette - Boedker
  • Korpikoski - Hanzal - Sullivan
  • Moss - Gordon - Chipchura
  • Bissonette - Torres - Vrbata

  • Michalek - Ekman-Larsson
  • Klesla - Yandle
  • Summers - Rundblad

  • Smith

Hanzal's line will be the "erasure" unit, so expect Tanguay and Iginla to see a lot of them. I don't know what vrabat is doing on a line with Bissonette, but I doubt that lasts. He's the teams leading scorer after all.

Goaltending has been part of the Coyotes secret sauce for getting into the post-season the last few years, but this season Mike Smith has been below mediocre with an .897 SV%. He's probably better than that, although I don't expect him to match his glowing numbers from last year either.

Sum it up

The Coyotes and Flames come from very different places as organizations, but end up jammed together in the middle of the western conference nonetheless. The come from behind victory against the Stars was a good step forward last night, but the Flames will need more of the same in Phoenix tonight if they are to climb out of the basement.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#101 loudogYYC
February 18 2013, 08:57PM
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Another snoozer tonight. Iginla doesn't make a difference when he plays, nothing since he fought a French rookie after Warrener called him out.

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#103 Monaertchi
February 18 2013, 09:03PM
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Fun fact... JBo is only 2 goals shy of matching his best as a Flame.

With the reemergence of both Matty and JBo this season, does Butter ever get another NHL coaching gig?

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#104 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 09:04PM
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Monaertchi wrote:

Fun fact... JBo is only 2 goals shy of matching his best as a Flame.

With the reemergence of both Matty and JBo this season, does Butter ever get another NHL coaching gig?

I hope not

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#106 ChinookArch
February 18 2013, 09:06PM
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Well, the last 25 seconds were pretty entertaining.

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#107 loudogYYC
February 18 2013, 09:07PM
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Monaertchi wrote:

Fun fact... JBo is only 2 goals shy of matching his best as a Flame.

With the reemergence of both Matty and JBo this season, does Butter ever get another NHL coaching gig?

Only if he's coaching one of the other NW division teams, we need all the help we can get.

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#108 Baalzamon
February 18 2013, 09:10PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Won a free coffee!

The most worthwhile event of the night.

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#109 ChinookArch
February 18 2013, 09:20PM
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I didn't see the first goal. What happen?

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#110 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:21PM
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So Jackman and Sarich score to win the game, right? Right?

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#111 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:26PM
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Crappy one there

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#113 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 09:26PM
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K.. That was a bad one for Danny

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#114 prendrefeu
February 18 2013, 09:28PM
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Sometimes I think that if I don't watch the game, the Flames will win. And if I do watch the game, they don't win.

Sure, it's a superstition with only absolutes - but I must go now, the Flames need me.

To turn it off. :(

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#115 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 09:29PM
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Flames are 15/50 in the face off circle tonight... That's never a good stat.

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#116 Colin
February 18 2013, 09:33PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Flames are 15/50 in the face off circle tonight... That's never a good stat.

Good thing they just put a guy on waivers who was good at taking faceoffs.......wait a minute....

Feel bad for Taylor in this game, somehow this lack of offense will be blamed on him cause he's the backup and he'll never see the NHL again.

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#117 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 09:34PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Flames are 15/50 in the face off circle tonight... That's never a good stat.

Absolutely dominated!

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#118 John Deere Green
February 18 2013, 09:36PM
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Just painted the living room walls. Think I will watch them dry. That's seems more enjoyable than watching this game. No wonder there is no fans in Pheonix, who would pay money to watch this.

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#119 Monaertchi
February 18 2013, 09:37PM
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@John Deere Green

Simmer and I agree with you.

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#121 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 09:41PM
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I feel bad for Taylor. The 2nd goal was a stinker but he's probably been the best Flames on the ice tonight..

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#122 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:41PM
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Turn out the lights...the party's over

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#123 RKD
February 18 2013, 09:41PM
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It looked like Cammy or Wideman knocked the puck into their own net.

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#125 Ryan Pike
February 18 2013, 09:43PM
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Flames laid an egg tonight. Can't put this on Taylor.

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#126 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:44PM
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And this is why this team will struggle mightily to reach the playoffs. Too inconsistent.

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#127 Captain Ron
February 18 2013, 09:45PM
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Letting a Dave Tippett coached team get ahead early in a game is never a good thing if you are looking for an entertaining game. The first two periods were dreadful to watch. Just like Dallas when he was coaching there. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for the Flames to play in this game.

Still you would think the Flames could muster a goal or two for Taylor. Down 3-0 though I expect they will mail it in now.

Whats with us getting kicked out of the face offs all night?

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#128 John Deere Green
February 18 2013, 09:45PM
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I dont expect the Flames to win every game. But nothing has changed. One game their world beaters. The next game their average. The next they are absolutley dreadful. There is one thing that is constant however, managements/ownerships direction.

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#130 RKD
February 18 2013, 09:47PM
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@schevvy

Agreed, but the million dollar question is why are they inconsistent? They aren't talented enough nor do they have the horses to get to the playoffs. They cannot elevate their level like Phoenix and Nashville can.

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#131 Captain Ron
February 18 2013, 09:47PM
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Iginla is invisible again tonight. Its depressing to watch.

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#132 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:47PM
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Also what is with this team having so much trouble getting above .500? It was the same last year. Strange

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#133 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:49PM
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4th line has easily been the best line. Which is bad

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#134 SmellOfVictory
February 18 2013, 09:51PM
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That was so boring I stopped watching in the first.

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#135 John Deere Green
February 18 2013, 09:53PM
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Does intellectual honesty only apply to players making less than say 3-4 million dollars? Just curious.

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#136 Captain Ron
February 18 2013, 09:54PM
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If this was someone's first live NHL game they may never want to go to a second one.

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#139 schevvy
February 18 2013, 09:57PM
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Well, Joey Mac starts Monday, no question

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#140 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 09:59PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Sigh. My kingdom for a goaltender.

Too bad, we are a team that eats them up. Goodbye taylor it was brief.

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#141 Captain Ron
February 18 2013, 09:59PM
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Iginla's line seems to spend most of their time chasing the puck instead of playing with it.

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#143 John Deere Green
February 18 2013, 10:01PM
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No need for Nyquil tonight. That game just put me to sleep.

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#145 aloudoun
February 18 2013, 10:03PM
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Feaster its time for a quick rebuild.

Keep

Hudler Cervenka Backlund Sven Brodie Glencross

Everyone else is expendable

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#146 john
February 18 2013, 10:03PM
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I had hopes that this team had turned a corner this year and we'd see some exciting hockey and some games that were won, rather than lost, in the latter stages. Alas, tonight looked like the same old Flames doing the same old thing. Second night of a back-to-back or not, this was just Yuck.

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#147 Mcculb
February 18 2013, 10:38PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Hekyl and Jekyl teams Simmer?

Sometimes Simmer should simply say nothing at all. He is so monotone and boring in the comments he makes.

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#148 Q
February 18 2013, 10:47PM
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Didn't see any of the game and apparently didn't need to. Really flames ownership, time to pull your heads out of you a$$e$ and get off of the "lets sign iggy til he retires " bs and give the fans something to cheer about. Putting this schizophrenic group of old players that can't put more than one win at a time together is old news and I thought it would end with Darryl's firing. Here we are with rehashed trash like tanguay and cammi and nothing to show for it. So we re-sign iggy for what, his personal achievements? He's not given us a cup and he's old!!!! This team sucks bad!

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#149 Kevin R
February 18 2013, 11:19PM
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This team is very consistent. As soon as we hit .500, I guarantee a stinker & a loss. You can play proline based on this consistent trend. I was really hoping for a win for Taylor. I am so sick of this old core, same old win one lose one, fall to a point of blowing things up & then they start to play & get into exciting contention only to fall to dismal mediocrity. Somebody pleeeease change this channel.

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