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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#52 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 07:39PM
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Pretty weak call on Hudler

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#53 schevvy
February 18 2013, 07:41PM
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Nice save there by Danny boy

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#54 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 07:42PM
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Some nice stops for Danny during that PK.

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#56 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 07:43PM
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@Vintage Flame

Poor prick was hung out to dry.

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#58 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 07:47PM
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Uh-oh tangs down!!

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#60 Monaertchi
February 18 2013, 07:47PM
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@Kent Wilson

Ah!

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#61 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 07:47PM
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Why why god not comeau!!!!!!

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#62 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 07:49PM
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I mean why god, why not Comeau

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#63 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 07:51PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Looks like Tanguay might be hurt now.

If so, uh...

I guess aparently tangs good.

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#64 Subversive
February 18 2013, 07:52PM
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Just tuned in a bout 10 minutes ago. J-Bo looks freaking fantastic.

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#67 Subversive
February 18 2013, 07:58PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Taylor has seemed solid so far. Not leaking rebounds or anything.

Yep, already looks better than Irving to me.

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#69 Scary Gary
February 18 2013, 07:59PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Taylor has seemed solid so far. Not leaking rebounds or anything.

Agreed, hope he keeps it up!

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#70 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 07:59PM
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Taylor looks a bit more confident positionally than MacDonald did, IMO.

Granted MacBackup settled in later in the game, but Taylor seems to be doing it quicker.

Waaaày less rebounds too.

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#73 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 08:06PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Taylor looks a bit more confident positionally than MacDonald did, IMO.

Granted MacBackup settled in later in the game, but Taylor seems to be doing it quicker.

Waaaày less rebounds too.

I was happy with taylor. Good for him coming in and looking sharp.

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#74 thymebalm
February 18 2013, 08:12PM
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Where do you guys have the chances on Gaudreau/Arnold returning to BC next year? 100%? That's where I've got them.

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#75 Colin
February 18 2013, 08:19PM
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Yeah I don't see either of them leaving BC at this time, my only worry is if they do their 4 years there we lose their rights like Anaheim did with Schultz.

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#76 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 08:20PM
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@thymebalm

There is virtually NO chance that Gaudreau leaves BC. Piker did an article about that. Not sure about Arnold.. Maybe ask @Twolinepass if you're on twitter.

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#77 schevvy
February 18 2013, 08:21PM
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This Ford commercial makes me laugh. So unrealistic, but hilarious

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#78 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 08:21PM
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@Colin

Wasn't the Schultz thing because he played a year of junior before going to the NCAA?

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#79 thymebalm
February 18 2013, 08:23PM
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And I think the new CBA protects teams from this in some manner.

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#80 Ryan Pike
February 18 2013, 08:27PM
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I'd be extremely surprised if Gaudreau doesn't play the full four years at BC.

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#81 schevvy
February 18 2013, 08:28PM
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Rough start by the Flames, need to pick it up

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#82 thymebalm
February 18 2013, 08:28PM
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@Ryan Pike

what an exciting player he'll be as a senior.

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#83 Colin
February 18 2013, 08:29PM
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@Vintage Flame

If he played a year of Junior wouldn't he have been ineligable for NCAA(due to their "amatuer" designations)? I think in the last CBA there was a clause that a player because a free agent if they finished their college program, the team that drafted them had a two week window to sign them and if they didn't they became a UFA.

If that still exsists in the new CBA, those guys finishing their programs presents a real problem for the flames as there is a real chance both of them could bolt.

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#85 RKD
February 18 2013, 08:30PM
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Kent, a few weeks ago at Safeway I saw a guy with an OilersNation hoodie, are there FlamesNation hoodies?

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#86 Ryan Pike
February 18 2013, 08:30PM
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This game has the opposite of flow to it. Anti-flow, if you will.

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#87 Baalzamon
February 18 2013, 08:34PM
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@Colin

Junior in this case refers to USHL. Only the CHL affects amateur status.

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#89 Baalzamon
February 18 2013, 08:36PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Junior in this case refers to USHL. Only the CHL affects amateur status.

it could be AJHL or BCHL or wherever Schultz actually played.

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#90 ChinookArch
February 18 2013, 08:36PM
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Just tuning in. How have they been doing?

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#92 ChinookArch
February 18 2013, 08:40PM
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Thanks! Great news on Taylor.

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#94 Ryan Pike
February 18 2013, 08:46PM
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I hope that Bob Hartley uses the term "Weathering the storm" in the post-game presser.

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#95 Ryan Pike
February 18 2013, 08:50PM
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Low event game tonight.

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#96 Vowswithin
February 18 2013, 08:50PM
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Is Taylors puck play behind the net scaring anyone a little bit so far? Seems like it could have led to a few already. Aside from that looked great. Seems like he is making sure he gobbles up his revounds.

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#98 Vintage Flame
February 18 2013, 08:52PM
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This is starting to feel like the Minnesota game now.

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#99 Ryan Pike
February 18 2013, 08:53PM
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Won a free coffee!

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