FGD: Into the Fire

Kent Wilson
February 02 2013 02:51PM

A lot of consternation in Flamesland after the 6-3 loss to the Avs on Thursday, but from my angle the team has exceeded expectations from many angles through the early going. The results aren't there and the goaltending has been *ahem* questionable, but the club has made a habit of outchancing and outshooting their opponents so far. With a few different bounces and an NHL-average Kipper, the Flames have a much better set of W-L numbers heading into tonight.

Chicago is probably the best team the Flames have faced thus far though. The Sharks are the only other true playoff caliber opponent Calgary has seen and they have some severe depth problems. Not so much for Chicago, who boast starts like Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Keith and Seabrook at the top-end of the roster and then quality depth options like Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and David Bolland elsewhere.  The addition of Michal Roszival and Johnny Oduya in the off-season solidified their top-4 on the back-end as well, so there really is no obvious weakness to exploit on Chicago's roster.

The Hawks haven't lost in regulation this season, in part because of the quality of their line-up, but also because Corey Crawford is pulling a reverse-Kipper so far. Much maligned last year during an entirely mediocre season, Crawford has some out a put up a .934 SV% in 7 starts, including .930 at ES and a mind-boggling .968% on the PK. Obviously that's not going to continue forever, but it wouldn't surprise me if Crawford is better than what he seemed in 2011-12.

The Line-up

Out are Begin and Sarich, replaced by Comeau and Smith. The Butler-Sarich duo were victimized a couple of times last game and were an obvious sore spot on more than one occassion. Comeau is back to being one of the least popular Flames on the roster, but I think we can all agree he's better than Begin.

  • Cammalleri - Tanguay - Iginla
  • Cervenka - Stajan - Hudler
  • Glencross - Backlund - Stempniak
  • Comeau - Jones - Jackman

  • Bouwmeester - Giordano
  • Wideman - Brodie
  • Smith - Butler

  • Kiprusoff

Word is Cammalleri will get elevated to the Iginla line today. Neither he nor Glencross had great games against Colorado, although that has been par for the course for Cammalleri thus far. He's had a lot of problems executing all over the ice, so maybe Hartley is looking to get him some more ice time to help him find his legs.

With Glencross moving down to the Backlund line, I would suggest tonight would be a good point for the Flames new coach to start burying the bottom-6 in the defesive zone as much as possible. Last game the Iginla trio including Glencross generated the most chances at even strength (6) but also gave up the most against (5), whereas the Backlund unit only saw one chance against all night.

At best the top line is going to be even more "high event" with a struggling Cammalleri on the wing, so it would make sense to give the Backlund and Jones units the bulk of the own-zone draws.

The Opposition

  • Saad - Toews - Hossa
  • Sharp - Kruger - Kane
  • Bickell - Shaw - Stalberg
  • Bollig - Meyers - Frolik

  • Keith - Seabrook
  • Oduya - Hjalmarsson
  • Brookbank - Leddy

  • Emery

Okay maybe I exagerrated when I said there were NO weaknesses on this roster. For example, I have no idea what rookie Brandon saad is doing on the first line and I doubt it lasts more than a period. He's a good quality prospect, but no way can he hang with Toews and Hossa at this point in his young career. Byron Bickell on the third line over Frolik is a baffling decision as well since Frolik has the best relative possession rate amongst regular forwards on the team. He still can't seem to put a puck into the ocean, but even as a pure driver of the play he's wasted on the fourth line.

Chicago's third defense unit is pretty suspect as well, if only because the incorrigible Sheldon Brookbank is on it. 

Also odd in the early going for Chicago is the fact that Patrick Kane is getting his head absolutely beat in in terms of possession (-17.74 corsi/60) and it's not like he is suddenly starting 70% of his shifts in the d-zone or anything. That's the sort of rate goons, grinders and marginal AHLers put up, so it will be interesting to watch him to tonight to see just what is going on. The points are there for him right now, but that's due to an on-ice SH% of 17.73% (which is more than double the league average). When that percentage regresses his results will crater if he continues to spend so much time in his own zone.

Sum It Up

The Hawks have a strong line-up with high-end talent and ga oalie playing over his head right now. The Flames have put together some strong performances but the goaltending has been poor so the record isn't there. The best news for Calgary is the hawks played last night and lost in a shoot-out so they should be tired at least. In addition, Corey Crawford is taking a seat in favor of back-up Ray Emery, so that should help the Flames cause to some degree.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
Avatar
#102 Mitch P
February 02 2013, 10:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

My frustration level with this horrible puck luck is reaching an all-time high. Can't buy one.

Avatar
#103 Subversive
February 02 2013, 10:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Weak goal? I was a little late getting back after intermission.

Avatar
#104 seve927
February 02 2013, 10:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I think this may be literally beyond belief. I hope the luck doensn't all balance out in a 15-0 win.

Avatar
#105 Vintage Flame
February 02 2013, 10:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

How did Glencross miss that one??

Avatar
#107 Gunk
February 02 2013, 10:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Unreal how many solid chances they've had but just can't capitalize on tonight. One of these has to go in some time.

Avatar
#108 cLYDE
February 02 2013, 10:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If we got good returns on Kipper and Iggy we really wouldn't be that far away from being decent with a couple of good drafts.

Avatar
#109 Subversive
February 02 2013, 10:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

OMFG. How has nothing gone in?

Avatar
#110 thymebalm
February 02 2013, 10:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

"Curtis Glencross! He's going to need therapy after this game!"

Avatar
#111 negrilcowboy
February 02 2013, 10:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
thymebalm wrote:

"Curtis Glencross! He's going to need therapy after this game!"

juno award winning call

Avatar
#112 Scary Gary
February 02 2013, 10:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Oh man...open nets.

Avatar
#113 ChinookArch
February 02 2013, 10:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Finally!

Avatar
#114 Gunk
February 02 2013, 10:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

FINALLY... jeez louise

Avatar
#115 seve927
February 02 2013, 10:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

A GOOD bounce! And the fortunes of a franchise turn...

Avatar
#116 Vintage Flame
February 02 2013, 10:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Wideman, off Seabrook's skate.. I'll take it!

Avatar
#117 seve927
February 02 2013, 10:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I guess Kelly Hrudey disagrees with me.

Avatar
#118 seve927
February 02 2013, 10:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Does the NHL keep a pucks bounced over stick stat? Flames lead the league.

Avatar
#119 Subversive
February 02 2013, 10:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Frickin frick! Bury it!

Avatar
#120 Gunk
February 02 2013, 10:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Gee I wonder if Emery will get 1st star..

Avatar
#121 Drad
February 02 2013, 10:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Curtis "regress to the mean" Glencross.

Avatar
#122 Gunk
February 02 2013, 10:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

boooo yaaa!

Avatar
#123 Subversive
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Wooooooooooooooooooooo!

Avatar
#124 seve927
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Ah, the thrill of the KILL!

Avatar
#125 Monaertchi
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar
#126 Vintage Flame
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Atta boy J-Bo!!

Avatar
#127 11yomamen
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Góóóóóóóól!!!

Avatar
#128 cLYDE
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

We can't even score on a sieve like Emery in the back end of a back to back is very telling. Love the effort but let's be real here.

Avatar
#129 ChinookArch
February 02 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Bouwmeester is finally burying those after 3 years of trying.

Avatar
#132 thymebalm
February 02 2013, 10:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

oh my god.. come on flames.

Avatar
#133 seve927
February 02 2013, 10:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I actually laughed. Unbelievable.

Avatar
#134 Subversive
February 02 2013, 10:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Fbfhdjcbcgidjencnfnvnendbc!

Avatar
#135 Gunk
February 02 2013, 10:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

lord have mercy... the only bright side is Hossa is in my pool :-)

Avatar
#136 ChinookArch
February 02 2013, 10:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Does anyone know any Slovakian slurs?

Avatar
#137 Subversive
February 02 2013, 10:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Seriously unbelievable.

Avatar
#138 thymebalm
February 02 2013, 10:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

The Flames will find a way to lose?

Avatar
#139 Vintage Flame
February 02 2013, 10:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Un.Believe.Able

Avatar
#140 11yomamen
February 02 2013, 10:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Dopiče aj s vyjebanym Hossom. Kurvaaa!!!

Avatar
#141 Mitch P
February 02 2013, 10:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I feel like puking.

Avatar
#142 ChinookArch
February 02 2013, 10:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
11yomamen wrote:

Dopiče aj s vyjebanym Hossom. Kurvaaa!!!

What he said!

Avatar
#144 ChinookArch
February 02 2013, 11:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Chicago's first star - Post.

Avatar
#145 Bean-counting cowboy
February 02 2013, 11:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

How did I know that would happen.

Avatar
#146 Gunk
February 02 2013, 11:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

hmmm. 4 on 3? I'll take that :-) we don't want a shootout tonight.

Avatar
#147 cLYDE
February 02 2013, 11:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

With a loss, we will be one step closer to Seth Jones who got 2 more points tonight playing with Wotherspoon.

Avatar
#148 11yomamen
February 02 2013, 11:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Heads up guys. Still chance to two points! Cmon FLAMES!

Avatar
#149 northernstamp
February 02 2013, 11:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Why oh why was Stajan on the ice in the final minute when you're trying to protect lead?

Avatar
#150 Subversive
February 02 2013, 11:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

There are no words.

Comments are closed for this article.