FGD: Flames Hit the Road in Motown

Ryan Pike
February 05 2013 01:58PM

After spending five of their first six games at home, the Calgary Flames head out of town for their first real road trip of the season beginning tonight. First up? A date with the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena (5:30pm MT, televised on Sportsnet West and radioed by Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

Before you get too worked up, this ain't your mother's Red Wings team. First of all, there's no Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Lidstrom or Tomas Holmstrom in Motown. Hudler, as you may know, is playing for the Flames now. Lidstrom and Holmstrom retired. Brad Stuart left for the Sharks. And there are a few folks injured besides. Altogether, the Red Wings are missing seven regulars from their line-up.

The Flames are 1-3-2 on the year, while the Red Wings are a comparably massive 4-3-1. Last season the teams split their four meetings evenly. They each even scored the same number of goals on each other. All-time, the Red Wings have won one more game than the Flames have head-to-head, so there's bragging rights on the line.

And a pair of points that the Flames desperately, desperately need.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames lost a heart-breaker on Saturday against the Blackhawks but everyone – media and coaches alike – seemed very impressed with how the team basically dominated Chicago and lost due to some epically horrible luck.

Friend of the site Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) reported no changes at Monday's early morning practice at the Corral prior to the Flames jetting out to Detroit. According to Tuesday's morning skate, your designated scratches will be Tim Jackman and Cory Sarich.

  • Cammalleri – Tanguay – Iginla
  • Glencross – Backlund – Stempniak
  • Hudler – Stajan – Cervenka
  • Comeau – Jones – Begin

  • Bouwmeester – Giordano
  • Wideman – Brodie
  • Smith – Butler

  • Kiprusoff

Anton Babchuk has been cleared for contact and is traveling with the team, but is a ways away from slotting back in.

As you may notice, there's a shocking amount of balance between the top three lines. Hartley's tended to (smartly) give the Iginla and Stajan lines the offensive-zone high ground, but as the games progress (and depending on situation) he's also sent the Czechs into the defensive zone.

Now if only Glencross and Iginla can start to light the lamp...

THE OPPOSITION

The Wings have been utterly ravaged by injuries but have still managed to keep their heads above water in the standings. They'll be without Darren Helm, Jan Mursak, Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Smith, Joey MacDonald, Jonas Gustavsson and (maybe) Ian White. As of yesterday's practice, here's their most likely lines, courtesy Ansar Khan at MLive.com.

  • Franzen – Zetterberg – Brunner
  • Filippula – Datsyuk – Tatar
  • Cleary - Abdelkader – Bertuzzi
  • Miller – Emmerton - Tootoo

  • Kronwall – Ericsson
  • Quincey – Lashoff
  • Huskins – Kindl

  • Howard

Ian White, who led the Wings in scoring against Calgary last year, practiced with the team on Monday but didn't skate in a pairing. He hopes to play, but I'd expect him to be (a) a game-time decision and (b) on the second-pairing if he does swap in, likely at Lashoff's expense.

In an odd quirk of the AHL and NHL schedules, Tomas Tatar and goalie Petr Mrazek played for the Grand Rapids Griffins and beat the Abbotsford Heat 1-0 on Saturday, and now they'll play on the big club against the Flames.

Overall, the Wings have survived quite well without the bodies they're missing. Damian Brunner's fit in admirably, but the team really doesn't have the depth they once had. I mean, Jordin Tootoo is on their team, their bottom-six doesn't really drive the play and their defense is a bit scary.

SUM IT UP

The Chicago Blackhawks are an excellent hockey team that the Flames just took it to on Saturday night, losing through a horrible run of luck. The Detroit Red Wings are not quite as good as the Blackhawks, and the Flames can't keep being this unlucky, right?

Well, it's entirely possible, but it's not likely.

So if the Flames play as well as they did against Chicago, and Jimmy Howard doesn't become the next Ray Emery, there's a good chance that Calgary can leave Michigan with some points. When you consider that the Wings are utterly ravaged by injuries, the Flames won't have a better chance to cash in on Detroit than they have right now.

 

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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 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 05:54PM
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@Ryan Pike

Zetterberg vs Stajan. Yikes.

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#52 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 05:55PM
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I really miss Live Chat.

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#54 JohnnyUtah
February 05 2013, 06:02PM
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Casual Flames fan here from SK...but thought I'd chime in. The Flames have some of the tools to be a competitive and entertaining team; however, they also have some aging relics that are better served on a different team.

Without Iggy the Flames will still play some exciting hockey, and will open the door for a new leader to step forward. I'd hate to see him go but for progress sake it's time to start a new chapter.

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#55 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:03PM
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Begin shouldn't be dancing with Tootoo.

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#56 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:04PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Zetterberg vs Stajan. Yikes.

Don't look at it like Stajan vs. Zetterberg, but more likely Hartley wants Hudler playing against that line.

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#57 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:05PM
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I really hate Jordan 22.. too.. as well... you know what I mean.

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#58 Willi P
February 05 2013, 06:06PM
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Finally Iginla

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#60 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:06PM
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At aboy Iggy!

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#61 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:06PM
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FINALLY, the captain gets on the board.

Hopefully it opens the floodgates now.

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#62 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:06PM
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Nice battle by Iginla to score. Thank you to Howard for swimming like a fish on the ice as well.

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#63 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:07PM
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That was the first scoring chance of the game.

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#64 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:10PM
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I can't believe Stemps went offside on the 2on1.

Seriously, Backlund is cursed. It's unbelievable.

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#65 beloch
February 05 2013, 06:11PM
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clyde wrote:

I was thinking more along the line of an Alu but I would rather give a chance to a 23 year old over a 34 year old even if that meant Nemisz.

Akim Aliu is big and enthusiastic, but has serious discipline problems. We got a taste of that during his cup of coffee last year. He looked good when nobody else on the ice gave a damn about the outcome, right up until he was ejected with a 10 minute misconduct for not knowing when to shut his yap. So far this season he has racked up 47 minutes of penalties in just 20 games with the Heat. Zach McKelvie is the only Heat player who has racked up more penalties, but he's played almost twice as many games! Aliu's penalties are not the good kind either. Abusing an official. Multiple counts of unsportsmanlike conduct. These are *not* the result of paying the price to prevent a breakaway! Passion is great, but only if controlled.

Aliu is basically Bourque on steroids when it comes to taking dumb penalties. He would be a *huge* liability to have on your fourth line even if your PK is up to snuff, and the Flames PK is second last in the league! I can see him being called up if there are enough injuries, but he's probably best left in Abbotsford until he learns some self-control, *if* that ever actually happens.

He's got the size and raw skills to be a NHL player, but only if he smartens up.

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#67 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:14PM
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@beloch

I don't even know if Aliu has the raw skills to be an NHLer. His hands/offensive abilities are pretty low and his acceleration/stride are poor as well.

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#68 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:14PM
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@Ryan Pike

I don't. It's one of the worst promos I've seen in some time.

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#69 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:15PM
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@beloch

My concerns with Aliu is what his coach said about him. Paraphrasing, Aliu needs to learn how to treat his team mates and coaching staff with respect. That's a pretty damning statement.

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#71 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:16PM
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DET has zero chances through the first half of the first.

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#72 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:19PM
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Of course the Wings promptly get 3 chances as soon as I type that.

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#74 Willi P
February 05 2013, 06:20PM
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Keeping your feet moving Kent

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#75 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:21PM
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Thank you Tim Erixson!

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#76 yomamen
February 05 2013, 06:21PM
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5 on 3. Common guys, lets win this one early in first

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#77 Willi P
February 05 2013, 06:21PM
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Around the 9:20 mark

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#78 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:21PM
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Feet moving! Who had 10 minutes in on the Simmer over/under.

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#80 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:23PM
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Nice pass for Cammalleri.

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#81 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:23PM
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Really nice play by Wideman.

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#82 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:25PM
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Flames already have two goals tonight on just 3 chances. They scored as many on 35 vs CHI.

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#83 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:27PM
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Stupid backhand passes at the blueline. Good to see Bert hasn't changed.

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#84 yomamen
February 05 2013, 06:27PM
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Now if only Glencross and Iginla can start to light the lamp...

What else do you wish Ryan? :o)

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#85 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:28PM
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Interesting that this game's #1 PP unit hasn't featured Iginla so far. It's the right decision.

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#86 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 06:28PM
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evenin gents, no video so i gotta rely on pete and mike should i expect some bias?

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#87 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:31PM
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@negrilcowboy

Not from Mike Rogers cowboy. He tells it like it is.

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#88 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 06:32PM
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regarding aliu, when he first hit the junior ranks he was highly regarded as a scoring threat then came his infamous run in with downie at training camp, since then all down hill. bad attitude

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#89 Rick
February 05 2013, 06:33PM
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The Flames have gotten past the first round of the playoffs ONCE since we won the cup in 1989. In 22 seasons they have missed the playoffs 11 times! This is a large reason why so many Flames fans patience has run out with the ownership and management of this organization.

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#90 Willi P
February 05 2013, 06:36PM
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Rick wrote:

The Flames have gotten past the first round of the playoffs ONCE since we won the cup in 1989. In 22 seasons they have missed the playoffs 11 times! This is a large reason why so many Flames fans patience has run out with the ownership and management of this organization.

Astute observation, haven't heard that one before.

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#91 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:36PM
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Comeau looks lost out there. What happened to this guy?

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#92 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 06:38PM
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listened to tsn toronto radio today, overwhrlming distain for dion, much of the day was callin. one reporter went as far as questioning if dion has the intelligence to read the play. was bustin a nut, seems leaf nation much like flames nation want to blow the thing up.

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#93 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:38PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Comeau looks lost out there. What happened to this guy?

He scored 24 goals one year, and they told him he had to start playing hockey. Lost cause after that.

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#94 Rick
February 05 2013, 06:39PM
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I went to Wikipedia to check my facts. And consider this, if Bertuzzi had not been suspended in 2004 for the playoffs for the Canucks it is highly likely we would have been out in the first round that year as well leaving us zero for twenty-two since 89.

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#95 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 06:39PM
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Chances were 5-3 Detroit. 4-2 at ES.

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#96 seve927
February 05 2013, 06:41PM
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@Rick

Thanks, I was just wondering about that.

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#97 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 06:42PM
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@Rick

And if Gretzsky didn't play in Edmonton, Calgary would have 3 more cups.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

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#98 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 06:43PM
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Rick wrote:

I went to Wikipedia to check my facts. And consider this, if Bertuzzi had not been suspended in 2004 for the playoffs for the Canucks it is highly likely we would have been out in the first round that year as well leaving us zero for twenty-two since 89.

thanks for making me feel all warm and fuzzy now, i feel like singin koom bya right now.

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#99 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:51PM
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That was a brutal fight in Philly.

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#100 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:57PM
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Did Kipper just "Scorpion" that save off Pavel?

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