FGD: Stem the Tide

Kent Wilson
March 13 2013 02:00PM

While most in Flamesland are now busily fabricating semi-plausible deadline trade scenarios or hunting down top-10 prospect lists for the draft in June, the reality is the team still has a bunch of games to play this season before any of that stuff matters. The second half begins tonight versus the Detroit Red Wings.

They aren't the overpowering juggernaut of yesteryear, but the Wings are still decent. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have taken real steps back in terms of their ability to control play this season (the latter in particular) and they aren't girded by the sort of depth that would help soften the blow of that decline. Still, going from "incredibly dominant even strength players " to "pretty good" isn't quite the death knell for Hockeytown's unending playoff streak. Yet.

The Wings have suffered through injuries, too, on top of the massive loss of Lidstrom to retirement in the off-season. The club has some quality players coming up through the system in Gustav Nyquist (who should play tonight), Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson while import Damien Brunner has filled in well in the top-6. That said, replacing Datsyuk/Zetterberg once they finally do fall off the horse is going to be a tall order.

So Detroit is merely "good" and their top-end still needs to be respected, but they're no longer unbeatable demi-gods. They currently sit 7th in the Western Conference and it wouldn't surprise me if that's more or less where they stay for the rest of the year.

The Flames still have the faintest of faint chances of making the dance. No doubt some portion of the fanbase wants the club to throw in the towel now in order to improve their chances at a lottery pick, but the players have pride and future contracts to play for, so expect Calgary to go down swinging. If there's to be any sort of meaningful run at the post-season, though, it has to start right away: the boys need roughly a 65% win% through the rest of the year to even have a shot.

If, on the other hand, the true goal is the chance to draft Drouin, Barkov, Jones or MacKinnnon well...just pray that Kipper continues to channel his buddy Vesa Toskala. 

The Lineup

Glencross skated this morning but will be a gametime decision. Cammalleri missed the practice, though it's possible that was only for maintenance purposes. For now we'll assume they are both in.

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

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

  • Kipper

Backlund ended up playing with Iginla and Tanguay at the end of the Kings game. He scored the Calgary's only goal in that role so it would surprise me if he didn't at least start there tonight.

And just because I haven't advocated enough for Backs the last year or two, Hartley needs to start thinking about given Mikael more PP time - not only does the team generate more shots at ES with him on the ice, they do so on the man advantage as well. There's small sample concerns with that latter number, but it's intuitive to assume he'll have the same effect at 5on4 as he does at 5on5.

Brodie slid up to the top pairing to replace Mark Giordano (who spent a week or two serving up platters to the team's best skaters) and didn't look out of place. I'll be stunned if he persists there long term given how tough that assignment is and his youth, but it's impressive he managed even a single game in that role without looking hopelessly overwhelmed.

The Opposition

Word is the Wings could get Filppula back tonight, adding a bit more punch to their top-6. Nyquist is the AHL's leading scorer with 60 points in 57 games, so he should land in a scoring role as well.

  • Nyquist - Datsyuk - Franzen
  • Brunner - Zetterberg - Filppula
  • Cleary - Abdelkader - Andersson
  • Miller - Emmerton - Tootoo

  • Kronwall - Ericsson
  • Quincey - Smith
  • Lashoff - Kindl

  • Gustavsson

The depressed state of the Wings blueline post-Lidstrom is obvious. Smith, Kindl and Lashoff are all kids, each with less than two full seasons under their respective belts. Kindl and Smith are walking on their own, but Lashoff is getting beat up, even on the third pairing. Incredibly, Ian White has gone from Lidstrom's frequent partner last year to a current healthy scratch (despite Detroit's needs on the back-end). None of his numbers are overly terrible, so I'm not sure what is motivating Babcock to give the former Flame the stink-eye.

Nik Kronwall has tried to fill Lidstrom's clown sized shoes and has managed to keep his head above water as the club's number one defender. He's not Lidstrom, obviously, but at least he's not completely out of his depth. That said, you can see why the Wings are rumored to be interested in Jay Bouwmeester.

Sum it Up

Detroit is battling their slow slide from annual contenders to a middle-tier Western Conference club. The Flames, on the other hand, are battling the inevitable. Calgary can still make the post-season with an incredible turn-around (starting tonight) while the Wings will want to climb back up the ladder as much as possible.

Game time is 7:30 on TSN tonight. I will be attending, so Justin will be counting chances. Tune in to cheer for or against the Flames, depending on your sensibilities. 

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
#101 RKD
March 13 2013, 09:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Nate MacKinnon, 4 points tonight in his first game back from injury. TSN says the Flames were 5th spot in the lottery draft before tonight but are now in 6th.

Avatar
#102 s_yav14
March 13 2013, 09:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Ya, you had to know they'd score with the non-stop jynxing by the announcers. Worse than saying shutout. Bastards!

Avatar
#103 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 09:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@schevvy

Gernat was HS as well.

Agreed, I think teams like the Blades and Oil Kings are resting some of their players ahead of the post-season.

Lazar was a force, he drove the play every time he was on the ice, and outperformed every single player for and against.

He may not be a top ten pick, but any team getting him between 12 and 20 should be pleased with the kind of player he could become.

Avatar
#104 schevvy
March 13 2013, 09:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Unrelated note that none of you probably care about: The Lethbridge Hurricanes finally won a game!!

Avatar
#105 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 09:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@RKD

I also start looking at Monahan, Nichuskin, Barkov, and Lindholm. They may become viable draft targets for the Flames if things stay as they are.

Avatar
#106 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 09:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
schevvy wrote:

Unrelated note that none of you probably care about: The Lethbridge Hurricanes finally won a game!!

I didn't know they played the Blue Jackets.

Avatar
#107 schevvy
March 13 2013, 09:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
RexLibris wrote:

I didn't know they played the Blue Jackets.

Haha. They beat Kootenay 4-2 in Lethy.

Avatar
#108 Vowswithin
March 13 2013, 09:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

How do the tan guys figure we are in #6th draft position, as i see it with 22pts we are drafting 3rd

Avatar
#109 schevvy
March 13 2013, 09:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Vowswithin

Win %. Negates the games in hand.

Avatar
#110 s_yav14
March 13 2013, 09:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Wideman is due for a goal

Avatar
#111 Justin Azevedo
March 13 2013, 09:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
RexLibris wrote:

I also start looking at Monahan, Nichuskin, Barkov, and Lindholm. They may become viable draft targets for the Flames if things stay as they are.

in order, my top 10: mackinnon, drouin, jones, barkov, monahan, lindholm, shinkaruk, nichuskin, nurse, nistolainen

Avatar
#112 Vowswithin
March 13 2013, 09:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
schevvy wrote:

Win %. Negates the games in hand.

Ahh well that will all wash out

Avatar
#113 John Deere Green
March 13 2013, 10:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

How has the attendance been at the Dome the last few weeks? Just watching the TV it looks like there are a few empty seats. Maybe the lineups were extra long at the intermission.

Avatar
#114 Baalzamon
March 13 2013, 10:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
RKD wrote:

Man, do the Flames have to hit rock bottom before they start to play with desperation?

That's... sort of the definition of desperation. I think what you, just like everyone else who says it, actually mean is "playing with urgency."

Avatar
#115 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Nicely done Glencross

Avatar
#116 ChinookArch
March 13 2013, 10:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Great play by Stajan.

Avatar
#117 Baalzamon
March 13 2013, 10:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Justin Azevedo wrote:

in order, my top 10: mackinnon, drouin, jones, barkov, monahan, lindholm, shinkaruk, nichuskin, nurse, nistolainen

You have Monahan ahead of Lindholm? Why?

Avatar
#118 s_yav14
March 13 2013, 10:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Cammalleri, Iginla, and Tanguay have looked good together tonight.

Avatar
#119 Justin Azevedo
March 13 2013, 10:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
John Deere Green wrote:

How has the attendance been at the Dome the last few weeks? Just watching the TV it looks like there are a few empty seats. Maybe the lineups were extra long at the intermission.

officially sellouts. reason it looks so empty is because the club seats are vacant, but those tickets are all paid for.

Avatar
#120 RKD
March 13 2013, 10:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Baalzamon wrote:

That's... sort of the definition of desperation. I think what you, just like everyone else who says it, actually mean is "playing with urgency."

Yeah, the odd thing is desperation is a synonym for urgency but not the other way around. Go figure.

Avatar
#121 Vowswithin
March 13 2013, 10:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Hey they are moving their feet out there ;)

So do boston, pitsburg start a bidding war since no one wants to be caught with their panta down when iginla goes?

Avatar
#122 RKD
March 13 2013, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Wow, both Datsyuk and Iggy have exactly 589 points since 2005 that's pretty cool.

Avatar
#123 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Atta boy Glencross

Avatar
#124 RKD
March 13 2013, 10:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Glencross!!!

Avatar
#125 ChinookArch
March 13 2013, 10:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

Quick smash Glenx's other hand.

Avatar
#126 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

Omg Comeau?? WTF is happening

Avatar
#127 Justin Azevedo
March 13 2013, 10:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Baalzamon

gut feel mostly

Avatar
#128 RKD
March 13 2013, 10:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Comeau!

Avatar
#129 ChinookArch
March 13 2013, 10:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Comeau shoot like that all the time. Crazy good.

Avatar
#130 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Related: Guvstasson is terrible

Avatar
#131 Vowswithin
March 13 2013, 10:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Holy crap what jist happened, comeau for his 2nd of the year

Avatar
#132 Mullen Mania
March 13 2013, 10:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

When Comeau scores the opposing goaltender deserves to be pulled...just saying

Avatar
#133 John Deere Green
March 13 2013, 10:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Feaster is hoping that since Comeau has heated up, that he can use him as trade bait to get that tough to find #1 centre, and not have to touch the golden core.

Avatar
#134 RKD
March 13 2013, 10:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Too bad for Backs, maybe he should have tried that sick move by Daugvins!

Avatar
#135 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 10:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Ben Eager was waived today. Anyone think Feaster is crazy enough to claim him? I think Kent would start speaking in tongues out of anger if they did.

Avatar
#136 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 10:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I haven't seen much, but Kiprusoff seems to be fighting his positioning tonight.

Avatar
#137 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 10:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Habemus vincem!

Avatar
#138 Vintage Flame
March 13 2013, 10:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Who's happy????

Avatar
#139 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

GOING FOR IT

Avatar
#140 Jibmeister
March 13 2013, 10:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

What a win.

Avatar
#141 Vintage Flame
March 13 2013, 10:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
RexLibris wrote:

I haven't seen much, but Kiprusoff seems to be fighting his positioning tonight.

Nope, not tonight. Kipper was solid all night

Avatar
#142 Vowswithin
March 13 2013, 10:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Vintage Flame wrote:

Who's happy????

Nope. Losses only pleaseee

Avatar
#143 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Vowswithin wrote:

Nope. Losses only pleaseee

Booooooooo. Kidding

Avatar
#144 s_yav14
March 13 2013, 10:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Cue the comeback

Avatar
#145 Justin Azevedo
March 13 2013, 10:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

chances 7-7 in the 3rd, all at ev. 14-11 det total chances, 13-11 at ev. corsi -29.

Avatar
#146 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 10:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Vintage Flame wrote:

Nope, not tonight. Kipper was solid all night

Must've been just a sporadic thing then.

Congratulations on the win.

btw, there are rumours that the Oilers might want to trade for Jack Johnson.

I guess that'd put a big smile on most Flames fans.

=)

Avatar
#147 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

@RexLibris

Johnson for Eberle and a 1st? :)

Avatar
#148 RexLibris
March 13 2013, 10:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
schevvy wrote:

Johnson for Eberle and a 1st? :)

If they make that trade they are definitely getting a Johnson.

Sorry, a little uncouth, but the rumour has me rattled.

Avatar
#149 schevvy
March 13 2013, 10:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@RexLibris

Who do the people making the rumor think the Oilers would give up?

Avatar
#150 Vowswithin
March 13 2013, 10:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
schevvy wrote:

Booooooooo. Kidding

Only now that the seasons shot, cant have a repeat oilers first

Comments are closed for this article.