FGD: Choose Your Own Path

Justin Azevedo
March 22 2013 02:14PM

Even I, among the most optimistic of fans, am starting to see the ground approaching fast for this edition of the Calgary Flames. I figure the absolute minimum to make the playoffs in the Western Confrence is going to be 55 points - meaning the Flames can only let 11 of a possible 40 points slip away before they're done.

It's odd to be counting the season down so far out from the trade deadline. Usually, they're right in the mix until the bitter end; but barring a huge run like that of March/April 2004, that wont be the case this year.

They'll finish up their nightmare of a roadtrip tonight in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are on quite the roll - 7-0-3 in their last 10. That may be inexplicable to some, but all one has to do is take a look at their goaltending stats to see why they're winning games despite being last in the league in goals scored and goals per game (as well as some frightful shot differentials). While some might be buying into the narriitve that "this team just loves to play" (*cough 960 morning show cough*), the reality is their record is built on a house of cards.

The Lineup

 

  • Alex Tanguay-Mike Cammalleri-Jarome Iginla
  • Curtis Glencross-Matt Stajan-Lee Stempniak
  • Jiri Hudler-Roman Cervenka-Blake Comeau
  • Brian McGrattan-Steve Begin-Tim Jackman
  • Jay Bouwmeester-T.J. Brodie
  • Mark Giordano-Dennis Wideman
  • Cory Sarich-Derek Smith
  • Miikka Kiprusoff

Last night was probably the worst game Chris butler's ever played in a Flames uniform - including that -7 effort last year in Boston. I was a big Butler booster coming out of last year, but it's pretty clear from what we've seen this year that any defencies he has were simply covered by Jay Bouwmeester - which just makes me even more impressed with what Bouwmeester can do, as he made a replacement-level defenseman look like a top-4 guy for an entire season.

Mikael Backlund will sit tonight, likely due to his foot injury. He's got a small fracture in his foot from blocking that shot against Nashville last week, and he's been trying to play through it, but it's likely just too much to go on a back-to-back with the amount of pain an injury like that causes. I feel really bad for Backlund - he's had horrible luck with injuries and he's been one of the Flames' best forwards this season to boot.

Mark Giordano and Blake Comeau have started to look like they might be NHL-level players again, which is nice. Comeau has 3 goals in the last four games and Giordano had his best game since January last night, tallying a goal and assist. It would be nice if both guys could contunie to play to their believed skill level from here on out, maybe build up some trade value or something.

The Enemy

  • Vaclav Prospal-Derick Brassard-Mark Letestu
  • Derek MacKenzie-Artem Anisimov-Jared Boll
  • R.J. Umberger-Ryan Johansen-Nick Foligno
  • Matt Calvert-Colton Gillies-Cam Atkinson
  • Nikita Nikitin-Dalton Prout
  • Fedor Tyutin-Jack Johnson
  • Tim Erixon-Adrian Aucoin
  • Sergei Bobrovsky

The Prospal-Brassard-Letestu line has been Columbus' best line by far this season. They're currently 1-2-3 in scoring for the Blue Jackets and even though they've been playing 3rd line competiton they are driving play forward with two of them having ZS% in the low 40s. That might not sound impressive, but keep in mind that one is a guy in his late 30s and the other two aren't exactly household names.

Fedor Tyutin is a pretty good defenseman. Like, really good. Despite playing top comp, a 46.1% ZS and having to carry Jack Johnson around (a big name guy who has been a black hole at ES forever), his relative Corsi is only -3.9. He's also tied for 3rd on the team in scoring and he's still on the right side of 30. He's probably the team's best all around skater and he's been performing like it. Tim Erixon hasn't been too bad either, with an even ZS% and a +4.3 relative Corsi rating. Sure, he's been playing bottom-6 comp, but that's still pretty good for a rookie.

That house of cards I talked about above has another name: Sergei Bobrovsky. He's 4th in the league in EVSV% (.935), 5th in the league in PKSV% (.900) and he's sporting a shiny 2.05 GAA. Those numbers are well above his career averages, but it is only his 3rd season in the league, so it's entirely possible that they're actually close to his true talent level. I'm not convinced, though - pretty much all goaltending stats from this season will be thrown away due to the randomness of a 48-game schedule. His back-up, Steve Mason, is the epitome of how even marginal puck stoppers can get really hot for brief stretches now and then.

Sum It Up

I don't really know what I have to say here - time is running out for the Flames, if it hasn't already. If they lose this one in regulation it'll be pretty hard not to pronoounce them dead on arrival when they reach Calgary early Saturday morning.

I didn't talk about Jarome Iginla above, but it's obvious that whatever is going on behind closed doors is weighing on him. For his sake, more than anything - I hope his situation gets resolved soon. I don't think it's fair to him to drag this out any more than is needed, and the guy deserves to win a cup - not end his career Cup-less with the hell we're going to endure over the next 3-5 years.

In saying that - Go Flames. Game time is 5PM. Watch it on SNET West or listen to the Legend that is Peter Maher on SNET 960 the FAN.

BONUS! Death Clock

11 points until the clock strikes midnight.

A9d138d0e612f28cd46f9b7057ed715d
Justin is a 22-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
Avatar
#51 Brent G.
March 22 2013, 06:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I can't believe kipper is still in net.

Avatar
#52 Willi P
March 22 2013, 06:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Hartley doesn't even call a time out after 2 goals? Make a change....something. No emotion in this team

Avatar
#53 mattyc
March 22 2013, 06:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

well...

Avatar
#54 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 06:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Three straight chances. Three straight goals.

Avatar
#55 danglesnipecelly
March 22 2013, 06:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

WTF, I just hit refresh on NHL.com and the score went from 1-1 to 4-1... Did we pull the goalie??

How's Kipper looking? Haha, same question I asked last night. Still trade-able?

Avatar
#56 Renslip
March 22 2013, 07:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I've really just given up. It's not worth even trying to watch this team. Wake me in a few years, but only if they've improved.

Avatar
#57 FireOnIce
March 22 2013, 07:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Love how the Flames traded for McGrattan, yet every time he gets on the ice he gets whistled and spends 2 minutes in the box. So much for toughness and deterrence.

This team is pitiful.

Avatar
#58 MC Hockey
March 22 2013, 07:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Bye Flames core. Came to the Peg to get luc for you but not good.

Avatar
#59 mattyc
March 22 2013, 07:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Kent Wilson

Kent, is the "Defense Independent Goalie Rating" published anywhere? I'm curious how much of our defensive suckage is our defense, and how much of it is our goalies.

Avatar
#60 Willi P
March 22 2013, 07:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Hartley says all the right things before and after game days but can't manage the game. This team implodes all of the time. He just let's it continue instead of slowing it down when the eventual meltdown occurs.

Avatar
#61 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 07:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Chances were 7-5 Columbus in the second.

Another debacle. Team didn't help much, but Kipper just can't put up a quality start these days.

Avatar
#62 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 07:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@mattyc

Not that I know of.

Avatar
#63 Willi P
March 22 2013, 07:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

Chances were 7-5 Columbus in the second.

Another debacle. Team didn't help much, but Kipper just can't put up a quality start these days.

Right, so why not change him out after two quick goals, instead Hartley lets it continue and the third goes in.

Avatar
#64 mk
March 22 2013, 07:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Well if Kipper and Iginla had significant trade value before, its gone now. Iginla will still fetch a decent (not mind-blowing) return. Kipper will not, unless the other GM is suffering significant after-effects from a concussion...

Avatar
#65 Chris Fairfield
March 22 2013, 07:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
danglesnipecelly wrote:

WTF, I just hit refresh on NHL.com and the score went from 1-1 to 4-1... Did we pull the goalie??

How's Kipper looking? Haha, same question I asked last night. Still trade-able?

Same old story. not being able to clear their zone, piss poor defensive coverage and yet another 2 giveaways and what does that equal, 3 goals in 75 seconds and a 4-1 lead for Columbus. Kiprusoff was and has been making some nice saves but the 2,3 and 4th goals were results of blind passes through the slot and a persistent forecheck by Columbus and again, the inability of the Flames to clear their zone. They had a camera shot of Iginla smiling on the bench and then moving down the bench to have a seat beside Jackman, his smile quickly disappeared. If Iggy is not gone on or before the weekend is out, I would be shocked.

Avatar
#66 ChinookArch
March 22 2013, 07:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Missed the first 2 periods and just heard Stienberg on the radio saying the Jackets scored the fasted 3 goals in franchise history.

Well. At least we have a shot a the lottery !

Avatar
#67 RKD
March 22 2013, 07:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

Chances were 7-5 Columbus in the second.

Another debacle. Team didn't help much, but Kipper just can't put up a quality start these days.

True, I don't mean to make excuses for Kipper. However, his second child was just born. I'm pretty sure that might be still on his mind. He was injured for a month and could have been to start the season. It could just be an offseason, the past few seasons he seems to be alternating strong seasons with mediocre ones.

Avatar
#68 negrilcowboy
March 22 2013, 07:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

3 more losses an its offical, out of playoff contension before the deadline.

Avatar
#69 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 07:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@RKD

True. Maybe time has finally caught up to him too.

Avatar
#70 Chris Fairfield
March 22 2013, 07:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Iginla to LA for Bernier and then next year we have Ramo and Bernier competing for the starters position. Grab Drouin in the first round and away we go.

Iginla to Pittsburgh for Oli Maata, Simon Despres, Tyler Kennedy and whomever else they want to throw in.

wish list

Iginla to Washington for Ovi straight up!

Avatar
#71 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

What'd I miss?

Avatar
#72 Willi P
March 22 2013, 07:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Ryan Pike wrote:

What'd I miss?

lol@RP

Avatar
#73 aloudoun
March 22 2013, 07:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

#freeiginla

Avatar
#74 Vintage Flame
March 22 2013, 07:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I seriously got nothin right now....

Avatar
#75 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

WISCONSIN beat St. Cloud State to advance to their conference finals. John Ramage had a goal and an assist.

Avatar
#76 Chris Fairfield
March 22 2013, 07:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Ryan Pike wrote:

What'd I miss?

I got nothin'

Avatar
#77 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 07:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I kinda zoned out in this period.

Avatar
#78 negrilcowboy
March 22 2013, 07:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

kent, what is the majic number for the flames?

Avatar
#79 the forgotten man
March 22 2013, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Vintage Flame wrote:

I seriously got nothin right now....

Jerry can...Match...Let it Burn

Avatar
#80 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Weak, weak goal.

Avatar
#81 Vintage Flame
March 22 2013, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Can we change the FGD's to FML's???

Avatar
#82 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

John Ramage had the game-winner for Wisconsin and the primary assist on the insurance goal.

Avatar
#83 Willi P
March 22 2013, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

It's official....Flames Suck

Avatar
#84 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 07:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

What a disaster.

Avatar
#85 Chris Fairfield
March 22 2013, 07:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

What can be said that hasn't been said already.

Apathy, giveaways, rebuild, inevitability of an Iginla trade and when?

oh yeah, 5-1 now. Change now for the love of Christ!!

Avatar
#86 Kent Wilson
March 22 2013, 07:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@negrilcowboy

Not sure, but I think they can only afford to lose another 3 games after this.

Avatar
#87 Vintage Flame
March 22 2013, 07:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

THERE IS GOING TO BE NO POST-GAME ARTICLE!! IF I HAVE TO WATCH THIS CRAP SO DO ALL OF YOU!!

Avatar
#88 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Any positives here tonight?

Stajan/Glencross/Stempniak continue to produce.

Avatar
#89 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Boston College just took a 1-0 lead over BU. Arnold and Gaudreau got assists.

Avatar
#90 negrilcowboy
March 22 2013, 07:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

feel that lloyd christmas optimism runnin through flamesnation.

Avatar
#91 Willi P
March 22 2013, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Well at least Tim Erixon didn't score (so far)

Avatar
#92 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Flames look entirely gassed and out-classed here.

Avatar
#93 Vintage Flame
March 22 2013, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
aloudoun wrote:

Look at the brightside... we dont have to watch 82 games of this garbage.

You just brightened my mood. I will write the post-game for you and only you...

Icedawg will be blocked for sure.

Avatar
#94 ken jans
March 22 2013, 07:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

This team has rode on Kippers back for years. Is and will be the reason this team ever had a chance at the playoffs. Free Kipper.

If anyone is to blame for this mess look straight in the face of management. Pathetic. Keep fillin the dome folks. Keep buyin the jerseys. Nothing will change.

I gave Jay the benefit of the doubt last year. Times up Jay. Looks like you really are the owners puppet.

Sad times my friends,.............sad times....

Avatar
#95 thymebalm
March 22 2013, 07:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

They changed the goal to Arnold. 7 points in last 5 games I believe.

Avatar
#96 Ryan Pike
March 22 2013, 07:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Iginla whiffing on a one-timer is an encapsulation of this season.

Avatar
#97 Chris Fairfield
March 22 2013, 07:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
aloudoun wrote:

Look at the brightside... we dont have to watch 82 games of this garbage.

Put your hand up for daps bro!

Avatar
#98 RKD
March 22 2013, 08:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Can't believe I'm saying this, but glad we got slaughtered. We deserved it, I kept thinking it was going to be 7-2 Columbus. The players don't hate to lose, they are apathetic underachievers. Once again the Iggy-Tangs-Cammy line were a combined -7 and -14 over the last two. In other news, Ryan O'Reilly has 8 points in 10 games. Feaster would have been smarter to acquire him in a trade rather than go for the risky offer sheet.

Couldn't get Richards, Turris and now ROR, when will the bleeding stop?

Avatar
#99 Jibmeister
March 22 2013, 08:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

That was overly painful to watch. It's sad.

Avatar
#100 schevvy
March 22 2013, 08:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

So...um...how about Florida Gulf Coast? They did pretty well...

Comments are closed for this article.