FGD: Do We Still Need a Bigger Boat?

Justin Azevedo
March 06 2013 12:47PM

 

Tonight, the Flames welcome the San Jose Sharks to the Dome (they're likely on the plane from Vancouver right now!) for the first time since game one. Much has happened for both of the teams since that time, so don't expect it to be anything like that match. Or do. I dunno.

For the Flames, they've lost a starting goaltender, a possession center and some games they likely shouldn't have. They've also won some that they shouldn't have as well, so it's pretty even in terms of that. For the Sharks, they started off insanely well, winning all of their games in January - and then proceeded to go 2-6-4 in the month of February. Most of that was likely regression-based, as their PDO had been strong to start the season and is now pretty close to even as we start March.

This will be the Flames' fifth (!) attempt at breaking the .500 mark this season, and playing a team on the second game of a back to back (again) gives them a bit of an advantage.

The Line-Up

 

  • C. Glencross M. Stajan L. Stempniak
  • J. Hudler R. Cervenka J. Iginla
  • A. Tanguay M. Cammalleri S. Baertschi
  • S. Begin B. Comeau B. McGrattan
  • M. Giordano J. Bouwmeester
  • C. Butler D. Wideman
  • T.J. Brodie D. Smith
  • M. Kiprusoff

Miikka Kiprusoff looks to return tonight after being first off of the ice at practice this morning. For as bad as he was before his injury, he's still the best goaltender the Flames have by quite a large margin. Danny Taylor will likely be sent down tomorrow, if not sooner, and Joey MacDonald will ride the pine for about 24 of the next 28. Mikael Backlund is also drawing nearer to a return, so that's nice.

For as much crap as Mike Cammalleri has taken this season, it's interesting to note that he's currently scoring at a PPG pace on the year (8-8-16 in 17GP). To my knowledge, he's never been a real tough-minutes guy, but he definitely has that scoring ability still. It'll be interesting to see if he keeps up the pace over the whole 48 game season, but I have a hunch he'll be pretty close to PPG at the end. He's currently tied for second on the team in scoring with Jarome Iginla (6-10-16 in 20GP), behind Alex Tanguay (6-11-17 in 20GP).

Everyone's been really impressed with TJ Brodie this season, myself included. He's been a legit top-4 guy pretty much the entire season, marking the first time in forever that the Flames have actually had 4 top-4 quality defensemen in the line-up at the same time. Along those lines, it still baffles me as to why the Flames continue to play Cory Sarich and Anton Babchuk in any role. That said, TJ's been moved down the rotation with Smith the last few games. We'll see how Butler does with Wideman for now.

The Opposition

 

  • L. Couture J. Thornton B. Kearns
  • T. Kennedy P. Marleau J. Pavelski
  • R. Clowe S. Gomez J. Sheppard
  • A. Desjardins A. Burish T.J. Galiardi
  • M. Irwin D. Boyle
  • B. Stuart M. Vlasic
  • D. Murray J. Braun
  • A. Niemi

The Sharks have relied quite heavily on their big guns thus far this season, as only 5 players have reached double-digits in points. Joe Thornton continues to be one of the best centermen in the entire league down the middle and as such Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski have reaped the rewards of playing with him. All three are legit tough-minutes guys, which makes it easy for coach Todd McLellan to go power-versus-power on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the bottom of the roster has failed to take advantage of the easier assignments, at times because of injury but at others because of inept play. TJ Galliardi has only 3 points, Ryane Clowe hasn't scored yet (which is pissing me off because I have him on my fantasy team), Martin Havlat has had nagging injuries the whole season and Michal Handzus got old the same time he signed with the Sharks.

With the lack of scoring depth in mind, the Sharks have continued to be in a playoff position basically on the back of Antti Niemi, who's carrying the team at the moment. His numbers are quite gaudy - a 1.83 GAA and .935 SV% (.941 at evens), both good enough to put him in the top-5 of the league in both catigories. I don't think he'll be able to keep that up over the whole season, so the Sharks better hope they bank enough points now or get secondary scoring later if they want to get out of the first round.

Sum It Up

The Flames have yet another good chance to move above .500 tonight, playing a tired team on home ice that lacks depth. If Bob Hartley plays his lines right (i.e. try to shut down Thornton somehow) and Kiprusoff isn't too rusty after being off for a month, I like their chances.

Catch it on 960 or Sportsnet West tonight.

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Justin is a 23-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.
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#51 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 08:23PM
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@RexLibris

There was another one previously, but it wasn't updated for this season.

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#52 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:23PM
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RexLibris wrote:

He does, not that the kinds of chances he's denied are necessarily a good sign for the rest of the team. The Flames defenders need to be more ornery in clearing their crease.

I think Hartley must have told them: "Hey guys, let's make sure Kipper's knee is ok. Let's let them create a goalmouth scramble that forces him to stretch to cover the net

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#53 Ryan Pike
March 06 2013, 08:24PM
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Baertschi's on the PP, yo.

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#54 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 08:24PM
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@Ryan Pike

About time

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#55 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:29PM
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schevvy wrote:

I think Hartley must have told them: "Hey guys, let's make sure Kipper's knee is ok. Let's let them create a goalmouth scramble that forces him to stretch to cover the net

Yeah, last time Hartley called out the players who weren't contributing I'm certain he was talking about the injured goaltender. ;-)

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#56 Jibmeister
March 06 2013, 08:29PM
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Just something I realized - nobody ever talks about Derek Smith.

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#57 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:30PM
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Jibmeister wrote:

Just something I realized - nobody ever talks about Derek Smith.

Maybe that means he's doing his job.

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#58 Ryan Pike
March 06 2013, 08:30PM
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Not a great penalty there. Sven looked great with the puck though.

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#59 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:31PM
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Jibmeister wrote:

Just something I realized - nobody ever talks about Derek Smith.

Probably better it stays that way...

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#60 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:31PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Baertschi's on the PP, yo.

Good. Yakupov apparently can't crack the Oilers pp, so its nice to see Baertschi get some time.

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#61 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:32PM
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schevvy wrote:

Probably better it stays that way...

You could start the Derek Smith fanpage? Maybe next season launch a voting campaign to get him to the All Star game. Just a thought.

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#62 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 08:32PM
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Jibmeister wrote:

Just something I realized - nobody ever talks about Derek Smith.

If you are talking about Derek Smith, it's probably not for a good reason.

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#63 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 08:33PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Good. Yakupov apparently can't crack the Oilers pp, so its nice to see Baertschi get some time.

Sven has definitely been earning his increased ice times.

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#64 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:34PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Sven has definitely been earning his increased ice times.

Good to hear. I have missed a number of games and haven't had a chance to watch much of his play lately.

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#65 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 08:34PM
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Sharks look like they are skating in mud. Relatively effective first period from the Flames.

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#66 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:35PM
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RexLibris wrote:

You could start the Derek Smith fanpage? Maybe next season launch a voting campaign to get him to the All Star game. Just a thought.

Haha. Well I could just show his goal against the Oilers from last year on repeat... :)

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#67 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:35PM
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Anyone else feel like this has been kind of a low-event period? I'm sure that stats will prove me wrong, but...

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#68 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:36PM
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schevvy wrote:

Haha. Well I could just show his goal against the Oilers from last year on repeat... :)

Refresh my memory? There have been so, so many.

(drink)

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#69 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 08:36PM
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@Kent Wilson

Agreed, Teams were fairly even for the first 5 min, but after that, Calgary seemed to have much more jump.

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#70 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 08:37PM
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Just me, or does Kip's lateral movement still not look 100%?

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#71 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:37PM
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The Flames have a one-goal lead, now's the time to switch to the 0-1-4 forecheck, Sutter-style.

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#72 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 08:38PM
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Chances were 5-3 Flames in the first.

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#73 Ryan Pike
March 06 2013, 08:41PM
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Decent first. Seems like your typical Flames game, in that they're a bit scrambly in their end but Kiprusoff can bail them out.

Nice offensive zone pressure at time from the home team, though.

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#74 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:41PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Refresh my memory? There have been so, so many.

(drink)

I keep searching for the link but there's too many goals against the oilers to navigate through.

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#75 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 08:41PM
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How's the new app Kent?

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#76 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:43PM
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@RexLibris

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iCaqTEWZMTw

Here's one goal of his! (Not vs Oilers though unfortunately)

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#77 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:43PM
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schevvy wrote:

I keep searching for the link but there's too many goals against the oilers to navigate through.

True. Mercifully this season has been without a blowout (knock on wood).

Sorry, Kypreos, I can't see Tambellini trading for Bouwmeester. Maybe signing him as a UFA, but by trade?

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#78 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:47PM
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Why is Giordano cruising for women at the local rec centers? Kind of creepy?

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#79 ChinookArch
March 06 2013, 08:48PM
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@RexLibris

I think you are right Rex, I can't see Tambolini doing much to improve the Oilers via trade. He certainly hasn't done anything thus far :).

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#80 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 08:52PM
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@Vintage Flame

Seems decent. We'll see what the output is when the game is over.

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#81 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:53PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Why is Giordano cruising for women at the local rec centers? Kind of creepy?

Why not? It's a classic Italian move

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#82 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 08:55PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

I think you are right Rex, I can't see Tambolini doing much to improve the Oilers via trade. He certainly hasn't done anything thus far :).

Yeah, I'm really getting ticked at he and Lowe.

I'd like them to make one significant upgrade at a key position this summer - GM.

Sadly though, I suspect they'd keep Lowe and simply promote MacTavish. He may eventually be GM material, but its too soon. I'd rather they find someone outside the organization (and no, I don't want Burke, Maguire, Milbury, Keenan, or any other nutty retread).

I'm not sick of losing, I'm sick of not seeing the team get outworked. Winning is a byproduct of good habits and effort. If the effort is there, and certainly the talent already is, then the rest ought to come in time.

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#83 schevvy
March 06 2013, 08:55PM
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Turner Elson has a goal vs Lethbridge :(

For all you prospect junkies who wish to know. It's the only one too, 1-0 Rebels

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#84 Ryan Pike
March 06 2013, 08:59PM
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Flames game staff pulling out more/obscure Stompin' Tom.

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#85 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:00PM
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Anyone else read Graphic Comments' article today? His new stat for NHL management sounds like a brilliant idea - stupid/stupidrel. I'd love to track those stats.

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#86 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 09:01PM
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I wonder if Simmer actually hears the words coming out of his mouth sometimes?

"Sometimes you just wanna find a place you can throw it in softly."

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#87 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 09:02PM
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Sharks have the ice tilted to start the period, but haven't been able to create any chances yet.

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#88 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:02PM
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Brossoit had a tough night tonight. three goals on twelve shots. Kings win 6-3 though.

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#89 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:03PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Sharks have the ice tilted to start the period, but haven't been able to create any chances yet.

Flames are taking risks here. It seems only a matter of time before the Sharks tie it up.

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#90 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:05PM
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Nice rush by Comeau, but his opposite winger, racing down the side - don't skate by the flipping net! Stop in front and look for a rebound.

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#91 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:07PM
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@schevvy

Elson has two tonight, apparently. +1 and 2 PIM.

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#92 Ryan Pike
March 06 2013, 09:08PM
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Flames have been a counter-punch team this year and seem content to let the Sharks tire themselves out.

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#93 schevvy
March 06 2013, 09:08PM
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@RexLibris

Damnit it's 3-0 Rebels now :(

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#94 schevvy
March 06 2013, 09:08PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Flames are taking risks here. It seems only a matter of time before the Sharks tie it up.

Sshhhhhh

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#95 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 09:09PM
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Jon Gillies just on fire in the NCAA.

1.76 GAA

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#96 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:10PM
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@schevvy

I forgot to check, how are the Hurricanes doing right now?

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#97 RexLibris
March 06 2013, 09:12PM
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They need to capitalize on this pressure soon, or this game could slip right out of their grasp. I've seen this scenario play out too many times before.

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#98 schevvy
March 06 2013, 09:13PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I forgot to check, how are the Hurricanes doing right now?

They started well, but are fading FAST. Won't make the playoffs, 9th in East, 6 pts back

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#99 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 09:13PM
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Chances are 6-1 Flames in this period. Sharks pressed early but look terrible now.

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#100 RKD
March 06 2013, 09:14PM
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Speaking of NCAA, Mark Jankowski is 5th in team scoring and 6th in Eastern Conference and 4th in overall. He's got 15 points in 28 games as a freshman.

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