FGD: Drinking in LA

Kent Wilson
March 09 2013 03:17PM

After last night's unfortunate loss to the Ducks (16 straight in Anaheim!), the Flames find themselves having to beat the league's best overall team on the second night of a B2B (in the Kings home barn, on less) in order to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot. Yeesh.

Los Angeles suffered through some tough percentages to start the season, particularly thanks to Jon Quick's uncharacteristic struggles. However, LA seems to be shaking off the doldrums recently, going 7-3-0 in their last 10. With the best underlying numbers by far in the NHL, the Kings are still a juggernaut. Once they get a stretch of consistently good goaltending or shooting results, they'll find themselves on the of the Western standings.

The Flames, on the other hand, are still trying to figure things out. Calgary has suffered through similarly poor goaltending to start the year but aren't quite as good as controlling play as the Kings, so the result has been Calgary sinking into the West's basement once again. The probably deserved a better fate versus the Ducks last night, but the club is well beyond the time where shoulda's and moral victories are worth a damn. If they lose again tonight, Calgary will have to go 15-5-3 in the final 25 games to have realistic a shot at the post-season.

The Line-up

Big news today is the return of Mikael Backlund to the active roster and the demotion of Sven Baertschi. Backlund was excellent to start the year and is probably the Flames best possession forward, so his return is a big deal.

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

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

  • Kiprusoff

Lines for today haven't been officially revealed, so I'm guessing. Stajan's trio actually had a storng evening in Anaheim and have been Hartley's go-to option for touch match-ups recently, so I assume they stay together. This would bump Hartley's favorite son BLake Comeau to the 4th line, which is probably where he belongs (although he had a decent game last night, truth be told).

Iginla has been playing with the czechs recently and the line has been sheltered more often than not. They have created their chances as a result, although they were also the trio that gave up the most chances against in Anaheim. There's a chance Backlund might actually be re-united with Hulder and Cervenka given how that line was performing right before Backlund's injury, but it's impossible to know for sure.

On the back-end, I expect no change. Giordano has struggled a bit lately, moreso because every single obvious mistake he makes seems to inexorbaly end up in the back of the Flames net. That's combination of bad performance and bad luck and I assume things will turn around for him down the road. Butler has played a lot recently and while he hasn't been obviously bad or anything, like Comeau, I'm not quite sure what the bench boss has seen in his game that has resulted in the bump i ice and responsibility.

As for Baertschi, I am not too broken up about the kid going back to Abbotsford. He has had a few flashes here and there, but has mostly struggled to keep his head above water in the bigs, even with favorable circumstances. He's not quite there yet so the org might as well let him play a bunch for the Heat so he can better find his pro legs.

The Opposition

Kings are three lines strong, with heavy hitters spread concentrated inside their top-6. And to think they got Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson. I'm guessing the Flyers would kinda like to have at least one of Carter or Richards back in their line-up right about now.

  • Williams - Kopitar - Brown
  • Penner - Carter - Richards
  • Lewis - Stoll - King
  • Clifford - Fraser - Nolan

  • Scuderi - Voynov
  • Doughty - Muzzin
  • Martinez - Ellerby

  • Quick

With Mitchell and Greene out injured, the Kings blueline is less impressive than it would be otherwise. That said, sophomore Slava Voynov is established himself as a legit top-4 option this year, significantly reducing the impact those injuries would have had otherwise.

Sum It Up

It's already crunch time for the Flames. Tonight most people won't be putting dollars on the Flames to win, but they have to start surprising some folks if they want to reach the post-season. Backlund's return helps, but the team needs someone like Kipper or Iginla to go on a major run, starting tonight.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 thymebalm
March 09 2013, 09:56PM
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What a boring team.

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#52 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 09:58PM
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Does Justin Williams score every game agaist the Flames?

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#54 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 10:04PM
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Whatever good Hartley is doing is overwhelmed with his Comeau love affair...like mixing 8 scoops of vanilla ice cream with one scoop of dogs&$t...all you taste is the dogs$$t.

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#56 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 10:09PM
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The Hitmen are quite the team but they are beating up on the (likely) non-playoff Lethbridge Hurricanes.

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#57 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 10:10PM
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Just a thought, is the Flames leadership giving Comeau more TOI, and better circumstances, because Feaster is trying to work trade? He's been better lately, but not great, so I just don't get the preferential treatment.

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#58 T&A4Flames
March 09 2013, 10:12PM
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Any idea how desperate St. Louis might be to better their team? Last I looked they were on the bubble.

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#59 T&A4Flames
March 09 2013, 10:13PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Just a thought, is the Flames leadership giving Comeau more TOI, and better circumstances, because Feaster is trying to work trade? He's been better lately, but not great, so I just don't get the preferential treatment.

I was just thinking the same thing. Show casing for a trade. He better pick it up I think if that's the case.

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#60 thymebalm
March 09 2013, 10:16PM
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I've got zero chances for the Flames in the 2nd.

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#61 Willi P
March 09 2013, 10:17PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Just a thought, is the Flames leadership giving Comeau more TOI, and better circumstances, because Feaster is trying to work trade? He's been better lately, but not great, so I just don't get the preferential treatment.

Ya. Showcase to get a 5th instead of a 7th round pick. All the while, lose games and fall out of the race. Sounds like Flames management logic for sure.

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#62 T&A4Flames
March 09 2013, 10:19PM
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Hey Kent, is it time to start a bigger dialogue on trade scenarios yet? Just over 3 weeks away.

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#63 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 10:22PM
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Somebody for the love of God dig up and resurrect Danny Gallivan or even Don Whittman...Rob Kerr is Foster Hewitt's love child compared to this CBC drivel.

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#65 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 10:25PM
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Since we are already digging up and resurrecting dead sportscasters, we may as well find that dog that catches frisbees and watch it during the intermission breaks.

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#66 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 10:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I think we'll start doing that next week. Especially if they lose this one.

But Kent, we are only one player away.

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#67 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:31PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Let's talk about something else. The Hitmen are apparently up 9-0 tonight!

Let us please not talk about this either. :(

Sincerely,

The City of Lethbridge

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#68 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:34PM
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the forgotten man wrote:

But Kent, we are only one player away.

So Jokinen for our 1st. Sounds good!

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#69 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 10:34PM
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the forgotten man wrote:

But Kent, we are only one player away.

intellectual dishonesty at its finest.

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#70 clYDE
March 09 2013, 10:41PM
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Boy, the Kings are a big, physical team. But, teams that hit apparently aren't very successful according to the data.

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#71 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:42PM
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Well boo

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#72 Willi P
March 09 2013, 10:42PM
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Drunkersoff

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#73 Willi P
March 09 2013, 10:43PM
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TV Off

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#74 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:44PM
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Well this road trip went exactly as we all thought

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#75 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 10:45PM
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robert rantin on and on to patty steinberg will be classic tonight so kent are the flames officially eliminated tonight?

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#76 Vintage Flame
March 09 2013, 10:46PM
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I see I didn't miss a whole lot tonight......

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#79 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:49PM
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Well damnit CBC, we've obviously missed the Flames comeback

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#80 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 10:50PM
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Sigh. Pull Kiprusoff, please.

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#82 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:51PM
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Bye-bye Kipper

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#83 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:53PM
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It's getting ugly

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#84 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 10:54PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

intellectual dishonesty at its finest.

Okay, maybe two players.

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#85 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:56PM
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So apparently they're not as good as the Cup champs. Hum. That's an eye-opener.

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#86 schevvy
March 09 2013, 10:58PM
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VF can we get a sad trombone here?

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#87 clYDE
March 09 2013, 10:59PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

They also have a lot of really, really good players. The physical part isn't quite as important.

That is ridiculous. This team is built to be physical. They take away time and space with their physicality amd transition off the ability to turn over pucks.

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#88 T&A4Flames
March 09 2013, 11:01PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I think we'll start doing that next week. Especially if they lose this one.

Well, commence the trade target writing, I guess.

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#89 schevvy
March 09 2013, 11:03PM
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So how about Galchenyuk for Sarich, Babchuk, and Comeau. Would obviously provide solid D depth for MTL and Comeau is an all-world player. Pierre Gauthier probably would have done it.

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#90 Vintage Flame
March 09 2013, 11:05PM
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It won't be as good as in the live chat schevv, but for you..

The Sad Trombone

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#91 T&A4Flames
March 09 2013, 11:06PM
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schevvy wrote:

So how about Galchenyuk for Sarich, Babchuk, and Comeau. Would obviously provide solid D depth for MTL and Comeau is an all-world player. Pierre Gauthier probably would have done it.

If gaunt hire was in charge we could have had a 2nd as well and the trade would have happened at center ice in the middle of a MON game

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#92 schevvy
March 09 2013, 11:07PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

It won't be as good as in the live chat schevv, but for you..

The Sad Trombone

I can't click it.

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#93 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 11:08PM
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Who's got post-game tonight?

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#94 schevvy
March 09 2013, 11:10PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Who's got post-game tonight?

I feel awful for whoever has to write it. Just put a picture of a trainwreck

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#95 Vintage Flame
March 09 2013, 11:11PM
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@Ryan Pike

I missed the first 2 periods, but if no one is up, then I PVR'd the game and can have it for tomorrow.

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#96 Franko J
March 09 2013, 11:11PM
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After last night's game and tonight's game can this finally be the beginning of the end for this group of players with the Flames? Please Flames ownership and management I plead with you to end this misery of a team and start doing something. I beg do anything instead of us Flames fans continually having to watch this heartless, unskilled, and boring team. I really believed even after six or seven games into this season win or lose this team would be at the very least entertaining and enthusiastic to watch play. This team is very overmatched and plays very uninspired hockey. While many might disagree with me but I firmly believe this team perhaps is the worst in the league right now. With three weeks to the deadline I hope the Flames management and ownership can finally realize that this current group of players are just not good enough to even compete in this league.

Please end this misery!!!

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#97 Mattyc
March 09 2013, 11:11PM
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@clYDE

Size matters if all else is equal. But if it were size that was ailing the flames, we'd sign a couple more grinders and be done with it.

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#98 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 11:13PM
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guess it shouldntcoma as a surprise when your gm never owned a pair of effin skates in his life

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#99 Vintage Flame
March 09 2013, 11:14PM
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Try this schevv...

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#100 Vintage Flame
March 09 2013, 11:15PM
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