FGD: Doing It Wrong

Ryan Pike
April 15 2013 01:50PM

 

 

On trade deadline day, April 3, the Calgary Flames basically threw in the towel. And yes, by that I mean the trade that sent Blake Comeau to the Blue Jackets was meant to be a watershed moment for the franchise. Combined with the deals that shipped out higher-paid, higher-skilled players named Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, those moves were the beginning of the Flames' long-delayed rebuild and a sign to fans to prepare for some losses.

Since the trade deadline, the Calgary Flames have somehow won half of their games. Exempting their deadline day 8-2 spanking at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, the team has played six competent, fairly consistent contests. They lost to San Jose and Vancouver (twice). They beat Edmonton, Phoenix and Colorado. They've missed the veteran presences of Matt Stajan, Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay, and it has not mattered one bit.

In other words, in terms of selling off their high-end players and trying to tank for a Nathan MacKinnon or Seth Jones at the NHL Draft in June – they're doing it wrong, but they're showing the kind of resilience and consistency that Flames fans are probably really conflicted about the whole thing.

Brace yourselves, fans, because the Flames are threatening to actually move up in the standings when they host the Minnesota Wild tonight at the 'Dome. Puck drop is at 7pm on your friendly neighbourhood Sportsnet communications venues.

OH CRAP, CAN THEY MOVE UP TONIGHT?

The Flames had fun on the weekend, edging out Phoenix in overtime and embarrassing an Edmonton team all the way out of playoff contention, all without moving up in the NHL's overall standings. It was the very definition of having your cake and eating it too. But Calgary (16-21-4) can leap from their cozy perch and overtake Carolina, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Nashville with a win and some help tonight. That would put them as high as 24th overall, which would just screw with any dreams of Drouin or MacKinnon.

So who's to blame for the resurgence?

Well, maybe Jay Feaster. After being told for so many years that Calgary's prospects are lousy, he puts a bunch of them on the roster to tank the season...and they've actually scored goals and played well. Recent signee Ben Hanowski will get his shot to prove his worth tonight too, by the way.

Journeyman back-up goalie Joey MacDonald, hoped to be the latest in a long line of bad back-ups, has also been quite good. Truth be told, he's won half of his decisions as a Flame and is the only netminder with a goals against average south of 3 per game. He was a big reason the Flames escaped with 2 points against the Coyotes (someone knee cap him!).

The other problem is that the team is generally playing loose, relaxed, up-tempo hockey and getting contributions from everywhere. In the last six games, Mikael Backlund has two goals and two assists and has been excellent. Mark Giordano and Lee Stempniak each also have four points. Roman Horak, Sven Baertschi and Max “Power” Reinhart are racking up points, as well.

It's just not fair.

WILL THEY LOSE TO MINNESOTA?

Well, it's possible. The Wild are 13th overall (7th in the West) with a 22-16-3 record, but they're under .500 on the road and have won just three times in their last ten games. It's possible that the Flames could beat them, particularly the way they're playing right now.

If the Wild play up to their talent level, the Flames should lose and creep back down towards the bottom of the standings. But there's no guarantees. If it helps, Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom is really good and always seems to frustrate the Flames. The key to beating this tanking team lately has been to throw a hot goalie at them (Niemi, Schneider, Luongo), so that may be a good omen for those hoping for a loss.

WHAT'S LEFT AFTER THIS?

After this game, the Flames play six more times – twice at home and four times on the road, where their horrible away record will drag them kicking and screaming towards a good draft pick. Their remaining opponents are Detroit (20-15-7, 8th in West), Anaheim (27-10-5, 2nd), Minnesota again, Nashville (15-20-8, 13th), St. Louis (23-16-2, 6th) and Chicago (32-5-4, 1st). There are at least three guaranteed losses right there. But will it be enough? Find out starting tonight.

 

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#101 SmellOfVictory
April 15 2013, 08:53PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Hano looks way out his depth to me, but the rest are playing well.

Not unexpected. We know he's not the best skater from scouting reports, and it's a sizeable jump from NCAA to NHL. He did show good instincts on that one chance he had with Cammalleri, though.

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#102 mattyc
April 15 2013, 08:53PM
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@negrilcowboy

haha maybe a timekeeper or goal judge who's been around since the '50s.

I'd be keen on Burke, except I'd end up having to listen to him spew old Winston Churchill quotes thinking he's so clever.

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#103 negrilcowboy
April 15 2013, 09:01PM
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mattyc wrote:

haha maybe a timekeeper or goal judge who's been around since the '50s.

I'd be keen on Burke, except I'd end up having to listen to him spew old Winston Churchill quotes thinking he's so clever.

burke and jim the anvil niedhart can tangle with lowe and his backup for the first overall selection in the draft.

some of them old dudes in montreal have cups as players coaches etc, serge savard has to have a bunch maybe lowe should ask him dare bout winning eh.

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#104 Kent Wilson
April 15 2013, 09:04PM
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@SmellOfVictory

Oh yeah, there's no surprise there at all.

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#105 Jeff Lebowski
April 15 2013, 09:06PM
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Sweet. Now stop scoring.

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#106 Brent G.
April 15 2013, 09:06PM
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Great goal!

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#107 Monaertchi
April 15 2013, 09:07PM
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Well, that is how you run that play.

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#108 mk
April 15 2013, 09:07PM
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Hudler! The triple-Czech line!

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#109 yomamen
April 15 2013, 09:08PM
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Czech line!

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#110 Slash
April 15 2013, 09:08PM
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Czechmates

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#111 thymebalm
April 15 2013, 09:09PM
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Nice, I can celebrate without fear of us tying it.

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#112 mattyc
April 15 2013, 09:09PM
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Czech mate! har har har... nice passing play. Aaaan they get it right back.

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#113 Kent Wilson
April 15 2013, 09:09PM
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Quite the pass by Horak on the Hudler goal.

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#114 yomamen
April 15 2013, 09:09PM
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Every time MIN scores, its good because we can score another goal and dont spoil our draft position :o)

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#115 Baalzamon
April 15 2013, 09:10PM
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A goal for the Czeching line!!!

Also, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is a jerk.

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#116 Vintage Flame
April 15 2013, 09:18PM
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We having fun yet???

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#117 schevvy
April 15 2013, 09:20PM
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I think we should all go back to saying things we don't like about Rex.

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#118 Brent G.
April 15 2013, 09:20PM
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You could feel that coming. Good for him.

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#119 mk
April 15 2013, 09:20PM
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HANOWSKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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#120 schevvy
April 15 2013, 09:20PM
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Haha Hanowski has the same amount of goals as Jarome since the trade.

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#121 ChinookArch
April 15 2013, 09:21PM
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Nice work Hanno!

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#122 clyde
April 15 2013, 09:21PM
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Will Taylor Hall dress tomorrow or will he get the Minny flu again? If he dresses, will he man up if challenged?

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#123 Colin S
April 15 2013, 09:22PM
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Woooooooooooooo!

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#124 Jeff Lebowski
April 15 2013, 09:22PM
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Good instincts. He's showing he knows where to go to score.

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#125 Slash
April 15 2013, 09:22PM
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Nice Hands owski

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#126 Kent Wilson
April 15 2013, 09:23PM
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hahaha...that's awesome for Hanowski.

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#127 Jeff Lebowski
April 15 2013, 09:24PM
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Shoot the puck!

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#128 Chris Fairfield
April 15 2013, 09:25PM
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2 goals in 1:13 for the Mild.

Yeah, I know it's 4-2, but damn, that Hudler goal gets a Czechmark!

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#129 maimster
April 15 2013, 09:25PM
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Normally I hate the 3-point games, but the underdog-fan in me wants Columbus to keep winning and the Flame fan in me wants Colorado to keep getting points - I guess OT in that game is just fine!

Damn, this end of season is confusing...

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#130 Kent Wilson
April 15 2013, 09:26PM
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Shoot the puck Dennis.

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#131 maimster
April 15 2013, 09:26PM
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Annnnnddddd....Colorado scores...

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#132 Scary Gary
April 15 2013, 09:27PM
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@maimster

Yippee!!!

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#133 schevvy
April 15 2013, 09:27PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Shoot the puck Dennis.

He got the memo

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#134 Slash
April 15 2013, 09:27PM
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Go Avs

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#135 Baalzamon
April 15 2013, 09:28PM
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I'm not even joking, I was saying Hanowski should score today literally seconds before it happened. Funny when you can just feel these things coming.

Interesting Flames trivia: the last Flame to score a goal in his first NHL game (I think) was Brett Sutter--also against the Wild.

Before Sutter, it was David Moss scoring goals in his first 3 games.

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#136 Vintage Flame
April 15 2013, 09:29PM
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Max Power!

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#137 schevvy
April 15 2013, 09:29PM
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CBJ tied it.

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#138 clyde
April 15 2013, 09:30PM
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Umberger you dick

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#139 maimster
April 15 2013, 09:30PM
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annnndddd....there's one for the Jackets

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#140 Monaertchi
April 15 2013, 09:31PM
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schevvy wrote:

CBJ tied it.

And on the PP going into OT

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#141 RKD
April 15 2013, 09:32PM
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Wow, at this rate the Flames rebuild will be quicker than the Oilers rebuild. Nice job Maxwell's Silverhammmer, let's see if Svengali can pot one too!

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#142 schevvy
April 15 2013, 09:32PM
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Well at least the Avs got a point. This is so confusing. I want CBJ to make the playoffs, but I want the Avs to win. Screw you, draft lottery system.

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#143 Scary Gary
April 15 2013, 09:32PM
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@Scary Gary

Yeehaww

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#144 schevvy
April 15 2013, 09:33PM
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Can't wait for Iggy to re-sign this off-season...

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#145 Jeff Lebowski
April 15 2013, 09:34PM
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Backlund finishes his checks. He rarely peels off. I like that.

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#146 Slash
April 15 2013, 09:35PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Backlund finishes his checks. He rarely peels off. I like that.

Agreed

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#147 Jeff Lebowski
April 15 2013, 09:36PM
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Very nice. Get confidence.

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#148 ChinookArch
April 15 2013, 09:36PM
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Good work there. Good for Baertschi.

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#149 mk
April 15 2013, 09:36PM
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SVEN

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#150 Slash
April 15 2013, 09:37PM
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Wow Svengali prediction

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