POST-GAME: Wild at Heart

Vintage Flame
April 15 2013 11:01PM

 

 

Now that your Calgary Flames have soundly beaten the Oilers, the goal for the rest of the season should be pretty damn clear. Play your asses off, put in a solid effort and then lose a close nailbiter. There is no shame or pride left in the final solution.

The only problem with that plan, is that no one told your Calgary Flames that; or they're just not listening.

With a line-up that feature names like Reinhart, Baertschi and now Ben Hanowski rather than the likes of Iginla, Bouwmeester and Blake Comeau (yes THAT Blake Comeau), This team went into tonight primed and ready to win it's third consecutive game; for the first time this season.

The Rundown

Just 2:16 into the game, the Minnesota Wild gave the Flames a reminder of just where they were in the standings, and why they were there. Miko Koivu would find himself with an open net and an easy tap in, only to be foiled by Mark Giordano diving for the goal line and swatting the puck away. Except he swatted it right back onto Koivu's stick, who then bounced it into the open corner.

That was all for the scoring, but there were definitely some positives for the Flames to take out of the period. Max Reinhart had a couple of scoring chances in the opening frame and continues to demonstrate that he is not out of place with the big club.

TJ Brodie continues to do what TJ does, and that's just leaving us all shaking our heads at just how much he has accelerated the learning curve this season. He was the workhorse once again for the Flames blueline and had one truly remarkable shift, which can only be accurately described with Kent's words. It was "Coffey-like". The result of the shift almost resulted in Ben Hanowski's first career NHL goal, after taking a pretty cross-ice pass from Mike Cammalleri.

Hanowski also had a decent period, as he was by no mean burried on the depth chart and got ample ice-time... and opportunity.

Minnesota out-chanced the Flames 6-4, but 3  of those chances came in one shift. Calgary carried a lot of the play considering the rookie laden line-up, out-shooting the Wild 11-6.

The second was a whole lot of the game that we have become accustomed to when the Wild come to town. Back and forth and fairly low in events.

That would change just passed the half way mark, when Dennis Wideman would deflect Ryan Suter's shot from the point. The puck would carem off the backboards, right onto the stick of Jason Pominville. With MacDonald still down in the butterfly, Pominville would have his opening  to pull the puck over the goal line and put it into the open net.

Just bad luck, or Murphy's Law? Perhaps it's just the design for the grand scheme of things at this point.

Regardless, the Wild were beginning to tilt the ice in their favour, and Calgary seemed to be chasing. Chasing what at this point is entirely up to you,  but they were definitely lacking the game style they brought against the Oil.

The Wild got there first power-play f the game in the dying minute of the second; a highsticking double minor to Giordano. Calgary managed to kill off the first half, but the Wild's PP isn't steller these days, and they will have their next shot.... or shots, in the third.

Overall, not a great period for the home town boys. They were manhandled 12-3 in shots and 5-2 in the scoring chances. More telling though, they didn't have a single chance at even strength. They were pretty lucky to only let in one that period, and that was largely in part to the play of MacStarter.

Calgary managed to kill of the second half of Gio's double minor, but they still had a hole to dig themselves out of. Given the history with the Wild, that was going to be a tough.

At 3:42, the Flames own Roman legion would start that excavation with a pretty tic-tac-toe play, coming over the Wild blueline. The play would end with the centering pass going to Jiri "My Czech name is Roman"  Hudler, who deftly tipped it between Backstrom's legs. Cue the comeback?

Not so fast! Just ten seconds later, the Wild regained their two goal lead, with P.M. Bouchard snapping home his sixth of the season. 1:13 later we'd witness Matt Cullen center a pass to Jason Pominville coming off the bench into the high slot. Pominville's one-timer would find it's way passed MacDonald and you could just see where this was going to end up.

Cue the feel good portion of our program. At 11:19, Ben Hanowski would score his first NHL goal while cruising past the top of the crease. To make fans feel better, Hanowski now has as many goals with the Flames as Iggy does with the Penguins. Just sayin... Let's all take a look, shall we?

 

Trying to make this one interesting again, your Calgary Flames decided to pull MacDonald with a minute and a half left. With :39 secomds left on the clock, Mike Cammalleri played pick pocket on Brett Clark. Cutting to the net and a light saucer pass across the crease resulted in Sven Baertschi's second goal of the season and in consecutive nights.

The Flames made a strong push with just ticks left on the clock, but simply ran out of time. Despite trying to protect the lead, Minnesota still out-chanced Calgary 7-6; but the Flames did an admirable job reeling the play back in, and put forth a solid effort in the final frame.

Why the Flames lost...

It's a familiar story with the Flames. The second period was less than steller and even worse in the sense of being productive.

Even though they pulled it together in the third, getting out-shot 12-3 in a period is never going to produce positive results for your team. Letting in a softy just ten seconds after your offense scores tends to take the wind out of your sales to.

The Flames managed to keep the Wild's special teams off the scoresheet, but unfortunately theirs was as well, and in the type of game the Wild likes to play, you kinda need those to pay dividends; at least once on the night.

Red Warrior

In light of the great article Kent posted earlier and the game he had tonight, I'm gonno go with Backlund.

Mike led all forwards in ice-time (18:47) which at one time would never be fathomable to the fans. He went 10/20 in his face-off draws but was 71% in the offensive zone. He also led the team with five shots on goal and was in on setting up Ben Hanowski for his first career goal.

I'm also inclined to give him the Warrior tonight because of what he represents to this team now. At just 24 he is in a leadership role for all these kids that are getting a chance to play out this season.

For someone who was once described as "whistling passed the graveyard", Backlund now represents what this team needs to look like going forward. He is leading by example, even if he isn't wearing a letter. That impresses me and it gives the kids something to emulate going into next season, rather than being thrown straight into the deep end.

Scoring Chances

Flames in red:

 

# Player EV     PP     SH    
3 CARSON, BRETT 12:56 2 3 00:00 0 0 00:22 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 19:38 6 3 01:11 1 0 00:00 0 0
6 SARICH, CORY 15:41 6 4 00:00 0 0 00:41 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 19:55 4 3 01:23 1 0 01:03 0 1
10 CERVENKA, ROMAN 11:02 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 16:41 6 3 01:43 0 0 00:23 0 0
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 16:06 3 5 02:37 1 0 02:06 0 4
15 JACKMAN, TIM 09:25 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 15:10 5 2 01:43 0 0 00:56 0 3
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 14:02 4 3 02:17 2 0 01:33 0 1
24 HUDLER, JIRI 15:02 5 1 01:43 0 0 00:00 0 0
25 BEGIN, STEVE 07:19 1 2 00:00 0 0 01:31 0 0
26 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 20:24 4 2 02:49 1 0 02:57 0 3
35 MACDONALD, JOEY   11 10   2 0   0 4
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 15:33 2 5 00:00 0 0 02:57 0 3
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 13:17 4 2 01:29 1 0 00:00 0 0
51 HORAK, ROMAN 11:50 2 2 02:17 2 0 01:31 0 0
58 HANOWSKI, BEN 12:22 2 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
59 REINHART, MAXWELL 14:53 3 3 00:48 1 0 00:00 0 0

Sum it Up

MacStarter is doing his best to remain relevant passed these last eight games. The goals from Bouchard and Pominville were questionable but overall, Joey has been one of the players that has been making watching this last string of games still interesting.

By now, most of the fence sitters have to have fallen off and are now comfortable in seeing the losses pile up. It's no fun watching your team lose but at least the Flames are doing it in a fashion that the fanbase finds acceptable and they are producing silver linings amongst all the clouds.

Calgary can officially be eliminated from the post season if they lose to Detroit, which sounds odd since there are only six games left, and this has been expected for, well, a lot longer than that.

Tonight represented exactly what I want to see in those last six games. I wasn't crazy about how the team played in the second but the overall, it was good on almost all accounts for fans and players. The fans want losses, but the players can't just mail it in either. There has to be a progression even if technically a loss is a step backwards.

I like what Feaster and Weisbrod are saying about the kids playing now so that it puts them further into the development curve come next year's development camp and training camp. When you factor in that we are seeing goals from Baertschi, Reinhart and now Hanowski, you can only imagine how excited these kids are going to be to get it all going next season.

Colorado lost tonight, but they did it in OT, so the loser point puts them only one point behind us. I don't think there is any chance to "catch" Florida, but it will be interesting to see if Calgary can maybe sneak into that second draft slot.

As mentioned, the Flames next game is Wednesday against the Red Wings. Gametime is 7:30 on TSN, so we'll probably miss the first half of the 1st period cause well, TSN sucks like that. If that's the case tune your radio dial to the boys on Fan 960.

E42f2ca09dfb26046c3060ff46473aff
Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 beloch
April 16 2013, 10:28AM
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"To make fans feel better, Hanowski now has as many goals with the Flames as Iggy does with the Penguins."

Iginla has 3 goals and an assist actually.

Edit: This is wrong. He has 1 goal and 3 assists. Curse my dyslexia!

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#2 McRib
April 15 2013, 11:06PM
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Was in attendance tonight and Ben Hanowski looked impressive in his Pro Debut!!! He has a big frame, solid hands and an impressive release (almost had another goal in the second if not for Backstrom's quick pads, as Vintage Mentioned). He desperately needs to add leg strength though, as his first couple steps are lacking and he had very left in the tank 30 seconds into every shift (Altitude may have been a factor). Hockey Sense is also better than average as well, solid second/third liner if he keeps developing.

Honestly with Agostino looking good in Yale's National Championship the Iggy trade is looking a lot better than the original knee jerk reaction! We seem to have gotten two guys flying under the radar!! Its funny everyone said neither player was on Pittsburghs Top. 10 Prospect List, but Hanowski was in Hockey's Future's list last year at number nine before an injury riddled season this year. Considering Alexander Khokhlachev only has THREE POINTS in nine AHL games so far, I think we took the beter offer!!! These two may have a lower ceiling but they both look like solid players.

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#3 Q
April 15 2013, 11:57PM
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Didn't get to see the game but got caught up wih articles and post game stuff and highlights. I'm pretty stoked about our future! We are so much further ahead of the Edmonton so called style rebuild! With Gio, Glennx, wideman, Hudler, and Cammi, after that its all about the youngKids! Sven, horak, Reinhart , Brodie, backlund Hanowski are a great young group to work with and add to the fact that down the road we'll see the likes of gaudreau, Wotherspoon, sieloff, ramage, culkin, kulak, brossoit, gillies, Ramo, Berra , we have some real positives that this organization hasn't had in years. Not sure when we will see Agostino down the road? Anyone know if he's a senior this next year? Questionable obviously are Jankowski, who is barely 18 and it could be 3 years for him. Ferland will be a Long project for us, and I'm guessing granlund is a ways off. Will We get a look at Cundari, or does anyone know if he's still hurt (hand)? The most positive thing about the winds of change in cow town is just the fact that were not talking about the old Sutter core anymore! That became old and stale! Just nice to talk about youth instead of the jokinens and tanguays and re-hashed Sutter garbage!

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#4 Scoring_guru
April 16 2013, 12:09AM
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Cervenka's Ice time - 11:02 Hanowski's Ice time - 12:22

I know they want to see what the rookies have to offer and they have seen Cervenka for most of the season, but this still has to sting a little if you are Cervenka and should give you no reason to want to stay with the Flames.

Off to the KHL.....

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#5 Danglesnipecelly
April 16 2013, 12:33AM
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Q wrote:

Didn't get to see the game but got caught up wih articles and post game stuff and highlights. I'm pretty stoked about our future! We are so much further ahead of the Edmonton so called style rebuild! With Gio, Glennx, wideman, Hudler, and Cammi, after that its all about the youngKids! Sven, horak, Reinhart , Brodie, backlund Hanowski are a great young group to work with and add to the fact that down the road we'll see the likes of gaudreau, Wotherspoon, sieloff, ramage, culkin, kulak, brossoit, gillies, Ramo, Berra , we have some real positives that this organization hasn't had in years. Not sure when we will see Agostino down the road? Anyone know if he's a senior this next year? Questionable obviously are Jankowski, who is barely 18 and it could be 3 years for him. Ferland will be a Long project for us, and I'm guessing granlund is a ways off. Will We get a look at Cundari, or does anyone know if he's still hurt (hand)? The most positive thing about the winds of change in cow town is just the fact that were not talking about the old Sutter core anymore! That became old and stale! Just nice to talk about youth instead of the jokinens and tanguays and re-hashed Sutter garbage!

Cundari is playing with the Heat. On Sunday he assisted on every goal in a 3-1 win and threw in a fight for good measure. He was the first star of the game. I wouldn't be surprised to see him up in Calgary before the season is done...

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#6 KetchupKid
April 16 2013, 02:23AM
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@VF "[Backlund] went 10/20 in his face-off draws but was 71% in the offensive zone."

Haha... I might be a cup-is-half-empty kind of guy but I'm only seeing the 29% d-zone win ratio there!

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#7 icedawg_42
April 16 2013, 07:03AM
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Backlund is the best player on this team right now. I didn't have high hopes for Hanowski (and the jury is still waaaayyyy out, like he said himself he's "got a LOT to work on"..but I really liked the fact he went to the dirty areas on his goal. He may never be an NHL regular, but he'll have that puck for the rest of his life, good for him! I'd like to get a look at Cundari at the NHL level.

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#8 icedawg_42
April 16 2013, 07:05AM
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Scoring_guru wrote:

Cervenka's Ice time - 11:02 Hanowski's Ice time - 12:22

I know they want to see what the rookies have to offer and they have seen Cervenka for most of the season, but this still has to sting a little if you are Cervenka and should give you no reason to want to stay with the Flames.

Off to the KHL.....

Cervenka will probably go to Boston and play with Jagr...just a guess, but I doubt he's completely done with the NHL. Done with the FLAMES yes...NHL probably not. He's shown he's workable.

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#9 suba steve
April 16 2013, 07:53AM
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@icedawg_42

BOS already has $58mil spent on 17 players for next year, and a cap of $64mil. Jagr is not signed into next year. Jagr and Cervenka could possibly play together next year, but it may be more likely to be in CGY or DAL then in BOS. Not that I want/expect Flames to sign them, just that CGY has the cap space that a lot of other teams do not have.

It will be an interesting summer. Buy-outs (and the UFAs that these buy-outs create), one-sided salary dump trades, the draft.

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#10 ChinookArch
April 16 2013, 07:59AM
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The second period wasn't just a bad outing for the Flames. I found my mind drifting and imaging the conference with no Minnisota Wild putting the sleeper- hold on each of their opponents. BORING HOCKEY.

The kids did well last night and Reinhardt continues to impress. Backlund is the team's best play, but that T.J Brody is a very good defenseman. I liked his play last year, but never dreamed he would be this good.

I won't be investing too much emotional energy into any players until they are on either the Flames or Heat roster next season. Feaster will definately be moving bodies in order secure the RFA's targets on other teams, in the off-season. I just hope he won't be competing with Big MacT from Shelbyville.

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#11 icedawg_42
April 16 2013, 08:05AM
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@suba steve

Wherever he ends up..my main point was that I can't see it being in Calgary..I think he's gotten a rough ride from the coach here, and I think he'd be sour on returning. Just a guess.

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#12 Scary Gary
April 16 2013, 08:17AM
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@suba steve

Yeah Jagr isn't one to take a discount. I don't underestimate Chiarelli though. I could see Savard getting bought out which would free up four million and I doubt they'll resign Horton.

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#13 McRib
April 16 2013, 08:35AM
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How much longer does Jaromir Jagr plan on playing? He is 41 years-old!!! Haha. I know he lost a lot of his money gambling, but come on its getting ridiculous!! Watching him with Dallas he hardly took a stride, I guess if he's still producing.... But Dallas seems to be doing just fine without him!!

It wouldn't surprise me if Cervenka resigns with Calgary in the offseason. It usually takes more than a year for a player to catch up to the pace of the NHL. Look at Bobrovsky. Philly gave up on him after a year and a half and now he is the hottest goaltender in the league.

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#14 Primo
April 16 2013, 08:44AM
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McRib wrote:

Was in attendance tonight and Ben Hanowski looked impressive in his Pro Debut!!! He has a big frame, solid hands and an impressive release (almost had another goal in the second if not for Backstrom's quick pads, as Vintage Mentioned). He desperately needs to add leg strength though, as his first couple steps are lacking and he had very left in the tank 30 seconds into every shift (Altitude may have been a factor). Hockey Sense is also better than average as well, solid second/third liner if he keeps developing.

Honestly with Agostino looking good in Yale's National Championship the Iggy trade is looking a lot better than the original knee jerk reaction! We seem to have gotten two guys flying under the radar!! Its funny everyone said neither player was on Pittsburghs Top. 10 Prospect List, but Hanowski was in Hockey's Future's list last year at number nine before an injury riddled season this year. Considering Alexander Khokhlachev only has THREE POINTS in nine AHL games so far, I think we took the beter offer!!! These two may have a lower ceiling but they both look like solid players.

Well said!! ahhh let's not forget the first rounder!

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#15 Double Dion
April 16 2013, 08:54AM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

Backlund is the best player on this team right now. I didn't have high hopes for Hanowski (and the jury is still waaaayyyy out, like he said himself he's "got a LOT to work on"..but I really liked the fact he went to the dirty areas on his goal. He may never be an NHL regular, but he'll have that puck for the rest of his life, good for him! I'd like to get a look at Cundari at the NHL level.

A guy named Curtis Glencross disagrees with you. But yes, other than Glencross I'd agree.

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#16 McRib
April 16 2013, 08:55AM
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Also like @Danglesnipecelly pointed out Mark Cundari looks good with an incresed role in Abbotsford and we seem to have that first rounder locked up with St. Louis doing well. Which could be a very solid prospect (Josh Morrissey, Curtis Lazar, Kerby Rychel, Adam Erne) as any other year these guys would be Top. 10s, due to deep draft.

John Weisbrod seems to really have a good grasp on Drafting/Acquiring underrated prospects. Let Feaster handle the buisness side and Weisbrod will keep grabbing gems like Gaudreau, Baertschi, Kulak, Wotherspoon, etc. I honestly think Calgary might turn this rebuild around like the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens rather than the Edmonton debacle.

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#17 Parallex
April 16 2013, 09:00AM
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Scary Gary wrote:

Yeah Jagr isn't one to take a discount. I don't underestimate Chiarelli though. I could see Savard getting bought out which would free up four million and I doubt they'll resign Horton.

I kind of have a wierd feeling that we'll (Calgay) be signing Horton (probably for more then he's due). A giant wack of Cap Space + owners willing to spend it + few other free agents of note worth spending it on + Player at his prime years. He'll get a bunch of money this offseason and Calgary looks like a fit in most regards.

The only thing that's missing is a spot. Top 9 wingers are pretty much full up barring a trade.

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#18 mattyc
April 16 2013, 09:24AM
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@Parallex

I have to think there are still a few forwards on their way out of town. As it stands now, assuming we resign RFAs we wouldn't have much room for 'rookies' in the top 9 anyways.

I have:

Tanguay Backlund Cammalleri GlenX Stajan Stempniak Hudler Cervenka Baertschi

So unless they get rid of Cervenka, whoever we draft (if it's a fwd) won't have a spot. Maybe one of Reinhart or Horak (I'd say he's more ready) play on the 4th line, but it's pretty full already.

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#19 Parallex
April 16 2013, 09:42AM
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@mattyc

That's pretty much how I have it except that I assume that Cervenka won't be back and we'll have MacKinnon or Barkov where he is.

That's why I said that we lack a spot for a big fish add like Horton. I could see us moving someone. Possible Tanguay since he doesn't have a large Cap he can fit on more cap light teams and we have a bevy of left-wingers. Don't know about anyone else but I think a top line of Cammy, Backs, and Horton would be solid. Then have the other two lines as 2A/2B with Glencross and co eating the harder minutes so that Hudler and the youngins' can have some lighter ones.

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#20 Primo
April 16 2013, 09:47AM
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Parallex wrote:

I kind of have a wierd feeling that we'll (Calgay) be signing Horton (probably for more then he's due). A giant wack of Cap Space + owners willing to spend it + few other free agents of note worth spending it on + Player at his prime years. He'll get a bunch of money this offseason and Calgary looks like a fit in most regards.

The only thing that's missing is a spot. Top 9 wingers are pretty much full up barring a trade.

Scary thought...Horton has major concussion issues.

I like the current course of building within the draft and college development.

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#21 Kevin R
April 16 2013, 09:52AM
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mattyc wrote:

I have to think there are still a few forwards on their way out of town. As it stands now, assuming we resign RFAs we wouldn't have much room for 'rookies' in the top 9 anyways.

I have:

Tanguay Backlund Cammalleri GlenX Stajan Stempniak Hudler Cervenka Baertschi

So unless they get rid of Cervenka, whoever we draft (if it's a fwd) won't have a spot. Maybe one of Reinhart or Horak (I'd say he's more ready) play on the 4th line, but it's pretty full already.

Well I think a lot will hinge on what Cerevenka wants for $$$. Cant see Feaster giving him more than a Backlund type of deal of 1 year @ $750K & he's going to have to earn that top 9 spot. I honestly dont see these guys spending a whack of $$$ of any UFA forwards, maybe a dman. I see them them targeting RFA's on Cap strapped teams.

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#22 Kurt
April 16 2013, 10:09AM
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mattyc wrote:

I have to think there are still a few forwards on their way out of town. As it stands now, assuming we resign RFAs we wouldn't have much room for 'rookies' in the top 9 anyways.

I have:

Tanguay Backlund Cammalleri GlenX Stajan Stempniak Hudler Cervenka Baertschi

So unless they get rid of Cervenka, whoever we draft (if it's a fwd) won't have a spot. Maybe one of Reinhart or Horak (I'd say he's more ready) play on the 4th line, but it's pretty full already.

Wow... People seriously need a reset on what qualifies as a top 6 fwd. I realize we've had nothing around here for ages, but are you kidding me?!? Yikes.... Are we really saying Stajan and Stepniak are so good we can't make room for someone new.

At this low point in Flames history, if we start saying we don't have room for new players.... well I don't even know what to say.

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#23 beloch
April 16 2013, 10:11AM
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MacBackup posted a 0.852 Sv%. I know the announcer's job is to make us feel good about the team so they always spend a lot of time praising whatever mug is in net, but MacBackup is still *not* a NHL starter! Heck, he didn't even play up to his own sub-standard career average last night! The only reason the Flames are starting MacBackup is this coming June 30th! Let's face it, the team would easily move up a couple of places in the standings if Kipper started playing like Kipper.

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#24 Parallex
April 16 2013, 10:13AM
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@Kevin R

RFA's (especially really good ones) will cost us draft picks. I'm fine with seeing the team use offer sheets but any RFA of sufficant quality will see us burning 1st rounder+. With the short-term future of the club being murky at best I'd rather not take that route.

Frankly, I don't see any upcoming RFA's that offer the same quality as O'Reilly.

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#25 Kurt
April 16 2013, 10:15AM
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Kurt wrote:

Wow... People seriously need a reset on what qualifies as a top 6 fwd. I realize we've had nothing around here for ages, but are you kidding me?!? Yikes.... Are we really saying Stajan and Stepniak are so good we can't make room for someone new.

At this low point in Flames history, if we start saying we don't have room for new players.... well I don't even know what to say.

SECOND lines on a cup contender:

Sharp/Kane/Bolland Richards/Carter/Penner Malkin/Neil/Morrow

Sort of puts into perspective what a 2nd line looks like on a real team. The talk of our lines being 2A and 2B is laughable to anyone except us delusional Flames fans who have been lulled into thinking our marginal, below average fwds qualify as anything more than spare parts to a good team.

We don't have ANYONE with the elite talent of Kane or Maklin or Neil or Richards or Carter... And these guys are all 2nd lines on cup teams.

I just hope we take a big step back and realize its gonna take a few years of drafting guys like that. My biggest fear is Feaster rushing out next year to get this team back to perpetually fighting for 8th with a middling team of castoffs from true contenders.

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#26 mattyc
April 16 2013, 10:17AM
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@Parallex

Yeah I think that would be a pretty solid lineup. Regardless, that third line should get lots of sheltering. Both Stajan and Backlund have been able to hold their own this year against stiff competition.

What I'd really like to see is a fourth Dman that can play top 4 minutes. We don't have a strong defensive d-man anymore (Giordano's about as close as we have). We can pecil in Wideman, Brodie, Giordano, and likely Butler/Cundari/Smith at the bottom end, but it's still a pretty weak back-end.

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#27 piscera.infada
April 16 2013, 10:18AM
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beloch wrote:

MacBackup posted a 0.852 Sv%. I know the announcer's job is to make us feel good about the team so they always spend a lot of time praising whatever mug is in net, but MacBackup is still *not* a NHL starter! Heck, he didn't even play up to his own sub-standard career average last night! The only reason the Flames are starting MacBackup is this coming June 30th! Let's face it, the team would easily move up a couple of places in the standings if Kipper started playing like Kipper.

Sorry, but have you watched Kipper this year?

Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, and I'll always have warm, fuzzy thoughts about his past. But he has been God-aweful this year.

But I'm with you on MacBackup.

Just sayin' he could easily steal the same number of games as Kipper would (this year).

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#28 beloch
April 16 2013, 10:23AM
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@piscera.infada

Oh, I agree! The drunken space alien inhabiting Kipper's suit this season has no business being in a NHL crease.

If the real Kipper returned we might as well trade our draft pick while it's still in the top 3!

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#29 mattyc
April 16 2013, 10:25AM
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@Kurt

I think Glencross/Stempniak/Stajan is a very effective line. They're a 2/3rd line on a 'cup contending' team probably (which we won't be next year). They also play some of the toughest minutes and start in the D zone 60% of the time, and still manage to be alright on possession metrics. Having said that, there aren't any rookies that are going to come in and play better than any of those 3 players next year...

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#30 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 10:28AM
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DAMN! Feels good to be able to cheer for my team again. What a breath of fresh air. It's like I've been pulled out of the abyss.

Very impressed with Hanowski. Lots to work on as he stated (like his personality too, seems like he lives for the game, Calgary needs some of those), but he's a skilled shooter, has great hockey IQ, works hard and mixes it up. Brings size and while his skating is very choppy, he's not slow, just not very smooth, but as long he gets there in time, who cares?

A year in the AHL for Reinhart and Hanowski with the odd call-up and then full time duty in 2014-2015 season.

Why do I see Monahan as the guy who would most fit into this group? Another guy with great leadership skills, who works his butt off, ecels at the 200' game, is great on face offs, is big and strong, skates very well and has a ton of offense too. Seems like he's exactly what Calgary needs. And he did that playing with absolute crap around him this season.

Frankly, Calgary can't go wrong in the top 7 this year so long as they don't go off the board and do something crazy. I'm guessing we finish 5th.

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#31 seve927
April 16 2013, 10:53AM
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beloch wrote:

"To make fans feel better, Hanowski now has as many goals with the Flames as Iggy does with the Penguins."

Iginla has 3 goals and an assist actually.

Edit: This is wrong. He has 1 goal and 3 assists. Curse my dyslexia!

One goal, three assists actually.

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#32 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 11:00AM
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Kurt wrote:

SECOND lines on a cup contender:

Sharp/Kane/Bolland Richards/Carter/Penner Malkin/Neil/Morrow

Sort of puts into perspective what a 2nd line looks like on a real team. The talk of our lines being 2A and 2B is laughable to anyone except us delusional Flames fans who have been lulled into thinking our marginal, below average fwds qualify as anything more than spare parts to a good team.

We don't have ANYONE with the elite talent of Kane or Maklin or Neil or Richards or Carter... And these guys are all 2nd lines on cup teams.

I just hope we take a big step back and realize its gonna take a few years of drafting guys like that. My biggest fear is Feaster rushing out next year to get this team back to perpetually fighting for 8th with a middling team of castoffs from true contenders.

Agreed and those guys are going to come to the Flames one way only - the draft. The same way as all of those other teams got them.

I don't think a Montreal-style turnaround is in the cards unless Feaster somehow becomes a stellar GM during the summer and pulls off some amazing moves.

But, that's fine by me. Sam Reinhart next year? Dare to dream. But I think a top 5 pick next summer is coming and that can be added onto this year's.

In the meantime, Hanowski, Reinhart, Horak, etc. still have MILES to go, but the good news is that they actually look like they CAN play in the NHL. Young, skilled support guys to surround our top 5 picks.

I'm under no delusions. The Flames are NOT ahead of the Oilers in the rebuild and we WILL suck again next year and we WILL get our top talent the same as everyone else - the draft.

But, I am excited to finally see 60 minutes of effort and hard work, ultra-excited to not have to look at Iginla's face after every game muttering about how the team "has to be better" while having a giant sh!t-eating grin on his face and stoked to see that a lot of these kids will pan out at least somewhat.

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#33 Kurt
April 16 2013, 11:32AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Agreed and those guys are going to come to the Flames one way only - the draft. The same way as all of those other teams got them.

I don't think a Montreal-style turnaround is in the cards unless Feaster somehow becomes a stellar GM during the summer and pulls off some amazing moves.

But, that's fine by me. Sam Reinhart next year? Dare to dream. But I think a top 5 pick next summer is coming and that can be added onto this year's.

In the meantime, Hanowski, Reinhart, Horak, etc. still have MILES to go, but the good news is that they actually look like they CAN play in the NHL. Young, skilled support guys to surround our top 5 picks.

I'm under no delusions. The Flames are NOT ahead of the Oilers in the rebuild and we WILL suck again next year and we WILL get our top talent the same as everyone else - the draft.

But, I am excited to finally see 60 minutes of effort and hard work, ultra-excited to not have to look at Iginla's face after every game muttering about how the team "has to be better" while having a giant sh!t-eating grin on his face and stoked to see that a lot of these kids will pan out at least somewhat.

Completely agree with your comments... I've been a proponent of getting elite talent via the draft (and therefore some degree of very bad finishes) for a few years. I'm actually very excited about the team now for the first time in 5 years....

The sobbering thing for me is watching the Coilers struggles. Unlike many on here, I don't think they are failing. I do think their mgmt sucks, but I think they are showing how long it takes for 18 year olds to become NHLers. 3 years in Taylor Hall is becoming a stud. Its scary to think how far away we are. No matter how awesome a 1st overall is, unless he is Syd, it'll take 2-3-4 years for them to become elite.

So we are far away.... But still, this is SO MUCH MORE EXCITING to talk about than the debacle over the last 5 years.

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#34 beloch
April 16 2013, 11:43AM
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@the-wolf

The Flames have had league-worst goal-tending this year and it's really deep-sixed the team's position in the standings. I'm not kidding here. The team's Sv% is dead-last in the league with second last being >1% better! Bear in mind that 1% over 82 games of roughly 30 shots against per game represents a difference of 25 goals against!

Add decent goal-tending next year and the team could easily be right back in the bubble. This isn't necessarily a good thing, since it could guarantee another half decade of mediocrity.

One thing is for sure, Feaster had better make this year's pick count because it might be the only top-5 pick the Flames get for a while if the goal-tending situation improves next season.

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#35 Scary Gary
April 16 2013, 11:56AM
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beloch wrote:

The Flames have had league-worst goal-tending this year and it's really deep-sixed the team's position in the standings. I'm not kidding here. The team's Sv% is dead-last in the league with second last being >1% better! Bear in mind that 1% over 82 games of roughly 30 shots against per game represents a difference of 25 goals against!

Add decent goal-tending next year and the team could easily be right back in the bubble. This isn't necessarily a good thing, since it could guarantee another half decade of mediocrity.

One thing is for sure, Feaster had better make this year's pick count because it might be the only top-5 pick the Flames get for a while if the goal-tending situation improves next season.

I'm not so sure, it depends heavily on the moves Feaster makes in the off-season; however, if we were to dress this roster for 82 games we'd be bottom five for sure.

That being said, I'm way more excited for the future than I have been the last five years. I just think we need to temper our expectations. We've likely played well the last three due to a combination of adrenaline, meaningless games and opponents not giving their best.

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#36 beloch
April 16 2013, 11:58AM
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@beloch

Just to drive home how important goal-tending is, let's say the Flames had swapped goalie squads with Edmonton at the start of the year.

Edmonton Sv%: 0.917
Calgary Sv%: 0.883

Over 42 games of roughly 29 shots a game, that's about 40 fewer goals. The Flames would be squeaking into the top 10 teams in the league in terms of GA if this were the case! The team would also be near the top 10 in terms of GF/GA. Edmonton's goalies aren't elite either. They're roughly league average.

If this had actually happened, the Flames would easily be in the playoffs this year. Aside from Kipper and MacBackup, the Flames are nowhere nearly as bad as people think.

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#37 ScottN
April 16 2013, 12:00PM
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@the-wolf

@the-wolf you are right those are elite players on elite teams...but you are wrong on how they were acquired by the elite teams.. Sharp.. trade Bolland..draft Kane..draft Richards..trade Carter..trade Penner..trade Malkin..draft Neal..trade Morrow..trade So 3 of your 9 elite second liners were drafted by the teams that they are making elite. Yes Calgary has to draft better, but we also have to trade better..much better. With all of the cap space Feaster has created let's hope he can use it to our advantage. Because relying on the draft is just not enough to capture enough elite talent playing at their peak at the same time. Just a thought...

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#38 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 12:15PM
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ScottN wrote:

@the-wolf you are right those are elite players on elite teams...but you are wrong on how they were acquired by the elite teams.. Sharp.. trade Bolland..draft Kane..draft Richards..trade Carter..trade Penner..trade Malkin..draft Neal..trade Morrow..trade So 3 of your 9 elite second liners were drafted by the teams that they are making elite. Yes Calgary has to draft better, but we also have to trade better..much better. With all of the cap space Feaster has created let's hope he can use it to our advantage. Because relying on the draft is just not enough to capture enough elite talent playing at their peak at the same time. Just a thought...

Very valid point, but I wasn't really refering to that list, more so elite players overall. Crosbay, Malkin, Towes, Kane, Seabrook, Kopitar, Lucic, etc, etc.

If you're going to get talent of that magnitude it will only be through the draft. But I agree with you, our trading needs to improve.

@beloch

Yeah, I know, I've read Kent's articles on that and agree with him and you. Goaltending has largely sunk the team this year. Very true.

But...my prediction was always that it would be NEXT season the team went over the proverbial cliff and with JBo gone there's still a massive hole on D that won't be filled anytime soon. Plus, Cammi and Tangs are another year older.

Also, Edmonton will continue to get better, etc.

Who knows what will happen with goaltending or other summer moves, but I really don't think (hope?) Calgary goes back to 9-12 next year.

Maybe Ramo or some other goalie comes in and is lights out, but barring that, I see a lot of teams being better than us. Which is good, because we'll need at least one more elite talent in addition to Baertschi and whatever we get this year to really have a base that can be molded into a contender.

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#39 mattyc
April 16 2013, 12:15PM
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@beloch

Agree completely. I'm a little skeptical we'll be top 10 in GA next year, mainly because we're not a a great possession team, and w/out Bouwmeester, we're likely to get a little worse.

On a side note: This is my main qualm with using PDO as a proxy for luck. I can appreciate that SH% should regress to 8% ish or whatever it is - but SV% shouldn't really. There are goalies better than others, and our last place PDO isn't 'unlucky' so much as it's bad goaltending. I would expect our goaltending to regress to ITS mean (assuming Kipprusoff hasn't gotten worse), but theres no reason why a below average starter should regress to average league-wide.

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#40 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 12:16PM
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ScottN wrote:

@the-wolf you are right those are elite players on elite teams...but you are wrong on how they were acquired by the elite teams.. Sharp.. trade Bolland..draft Kane..draft Richards..trade Carter..trade Penner..trade Malkin..draft Neal..trade Morrow..trade So 3 of your 9 elite second liners were drafted by the teams that they are making elite. Yes Calgary has to draft better, but we also have to trade better..much better. With all of the cap space Feaster has created let's hope he can use it to our advantage. Because relying on the draft is just not enough to capture enough elite talent playing at their peak at the same time. Just a thought...

Also, keep in mind some of the talent acquired through the draft to make those trades. Schenn fo Carter, for example.

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#41 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 12:17PM
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Sorry, Johnson for Carter; Schenn for Richards.

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#42 ScottN
April 16 2013, 12:32PM
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@the-wolf

I agree that assets must be acquired through the draft as almost all NHL players are drafted..very few undrafted players make an impact. Teams that constantly draft poorly or trade away picks (like the Flames) for the present are living on borrowed time and ultimately the bottom will fall out. Our bottom has officially fallen out (even though it was leaking badly for the past 5 years) and it is now time for repairs. My concern is that exclusively building through the draft will at best give you 1 player a year so based on a time horizon of 3 years for this re "tool" this team needs 4 top 6 forwards and 2 top 4 defense and two goalies. There is not enough time to draft them all so we will have to either win some trades or get very lucky with some undrafted players. Who knows if Feaster can win a trade??? That is the $65 million question

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#43 beloch
April 16 2013, 12:32PM
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@mattyc

Oh, all bets are off for next season. I was just posing a "what if" to show that things are not as dire in Calgary as people think.

Bouwmeester is going to be the hardest player to replace. Even with Brodie stepping up big-time the Flames still have only 3 top-4 defenders. Picking up another top-4 D should be one of Feaster's priorities in the off-season.

Iginla is a more situationally useful, purely offensive player these days, and should be easier to replace. He could easily return, although hopefully he'll be cheaper if he does.

Comeau? Honestly, his absence has made space for the rookies and has probably improved the team.

Really, the big wild card next season will be how well Ramo translates his KHL success to the NHL and who plays back-up. Also, will the drunken alien inhabiting Kipper's jersey return to stink up the crease some more? Could the real Kipper, wherever he may be, surface again? Will Feaster sign a goalie in the off-season? All we can really hope for is that the Flames aren't forced to use MacBackup as MacStartup again next season.

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#44 Scoring_guru
April 16 2013, 12:52PM
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Could someone tell me if Ramo would be allowed to play for the Flames this year?

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#45 mattyc
April 16 2013, 01:02PM
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@Scoring_guru

allowed, but Feaster said he won't be coming over until September.

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#47 Kurt
April 16 2013, 01:41PM
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ScottN wrote:

@the-wolf you are right those are elite players on elite teams...but you are wrong on how they were acquired by the elite teams.. Sharp.. trade Bolland..draft Kane..draft Richards..trade Carter..trade Penner..trade Malkin..draft Neal..trade Morrow..trade So 3 of your 9 elite second liners were drafted by the teams that they are making elite. Yes Calgary has to draft better, but we also have to trade better..much better. With all of the cap space Feaster has created let's hope he can use it to our advantage. Because relying on the draft is just not enough to capture enough elite talent playing at their peak at the same time. Just a thought...

The point of that list was that those guys are SECOND line players. We have no such talent. I wasn't even talking about 1st line talent. I agree, you could possibly fill out a team with trades. But you'd have to have real assets to trade. Richards/Carter/Neal were all traded for elite prospects. We have no such talent to spare.

But the point is that we haven't even started to talk about 1st line talent. Crosby/Stamkos/Tavares/Hall etc. The NEXT Iggy for our organization. There is no way to get this talent except by draft.

For all the the people talking about how this team isn't so bad and its all goaltending etc. How do you think we'll even make the playoffs in the coming year(s)? With realignment only 3 in our division are guaranteed to get in.

Vancouver - LA - Anaheim - SJS - Edmonton - Phoenix - Calgary

SJS could be on the decline maybe... same as Phoenix.... But Phoenix is always decent somehow. Do we honestly think next year we have a better team than Vancouver, LA, Anaheim AND Edmonton? We'd have to beat out 1 of them to qualify for a wildcard, and 2 of them to guarantee playoffs.

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#48 Kevin R
April 16 2013, 01:52PM
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Parallex wrote:

RFA's (especially really good ones) will cost us draft picks. I'm fine with seeing the team use offer sheets but any RFA of sufficant quality will see us burning 1st rounder+. With the short-term future of the club being murky at best I'd rather not take that route.

Frankly, I don't see any upcoming RFA's that offer the same quality as O'Reilly.

Well probably the RFA's on teams that are cap pressed or not able to spend that may be interesting are: StepanNYR,HagelinNYR, McDonoughNYR, HenriqueNJ, RinaldoPHI, ColeSTL, RussellSTL, GunnarsonTOR, FransonTOR, NyquistDET, SmithDET, R NashCar to name a few I see Feaster targeting. All for the wrong reasons. These are all NHL ready players & a combo of uitlizing cap space & picks(even some of our late 1st's) to acquire as opposed to offer sheeting(I guess depends on salary level) the ROR are to difficult & cost too much in high picks to offer sheet. I see Feaster using this to get back to taking a run at the playoffs next year. I'm not saying I agree with this, but what other reason is there for not taking any salary back in that JBO/Iginla trade scenarios or eating salary for better returns.

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#49 Sobueno
April 16 2013, 02:04PM
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Perhaps something else to consider in the goaltender discussion is that a goalie's stats are (I would think) partly a function of the quality of the team ahead of them. Take a .920 goalie from Chicago and put him in Calgary, and I doubt you get .920 tending. Point being is that with the loss of personnel such as JBo, the chances of us having a stellar save % next year is smaller than one might think. We'd need more than just the addition of a league average goalie to get league average goaltending.

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#50 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 02:15PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Well probably the RFA's on teams that are cap pressed or not able to spend that may be interesting are: StepanNYR,HagelinNYR, McDonoughNYR, HenriqueNJ, RinaldoPHI, ColeSTL, RussellSTL, GunnarsonTOR, FransonTOR, NyquistDET, SmithDET, R NashCar to name a few I see Feaster targeting. All for the wrong reasons. These are all NHL ready players & a combo of uitlizing cap space & picks(even some of our late 1st's) to acquire as opposed to offer sheeting(I guess depends on salary level) the ROR are to difficult & cost too much in high picks to offer sheet. I see Feaster using this to get back to taking a run at the playoffs next year. I'm not saying I agree with this, but what other reason is there for not taking any salary back in that JBO/Iginla trade scenarios or eating salary for better returns.

Feaster has basically out and out said as much.

What I don't get is who he thinks will be available. Teams will get rid of their crap, not their stars in order to become cap compliant.

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