FGD: Winging It With Kipper

Ryan Pike
April 17 2013 12:22PM

We're down to the nitty-gritty, folks, as the Flames (16-22-4) can mathematically be eliminated from the post-season (and get a little closer to a high draft pick) with a loss tonight against the Detroit Red Wings (20-15-7).

Tonight's game starts at 7:30 on TSN and your radio friends at Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The kids will continue to be the item of interest down the stretch, but the top story tonight may be Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. Suiting up for the 574th time as a Calgary Flame, he may be playing one of his last contests in the Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames coach Bob Hartley noted after practice that Kiprusoff will play tonight and Friday, as well.

THE LINE-UP

Besides Kiprusoff making his first start in awhile, the other big story is the return of Matt Stajan to the Flames line-up. Before his upper-body injury, Stajan was one of Calgary's best, most consistent players. He'll replace Roman Cervenka in the line-up which, all due respect to the Czech player, is probably an upgrade.

Here's how the lines look according to Pat Steinberg:

  • Baertschi - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Glencross - Backlund - Hudler
  • Cammalleri - Horak - Hanowski
  • Begin - Reinhart - Jackman

  • Brodie - Wideman
  • Giordano - Sarich
  • Butler - Carson

  • Kiprusoff

Wunderkind Ben Hanowski has cut his hair, so please remember that he's wearing #58 for your hockey heroes. He joins a few good group of young players with ridiculously high numbers: Sven Baertschi (#47), Roman Horak (#51) and Max “Power” Reinhart (#59) are the others. 

THE OPPOSITION

The Red Wings are a pretty good hockey team and have been for awhile. However, they're in a fight for their playoff lives lately and may actually miss the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90.

However, the Wings have been helping out their own cause lately, going 2-1-2 in their last five and finding ways to get points any which way they can. They most recently blanked the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Sunday night, so they're rested.

Here's how their lines may look:

  • Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Abdelkader
  • Franzen - Filippula - Cleary
  • Nyquist - Andersson - Brunner
  • Miller - Emmerton - Tootoo

  • Kronwall - Ericsson
  • DeKeyser - Kindl
  • White - Smith

  • Howard

The Wings have some strong top-six players. The Flames beat them handily during their last visit to the 'Dome, but that was primarily due to some terrifying defensive zone play and some awful goaltending from Jonas Gustavsson, who won't play tonight.

Detroit's in desperation mode, needing a win to give them breathing room – they're tied with Columbus (at 47 points) with a game in hand, with Dallas just two points back.

SUM IT UP

The Flames are playing for next year. The Wings are playing for the playoffs. The Flames are in audition mode. The Wings are in desperation mode.

On the other hand, the Saddledome will be filled to the brim with emotion, as the fans prepare to possibly say goodbye to #34. If that emotion spills over to the Flames players, this could be quite the hockey game.

 

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Now in his fourth season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers and the Wrestling Observer.
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#51 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:37PM
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@schevvy

The Staios trade really did it for me. Just nonsense.

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#52 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:39PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The Staios trade really did it for me. Just nonsense.

Yeah, we had a good laugh at that one up here. No offense.

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#53 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:40PM
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@Kent Wilson

Staios! Is! Available!

The only trade Tambo "won" (that's for you Rex!)

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#54 ChinookArch
April 17 2013, 08:40PM
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Why is Cleary arguing? Red handed.

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#55 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:40PM
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schevvy wrote:

More so than the Phaneuf trade, I though the Jokinen (CHUD!) trade to NYR showed he had gone bonkers.

For me it was Jokinen 2.0 that was his defining "jumped the shark" moment.

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#56 mattyc
April 17 2013, 08:40PM
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@Kent Wilson

The Phaneuf one was the beginning of the end for me. Pure desperation. But I agree, the Staois one was just bizarre on so many levels.

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#57 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:42PM
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@schevvy

I think Tambellini had some okay depth trades. Foster for Sutton was good, as was the Vandermeer trade. But that was window dressing on a garbage scow, so really those moves should be worked out by the clerical staff, not the GM.

Tambellini is good at details and establishing developmental infrastructure. The big chair? Not so much.

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#58 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:42PM
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mattyc wrote:

Which Jokinen trade? I thought his trade to get Higgins wasn't bad. I still really like him, and get to see him lots living in vancouver.

It wasn't only the trade itself, but all the stuff around it. Remember how the trade was done but the Flames waited to make it official because they "needed" Jokinen in the line-up? That was odd.

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#59 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:44PM
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Stajan seems strong in the FO circle tonight. Backlund, not as much.

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#60 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:45PM
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Remember back in the fall when we were anxious, desperate even, to see hockey.

Now it feels like a death march. And I should be used to this by now.

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#61 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:48PM
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@RexLibris

Troll! Troll! Bashing Backlund. How dare you??

Must say Rex, I enjoyed everyone bashing you. It made me laugh

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#62 mattyc
April 17 2013, 08:50PM
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@schevvy

haha yeah and then we traded Prust again. Man i would have been so pissed if I was him... I forgot about that... That was right up there with not being able to dress a full lineup because we were too close to the cap.

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#63 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 09:00PM
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Phew. I was starting to worry about the Wings there.

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#64 RKD
April 17 2013, 09:04PM
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mattyc wrote:

so is Howard worth 6 x 5.5mil?

Depends on how you look at it, he's the first Red Wings goalie in their franchise history to have three straight 35 win seasons. I can't really fault him for the past few playoff losses, even with Lidstrom last season the Wings were ousted in five by Nashville. The two previous years they were badly outplayed by the Sharks in both of those series, he was hung out to dry in the playoffs. Career wise he's got a 2.31 GAA and .917 SV% over six seasons. I would say he's a #1 goalie but I don't think anyone would call him an elite goalie.

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#65 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 09:04PM
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schevvy wrote:

Troll! Troll! Bashing Backlund. How dare you??

Must say Rex, I enjoyed everyone bashing you. It made me laugh

Yep, it isn't anything new to me. I have been called a whole lot worse. Funny that I became the focus of so much animosity. Something in there about the primal need to villify the outsider during times of great stress and struggle.

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#66 Q
April 17 2013, 09:05PM
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This Detroit team will get smoked by Chicago!

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#67 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:06PM
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@RexLibris

The one I enjoyed the most were people saying you were Wanye. That was funny

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#68 A
April 17 2013, 09:07PM
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I'll be content losing 2-1

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#69 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 09:08PM
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These next few years will be very interesting to see how Holland and Nill manage the transition.

The Wings exploited a mismatched market for years, and rode exceptional drafting for more than a generation. I'm not certain there will be another deus ex machine for them like Lidstrom this time around. They might have to learn how to live like mortals for a time.

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#70 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 09:10PM
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schevvy wrote:

The one I enjoyed the most were people saying you were Wanye. That was funny

Yeah, where on earth did that come from?

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#71 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 09:12PM
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Oilers are only a Nashville or Tampa win away from the bottom six! It's like sitting at the top of a roller coaster, giggling with excitement over the next hilarious plummet towards the ground.

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#72 Q
April 17 2013, 09:13PM
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Wow, has Brodie ever come a long way! Such a smooth skater! So much more confident! Any thoughts on what his contract will be? Just under 2 a year maybe, and bonuses?

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#73 RKD
April 17 2013, 09:13PM
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Highlight reel, vintage Kipper tonight

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#74 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 09:22PM
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Chances were 6-2 Red Wings in the 2nd.

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#75 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 09:22PM
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@RexLibris

It's astonishing the Oil are still as terrible as they are.

If this was a full 82, Im confident the Oil would be picking inside the top 5 at least, if not the top 3 again.

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#76 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:25PM
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Kent, your prediction of the Flames finishing ahead of the Oilers may still happen, haha

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#77 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 09:26PM
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@Kent Wilson

Yes. Yes it is.

I suspect it would be a top three pick. Really the only think standing between them and another 1st is an injury to Dubnyk, Nugent-Hopkins or Hall. They have no depth outside of right wing.

A friend of mine said a short while ago that he finally felt comfortable that they had reached the point where the management couldn't screw it up (well before the Tambellini firing).

I disagreed. No matter how far off on the shoulder you think you are, there is always more room in the ditch.

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#78 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 09:31PM
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Well, on that happy note, goodnight all. And good luck. Here's hoping the Flames score three more, all disallowed due to arcane technicalities and the Wings get a cheap goal to win it.

Does that sound alright, schev?

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#79 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:36PM
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Hahahaha ha! Yes! No! Conflicted emotions!

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#80 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 09:36PM
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Almost a Steve Smith goal there.

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#81 Baalzamon
April 17 2013, 09:36PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The Staios trade really did it for me. Just nonsense.

That trade... gave me cancer!

Darryl was perhaps the only GM in recent memory worse than Scott Howson (after he went insane, of course). They're the only two GMs I can think of who made teo trades involving the same player and managed to lose both (Jeff Carter for Howson; Jokinen and Prust for Sutter).

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#82 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:37PM
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@RexLibris

I hope the Flames win but then the NHL forfeits the win, so 0 points. I hate this.

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#83 clyde
April 17 2013, 09:39PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

It's astonishing the Oil are still as terrible as they are.

If this was a full 82, Im confident the Oil would be picking inside the top 5 at least, if not the top 3 again.

they still may

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#84 clyde
April 17 2013, 09:43PM
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Craig Simpson told me that changes would happen in edm halfway through the year. he said Mac t would be gm and that Lowe wanted to coach. interesting tosee if his second prediction plays out.

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#85 clyde
April 17 2013, 09:45PM
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quit it kipper. I want mckinnon

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#86 mk
April 17 2013, 09:54PM
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Begin....again?!? WHAT?

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#87 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:54PM
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Hahahahahahahaha

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#88 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:55PM
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It's like Howard wants the Flames to win.

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#89 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 09:55PM
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Flames are actually trying to lose and the Wings hand them two consecutive goals in the third in a tie game.

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#90 mk
April 17 2013, 09:57PM
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Is it possibly we still make the playoffs? Lol, might happen with the way this "tank" is heading.

More likely a 10th place finish...

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#91 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:58PM
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Wings have outshot the Flames 26-7 since the 1st. And the Flames are winning. Haha

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#92 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 09:59PM
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@schevvy

Chances are 12-2 DET over the last period or so.

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#93 schevvy
April 17 2013, 10:01PM
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Comeau scored for CBJ

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#94 schevvy
April 17 2013, 10:02PM
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Thanks Kipper!

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#95 schevvy
April 17 2013, 10:03PM
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What a freakin strange period

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#96 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 10:04PM
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Nice work Kipper. Two more buddy.

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#97 subz
April 17 2013, 10:26PM
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The top 3 pick is quickly becoming a 5 pick, or higher these other teams step on the ice and roll over. How in the hell is Car, Nsh, TB worse than us...a point behind edm unreal.

If we pick outside top 3 or more specifically no Barkov or Mckinnon I say it sets us back at least year more likely 2.

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#98 SeanCharles
April 18 2013, 09:12AM
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The weird thing is I don't think management cares.

I get the feeling they really want Lindholm and chances are he will be available outside of the top 5.

I'd rather have MacKinnon personally.

The worst thing is we win off of two abosolute garbage Begin goals. At least Sven made a great pass of the first goal.

If we are winning I sure don't want it to be on the back of Begin thats for sure....

Last night was the definition of worst case scenario: win and an old grinder who wont be on our team next year pots two..

:(

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#99 McRib
April 18 2013, 11:56AM
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Its interesting the Chicago/Pittsburgh rebuilds are currently "ALL THE RAG" because they are the top two teams in the league right NOW!!! You cannot win and be "a powerhouse without a top 3 pick" because that’s how they are GREAT!!! But 5 years ago everyone wanted to be like... Ahhh Detroit!!

How did they build that team by having solid drafts from their first pick to their last pick, taking guys flying under the radar, every year gradually improving the club... If you ask me Gaudreau is someone the Wings would have drafted in that era!!

Also under John Weisbrod the Flames had two of our deepest drafts EVER (Baertschi, Gaudreau, Wotherspoon, Brossoit, Gillies, Kulak, Jankowski and DeBlouw all look to be Pros) where almost every player could pan out.

If we keep on having drafts where 4-5 players could play in the NHL, I frankly don't care for a Top. 3!!! Because we will have assets in trades and creating a winning culture is everything for prospects to push each other up the ranks!! !!

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#100 negrilcowboy
April 17 2013, 03:58PM
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no kippa no kippa.

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