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 third full 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, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#51 mk
April 17 2013, 08:12PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Iginla with a goal and assist tonight.

I've been watching most of the Pens game since the trade and I swear the players on that team look at Iginla like he's 80. There just seems to be a wary eye turned his direction all the time.

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#52 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:13PM
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@RexLibris

Honestly, if the kids play well and pull out a win, I won't be mad. Don't have it in me to be mad with a win. Plus, I want CBJ in the playoffs over DET.

That being said, it was kinda sorta reverse psychology. Loss is not a bad thing.

But I tell ya Rex, if the Flames finish ahead of the Oilers....hahahaha. Oh god that would be funny. And then Flames win the lottery of course.

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#53 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:13PM
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Sven has started to look a lot more comfortable in the NHL recently. I thought he deserved to be demoted last time, but so far in the second call-up he looks like he belongs.

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#54 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:15PM
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@mk

Interesting. I haven't watched any Pens games this year, but probably will catch some during the post-season. I'm intrigued to see that storyline play out over the course of the playoffs.

I know emotions in Calgary are mixed: cheer Iginla on for a Cup, or hope the Pens tank and heighten the value of the pick?

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#55 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:15PM
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Iggy :(

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#56 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:17PM
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@schevvy

I'd like to see the Blue Jackets in the playoffs, but now that Howson is safely ensconced in the Oilers management I'm not sure I want anyone there giving him any credit (and therefore leeway) for personnel decisions.

MacTavish I kind of trust. Howson, barely at all.

Flames finish ahead of the Oilers would be pretty funny. Obviously the laughs would be in the 403 at season's end, and perhaps in the 780 at the draft (barring lottery alterations).

Either way, it'd make for one heck of a story.

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#57 Monaertchi
April 17 2013, 08:18PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

He can't sign until the end of the month.

So we can bring him in for the playoffs!

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#58 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:18PM
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schevvy wrote:

Iggy :(

Sorry to bring it up. Go have a sad and come back when you feel better.

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#59 RKD
April 17 2013, 08:19PM
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mk wrote:

I've been watching most of the Pens game since the trade and I swear the players on that team look at Iginla like he's 80. There just seems to be a wary eye turned his direction all the time.

They might be doing the same with Murray and Morrow, Iggy has 49 points in 54 playoff games. He shows up in the post season unlike a majority of players. Time will tell if he can help the Pens win a Cup.

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#60 ChinookArch
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Interesting. I haven't watched any Pens games this year, but probably will catch some during the post-season. I'm intrigued to see that storyline play out over the course of the playoffs.

I know emotions in Calgary are mixed: cheer Iginla on for a Cup, or hope the Pens tank and heighten the value of the pick?

Put me down for both the Pens and Blues out in Round #1. Iginla can win his cup next year.

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#61 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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Flames actually won the chances 7-6 in the first.

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#62 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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I see the Oilers signed Yale forward Andrew Miller. Yay, a consolation prize. One out of four isn't bad.

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#63 Monaertchi
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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@RexLibris

After lengthy consideration, I do not care if Iggy wins the cup. 4 and out for a higher pick!

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#64 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Interesting. I haven't watched any Pens games this year, but probably will catch some during the post-season. I'm intrigued to see that storyline play out over the course of the playoffs.

I know emotions in Calgary are mixed: cheer Iginla on for a Cup, or hope the Pens tank and heighten the value of the pick?

I want Iggy to win the Cup. Realistically, even if Pitt loses 1st round, the best the pick can be is 25. Difference between 25-30 is not that big. So for me, go Iggy!

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#65 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:23PM
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@ChinookArch

That's a funny coincidence. Most Oiler fans I know are calling a Blues/Penguins SCF. I wonder why?

;-)

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#66 Tyler
April 17 2013, 08:24PM
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Anybody else have Shaw gateway? I saw a few minutes of the game before it froze up yet again. Happens every night now. Shaw just shrugs their shoulders and says it seems fine on thier end. Sending another tech tomorrow night to "check it". I spent a lot of dough on this system. Unreal.

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#67 mk
April 17 2013, 08:25PM
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@RexLibris

That is a hard one. I'm pulling for the cup for him. I don't think it will make much difference on the quality of player from the pick.

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#68 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:25PM
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@schevvy

I know Feaster likely wouldn't do it because he'd rather the proverbial bird in the hand than two in the bush, but there could be an opportunity to trade down from that Penguins pick for two 2nds.

The Oilers would probably take that trade to pick either Fucale, Comrie or Jarry.

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#69 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:25PM
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Still can't believe Flames got Kipper for a 2nd. Unreal trade

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#70 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:26PM
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@mk

Probably right. Although a 25th might have slightly more trade value to a motivated GM.

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#71 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:27PM
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schevvy wrote:

Still can't believe Flames got Kipper for a 2nd. Unreal trade

The Capitals traded Robert Lang to the Wings for a 1st round pick that became Mike Green. Think they'd like a do-over there?

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#72 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:32PM
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@schevvy

Before he went bonkers, Darryl pulled off some robberies:

- Kipper for a 2nd

- Langkow for Saprykin and Gauthier

- Huselius for Montador

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#73 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:33PM
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Had a look at the Rookies Scoring race, Yakupov and Conacher shooting at a 17.2% and 16.1% pace. Both with just over 60 shots thus far.

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#74 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:33PM
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@Kent Wilson

What was the 1st Cammy trade like? I vaguely remember it as a steal.

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#75 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:35PM
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@Kent Wilson

Sutter was a pretty good horse trader. The last few years it seemed like he was mortgaging more and more of the future (picks and young players) to capitalize on the present. Perhaps most infamously in the Phaneuf deal, in my opinion. It was like he cashed in that one chip to address a whole bunch of organizational issues that had cropped up due to negligence or poor amateur scouting.

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#76 ChinookArch
April 17 2013, 08:35PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Before he went bonkers, Darryl pulled off some robberies:

- Kipper for a 2nd

- Langkow for Saprykin and Gauthier

- Huselius for Montador

Yup, he hit the Panick button and now all we have to show is Matt Stajan.

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#77 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:37PM
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More so than the Phaneuf trade, I though the Jokinen (CHUD!) trade to NYR showed he had gone bonkers.

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#78 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:37PM
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@schevvy

A first rounder for Cammalleri (17th overall or something). He traded Tanguay in the same draft for MTL's first rounder which was further down.

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#79 mattyc
April 17 2013, 08:37PM
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If i remember correctly it was a 1st (that later got replaced by moving Tanguay)

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#80 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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#81 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:38PM
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Speaking of Matt Stajan, and centers...

There is some speculation up here that Brad Richards could be a compliance buyout this summer.

Seems a bit of fantasy, but when I heard that the first thought that went through my head was: I wonder if Feaster would....

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#82 mattyc
April 17 2013, 08:38PM
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@schevvy

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.

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#83 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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#84 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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#85 ChinookArch
April 17 2013, 08:40PM
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Why is Cleary arguing? Red handed.

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#86 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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#87 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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#88 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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#89 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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#90 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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#91 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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#92 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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#93 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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#94 mattyc
April 17 2013, 08:55PM
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so is Howard worth 6 x 5.5mil?

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#95 mk
April 17 2013, 09:00PM
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Oh good. Wouldn't want to break the 22 year streak now...

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#96 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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#97 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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#98 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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#99 Q
April 17 2013, 09:05PM
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This Detroit team will get smoked by Chicago!

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#100 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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