FGD: Free to Do Anything

Kent Wilson
April 08 2013 05:00PM

 

 

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

- Fight Club

There's a strange sort of freedom to being a Flames fan right now. A kind of pleasant weightlessness with the season lost and the rebuild underway. It's a wholly foreign feeling for the faithful after years and years of grasping and clawing for wins until the last few games of the season.

The Flames are impervious to harm right now. Scratch that - they are in a position to actually gain from harm (ie; losses). And because wins don't matter and the club can benefit form defeat, they are able to run the sort of experiments that are denied most professional hockey teams. Hartley can try a wide variety of new line combinations in an effort to see if anything fits. Hopefuls can be called up to see where they're at in their development. New PP strategies and different PK formations can be tested. The rest of the year is strictly about fact finding and evaluation. If a certain experiment doesn't work, well then the club is one step closer to picking first overall. If something does work, though, the Flames can file it away for later use. Whatever minor successes that are stubled upon are bonuses right now. If, in discovering them, the club's record fails even further, even better.

Flames fans can literally cheer for every goal that is scored in every Flames game down the stretch. It's fun and liberating - as long as it doesn't carry over to subsequent seasons, of course. Reveling in nihilism is only fun for so long...

The Lineup

Speaking of experiments, Sven Baertschi rejoined the team thanks to Brian McGrattan's shoulder injury. That means Roman Horak, Max Reinhart and Baertschi will all be finding their legs tonight - maybe even on the same line at some point! Baertschi had 8 points in 11 games on the farm (almost all of them on the PP). He recently opened up to Vicki Hall in an interesting interview which I would recomend.

Curtis Glencross returns to active duty after one game away, while Jiri Hudler fills his space in the infirmary. Because the Flames have nothing to play for, I get the sense that veterans are resting ailments they would normally play throgh in other circumstances.

  • Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Tanguay - Horak - Cammalleri
  • Baertschi - Backlund - Cervenka
  • Jackman - Reinhart - Begin

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

  • MacDonald

Joey M gets the call after another subpar performance from Miikka Kiprusoff on Saturday night. I don't know why they played Kipper on back-to-back nights in the portion of the season that doesn't matter (and in a year where he's generally been terrible), but, as I said...losses are wins right now, so it's cool.

The Opponent

The bad guys tonight are in a similar situation, albeit far more reluctantly since they've already been in rebuild mode for a few years. The only team worse than the Flames currently is the Colorado Avalanche, who are one point back with one more game played.

The Avs are an even worse possession team than the Flames, but also suffer from similarly bad percentages, which is how one sinks to 30th overall in the league. Losing Ryan O'Reilly for a month or two didn't help Colorado, but their real problem is almost everyone in their top six spends too much time in the defensive zone (sound familiar)? Aside from O'Reilly and sophomore Gabriel Landeskog, guys like David Jones, Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk and even Matt Duchene are yielding possession. Half of the regulars on the blueline are under water as well, including Jan Hejda, Matt Hunwick and Greg Zanon.

  • Parenteau - Duchene - McGinn
  • Landeskog - O'Reilly - Jones
  • McLeod - Mitchell - Van Der Gulik
  • Malone - Olver - Bordeleau

  • Johnson - Hunwick
  • Zanon - Barrie
  • Hejda - Elliot

  • Varlamov

On top of everything else, Colorado is suffering through a bunch of injuries, so their bottom six is a mess of replacement level type players (or worse).

One move that worked out for the Avs was the signing of PA Parenteau. Nobody really knew if the long-time AHL sniper was for real or simply riding Tavares' coattails in New York, but he's put up good numbers across the board. Parenteau has the second best relative corsi rate on the team behind O'Reilly and leads the club in scoring with 15 goals and 37 points in 38 games to boot. He has been given the high ground somewhat by his coach, but it's hard not to call that gamble a win for Sherman anyways.

Sum It Up

Tune in, crack a brew and enjoy guys and gals. The Flames can't lose right now. I mean they can, and they probably will, but losing is good. Minor highs, no lows!

Tanking is the novocaine of sports fandom.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 FireOnIce
April 08 2013, 08:52PM
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Return of the curse of the mummy's double post.

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#52 Vintage Flame
April 08 2013, 08:54PM
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This language barrier is going to be the death of Cervenka. Benched before because he wasn't scoring, now he's going to get benched because he IS scoring.

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#54 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 08:59PM
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Kent, are you cheering in the future? How did you do that.

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#55 Mangotanker
April 08 2013, 08:59PM
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Nice pass by Horak there

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#56 Vintage Flame
April 08 2013, 08:59PM
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Is it just me, or does anyone else grab their XBox controller to see if they can make Sarich skate faster.. or better... or to see if you can get him off the ice?

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#57 dotfras
April 08 2013, 09:00PM
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2 apples for Horak. Looks pretty solid out there.

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#58 First Name Unidentified
April 08 2013, 09:01PM
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It's a 4 point game. We HAVE to lose it!

We HAVE to lose it!

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#59 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 09:02PM
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@Vintage Flame

Or get McGratton to high stick him in the face.

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#60 FireOnIce
April 08 2013, 09:03PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Kent, are you cheering in the future? How did you do that.

If you're watching an online feed, they're usually a couple minutes behind live TV.

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#62 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 09:04PM
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@FireOnIce

I'm watching the HD feed on Shaw.

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#63 Reidja
April 08 2013, 09:05PM
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My only concern right now is that Backlund should be making better plays.

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#64 Mangotanker
April 08 2013, 09:05PM
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Great forecheck there by Sven on Stefan Elliot leads to some excellent Flames chances.

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#65 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 09:05PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Im cheering in the past actually. That was to Cervenka's goal.

Haha, great timing.

Kinda freaked me out.

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#66 schevvy
April 08 2013, 09:05PM
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Winning! That's good right? Right!

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#67 SmellOfVictory
April 08 2013, 09:06PM
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Of the newbies, I'd say Horak looks good. Baertschi is okay but I think he's still readjusting. Reinhart looks weak on his skates and he's suffering for it; however he has the face of an NHLer so I think he'll be okay long term.

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#68 RKD
April 08 2013, 09:06PM
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Maybe we will jinx the Flames and the Avs will come back and we get our 14th straight road loss. For the record, Ottawa lost 38 straight road games in the '92/'93 season.

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#69 Mangotanker
April 08 2013, 09:06PM
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whoops doublepost

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#70 Reidja
April 08 2013, 09:06PM
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Nice forechecking Bartschi

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#71 SeanCharles
April 08 2013, 09:06PM
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Sven had a better period, he was more involved physically and it was effective

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#72 Reidja
April 08 2013, 09:07PM
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damn Dank beat me

edit: twice

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#75 Parallex
April 08 2013, 09:14PM
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Just got home... looking at the shot totals I'm presuming that Backlund is killing it possession wise. I *heart* Mickis so much... If I had man-crushes I'd man-crush on Backlund.

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#76 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 09:15PM
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So, is it just me or has Kerr become a better play by play announcer?

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#77 mk
April 08 2013, 09:19PM
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Parallex wrote:

Just got home... looking at the shot totals I'm presuming that Backlund is killing it possession wise. I *heart* Mickis so much... If I had man-crushes I'd man-crush on Backlund.

7 shots so far? Not bad. Are they quality chances or shots from everywhere?

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#78 SmellOfVictory
April 08 2013, 09:20PM
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Parallex wrote:

Just got home... looking at the shot totals I'm presuming that Backlund is killing it possession wise. I *heart* Mickis so much... If I had man-crushes I'd man-crush on Backlund.

I definitely have them, and I definitely have one on Backs. Although this season Brodie has really been testing my fidelity; he's so flashy yet understated. A contadiction on skates.

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#79 Vintage Flame
April 08 2013, 09:23PM
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Hitmen and REbels tied 1-1 right now

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#81 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 09:30PM
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Ouch that's a soft spot.

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#83 Reidja
April 08 2013, 09:50PM
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Glencross is playing like a baby...

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#84 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 09:55PM
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Tanguay may be the most patient goal scorer I've ever seen.

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#85 Captain Ron
April 08 2013, 09:55PM
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Kerr makes me miss Loubo.

Way to go Tangs...I think

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#86 Jeff Lebowski
April 08 2013, 09:55PM
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I don't know how I feel about the Tanguay goal.

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#87 FireOnIce
April 08 2013, 09:56PM
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Stupid Tanguay, that's not how you get the #1 pick. He loves that whole, hold out on the goalie then fire top shelf just inside the bar, move doesn't he?

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#89 dotfras
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Colorado certainly wants to lose this one more than Calgary does.

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#90 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Tanguays goals are all the same and all beautiful.

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#91 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Tanguays goals are all the same and all beautiful.

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#92 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Tanguays goals are all the same and all beautiful.

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#93 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Tanguays goals are all the same and all beautiful.

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#94 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Tanguays goals are all the same and all beautiful.

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#95 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 09:57PM
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Holy crap, didn't mean to do that.

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#96 Jeff Lebowski
April 08 2013, 09:59PM
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The broad sitting behind Sacco as red warrior. She has her game face on.

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#97 Captain Ron
April 08 2013, 09:59PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Tanguay may be the most patient goal scorer I've ever seen.

Honestly the guy makes it look so easy at times it is ridiculous.

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#98 Jeff Lebowski
April 08 2013, 10:01PM
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What's the deal with Macdonald?

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#99 FireOnIce
April 08 2013, 10:02PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

What's the deal with Macdonald?

He's a subpar goalie that neither the Red Wings nor the Leafs wanted. He gives up bad rebounds, often 2 or 3 chances, and quite frankly hasn't been all that good. Ever.

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