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.
Avatar
#1 beloch
April 08 2013, 05:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I like the Fight Club reference. Like the club, tonight's game truly is a battle in the basement. Of course, tonight might be more like the assignment to pick a fight and lose it than the actual club matches...

Avatar
#3 dotfras
April 08 2013, 05:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If all goes well, we will be in possession of 30th overall by the end of the night.

Avatar
#4 Austin
April 08 2013, 05:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Hey Kent, when will we start profiling the upcoming draft class?

Avatar
#5 negrilcowboy
April 08 2013, 05:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

an to think, a coupla weeks ago "you are a contenda rock" now it take the dive rocky.

Avatar
#7 Ryan Pike
April 08 2013, 05:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Spent the weekend in NYC for WrestleMania and the words used to describe the Flames in the next 6-8 months were "TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY."

Avatar
#8 Bean-counting cowboy
April 08 2013, 05:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Interesting interview with Baertschi. It seems to be a generational thing nowadays where kids outta college or high school expect the world right off the bat. I've been involved in hiring with my work and some of the attitudes with kids nowdays is quite astounding really. Good on Sven for seeing it in the proper light now.

Avatar
#9 RexLibris
April 08 2013, 05:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Interesting read about Baertschi there.

I hope that his experience begins to set a tone for the Flames when they are recalling and demoting players to the Heat these next few years.

Changing that culture can be difficult, but having important players on your roster who understand the benefit of playing in the AHL, respecting the league and players, and the challenge that it represents can go a long way to bringing about some character and responsibility to an organization.

Avatar
#10 SmellOfVictory
April 08 2013, 06:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Holy crap, is that an ACTUAL interview with a hockey player, without canned responses?

Avatar
#11 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 06:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I hope I don't get bashed too hard for this. I like Cory Sarich.

Avatar
#12 Bean-counting cowboy
April 08 2013, 06:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
Jibmeister wrote:

I hope I don't get bashed too hard for this. I like Cory Sarich.

Me too. He's just not that good of an NHL'er

Avatar
#13 Kevin R
April 08 2013, 06:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Hey Kent! Would the Flames be sanctioned by the league if they started the game with 4 forwards & 2 dmen & no goalie? A bigger question would be, would Colorado counter with 4 forwards & 2 dmen & no goalie themselves:)?

Avatar
#14 365
April 08 2013, 06:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kevin R wrote:

Hey Kent! Would the Flames be sanctioned by the league if they started the game with 4 forwards & 2 dmen & no goalie? A bigger question would be, would Colorado counter with 4 forwards & 2 dmen & no goalie themselves:)?

Only if the Flames managed to play worse than they have this past stretch.

Avatar
#15 SeanCharles
April 08 2013, 06:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

Me too. He's just not that good of an NHL'er

I used to have this opinion too. I didn't see much use in him aside from hitting.

Then, like 4 years back when every big name d man was injured on our team in the playoffs, he took defensive load for us and played amazing. He had a broken foot during that too.

I'm not defending him now but in all honesty the only thing holding Sarich back from being a really good top-4 shutdown damn is his foot speed.

His speed is barely NHL calibre and that's really one of his only weaknesses.....that and making stupid plays every now and then haha

Avatar
#16 Captain Ron
April 08 2013, 06:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kevin R wrote:

Hey Kent! Would the Flames be sanctioned by the league if they started the game with 4 forwards & 2 dmen & no goalie? A bigger question would be, would Colorado counter with 4 forwards & 2 dmen & no goalie themselves:)?

Let make it 4 on 4 all night with no subs.

We'll dress Babchuk and Sarich on D (or a couple of plywood cutouts of hockey players), Jackman and Mc Gratton up front.

Make them dress Duchene and Landeskog up front and whoever they want to on D.

Avatar
#17 negrilcowboy
April 08 2013, 07:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

shuffle sticks

Avatar
#18 danglesnipecelly
April 08 2013, 07:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Great interview with Sven. Kid sounds a bit TOO fired up though... that's the kind of energy that's infectious and can spread. Quick, someone de-motivate him, we have a game to lose!

On that note. Are we going to see Ward coaching this new young team next year or does Hartley get a little more rope?

Avatar
#19 negrilcowboy
April 08 2013, 07:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

shuffle sticks

Avatar
#20 funkyjaman
April 08 2013, 07:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

It's refreshing to see the "kids" getting into the lineup and if what Kerr tweeted earlier about the coaches plans to play them in their natural position and in all circumstances, should make these last few weeks very enjoyable. It's time to put the past in the past and move forward. They can only grow when challenged, fight or flight gentlemen!

Avatar
#22 ?
April 08 2013, 07:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Not really battles Simmer, Joe Sakic used to absolutely obliterate the Flames

Avatar
#23 Vintage Flame
April 08 2013, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Great shift for Sven on the PP there

Avatar
#24 mk
April 08 2013, 07:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Sven seems to have some good play-making instincts; I like pairing him with Tanguay for now.

Avatar
#25 RKD
April 08 2013, 07:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

All I can say is be careful what you wish for and that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Just ask the NY Islanders and Florida Panthers, with back to back losses the Oilers are starting to look like they will miss the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

I am for a rebuild but would prefer the Ottawa, Montreal or Philly style rebuild. This fanbase can tolerate getting worse to get some solid #1 picks, but how many losing seasons out the playoffs will we take? Hypothetically, if we miss the playoffs the next 3 seasons that will be 7 years out the playoffs.

Avatar
#26 ?
April 08 2013, 07:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

5 on 3

Avatar
#27 ?
April 08 2013, 07:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I like Sven on the powerplay, but not in front of the net.

Avatar
#28 First Name Unidentified
April 08 2013, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I think the best thing about watching the game tonight is the lady behind Sacco. She has a tremendous rack!

Avatar
#29 Jeff Lebowski
April 08 2013, 07:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Boobs!

Avatar
#30 T&A4Flames
April 08 2013, 07:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Anyone else getting bad sound? Kinda like your watching from the bottom of an empty steel drum?

Avatar
#31 mk
April 08 2013, 08:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

On the FAN: "The Avalanche are 9 games under .500 since Ryan O'Reilly joined the team. $5M. Money well spent."

HAHAHA

Avatar
#32 dotfras
April 08 2013, 08:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Sarich with the win!

Avatar
#33 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 08:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Jus tuned on time to see that fight. Very one sided - advantage Sarich.

Avatar
#34 Jibmeister
April 08 2013, 08:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Well, Sarich is good at that.

Avatar
#35 T&A4Flames
April 08 2013, 08:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
T&A4Flames wrote:

Anyone else getting bad sound? Kinda like your watching from the bottom of an empty steel drum?

Never mind. I finished reading the other comments. Thanks Kent.

Avatar
#37 ?
April 08 2013, 08:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Wow Brodie is so good bringing the puck up ice.

Avatar
#39 Scary Gary
April 08 2013, 08:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

game audio is messed. The on-ice sounds at least.

I wonder if it's due to the crazy storm here in Denver, no flights in or out, foot of snow over night.

Avatar
#40 Brent G.
April 08 2013, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I was just looking over the depth chart. When did Ryan Wilson become considered their best defender? Remember when we traded him for pretty much nothing...

Avatar
#41 Jeff Lebowski
April 08 2013, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Is Hartley a good coach? If you bring up the kids, play them!

Avatar
#42 ?
April 08 2013, 08:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Youngsters vs. O Reily.

Avatar
#43 Reidja
April 08 2013, 08:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Man Brodie is fun to watch. I haven't enjoyed a game this much all season.

Avatar
#45 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 08:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Not exactly an inspiring game to watch.

Avatar
#46 ?
April 08 2013, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Well theres a goal.

Avatar
#47 ChinookArch
April 08 2013, 08:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Nice shot by Cervenka.

Avatar
#48 FireOnIce
April 08 2013, 08:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Damn you Cervenka, stop scoring!

Avatar
#49 Reidja
April 08 2013, 08:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
ChinookArch wrote:

Not exactly an inspiring game to watch.

Depends what you're looking for I suppose...

Avatar
#50 FireOnIce
April 08 2013, 08:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Brent G. wrote:

I was just looking over the depth chart. When did Ryan Wilson become considered their best defender? Remember when we traded him for pretty much nothing...

When I lived in Denver, I always laughed at this. And the fact that their #1 goalie is Jiggy. Surprised they didn't sign CuJo or Toskalol.

I still laugh that Varlamov was traded for a 1st and a conditional second, given that he was leaving Washington anyway.

The Avs are just as terrible an organization as the Flames. They just don't have all their dirty laundry aired out all the time because no one gives a sh*t. Especially in Denver, such fair weather fans. If the player doesn't have Sakic, Forsberg, or Roy on the back of their jersey, they don't care.

Comments are closed for this article.