FGD: A Pre-Season Tilt With the Rangers

Ryan Pike
September 23 2013 10:03AM

(you can thank ESPN for the pic)

 

We're eight days prior to the start of the NHL's regular season and inching closer and closer to final cuts. With 38 guys left in camp, there are still roster decisions to be made at more or less every position.

The Flames face the New York Rangers tonight at the Saddledome in their sixth of seven pre-season outings. The Rangers are almost on the opposite trajectory as the Flames – they're coming off a playoff year, they're poised for a strong season, and they're playing the third of six pre-season games.

THE LINE-UP

Calgary is enjoying a fairly productive pre-season, having posted a 3-2-0 record over their first five games. Now that things are getting serious in terms of roster decisions, they're putting together a line-up that is getting closer to being their opening day roster.

Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Galiardi – Monahan – Reinhart
Ferland – Backlund – Knight
Bouma – Horak – McGrattan
 
Russell – Wideman
Giordano – Brodie
Smith – O'Brien
 
Ramo
MacDonald

In terms of guys battling to stay on the big team, it's notable that Ferland, Knight and Reinhart are dressing, as they're probably on the outside looking in for final roster spots. With Reto Berra playing on Wednesday, we see Ramo tonight, as well as a defensive group devoid of young'uns. I'd expect we'll see two or three of Ramage, Sieloff and Wotherspoon on Wednesday, as well as perhaps Baertschi, David Jones and Jackman. Hudler and Cammalleri are nursing injuries, but should be ready for opening day.
 
In terms of battles, pay particular attention to how Derek Smith fares, as he may be competing with Chris Butler and the afroementioned kid trio, as well as the guys in the bottom two lines. Oh, and the guy in goal. But he should be noticeable either way.

The Flames complete their pre-season schedule on Wednesday at home against the Phoenix Coyotes.

THE OPPOSITION

The Rangers have 39 bodies in camp – they're without Derek Stepan, who is still embroiled in a contract dispute with the cap strapped Rags – and have been holding camp in Banff since last week. They lost to the Devils last Monday and beat the Flyers on Tuesday in their first two pre-season games.
 
Here are the Blueshirts line combos via Pat Steinberg:
 
Rick Nash - Brad Richards - Chris Kreider
Marek Hrivik - Brian Boyle - Danny Kristo
Taylor Pyatt - Oscar Lindberg - Jesper Fast
Brandon Mashinter - Darroll Powe - Arron Asham

Marc Staal - Michael Del Zotto
John Moore - Anton Stralman
Justin Falk - Stu Bickel

Martin Biron
Cam Talbot
 
The Rangers are beginning a span of four games in five days, including meetings with the Oilers, Canucks and Kings. So expect them to rotate through basically all of their available bodies in short order. Tonight they are boasting a fairly veteran laden roster, including Richards, Nash, Boyle, Del Zotto, Stralman and Staal. Going to be a stiff test for the Flames kids.

SUM IT UP

Five pre-season games down, two to go for the Flames. With 15 cuts left to make for the hometown team, tonight's game should prove very interesting, perhaps winning somebody a job – or banishing them to the minors.
 
Sometimes pre-season games are low-stakes. For some of the guys involved wearing red tonight, the stakes may never be higher this season.

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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 Mangotanker
September 23 2013, 06:04PM
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iSteve wrote:

Heard Pittsburgh is looking to trade for a backup goalie while vokun is out... What about Joey for a 2nd? Give Berra and Ramo a full season shot...

This was a joke right? A career backup goaltender with a .903 sv % in his career is somehow worth a second round pick? Not to mention the fact that the guy is 33 years old who the Flames got off of waivers from DET.

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#52 EugeneV
September 23 2013, 06:07PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

I was wondering about peoples' thoughts are on the Kessle/Scott event. I just watched a short video on it; my take is simply this Kessle pushes Scott, Scott responds with punches Kessle responds with a stick not once but twice the second time with Scott engaged with two other Leafs. Kessle is simply a coward and should get a serious suspension. It's not like Kessle is 5'8 and 160 lbs. I am sure I will get trashed for this opinion but this is what turns me off of the game.

Shouldn't turn you off the game. Should turn you off Fill Kessell though.

If you open your mouth, and raise your hand like he did, then you better be ready to go. That was even more embarassing for him than the All Star game draft.

And to go back to slashing the dude while he is in a pile up?

What a F-ing PUSSY.

they must have removed his balls when he got cancer in them. (sorry to anyone offended, but it has to be said)

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#53 piscera.infada
September 23 2013, 06:11PM
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@coachedpotatoe

I agree. The whole situation was ridiculous really. Why does Carlyle put Kessel out there with Scott right after what just happened? Scott obviously was just trying to get a rise out of the Leafs (as punky and moronic as that is). There's a whole lot of blame to go around on this one.

I wouldn't be surprised if Kessel gets a slap on the wrist, but if I were the one making the call he'd be getting a punitive number of games. No matter who you are, if you use your stick as a weapon (even in self defense), you deserve to punished for it - not to mention the reasonable argument from Kessel is the first slash was self defense, not the second, not the spear. If the league is really serious about player safety, you'd think the last message they want to send is "when you feel scared, sure, use your stick as a weapon". It doesn't matter about Scott's size, it doesn't matter that he's "just a goon" (which he is, in addition to a moron), it doesn't matter that Phil Kessel is a skilled scorer. Period.

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#54 EugeneV
September 23 2013, 06:38PM
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Reading about the Leafs cap situation, do you want the Flames to go and sign Cody Franson to an offer sheet?

average annual value of

1,110,250 to $1,682,194 = Loss of 3rd rounder $1,682,195 to $3,364,391 = Loss of 2nd rounder

His salary last year was $1,200,000.

What to do?

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#55 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:18PM
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Nice goal from an even better pass. I already dislike this goal song... dear lord

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#56 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 08:10PM
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Brodie leads a clean entry to the Rangers end and would have a had a clear shot had Stempniak completed the give-and-go. Instead, the play goes the other way and Nash creates a chance...that Brodie breaks up after coming back up the ice.

And there's a Wideman PP marker.

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#57 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 08:23PM
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Kris Russell can skate, but he gets pushed around a lot.

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#58 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:13PM
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Oof. Where has that shot been all these years?

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#59 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:43PM
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Ramo has looked good. One thing, though, is that Henrik Karlsson looked pretty good in his first training camp and... yeesh.

But I believe in Ramo. I think he could be a league-average goalie for a few years.

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#60 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 10:15PM
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This is the first training camp I can remember where the Flames don't play against the Panthers.

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#61 Kent Wilson
September 24 2013, 10:35AM
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I liked Monahan for the first 10 minutes last night, but he was skating against the tide for much of the remainder of the game.

I like the way he plays overall - he's strong for a teen and he plays a well developed game. A lot of the time when you see kids taking their first few steps in the show they are either completely overwhelmed or frenetic and chaotic (trying to do too much). Monahan looked mostly calm and controlled.

That said, he certainly wasn't dominant, which should be the bar he needs to clear to stick around the whole year. The worst thing that could happen is a Roman Horak - where he plays about 40 games into the year before everyone realizes he isn't quite there and needs to spend some time developing elsewhere.

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#62 McRib
September 24 2013, 10:53AM
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Interesting reports out of Windsor say that Pat Sieloff is not expected back there this season, which means it’s either Calgary or Abbotsford for him, no surprise for me a physical mature shutdown defender is better suited developing with the pros, rather than in the much less structured Major Junior ranks.

Frankly all three of Sieloff, Wotherspoon and Ramage have looked more than ready for some pro duty or even NHL Duty. I wish the Flames would trade a Chirs Butler and even a Derek Smith to open up a spot for some of these young defenders on the back end. It is one thing to say "we are getting younger", it's another thing to start clearing out dead space so that these kids actually get into games and we do get younger.

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#63 RexLibris
September 23 2013, 11:08AM
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Re: Cammalleri - That should also give them some much-needed cap space...

I kid.

Also, the Oilers claimed MacIntyre off waivers. Again.

The circus continues.

I suspect it is primarily for the pre-season, with the Toront-Buffalo brouhaha still fresh in everyone's minds, but this is not an area of dire need.

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#64 schevvy
September 23 2013, 11:19AM
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@Kent Wilson

Now next Hudler's going to be out for an extended period of time right?

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#65 mattyc
September 23 2013, 12:03PM
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Brad Richards + ESPN = NSFW

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#66 DRUDS
September 23 2013, 01:08PM
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Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak Galiardi – Monahan – Reinhart Ferland – Backlund – Knight Bouma – Horak – McGrattan Russell – Wideman Giordano – Brodie Smith – O'Brien Ramo MacDonald

Hey I guess the apocalypse is nigh! a number one line consisting of stajan,stepniak and glencross...OH god! why dont you guys just stay home and get ready for the draft next year...save everybody the misery.

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#67 RexLibris
September 23 2013, 01:13PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Agreed. He'll play half the games is my bet.

But which half? ;)

Suggestion from media is that the John Scott fiasco was the reason for the move.

He's apparently down to about 245 lbs, and his skating hasn't improved.

What worries me more about this move is that there is talk that the Oilers will keep Eager over someone like Omark.

Eager does not provide any of the above: secondary (or even tertiary) scoring, toughness, physical disincentive to opponents, or the ability to play intelligently without the puck.

Omark can play a possession style game, cycles the puck effectively in the corners, can draw a penalty on the occasion that referees see past their own bias, and is a useful powerplay tool on a team that is going to be leaning heavily on Taylor Hall as a 1st line center and penalty kill option for the beginning of the season.

Nope, definitely have to give the nod to Eager there. *grumbles something about gritchart*

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#68 RexLibris
September 23 2013, 01:20PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I'd say Brown is the bigger worry. He's an even worse player than Eager.

Funny, because I've actually preferred Brown's game thus far. He's aggressive on the forecheck, drawing a penalty or two, and has actually created scoring chances...for his own team!

Eager seems to get the puck and then completely forget what to do with it. The plays die on his stick and the timing of his hitting has looked off.

Brown doesn't belong any higher than the 4th line, but Eager seems to tempt coaches with the promise of effective 3rd line speed, size and skill every year. And every year he falls short.

His career was hanging by a shoestring when he came to the Oilers and then the Tulupov hit sent him careening into nowhere. Here we are, three years after signing on as a free-agent, and he's a debatable AHL demotion. I feel for him, but the team needs to do far better on the LW.

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#69 Clay
September 23 2013, 01:32PM
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Flames might go 2 for 2 with Nylanders during rebuilds.

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#70 Clyde
September 23 2013, 03:35PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I'm wondering if he isn't a pickup until the Oilers see which way the Supplementary Discipline winds are blowing this season.

If it looks like the league is going to enforce their rules, he'll be dropped by the end of November at the latest because suspensions may start to have an effect.

If not, then he'll probably be around until the end of the season.

That being said, I wonder what McGrattan feels about MacIntyre's being brought on? The Ivanans fight is still fresh in many people's memory and I would hope, for everyone's sake, that neither team decides on a re-bout.

I'm sure he understands as there are a lot of tough guys to deal with He was brought in to the Flames the first time in part to counter macyntire a few years ago and if you google their fight you will see he did very well. In fact macyntire didn't play another shift that game while mcgratten kept trying to get stortini to go the rest of the night.

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#71 Mangotanker
September 23 2013, 06:06PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

I was wondering about peoples' thoughts are on the Kessle/Scott event. I just watched a short video on it; my take is simply this Kessle pushes Scott, Scott responds with punches Kessle responds with a stick not once but twice the second time with Scott engaged with two other Leafs. Kessle is simply a coward and should get a serious suspension. It's not like Kessle is 5'8 and 160 lbs. I am sure I will get trashed for this opinion but this is what turns me off of the game.

What bothers me is that Scott was about to beat the crap out of Kessel, Kessel takes a couple of swings and could now be suspended. Why does this bother me? Well, I took Kessel in my pool. Yay?

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#72 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:01PM
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Minor question... whats the goal song candidate tonight?

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#73 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:05PM
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Henrik is in net? I thought Biron was supposed to start?

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#74 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:08PM
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Well I finally get to see how some of these guys look this year.

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#75 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:11PM
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Nice shift for Backlund.

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#76 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:13PM
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@aloudoun

Not sure. Hopefully we find out.

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#77 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:16PM
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Monahan looking good early.

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#78 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:18PM
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Good play by Stajan to make the Glencross goal happen.

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#79 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:23PM
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Brodie and Gio are seeing a lot of the tough minutes already. They might be a duo to start the season.

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#80 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:28PM
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The Rangers don't look all that good to start this one.

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#81 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 07:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Good play by Stajan to make the Glencross goal happen.

I think Stajan is going to do pretty well this season without all of the 'star' players getting the prime minutes.

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#82 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:34PM
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@exsanguinator

Yeah. A 50-55 point season is definitely possible.

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#83 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 07:48PM
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Well there is some serious stream issues going on here. I want to here what Monahan is saying but the radio feed is still going.

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#84 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 08:10PM
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That was an excellent play.

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#85 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:19PM
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So I joined the stream just in time for Galiardi to carry the puck into the zone, leading to Wideman's goal. Crazy.

Good game so far? I haven't taken the time to read all the comments.

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#86 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 08:20PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Brodie leads a clean entry to the Rangers end and would have a had a clear shot had Stempniak completed the give-and-go. Instead, the play goes the other way and Nash creates a chance...that Brodie breaks up after coming back up the ice.

And there's a Wideman PP marker.

I have a feeling my previous comment was denied due to profanity.

I have no problem with Brodie being in the top 2 for D. He has a really solid game.

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#87 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 08:25PM
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@exsanguinator

Yeah he's looked good by eye so far.

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#88 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:27PM
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Brodie and Giordano seem to work pretty well together.

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#89 mattyc
September 23 2013, 08:29PM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah - he always seems to make a good first pass

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#90 mattyc
September 23 2013, 08:29PM
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What's the deal with Baertschi? I haven't seen/heard much of him in preseason...

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#91 EugeneV
September 23 2013, 08:32PM
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Monahan looks to be over thinking, putting him a fraction away from where he should be.

Seems to shy away from being physical as he is thinking about where he needs to be next, rather than finishing what he is doing.

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#92 mattyc
September 23 2013, 08:33PM
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@Baalzamon

I agree. I really like him. I liked him last year couple years too though.

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#93 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:34PM
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Has Mickis had like any ice time at all? I saw him all of twice in that period.

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#94 clyde
September 23 2013, 08:37PM
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EugeneV wrote:

Monahan looks to be over thinking, putting him a fraction away from where he should be.

Seems to shy away from being physical as he is thinking about where he needs to be next, rather than finishing what he is doing.

Yes, he is not reacting or letting the game come to him as he is trying to be very safe.He looks bigger than I expected out there.

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#95 EugeneV
September 23 2013, 08:51PM
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clyde wrote:

Yes, he is not reacting or letting the game come to him as he is trying to be very safe.He looks bigger than I expected out there.

Safe is exactly right. But that never works.

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#96 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:57PM
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I'm liking Ramo's mask.

Oh, and his game too.

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#97 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:11PM
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Wideman likes running people over. Hopefully that doesn't apply to his driving..

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#98 everton fc
September 23 2013, 09:57PM
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How did Ferland look? All this talk about Monahan is great, but how does Ferland look against the pros?

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#99 coachedpotatoe
September 24 2013, 07:46AM
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After watching most of last nights game I can see why Hartley wants to play Stajin, Stemp and Glencross; they create offensively, they create offensive zone time for the next line and are defensively responsible and while I am generally opposed to playing three vets together in a rebuild year I have come around to seeing the value of this line. Now comes the hard part how do you create three sound other lines with the remaining forwards. Assuming everyone is healthy here is how I would go; Monahan/Cammi/TJG, Backs/Sven( I'm still a believer that it would be better for him to start the season here even if he has not earned it)/one of DJones,Jackman, Bouma or Ferland, and finally Horak/Hudler and one of the above other the forwards with the other two being the extra. I doubt they will all get to stay as I think Hartley,Feaster and Burke are all McGrattan supporters. Again my goal would be to roll 4 lines as much as possible.

I suspect the 6 dmen we saw last night will be the starters at the beginning of the season which begs the question who would be the 7 dman. In many ways I would prefer it to be one of Ramage,Spoon or Sieloff but sitting as the 7 at the start of the season will not be good for their development (although Ramage as an older kid might be suited for this)I suspect the coaches will go with a vet like Butler to start the season as the 7th.

In net I believe that Ramo won the starting job to begin the season with his performance last night and his play in Regina. I think the back up position will decided by how Berra plays Wednesday; if he plays well he is the back up if not then it's McBackup.

What I was most impressed with last night was how hard the whole team worked. No parades it's only exhibition but at least it was interesting to watch.

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#100 exsanguinator
September 24 2013, 06:38PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Ramo has looked good. One thing, though, is that Henrik Karlsson looked pretty good in his first training camp and... yeesh.

But I believe in Ramo. I think he could be a league-average goalie for a few years.

Ramo has a lot more playing experience at a much higher level than Karlsson did so my hopes aren't dashed quite yet.

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