FGD: Final Exams

Ryan Pike
September 25 2013 01:38PM

 

 

If the last few weeks have been a course on how to make an NHL roster, tonight's the final exam. After two (or three, for the kids) weeks of camp, the Flames play their final pre-season contest this evening. It's at 7pm and brought to you by our friends at Sportsnet 960 The Fan AND on TV via TSN.

Excitement abounds, as players on the NHL fringes will try to stay there or get there, depending on their perspective.

THE LINE-UP

Calgary is 4-2-0 in the pre-season and hoping to finish with a flourish. Courtesy the Flames, here's their lines for this evening.
 

  • Glencross - Monahan - Stempniak
  • Backlund - Galiardi - David Jones
  • Baertschi - Stajan - Street
  • Bouma - Knight - Jackman
  • Brodie – Giordano
  • Wideman – Russell
  • Butler – O'Brien
  • Berra
  • MacDonald

The Flames site didn't say MacDonald would be backing Berra up, I'm just assuming. Lots of storylines here. Can Ben Street impress? Can Corban Knight cement a spot? Can Chris Butler stay in the NHL? Can Reto Berra impress enough to supplant either of Ramo or MacDonald?
 
Most interesting are guys that aren't dressing tonight: Cammalleri (injured), Hudler (injured), Granlund (injured), Begin (injured), Ferland (injured), Reinhart, Horak, Blair Jones, Jooris, Kanzig, Wotherspoon, Ramage and Sieloff. Just as this was about to be piublished, the Flames announced that Granlund, Billins, Jooris, Ramage, Wotherspoon and Begin have been assigned to the AHL. That leaves Monahan, Knight, Baertschi, Smith, Street, Ferland, Bouma, Kanzig and Berra as the notable remaining "bubble" players.

Some familiar combinations include the Stajan line and Giordano/Brodie on the back-end. It looks like Bob Hartley is prepared to start the year off with those combos in place. Lines updated! It's pre-season for us too.

Interesting to see Monahan get a turn at the top of the rotation. I can only assume the Galiradi at center instead of Backlund is a mad hatter kind of experiment, because moving your best possession pivot to the wing so you can try out a career bottom-six winger there instead is, uh...
 
The Flames will likely bring cuts down more cuts on Thursday. Jay Feaster mentioned yesterday that some guys that will require waivers to go down will be sent later on, so expect an absolute flurry of roster moves between today and Monday afternoon, when rosters have to be finalized.

THE OPPOSITION

The Coyotes are down to 28 bodies on their roster now, but they have had an uneven four pre-season contests. In two of them, they were involved in close games. They were also lit up like a pinball machine in the other two games, so it's hard to know what to expect from them. Pat Steinberg reports that the line-up will look something like this:

  • Boedker - Ribeiro - Doan
  • Korpikoski - Hanzal - Vrbata
  • Bissonnette - Chipchura - Szwarz
  • Lessio - Vermette - Brown
  • Ekman-Larsson - Rundblad
  • Yandle - Stone
  • Michalek - Summers

 
Tippett's crew features all of their top-6 players. Goalies should be former Sharks netminder Thomas Greiss and incumbent Mike Smith, who's pretty good, I guess.
 
After tonight, the Coyotes finish their pre-season at home against Vancouver.

SUM IT UP

Pre-season is almost over and the axe is about to fall on 13 prospective future Flames. Tonight's the last chance for some of them to stake their claim to an NHL roster spots.

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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 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 07:58PM
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@Baalzamon

Haha, me too.

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#52 Colin
September 25 2013, 08:20PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Backlund looks uncomfortable on the wing (as he always has IMO).

Well Calgary has an over abundance of naturual centers, like T.J. Galiardi, so they have to make room, so Backlund has to go to the wing......

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#53 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 08:27PM
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What I can say about this hockey game is it's being played in the Saddledome. That's about it.

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#54 RexLibris
September 25 2013, 08:34PM
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@Kent Wilson

I would also add that Sam Gagner has succeeded in spite of the Oilers' development plans for him between 2007 and 2010.

He was in the final year of his ELC when Pat Quinn demoted him to the 4th line arguing that he was less of a player than Rob Schremp.

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#55 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 08:40PM
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Lots of problems on the Coyotes second goal, but Berra was absolutely lost for almost 10 seconds there.

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#56 Jeff In Lethbridge
September 25 2013, 08:42PM
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is it just me or does stajan look like crap tonight. i mean serious crap. and nobody can pass tonight.

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#57 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 08:44PM
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Well this one is pretty painful. The Flames look like exactly what they are: a random conglomerate of okay NHLers, tweeners and rookies.

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#58 Baalzamon
September 25 2013, 08:52PM
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@RexLibris

"Pat Quinn demoted him to the 4th line arguing that he was less of a player than Rob Schremp."

That is a hilarious sentence.

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#59 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 08:57PM
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@Baalzamon

Quinn was a few steps away from full on senility during his pass in Edmonton. I assume he stopped and yelled at clouds on his way into the rink every day.

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#60 Jeff In Lethbridge
September 25 2013, 08:59PM
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Feaster interview... Monahan.. blah blah blah... "NHL" fitness, blah blah blah very mature... blah blah blah.... doesnt he remember rfeading those notes already?

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#61 EugeneV
September 25 2013, 09:03PM
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Nice play at the blue line Monahan

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#62 Colin
September 25 2013, 09:07PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Quinn was a few steps away from full on senility during his pass in Edmonton. I assume he stopped and yelled at clouds on his way into the rink every day.

I miss those days, I wish Quinn never left.

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#63 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 09:11PM
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Really nice steal by Baertschi to create that flurry of chances.

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#64 Jeff In Lethbridge
September 25 2013, 09:12PM
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unfortunately stempniak is playing just as good as stajan

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#65 Brent G.
September 25 2013, 09:13PM
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I don't care what they say, I like jackman. There is no way Berra makes this team...

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#66 Jeff In Lethbridge
September 25 2013, 09:15PM
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@Brent G.

have to agree on both counts...

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#67 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 09:26PM
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Nice couple of bounces for the Flames there to tie it up. They've been pushing back a bit in the third though.

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#68 clyde
September 25 2013, 09:28PM
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Brent G. wrote:

I don't care what they say, I like jackman. There is no way Berra makes this team...

Berra can be sent down and called up but, do we keep him and allow Ortio and Broisoit a time to compete and develop or do we have him up and down and keep a 33 year old journeyman who showed up out of shape?

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#69 Jeff In Lethbridge
September 25 2013, 09:35PM
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@clyde

mcbackup reported out of shape?

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#70 Baalzamon
September 25 2013, 09:37PM
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Sven has looked decent, but I really think he needs to take some lessons on patience from Monahan.

I'm surprising myself in saying this, but I've actually been mostly okay with O'Brien's play in the preseason. He seems to be a reasonably acceptable player. In the preseason.

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#71 Scary Gary
September 25 2013, 09:41PM
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I wanted to see a shootout...

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#72 Kent Wilson
September 25 2013, 09:42PM
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I sure hope David Jones is better than this when the season actually starts.

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#73 CLyde
September 25 2013, 09:43PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

mcbackup reported out of shape?

That's what they said on 960 this a couple of days ago.

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#74 Jeff In Lethbridge
September 25 2013, 09:44PM
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lesson to future GM's: be careful where you tade Stajan to, as you may end up there yourself.

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#75 RexLibris
September 25 2013, 10:16PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Quinn was a few steps away from full on senility during his pass in Edmonton. I assume he stopped and yelled at clouds on his way into the rink every day.

Throw in a few Barbara Ann Scott and sucking hind banana references and you've pretty much got it nailed.

His press conferences were the only bright spot of that long, oh so dreadfully long, season.

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#76 RexLibris
September 25 2013, 10:17PM
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Soooo....

Flames going to claim Omark off waivers?

*crickets*

Al-righty then!

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#77 PrairieStew
September 25 2013, 10:29PM
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@CLyde

Trade McDonald to Pittsburgh for a 5th round pick.

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#78 Clyde
September 25 2013, 10:52PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

Trade McDonald to Pittsburgh for a 5th round pick.

That would recoup the pick they gave up for Russell.

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#79 Baalzamon
September 25 2013, 10:59PM
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yeesh. If there's a single player in the league who can make Backlund into a negative possession player, it's David Jones. Almost every time the guy touched the puck, the play immediately died on his stick. I swear you could tangibly feel the tension deflate whenever the puck entered Jones' airspace.

I know anyone can have a bad game, and it's just preseason, but my god.

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