FGD: Hockey Day in Canada

Christian Roatis
January 18 2014 02:34PM

                                                      via: CBC

Happy Hockey Day in Canada! Although it may not be so happy at around 8:30 MST when the Flames will have already started playing the Vancouver Canucks, but for now, the mood is jolly and hockey-ey.

The Canucks are reeling, having lost three in a row including a shattering at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, 9 to 1. Vancouver, however, have been strong at Rogers Arena this year and will also receive a jolt in the lineup tonight with the return of Alex Burrows from a broken jaw. It's really no matter for the Flames though, who are just thankful to be out of the Scotiabank Sattledome, where they've been setting all sorts of records you don't want to set. We'll find out soon enough just how much of a difference being on the road makes for this weary group.

The Calgary Flames

  • Jiri Hudler - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
  • Lance Bouma - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne
  • Blair Jones - Matt Stajan - Paul Byron
  • Kevin Westgarth - Ben Street - Brian McGrattan
  • T.J. Brodie - Mark Giordano
  • Ladislav Smid - Chris Butler
  • Dennis Wideman - Shane O'Brien
  • Karri Ramo

The roster appears more and more unimpressive with every passing game, doesn't it? To me, it also raises the interesting question of: At the end of this rebuild, who do you expect to still be here? Monahan and Gio are locks, Backlund and Brodie are also strong possibilities, but after that there doesn't seem to be anyone who is untouchable. That's a good thing I suppose, because this not a team you're going to win with. And by win, I don't even mean championships, I mean games.

Anyways, the forward group looks very thin - as usual. The Sedin's will see a lot of the Backlund line which is the only unit that has a legitimate argument to being considered a Top 6 NHL forward line. They'll also need to be the ones who score because short of Sean Monahan, there's a significant lack of offense in this line up.

The blueline actually looks half decent, with the staple Gio and Brodie unit leading the pack. They've been quite good relative to the rest of the team and they'll need to put on another stellar performance tonight if the Flames hope to keep it close. Smid and Butler were praised by Peter Loubardias on the Fan960 the other day, a series of compliments I didn't really feel were warranted, but who am I to contradict Loubardias? Wideman will probably try and carry O'Brien, but won't do it particularly well and they'll both end up with poor fancy stats at the end of the game.

Karri Ramo has been the only positive through this rebuilding year - his play has suggested him being a potential future puckstopper for this organization in the future - and will rightfully get the start tonight. He'll see plenty of Canuck rubber so hopefully he's come to play tonight.

The Vancouver Canucks

  • Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
  • Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Jannik Hansen
  • Tom Sestito - Zac Dalpe - Zack Kassian
  • David Booth - Brad Richardson - Dale Weise
  • Chris Tanev Dan Hamhuis
  • Alexander Edler Kevin Bieksa
  • Jason Garrison Yannick Weber
  • Eddie Lack Roberto Luongo

The Canucks top line is finally whole again as Burrows has been out on two separate occasions resulting in just 13 games played this year for the winger. Henrik Sedin was questionable for tonight but is now expected to play. The Canucks, too dress goons and I'm sure we'll be treated to a scrap or two (McGrattan's nightly beatdowns have become the highlight of most my Flame viewing experiences) to enlighten what could be another long night for the visiting squad. David Booth is another topic I wanted to touch on. He just has really not worked out in Vancouver, has he? Playing on the fourth unit tonight really epitomizes his tumultuous time in Vancouver, where he was expected to be a Top 6 scoring threat and instead flopped big time into a big money fourth liner. Ouch.

That Top 4 on D looks real good, doesn't it? Two Olympians, a guy 29 other NHL teams would love to have and an up and coming youngster. All of them can score goals and I wouldn't be half surprised if all of them actually do, tonight. The third pairing isn't great but it's an area that will be likely be exploited by other teams' bottom six, not the Flames' goon line and AHL compliment. Oh well, it'll be fun to watch them lose in the playoffs at least, right?

 

Eddie Lack has been quite good, for the most part, in relief of an injured Roberto Luongo and will get the start again,  tonight. He already as a pair of wins under his belt against the Flames - including a shutout - and will look to make it three straight tonight. As per CBC's Elliotte Friedman, it'll be Luongo returning from injury tonight to start for the Canucks.

 

Sum It Up

At the beginning of the year, I would end all my FGD's with the phrase "you can't guarantee a win, but what you can guarantee is that it'll be an entertaining game". That is no longer valid, because lately the games haven't even been all that entertaining. So let's put this way: you can't guarantee a win, but what you can guarantee is two teams playing hockey and one of them not named the Calgary Flames probably winning. I don't like the rebuild either.

Happy Hockey Day in Canada to you all.

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Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
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#51 Keith Fredlund
January 18 2014, 09:15PM
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Maybe we'll get to see if Rambo can fight. Man I hate the nucks even more than the oil. Not one player on their team I would like to have on the Flames. Well,maybe Lou.

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#52 beloch
January 18 2014, 09:19PM
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You can't fault a coach for trying to win when he's supposed to lose. That brawl was something from the seventies, but it shortened the bench for both teams on a night when the Canucks should be getting worn down, and the Flames lost lower quality players to boot. Smart? Yeah, it might actually have been smart!

Torts appears to have gone totally nuts, although that could be an act. He was "acting coy" before the game, according to one of his former players, and he had last-change before the brawl. I think he wanted a fight to fire up his team and may have arranged things with Burke. Only it didn't go quite the way he intended...

I only wish the Flames were wearing their retro 70's sweaters tonight. I might have to dig out some Hanson-brothers style glasses for the next home game!

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#53 Burnward
January 18 2014, 09:24PM
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Captain Gio! Ahh yeah.

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#54 RKD
January 18 2014, 09:39PM
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Right now on TSN, there's a picture of Torts charging the Flames locker room looking to confront their coaching staff and he's being held back. Too funny.

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#55 beloch
January 18 2014, 10:17PM
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Nice to see Stajan warming up in time for the trade deadline!

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#56 cgyokgn
January 18 2014, 10:20PM
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Stajan breaking out of a long slump and Stempniak last game... this is good.

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#57 Carlizzle
January 18 2014, 02:49PM
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Let's hope for a solid game from "Rambo", a few fights thrown in, and at least a solid compete level from the visitors.

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#58 seve927
January 18 2014, 08:20PM
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Embarrassing.

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#59 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:32PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I get the loathe. But, it somehow got the Top-2 D pairing of the Canucks game misconducts, in exchange for basically Smid and Blair Jones.

Yeah, I guess the talent exchange comes out in our favor... and Dancing Bear #2 can't play the rest of the game which is a plus.

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#60 Mullen Mania
January 18 2014, 08:47PM
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TRUCULENCE!

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#61 Ron
January 18 2014, 09:07PM
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Torts has been expending a lot of energy to pretend he is a calm guy, take off that mask.

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#62 Parallex
January 18 2014, 09:17PM
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Mullen Mania wrote:

This is the first time I have liked PJ

Yeah, he's really fired up and engaging in that segment. I don't know what the post-sportsnet takeover is gonna look like but if HNIC doesn't get to keep it's own staff it'll be a sad day.

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#63 seve927
January 18 2014, 09:25PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

If they win, good for them, can't blame them for wanting to beat a division (both old and new division) rival. If anything else, once in a while it's kind of nice to see the "you aren't going to push us around" rhetoric. I've sat through way too many Canucks-Flames games where I've come away feeling disgusted because a) we got beat bad, and moreover b) there was no push-back when Burrows and Kesler started flapping their jibs. I get it, it was disgraceful. In a game against Florida, I agree. In a game against the Canucks, I say something like this is overdue. But that's just me.

True enough. Definitely has been the most interesting game in a while!

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#64 Keith Fredlund
January 18 2014, 10:02PM
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This seems like the type of game Cammy and Glen-x would have been good in, and sadly, we need them to be traded.

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#65 EugeneV
January 18 2014, 11:29PM
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Parallex wrote:

What's the current single game combined PIM record?

You must be VERY young to think that this game has anything on games from the 70's and 80's.

Just like scoring, PIMs are way down in the boring NHL of today.

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#67 mattyc
January 18 2014, 08:00PM
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Not sure we should be prepared to call Ramo a potential goalie of the future, and Berra a bust. While I agree that to the eye Ramo has looked a little less out of position, but their numbers are both well below league average (replacement level).

With Berra saving 89.4% and Ramo 90.3%, the difference is one goal every 111 shots, or about a goal every 3-4 games.

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#68 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:49PM
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Damnit... why can't this be one of the games where Luongo sucks.

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#69 Burnward
January 18 2014, 10:18PM
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Fahk yeah! Woooooo!

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#70 MontanaMan
January 18 2014, 06:26PM
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cunning_linguist - You seem to have it all figured out!!! If only it were that easy. I'm not sure that Sven is ever going to be a top six forward - there's just so much to the game other than pure talent and I'm not sure Sven has those intangibles. And although Cammy looked like he would fetch a first rounder in the first few months of the season, his play before his injury was less than spectacular and his value has likey slipped. Will be interesting to see what Cammy, Stajan, Wideman, Butler, etc will bring. I'm guessing we might be very disappointed.....

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#71 seve927
January 18 2014, 09:29PM
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@Parallex

Yeah, that's what I was thinking after I wrote that.

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#72 Baalzamon
January 18 2014, 09:42PM
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seve927 wrote:

Yeah PJ's an idiot, but he was right there.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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#73 piscera.infada
January 19 2014, 01:44AM
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Captain Ron wrote:

Of course its Lou's fault. No question about it.

The question is: is Lack ready to be the goalie that will win them the cup for the next six straight years, thus making them very angry about Luongo's contract, yet it all being for naught due to a draft-day trade with the New Jersey Devils - that will subsequently piss them off more, until the centre they draft becomes coach Brent Sutter's wonderboy in the WJHC, ensuring he will be the next Mario Lemiuex?

- Augh, sorry too much time living in Vancouver, it's good to be back. Although I still suffer from Vancouver's own peculiar brand of PTSD on nights I'm forced to watch Burrows.

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#74 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 04:30PM
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Our line-up looks like the dog's breakfast. Sheesh.

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#75 ?
January 18 2014, 04:46PM
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Garrison is on their 3rd D pairing. Must be a luxury

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#77 RexLibris
January 18 2014, 08:07PM
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mattyc wrote:

Not sure we should be prepared to call Ramo a potential goalie of the future, and Berra a bust. While I agree that to the eye Ramo has looked a little less out of position, but their numbers are both well below league average (replacement level).

With Berra saving 89.4% and Ramo 90.3%, the difference is one goal every 111 shots, or about a goal every 3-4 games.

Had to do a double take there.

A goal every 3-4 games, I thought you were talking about the forwards for a moment.

Honestly though, from what I have seen, Ramo strikes me as being at least a goalie that can see the Flames through the end of next season.

Berra reminds me of Deslauriers. He'll come up with some spectacular save and follow that up with a half a dozen easy errors.

Ramo may be at or slightly below replacement level, but so long as he can be consistently average, even if it is only slightly above .900, then for one more season it isn't the worst thing for the Flames given their other organizational needs and development of prospects like Ortio and Gillies.

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#78 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:41PM
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Wow, the Canucks are just hemorrhaging players right now...

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#79 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:46PM
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@Parallex

419 apparently, Flyers-Senators March 5, 2004. I love Google. Almost halfway there...

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#80 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 09:11PM
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@Mullen Mania

I agree!

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#81 Bill
January 18 2014, 09:13PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

I agree!

Yes, but for his shirt

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#82 Parallex
January 18 2014, 09:26PM
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seve927 wrote:

I agree tonight, but I've thought he's been pretty bad most of the year.

See, the way I see it he's basically an ideal fourth line guy (or as ideal as your likely to get in todays NHL)... problem is that he hasn't been on the fourth line much of the season. Ask him to play in the top nine and your asking him to play over his head and consequently asking for trouble.

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#83 Bottsy
January 18 2014, 10:02PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

will there be riots in Vancouver?

Nope - just long lines at InSite...

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#84 bilman
January 18 2014, 06:55PM
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This is completely unrelated to the game tonight, but I continue to hear rumblings about Kadri being in play in Toronto. Anyone want to throw out what it would take to get him? What about Backlund and Cammalleri?

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#85 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:45PM
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What's the current single game combined PIM record?

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#86 mk
January 18 2014, 08:48PM
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Wow - at some point hockey will be played...I hope.

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#87 seve927
January 18 2014, 09:12PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I get the loathe. But, it somehow got the Top-2 D pairing of the Canucks game misconducts, in exchange for basically Smid and Blair Jones.

But really, that benefits us how? We really need these two points? Let's hire Jeff Galuli next.

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#88 seve927
January 18 2014, 09:20PM
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Parallex wrote:

Same. I remember watching him when he was with the Giants just knew he was gonna be an NHL'er.

I agree tonight, but I've thought he's been pretty bad most of the year.

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#89 RKD
January 18 2014, 10:57PM
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Great OT session, lots of end to end action. Some high drama, off to the shootout!

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