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 Mac962
January 18 2014, 11:42PM
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From Edmonton - I applaud the flames - That was awesome - unfortunatley my Oilers could never do that or wouldnt know what to do. Plus there would have been purses all over the ice - lol.

I still hate the Flames- but well done boys.

And i despise everything Van.

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#52 ?
January 18 2014, 04:46PM
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Garrison is on their 3rd D pairing. Must be a luxury

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#53 Baalzamon
January 18 2014, 06:23PM
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@cunning_linguist

that seems reasonable.

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#54 Daves Waves
January 18 2014, 06:51PM
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@cunning_linguist

"...into 10th place where they will stay there for the next 10 years."

somebody give this guy a medal please. got a good laugh out of that one.

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#55 RKD
January 18 2014, 07:07PM
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The parallels between the Canucks and the Flames is somewhat striking. The Canucks appear to be heading down the same path as the Flames. Both teams went to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Both had first round exits the next two years. Their core players: Sedins, Kesler, Luongo, Bieksa are all in their 30's. Both the Sedins are out of the top 20 in league scoring. I bet the Canucks will regret that four year extension they signed the Sedins to. Outside of Horvat, Shinkaruk, and Corrado their prospect cupboard is bare. Hopefully, the Nucks are dead last in a few years and we are back in the playoffs.

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#56 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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#57 Dazza
January 18 2014, 08:00PM
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The only thing that keeps me going sometimes is that the Canucks have never won a cup. Bless you Boston Bruins...bless you!

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#58 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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#59 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 08:15PM
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But maybe worth it to see Torts lose his marbles.

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#60 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:20PM
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@Veggie Dog

The best part was that Hartley didn't even look at Torts - made him go even more insane.

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#61 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:27PM
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@seve927

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.

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#62 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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#63 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:41PM
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Wow, the Canucks are just hemorrhaging players right now...

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#64 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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#65 Colin.S
January 18 2014, 08:47PM
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Should reup Hartley for that stunt, not because it was hockey should be about, but because it was brilliant coaching.

We no longer play our abomination of a fourth line because they've all been ejected and at the same time got a couple of their better defenders, Beiksa and Garrison. However we are so low on D now it might not matter and the sedins might have the run of the place in the third when we are to tired to chase.

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

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#67 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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#68 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 09:00PM
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Torts is going to get some crap for that hall way stuff. His post-game is going to be great.

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#69 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 09:01PM
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It's odd how angry Tortorella is. I guess Hartley just really gets under his skin?

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#70 Parallex
January 18 2014, 09:03PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

In other news, I really like Bouma. His game is awesome.

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

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#71 Mullen Mania
January 18 2014, 09:03PM
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@Veggie Dog

He should get crap for that. Way too emotional response for a guy who it would be in his best interest to calm the game and his team down. Torts has always been an egotistical dumb ass.

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#72 Burnward
January 18 2014, 09:04PM
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Big Ern was awesome in that hall. Gotta go through him first!

@Colin.S

Exactly dude. Torts knew the score. Tool.

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#73 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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#74 Parallex
January 18 2014, 09:08PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

It's odd how angry Tortorella is. I guess Hartley just really gets under his skin?

Yeah, I don't get it either. What's his major malfunction? Personally I thought the coach swap was silly for the Canucks, Alain Vignault is a better coach then Tortorella.

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#75 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 09:09PM
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@Burnward

He looked even bigger in the hallway with Malarchuk down at his elbow.

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#76 Mullen Mania
January 18 2014, 09:10PM
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This is the first time I have liked PJ

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

I agree!

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#78 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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#79 Bill
January 18 2014, 09:13PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

I agree!

Yes, but for his shirt

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#80 Lober
January 18 2014, 09:16PM
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Line brawl definitely gonna be the highlight of the season (I know that's sad.) I would give anything to see any flames coach fight that POS Torts god does he ever belong on the Nucks

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#81 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 09:22PM
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seve927 wrote:

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

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.

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#82 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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#83 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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#84 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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#85 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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#86 Captain Ron
January 18 2014, 10:09PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Of course the Canucks organization wont. They'll just try to pass the buck onto the Flames, the refs, the fans, and then if all else fails... Luongo.

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

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#87 cgyokgn
January 18 2014, 11:02PM
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How does some like Colborne with such good hands in the shootout score so few goals in regulation/OT?

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#88 Burnward
January 18 2014, 11:10PM
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Thank god it wasn't Kesler or Kassian. Fun game.

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#89 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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