FGD: Just Out For A Rip

Christian Roatis
February 01 2014 03:24PM

                                                                       pic via: Beacon News

Coming into tonight's slate of games, the Alberta teams are riding a combined seven game win streak. Let that sink in for a bit.

Once it has sunk in, you may continue with this Flames Game Day post.

Hello hockey fans, welcome to the Flames' 8th appearance on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada! Last time they were responsible for the late game on HNIC, they beat the Canucks on the ice, almost beat them on the scoreboard and got John Tortorella suspended. So basically it was the best game to date. Tonight, they'll face off against a much milder Minnesota Wild team, riding a season high 4 game win streak. If there ever was a time to slap together a win streak, it would've been now, when moral was running low and losing a top 3 draft position isn't a major concern. In regards to the draft though, they really should fall back within reaching distance of Aaron Ekblad sometime soon because Edmonton is also actually winning and being the kind neighbours we are, we should let them leapfrog us.

Anyway, back to tonight's matchup. It'll be Captain America Zach Parise and Assistant Captain America Ryan Suter leading the Minnesota Wild into the 'Dome for a good ol' Saturday night tilt. The two teams established a dull and boring history of Tuesday night snooze fests back in their Northwest Division days, but now that they're in different divisions I'm sure it'll be adrenalin stimulating action. Or not.

Also worth noting, the Flames I believe will don their alternate jersey's tonight which they have not won in yet. You might say the alternates are very rebuild friendly.


Mikael Backlund's Flames

  • Jiri Hudler - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
  • Michael Cammalleri - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne
  • Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - David Jones
  • Kevin Westgarth - Ben Street T.J. Galiardi - Brian McGrattan
  • T.J. Brodie - Mark Giordano
  • Kris Russell - Chris Butler
  • Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman
  • Karri Ramo

Tonight marks the return of Mike Cammalleri to the line-up after missing some time with a concussion. This is tremendous news for his trade value, which took a big hit when he was knocked out of action. His pair up with Joe Colborne and Sean Monahan looks very nice and along with the Backlund line, could provide the Flames with a half decent one-two offensive punch. On a related note, hasn't Joe Colborne looked pretty good on the wing? Hartley may be onto something here. The top unit has been just that of late, providing consistent offense and Mikael Backlund has been playing the best hockey of his career. Westgarth has great flow but he can't skate so put him on every waiver and get him out of here, please.

TJ Brodie has really, really come into his own of late. He's been lights out good along side the Captain, who's been lights out basically the entire year. The trade talk surrounding Giordano is interesting so I ask you, would you deal Gio to Edmonton for their first round pick, assuming you're guaranteed it's a Top 3 selection? It's an interesting debate. Moving on, after a stretch of decent hockey, Chris Butler is back to being Chris Butler. Maybe the Flames can relive some Comeau magic and deal Butler at the deadline for an actual asset. Hey, I can dream. Also the mandatory, "Kris Russell is awesome": Kris Russell is awesome. Resign that guy. Dennis Wideman really hasn't been the same since his injury, which is a shame because he was skating some solid minutes and contributing consistently at both ends of the ice. Maybe it's just a case of regaining that confidence he had, pre-injury.

Karri Ramo gets the start and has been the best goaltender in Calgary this year no doubt, turning in another gem against the Sharks the other night. In my eyes, he's solidified himself as the number one for now, and I honestly wouldn't mind him sticking around as the backup once the starter for the future is established.

The Wild Opponent

  • Zach Parise - Charlie Coyle - Nino Niederreiter
  • Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville
  • Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine
  • Michael Rupp - Erik Haula - Torrey Mitchell
  • Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
  • Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser
  • Keith Ballard - Clayton Stoner
  • Darcy Kuemper

That Top 6 looks real good, doesn't it? Charlie Coyle has been real solid for the Wld since being dealt from San Jose in the Brent Burns deal and in the absence of Mikko Koivu has stepped up to be the teams number one center. Playing along side newly minted Captain America Zach Parise and a rejuvenated Nino Niederreiter, the Wild's top unit could inflict some serious damage if given the chance to. Note on Niederreiter, his year spent in the AHL last year did wonders to his game, so one would hope the same will happen to Sven Baertschi, who's struggled to find his footing this year. The Wild's second line is just as dangerous as it's first with 50 in '07 All Star Dany Heatley lining up alongside Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville. Granlund's younger brother, Markus, has been doing great things in the AHL with the Heat this year and it won't be long until the two brothers line-up against each other in the show. The Flames will need to watch Kyle Brodziak, who loves playing the Flames and has scored big goals for the Wild at crucial moments against Calgary in the past. Also, Michael Rupp is somehow still in the NHL so maybe McGrattan can take him out to lunch.

Other than the top pairing of Suter and Brodin, there's nothing particularly alarming about the defence core of the Wild. The bottom two pairings will surely be targeted by Bob Hartley and the last change advantage to generate offensive opportunities. However, that aforementioned top unit is something to be concerned about, as both Suter and Brodin are world class defenders that get it done at both ends of the ice. Karri Ramo will probably see a fair number of point shots.

Darcy Kuemper is still trying to forge an identity in the NHL, as a 23 year old rookie. He's been up and down with the big club, mostly depending on the health of Josh Harding - who of course is battling MS. Kuemper holds down a 2.51 GAA and .917 SV% in 12 games, which are respectable numbers for a rookie tender. Like all young puckstoppers, you can rattle them with an early goal or two, so scoring right off the bat will be key in trying to knock the youngster off his game.

Sum It Up

Like most every game they play, the Flames will come in as underdogs. The Wild are better on paper, and in the standings. However, Calgary is riding high on a 4 game win streak and have proven that impeccable work ethic and drive can overpower the best of teams, so coming out of this with two points isn't out of the question. As a fan of a rebuilding team however, the most you can pray for is an entertaining matchup that affords you a few glimpses of what the future might hold. My ideal game: Monahan has a multi point night, Backlund and Brodie both score, Wild win a nail biter in regulation preserving the Flames' draft spot, and Baertschi gets called up.

It's not too much to ask, is it?

20eba9f84d9905f9b859288e29c3e0a8
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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#1 Lordmork
February 01 2014, 03:57PM
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Edmonton got shutout. Too bad, IMO. I'd like to see them win more, and not just because we're competing for high draft picks right now.

Any plan to deal Gio to the Oilers has to take into consideration the frequency that the teams play, plus the leadership the Flames would be losing. The Oilers have the assets to make the kind of offer I think it would take, but I'd be surprised if they couldn't get a better deal for that kind of player somewhere else.

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#2 coachedpotatoe
February 01 2014, 04:13PM
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3 lines that have been contributing offence over the past 10 days and then there is the 4th line that contributes in it's own way; whatever that is. I look at the top teams in this league and see them being able to play their 4th line 10 minutes a game plus pk minutes and then I look at our 4th line and see 4-6 minutes and not being able to play pk or pp and I know why we are where we are where we are. I don't have a problem with having big truculent warriors but they need to be able to more than take the odd shift and look good. Heck I would even be okay with giving McG a chance to change positions with Bouma and play on that line if it meant we could move on from 3 lines playing most of the minutes and 2 or 3 forwards mostly sitting. Same with Westgarth and Colborne. Or even better recall BJones and some of the kids for a few games.

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#3 Derzie
February 01 2014, 04:17PM
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Trade Gio? Crazy. To the Coilers? Nuclear Lunacy.

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#4 Kmp
February 01 2014, 04:30PM
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Is Gio worth a top 3 pick? He would be a big help for Schultz.

Kings can't score goals, hope Cammi gets a couple tonight.

Wideman needs to get back with Russell and away from Smidgen and Butler.

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#5 Kmp
February 01 2014, 04:32PM
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Kmp wrote:

Is Gio worth a top 3 pick? He would be a big help for Schultz.

Kings can't score goals, hope Cammi gets a couple tonight.

Wideman needs to get back with Russell and away from Smidgen and Butler.

Damn autocorrect Smidgen is pretty funny though.

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#6 RexLibris
February 01 2014, 04:51PM
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Kmp wrote:

Damn autocorrect Smidgen is pretty funny though.

In reference to his offensive output, that nickname is accurate.

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#7 Lober
February 01 2014, 04:55PM
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If you have not seen the Out for a rip music video go watch it now!!!!!

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#8 RexLibris
February 01 2014, 04:59PM
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Minnesota has a road goal differential of -0.09 and a road Fen% of 48.6.

The Flames home goal differential is -0.67 with a home Fen% of the identical 48.6.

Two poor possession teams with neither one showing a clear advantage except perhaps last change for Hartley, depending on how he chooses to manage his lines.

On paper it looks like it could be a neutral-zone game with lots of errors and little sustained offensive zone time for either side.

It could be fun or it could be a Minnesota game.

I'll be interested to see how it turns out on the ice.

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#9 ianberg1
February 01 2014, 05:01PM
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The first I've heard any "Trade Gio" talk is right here in this post. I suppose a serious team from any team should be considered but it would be terrible to see him in copper blue.

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#10 Baalzamon
February 01 2014, 05:02PM
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@Kmp

I thought you were subtly suggesting a new nickname.

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#11 Keith fredlund
February 01 2014, 05:08PM
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I think our third line will have a good night. So glad to see Cammy back! He should be on fire tonight also. What's the deal with Glenx? He's been out for a long time. I miss his attitude on the ice. Let's go boys! Score some goals! And enough talk about Gio to the Oilers. Yuck.

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#12 Primo
February 01 2014, 05:26PM
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ianberg1 wrote:

The first I've heard any "Trade Gio" talk is right here in this post. I suppose a serious team from any team should be considered but it would be terrible to see him in copper blue.

Agree it would be painful but we will get over it quickly if we can get Eberle Nurse and 2015 1st! As great as Gio is he has about 5 great years left (30 yrs old). Alternatively I would settle for Eberle , 2014 1st and 2015 1st but only if the Oilers finish in the bottom 3 this year. That would assure us Ekblad Rinehart.

dreaming.....

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#13 beloch
February 01 2014, 05:49PM
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Ever since he was converted the wing, I've noticed Colborne for strong play along he boards. He uses his size and reach to both protect the puck and get it back from opponents. He might not have put his tools together to play effectively at center ice, but he's great along the boards. Moving him to the wing plays to this strength. We'll probably need a few more games to see if his possession stats improve to back this observation up, although the change in line-mates and competition will likely muddy the waters.

Game-day Prediction:
Cammalleri is going to be a monster tonight. He was not happy about that concussion. He's been sitting on his butt waiting for the doctors to clear him during a period when he was supposed to be earning his next contract and auditioning for a berth in a cup-contending team. He's got some lost time to make up for!

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#15 Burnward
February 01 2014, 06:48PM
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Sweet Jesus.

Lowetide started this stupid Gio thing over on Oilersnation.

It's not happening and is incredibly silly. Let's move on guys.

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#16 suba steve
February 01 2014, 07:57PM
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@Christian Roatis

I don't mind the speculation, but the thought that Gio would net the Flames Eberle + 2 Oiler first rounders is just complete fiction. JBo gets us a mid to late first plus 2 mid level prospects last year, but Gio is worth a really good offensively gifted top six forward plus a top 5 draft pick in '14 plus another shot at a top 10 pick in 2015? I know there are contract differences between JBo/Gio, but REALLY?

Keep on dreaming fellas.

As for the claim that you need to really WIN this trade (if it's made), because it's with the Oil (thus the ridiculous ask price)...wouldn't the Oil feel the exact same way because it's with the Flames and they are moving Eberle? Ask an Oiler fan what he thinks of this trade proposal, don't be surprised when he laughs in your face.

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#17 RKD
February 01 2014, 09:04PM
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It's about time Galiardi scored a goal, he's been disappointing to say the least. Kings have lost 8 of their last 9. What happens? Do they fire Sutter, Lombardi, or trade for Cammy. According to TSN insider Bobby Mac, they are talking to Cammy about a contract. He would have to take a hometown discount if he were to stay. TSN also said Ramo left with a medical issue, hope it's nothing too serious.

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#18 Carlizzle
February 01 2014, 09:09PM
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Ramo twisted his knee and not returning. Do they call up Ortio now for the road trip?

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#19 kittensandcookies
February 01 2014, 09:12PM
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@suba steve

JBo had a big contract. JBo was playing below expectations.

Gio has a fair contract. He's playing at or above expectations.

Flames felt they had to move JBo. They don't need to move Gio.

Oilers need defensive help and more leadership. Gio provides both. Oilers are in a position of weakness.

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#20 Hat
February 01 2014, 09:18PM
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suba steve wrote:

I don't mind the speculation, but the thought that Gio would net the Flames Eberle + 2 Oiler first rounders is just complete fiction. JBo gets us a mid to late first plus 2 mid level prospects last year, but Gio is worth a really good offensively gifted top six forward plus a top 5 draft pick in '14 plus another shot at a top 10 pick in 2015? I know there are contract differences between JBo/Gio, but REALLY?

Keep on dreaming fellas.

As for the claim that you need to really WIN this trade (if it's made), because it's with the Oil (thus the ridiculous ask price)...wouldn't the Oil feel the exact same way because it's with the Flames and they are moving Eberle? Ask an Oiler fan what he thinks of this trade proposal, don't be surprised when he laughs in your face.

While I certainly agree that the trade you quoted is out of line, yes contract terms are nearly EVERYTHING in a negotiation. Feaster put his back up against a wall by deciding that he had to trade JayBo for JayBo's sake. The fact that he had to trade him at the deadline, combined with Feaster's (and the Calgary fanbase's) erroneous assumption that it was a bad contract led to us getting way under what he would have been worth. A guy with a year left on his contract really shouldn't have gone for playoff rental prices.

When you're trading Giordano, you're trading two and a third years, as it stands, to fill a need that Edmonton desperately has. And this would be a trade that Calgary has absolutely no need to make - in fact, there are many very good arguments as to why they shouldn't.

So as the franchise trading away such a valuable player signed for several more years to an extremely good contract, you have to get back something of equal value NOW (which Edmonton either won't trade or doesn't have to give) or something of replacement value with the potential to be better in the future.

So look at the theoretical trade that was proposed initially of Eberle and a top 3 overall draft pick for Giordano. Does Eberle have the ability to provide for Flames the same level of quality that Giordano does? Honestly, the answer is no. He is not going to suddenly take over our club, however the fate of the Flames has largely risen and fallen based on Giordano this year. So you need the potential to make the difference. A top three pick provides that, though probably several years down the road.

So here is what it comes to. Does Eberle + top three pick beat out Giordano say three to five years down the road? For Calgary, probably yes. Does Giordano give Edmonton the opportunity to be contenders for the next two to five years? THAT is the question that truly is being asked here.

I'm not saying that I think it is a trade that Edmonton, or Calgary, will make. But it is very intriguing nonetheless. I find it more interesting as an example of how we might be able to use some of our assets, should the opportunity come along, to help our rebuild get three to five year talent while giving up talent that may no longer be useful to us by the time we are ready to compete... But giving solid value to those that ARE ready to compete.

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#21 kittensandcookies
February 01 2014, 09:28PM
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And let's be truthful here. Gio's not gettin traded. It's the middle of winter and people are just making chatter.

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#22 piscera.infada
February 01 2014, 09:29PM
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@kittensandcookies

I don't think ANYONE is actually saying that trade is a possibility. It isn't - the cost is simply too high for both teams.

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#23 beloch
February 01 2014, 09:31PM
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Unberrable.

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#24 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 09:32PM
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When we give up a(nother) SHG it shows that our PP is not working. Berra beaten glove side again.

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#25 Parallex
February 01 2014, 09:32PM
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Oh TJ... how do you not score there.

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#26 Frank Miron
February 01 2014, 09:33PM
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Ok now it's not funny... where the hell is Ramo ???

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#27 Parallex
February 01 2014, 09:36PM
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cgyokgn wrote:

When we give up a(nother) SHG it shows that our PP is not working. Berra beaten glove side again.

In all fairness that was just about as perfect a shot as you can find from Cooke. That being said Berra barely moved... would be nice if he could react a bit when a shot is being fired.

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#28 beloch
February 01 2014, 09:36PM
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Frank Miron wrote:

Ok now it's not funny... where the hell is Ramo ???

Injured and out for the night according to the Flames twitter gal.

Whether Ramo is fine by next game or not, it's about time Ortio was called up.

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#29 RKD
February 01 2014, 09:38PM
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Just as an aside, don't forget Kevin "I know a thing or two about winning" Lowe and Brian "we need truculence" Burke are bitter enemies. Pigs would fly before those two guys ever consummated a trade. Granted, Craig "I never wore a helmet" McTavish is the GM, you know Lowe would never stand for that.

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#30 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 09:39PM
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Parallex wrote:

In all fairness that was just about as perfect a shot as you can find from Cooke. That being said Berra barely moved... would be nice if he could react a bit when a shot is being fired.

It was a good shot but It's just a really disappointing goal to give up.

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#31 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 09:40PM
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Another ice-cold player finding the back of the net: Galiardi first, now Wideman, who has really been struggling.

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#32 Bottsy777
February 01 2014, 09:41PM
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cgyokgn wrote:

It was a good shot but It's just a really disappointing goal to give up.

Let me add to your sentence....

it's just a really disappointing goal to give up to a major D-bag like Cooke.

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#33 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 09:45PM
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RKD wrote:

Just as an aside, don't forget Kevin "I know a thing or two about winning" Lowe and Brian "we need truculence" Burke are bitter enemies. Pigs would fly before those two guys ever consummated a trade. Granted, Craig "I never wore a helmet" McTavish is the GM, you know Lowe would never stand for that.

Who made the Smid trade: Feaster or Burke? Anyway, Gio is not going to be traded anytime soon.

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#34 Frank Miron
February 01 2014, 10:02PM
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beloch wrote:

Injured and out for the night according to the Flames twitter gal.

Whether Ramo is fine by next game or not, it's about time Ortio was called up.

Hope it's not serious... i was looking foward to see him in net at the Bell Centre next tuesday... maybe a good thing indeed if they call up Ortio ... !

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#35 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 10:03PM
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We get our shortie back... Backlund is a beast!

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#36 Nick24
February 01 2014, 10:22PM
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So here is my question: Does Backs have a 20 goal 40+ point year?

I think he will become a good 2nd line player in the league so this was bound to happen sooner or later, but I guess the real question is, has he "arrived" yet?

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#37 RKD
February 01 2014, 10:29PM
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As long as Backs can stay healthy, and be given top six minutes all season long. I think he could be a 40 point guy. If he had gotten better playing minutes and not gotten scratched at the start of this season, he could be more of an offensive force. If he can develop into the second line center that would be great news for the Flames.

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#38 Burnward
February 01 2014, 10:43PM
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WwwwwooOoooooooooooooo!!!!!

Yaaaaaaaaaa Baaaaaaabbbbbyyyyyy!

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#39 beloch
February 01 2014, 10:45PM
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Sweet OT winner for Beastlund!

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#40 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 10:45PM
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A five-game winning streak. Who would have "thunk" it. Backlund with another two-goal game. A really great way to end our home stand.

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#41 prendrefeu
February 01 2014, 10:45PM
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5 years later, 5 in a row! We're the champions OF THE WORLD!!!!

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#42 Kmp
February 01 2014, 10:45PM
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Ortio another win tonight. Why the hell did Abbortsford pick up Trevor Gillies. Burke is a dinosaur!

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#43 RKD
February 01 2014, 10:50PM
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cgyokgn wrote:

Who made the Smid trade: Feaster or Burke? Anyway, Gio is not going to be traded anytime soon.

It was Feaster, we acquired Smid on Nov. 11th.

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#44 RKD
February 01 2014, 10:53PM
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Awesome, Backlund has been in beast mode, excellent hand eye coordination on the OT winner. He setup the whole frickin' play. Flames have the longest winning streak in the NHL with 5 straight. Giordano has the longest point streak by a Flames defenceman in 2 decades!

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#45 cgyokgn
February 01 2014, 10:57PM
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I hadn't realized that Kris Russell was injured pre-game. Does anyone know what happened?

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#46 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 01 2014, 10:57PM
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Reto has yet to win a game in regulation... is that correct? amazing. My guess is this is Beras only year in the NHL.

Prediction... Ortio plays in Montreal

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#47 Kevin R
February 01 2014, 11:41PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

3 lines that have been contributing offence over the past 10 days and then there is the 4th line that contributes in it's own way; whatever that is. I look at the top teams in this league and see them being able to play their 4th line 10 minutes a game plus pk minutes and then I look at our 4th line and see 4-6 minutes and not being able to play pk or pp and I know why we are where we are where we are. I don't have a problem with having big truculent warriors but they need to be able to more than take the odd shift and look good. Heck I would even be okay with giving McG a chance to change positions with Bouma and play on that line if it meant we could move on from 3 lines playing most of the minutes and 2 or 3 forwards mostly sitting. Same with Westgarth and Colborne. Or even better recall BJones and some of the kids for a few games.

I know you like to complain about our 4th line, but can you take a minute & look at our record since that donnybrook in Vancouver. 5 wins in a row, message to the league, show some respect. I know we will never agree, but that 4th line has given our skilled guys the room to play their game.

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#48 prendrefeu
February 01 2014, 11:44PM
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I agree with Kevin R.

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#49 Colin.S
February 02 2014, 12:32AM
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Kevin R wrote:

I know you like to complain about our 4th line, but can you take a minute & look at our record since that donnybrook in Vancouver. 5 wins in a row, message to the league, show some respect. I know we will never agree, but that 4th line has given our skilled guys the room to play their game.

I agree that something has changed since that game, but it can be for any number of reasons. It could be that the team is embarrassed as hell about that gong show to start the VAN game and doesn't want to go through that again. So everyone has pulled their play up in hopes that Hartley doesn't do that against another team to try and fire them up.

Or it could be Hartley has figured out his line combinations and has found that playing guys like McGratton/Westgarth for only 6-7minutes(usually less than 6 minutes) a night is a good thing. While giving great two way guys like Backlund a lot more time is also good thing. Prior to the Van game, McGratton/Westgarth had found themselves on lines that were not the fourth line which is a bad thing. McGratton/Westgarth are not terrible, terrible hockey players, they are just outmatched when playing against any other player that's not another teams fourth line. Hartly has done a good job lately of managing to keep our goon line matched up against other teams 4th line, at least that's what I've seen.

We also got healthy on the back end which has helped a ton. Russell is much more impactful to this team than that mess to start the Vancouver game has been. Russell looks to be a Legit top 4 guy, so having him playing 20+ minutes a night instead of guys like Smid, Butler or SoB makes a big difference.

Also a fun stat mentioned tonight that I think went overlooked was that since the Vancouver game the Flames have never taken more than 2 penalties in a game. And that's big for this team, because most of the teams we've faced are either good or really good PP teams.

I seriously doubt any other team or players looked at that Vancouver mess and thought to themselves: "Man, those guys sure are tough, better not play hard against them or we are in trouble". A lot of things have gone right for the Flames in the last couple weeks, Ramo's been solid for the most part, our D is healthy, Backlund has been on fire(along with Gio) and the coach has figured out how to roll his lines and play the matchups. All those things are a LOT more impactful than our goons gooning it up.

As well if fighting were so important and meaningful, why hasn't there been a single fight our entire winning streak? As well shouldn't McGratton and Westgarth be playing more, it appears to me their TOI is actually going down.

I agree that the events in Vancouver have probably had an effect on the team in terms of bonding/chemistry, but I think the actual teams results are more based on a lot of other factors you can quantify.

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#50 beloch
February 02 2014, 02:29AM
Trash it!
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@Colin.S

Russel was injured pre-game and didn't play tonight.

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