Post-Game: Coming Up Empty

Ryan Pike
February 04 2014 09:25PM

The Calgary Flames began their last three games before the Olympics tonight in Montreal. Despite a pretty solid 60 minutes of hockey, they came away with zero goals and zero points in the standings.

Ultimately, the play of the two goaltenders - Montreal's Carey Price and Calgary's Reto Berra - was excellent and a couple bounces determined the victor. (Spoiler: It was Montreal.)

The Flames five-game winning streak has been snapped. Here's how it happened.

THE RUNDOWN

To be charitable, the first period was a tad dull. There were very shots and scoring chances, a combination of both teams playing a tight-checking game in the neutral zone...and both teams not being able to execute many passing plays with the necessary precision.

The second period was much more energetic, with both teams getting a chance to carry the play for chunks of time. Calgary managed to get an extended five-on-three power-play...but failed to score – they've got one goal in such situations this year. Montreal finally opened the scoring late in the second. Kept to the perimeter of the offensive zone, Brandon Prust flung the puck towards the net and in the general direction of Rene Bourque. The puck glanced off of the padding of Reto Berra, past the near-perfect defensive coverage of Mikael Backlund, and onto Bourque's stick. The ex-Flame tapped it into the yawning net to put the Habs up 1-0.

Like the Minnestota Wild did on Saturday night, the Flames entered the third period trailing and spent the majority of that period pressing for an equalizer. Unlike the Flames on Saturday night, though, the Habs kept their cool, maintained their structures and largely kept the Flames to the perimeter. The visitors generated 8 shots in the final frame but ultimately failed to bury any of their chances – Lee Stempniak in particular had several good looks – and the Blue Blanc and Rouge added an empty-netter late to give them a 2-0 win. (A late Mike Cammalleri penalty with 30 seconds left with the Flames pressing probably didn't help matters...)

The Flames failed to score, being shut out for the seventh time this season. But like many of their goal-less efforts in recent weeks, it sure wasn't for a lack of trying.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Well...

But in all seriousness, the Flames were victims of bounces, luck and systems. The Bourque goal was on a weird play (and through pretty good defensive coverage). Once they got behind, the Habs did whatever they could to minimize chances. And the chances they got, Carey Price was ready for.

They probably deserved better than the result tonight.

SCORING CHANCES

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 18:43 Briere 14 21 31 48 74 79 5 7 11 22 24 29 5v5
Home 1 18:00 White 6 22 31 40 49 53 4 15 16 29 39 44 5v5
Away 1 16:06 Russell 11 26 31 51 67 76 4 8 11 13 29 44 5v5
Home 1 10:52 White 6 22 31 40 49 53 3 15 16 29 39 44 5v5
Home 1 6:31 Pacioretty 11 31 51 67 74 79 4 6 11 22 24 29 5v5
Away 1 4:45 Butler 8 17 26 31 76 81 4 8 13 23 29 44 5v5
Away 1 3:48 Hudle 8 17 31 74 79 81 4 11 22 24 29 44 5v5
Away 1 2:46 Jones 6 14 21 31 48 76 4 17 18 29 44 54 5v5
Home 1 0:58 Eller 6 8 17 26 31 81 3 8 13 23 29 44 5v5
Home 1 0:56 Prust 6 8 17 26 31 81 3 8 13 23 29 44 5v5
Away 2 19:46 Backlund 11 26 31 51 67 76 4 7 11 22 24 29 5v5
Home 2 19:17 Briere 14 21 31 48 76 79 4 17 18 29 44 54 5v5
Home 2 19:10 Gionta 14 21 31 48 76 79 4 17 18 29 44 54 5v5
Home 2 18:47 White 22 31 49 53 74 79 5 7 13 16 29 39 5v5
Home 2 16:03 Gionta 6 14 21 31 40 48 4 17 18 29 44 54 5v5
Away 2 14:57 Giordano 6 8 26 31     4 5 11 13 24 29 3v5
Home 2 11:17 Briere 14 21 31 48 74 79 4 11 22 24 29 44 5v5
Home 2 10:53 Briere 14 21 31 48 74 76 4 11 22 24 29 44 5v5
Home 2 9:21 Bourque 8 11 17 31 40 79 3 6 15 16 29 39 5v5
Away 2 9:02 Cammalleri 11 31 51 67 74 79 5 7 8 13 23 29 5v5
Away 2 7:42 Galiardi 6 8 17 31 40 81 3 6 13 22 29 39 5v5
Away 2 6:57 Hudler 11 31 51 67 74 79 7 8 23 24 29 44 5v5
Away 2 6:42 Monahan 6 17 21 31 40 48 5 7 17 18 29 54 5v5
Home 2 3:47 Bourque goal 6 8 17 31 76 81 3 6 11 22 24 29 5v5
Away 2 3:07 Butler 6 14 21 31 40 48 4 8 13 23 29 44 5v5
Home 2 1:20 Gallagher 11 26 31 51 67 76 4 6 17 18 29 54 5v5
Away 3 16:45 Backlund 8 17 26 31 76 81 5 7 11 22 24 29 5v5
Away 3 16:44 Stempniak 8 17 26 31 76 81 5 7 11 22 24 29 5v5
Home 3 14:30 Desharnais 11 26 31 51 67 76 3 6 8 13 23 29 5v5
Home 3 10:31 Bourque 8 17 31 74 79 81 4 6 17 18 22 29 5v5
Away 3 8:27 Jones 11 26 31 51 67 76 3 18 29 39 44 54 5v5
Away 3 6:22 Colborne 22 31 49 53 74 79 4 6 8 13 23 29 5v5
Away 3 5:20 Backlund 6 14 21 31 40 48 5 7 11 22 24 29 5v5
Home 3 4:20 Eller 8 17 31 74 79 81 4 6 8 13 23 29 5v5
Home 3 3:28 Briere 14 21 26 31 48 76 3 18 29 39 44 54 5v5
Away 3 2:35 Colborne 8 31 67 74 79 81 4 7 8 13 23 29 5v5
Away 3 1:25 Jones 14 21 26 31 53 76 4 5 11 18 39 54 5v5
# Player EV     PP     SH    
3 SMID, LADISLAV 14:10 2 7 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 22:04 9 10 01:29 1 0 00:00 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 20:37 6 2 01:31 1 0 00:20 0 0
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 16:07 2 7 00:29 0 0 00:00 0 0
7 BRODIE, TJ 23:21 8 2 00:31 0 0 00:20 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 17:12 7 4 00:29 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 16:56 7 5 01:31 1 0 00:13 0 0
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 17:21 7 5 01:31 1 0 00:00 0 0
15 WESTGARTH, KEVIN 06:47 0 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 07:25 0 4 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 14:17 2 5 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 16:34 4 6 00:00 0 0 00:20 0 0
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 17:48 6 6 00:00 0 0 00:20 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 17:26 6 4 00:29 0 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 17:54 6 5 01:31 1 0 00:00 0 0
29 BERRA, RETO   16 19   1 0   0 0
39 GALIARDI, TJ 09:04 3 5 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 19:01 7 10 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
54 JONES, DAVID 15:52 4 5 00:29 0 0 00:00 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 4 6 4 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 7 9 6 9 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
3 7 4 7 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

RED WARRIOR

Still in search of his first regulation win (after 25 NHL games played), Reto Berra played one of his better efforts on this night. There weren't any wild barrel-roll saves or anything particularly bzarre or wacky, but the Swiss Olympian played a steady, reliable – dare I say Ramo-esque – 58 minutes of hockey tonight.

But I am still beginning to wonder if there's not some sort of voodoo curse on the poor guy that prevents him from winning a game unless it's in extra time.

SUM IT UP

The streak is dead. Long live the streak.

The Flames (21-28-7) head to Long Island and the venerable Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night to face the New York Islanders. Puck drop is at 5pm MT on various Sportsnet properties.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#2 Kevin R
February 04 2014, 11:33PM
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Was just able to see the 3rd period, Flames didnt look that bad, in fact they had the Canadians on their heels for most of it. Backs was winning all kinds of faceoffs, Stajan didnt.

On the bright side, Florida & Islanders won :} God bless a top 5 pick. When are the friggin trades gonna happen!!

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#3 The Last Big Bear
February 05 2014, 08:33AM
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FlamesRule wrote:

Pretty good outing for the "worst goalie in the league", eh (whoever the genius was that offered that one up a couple days ago).

That was me, and I stand by it.

Berra has an EV sv% of .901 which is ranked 60-something in the league (among guys with more than a handful of starts).

He frequently loses his net, he ROUTINELY lets in brutal goals, and his sv% is at the bottom of the barrel (there are 16 goalies in the NHL with a better SHORT HANDED sv% than Berra's EVEN STRENGTH sv%).

He has yet to post a single regulation win after 25 games.

That's not a statistical fluke that flies in the face of an otherwise excellent goaltending performance. No, instead it fits like a glove with every other statistical measure of goaltending performance, all of which place Berra at the very bottom of the league, well below replacement level, and suggest Berra simply should not be an NHL-level goalie.

I know he's our guy, and I cheer for him to win, and yes, he had a pretty good game last night.

But I stand by my statement that he's the worst goalie getting routine ice time in the NHL.

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#4 FlameOut
February 04 2014, 09:34PM
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LET THE TANKING RESUME...

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#5 cunning_linguist
February 04 2014, 09:39PM
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Also, looks like Sven got an assist tonight...yay, 7 points in 18 games.

Also Granlund and Reinhart combined on another goal, seems like those two are always on the scoresheet these days

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#6 FlamesRule
February 04 2014, 11:21PM
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Pretty good outing for the "worst goalie in the league", eh (whoever the genius was that offered that one up a couple days ago).

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#7 SeanCharles
February 05 2014, 01:01PM
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I wouldn't trade Brodie for ROR.

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#8 beloch
February 05 2014, 12:36AM
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@FlamesRule

Devan Dubnyk and Kevil Poulin have both played more games than Reto and have worse sv%'s. However, the only other goalies who have played more than 10 games this season and have a sv% worse than Berra are Anders Lindback and Jacob Markstrom. Berra is certainly not the worst in the league, but his season sv% so far is pretty close to it.

If you plot his performances over the season, there isn't a clear trend upwards or downwards in Berra's sv%. They're all over the map. He was great tonight, but he's been horrible in some recent games. Even in the same game this is easily observed. He will perform wonderfully for large stretches of time and then lapse into utter incompetence, letting in shots he clearly has the tools to stop. He really does seem to daydream out there from time to time if not kept busy. He consistently leaves a short-side hole open that some NHL teams (not Montreal apparently) have learned to shoot for. Finally, his rebound control is wretched. He's got fantastic lateral speed and good reflexes, and makes great first saves, but he really doesn't direct his rebounds intelligently. He is also hyper-aggressive. Sometimes this leads to him breaking up dangerous plays with a nice poke-check, while other times he winds up waaaay out of position.

Although there is no significant upwards trend in his sv%, I still think Berra has made some improvement this season. He seems a lot better at playing the puck than he did early in the season and might be over-committing less. I don't know if goalies can be taught to control their rebounds better, but it should be possible to do something about those mental lapses of his, as well as his lack of consistency from game to game. The stats say he isn't a clear step up from last season's MacDonald, but he's a bit like Joe Colborne in that he looks like a player who has the right tools but just hasn't quite gotten his game sorted out yet. MacDonald was consistent in his mediocrity, while Berra looks pretty darned good some nights, just not others. He's probably never going to be a NHL starter, but he could be an okay backup.

Since Berra did turn in a good start tonight Hartley might well decide to give Berra the next start. Personally, I'd rather see Ortio. Depending on how badly he's hurt, Ramo might be back after the Olympics so we might only get two games to see what Ortio can do in the NHL before he's sent back down. Ortio has a sv% of 0.930 in the AHL right now, so it's clearly time he had a shot.

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#9 cunning_linguist
February 04 2014, 09:37PM
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As a Flames fan, you never like to see the boys get shut-out, but as a Canadian Olympic team fan, I guess I'm glad we might not have to rely on Luongo to bring home the gold...Price looked pretty darn solid tonight.

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#10 mk
February 04 2014, 09:35PM
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Tell me again, why is there no Habs Nation site?

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#11 T&A4Flames
February 05 2014, 07:59AM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

You forgot to mention Knight had 1g and 2a, Jooris had a goal as well, Billins 1a, and that the goalie Roy only allowed 1 goal, he has played great in the ECHL and now has a win in AHL maybe just maybe he is not as bad as many in the nation believe.

Regarding Roy. Once you she'd Oileritis you can go on to enjoy, perhaps, a full and rich career.

He was just another case of too many expectations too soon.

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#12 beloch
February 04 2014, 10:35PM
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Price was hot tonight. So was Bourque's knee-pad. Berra didn't let anything in short-side for a change. All around, not a performance the Flames should feel bad about, although it's a shame all those streaks (Backs', Giordano's, and the team's) came to an end.

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#13 Baalzamon
February 04 2014, 10:58PM
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Okay, now that the streak is out of the way...

time for Ortio?

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#14 suba steve
February 05 2014, 01:48PM
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mk wrote:

If this were the only instance - I'd agree. But Ramo was only recently injured - Berra has played 25 games so far. He was getting more playing time than his play justified long before the injury.

Its not like there are zero other options and they're forced to go with Berra. Ortio was called up and could be tried on for size.

But what's the problem with that? Either Berra plays through it and becomes a decent NHLer or he doesn't, and as a result the Flames end the season with a few less points and draft a few slots earlier. It's a win/win as far as I can see.

This is a throw away year for this team, let them find out what they have in this netminder so they know if he needs to be resigned or left to walk.

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#15 Frank Miron
February 04 2014, 09:42PM
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Well for my first time at the Bell Centre and first time seeing the Flames in action, that was surely disappointing ! Not even sure if Price took a shower after the game ... Keep it up, Flames you'll do better next time !

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#16 Rockmorton65
February 05 2014, 12:19PM
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I'd like ROR. But not at the expense of Brodie. I almost think we'd be better off going after Stastny, should he hit FA

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#17 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
February 04 2014, 11:39PM
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Sean Monahan had a OZst% of 15% five on five?!! Man, Hartley must really want Monahan and Colborne to improve their d-zone coverage on the fly if they only took two O-zone starts the entire game during even strength. For comparison`s sake, Stajan had the next lowest at 26.7%, which means -at least in zone starts if not QOC -Monahan and Colborne were called upon to do the heavy lifting in the neutral and d zones.

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#18 mk
February 05 2014, 12:50PM
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Carlizzle wrote:

Berra gets the start against the Isles tomorrow.

More and more I think Hartley/Burke realize exactly what they have in Berra and the team thus far. They want the team to compete and work hard, but not to win. Ergo, Berra, Berra and more Berra.

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#19 piscera.infada
February 05 2014, 03:25PM
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@coachedpotatoe

I think it's often overlooked that RoR is a year younger than TJB. That said, I also keep Brodie - I think he's a great player who will get better, whereas with O'Reilly, you more or less get what you get. At the same time, I also don't think you'd get full value for Brodie in a trade. His value is a lot higher in Calgary than I think it would be to many other teams - I'm just not too sure if his stock is high enough league-wide to net that kind of return (obviously we know how good he is, but I'm unsure if he's viewed that way amoung other teams).

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#20 coachedpotatoe
February 05 2014, 07:00AM
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cunning_linguist wrote:

Also, looks like Sven got an assist tonight...yay, 7 points in 18 games.

Also Granlund and Reinhart combined on another goal, seems like those two are always on the scoresheet these days

You forgot to mention Knight had 1g and 2a, Jooris had a goal as well, Billins 1a, and that the goalie Roy only allowed 1 goal, he has played great in the ECHL and now has a win in AHL maybe just maybe he is not as bad as many in the nation believe.

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#21 Parallex
February 05 2014, 09:15AM
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Kevin R wrote:

Was just able to see the 3rd period, Flames didnt look that bad, in fact they had the Canadians on their heels for most of it. Backs was winning all kinds of faceoffs, Stajan didnt.

On the bright side, Florida & Islanders won :} God bless a top 5 pick. When are the friggin trades gonna happen!!

RE: Trades

Largely not until after the Olympic break I wager... I mean why pay a guy and eat up your cap space when he's not going to be playing for you.

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#22 CutterMcAwesome
February 05 2014, 10:36AM
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Backs is still great btw, love the fire that im seeing in that guy, he gets hacked by pleks and goes right at him. Although having both gio and backs in the box isnt a good thing.

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#23 Rockmorton65
February 05 2014, 01:17PM
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I think the timing of Ramo's injury could be a benefit re: Ortio. Let him sit on the bench/be around the guys for the games leafing up to the Olympic break. Give him a chance to see the speed of the NHL, the prep work, without the pressure of being thrust into action. (Barring an injury to Yogi, of course). Give him a whiff, let him get hungrier. With the break, it's almost perfect timing.

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#24 kittensandcookies
February 05 2014, 01:02PM
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@mk

Uh, you do know that Ramo is injured, right?

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#25 kittensandcookies
February 05 2014, 11:02AM
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I thought the Flames still played quite well, the Habs were playing super desperate and Price was really, really good.

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#26 Baalzamon
February 05 2014, 08:11PM
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@coachedpotatoe

Defense is the Flames' system's weakest position, by far. Brodie is a home-grown first pair defenseman, and the only dman on the current roster under 25. None of their prospects have first pair upside.

It makes ZERO sense to trade Brodie for a forward. Or at all, really.

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#27 Derzie
February 04 2014, 09:56PM
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That was a game to forget. Sheesh.

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#28 Bean-counting cowboy
February 05 2014, 12:10PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Speaking of trades; I was listening to 960 this morning and they were floating the idea of making a trade with Colorado for RFA RoR, they were suggesting some package that would would include Brodie. Colorado is in an interesting situation right now with RoR as a RFA and Stasny as a UFA both likely to be seeking over $6.5 million over a long term deal; it's doubtful they can sign both. They have a good team right now but could use an upgrade on the back end and would need to do so to go far into the post season. Does their management team think they can contend with the current roster? What do people think would be needed to get RoR?TJB,Cammi and a prospect/2nd round draft pick? I would prefer something like this from a Flames perspective; Wideman, Butler and a prospect but alas I'm dreaming.

But what about Stasny? Cammi and a prospect or Butler?

That's a tough call for me. I'd almost prefer to move Gio as opposed to Brodie because of the age gap and the fact Brodie still may not have reached his full potential. In that case a straight up 1 for 1 deal should get RoR, no? Or maybe even RoR +

Would really suck losing Gio though for his leadership, etc. but I wonder how sustainable this season is for Gio (last year wasn't great for him) and he is only getting older. Might be a prime "sell high" opportunity.

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#29 coachedpotatoe
February 05 2014, 11:26AM
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Parallex wrote:

RE: Trades

Largely not until after the Olympic break I wager... I mean why pay a guy and eat up your cap space when he's not going to be playing for you.

Speaking of trades; I was listening to 960 this morning and they were floating the idea of making a trade with Colorado for RFA RoR, they were suggesting some package that would would include Brodie. Colorado is in an interesting situation right now with RoR as a RFA and Stasny as a UFA both likely to be seeking over $6.5 million over a long term deal; it's doubtful they can sign both. They have a good team right now but could use an upgrade on the back end and would need to do so to go far into the post season. Does their management team think they can contend with the current roster? What do people think would be needed to get RoR?TJB,Cammi and a prospect/2nd round draft pick? I would prefer something like this from a Flames perspective; Wideman, Butler and a prospect but alas I'm dreaming.

But what about Stasny? Cammi and a prospect or Butler?

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#30 beloch
February 05 2014, 12:38AM
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@FlamesRule

Double click...

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#31 Carlizzle
February 05 2014, 12:46PM
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Berra gets the start against the Isles tomorrow.

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#32 mk
February 05 2014, 01:39PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Uh, you do know that Ramo is injured, right?

If this were the only instance - I'd agree. But Ramo was only recently injured - Berra has played 25 games so far. He was getting more playing time than his play justified long before the injury.

Its not like there are zero other options and they're forced to go with Berra. Ortio was called up and could be tried on for size.

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#33 coachedpotatoe
February 05 2014, 02:50PM
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SeanCharles wrote:

I wouldn't trade Brodie for ROR.

Is it becasue you don't like RoR or because you like TJB so much? Note my preference would not to move TJB either.

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#34 beloch
February 05 2014, 04:37PM
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Brodie isn't just managing to play top QoC this season, he's starting to develop an offensive game while he's doing that. Given that he's still just 23, trading him now could mean selling for pennies on the dollar. ROR is undoubtedly pretty darned good for a 22 year old. He could still take a step forward, but he isn't visibly improving game by game like Brodie is. He might be at peak value due to his youth if his game doesn't continue developing.

Any trades made now should at least partially meet the biggest needs of the team in 2-3 seasons. If Monahan develops into a legitimate #1C is the team going to need a second #1C or a top-pairing offensive D more? Betting on both Brodie and Monahan to develop this way is higher risk, but the payoff might be worth it.

I say go for RoR, but keep Brodie off the table.

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#35 kittensandcookies
February 05 2014, 04:26PM
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@mk

They're not going to play Ortio two days into joining the club.

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#36 exsanguinator
February 05 2014, 06:22PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

They're not going to play Ortio two days into joining the club.

Exactly, they're not the Oilers.

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#37 exsanguinator
February 05 2014, 06:32PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I think it's often overlooked that RoR is a year younger than TJB. That said, I also keep Brodie - I think he's a great player who will get better, whereas with O'Reilly, you more or less get what you get. At the same time, I also don't think you'd get full value for Brodie in a trade. His value is a lot higher in Calgary than I think it would be to many other teams - I'm just not too sure if his stock is high enough league-wide to net that kind of return (obviously we know how good he is, but I'm unsure if he's viewed that way amoung other teams).

If we know how good he is in Calgary then GMs of other teams will know as well.

That said, keep Brodie unless the trade is homerun. As nice as ROR would have been last season we already have 3 capable centers on the team and unless I'm mistaken, more on the way.

This team right now, looks to me as

Hudler – Backlund – Stempniak Bouma – Stajan – Jones Cammalleri – Monahan – Colborne ? – ? – ?

Giordano – Brodie Russell – Wideman ? – Smid

Ramo Ortio

I think filling in the question marks would give us at least 10 extra points.

Long story short, Gio and TJ are a decent but not spectacular top pairing for fringe teams. Once Colborne is more assertive in playing his size. Also, I kinda feel bad about leaving Galiardi off the list but his career low SH% (by almost 2/3) has me souring on him a bit. Hopefully he can bounce back but playing with Westgarth and McGrattan isn't going to help him that much.

And now I'm rambling... I'll stop.

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#38 mk
February 05 2014, 06:51PM
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@suba steve

I didn't say there was a problem. I just disagreed with the idea that Ramo's injury is the only reason Berra is getting play time.

As I said: "More and more I think Hartley/Burke realize exactly what they have in Berra and the team thus far. They want the team to compete and work hard, but not to win. Ergo, Berra, Berra and more Berra."

Never said this was a problem.

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#39 SeanCharles
February 06 2014, 05:17PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Is it becasue you don't like RoR or because you like TJB so much? Note my preference would not to move TJB either.

The latter. I like ROR but taking away a young defenceman who is looking comfortable on the top pairing..

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