FGD: A Horse With No Name

Christian Roatis
March 15 2014 03:35PM

Well, last night happened. Down 3-1 with 20 minutes to play against a team fighting for playoff breath, and the Flames grind out a W. Regardless of your position in the #winningculture vs. #tankmode debate, last night was a fun night to be a Flames fan. I won't get into that though, for it's a can of worms I'm not intent on opening at the moment.

Tonight, it'll be a quick turnaround as the squad will play in the quiet, undisturbed confines of Jobing.com arena against the soon to be named Arizona Coyotes. In theory, the 'Yotes, battling for their playoff lives, should hungrily dismantle a tired, lowly Flames squad. That is theory though, and Flames have spit in the face of theory all season, so for all we know the Coyotes could get blown out of the water. What a weird team this Flames group is. Great fun to watch though, so I guess that's all you can ask for when you're rebuilding.

The Calgary Heat

  • Mike Cammalleri - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne
  • Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund- Paul Byron
  • Curtis Glencross - TJ Galiardi - Brian McGrattan
  • Kevin Westgarth - Corban Knight - Ben Hanowski
  • Giordano - Brodie
  • Russell - Butler
  • Smid - Wotherspoon
  • Ortio

The Flames (and/or Heat) will likely roll with the same combination of hockey players tonight as they did last night against the Stars. This line-up looks borderline comical when told it's used in National Hockey League games. Imagine if Cammalleri had been dealt too. In all fairness though, the kids have been excellent. Paul Byron has been a revelation this year, playing quality minutes in all situations, contributing in on the offense all while looking less like a 12 year old and easing the pain associated with that wretched Regher trade. Corban Knight sniped the game winning shootout goal last night after recording his first NHL goal a game previous. He hasn't knocked the doors down by any means but hasn't looked out of place either. Monahan keeps doing what he's doing, working great with Joe Colborne who appears to be morphing into a legitimate NHL winger. Kudos to Bob Hartley and coaching staff recognizing a potential fit for Colborne on the wing. Benjamin Hanowski looks like he'll probably be a career bottom 6 NHLer at best, but he too has contributed in a good way during this stint.

TJ Brodie has really come into his own this year, hasn't he? Playing with a rock solid talent like Giordano probably hasn't hurt either, but Brodie has firmly established himself as the second best defenseman on this team. Kris Russell has struggled since signing his contract extension, but the drop off in play could be attributed to a nagging injury or perhaps an incomplete healing of his sprained knee. Smid and Wotherspoon have presented a really intriguing pairing going forward for the Flames. Both are effective shutdown blueliners with average puck moving ability and have been good together, so far. This could be the birth of a reliable shutdown pairing for Calgary in the future

Joni Ortio has shown me more than Curtis McElhinney, Hernik Karlsson and Leland Irving ever did and I have confidence that he can become at least an average starter in the NHL. Right now, every puck he stops is a valuable learning experience and leading the Heat in the playoffs at seasons end in Calgary will further equip him to arrive here in the fall and legitimately compete for the starting job.

The Wild Dogs

  • Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Radim Vrbata
  • Brandon McMillan - Mike Ribeiro  - Shane Doan 
  • Lauri Korpikoski - Andy Miele - David Moss
  • Rob Klinkhammer - Kyle Chipchura - Jeff Halpern
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek
  •  Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
  •  Chris Summers - Michael Stone
  • Smitty

The Coyotes have rebuilt their offensive group fairly well the past few years, currently boasting a very respectable Top 6. Mike Ribeiro has been a Flame killer to #winningculture supporters hope the Flames can find a way to shut him down, while #tankmode loyalists won't mind seeing him run around and pot a few. Mikkel Boedker has finally come into his own after a few stale development years and is all kinds of fun to watch with the puck. Calgary will no doubt have their hands full containing the hardworking, skill saturated Coyote forward ranks. I hope McGrattan fights Chipchura because it's always fun when McGrattan fights someone.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to get better with every stride and is paired with  impeccably responsible Zbynek Michalek. Along with the Yandle-Morris pairing, the 'Yotes are able to roll two very solid two-way pairings that can contribute at both ends of the ice. All 4 of the aforementioned blueliners pack solid shots as well so Joni Ortio can expect to see a clapper or two tonight. Always good to see former Hitmen captain Michael Stone playing, as well; great guy.

Mike Smith has had an up and down season, failing to recreate the magic of two seasons ago. Nonetheless, he's been good of late and can steal games on any given night. The Flames will need to send bodies to the net and score early to knock the big netminder off his game.

Sum It Up

The Flames head into the desert with the money against them, but that's true of any game the Flames have played this year. The Coyotes are both the better team, and the most in need of points, but that makes the outcome of this match up is far from predetermined. The Flames will come out of the gates bubbling with energy and will put their noses to the grindstone and, well, grind. If the Coyotes can't match that work ethic and energy, we're in line for another upset special. 

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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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#1 Baalzamon
March 15 2014, 05:09PM
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Troy Jordan wrote:

brody is too soft to play in the western conference

He's already in the western conference, and he's a legitimate 1st pair defenseman. Your assessment is demonstrably false.

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#2 coachedpotatoe
March 15 2014, 04:08PM
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BC 3 ND 1, johnny G 1g 2a

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#3 Baalzamon
March 15 2014, 06:07PM
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@Troy Jordan

You need to work on your observational skills.

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#5 Bean-counting cowboy
March 15 2014, 04:34PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

BC 3 ND 1, johnny G 1g 2a

Now with 4 points! 2g, 2a!

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#6 RexLibris
March 15 2014, 05:22PM
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Troy Jordan wrote:

brody is too soft to play in the western conference

Agreed.

Trade him to the Oilers for Mark Fraser. That'll help the Flames beat the Kings and Blues.

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#7 Sean Bennett
March 15 2014, 09:55PM
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Ssamz wrote:

Calgary is surely lacks structure, but I think it is this unstructureness that put the well structured team off balance. It may be the reason flames have pretty good success with good teams.

?

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#8 ?
March 15 2014, 07:20PM
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Troy Jordan wrote:

please explain...thats twice you've said I dont know what im talking about...what are your credentials?

I dont know if anyone needs amazing credentials to know that TJ Brodie is a pretty good d-man. More like common sense really

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#9 jeremywilhelm
March 15 2014, 07:32PM
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Troy Jordan wrote:

brody is too soft to play in the western conference

You are amazingly clueless.

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#10 cunning_linguist
March 15 2014, 06:23PM
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BC wins 4-2, JG with 2g 2a and 7 shots

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#11 beloch
March 15 2014, 08:43PM
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@MontanaMan

Brodie has 24 points this season, which is good for second place on the Flames' blueline. That might not be huge offense, but it's very respectable production for a 23 year old defender playing in any circumstances. It's actually quite impressive when you consider that Brodie is being played on the top pair in a shut-down role during a rebuilding year when there often isn't a lot of offensive talent in front of him to bury those assists. He's also gotten visibly better this year... again.

Give Brodie a couple more years and some better forwards and I think his offense will become very respectable.

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#12 ChinookArch
March 15 2014, 04:21PM
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"Paul Byron . . .easing the pain associated with that wretched Regher trade."

Thank you for saying so. I agree on both fronts. Mighty Mouse is awesome and the Regher trade, like most all of Feasters trades were down right bad.

Feaster Trades - 2 thumbs down.

Feaster drafting - 2 thumbs up.

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#13 RKD
March 15 2014, 08:14PM
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Troy Jordan you don't need to be tough to be d-man in the West. Nick Lidstrom did it for 22 years in Detroit. Brodie is tougher than Jay-Bo and Butler combined. Do I want the Flames to have a tough d-man, yes but is that Brodie's game no. There are a lot of other d-man in the NHL let alone in the Western Conference who are doing just fine thank you very much.

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#14 coachedpotatoe
March 15 2014, 06:31PM
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providence up 3-1 no points for Janko, Yale tid 3-3, Agostino 2 a,

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#15 Carlizzle
March 15 2014, 10:57PM
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That 3rd period was an absolute railroad job. As mentioned in a previous post, even the refs knew that Phoenix was supposed to win. At that moment,Five straight penalties against Calgary, Ortio gets run over, no call, 20 seconds later, Dinosaur Doan deflection. Mark Lee was mentioning an argument that Hartley was having with one of the jerkass refs during a tv timeout, and from that point forward, 6 straight penalties. Frustration set in because that was the proverbial uphill battle, Calgary vs the desert puppies, as well ad those dickheads in stripes.

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#16 beloch
March 15 2014, 10:16PM
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I'm not a big fan of the officiating in the third period...

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#17 beloch
March 15 2014, 04:21PM
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Re: Uber-Tank-Mode

It isn't here yet.

The total man-games played this season by tonight's Flames is 814. That means the average player has played 42.8 games this season, which is 63.9% of possible ammount. Late last season, that average dipped to 27.6 games or 40.1%! That was what we then called uber-tank-mode.

For comparison, tonight's coyotes have played a total of 979 games this season, which is 51.5 games per player or 76.9% of the season on average.

Compared to the Coyotes, the Flames look like they're trying to tank a little even if they're a long ways from being in uber-tank-mode. You could argue that the Flames are in normal tank-mode, but only if you ignored the fact that the rookies called up from the AHL actually appear to be improving the team.

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#18 Chambers
March 15 2014, 05:03PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

BC 3 ND 1, johnny G 1g 2a

Johnny arrives home from his game and is congratulated by his family. The doorbell rings. Johnny's mom answers the door...Hello Mr. Sather......

Burkie....the minute his season ends be at the door with pen and paper and a whole lot of family gifts!!!!!!

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#19 Primo
March 15 2014, 05:11PM
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I see where Carolina and Nashville are starting to throw games and playing for draft position. Much like the Oilers did during the TH and RNH draft years.

Look for the Flames to finish 24th.

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#20 Troy Jordan
March 15 2014, 05:56PM
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is it just me, or does Cammalleri remind anyone else of Joe Mullen?

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#21 Baalzamon
March 15 2014, 08:26PM
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@MontanaMan

You seem to be operating under the assumption that Brodie is an offensive defenseman. Don't feel bad; everyone suffered from that misconception at one point.

He isn't though. Looking back, I'm actually not convinced he ever was one. I don't think he scored so much in junior because he was that offensive, I think he scored that much simply because he was that good.

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#22 RKD
March 15 2014, 09:23PM
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Sure glad Glencross scored, get some confidence back in his game.

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#23 beloch
March 15 2014, 09:42PM
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That was a helluva second period, especially at the end! The Flames had the 'yotes running away with their tails tucked!

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#24 cgyokgn
March 15 2014, 11:16PM
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Unbelievable that we were assessed six penalties in a row. Backlund with two in a row? If it hadn't been for all those penalties I think we could have tied up; as it was we pushed hard until the end. I'm not upset with the effort at all.

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#25 RexLibris
March 15 2014, 05:21PM
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@Primo

Out of curiosity, where do you see evidence of the teams "throwing games"?

I had a look at the rosters and, while they are certainly lackluster, I don't see any obvious replacements that would imply this is anything but the result of poor teams entering a difficult time of the year against more motivated opponents.

There certainly is the chance that the Flames could draft 5th or higher. We'll likely have to wait until at least the beginning of April before this picture clears even a little, outside of the Sabres.

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#26 suba steve
March 15 2014, 06:17PM
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@Primo

Why? So he can then have to overpay for a UFA to reach the cap floor? Let's ride these bad contracts/players to a high pick in 2015.

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#27 Baalzamon
March 15 2014, 09:48PM
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shots are 26 to 17 Flames somehow. Crazy.

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#28 Subversive
March 15 2014, 10:24PM
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Backlund is losing his mind out there. Pretty sure he's still pissed about Ortio getting run over earlier.

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#29 MontanaMan
March 15 2014, 07:44PM
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Can't say I'm sold on Brody but not because he's "too soft to play in the Western Conference." I actually like his battle and his compete level but the big offensive upside hasn't really developed. Acknowledging his age, I thought he'd be further along as the power play quarterback but that clearly hasn't happened. A guy like Fowler has really taken that step and is impressive on the Ducks blueline. I think he has a big upside and he's young but judging him in the present, my opinion is "jury's out."

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#30 MontanaMan
March 15 2014, 08:36PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

You seem to be operating under the assumption that Brodie is an offensive defenseman. Don't feel bad; everyone suffered from that misconception at one point.

He isn't though. Looking back, I'm actually not convinced he ever was one. I don't think he scored so much in junior because he was that offensive, I think he scored that much simply because he was that good.

Well that clears it up. Thanks for that insightful thought

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#31 MontanaMan
March 15 2014, 08:52PM
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beloch wrote:

Brodie has 24 points this season, which is good for second place on the Flames' blueline. That might not be huge offense, but it's very respectable production for a 23 year old defender playing in any circumstances. It's actually quite impressive when you consider that Brodie is being played on the top pair in a shut-down role during a rebuilding year when there often isn't a lot of offensive talent in front of him to bury those assists. He's also gotten visibly better this year... again.

Give Brodie a couple more years and some better forwards and I think his offense will become very respectable.

Makes sense - guess my impatience is up there with Burke's!!!

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#32 loudogYYC
March 15 2014, 09:30PM
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@Troy Jordan

You're drunk, Troy. Go home.

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#33 Ssamz
March 15 2014, 11:11PM
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@Sean Bennett

I should have been more clear on my comment, I mean Calgary is a young team that doesn't employ complicated and "traditional" plays. They sometimes do look lost. That surely is a result of being young and many of the players being rookies. But I think this also sometimes benefits as many "structured" teams like coyotes and kings sometimes put off guards from Calgary's untraditional plays. This may be the reason why they were able to get many short handed goals. it is only my opinion and observation.

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#34 Lordmork
March 15 2014, 04:23PM
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Looking at the current strength on RW on the Flames, I sort of wish they'd held on to David Moss. No clue how he's played this year, though.

It'll be good to see if the Flames can keep the energy on. Presumably the gas tank will run out sooner or later, but if the team is relishing their role as playoff spoiler, they could pour it on tonight.

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#35 Troy Jordan
March 15 2014, 05:01PM
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brody is too soft to play in the western conference

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#36 Baalzamon
March 15 2014, 05:05PM
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@Lordmork

Flames should trade David Jones for Moss. They could sell it on Jones being younger and having scored 20 goals twice.

C'Mon Ortio! We wanna see the puck stoppin talent that made you one of the top goalies in the ahl!

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#37 Primo
March 15 2014, 05:23PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Flames should trade David Jones for Moss. They could sell it on Jones being younger and having scored 20 goals twice.

C'Mon Ortio! We wanna see the puck stoppin talent that made you one of the top goalies in the ahl!

No GM in there right mind will take the Jones ugly ugly contract with lots of term. I look to Burke to exercise one of his buy-out options with Jones.

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#38 Troy Jordan
March 15 2014, 06:21PM
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@Baalzamon

please explain...thats twice you've said I dont know what im talking about...what are your credentials?

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#39 Troy Jordan
March 15 2014, 05:29PM
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brody continues to lose puck battles against the boards and in the corners. In front of our own net, he is lost. There's more to playing defence than passing the puck, especially in this conference.

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#40 Baalzamon
March 15 2014, 10:25PM
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What is Backlund's beef with Halpern all of a sudden?

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#41 Ssamz
March 15 2014, 09:54PM
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Calgary is surely lacks structure, but I think it is this unstructureness that put the well structured team off balance. It may be the reason flames have pretty good success with good teams.

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#42 robert
March 15 2014, 10:08PM
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"The Coyotes are both the better team, and the most in need of points, but that makes the outcome of this match up is far from predetermined."

What does that mean?

PS: match up = match-up

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#43 Robert Johnson
March 15 2014, 10:38PM
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@beloch

I'm not a big fan of lazy (holding, hooking) and undisciplined (boarding, crosschecking, roughing, unsportsnmanlike conduct) play. Besides maybe even the refs know that the Flames should be tanking - not winning - meaningless games.

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