FGD: The Rangers Visit Cowtown

Taylor McKee
March 28 2014 01:48PM

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pic via Matt DeTurck

One of the benefits of the NHL's re-alignment is getting to see teams like the Rangers with far more regularity. I for one am all for anything that reduces the number of requisite Flames - Coyotes or Flames - Wild games and I am sure I am not alone on that one. 

Tonight, everybody's favourite group of try-harderest, never-say-dieingest, work-ethicest, hockey players will face off against the red-hot New York Rangers who come into tonight looking for a season-high, sixth straight win.  

Check out the lineups and preview after the jump

THE FIGHTIN' FLAMES


The Flames, who will be wearing their slightly less cursed (but still rather unremarkable) third jerseys tonight, have a few minor tweaks from the lineup that lost to Anaheim on Wednesday. Here is the roster thanks to our bosom buddies at Daily Faceoff:

Cammalleri - Backlund - Byron
Glencross - Stajan - Hudler
Agostino - Monahan - Colborne
Westgarth - Bouma - McGrattan

Giordano - Brodie
Butler - Russell
Smid - Wotherspoon

Ramo

Sitting out tonight is T.J Galiardi and Ben Hanowski in favour of dressing Westgarth again. I suppose now that Westgarth is a one man offensive force of nature (two points in his last three games!) this decision makes sense. 

Kenny Agostino is back into the lineup tonight, back playing on a line with Colborne and Monahan. Agostino has looked decent at times with the Flames but he is clearly still getting adjusted to NHL speed. In the game against Nashville, Agostino generated four shots on net which is what we were told to expect from him after leaving Yale. Hopefully, Agostino can continue to generate that kind of offense and maybe even pot one. Especially because of this:

Colborne was the recipient of a fair bit of praise on the TSN telecast of the Anaheim game and looked good at times working along the wall and using his size and reach. I wouldn't say that I am 100% sold on Colborne by any stretch (his 46.8 CF% doesn't exactly sing his praises for instance) but he has looked drastically better than he did around Christmas when I wasn't even sure what his future with the Flames would be outside of a shootout specialist. His move to the wing has clearly helped his game and the more he is able to maintain possession along the wall in the offensive zone the more valuable he will be to the club moving forward. 

Also, Monahan is pretty cold right now. He has just two assists in ten games and hasn't scored a goal in almost a month. I know Flames fans are all waiting with bated breath for his 20th and hopefully it comes soon because it would be an awesome cap on a very good rookie season. I am not too worried about his play of late because he seems to be generating offence lately with 11 shots in his last three games. Perhaps this is simply his SH% regressing towards the mean. However, when the Rangers and Flames played last on December 15th, Monahan did score so maybe tonight will be the night:

Bob McKenzie also mentioned on Wednesday that the Flames are comfortable with Ramo and Ortio in the net moving forward. If this was the indeed the case, I would be very pleased but I am not convinced that Burke isn't dreaming up a big fat contract to a free agent tender. I think Ramo's play this season has been good enough to earn him the chance at being a full-time starter and his play since returning from injury has been very, very good. Plus, he has a super cool Poe mask, so that has to count for something right? 

KING HENRIK'S TEAM

Here is NYR's lineup tonight thanks to our buds at Daily Faceoff:

Nash - Stepan - St. Louis

Hagelin - Richards - Pouliot

Zuccarello - Brassard - J.T Miller

Boyle - Moore - Dorsett


McDonagh - Girardi

Stralman - Staal

Diaz - Klein 


Lundqvist  

The Rangers have won five games in a row and are three points up on Philly for second in the horribly names Metropolitan division. However, Philly has two games at hand on the Rangers so this game does mean something in terms of divisional seeding. 

All throughout their roster, the Rangers are... solid. Not, 'beat Boston or Pittsburgh' good, but solid. Their third line of Zuccarello and Brassard are sneaky good, with Zuccarello tied for the team lead in points with 50. Not many would have expected this kind of season from the skilled Norseman heading into the season. Their top-six group of forwards is pretty respectable, especially that top line of Nash, Stepan, and Benedict Arnold. 

On the back end the Rangers are pretty strong as well with six reliable defenders that can all play 15 minutes a night or more. To be honest, I am not sure what to make of the roster, only that I remember when the Flames had Stralman and Stefan Kronwall both in training camp and somehow we let Stralman go, kept Kronwall, sent him to Europe and was never heard from again... That was weird. Also, let's never speak of St. Louis as a Flame okay?

The Rangers also learned that they will be without Chris Kreider for likely the remainder of the reason after he underwent hand surgery this morning. That's a tough break for Kreider who has had a tumultuous start to his NHL career after debuting with the Rangers in the playoffs a few years back.  

A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE LOTTERY 

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Firstly, it seems like any mention of the draft lottery here the last couple weeks at FN draws a shocking amount of vitriol from concerned Flames faithful in the comments section. Look, facts are facts, even with the recent string of good play, the Flames are still fifth worst in the NHL so keeping tabs on their spot in the draft lottery is natural. That is why the draft is structured the way it is, to reward bad teams. Bad teams like our loveable, hard-working, gritty, shot-blockingest Calgary Flames. 

This doesn't mean that the Flames aren't playing better, because their play since the Olympic break has been dramatically better. As BoL pointed out in the last post-game, good enough to draw praise from some of our mortal enemies. However, none of this improvement changes the reality that the Flames are six games below .500 and looking at top-five pick again. We all like the wins, no doubt, but perhaps it would be wise to stow the venom for the tanking side of the argument. We all want the same thing.  

Lottery

The Flames are one point up on the Islanders who play on Saturday against New Jersey. The Flames seem to be comfortably in fifth-last for the time being with a five point cushion on the Ottawa Senators. Wait, the OTTAWA SENATORS? What the hell happened there this season?!

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?

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It's always fun seeing some of the big Eastern conference teams play so I'm sure this game will be interesting for that reason alone. The Flames have put together a string of games where they have played very well, with some of the games (and even wins) coming against very good opponents. Hopefully they can continue this tonight against the Rangers.

Puck Drops at 7PM MT on SNET - Flames

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Taylor splits time between UVIC and Calgary studying history. Taylor likes the Flames, the Cannons, Buckshot, and the Oxford comma. Taylor scored on his own net on dome ice when he was 8. Twitter: @TaylorMcKee_
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#1 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 02:17PM
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Can someone please tell Buffalo that they can stop tanking now (1-9-0 in their last 10 games), no one is going to take their #30 now.

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#3 Lordmork
March 28 2014, 02:29PM
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Great review. I like seeing some analysis of the guys like Colborne and Monahan and such. Here's hoping Agostino gets his first tonight.

Also, I'd be happy with a top-5 pick. I'd be happier with a top-4 pick. I also want the team to keep winning. Can I have my cake and eat it too? I hope so, because that's what cake is for.

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#4 Jeff Lebowski
March 28 2014, 02:36PM
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Thanks for the breakdown of the opposition. Quite interesting.

I too am really looking forward to see Agostino - Monahan - Colborne tonight. I really hope they get rewarded with some production.

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#5 Veggie Dog
March 28 2014, 02:51PM
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A better draft position would be great, but when we are competing with the likes of Buffalo, NYI, Florida and Edmonton, I am afraid it just isn't in the cards. It is frustrating to watch them snap up prospects (especially Edmonton), but at least we have self-respect.Heaps of 1st picks haven't helped Edmonton, NYI has dysfunctional management and ownership, Buffalo went nuts a few years ago and is still paying for it, and Florida is Florida. A couple of more picks like Monahan wouldn't be the end of the world.

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#6 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 02:56PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

A better draft position would be great, but when we are competing with the likes of Buffalo, NYI, Florida and Edmonton, I am afraid it just isn't in the cards. It is frustrating to watch them snap up prospects (especially Edmonton), but at least we have self-respect.Heaps of 1st picks haven't helped Edmonton, NYI has dysfunctional management and ownership, Buffalo went nuts a few years ago and is still paying for it, and Florida is Florida. A couple of more picks like Monahan wouldn't be the end of the world.

Amen Brother!

Any truth to the rumour that Charles Wang is selling the Islanders?

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#7 Parallex
March 28 2014, 03:00PM
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@Lordmork

Yeah, I'd really like the NY Islanders to win their way into the 5th spot on the draft order... I'd be really happy with any of Reinhart, Ekblad, Bennett, or Draisaitl. There's a drop-off in desirability after those four.

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#8 mk
March 28 2014, 03:03PM
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Lordmork wrote:

Great review. I like seeing some analysis of the guys like Colborne and Monahan and such. Here's hoping Agostino gets his first tonight.

Also, I'd be happy with a top-5 pick. I'd be happier with a top-4 pick. I also want the team to keep winning. Can I have my cake and eat it too? I hope so, because that's what cake is for.

Maybe the Flames keep winning to end the season, but then win the lottery and pick 1st?

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#9 Purple Hazze
March 28 2014, 03:10PM
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Parallex wrote:

Yeah, I'd really like the NY Islanders to win their way into the 5th spot on the draft order... I'd be really happy with any of Reinhart, Ekblad, Bennett, or Draisaitl. There's a drop-off in desirability after those four.

I agree, and the Islanders only need to win one more game than us over the final 9 to make it happen.

Go Islanders Go!

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#10 The Last Big Bear
March 28 2014, 03:14PM
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Monahan scores.

Flames win.

McGrattan stares down some poor chump who has nightmares all summer about it.

Lambert cries in lamentation for our draft position.

Book it.

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#11 jeremy
March 28 2014, 03:17PM
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Parallex wrote:

Yeah, I'd really like the NY Islanders to win their way into the 5th spot on the draft order... I'd be really happy with any of Reinhart, Ekblad, Bennett, or Draisaitl. There's a drop-off in desirability after those four.

I think Dal Colle would rank with the other 4.

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#12 Baalzamon
March 28 2014, 03:21PM
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jeremy wrote:

I think Dal Colle would rank with the other 4.

If Dal Colle didn't play with Scott Laughton, I don't think you'd say that.

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#13 Lordmork
March 28 2014, 03:24PM
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@The Last Big Bear

Later, an accounting error attributes the 2 points to the Islanders.

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#14 dotfras
March 28 2014, 03:31PM
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Islanders played hard & lost in a Shootout last night.

I'm fine with Calgary losing some games to close out the season if it means a higher pick. Sure enjoy watching them win though!

Wish Hartley would give Monahan & Colborne a guy like Hudler or GlenX to play with. Agostino & Bouma aren't of much help to them.

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#15 Kmp
March 28 2014, 03:51PM
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Like when the Flames play the NY teams, don't have to watch a stream. Debating If I should bench Ramo tonight, ahead in wins sv% and GAA.

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#16 Primo
March 28 2014, 03:54PM
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jeremy wrote:

I think Dal Colle would rank with the other 4.

I thought Reinhart and Dal Colle were the standouts in the Calgary tournament!

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#17 Byron Bader
March 28 2014, 03:59PM
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I'd love to see Agostino get one. He shot from everywhere at Yale. He's only got 4 shots in 3 games in the NHL so far. Hope he starts to rip the shots more frequently and generate some chances.

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#19 Jakester
March 28 2014, 04:18PM
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What ever happened to that Sven Baertschi guy?

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#20 MichaelD
March 28 2014, 04:28PM
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I answered someone a couple days ago about streaming hockey on first row sports. Turns out it doesn't have the Providence game, but if your interested I found it on www.stream2watch.me and you just gotta go to "Live TV' then the channel ESPNU has it.

It's the end of the first, providence up 1-0, Jankowski with the goal.

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#21 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 04:38PM
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@MichaelD

Thanks again!

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#22 Kmp
March 28 2014, 04:38PM
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MichaelD wrote:

I answered someone a couple days ago about streaming hockey on first row sports. Turns out it doesn't have the Providence game, but if your interested I found it on www.stream2watch.me and you just gotta go to "Live TV' then the channel ESPNU has it.

It's the end of the first, providence up 1-0, Jankowski with the goal.

Glad you brought it up have ESPNU, just tuned in.

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#23 mk
March 28 2014, 05:11PM
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@Jakester

I trashed this comment - because I want Sven to be tearing up the NHL with Svean. He's not looking bad in the AHL and is making strides. Soon.

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#24 Kmp
March 28 2014, 05:15PM
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Providence up 4-0 in the 2nd, playing much better than last game.

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#25 Chambers
March 28 2014, 05:21PM
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Again writer fails to recognize the value of players like Westgarth and McGratts. Taylor...playing Westgarth tonight is not justified as you say, by his recent point totals. It is justified because of his size and physical play. More importantly it is justified because of his toughness and the fear he instills in the opposition. Taylor...again I stress that you cannot have 12 pretty boy forwards in the lineup all trying to score goals. This is hockey reality in the NHL!

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#26 Kmp
March 28 2014, 05:28PM
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Chambers wrote:

Again writer fails to recognize the value of players like Westgarth and McGratts. Taylor...playing Westgarth tonight is not justified as you say, by his recent point totals. It is justified because of his size and physical play. More importantly it is justified because of his toughness and the fear he instills in the opposition. Taylor...again I stress that you cannot have 12 pretty boy forwards in the lineup all trying to score goals. This is hockey reality in the NHL!

Have to disagree, the Rangers don't have 1 heavyweight at best they dress to middleweights in Dorsett and Carcillo. Both of those guys can actually play hockey, you put your team at a disadvantage by playing Westgarth and McGrattan.

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#27 Christian Roatis
March 28 2014, 05:47PM
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Parallex wrote:

Yeah, I'd really like the NY Islanders to win their way into the 5th spot on the draft order... I'd be really happy with any of Reinhart, Ekblad, Bennett, or Draisaitl. There's a drop-off in desirability after those four.

Draisaitl is after the drop off. I would substitute Nylander and maybe Dal Colle there, but Leon isn't top 5 material. In my eyes at least.

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#29 BacklundBest
March 28 2014, 06:01PM
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They mentioned during the Providence game on ESPNU tonight that they think Gillies is going to turn pro after this season ends since they think he's proved himself at the college level and he doesn't have more to prove. Does anyone know anything about this? I thought he was told to stay and finish his 4 years in college by a Flames exec?

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#30 Kmp
March 28 2014, 06:05PM
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BacklundBest wrote:

They mentioned during the Providence game on ESPNU tonight that they think Gillies is going to turn pro after this season ends since they think he's proved himself at the college level and he doesn't have more to prove. Does anyone know anything about this? I thought he was told to stay and finish his 4 years in college by a Flames exec?

That's what Melrose said who knows if that's true.

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#31 BacklundBest
March 28 2014, 06:09PM
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@Kmp

I only asked because I wasn't sure if he actually knows anything that we might not. I was just surprised at what he said since I'm not expecting him to turn pro at the end of this season. Thanks!

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#32 Kmp
March 28 2014, 06:27PM
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BacklundBest wrote:

I only asked because I wasn't sure if he actually knows anything that we might not. I was just surprised at what he said since I'm not expecting him to turn pro at the end of this season. Thanks!

He would have better access to that info maybe it's true.

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#33 Chambers
March 28 2014, 06:28PM
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Taylor McKee wrote:

http://www2.dailyfaceoff.com/teams/lines/19/chicago-blackhawks

http://www2.dailyfaceoff.com/teams/lines/38/st-louis-blues

http://www2.dailyfaceoff.com/teams/lines/36/pittsburgh-penguins

The Blues can get away with it because of overall team size. The others perhaps but I don't have the stats on size.

Kmp...don't spilt hairs by differentiating between heavyweights and middleweights.

Fact is Flames are a small team overall...without McGratts and Westgarth they would be trampled or better yet extinguished in every game. By having these guys in the lineup the Byrons, T'J's, Girodano's, etc become braver and play with more confidence.

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#34 Kmp
March 28 2014, 06:47PM
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Chambers wrote:

The Blues can get away with it because of overall team size. The others perhaps but I don't have the stats on size.

Kmp...don't spilt hairs by differentiating between heavyweights and middleweights.

Fact is Flames are a small team overall...without McGratts and Westgarth they would be trampled or better yet extinguished in every game. By having these guys in the lineup the Byrons, T'J's, Girodano's, etc become braver and play with more confidence.

My point was there is really nobody for them to fight tonight! So why not dress better hockey players.

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#35 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 07:19PM
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I don't know why GlenX doesn't shoot more often, he's got a crazy good shot. Nice work by Colburne pickup up the garbage to score.

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#36 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 07:19PM
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I don't know why GlenX doesn't shoot more often, he's got a crazy good shot. Nice work by Colburne pickup up the garbage to score.

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#37 Baalzamon
March 28 2014, 07:32PM
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@BacklundBest

I like your name.

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#38 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 07:43PM
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Giordano for the Norris!

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#39 MichaelD
March 28 2014, 07:45PM
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Don't know about you, but that shot had shades of Iggy in it. Awesome.

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#40 beloch
March 28 2014, 07:53PM
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@MichaelD

I swear, you could almost hear the JAWS theme climaxing as Giordano skated closer and closer to the net before finally striking!

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#41 ChinookArch
March 28 2014, 07:53PM
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Leaf-Fail Watch:

Leafs lose 4-2 vs Flyers tonight.

3 points behind the Flyers now and 2 more games played. Regressing to the mean is a bitch. :)

Edit: Leafs are 5 points out of the last wildcard and 2 less games. Yeah baby!

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#42 BurningSensation
March 28 2014, 08:02PM
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Christian Roatis wrote:

Draisaitl is after the drop off. I would substitute Nylander and maybe Dal Colle there, but Leon isn't top 5 material. In my eyes at least.

Its weird to hear you say that as he seems to be among the top 2 choices for the Oilers (Ekblad, Draisatl), and I'm seeing his name atop more mock draft boards than I would have expected.

Personally, he's still in my top 5;

1. Reinhart 2. Ekblad 3. Bennett 4. Draisatl 5. Dal Colle

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#43 RKD
March 28 2014, 08:05PM
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I'm not a fan of the Rangers, I find them overrated and they underpeform come playoff time. Lundqvist has only made it past the second round once. First Richards and Gaborik, then Richards and Nash now they got St. Louis in the fold and I've heard that Richards and St. Louis don't get along like they did in TB.

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#44 Kmp
March 28 2014, 08:20PM
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They are very good team, started out slow, they have tweaked the lineup and they are finally adapted to Vigneault's system.

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#46 RKD
March 28 2014, 08:46PM
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First I see 2-0 Calgary, it's goals galore! Kinda like that Nashville 6-5 barn burner here last week!

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#47 Aussie Flame
March 28 2014, 08:52PM
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I thought you were being sarcastic about westgarth! Shame on me, really working on that trade value

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#48 beloch
March 28 2014, 08:58PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Leaf-Fail Watch:

Leafs lose 4-2 vs Flyers tonight.

3 points behind the Flyers now and 2 more games played. Regressing to the mean is a bitch. :)

Edit: Leafs are 5 points out of the last wildcard and 2 less games. Yeah baby!

There's definitely some quality schadenfreude to be had when watching the Toronto "Advanced Stats do not Apply to Us" Maple Leaf's finally let go of their branch and flutter to the ground. However, it's also pretty worrying because Burke had a big hand in building that team. Is this what he could do to the Flames?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The owners should take the final decision on the new GM out of Burke's hands and hire a real GM, not an yes-man assistant GM.

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#49 Chambers
March 28 2014, 09:13PM
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@beloch

So you are now suggesting the owners get involved in running the team? Discard Burke? How long do you think Burke will want to stay here? Would that not make him a YES man for the owners/? Hilarious suggestion! Of course your kidding?

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#50 Big Ell
March 28 2014, 09:27PM
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beloch wrote:

There's definitely some quality schadenfreude to be had when watching the Toronto "Advanced Stats do not Apply to Us" Maple Leaf's finally let go of their branch and flutter to the ground. However, it's also pretty worrying because Burke had a big hand in building that team. Is this what he could do to the Flames?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The owners should take the final decision on the new GM out of Burke's hands and hire a real GM, not an yes-man assistant GM.

Obviously Burke had a lot to do with the Leafs but this team is Nonis'. Burke didn't sign Clarkson, extend Phaneuf, buyout Brabovski or ditch McArthur among others. It is sweet to see them crash and burn though.

But I do agree that a new GM with some autonomy would be nice.

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