Preseason game No. 4: Killer Karlsson

So this is it. Calgary fans are finally about to get an up-close and personal look at Henrik Karlsson, potential-but-don’t-count-on-it goalie of the future.

Karlsson is, of course, almost certainly going to be the Flames’ backup goaltender this year, ahead of Leland Irving (who will back him up tonight). Which isn’t a bad start for a guy who has never played a season on this side of the Atlantic Ocean before, let alone in the NHL.

But tonight should be more than a little telling. This is Karlsson’s first go-round against not only a legitimate NHL team, as the Coyotes are expected to ice pretty much all of their name players besides internet darling Paul Bissonnette, but on a rink smaller than Europe’s standard Olympic-sized lakes. It’s fairly safe to say that he would have to literally murder someone on his own team tonight for the organization to cede the backup role to Irving, but there are a number of adjustments foreign-born goaltenders, particularly ones as late-blooming as Karlsson — who’s 26(!) and just now coming off his first full season of top flight hockey(!!!) — need to make. He hasn’t had much time to adjust with a only few weeks of camp under his belt, so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with play around the crease, where the Coyotes make a lot of their hay anyways.

But what the hell, he beat the Canucks fairly easily and didn’t allow a goal on 12 shots in 40 minutes, though that wasn’t what you’d call a decent lineup. Flames fans are likely anxious to see the big Swede, if only for a glimpse of what the 10-12 games that don’t feature Miikka Kiprusoff could look like.

And if you want more stuff to keep an eye on, you might take a whack, if you dare, at getting yet another eyeful of the woefully misbegotten, guaranteed to not work out Tanguay-Jokinen-Iginla line. By the end of October, when those three have a combined 10 goals and 25 points, who do ya like for Iggy’s center? Conroy? Backlund? Raffle winner? They’d all be equally successful, I figure, which is to say "not at all successful."

Or you could be on the lookout for every delightful TJ Brodie shift. Hell, with a D partner like Adam Pardy tonight, on the third pairing behind blue line titans like Jay Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr, Ian White and Steve Staios (….wait), he’s BOUND to have yet another big game. I mean, there’s nothing like pumping the tires of a kid with no pro experience to the point that he JUSTHASTOBE on the big club’s roster straight outta juniors. It’s worked out so well for Nazem Kadri, that’s for sure.

One last thing: just in case you were still operating under the illusion that there was some amount of stock the Flames are putting in Greg Nemisz’s ability to make this team, his linemates tonight are Craig Conroy and Brett Sutter. He’s gone in the next round of cuts. Book that.

Enjoy the game.


    • dustin642

      Jovo a jackass because of his headhunting antics on Rehault? Or just because of, well, everything else he has done.

      Are these announcers from Phoenix? All they have talked about are Coyotes players. Belanger this and Yandle that, Labarbera oh lala… Aaaand mention Brodie a couple times.

      Heres to hoping for a good second period!

        • They’ve drawn a big ol’ meh from me. They’re winning, but it was on the back of one play by Hagman in that period. They probably spent more time in their own end in the second at ES. They’ve also had 3 PP’s without a single shot on net.

          Jokinen disappeared half way through that period. Not sure why. If he’s hurt, there would be some grim irony to it.

          Greg Nemisz is a total non-entity out there. I can’t think of a single play he’s been involved in.

          Tanguay looks like the same played that left: incredibly smart, good with the stick and occassionally forcing plays that have no business being attempted.

          TJ Brodie has some minor bumps, but no more than Pardy or Bouwmeester, who have made their own gaffes. Brodie had a really nice entry on a PP at one point and then set up a tap-in that was flubbed by the forward in front.

          Conroy can still skate and is doing some PKing, but his hands continue to look like they’ve abandoned him. He can’t seem to shoot ot handle the puck at the requisite level anymore. That said, still fast and still smart.

  • Robert Cleave

    I saw the Brodie play, that was Jon Rheault. Maybe an actual player cleans that up.

    As for Conroy, fast and smart with no hands still = NHLer, maybe just not a regular in the top nine on a healthy team. He, Jackman and Sutter Jr. had a nice shift against Doan’s line just after I got in.

    I noticed the total Corsi attempts are 29-24 PHX, not just at EV. Typical CGY-PHX one shot game where nobody wants to take a chance by the looks of it.

  • jbeach403

    A solid meh from me thus far. i wish they would test karlson more, he hasnt looked bad but he hasnt had much of an opprutunity to look good either.

    In other unrelated news, after several months of visiting this site, I just realised my work is one of the sponsors. I need to pay closer attentio

    • Robert Cleave

      If Joker’s out for a bit, Tanguay will be a full-time center.

      The Flames didn’t let Phoenix do much in the third, which is always good when a team’s guarding a lead. Karlsson looks decent enough, too. He seems pretty calm, although it might just appear that way because he can’t move all that quickly 😉

  • Reidja

    Nice win. Third and forth lines had good energy but no finish. Sutter put Backlund out there vs good competition and he did okay in our zone (not much going on in the other zone for him).

    Tangs looked great. Iggy looked good. Joker better be okay….

    Sutter said he’s willing to keep 8 d-men up if Brodie keeps it up. Pretty good night.

  • Beauty move by Iginla at the end there, I woke my house up. (I’m from Toronto so it’s later here)

    I liked Backlund’s speed. That was one positive from him, and he did alright against real competition.

    Brodie was great, smart moves with the puck the whole night, great vision, very timely joining the rush.

    Karlsson looked alright, needs to work on his rebound control a bit, but the dudes so big everything either hits him or misses the net.

    Conroy & Tanguay showed some jump as well.

    Only time I noticed White and Pardy was when they were falling or out of position.

    Actually that could be said of most of the D.

    Decent game out of the boys though.

  • Reidja

    Its not going to cost them Pelech. I doubt any team will claim him on waivers, if but most likely when he is sent down. And even if he is claimedy Pelech would not be able to be sent down or he could be reclaimed by Calgary. If brodie makes the team it will mean either Staois or Sarich is moved, or is forced to disappear. Personally I still think Brodie would benefit from some time in Abbotsford. Love the potential and he has played extremely well in the preseason, but junior to the NHL is a huge jump. In the long term I think the Flames and Brodie would benefit from a season in the ahl. Then next year when we lose either gio or white (hopefully white) along with pardy Brodie will dtep right in.

    • PrairieStew

      I hope you are right on Pelech going unclaimed – he certainly would be a low risk pick up salary wise for someone.

      As we have said before the likelihood of Staios being moved to another organization is Slim to none and Slim just left town.

      Sarich might be moved if a team thinks he can still play top 4 in a shut down capacity and they have budget. Islanders, Carolina, Florida, Tampa even Washington could use his services in the East. Western teams less likely but Colorado, Dallas and maybe LA might be thinking their group is thin.

      I am still in the AHL camp for Brodie. Do you remember the way Chuck Kobasew lit it up in his first exhibition season ? Scored every game I think – they sent him back to junior. I was also for Backlund going back – but with injuries to both Langkow and Stajan that seems unlikely. I worry if it doesn’t go well for Backlund here and then he ends up going back in December when those guys return and he loses confidence.

      As to losing either Gio or White next year I hope they both stay, especially if Sarich has been moved. I still wonder whether Regehr would change his outlook and move on if a proper opportunity was afforded for him.

  • Reidja

    I don’t understand this whole “losing White or Gio” belief that so many people have. They may be very similar players, but one does not make the other obsolete in terms of a long-term signing. Also, White is the only good d-man on the current roster with a righty shot (whatever that’s worth).

    Staios’ salary will be gone next season, and I would be mildly surprised if Sutter kept Sarich rather than signing both White and Giordano. Mildly surprised, but highly irritated.

    • It’s not based on any notion that one makes the other obsolete. It’s based on the possibility that one or both with want to test free agency and the very real possibility the Flames won’t be able to afford both even if they want to stay.

      Next year, the club has some 50M in cap space already committed. Here’s the list of pending free agents:

      – White
      – Giordano
      – Conroy
      – Staios
      – Pardy
      – Glencross
      – Tanguay
      – Karlsson

      • It’s not based on any notion that one makes the other obsolete. It’s based on the possibility that one or both with want to test free agency and the very real possibility the Flames won’t be able to afford both even if they want to stay.

        Next year, the club has some 50M in cap space already committed. Here’s the list of pending free agents:

        – White – Giordano – Conroy – Staios – Pardy – Glencross – Tanguay – Karlsson

        …the trade dealine this year could be very interesting for the flamesnation.

        …both White and Giordano probably will command 3 million give or take 15%.

        …Conroy and Staios will likely retire.

        …if Tanguay has a good year he could get a 1 or 2 year deal for 3 million base.

        …Pardy, Glencross, and Karlsson are anybody’s guess (the first two could be decent trade bait).

  • Graham

    With Langkow and Stajan out we are looking pretty weak at center. Backlund is being given a great opportunity, but isn’t taking advantage.
    Conroy work’s hard, but his age is showing…

    I haven’t had a chance to look at the game stats, but it looked liked we got killed (again) in the faceoff circle.

    Put Nemisz out of his misery and send him down,
    the more I watch him, the less ready he looks.

  • PrairieStew

    8 d men

    It has happened before, Pardy has been moved up to forward, Vandermeer did it as well. That works for adding size to the 4th line but with Thing One and Thing Two we don’t need that.

    So – outside of the box thinking – should Brodie be converted to forward ?