Postgame: A Sad, Sad Night

Florida Panthers' Radek Dvorak (R) celebrates his second goal with teammates Cory Stillman (6) and Marty Reasoner during the first period of their NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Alberta, October 14, 2010. REUTERS/Todd Korol (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

 

Yech, just not a good night for the Calgary Flames on Thursday as they fell 3-0 at the hands of the Florida Panthers.  It was a game that lacked excitement, entertainment, and most importantly from the Calgary perspective, it lacked compete level and enthusiasm.  For the second time in three games, the Flames failed to score a goal.

WHAT HAPPENED

The Flames got off to a good start, had some possession and yielded a couple chances, but it all unravelled after the first of two goals from Radek Dvorak at 4:20 of the first period.  Dvorak scored a seeing eye goal just a few minutes later, beating Miikka Kiprusoff through about four players, three of them Flames.  The first period ended 2-0 in favour of Florida, and the second period was about as listless as possible.

Calgary had two shots on net into the latter stages of the middle frame, and they only ended up with four overall before pumping 17 towards Tomas Vokoun in a deceiving third period.  After Shawn Mathias scored at 9:57 of the final frame, the Panthers completely sat back and the Flames FINALLY decided to start pressing.  After being outchanced in the first two periods, they finally started to generate opportunities, but unfortunately it was far too little too late.

ONE GOOD REASON

…why the Flames lost?  Because, well, they just weren’t very good.  It’s not like they were terrible, but pretty much top to bottom, the Flames just didn’t want to compete.  They were constantly beat by Panthers players to pucks, constantly outworked along the boards, and constantly forced to turn over pucks inside their own blueline.

My worry heading into this game was why I was worried each and every time the Flames played the Colorado Avalanche last season.  Sure, they won the final two games in that six game series, but it seems as if when Calgary goes up against a well coached team with a strong buy-in, they run into trouble.  Florida didn’t stray from their gameplan, and they were able to ride a pretty strong, team performance to a shutout win.

RED WARRIOR

I’ll go with…uh…jeez…not a good night once again.  I liked Brett Sutter, and have for the most part all season.  He’s not going to light you on fire with his offence, but he’s going to be consistent in his role.  In a game lacking any compete or fire, Sutter provided a little.

SUM IT UP

The Flames just didn’t come to play.  The Panthers outplayed, outworked, outskated and finally outscored the home team and walk away with their first win of the season.  Offensively, Calgary was brutal…it was an absolute disaster every time they tried to gain the zone, whether it be even strength or on the powerplay.

DALLAS - JANUARY 27: Center Olli Jokinen #21 of the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on January 27, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
 

Speaking of the man advantage…just no good.  It finished 0-4, and wouldn’t have a goal through three games if it wasn’t for Niklas Hagman’s empty netter late in Sunday’s win over the Kings.  Head Coach Brent Sutter split up lines in the second period, trying to provide a spark to his group, but it didn’t seem to work.  Pretty much everything was shifted through this game, and for good reason.  Most notably, Olli Jokinen was demoted in the middle frame and didn’t return to the top line.

It’s gotta be a whole lot better against the Oilers on Saturday.  But you all know that.

  • everton fc

    Tim Kennedy’s another youngster with some jump. Demoted by the Rangers… Wonder if he’d have gone to the tough spots last evening? $550K salary, too. Less than Ivanans… ?? On another tangent… How about Bouwmeester for Brad Richards?

    • That Bouwmeester-Richards thought has floated around in my mind before.

      3 reasons:
      – Feaster/Richards connection.
      – Nieuwendyk/Bouwmeester connection.
      – $$ (money spent on D transferred to money spent on F).

  • On adding players – as Im reminded by a number of people on Twitter whenever the issue comes up, the Flames have 49 of a possible 50 pro contracts alreayd under their belts. So adding players (beyond the now totally convoluted salary cap issues) is a sticky situation.

  • CitizenFlame

    Funny how there is no mention of injuries anymore? Just how much we suck after 3 games. I admit that Kotalik and Moss aren’t top end talent but they definitely solidify our line-up and allow for different line combinations. If Langkow were to get back into the line up Langkow, Stajan, Jokinen, Conroy/Morrison, isn’t such a bad centre depth chart. Jokinen could probably feast on weaker comp, lined up in a 3rd line set up with Kotalik and Moss/Glencross. Lankow could help do some heavy lifting to help keep Iggy and Tanguay above water + they have proven chemistry in the past. Langkow still knows how to put the puck in the net if he was given a favourable zone start and some talented wingers.

    I don’t know of any other teams that have the injury issues that the Flames do. It’s funny how injuries are no excuse for sub-par performance in Calgary but Detroit had no problem stating that their regular season woes were caused by the injury bug last year. If they don’t perform when everyone returns that is another story.

    • Injuries are certainly an issue.

      I think everyone would be more forgiving if the Flames hadn’t have missed the post-season last year.

      Detroit gets the benefit of the doubt because they’ve been great (and still are) for so long. That said, you’re right – we’ll see how the team does once the bodies start returning en masse.

    • Graham

      Injuries are not an excuse for a sub par performance in Calgary. The fans are mad because the healthy players are not putting in the effort to try and compete.

      What on earth do injuries have to do with the production from the intact and healthy top line, ZERO points combined in three games? – or the poor performance of an intact ‘d’ corp?

      Its not time to panic yet, but this team has continued it bad habits / weak play from last season, and needs to mend it’s ways – or its going to be, five bad games, ten bad games…

  • everton fc

    @ss

    I mentioned injuries… in my rant… so we are in agreement, on many fronts.

    It is a factor. On-ice chemistry takes time. Look at our second line last night, centered by Stajan. Case-and-point.

    @kent

    Adding players would be sticky. Agreed. Unless we traded/waived/re-assigned a few. Staois comes to mind. As does Sarich… Bouwmeester should still have value… And so on. Perhaps, like most fans, I am grasping at straws…

    Here’s hoping all those in sick-bay get well soon. Real soon. (I’d stay with Meyer as the 4th line centre, though) Moss may not be front-line talent, but he’s the type of player with size and guts to go to the places many on the Flames currently will not go… to create chances. He’s the kind of players Cup teams look for, recognize as valuable. A keeper.

  • I think Jokenin needs to play on the 3rd line for him to be productive/effective at all.

    Tanguay/Stajan/Iginla
    Hagman/Morrison/Backlund
    Glencross/Jokenin/Jackman
    Meyer/Sutter/Conroy

    And Staois needs to disappear. He was brutal last night.

  • Graham

    the-wolf. I’m not too interested in talking checkers with you

    Graham: Were you one of those that expected impact seasons from the likes of Jokinen and Stajan, all the while denigrating the likes of Langkow and Conroy?

    If so, well I think your disappointment has more to do with your unrealistic expectations for established players to perform beyond their established abilities.

    If not, then you should think injuries are a huge factor in why the Flames have been heavily outplayed twice in three games.

  • Huckster

    I hate to say it guys (I am a huge Iggy fan) but without more effort from our Captain I don’t see the rest of the team doing anything. To me he looked like the worst out there, by far the worst player per salary. How many give-aways did he have. The power play must have been embarrassing for him. Get to the blue line, lose the puck. What 3 times in a row?

    I can’t believe the fans were booing last night! What did they expect? There have been no team, character, chemistry, leadership, coaching style, management changes made from last season. Do they expect something different? As said previously, even if they don’t have the talent and aren’t winning, at least give the fans effort and exitement. That has been non-existent and a carry over from last night. GlenX is fantastic to watch. He was the best player last night. Not from skill, from effort. I see effort as well from the “Joke” but he’s a shooter, not a scorer any more. Were the nets bigger in Florida? Like 5 feet wider on each side?

  • everton fc

    “They have good GM’s.”

    “They draft well.”

    …I feel your sentiment, but it’s not that simple. I’m not saying I agree with all of Sutter’s moves or I agree with the professional inbreeding that seems to follow them. However, everyone has their own way of doing things. Some things the organization has done have worked out, some haven’t. Let cooler heads prevail until halfway throuhg the season people.