FGD: Wild Visit

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Cam Barker  and his teamamtes on the Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on November 19, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wild defeated the Wings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild make their first appearance in Calgary tonight as the Flames return home from a lackluster five game road trip through the Eastern Conference where they went 1-2-2 (7 pm, Sportsnet Flames and The FAN 960).  Overall, the Flames find themselves three games below .500 once again, and they’re four back of the Wild who sit third in the Northwest Divison.

Following a 4-1 loss Saturday in Pittsburgh, The Flames play two straight games at home starting with this one…it’s their second game against the Wild this season, falling 2-1 in Minnesota on November 5th.  After a taxing road trip, things don’t get much easier for the Flames schedule wise…they play seven games in 12 days up to December 10th when they finally get a two day break.

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The Lineup

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 26: Olli Jokinen  of the Calgary Flames is stopped on this scoring attempt by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky  of the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period of a hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center on November 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Miikka Kiprusoff is back in net for the Flames after an impressive performance in a losing effort Saturday afternoon…Kiprusoff was out of his mind in the first period to keep Calgary in it as the Penguins blitzed them and he made some key saves in the final 40 minutes of the game as well.

A couple lineup notes from this morning’s practice…Adam Pardy returned to the ice skating with the main practice group, so his return to the lineup seems to be close.  He won’t play tonight as he’ll watch the game from the press box along with Steve Staios; Cory Sarich returns after being a healthy scratch for the last part of that road trip.

Up front, Raitis Ivanans seems to have suffered a setback in his recovery from a suspected concussion…he had been skating with the team for the last little while.  All speculation suggests Ales Kotalik will return to the lineup sometime this week, either Wednesday or Friday.

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Stefan Meyer and Craig Conroy will not play tonight while Olli Jokinen moves to a new spot on the wing.  Meyer was placed on waivers by the team today, likely to assign him to Abbotsford at some point tomorrow.  Here are lines and pairings:

Alex Tanguay-Matt Stajan-Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross-David Moss-Rene Bourque
Niklas Hagman-Mikael Backlund-Olli Jokinen
Tom Kostopoulos-Brendan Morrison-Tim Jackman

Robyn Regehr-Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano-Cory Sarich
Anton Babchuk-Brendan Mikkelson

The Opponent

Minnesota sits third in the Northwest Division with 24 points, with a 11-9-2 record to this point.  They’ve kinda been as advertised, sitting around the .500 mark which is where a lot of people had them pegged heading into the season.  They weren’t overly active during the off season, adding names like Nystrom and Theodore over the summer.

They’re most recent addition has been an interesting one, adding Patrick O’Sullivan via the waiver wire and inserting him immediately on the top line.  O’Sullivan was cast off by the Carolina Hurricanes and returns to the place where it all started…he was a second round pick in 2003, however never played a game.

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The Wild are suffereing from injury issues, as Guillaume Latendresse remains on the sidelines with a groin injury; he had surgery last week and is out indefinetely.  Other injuries include Clayton Stoner (upper body), Josh Harding (knee) and James Sheppard (knee).  In addition, former Flames first rounder Chuck Kobasew has been granted a leave of absence to be with his family during a health crisis.  Here are projected lines and pairings:

Andrew Brunette-Mikko Koivu-Patrick O’Sullivan
Matt Cullen-Kyle Brodziak-Martin Havlat
Cal Clutterbuck-John Madden-Antti Miettenen
Robbie Earl-Eric Nystrom-Brad Staubitz

Nick Schultz-Brent Burns
Greg Zanon-Marek Zidlicky
Cam Barker-Justin Falk

Jose Theodore

EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 21: Jose Theodore  of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Edmonton Oilers on October 21, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

So Theodore gets the start in net…another backup faces the Flames.

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The Story

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 27: Jarome Iginla  of the Calgary Flames takes a shot on goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on November 27, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Once again, it’s a huge game for the Flames, but it’s also a game where certain guys need to bounce back.  It was a terrible game on Saturday for the line of Bourque, Moss and Glencross, which isn’t something we’re used to…Moss and Glencross have been among the most impactful players on the team.  However, Bourque has really struggled and no one is quite sure what’s going on…Kent said it best on Overtime Saturday: Bourque is best when he’s using his speed and strength.  Neither have been used as much as of late.

On the bright side, Jarome Iginla continues to be a force.  Even with him finishing underwater on scoring chances Saturday, I thought he was Calgary’s best forward and made a lot of things happen.  For the first time this season, the captain needs some help though.

  • T&A4Flames


    I agree.

    The Flames need to get faster and younger. Kent, I was thinking how much it would take to get a JF Jacques type player. He would add toughness, size, youth and speed to the lineup. Likely 2nd + Prospect atleast. Also, Lucic would be great with his low cap hit for what he brings to the table. We need help! Fire Sutter!

  • I love the way we’ve quarantined all the European players onto some sort of “Scandinavian All-star Line”. Also a little bit of a “goldilocks” situation (Joker is over-cooked, Mickis is still a little soft in the middle, and Haggy is just right).

    I wonder what Joker thinks about being moved off centre in favour of the young guy? It has to put a dent in one’s confidence. Hopefully he’s making use of his time with the team shrink.

    • I imagine that would go something like this:

      “Olli not happy. Olli like center. Olli score.”

      “Well let’s try to see this from the team’s perspective. You’ve got two goals this year Mr. Jokinen. And one went in off your leg.”

      “Olli score! Olli not care what Team or dumb man think! OLLI SMASH! OLLI SMASH!”

  • Section 216

    The Flames are facing easily their most important week of the entire season. All three games come against Northwest foes, I think anything less the 5 out of 6 points will be a failure. The team played fairly well during that last roadtrip but if the Flames relied on Moral Victories they would be the best team in the NHL.

    Time to crack down boys it’s do or die this week.

  • I consider Lucic a “youtube hero” hockey player. He looks great during highlight strings, but he spends a whole lot of time doing nothing in particular. He’s young, so maybe he’ll grow into a $4M player eventually, but he’s not there yet.

    He’s having a great year so far this season, but it’s mostly percentages (PDO = 105) and being dragged around by a truly great ES player in Patrice Bergeron.

    The package of skills and abilities is nice with Lucic, but until he actually proves he can put them together and be anything more than a mid-level support guy, I’d never pay him $4M.

        • That’s the name of the game here, Kent. You of all people should know that.

          Look how much time has been spent on Stamokos potentially hitting 50 goals in 50 games just a quarter season in.

          We’ll continue to evaluate every player after every game. Otherwise, we may as well just shut this site down and re-open it after the last regular season game this year for the Flames were we won’t need to speculate any longer.

          However, Oilfan does bring up a pretty good point…

      • PrairieStew

        Congrats on mastering the cut and paste OilFan. Of course you mean how much DO we pay Jarome. You want us to start cutting and pasting Horcoff stats ?

        Kent wasn’t slagging Lucic gratuitously, just pointing out that his rep is probably better than his actuals. If he keeps his current scoring pace up ( doubful ) he will look like a great player for his salary level.

        No charge on assisting you with your verb conjugation.

        • OilFan

          Oilfan was using statistics to bring up a point which Kent brought up. Not sure what Horcoff had to do with anything that Kent OR Oilfan brought up.

          Kent suggested that Lucic isn’t work the $4 mill and Oilfan shut him by showing him that Lucic has more points…

          By the way, Kent said, “I’d never pay Lucic that much”… so he inferred (which I plainly understood) that Iggy is getting $7.5 M to play a less effective role than Lucic at $4 M.

          WOW… simmer down a bit there, girl.

          • PrairieStew

            The inference is weak. To compare a 2 time 50 goal scorer with 9 straight 30+ seasons and 450 career goals to a guy that has yet to have a 20 goal season and suggest that somehow the value is equivalent is retarded. Using a 20 game sample to make your point is equally weak ( and lazy). The team signed Iginla to a contract with a $7m cap hit expecting that there would be slightly diminishing returns as he ages, but he maintains his career average pace nonetheless.

            To make a weak reach to demean Iginla smacks of partisan trolling. The question of Horcoff is : do you want me bringing up the value of his contract and his statistics over a short period of time every time there is a value discussion about another player ?

  • Hmmm, I wonder if putting Olli on wing is just to get Backs and Hagman used to the “Plus Shot but not much else” mold of player for when Ales Kotalik makes his return (Meyer being on waivers suggests that’ll be soon). Not that I object, Backs is a better center then Olli already so it’s a sound move in my mind.

  • OilFan

    what is truly amazing is darryl sutter traded lombo and a first round pick for ollie, let cammi go in order to pay the joker 6 mill a season. then trades ollie and prust for higgins and kotalik. only to sign ollie again. lol this is absolutely bizarre. so now the flames are stuck with ollie and kottie.and fans want the mad scientist to make more trades.scary.