Postgame: Back to 14th

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Mikko Koivu  of the Minnesota Wild celebrates a goal by teammate John Madden  in overtime 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)

A seemingly uninspired Calgary Flames team wasn’t able to muster much on Saturday night at the ‘Dome, and they’d end up falling 3-1 at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.  It drops Calgary back to 14th place in the Western Conference and two games below .500, and it’s a disappointing finish to a three game home stand.

What Happened

A rather dismal first period for the home side, as they had no life and no jump through the opening 20 minutes.  Shots would finish 8-7 in favor of the Wild, and they seemed to carry the play.  The Flames were sloppy and soft for a lot of the period, but fortunately, Minnesota isn’t a team that boasts a ton of finish, so after one it was still scoreless.  Miikka Kiprusoff had to make a few big stops in that opening frame, and Matt Cullen seemed to generate on every shift for the visitors.

The second period saw the Flames get their game shored up a little bit, and they had the puck a whole lot more, but weren’t generating their time with it into very strong chances.  It would be Minnesota opening the scoring on their dangerous powerplay, thanks to Antti Miettenen…he converted a Mikko Koivu pass at 15:25 to get the vistors on the board.  They’d cash an even strength chance late in the second, and this time it was Koivu finishing off a play…he’d deflect a Brent Burns point shot past Kiprusoff at 19:07 to give the Wild a 2-0 lead heading into the third.

Minnesota was a perfect 10-0-0 when carrying a lead into the third period, and Calgary sat 2-12-2 when trailing after two…so the numbers didn’t really play in the Flames favor.  Yet, with what we know of this Wild team, you can come out with some jump and get them on their heels…but Calgary didn’t do that.  It was a fairly non-descript start to the third period for the Flames and the Wild would put the game away at 7:41; Chuck Kobasew finished off a nice passing play from the left circle.  It would be a Calgary chase-fest after that, and they would cash on one chance, with Matt Stajan scoring his first goal in 19 games, but it wouldn’t mean much.  A 6-on-5 push would yield nothing and this game would finish with a Minnesota victory.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost? Um…reasons? No urgency. No life. Unforced errors. Soft plays.  All of those things contributed to the loss, against a team that the Flames have the capability to beat when they’re playing hockey minus those aforementioned things.  This team has a very difficult time of generating any emotion when it isn’t handed to them…sure, the Toronto game had built in atmosphere, that one is easy.  This one? You knew it was going to be a snooze fest and the Flames didn’t do anything to rectify that.  Anything.

Red Warrior

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 26: Tim Jackman  of the Calgary Flames skates during a hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flames won 3-2. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

One of those guys who DID try to get some jump on the team and in the building was Tim Jackman.  Brent Sutter gave him 10:45 of ice time, and he was playing with emotion and was playing physical.  Good on him…but Jackman can’t be your most consistent player in a game, he just can’t.  His linemates, Tom Kostopoulos and David Moss, also had strong games, and that line was pretty good.

Sum It Up

It just wasn’t a hockey game where the Flames came to play.  They don’t have the luxury of having nights like this, quite honestly…had they played well and been beaten by a better team, or had they ran into a hot goaltender, it’s certainly easier to take.  And if this effort showed up on a team that was fighting for a division lead, you probably excuse it…but not when things are desperate like this.

They had an opportunity to at least take the game to the Wild in the third period, much like they did to Anaheim a few weeks ago.  Ales Kotalik played 0 minutes in the third period, and Mikael Backlund played just 33 seconds.  Message sent I guess.

    • icedawg_42

      I think you’re right on the money here – I’ve never seen an “NHL’er” lose an edge so many times at critical moments. Get him out of there! He’s worse than Staios!

  • GermanFlame

    ” …why the Flames won? Um…reasons? “

    Hey Pat, Wait a minute, They won?!? 🙂 just kidding, But you might want to change that up a bit.

    Right now the caller talking about Sarich, IMO Sarich’s plus minus benefits from playing Giordano, I thought (once again) gio was a beast tonight.

    But what another classic Minnesota Calgary game, just not much happening really, first goal determined quite a bit, low scoring affair, Backstrom like usual playing really good against Calgary… Nothing really new here.

  • Scoring chances will be up by tonight.

    I’ll add some observations about coaching which I was able to glean from being there live. For now I’ll just say – Pardy and Babchuk looked bad in part because Todd Richards made them look bad.

  • After watching last nights snorefest I can’t help but be very disappointed in jbo. How soft of a dman is this guy. Maybe Gio should show him how to hit. ‘Jbo is easy to play against’This statemnt rang true last night as i watched him try to take people off the puck. He would be an all star in a non contact league. One of Daryl’s worst deals EVER!

    • what is equally frustrating is watching jbo skate through the neutral zone in a bobby orr like fashion only to chip the puck into the corner allowing the opposition dman to gain possession time and time again. no emotion no intensity no championships.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I’d rather have JBo than Phaneuf (with his freight train hits) any day of the week. He has great stick work and body positioning defensively. That said, hal a pena makes a good point about his decision making with the puck – it’s not terrible, but it’s not consistent/good enough for a guy who makes that kind of money.

  • Michael

    Glencross was benched again, so you have to wonder what is in his future? I like what he brings to the table, but the coaches don’t seem to think the same way. With a glut of forwards and Glencross being A UFA this year, he might be a good depth pickup for a playoff bound team?

  • Michael

    I was looking forward to watching the Flames last night and they lay an egg. Go figure! I could not agree more on the question of why is Glencross not playing instead of Kostopolus? Glencross is quicker, has better hands and can rough it up if he needs to. I have not seen anything that says to me Sutter and White for Kostopolus and Babchuk was a solid trade for the Flames. I again wonder why Darryl pulled the trigger on this trade moving Sutter and White deal for what he got back. I understand the salary part of this BUT Darryl is the meat head who put the Flames in this predicament in the first place with more quality trades like Staios and then signing Matt Stajan for 3.5 million. I think Stajan is a soft player and I do not ever see him being a number one centre and maybe a decent second line or third line centre. Unless Babchuk does a 360 under the guidance of the Flames coaches and becomes the player that everyone had hoped he would this is another BAD trade by Flames management. I would have sent Staios to the minors to hide the contract and then waited to the trade deadline to trade White and maybe Staios. Staios might have fetched a 3rd to 5th round pick. I am certain someone would have paid a lot more for White than what the Flames got from Carolina at the deadline. Instead we look like we made a desperate trade or a money trade to move a contract. What we got back for White and Sutter is not at all comparable in my opinion.

    The Flames and Wild game was a ho hum game until the last 5 minutes, Backstrom was very solid for the Wild or we might have seen a different outcome for the Flames.

  • Michael

    the white trade was a desparate move by a desparate gm. makes no sense even from a money standpoint. darwood should have sent his son to abbotsford in august, and kept white for as long as he could. getting 2 flattires from rutherford hasn’t helped in any way at fact the flames got worse.

  • Michael

    Our D needs a major shakeup. Unfortunately this is not possible until the off-season. Staios. Mickelsson and Babchuk will be gone (hopefully-this is D Sutter were talking about). We need to try and unload Sarich for a bag of pucks if possible. If not, buy him out in the offseason!!!

    Regher, JBO, and Gio form a good, if not great, top 3 and I believe the prospects in our system should round out the other three D positions.

    Back from injury (again) Pelech has been playing solid for the HEat. He will be a cheaper version of Sarich: a 3rd pairing Dman that is mean and physical; one capable of keeping the bottom 6 forwards of opposing teams honest night in and night out.

    Erixon and Brodie should make excellent, though green, 4th and 5th D-men. Taking into consideration that we should be going into mini-rebuild mode at the end of this season, there is absolutely no excuse to have them in the big show next year. Brodie is our best D-man in Abby right now, being 3rd on the team in scoring. He has also put on some healthy weight this year and hopefully will continue to do so in the offseason to better adapt to the rigors of the NHL game. The boy has vision which engenders excellent playmaking ability. He is also not the liability he once was in the defensive end.

    Erixon, too, has a solid all-around game, and a spot as the 5th d-man in Calgary mauy not be too bad for his development. He might need to get a few games in with the Heat, but his speed, size, and stick-handling will translate well into the NHL.

    Best part: We save millions in cap relief by fielding a D-corps that is in no way worse than the bunch we have now, in addition to giving our prospects a taste of the big leagues.

    • Michael

      17 contracts and 3.5 million in space for next year. not alot of options.the sarich buyout i believe is a little more complicated than sayin see ya. as crazy as it may sound the flames may have to unload one of the big 3.dutter has painted himself into a corner.time for another blockbuster deal to get that one missing player.

      • Michael

        Why would Sarich be difficult to buy out. He has one year left on his contract and is not over 35.

        I`m not saying he is no longer an NHL defender. But one of our major problems in the back-end is the lack of mobility and abiity to generate speed up the middle. He is simply too slow and battle-worn to cut it anymore.

        I`m also against retaining Pardy, even though he appears serviceable at times. He is big, but not consistently assertive and physical. Plus, he is consistently prone to brain-farts when the pressure is on.

        Pelech in no shape or form can be a worse defender. Plus, he`s willing to punish along the boards and in the open ice, not to mention drop the gloves effectivley against opposing toughies. He looks like a solid 6th d-man to me, despite a lackluster showing in the pre-season ( he had just had major surgery earlier in the year, to his defense).

        He is definately not a good 1st round pick, but that does not mean he doesn`t have endearing qualities. He is and will be a good 3rd pairing. Dutter, for some reason, demands he morph into a top two defender or languish forever in the minors. What a waste.

  • Michael

    checked the buyout of sarich. cap hit realy isnt too back at 1.5 mill, worth considering i guess. seeing as it would be tough moving him. pelech may or may not be an upgrade. tough to say, he hasn’t realy had an opportunity to sell himself.if dutter didnt panic and move white,sarich as a fifth dman and pardy as sixth is a ton better than the current situation. badchuk at 1.4 mill makes you shake your head. flames gotta play 650 hockey to get to 95 points. tough with 3 nhl dmen.

  • Michael

    I don’t see all the negativity on Babchuk. When White was traded he had by far the worst +\- on the team so he was not an asset early in the year.

    Babchuck is probably re-signable for similar dollars as he is currently making. Although he had a tough night last night at -2 he is still even +/- since joining the Flames. He requires some improvement defensively has more a lot more upside than Pardy and they are the same age (actually Babchuck is a few months younger.

    Flames assistant coach Rob Cookson said last week they like his game and think he has upside.

  • Sick of watching emotionless games. Last night was a snore fest. I see Colorado with a ton of young players & a couple older guys that are getting things done. They have bought into what the coach is selling. The Flames are a team who wouldn’t fit that description. We need to get younger & become teachable.

    Looks like everyone’s doing whatever they want out there.

  • Michael

    …I’m sure most of you have seen these numbers before, but I’m going to write them out for your viewing pleasure anyways.

    …since the lockout in the Western Conference, to qualify for the playoffs, a team must have 94 points during the regular season.

    …through 33 games played the Flames have 31 points. With historical averages in mind, the Flames need a total of 63 points (31.5 wins/64% winning percentage) in the final 49 games to make the playoffs.

    …in 13 games (Jan 17, after the Flames 4 game Eastern road trip) it will be interesting to see where the Flames are in the standings.

  • …I definately agree that Sarich (& Staios) should be either sent down to the minors (if the owners accept to eat their salary) or simply be bought out. 6.3 million dollars (or less with a buyout, but still a significant cap savings either way) could definately be used in a more productive manner.

    • Robert Cleave

      Sarich has a full NMC for this year and next, so the only options to eliminate his salary are trading him or buying him out. As for Staios, if they don’t LTIR him or demote him and they can’t trade him at the deadline for peanuts, at least his contract is gone this summer. I can’t imagine him returning at any price, but of course I thought the same thing about Jokinen last year.

  • Wow heck of a game last night. Those are tough ones to lose especially after such a solid first. It’s frustrating, but atleast were turning the corner. We keep putting in the effort and our fortunes will change.

  • MC Hockey

    With some time to reflect, the Flames just did not play with emotion (already said above) NOR did they bury any chances before the last part of 3rd period (I even left early which I never do and missed the 1 goal). Flames need some youthful emotion to play hard all the time and to lose some veterans. I disagree about Sarich, he has been decent and not that slow. Want an easy way to save money and improve Flames? As I said before, a couple things:
    Step 1)
    If Dallas team is still too poor to sign Brad Richards, PLEASE trade for him before deadline, giving some combination of perhaps 2 or 3 of the following (trying to be realistice here): Stajan, Sarich, Pardy, Glencross, Nemisz, Moss, Backlund, future 2nd-rounder to land Brad R. He’s the guy we need unless Ottawa team gets upset with Spezza again and wants him out. For this year, demote Staios at deadline to save $ (and never re-sign). But for 2011-12 may need to save a bit more salary so….
    Step 2) Buyout both Kotalik and Jokinen which amounts to $1M each over next 2 years (per buyout calculator). Give real playing chances to Brodie, Pelech on D next year and at forward possibly Nemisz (unless trded), and other scorers on the Heat.
    I doubt any of this will happen but A FAN CAN DREAM CAN’T HE?

  • Robert Cleave

    There is no way Dallas will trade Richards, They are winning games and they feel like they have a chance at the cup. what benefit would they have in trading their star player. Esspecially since they are already loaded with youth.

    • Robert Cleave

      …I agree. The more I examine the Stars situation, the more I think he will re-sign with them. I posted a comment on the Stars ultra-depth on the LW. I think it’s more likely they will trade one of the 5 good left wingers they have (for a defenceman).

      @ Robert Cleave

      …I was unaware that Sarich had a full NMC. IMO, if the Flames can’t trade him he should definately be bought out. I don’t think Washington is in the market for any high priced defencemen anymore are they 😉 ?

  • Robert Cleave

    Re: Backlund getting benched, I also had him wearing goat horns on the Miettenen goal. As the right side forward as Minny broke out he either needed to cut off the pass from the defender to Koivui, or force Koivu to turn and not allow him to generate speed around the outside. Regehr maybe should have had Miettenen, but the puck never should have entered the zond at that pace.