Gameday Preview: Tactics? We don’t need no stinkin’ tactics


EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 29: Marek Zidlicky  of the Minnesota Wild gets some air time as he takes a shot past a defending Robyn Regehr  of the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 29, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)



The games in a NHL season can really run together at this time of the year for a mediocre team. Nothing seems fresh or worthwhile, and that’s about how I feel going into tonight’s visit by the Flames to the Twin Cities. That boredom is hard to overcome, but if nothing else this less than entertaining little skein of affairs between Minnesota and Calgary has opened a bit of a window on how both coaches see their teams. 



From a Wild perspective, it’s been interesting to watch Todd Richards manipulate his roster to get matchups against the weak 3rd pair and bottom six of Calgary’s line up. As Kent pointed out in his review of the chances from Saturday, Richards tried to get Koivu out in spots where he could work on the Pardy/Babchuk pairing, managing that move with some success, at least on the scoreboard. 


What’s notable about that juggling on Richards’ part is that he feels compelled to move Koivu away from the matchup Brent Sutter appears to want, based on the EV ice time numbers in the two Calgary home games the clubs have played. Sutter has used Olli Jokinen in some pretty heavy doses against the Wild’s top man when he’s had last change, and the results, at least in terms controlling offense from that line, are of some interest. Jokinen has played about 19 minutes of EV time against Koivu in the two home games and the combined chances were 4-3 for Jokinen’s line, with none against just over 8 minutes Saturday night. Richards doesn’t exactly hunt for Joker with his captain when the two clubs play in Minnesota, since the two Finns have played head to head for only 8 minutes combined at Xcel, so that will be a matter of interest to me this evening with Richards having last change. 



ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 16: Greg Zanon  of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center on October 16, 2010 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Blue Jackets defeated the Wild 3-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)



With the two clubs playing back to back, there isn’t much more to add on. Minnesota might kill the Flames off with a win this evening, so one might hope that with Saturday’s sleeper fresh in the memory banks, the red team might find it useful to open strongly. It’s not something we’ve seen much of this year, but if the Flames plan on making anything at all of this season, this is about as close as you can come to a must win in December.

  • Gange

    Well, I think at this point what I’m hoping for is a loss. With a loss at least everything should be clear on the state of this season. Which of course means that a win is inevitable. When i say clear I don’t mean to me, or others that follow the team, but to the upper management. A loss almost certainly eliminates them from the playoffs. Not mathematically but you get the picture.

    Being eliminated from the playoffs in December should send a very strong message to senior management and the ownership group. It’s christmas. so let Darryl celebrate christmas with his family and have a job, then it’s time to move on.

    Thank you for your services, they were appreciated.

    • it’ll be erven more interesting to see how butter counters and adjusts to minny’s exploitations of badchuck and pardy. the first move butter should make is to break up the pairing.who gets the start in goal? kippa or kung foo karl sun.

  • Gange

    Well I think it depends on who the Flames ice really. That’s the big wild card here (no pun intended).

    i would suspect Koivu isn’t going to see a great deal of Bouwmeester and Regher or the captain for that matter.

  • I’m guessing Glencross gets back in tonight. Kotalik is my guess for the healthy scratch, but who knows at this point. Backlund might get the stink eye too.

    I’d like to see Moss, Conroy and Glencross re-united frankly.

    • jgl

      logic suggests kotalik sits but then again logic would have suggested kotalik should have never been a flame. the importance of this game cannot be overstated, a win is critical. lose and you might want to start booking tee times.

  • Put the Glencross back in, watch him score a hat trick and cue the game that starts the turn around. On the bright side….atleast the hockey has been exciting. I always like it when Flames play Minny it’s always a technical chess match with lots of up and down action…..go flames go

  • everton fc

    Glencross and Moss always had chemistry. As did Moss, Glencross and Conroy. That said, Jackman has earned ice-time. Moss centering Glencross and Jackman may produce points.

    I agree that Kotalik may sit, as he didn’t get a lot of minutes Saturday evening.

    All that said… the Flames are running out of time. We all know this. If we lose this evening… and do not achieve .500 by Christmas… I wonder what happens? Will there be a radical shake up?? Or status quo???