Postgame: Sinking, Sinking…

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 21: Jakub Voracek  of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring against the Calgary Flames during the first period on December 21, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

A battle between two teams not playing very well went the wrong way for the Calgary Flames, as the Columbus Blue Jackets rode a first period goal to a 3-1 win on Tuesday night.  It drops Calgary to a new season low, four games below .500 with a Thursday game against the Dallas Stars to finish off a three game road trip.

WHAT HAPPENED

It didn’t start well for the Flames, as Jakub Voracek opened things up with a nice individual effort at 5:14.  Grabbing the puck in the right corner, Voracek went on a little bit of a walk and found some open ice in the high slot area, where he wired a shot past Calgary goalie Henrik Karlsson.  It was Voracek’s sixth of the season and the Jackets would carry their one goal lead into the second period.

After a fairly even start to the middle frame, the Jackets would score at even strength once again, this time on a goal mouth scramble.  After Tom Sestito put the puck on net from close range, Boll would follow up by pushing the puck past from the crease area, and the Jackets would take a 2-0 lead at 11:18 of the second. 

Karlsson would make some big stops in the second period, including a real nice glove save to thwart a golden Columbus chance, and the Flames would finally got on the board late in the period.  On the powerplay, Jarome Iginla showed some nice patience on the left half boards before firing a nice cross ice pass to Olli Jokinen; he’d make no mistake from the right circle to get Calgary within one, and after 40 the Flames were down 2-1.

It was the 18th time this season the Flames would find themselves down after two periods of play, and they’d get some push at times in the final frame.  Calgary generated a few opportunities, and caught a break late in the third thanks to a bench minor on Columbus for too many men. 

They would be unable to tie the game up though, unsuccessful on a key powerplay and didn’t do much once they pulled their goalie for an extra man.  After a few times being unsuccessful gaining the zone, Jackets defenceman Rostislav Klesla banked the puck off the glass and the puck found it’s way into the empty Calgary net to seal the game, and seal Calgary’s third straight loss.

ONE GOOD REASON

…why the Flames lost?  Because they just didn’t have enough.  I’m sure the fatigue of back-to-back games played it’s part, but all teams play games on consecutive nights, so it’s not a viable excuse.  They just looked flat for too much of this hockey game, and didn’t generate enough at even strength. 

Not taking credit away from the Jackets, because they played their game well, but this is a team Calgary should be able to generate on…yet it was the Columbus fourth line generating at even strenght and not enough of Calgary’s offensive players.  The likes of Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross and Brendan Morrison were no good and well under water in the scoring chance count, and 11 chances at even strength isn’t going to get it done.

RED WARRIOR

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 26: Olli Jokinen  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)
 

I don’t know, why not – Olli Jokinen.  I’m thinking of just disolving this particular part of the postgame.  He scored a goal, because he shot the puck…and yeah, he made you drop a few four letter words tonight, as he usually does, but at least he scored. No one else did.

SUM IT UP

The team is four games below .500 for the first time this season, and they have one more game before the Christmas break.  The Head Coach continues to say "stay the course" and that’s all he can really say…but the fact of the matter is, they just aren’t playing well enough on a game in, game out basis.  Stay what course?

  • Theo is a junkie with a foot fetish

    The Sutter-rights are doing a great job, Mike Keenan ruined this team. He vouched for #13 & #4. The rebuild has begun only a matter of time before the Flames trade players for picks. Can’t wait for the deadline and draft.

  • CitizenFlame

    Kent,

    I saw that the Flames signed Howse to a entry-level contract yesterday. I thought the team was already at the 50 contract maximum? Because Howse is still in junior does this not count against the “cap” or does it not take effect until next year?

      • CitizenFlame

        ahh, I see. Thanks Pat. Hey since you’re here… nice work on OT last night. I’m working a night shift and was surprised to hear you still on when I got to work last night. One thing though, I can’t quite remember what the exact topic was but I remember you saying a couple of times that teams wouldn’t move a single player for multiple players. Ahem… Calgary did in the Phaneuf deal. Not a great example, I know, but I guess never say never.

        • I can’t quite remember what the exact topic was but I remember you saying a couple of times that teams wouldn’t move a single player for multiple players. Ahem… Calgary did in the Phaneuf deal. Not a great example, I know, but I guess never say never.

          Touche. Guess I should have said SMART teams don’t do that;)

  • everton fc

    @B

    …you seem to think that the team doesn’t need major changes, but the coaching staff and front office do? I’m not sure I follow that logic.

    Oh, I do think we need to make changes. I simply think it starts from the top, and should be a long-term plan.

    Punting the likes of Iginla, Reggie, Kipper, and so on, is not the right strategy. My thought is that you let these guys play out their contracts. In the meantime, develop around them… so those being passed the torch are ready.

    Good organizations don’t discard their best players. They discard expendable players and contracts that are potentially problematic. I honestly think Stajan, Bourque and Bouwmeester fall into this category. Stajan’s still young, but soft. Bourque is inconsistent and fragile, at times. Bouwmeester is simply overpaid. But arguably our most consistent defencemen these past month, or so.

    I agree that NMCs/NTCs hold us hostage. I also agree we don’t need to panic.

    And I also agree that this squad has given up on Brent. Not to mention Lowry, and the others. Noodles has done well with Karlsson. He stays. Everyone else goes. Then, you get rid of players that can bring you back some picks.

    Colorado is doing it with picks outside the first round.

    • Colorado is doing it with picks outside the first round.

      What’s crazy about Colorado…other than Duchene, their impact players are outside of the top 5. Stastny second round. Stewart 18th overall. Liles 5th round. O’Reilly 2nd round. Galiardi 2nd round. Not even saying all those guys are huge impact guys, but they’re getting contributions from players who they got later on in the draft.

      • icedawg_42

        So are the Avs’ scouts lucky or good? What’s the magic potion??
        @CitizenFlame you quoted “that teams wouldn’t move a single player for multiple players” – luckily the Flames CAN’T do this any more cause they’re maxed out on contracts ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • So are the Avs’ scouts lucky or good? What’s the magic potion??

          There’s always a little luck, absolutely. Guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg were late picks, so yeah, that’s lucky…it speaks to Detroit’s development and scouting, but it also begs the question…why didn’t you draft them earlier?

          So, much of it is the farm system, talent evaluation and development…but some of it is luck too.

          • CitizenFlame

            You make an excellent point. Everyone always talks about drafting, and scouting. But how much of the equation is developing? There are a lot of posts calling for the scouts heads, but a lot of the time Calgary’s handling of the prospects and development of them should be questioned.

          • There are a lot of posts calling for the scouts heads, but a lot of the time Calgary’s handling of the prospects and development of them should be questioned.

            That’s exactly right…and a big part of Detroit’s success comes from Jim Nill’s work with Grand Rapids and the job the Griffins do down there.

          • icedawg_42

            i had the pleasure of meeting jimmy nill several years ago at a mid west elite league dominated tourney, what struck me the most was how interested he was in other peoples opinions.at the forementioned tourney was a kid by the name of claude giroux playing for the double aa elans de hearst completing against big money detroit clubs. outstanding tourney.

          • Theo is a junkie with a foot fetish

            great observation. perhaps they thought they would be good, but not as good as they became. savvy draft moves none the less. must be an intangible the wings look for. whatever it is they won’t share the secret.however, i don’t think they got lucky that many times without great information.

        • CitizenFlame

          “@CitizenFlame you quoted “that teams wouldn’t move a single player for multiple players” – luckily the Flames CAN’T do this any more cause they’re maxed out on contracts ;)”

          Exactly. On OT last night though, I think Pat was responding to all the trade proposals of trade “Hagman, Olli, and GlenX for player x” kind of stuff. And he was trying to tell people that teams aren’t going to go for those types of deals… except one that I can think of.

    • Punting the likes of Iginla, Reggie, Kipper, and so on, is not the right strategy. My thought is that you let these guys play out their contracts.

      That’s like having stock that was high, has dropped down a bit, looks to continue to be on the decline, and choosing to let that stock plummet straight to 0 and taking the loss.

      Assuming they can get good value (I believe they can on Iginla & Regehr, not sure on Kipper), there is no reason not to trade them. They’re likely their two highest valued assets in the trade market at this time. They could wait until the summer on Iggy, but Regehr should be moved by the deadline (again, assuming a good value return).

      • sadly neither iggie nor regehr are considered rental players, 7 million and 2 more seasons for iggy, regehr 4 million plus.many teams are cap sensitive or on tight budgets. also both players have nmc.

  • Colorado probably has better coaching and likely needs it because their GM is a scrooge and unwilling to spend money on high/over-priced players.

    Living in Colorado as I do is great, except for the fact that they win night in and night out with a team full of supporting characters and a goalie who played second fiddle until last year. While the Flames lose night in and night out with a cap-maxed roster full of aging veterans and never weres (Jokinen, Kotalik, et. all).

    Makes my liver turn to dust on a nightly basis…

  • GermanFlame

    Trade proposals… Ha.

    Time to get NHL 11 for christmas everyone and try it out to see how it works ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just kidding, But I have a little more positive mindset today than yesterday. The Flames arent playing! So nothing really to worry about, but yeah, as Teddy said this ESPN article is an interesting read:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/2845/daily-debate-time-for-calgary-to-blow-up-its-roster

    Bob Hartley was an interesting name put out there, while I dont think any coach could fix this Calgary team right now, Im in the boat of firing one Sutter(darryl), you might as well fire both…. Or all, and I include Ken King as a ‘Sutter’.

    On a side note, How about them world juniors? Its going to be fun to watch thats for sure!

    • espn is just the latest to hop on the flames rebuild topic. today’s situation was not overnight, its been 3 years plus in the making. the flames management tried to defy the post lockout trend. while others became younger and faster the sutter approach was to go against the current.

    • My feeling is that they will make a coaching change this season, because it’s the easy way out…Brent deserves some criticism, for sure, but I don’t think any coach is getting a ton from this mess.

      If that does happen, my guess is Darryl would return to coach.

      • B

        …I agree it is the “easy way out”. It is also the first step that needs to be made before radical wholesale changes are made. Good coaches sometimes fall to deaf ears, I think that is the case with Brent for whatever reason.

        • CitizenFlame

          If the Flames are going to rebuild then wouldn’t Brent be an ideal candidate with the coaching experience and success that he has had coaching younger players especially at the junior level? If the Flames were going to rebuild then I believe that Darryl would be the Sutter to fire and keep Brent. Either way, firing Brent and the coaching staff should be a decision to be made by the next GM.

          Furthermore, if the Flames fire Darryl and go with the scorched earth approach, trading away players for picks/prospects then they should consider bringing in Kisio as an assistant GM or advisor since he has a lot of experience looking at the junior level ranks and has had a lot of success at that level.

  • GermanFlame

    My 2 cents on the whole trading thing.

    The most viable trade out there, IMO, would be Iginla to Boston. I mean im not 100% on all the details but for me the main ones are:

    The Bruins have about 4mil in cap space available right now, with Calgary having about .5… Which is nothing (NHL numbers, Is sturm off the books meaning that Boston has quite a bit more now, or is that all factored in already?)

    No forward on the Bruins makes over(on average) 5 mil, while they have about 5 players making 4mil+.

    With Ryder (4mil cap hit) and Wheeler (2.2mil) cap hit coming off the books next year that gives them even more flexibility around the cap.

    Looking at the Bruins D, It does look a little shaky so maybe a depth D-man from the flames? Yeah never mind, other than the top 3, the others are a tough sell…

    That toronto pick if it is top 5, do the Bruins really want it that bad? They already have some great young forwards in Bergeron 25, Horton 25, Krejci 24 and Lucic only 22. Not to mention Seguin 18.

    With Chara 33, why not pull the trigger for the next two years? Chara still is a beast, but for how long? Anyone think he can go Lidstrom like and still be affective? I do, But we will see on that.

    With presumably the Toronto pick being top 5, why not package a deal with a ryder + that pick for Iginla and some sort of prospect?

    You could also be reuniting Savard and Iginla, and I think the Boston Bruins would look pretty freaking scary with a first line of Lucic Savard Iginla

    I probably sound ridiculous to some, and Im nowhere near saying this is ever going to happen, Clearly just a possibility . But man, If it ever did, and the flames didnt make the playoffs, I would become a bruins fan during the playoffs no doubt.

    Phew , done, If you stuck around and read all that, Thoughts? I could write an article about this, Just kidding ๐Ÿ™‚ .
    All the guys here at flames nation and all the comments here give me enough to read during the days.

    Merry Christmas to all, Probably wont be on again until after christmas time.
    (Are we going to be seeing any world Junior stuff on here, Or strictly flames? I wouldnt mind some updates on the prospects, Thanks again for the hard work guys!)

    • B

      one nice thing about trading with the eastern teams is you rarely face them unless in the final. alot safer than pulling a deal with a conference rival from a pr standpoint. whats a top five pick worth?

  • If Darryl steps back behind the bench, it means one or all of:

    – ownership actually believes that Darryl can right the ship as coach.

    – ownership is allowing Darryl to go down with his ship (a la Titanic).

    – ownership does not think Brent is the right guy for a rebuild… even with Darryl gone.

    – ownership is insane.

    – Darryl and ownership is actually one in the same… Darryl IS the owner.

    • B

      – ownership actually believes that Darryl can right the ship as coach.

      – ownership is allowing Darryl to go down with his ship (a la Titanic).

      …I think if this scenerio played out, it would be a combination of the two. Either Darryl makes the ship sail, or he goes down with it.

  • Oh man, allowing Darryl to coach again must be Darryl’s ultimate wet dream reclamation project.

    “Can I coach again after 4 seasons of terrible GMing? We gave Olli a chance and he’s doing great, so I must be able to do the same!”

    And we could trade Iginla. He gets a cup, we get some good value, and then Iginla comes back when his contract is up and finishes his career in Calgary, a la Lanny. In a perfect world…

  • I would love to see Iggy win a cup. Sadly it is not going to happen in a Flames jersey. He came so close too. I’m all for seeing him traded, if it weren’t for a trade sending Nieuwendyk to Dallas we wouldn’t even have Iginla. It all comes down to asset management, if we wait too long he’ll have depreciated & won’t be worth as much as he is right now.

  • dougtheslug

    The main problem with the idea that a rebuild can be fashioned by cashing in aging superstars is that recent NHL history shows that this is a difficult if not impossible feat to accomplish. First of all, most NHL GM’s are pretty shrewd these days – there just aren’t any Phil Espositos or Mike Milburys to fleece anymore. And most GM’s, with the notable exceptions of Darryl Sutter and Brian Burke, have subscribed to the Chicago Doctrine,that is, build slowly through the draft, develope players “in house”, and when the time is right, sign the missing piece through free agency and go for broke. It seems to me most commentators are overestimating what the return would be on trading Iginla, Regehr, or Kipper – check out what Atlanta got for Kovalchuk – Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier and a draft pick ( not bad players, but hardly the heart of a cup contender), or what Ottawa got for Dany Heatley – Michalek, Cheechoo and a draft pick,(a disaster for Ottawa, really) (the other offer they got that we know of was from the Oilers -Penner, Cogliano and Smid, again, not world beaters). And, as others have pointed out, Iginla is not a rental player but an expensive cap killer. Only a team that was really near the threshold of the Cup would risk picks and real prospects for any of the Flame bait. And even those aren’t sure things – Oilers got three first round picks from the Islanders for Ryan Smyth, and they turned out to be Robert Nilson, Alex Plante and Ryan O’Mara. Nobody is going to trade away surefire prospects – they are just too valuable in the post lockout NHL. Sutter and Burke have completely missed this particular boat. The slow rebuild is the only realistic option, and as we have seen with Edmonton, it is a painful process. The real problem as I see it is the Flames, having traded away draft picks for questionable veterans(jokinnen), are at least 2 years behind where they they could have been.How frustrating for Flames fans to see the Oilers draft FIVE players in L.A. in July (Taylor Hall and at least 2 players we will see in the WJC) before Calgary called their first name. Bottom feeding for 3 or 4 years is a tough thought to stomach, but when you look at the excitement being generated by the youngsters up the highway, it really seems the only way to go. There is no quick fix for this mess.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Heatley was publicly at odds with Sens management – his deal isn’t really representative of what could be expected for Iginla. I’ve never seen anyone anywhere accuse Kovalchuk of being anything but an incredibly one-dimensional (if quite good in that one dimension) player, which I think affects his value.

      That said, they were both in their primes when traded, while Iginla would not be. Still, not great comparables, and you can counter those lowball trades with the Pronger deal, which was a large payment.

      What could actually be gotten for Iggy remains to be seen, but I think Regehr could fetch a lot on the market. He’s still a good value contract, even given his age, and he’s still one of the best shutdown d-men in the league. He’s all leadery, too, if a team is looking for that.

    • CitizenFlame

      Overall I think I agree with you except I don’t think that your comparables are great. Kovie was a unrestricted free agent, so NJ had no guarantee that they would be able to keep him beyond the playoff run. Teams never give up too much in that type of situation and NJ probably gave up too much, imo. And Heatley’s trade demand was made public, and publicly ugly so every other GM in the league knew they had Murray caught with his pants around his ankles. Especially with a $4 million bonus approaching.

      I also think that especially Iginla but also Regehr would garner interest around the league for those teams that could afford it and need that type of player. I think that both players could garner a first pick and a player, maybe a 2nd rounder in Regehr’s case depending on the player coming back.

  • CitizenFlame

    Great article about the old Corral by George Johnson right now. What glorious days those must have been! If they can make a new arena pay some kind of homage to that old barn while still having modern amenities, then I say banish the Saddledome to the arctic iceflows along with Darryl Sutter and Company!

  • CitizenFlame

    here what i think, the whole coaching and managment structure needs the boot. then we trade guys like bourqe, reggie, jaybo, bassicaly guys with value. but keep iggy , i kno your gona say iginla isnt gona win a cup thn, but think about it. hes the perfect guy to help the prospects grow , also i do think calgary has a chance of winning a cup in 3 or 4 years if the team decides to rebiuld in the end of this season, so why not rightt

  • dougtheslug

    I agree with CitizenFlame and SmellofVictory that there are differences betweeen the circumstances of Kovalchuk, Heatley and Iginla. My point was really that there are no guarantees that a trade is going to result in bouncing the Flames back into a realistic contender. Trading a player like Iginla, a former Hart trophy winner with Hall of Fame numbers, on the downside of his career, has few precedents. SmellofVictory mentions the Pronger trade(I assume he means the Anaheim to Philly one, not the Edmonton to Anaheim one but they are both illustrative of what I’m saying).Edmonton had its hand forced much like Ottawa did with Heatley, and they got Lupul, Smid, and a low 1st rounder which turned out to be Riley(not Rick!) Nash. Not a great return. Anaheim, under very different circumstances(just off a Cup win) got Lupul(again!), Lucas Sbisa, and 2 low first rounders which turned into Emerson Etem (having a decent year in Medicine Hat) and Kyle Palmieri who will play for USA in the WJC).Not bad but illustrative of my point that it will take a few years to play out as to who got the better of that deal. I think that is the best Calgary can hope for – prospects and picks that will take years to develope. Prospects can be tricky, and one has to be patient and buy in to the slow rebuild.

  • dougtheslug

    One further comment: with all due respect to Robyn Regehr, a good guy and a decent shut down d-man, he is no Chis Pronger, who, no matter what you think of him as a person, was an all-world stud who basically carried 3 underdogs to the cup final on his back, winning one. And we saw what Edmonton and Anaheim got for him in the prime of his career with decent contract numbers. It is a lot to hope for that Calgary could get more than a few draft picks and a couple of longshot prospects for Regehr if they were to trade him now.

  • I don’t think Calgary knew Jarome would turn into the player that Jarome is when they traded for him.

    Prospects are never a sure fire thing, but you have to get younger. Boston could be an ideal trade partner given that they would have to rid themselves of a player to fit in Iggy’s salary, a guy like Wheeler would be nice coming back. He’s young, big, would fit great on a line with Bork.