Postgame: Hello Shootout My Old Friend

Calgary probably shouldn’t have given up a three goal lead Wednesday night in Dallas, but in the end it was the Flames coming away with two points thanks to a 4-3 shootout win over the Stars.  The truth is, it wasn’t Calgary’s strongest game, and they’re league leading wins total in the shootout will end up sinking them in the event of a tiebreak…but it’s a win, and the Flames move on to Phoenix for another crucial game.

What Happened

Dallas seemed to have some jump off the hop, with Brad Richards returning to the lineup for the first time in ten games, but Calgary had the first chance thanks to a Mark Giordano shot that rang off the post.  That seemed to turn things for the visitors, as they’d get on the board midway through the first period thanks to a Curtis Glencross pass to Rene Bourque out front, and at 10:26 the Flames had a 1-0 lead.  It would start a bit of a surge, and Calgary would score 62 seconds later after Mikael Backlund would make a nice move to the front of the net, and after a bit of a scramble, Tom Kostopoulos would jam home his sixth of the season for a two goal lead.  Then at 13:41, with Calgary really pushing, Anton Babchuk would drive home a rocket from the right point for his 11th of the season and a quick 3-0 lead.  The Stars would get some powerplay time late in the frame, and after not being able to score on a two man advantage, Jamie Benn would pot his 18th on the tail end of powerplay time to give Dallas some jump heading into the second.

Calgary would be pretty fortunate to come out of the second period still with the lead, as the Stars would outshoot the Flames 15-4 and outchancing them in a large degree as well.  Dallas would score once, with Mike Ribeiro ripping home his 14th at 5:12 to get the Stars within one after the Stars gained an odd man rush.  Nonetheless, the Flames took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.

Dallas would tie it early on in the third, with Tomas Vincour netting his first ever NHL goal on a nice play by him to keep a play alive behind the net.  He’d wrap around and rip one high on Miikka Kiprusoff, a goal Kipper might want to have back.  A late powerplay for Dallas got them close to taking the lead in regulation, but Calgary would survive and off to overtime we’d go.

The extra frame was great to watch, as both teams had scoring chances, including Kiprusoff robbing Alex Goligoski and Kari Lehtonen making a number of great saves at the other end, including a goal line stand on Matt Stajan.  Then off to a shootout, where Alex Tanguay and Mike Ribeiro would score respectively, setting up an opportunity for Glencross to finish it off…a nice little hesitation would give him a little room to do just that, for a 4-3 Calgary win; their eighth shootout win this season.

One Good Reason…

…why Calgary won?  Because they survived a poor second period and had the coin flip on their side in the shootout once again.  Dallas could have really done some damage in that middle frame, but some big stops from Kiprusoff allowed Calgary’s three goal lead to be enough in the end.  The Flames certainly do have success in shootouts, and it’s not just good fortune.  Tanguay has been money all year, and Kiprusoff has also done a very nice job…so while it is a coin flip, the Flames have done a nice job affecting what side the coin lands on.

Red Warrior

I’m going to do it.  I’m going with Anton Babchuk.  I thought he was fairly good defensively overall, and even made a few good plays against real opposition.  He covered one chance that developed off a bad pinch from Steve Staios, he blocked two more shots, and he scored a dam holding goal in the first period.  I know the guy is closer to Rick Berry on the ice than Jay Bouwmeester, but he’s added something.

Sum It Up

The most important things is, it’s a win.  I totally understand the negative that comes along with a league leading shootout wins total, BUT, if Calgary keeps playing winning hockey, they may not be a in a tiebreaker situation when it’s all said and done.  We’d all rather not have the Flames hack up three goal leads, that’s not desirable at all, and yes they gave a point to the Stars…but they’ve moved into a tie for fourth in the West, and it’s all about Thursday’s game in Phoenix now.

  • Vintage Flame

    Great choice for the Red Warrior tonight Pat. Don’t look now guys, but Babchuk might end up with 15 goals? maybe a few more.

    This guy is proving to be the ideal D-man for Calgary. Before you call me crazy, hear me out. Sutter has done such and amazing job of managing this guy since coming here, that he has filled his role on this team to a tee. Add to that, his contributions to the PP and we have a whole new dimension for this guy.

    No, he doesn’t play against the oppositions top lines, but the Flames don’t need him to be that guy.. That’s what they have J-Bo and Regehr for.

    I have been really impressed with his play over the last month and I think he was a great choice for the Red Warrior tonight. He also made some nice defensive plays tonight. I think back to the 3rd period when Staios “hesitated” in stepping up at the Dallas blue line, puck got chipped by him and away the Stars player went. Babs made a nice recovery in chasing him down and knocking the puck off the players stick.

    So while he will never be a Norris candidate or the next Chris Pronger [although I hate Pronger], he is doing just fine at what Sutter wants him to do. flames PP% is 37% over the past 5 games or something.. I’m sure he has something to do with that. You can see teams no longer ignoring him and have to pay some atttention to the big shot. It’s opening lanes for guys like Iggy and Glencross.

  • CitizenFlame

    This isn’t directed at you Vintage, but why does everyone always have to attach the disclaimer that Babchuck has been well coached by Sutter, or that he doesn’t play the other teams best lines before they have positive comments about his play? We don’t say that about Moss when he is playing well, or Bourque, or GlenX.

    Babchuck has been excellent in the role that he was brought in to play, period. He has brought an element that the Flames didn’t have. While Bouwmeester and Regehr are counted on to shut down other teams top lines, Babchuck has been brought in to play sound against other teams bottom end and be a PP specialist. After a rocky start he has excelled at both in my estimation.

    • Vintage Flame

      I think a lot of people throw in the “disclaimer” because there are a lot of people that have been jumping all over J-Bo and his contract. With the impeding UFA status of Babchuk, there has been a lot of talk here in the Nation about signing him, “cause he has more goals than Reggie and J-Bo combined.”

      As much as Babs has, and I agree with your wording, excelled in his role here; will it garner or should it garner him a lofty raise? I don’t think so, and I think the point of it all is, that if this “role” play gives him or his agent a swelled ego, then the Flames might just end up showing him the door in the off-season.

      • As much as Babs has, and I agree with your wording, excelled in his role here; will it garner or should it garner him a lofty raise? I don’t think so, and I think the point of it all is, that if this “role” play gives him or his agent a swelled ego, then the Flames might just end up showing him the door in the off-season.

        That’s the problem man…his numbers very well may garner him a raise. And if you were his agent, you’d pump it for all it’s worth. If you’re saying Babchuk at $3 million next season, I’d say no 100 times out of 100.

        • Vintage Flame

          “That’s the problem man…his numbers very well may garner him a raise. And if you were his agent, you’d pump it for all it’s worth. If you’re saying Babchuk at $3 million next season, I’d say no 100 times out of 100.”

          Oh I agree, undoubtedly someone is going to go all “Sather” and offer him a whack load of money. What a lot of teams are going to missing the ball on is exactly what CF was saying we don’t need to discuss all the time, the disclaimer. Someone is going to think he can play a 1/2 or 3/4 pairing and make a really bad call.

          This guy REALLY reminds me a lot of Dion Phaneuf. Dion came out of junior sheltered from other teams top lines.. he played his pairing well and was effective on the powerplay. then he got moved to the top pairing with Regehr and got just decimated! His offensive production tanked and he was garbage on his own blue line. As a result Toronto is now stuck with his big contract. A very eerie parallel to the situation the Flames have with Babchuk

          • I don’t see it being all that similar.

            Babchuk is 26 and, while improved defensively this season, is still a 5-6 defender.

            Even in his early seasons in Calgary, Phaneuf saw some real opposition. Even though he wasn’t great at doing it, he played against better players than Babchuk is right now.

            On top of that, Phaneuf was 21, 22, and 23 years old and being thrust into a role he wasn’t ready for. Babchuk is being much more sheltered 5 on 5 than Phaneuf ever was, that’s just fact. And like it or not, Phaneuf is developing into an all round defenceman…and I’d take him over Babchuk if you were to compare defenceman to defenceman every single time. The contract situation clouds it…but if you were to ask me to choose between Babchuk at 3 or Phaneuf at 6.5, I’d go with Phaneuf.

            Babchuk has done a nice job, but the Phaneuf story still hasn’t been totally written.

          • icedawg_42

            My opinion on the matter really echo’s what y’all are saying – he’s good for the money if the money isn’t much more than 1.5. My real question is this: 4:18 AM Pat? Don’t you ever sleep? Did OT go THAT long??

      • BobB

        Those were my words you quoted VintageFlame, so just to keep it in context I made that statement regarding Babchuk’s role.

        Which is to play third pairing competition and to score goals at 1.4 million dollars.

        1.4 million dollars doesn’t get you much from the back-end, but if it can get you 10-15 goals, I would say that is excellent value of THAT measure.

        However, there is no mistaking the low quality of competition that Babchuk faces vs JBO or Regehr.

        I wouldn’t re-sign Babchuk for over 2 million, and even that may be too much because you cannot invest 4-5 million dollars in the third pair… it’s not cap-responsible.

        That comment you quoted was a response Kent’s previous ideas on Babchuk, and I was illustrating that through a comparison vs JBO and Regehr on offense alone.

        It’s up to everyone else to determine whether JBO and Regehr are worth the other 10million on defensive prowess that Babchuk doesn’t have.

        I personally believe they are, but that doesn’t change the fact that Babs has superior upside for his offensive game at 1.4mil. And it’s not like defensively he is completely inept…. he is a good third pairing guy. But that doesn’t earn you 3million dollars in this cap world.

        • icedawg_42

          I agree – Babs has come a long way defensively. Some offensive upside against weaker comp – and I agree that 2Mil would be an absolute ceiling. I think Feaster and Sutter know what they have with him, im not too worried that he’ll cash in more than he deserves. (at least not here)

    • I agree, but I caution because I don’t want the Flames to overpay for a pending UFA that is limited. He’s at 1.4 right now and good for that money. Much more, and I don’t know how down I am.

      Second, Moss has played against damn good opposition this season, and so has Glencross lately.

  • CitizenFlame

    I think (well hope) that the Flames see what they have with Babchuk and sign him accordingly. $1.5-2 anything above that is overpaying. But you never know.

  • icedawg_42

    The disclaimer thing kind of eats at me too, because it is so obvious, but I get why people put it there, because some might get confused and think Babchuk is a first pairing defencemen with the numbers he puts up.

    I think Babchuk is better defensively than most people give him credit for. He’s not overly physical or fast, but he’s in position most of the time and he has a long reach which makes the offence back off a bit.

    To me Glencross and Borque are similar type of players. Similar in the sense that they both can score, but they both can be incredibly streaky and prone to excessive floating in the offensive zone and bone head plays that cost us in one way or another in the defensive zone. I think Sutter chose Borque over Glencross when he inked Borque to that 6 year deal for 3.3 per. I have no objections to that, but I’d like to get Glencross at a lower number and term if possible.

    As for new contract terms and prices for Babchuk and Glencross, like I posted yesterday, I’d max Babchuk out at 3 million and Glencross at 4 million for a one year deal. I would give Babchuk 2 million and Glencross 3 million for up to a 3 year deal, anything longer than 3 years would have to be at a discount.

    • As for new contract terms and prices for Babchuk and Glencross, like I posted yesterday, I’d max Babchuk out at 3 million and Glencross at 4 million for a one year deal. I would give Babchuk 2 million and Glencross 3 million for up to a 3 year deal, anything longer than 3 years would have to be at a discount.

      Dude, where is the team getting all this money? You’re contract terms are totally unrealistic. If Langkow’s 4.5 is coming back on the cap, they’re even more cash strapped then they already are…anything more than 2 for Babchuk is walk-away territory, no questions asked. The line for Glencross is a floating one.

  • I’ll jump in here to clarify the issue of attaching caveats to players like Anton Babchuk.

    The point of talking about his production vs. his role is that your perception of him is heavily influenced by the way he’s used because of it’s extreme nature. For instance, Babchuk certainly looks capable defensively right now I agree – but he’s essentially one of the top 5 most sheltered defenders in the league amongst those who are regular skaters. It’s therefore almost certain that if he was played like a regular ol’ defenseman – even a run of the mill 3rd defender on many teams – his value would suddenly plunge in a lot of people’s eyes.

    I mentioned Ian White in my last post on the matter for a reason. That guy was up around a 60% zone start in TOR when the Flames traded for him. He played more minutes than Babchuk and tougher comp, but was still put in a position to succeed.

    And succeed he did. White was 5th overall in terms of ES scoring amongst defenders last year with 29 points. That was as many as Dan Boyle and more than Drew Doughty.

    His results were really good, including his possession rate. I was even fooled by them – I wrote that he might be the best part of the Phanuef trade when it went down.

    White arrived in town, Sutter put him with Regehr where he played tough comp and started in his own zone more often and bam – he looks useless. He starts this season in a similar role and he gets eaten up. He goes to CAR who try to play him a in top-two role with Pitkanen and he struggles. As a result, no one remembers that he was a 38 point player last year anymore.

    None of this is to say Babchuk hasn’t contributed in his way – his shot is definitely above average, so even though I doubt he’ll continue to shoot 10% or so in Flames colors forever, he could very well be a relatively high percentage shooter from the back-end. He’s certainly a nice presence on the PP.

    I’d like to keep him, but within a very bounded price range because the team will also need to pay the guys who can play the tougher minutes that allow Babchuk to be effective otherwise.

  • everton fc

    This team has good chemistry. Why mess with it off-season, especially if we go on a nice playoff run? If Langkow returns, we may be old, but think of the depth, not to mention a full season with Glencross/Jokinen/Moss, if we re-sign Glencross….

    Hagman and Stajan could (should) be cut loose. Sarich for one more year, I can take. He and Babchuk as your 5-6 tandem, to me, is one of the best in the league. I think he’ll stay for 2 yrs/$2mill. The organization gave him a chance. His career was resurrected here. Unless he’s just another rambling mercenary (seems many of the Russian players can be), he may want to stay. Of course, if someone offers him $3mill/season, even for 1 year, he’ll probably jet.

    Hagman should be easy to move off-season if we take a lower pick. Perhaps the same w/Stajan, though he’s still young. He may bounce back. You never know. I’d rather see him somewhere else, of course… A nice #4 d-man to pair with Gio would be a nice addition if Brodie and/or Erixon can’t cut the mustard.

    • Hagman should be easy to move off-season if we take a lower pick. Perhaps the same w/Stajan, though he’s still young. He may bounce back. You never know. I’d rather see him somewhere else, of course… A nice #4 d-man to pair with Gio would be a nice addition if Brodie and/or Erixon can’t cut the mustard.

      I don’t see how Hagman is easy to move. He’s a $3 million hit for very little productivity. There aren’t a ton of teams out there itching to take on a bad value contract straight up. Unless you can find a team needing to hit the floor, I don’t see that happening.

      How great would it be if it did though?

        • He’s shown nothing to suggest a good run though. He’s a very average hockey player right now, plus he’s 30 years old. You might be able to get a contract back, maybe slightly less, but shedding the entire $3 million would shock me.

      • T&A4Flames

        I still find it hard to believe that someone wouldn’t take a chance on Hagman with just 1 year left; he’s had a pretty decent career. Someone in rebuild that needs to meet the cap floor may try, I hope. Stajan, I think, is ours unless he starts showing more skill and determination. I too would like to keep Babchuk for security but not at 2mil or more.

  • Super_Gio

    Stajan still couldn’t score the OT winner last night….No kidding.
    I would have stopped the slamming (just a bit) if he would have dug HARDER… Lehtonen did make a great save in that situation too however.