Postgame: Probably Flattering

It may have been a one goal game, but the score probably flattered the Calgary Flames in the end, as the team lost their third straight game by a 4-3 score at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes.  Far too many defensive breakdowns would cost the Flames in the end, and a late push wasn’t going to be enough against a fairly defensively sound Coyotes team, who won their fourth game this season against Calgary, sweeping the season series.

What Happened

The first period wasn’t a strong one for the Flames, as they’d lose the scoring chance count 7-2, and they’d find themselves down 1-0 at 8:25.  Taylor Pyatt would win a puck battle with Jay Bouwmeester in the left corner, and eventually feed a pass to Vernon Fiddler; Lee Stempniak would take Fiddler’s pass in the slot and wire it through for a 1-0 lead.  However, as has been the case over the last while, the puck bounced Calgary’s way late in the period.  After a huge Miikka Kiprusoff stop at one end, Rene Bourque would race down the right wing and fire a shot on Ilya Bryzgalov; the rebound would come to Olli Jokinen on the opposite side, and he’d be good for his 15th of the season at 18:02.  A late goal gave Calgary the opportunity to turn the tide in the second on even footing.

It was a good start to the middle frame for the home side, as they did a nice job tilting things and keeping the play in the Phoenix end.  But a defensive breakdown allowed Lauri Korpikoski to chip a Shane Doan pass to Eric Belanger; on a breakaway, Belanger would go roof on the backhand to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead at 6:11.  The Flames would get some decent zone time down the stretch in the second, but were unable to get much to the scoring areas, and Phoenix was able to carry a one goal lead into the third.

The final frame saw a nightmare start for the Flames, as they would fall down by two just 1:53 in, with Keith Yandle getting his 11th followed 19 seconds later by Michal Roszival’s fifth on the year.  Two quick strike goals all but put this game away, but it did cue a spirited Calgary comeback.  The Flames would get a powerplay shortly after Roszival’s marker at score just five second into it, with Mikael Backlund tallying his ninth at 3:09, and all of a sudden the offensive onslaught was on.  A chasing Calgary team continued to press, and on a fast break, Alex Tanguay would emerge from his cloak of invisibility to fire his 19th past Bryzgalov at 9:28, and all of a sudden we had a hockey game.  And then the Coyotes went into shutdown mode, and didn’t allow much from there…in fact, getting more quality chances than the Flames in the latter stages of the period.  Calgary wasn’t able to do much with the goalie pulled late, and Phoenix was able to right the ship and hold on for a 4-3 win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  In this one, they took far too long to start playing any hockey of note.  Quite seriously, Calgary was ineffective, listless, lethargic and lazy for 35 to 40 minutes of this game, or longer.  A late third period push isn’t going to be enough most nights in this league, regardless of the resolve it shows from the team.  Against another playoff team, efforts like this aren’t acceptable, and Head Coach Brent Sutter said exactly the same thing in his postgame address.  The message was clear: you can’t play poor hockey at this time of year, and you certainly can’t string losses like this together.

Red Warrior

On a night where no one was overly impressive, I’ll go back to the ace in the hole…Tim Jackman.  He was around the puck, had some push, wasn’t underwater in the chance count, and very physical.  That’s what Jackman does ever night out, so when there’s a rather unimpressive game, you can always go back to him.

Sum It Up

No one single loss is going to be of the crippling nature at this point, but stringing this many losses together (even though it’s just three) is going to make the climb a whole lot steeper.  They’ve got ten games to go this season.  They’ve got four must, must, must wins (two vs. Edmonton, two vs. Colorado).  They’ve got one must, must win (St. Louis).  And then they’ve got five against much tougher opposition.  Take care of business against the junk and try your luck against the teams of note, and we’ll see where they end up.

  • List of interim GMs NOT returning next season: Jay Feaster.

    Seriously, Carson has only played 1 game, and Modin is hurt. Pardy, Morrison, and Moss being out kills us and yet Feaster did nothing to prepare for this.

    In fact, I’m pretty sure he banked on the ability to recall Kotalik as a way to alleviate any forward concerns should any injuries occur. We’ve come this far, we are looking like crap, and as I’ve said before, are bound for 9th place and a poor draft pick.

    This team just teases the heart…

    • Resolute

      First, I meant to quote that, not prop it, lol.

      “Seriously, Carson has only played 1 game, and Modin is hurt. Pardy, Morrison, and Moss being out kills us and yet Feaster did nothing to prepare for this.”

      Carson has played two now, and hilariously enough, you blame Feaster for not preparing for the loss of Pardy, when that is exactly what the acquisition of Carson was intended to accomplish: add another Dman who can play bottom six minutes if needed.

      There is only so much one can do to prepare for a rash of injuries. Losing your top line centre is not something you can overcome easily. Usually, the best you can do is hope their replacement can be adequate for the duration. Losing *his* replacement, in freaking practice of all things, is going to affect anybody.

      Fortunately (!) Kotalik is coming back up today, and should be able to give us more than the 4 minutes Sutter trusted Carson with in an emergency role last night.

      Feaster did what he could with the assets he had available to give up. That is not to state that I think he has the job locked up, merely that it is unfair to criticize a GM for not expecting three injuries in such a short period of time. It happens, teams deal, that’s hockey.

  • Feaster staying pat at the deadline was not a bad idea at the time. He didn’t want to give up assets or split up the team that was playing well.

    What would have happened if he did sell some assets, acquire a useful player and we didn’t make the playoffs? He would have got roasted.

    I am not a Feaster sympathizer by any means but I don’t blame him for his deadline moves.

  • 2 things:

    I’m not willing to say the chances of the Flames are shot. They’ll have to play some damn good hockey for the rest of the season to make it, but remember…4 games against the Avs and Oilers is enough to get anybody hot.

    Second, I’m not convinved the Flames really let Feaster do much at the deadline. His moves were easy, no risk moves that could be made by the soon-to-be-GM, but they could also just as easily be made by a placeholder. Until that acting tag is gone from Feaster’s title, I don’t think we’re going to see him making moves with any real impact.

    • icedawg_42

      Both points are true – BUT: need 7 of 11 now to make 95 points…another tough hill to climb..especially with the “injury bug” rearing it’s head…and very uninspired for 40+ minutes last night for a team with it’s back in the corner. We still haven’t seen what Feaster is really all about, but I agree with you – he did probably about as much as made sense…I still would have been tempted to move GlenX (as much as I hate the sound of that) for a 2nd/high 3rd. I can understand Brent’s frustration after last night…someone tell the Flames that a 40 foot cross ice at your blueline makes for a lot of unsuccessful breakouts! Once the Flames finallyl started some North/South movement out of their zone, they scored 3 goals. I dont know what they were thinking. Phoenix’s puck movement was so much crisper than the Flames last night – night and day from the Flames. I hope they can REALLY pick it up from here on out. On another note, I thought Backlund could have been the Red Warrior – he was driving hard, forechecking deep and backchecking hard. He still looks pretty young out there.

  • Cool Beans

    The Flames will not make the playoffs. They will be tied and lose the tie breaker. Then the whole debate on an old team with no prospects can begin again. This last month brought a short reprive from that topic.

  • Im glad the Flames weren’t “buyers” at this trade deadline. They had precious little to sell and the fare that was offered was low grade.

    The real issue is going to continue to be: should the team have been sellers?

    • Resolute

      I thought they should’ve been. I’m looking at it purely from a hockey perspective as opposed to the financial benefits of making the playoffs, but I never saw the Flames as a team to contend for the cup this year without a good deal of luck on their side. That, to me, meant the pending UFAs of a useful nature should’ve been either resigned prior to the deadline or traded for the standard picks/prospects/younger players.

      • I thought they should’ve been. I’m looking at it purely from a hockey perspective as opposed to the financial benefits of making the playoffs, but I never saw the Flames as a team to contend for the cup this year without a good deal of luck on their side. That, to me, meant the pending UFAs of a useful nature should’ve been either resigned prior to the deadline or traded for the standard picks/prospects/younger players.

        But you’re missing the point.

        Your ideas have merit in an ideal world, but realistically, the Flames weren’t giving Feaster the reigns to do that, I’m convinced. If the team isn’t allowing him to make moves with long term ramifications, it’s unfair to criticize him.

    • everton fc

      I don’t think a team red-hot at the trade deadline can conceivably be a “seller”. We were on a roll. And the group in the dressing room deserved to continue the roll.

      Feaster tried to mvoe Hagman via the waiver-wire. That would have perhaps made us a “buyer”, again, due to our being in a playoff race. I would have supported a “buy” of some significance – someone young, with an upside. All of us would have…

      Where I think Feaster missed the boat was picking up a more experienced d-man off the waiver wire. Nick Boynton was cheap, and available. Could he be worse than Mikkelson and Carson? Indeed, he’s better. No doubt.

      I had mentioned players like Reasoner before. He would have added some cheap depth, reliable depth, both on the ice, and in body, as he is a durable player without a past riddled with injuries. I also would have taken a chance on Chris Neil, but that’s me. I like those type of players. Instead, we pick up Modin, a 36 year old, certified gimp. Sure, he cost nothing… fiscally speaking. But doing so little at the deadline may have cost us a playoff run… Not to mention it begs to question the forced retirement of Conroy… How is Modin an improvement on Conroy?

      Kotalik is a logical call-up. Makes total sense. Because we lack depth on the farm. And now in our dressing room, when we need it most. I know Feaster’s hands were/are probably tied due to bad contracts (Hagman, Stajan, Staois, Kotalik). And I know it’s easy for me to sit here an be critical. I’m just a fan. This is Feaster’s job on the line.

      He played it safe. Or so it seems…

  • Super_Gio

    My goodness…Lethargic is right.
    This team just can’t put its head down and shoot themselves in the foot all because of a few injuries. It looked like they didn’t even try for the first 45.
    An emotional roller-coaster this team is and if they can’t beat the Avs in their own barn…

    Can’t dwell move on and GET IT DONE TOMORROW!

  • Gange

    Well of all the times for this team to suddenly get cold again, this is probably the worst.

    This is truly the time that separates the playoff teams from the ‘also ran’ teams. It wasn’t long ago that this team showed some killer instinct.

    The question really is:

    Which team is this really? My hope, along with some playoff chances are fading.

    Maybe Kotalik can save us? LMAO!!

  • Super_Gio

    Good God. Starting to look like the Flames of the last several years with ten games to go. Choking their way out of the playoffs. Remember them backing in twice in the last 4 years. Come on Iggy!!! Get you head out of your arse and grab the bloody team by the horn and lead. What was it? One goal in the last 15 games last season??? After that penalty shot against Nashville, he has done nothing! After Nashville, it marked 15 games left on the sched… be afraid… very afraid….

    Then again, this is just learnt behaviour of us Flames fans. Same old book, same old ending. Maybe the players read it too and acting on it.

  • Resolute

    Seems to me this miracle run is coming to an end. Fact of the matter is this team has already exceeded my expectations right from day one.

    I dont agree Feaster is the man to blame. Should he have been a seller on draft day? After seeing the real value of what a draft pick is worth, even a first rounder, I dont think he made the wrong decision. It will be very interesting to see what they do with the UFA’s this summer. It’s not Feasters fault this is still Darryls team.

    The person I am really curious to see what they will do with is Karlsson. Irving seems to be doing a pretty good job in the AHL, maybe its time to see if he can handle being Kippers caddy? If they aren’t going to play him 20 games they should leave him in the AHL because it will just waste his development.

    Get rid of Staios, see if you could trade Sarich for anything (might happen), see the interest in Regher (a good young forward like Hanzal, or Regher + for Stastny) if those are available for sure trade him, if not keep him. Let Babchuk go, let Erixson, Brodie, Pardy and Pelech (is he still considered anything?) figure out who will fill the last 3 spots on the roster.

    I think Bendan Morrison was a huge loss for this team, bigger than most assume. His on ice play was really good but his leadership is what I think they are missing. I remember after one of the games where his line scored a combined 9 points and he still called them out for not being good enough. After reading Iggy’s post game comments he likes to make a lot of excuses and just said, “games like these happen.” Games like that happen when your the CGY Flames and it happens year after year. Good teams dont let games like this happen where you coast for most of it. I still cant help but wonder if they can get Schenn for him…

    • Gange

      Here we go again with the talk of “blowing it up”.

      Losing Regehr and Iginla isn’t the answer. You need these players to mold rookies.

      I hope I don’t have to listen to a whole summer of “blow it up!”

      Change will come and the team starts to have wiggle room as of July 1st. Patience please.

      • If they could pull off 2 trades:

        1) Regher + for Stastny

        and

        2) Iginla for Brayden Schenn

        You honestly wouldnt do it? Im not saying blow it up for the sake of blowing it up. Its really just evaluating what your players are worth and making decisions based off of the return.

        I would take both of those trades…

        • Gange

          Regehr for Stasny? Iginla for Schenn?

          Both are decent trades but honestly I wouldn’t do them. At some point drafting players of your own has to be a focus.

          What I would prefer is that you trade “someone” and a first for a higher first rounder. Get a good young solid player and start molding him next year. If you trade Iginla for Schenn, who does Schenn learn from? Bourque? Stajan?

          Not that I disagree with you in that this team needs fresh blood but you’ve got to keep a framework in place.

    • CitizenFlame

      I agree totally. I really like the way Backlund is playing lately and I think offensively we’re really starting to see him play with confidence. He seems to be starting to realize that he can play with the big boys as he seems to be stronger on the puck. That goal against Vancouver was a thing of beauty.

      • T&A4Flames

        Yeah, that was a totally impressive, confident play. The move on Lou was awesome but it was the steal on Samualson that was really impressive. Youthful desire and energy to stick with it and beat the vet. Backlund has been very good, I IMO, on the defensive side, but his offensive abilities are really starting to show; and they are, as I said, quite impressive!

  • T&A4Flames

    I really hope they are not pushing him along because of the situation they are in with Moss and Morrison being injured. His ability to live a full and healthy life is WAY more important than the Flames making the playoffs. That said, I really hope he is good to go because aside from his skill, what a positive boost that would be for the team to see him back.

          • CitizenFlame

            Is this a question or a statement? And that would depend on Lankow’s fitness level. I can’t personally see how he would be fit at this point of the season. Teams are pretty much in playoff mode and he is entering training camp. That being said, just having him in practice is probably an emotional boost for the team. Just when they appear to need one.

          • Parallex

            I dunno man, I think Langkow would instantly become the best centre the team has if he were to come back today.

            $ to move would probably be Kotalik & Bouma (Approx 3.5M full year) and we’d need probably about 1M (again full year) more. So Moss if he’s going on LTIR will do it or Mickis since he’s one of the few waiver exempt that we have available. That’s what I figure but between the LTIR rules, daily cap calculation, bonus cushion, and shifting salary due to trades/waivers I just don’t know the exact amount that would be needed.

  • Parallex

    if langkow is indeed participating in full contract drills, what impact would he truly make at this point. it would be unrealistic to veiw his return as impact. seeing its game 72.