PGD: Do Over

After falling 6-1 to the San Jose Sharks Sunday night, Flames prospects are back on the ice tonight in Penticton for a game against the host Vancouver Canucks (5 pm, Sportsnet).  Both teams lost their openers at the Young Stars Tournament, with the Canucks falling 7-2 to the Oilers in the late game on Sunday.  It’s an opportunity for a number of Flames to bounce back, most notably goaltender Joni Ortio, who will get the start once again.

Ortio was in net for all six goals last night and did not have a good night.  You can attribute some of that to adjusting to North American ice along with a little rust, but it doesn’t change the fact he didn’t have a good night either.  We’ll see if things are a little better tonight, and we’ll also see if he’s kept in for the entire game this time around.

The Lineup

Up front, Calgary will make a number of changes as expected.  The veteran line of Mitch Wahl, Lance Bouma and Greg Nemisz will not play tonight, joining Carter Bancks, Roman Horak, and Ryan Howse as scratches up front.  The Wahl line had some nice stretches against San Jose, as they should, all having a season of pro hockey under their belts.  The one issue they ran into was turning solid possession into quality scoring chances; we’ll likely see them back together Wednesday against the Oilers.  Here are lines tonight:

Patrick Holland-Max Reinhart-Sven Baertschi
Michael Ferland-Dustin Sylvester-Bryan Cameron
Logan MacMillan-Gaelan Patterson-Blake Gal
C.J. Severyn-Justin Dowling-Turner Elson

Sylvester, Cameron, MacMillan, Severyn, Dowling, and Elson will all play for the first time in the tournament.  I’m interested to watch Cameron specifically, as he had a difficult transition to the pro game last year with Abbotsford.  After scoring 53 goals in his final year of OHL hockey, he had just six with the Heat last season; I talked to him at length on Sunday, and I’ll have an article up later this week.

No surprise seeing Holland and Reinhart back together; Troy Ward spoke very highly of their work following Sunday’s loss, and now they get a chance to have the skilled Baertschi on their flank.  Those three forwards were the three best against the Sharks, as Holland and Reinhart can play it both ways; they did a nice job with possession.  Adding the offensive weapons of Baertschi should be very interesting.

A few changes on the blueline, as Joey Leach is the notable name sitting out.  T.J. Brodie and Chris Breen will be the focus for a lot of interested observers tonight after their rough outing against the Sharks.  Both guys looked really out of sync and we hope to see a lot more tonight, especially defensively.  I thought John Negrin had a strong first period, and aside from a couple oops moments in the final 40 minutes, was the top Flames defenceman throughout.

Peter Kosterman-Chris Breen
John Negrin-James Martin
Reid Jackson-T.J. Brodie

Photo courtesy HitmenHockey.com

Kosterman is a Calgary Hitmen product playing on a tryout basis.  I talked to him today and he’s got a really good head on his shoulders and is very well adjusted.  On top of that, he seems to be handling the pressure of playing on a tryout very well.  In his first game, he says he’s focused on not trying to be too noticeable, knowing if he plays his game the people who matter will take note.

The Opponent

No word on who is in or out for the Canucks tonight after they were shelled 7-2 by Edmonton the night before.  We do know the ten players who did not play skated this morning, so you’ll likely see these players get some ice time tonight:

  • Antoine Roussel, Providence (AHL)
  • Stefan Schneider, Manitoba (AHL)
  • Andrew Smith, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
  • Steven Janes, Ottawa (OHL)
  • Ryan Harrison, Everett (WHL)
  • Kellen Tochkin, Medicine Hat (WHL)
  • Marc Anthony Zanetti, Ottawa (OHL)
  • Craig Duininck, Windsor (OHL)
  • Ian Saab, Lewiston (QMJHL)
  • Brendan Jensen, Vancouver (WHL)

It was a rough night for David Honzik in net for the Canucks, as he had some struggles during his time on the ice.  Granted, the team in front of him had some rather glaring defensive miscues.  Up front, Darren Archibald came away with two points, as he paced Vancouver’s most impressive line along with Alex Friesen and Nicklas Jensen.

The Story

Sunday’s game was the first of a preseason tournament for Flames prospects, so getting too worried about a 6-1 loss is a little silly.  In fact, the 6-1 score wasn’t even indicitave of how the prospects played, as they carried the play for the majority of the contest.  Seeing Ortio bounce back would be nice, more for the kid than for the organization; regardless of his tournament, Ortio is still thought of very highly by the team.

  • RexLibris

    Just wondering if Flames fans want to see anyone drop the gloves at these games?

    I read Charron’s article today and watched Teubert get sent home early because of a broken nose and I have to wonder if GMs are going to start adding a no-fighting caveat to their participation. All it will take is a MacIntyre/Ivanans incident and a whole year of a kid’s development is lost.

    Also, can anyone tell me what the name of the Canucks diving coach is?

    • I would prefer to not see them fight. I’m not anti-fighting in hockey, I just think it’s stupid at these tournaments. These guys are here to show their skill at playing hockey, scoring goals, defending, etc. and NOT how many other guys they can knock out in a fit of anger.

      It is understandable that many players feel they must fight in order to make the show, but as you stated, there are consequences such as broken bones, concussions, etc. that could potentially be career ending. All too often they drop the gloves when they take a big hit, or feel like someone is antagonizing them – be the bigger player, pick yourself up, and score a freaking goal.

  • Just like the real Flames, they take a penalty right at the end and the opposing team ties it up. Did Bourque take that penalty? Was Selanne standing in front of Ortio?

    Crap on a stick, the similarities are scary.

    EDIT – Woops, didn’t realize it was a pulled goalie. Neeevermind. Still like the big Flames though.

  • RexLibris

    I’m really looking forward to the Wednesday mini-BOA. Of course, that’s the one where I’ll be miles from a computer or another kind of electronic projection device.

    From what I saw there seemed to be a lot of possession through the NZ and then a dump and chase or hold up along the halfboards before a quick scuffle had the opposing player taking it back the other way. Not much in the way of set-up and sustained pressure, but then I was watching @ work and got pulled away often.

    Seems like maybe Ortio had a better night, or at least his defensive group helped a little more.

    I don’t remember last year’s Flames prospect results. Does anyone feel that the group has taken a step forward or is any closer to NHL-ready? Every prospect report and scouting report I’ve read has said that some of them have either taken modest steps forward or are in danger of stagnating in Abbotsford.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Most of the ones who were stagnating/in danger of doing so were released this offseason. Negrin is the only current Flames prospect I’d be worried about right now, and that’s due to his injury issues.

      As far as the group overall, it’s tough to tell with the guys who’ve stuck around. There are a lot of new faces comparatively.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Dissapointing, but seeing as the best forwards were not even playing tonight, not surprising. Brodie was playing ok but still quite rusty. I thought Martin and Sylvester were great for invites.

  • jeremywilhelm

    If Brodie jumps up as much in intensity on wed as he did between now and yesterday, I think he’ll be ok. Can’t be forgotten that he is coming off a pretty bad injury to end his season last year.