Flames/Canucks Split Game Thoughts

 

 

Pat Steinberg has a good overview of the Flames home game here. Unlike him, though, I wasn’t at the Saddledome rubbing shoulders with the important people. Instead I stayed at home and switched between internet feed and SNET broadcast so I could catch as much action as possible.

I mostly concentrated on game 1B in Vancouver since Steinberg was in Calgary – also because it was on TV and not a grainy internet stream. The second game also featured Flames I was slightly more interested in watching; specifically Sven Baertschi, who has been impressive in his first training camp. Some thoughts on him and others that caught my attention…

– In Game 1A at home, there wasn’t much competition to speak of. The Flames iced a vastly superior squad and they ran roughshod over the Canucks hopefuls. Tanguay, Bourque and Byron had a field day with multiple points and numerous chances to score besides. Byron came away from the game with a star and high standing in his new fans eyes. He made an excellent play on Tanguay’s goal in the third where he threaded the puck through a defenders stick at the opposing blueline, cut laterally and then dropped the puck to Tanguay who put it home.

That said, I have to rain on the parade just a little bit – keep in mind Byron was playing on a line with the two best Flames forwards available against what could charitably called an AHL squad. Nevertheless, an encouraging first step.

– Game 1B was a lot more competitive. Calgary jumped out to a lead a couple of times thanks to the work of Hagman, Backlund and Baertschi. The veteran winger a very nice break-away and deke goal to open the scoring and then scored again with a poor angle stinker on Schneider. the kids on his lines were pretty dangerous at times as well and they were rewarded with Backlund’s one-handed tip-in goal on a Baertschi feed. They spent a few shifts dominating with the man advantage as well.

– The Canucks took a few penalties and the Flames were the better team through two periods, grossly outshooting the home club. Things turned in the third period, however, with the Canucks driving play before the game deteriorated into sloppy shinny hockey by the end. Calgary’s lackluster back-end was one of their weaknesses I think, with Bouwmeester being the only solid, top-2 presence. Babchuk and Butler were the other two veterans (the former had a rough evening while the latter was average) with fringe players like Derek Smith, Clay Wilson and Joe Piskula.

– Having a collection of tough guys up front didn’t help the Flames in the end either. Desbiens and Leduc-Leblonde were detriments in their own end of the rink. P3L also took an ill-advised penalty on a dangerous hit from behind in the third with the Flames trailing.

– The only other kids I noticed from time-to-time were Michael Ferland and Patrick Holland. Ferland seems to be pretty aware when he’s on the ice and was the one who sprung Hagman on his break-away. Holland skates pretty well for a bigger guy and doesn’t seem to make an really notable errors.

– David Moss and Curtis Glencross were the big boys up front and frankly they were a little flat. Glencross in particular has looked very rusty in everything I’ve seen him in so far this pre-season and yesterday was no exception. Although the Canucks line-up in Vancouver was better, it was still hardly a murderer’s row, so Glencross should have been one of the best skaters on the ice, but he really wasn’t. In period three, for instance, he broke in on a 3-on-1 and managed to completely defuse it by clumsily mishandling the puck and skating right into the lone defender.

Glencross has proven to be a very good player for this team, so there’s no need to overly worry about his performance in the exhibition time.

– Leland Irving was mediocre at best. Three of the four Canucks chances were quality, but the winning goal was the worst of the evening, even considering Hagman’s sharp-angle muffin. Nicklas Jensen was trapped behind a defender and drifting towards the corner so he decided to flip one at the net. It found it’s way beneath Irving’s arm somehow.

A few other pucks got past him but hit posts. Irving also looked somewhat frazzled when the play picked up in the offensive end. I’m sure he’ll get a few more looks before pre-season ends, so it will be interesting to see if he can leve this performance behind him.

Next up- The Flames face Edmonton on Saturday.

  • everton fc

    I was disappointed Desbiens got slotted w/P3L. I still think he’s a better player than that. Looks like he’ll end up in Abby relatively quickly.

    Good for Jordan Henry. The pride of Milo!

    Can you imagine if Byron can pots 15 goals… if he makes the team… Hagman has a comeback year… and Stajan can match his #s in Toronto? We have a lot of mid-level offencive depth that might surprise us.

    At least that’s what we all hope, hey?!

    It’d be nice to see some of the kids make the big team, whilst moving some of the vets down the road. I get a sense Hagman might be a good linemate for two young guys… A veteran helping the youngsters… I’m really pulling for Hagman, as it seems the guys in the room really like him.

    • There is simply nowhere for kids to slot into this line-up.

      Tanguay-Backlund-Iginla

      Glencross-Jokinen-Moss

      Bourque-Stajan-Stempniak

      Hagman-Morrison-Jackman

      Kostopolous/P3L/Ivanans

      That’s 14 one-way contracts plus Backlund. Even if Morrison and Ivanans start out in LTIR and P3L gets sent down, Calgary can still ice a full roster.

      • Man that line up sucks sure would be nice to see: (for atleast 9 games)

        Tanguay-Moss-Iginla
        Glencross-Jokinen-Bourque
        Hagman-Backlund-Baertschi
        Stempniak-Kostopolous/Stajan-Jackman

        With those top 2 lines you’d really be able to give the kids easy minutes and see what they can do…..

      • Super_Gio

        Well I guess we’ll see if Feaster really means what he says by on ice performance will dictate who plays & who doesnt. If Baers &/or Holland &/or Byron outplay one of the above veterans above, will they sit them? Maybe one player but if 2 of these kids outperform 2 of the 2.5-3.0mill vets, how do we sit them out? How do we trade them if that does happen come end of November, we saw what happened with Kotalik & Hagman last year. No one wanted them at half price for nothing. I’m sure glad Im not Feaster.
        Other note, P3L is what he is but I like having him on the team, there is a purpose, especially if we start to go smaller way more skilled forwards who may get bullied, he may take stupid penalties but he will open up ice for the likes of Byron, Backs & Baers.

        • A couple of things:

          1.) I’d like to see evidence that goons actually do this. I mean, do teams really ease off some players because a guy like P3L is playing 5 minutes a night? I find that assumption dubious at best.

          2.) Even if it were true, the value of “more ice for small guys” would have to be greater than the other detriments he brings to the ice – giving up shots and goals against at ES as well as taking a lot of penalties.

          The Flames were fine last year without a knuckle-dragger. They scored more goals than the year before and had better possession rates. Their penalty draw rate and penalty differential improved as well.

          • Super_Gio

            Physical presence comes into play when the games really have meaning, during the playoff stretch & actual playoffs. Seeing we didnt make the playoffs, I guess it will be hard to debate this argument. Thing is, we lost most of or all of the games in march/April against the playoff bound teams who elevated their intensity and smothered & took liberties with the few skill guys we had.

            My last argument is that Semenko did OK riding shotgun with Kurri & Gretz. Who says P3L cant develop some hands. Remember last few years when we all crabbed & crabbed about how our power play just sucked. I’ve been saying it all along, get a Stampeder linebaker who can stand on skates & park the guy in front of the net & make 2 dmen try to move him. P3L looks like the same kind of tree trunk Bfuglien did to us in the playoffs. Whats wrong with teaching this guy how to score garbage goals in front of the net, & get the added bonus of beating the crap out of some Oilers while he’s at it:):):)

          • Matty Franchise Jr

            What did Semenko do exactly?
            Did he score a few goals in an era when 60 goals was a “pretty good” season, on a team where 60 goals was an “OK” season?

            Did he fight Tim Hunter a lot? How did this prevent non-Tim-Hunter-Flames from trying to hit non-Dave-Semenko-Oilers?

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Well, I will double check his stats but Im pretty sure he had some 20 goal 60 point seasons & Gretz was over 200 points playing with him. Kurri wasnt far behind & that tells me they had lots of room to operate & there wasnt all the obstruction calls we get now. Players really did think twice about even going near Gretzky let alone hit him or blindside hit him. Yes Cement head & Timmy had some dozies & they were the best frigging hockey games ever, bar none. & with those 2 guys, Calgary & Edmonton were the best two teams in the league.
            You know what, back then there was some pretty heavy hits but I guarantee you this blind sided & from behind hitting garbage causing all these season & career ending concusions were dealt with by these boys. The guys like Cook & Torres would think twice about some of the garbage hits they have dished out if those guys were on the bench with no instigator rule.

            I yearn for those days of hard hitting, scrapping, bench brawling hockey where in the playoffs they scrapped for every inch of ice. I was there & I know the crowds went nuts when the melees erupted. Thats OK, I realize I’m in the minority of this opinion.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            I’m not convinced your in the minority, I think that the view that fighting should be banned is simply vogue right now. That said, I remember the glory days of the battle of Alberta and they were great. I just don’t see the need for fighting anymore and definatley don’t see a need a for pugilists in the game. If anything fights take the flow out of game and watching staged fights is boring and anoying. Just my thoughts, but I’m with the-Wolf’s view and believe Jackman is all that the Flames need.

          • everton fc

            I agree w/Kent. A goon, if he doesn’t scrap, gets maybe two shifts a night. Maybe…

            Not to beat the Desbiens drum again… But a guy like him better fits this role. A guy like Jackman… Kostopoulos… Even Sarich and Glencross have a history of defending their teammates…

            And Desbiens is not a goon. More like Jackman. With potentially better hands.

      • Super_Gio

        Kent,

        Interesting theory on this regarding Desbiens, P3L and Ivanans that Im not too sure has been posted.

        Last year there were some bad injuries in Abbotsford. The Flames already have good team toughness with Sarich, Hannan, Jackman, Kostopolous and Iginla. I think Feaster’s angle could be leave Ivanans on LTIR, and assign Desbiens & P3L to Abbotsford to hopefully prevent a Carter Bancks headshot concussion or a few of the other ugly injuries sustained down there. Given how small some of our prospects are becoming, it may be worth the investment to protect them.

        The AHL and ECHL are known for tough players trying to make a name for themselves by taking out more prominent former NHLers and prospects.

        • Matty Franchise Jr

          I can’t agree with the theory (or the bit about it being interesting).

          How does a goon prevent headshot concussions, exactly?

          GoonX blindsides Bancks and gives him a concussion and then p3l fights GoonX. Too late to prevent anything.

          GoonX realizes that p3l is in the line up, and so thinks twice about blindsiding Bancks. Then GoonX realizes that his role is to fight p3l no matter what happens, so he does blindside Bancks, gives him a concussion and then fights p3l. Too late to prevent anything.

          SpeedyWingX blindsides Bancks and p3l fights GoonX. Too late to prevent anything, and no deterrent to SpeedyWingX.

          SpeedyWingX realizes that p3l is in the line up and GoonX is not, and so thinks twice about blindsiding Bancks. Then SpeedyWingX realizes that he can skate circles around p3l and so will not have to fight him no matter what happens. In fact, SpeedyWingX relishes the idea of being on the ice at the same time as p3l because he’s either going to skate circles around him and then score a goal, or p3l is going to take a penalty trying to get to SpeedyWingX. Either way, p3l presents no deterrent to SpeedyWingX.

          P3L and players like him bring no real value to the team other than as dancing bears, fighting for our amusement.

          I don’t really know anything about P3L. Maybe he isn’t a guy whose hockey abilities are too low to keep him in the NHL/AHL, leaving no other way to make big $$ other than with his fists.

      • BobB

        Agreed. Frankly, I’m tired of listening to all of the nonsense from the team that they’re gonna send an established vet to the minors if a kid impresses in camp.

        Right now, that would mean sending Glencross down and brining Bartschi. Both bad ideas.

        This is they’re last run at the playoffs before they can clear a bunch of contracts at the end of the season and bring in some youth.

        And really, right now, basically all of calgary’s prospects are best served with another year of development time in their respective leagues, inclduing Bordie, Bartschi and even Butler (though he needs a legit shot with real minutes next season).

  • Vintage Flame

    Irving looked okay to start, but seemed to be gassed towards the end. Particularly in the third period, he looked pretty tired. Might just be that it IS the first game and he just needs to get his game shape in check. Given that it wasn’t exactly the NHL calibre Canucks, I doubt he was tired from the pace of the game.

  • Super_Gio

    Would be nice to see Baertschi and co. in the line-up for some games but like Kent stated…its nearly impossible. We are stuck for this year at least folks!

  • I was very disappointed with Irving and I’m hoping that’s not the best we’ll see. Rebounds on EVERYTHING. Over-committing on a lot of passes and just a general lack of focus it seemed to me. How many times did he hold up his hand waiting for icing when the puck was clearly not going to make it? Come on, Leland. He’ll make a nice AHL ‘tender this year, but I’m losing faith in the young man.

  • Super_Gio

    Agreed a Super Heavyweight most likey isnt needed anymore. But will need some jam, size and grit when the Oilers come calling. They have added some gritty forwards who enjoy that side of the game and can generally play a regular shift. Plus, who wants to be like the soft and wimpy Vancouver Canucks???

  • BobB

    I’ll admit I couldn’t see everything because I was watching both games specifically trying to watch the goalies. I’ll say this first, both Legace (a vet) and Schneider sucked last night, so let’s remember that one game is one game.

    I’ll start with Irving. He’s got a way to go with his leg strength and lateral quickness. Even if he’s strong enough, he’s taking to long to get from point A to B… he’s not driving his movements.

    The goals he let in are tough plays (two cross-ice, 2 on 1 situations and the 1st a quick rebound), but his read is a step late, and his lateral drive is a little weak so he is over-extending on those shots (and flopping on his Luongo… err… belly)

    The one weak goal… whatever… it’s rust, it’s preseason, we’re looking at fundamentals this time of year.

    Kipper looked pretty good, and really active with his stick, nice passes, sharp play-reads, wasn’t overly tested, but seemed fine. It’s really good to see the mind sharp early on.

    I even liked the diving poke-check GA as an aggressive play. Nit-picking here… I’d prefer he drove with his feet as well and got into Mancari vs flopping on the Luongo…. but hey… that’s really nitpicking, and it’s a more dangerous play (re: injury)

    Karlsson looked fine, but small. I would give anything to spend two weeks with him on the ice, just drilling him to stay on his feet… and to keep his friggin hands UP! He slides across and drops his hands to his ankles in a limp butterfly slide… it’s such brutal form. And it’d be great if he didn’t drop to his knees on EVERY… SINGLE… SHOT with his knuckles dragging on the ice.

    He’s so huge he gets away with the lazy form… imagine if he did it right?

    All and all, the goalies looked ok… and where we would expect them. 1,2,3. People are hammering on Irving, but he doesn’t need to be better than 3rd right now… and likely for another year after that as well. Development means development.

    For the players… I liked Backlund. He looks ready for another step.

  • It was certainly just one game against nobodies but I will say, if Byron can keep playing like that against real competition in a 3rd/4th line setting I would imagine Feaster will find a way to insert him into the line-up. The line up presented above is all but guaranteed but keep in mind Morrison isn’t likely to start the season due to injury and Stajan sucks.

    I watch Stajan play last night. They said he is in better shape this year but he didnt show anything special against a glorified WHL squad. Maybe he was getting back into it but if he carries on like that as the competition gets a little tougher, I can’t see him earning a spot over someone like Byron or Bouma. I hope this does happen because I want to see Feaster be held to his word. I dont really believe him when he says everyone has an equal opportunity regardless of contract position. How could he ever get rid of Stajan? Is he willing to put him in the minors?

  • icedawg_42

    I know the game is meaningless, and we’ve seen this film before (aka Kotalik) – but I keep rooting for Hagman…Im not sure why but deep down I want to see him succeed and produce for the Flames…I just dont get the same inexplicable dislike for him that I do for Stajan. In any case, I enjoyed watching the away game last night. I’ve said this before, but I cant wait to see more of Backlund with Baertschi – even though that’s probably a couple years away. Baertschi was driving hard and fearless once again, he DOES look like he needs more strength, he looked strong on the puck, but got pushed around a little too easily. That’s just still a physical development issue methinks.

    • everton fc

      I’m w/you, icedawg. Hagman has an edge to him. The guys in the room seem to like him. He seems humble, when interviewed.

      Stajan ain’t a bad guy… But he’s not a Western Conference player.

      Hagman is… And I think he’ll be fine this season. Just a hunch… With a dash of hope!

  • RexLibris

    Kent,
    Regarding what you said about the heavyweights, I tend to agree to a point. I think the reason that the really big boys are often employed is when one team finds a goon who can barely skate and likes to injure people (not hurt, injure!) then it forces other teams in their division to take out some insurance. Anybody in the NW division knows about this because of the Wild. The game last night between them and the Oilers had them dressing every cro-magnon with a pulse and for reasons that I couldn’t figure out.

    I think, like most things, success is found in balance, and finding someone like a George Parros who can fight, skate, and keep his stick on the ice for an occasional tap-in is the best bet. As nice as it was for us to have MacIntyre here last year after all those years of being pushed around, the truth is he couldn’t play well enough to be used often to be considered useful (if you can follow that logic).

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Jackman is just perfect. Anuthing goonier than that is a waste.

    As far as the playoff argument, generally the ice time for goons is reduced even further.

    I’d rather carry a shootout specialist on my 4th line than 1-dimensional fighter.

  • flamesburn89

    Yeah, Irving wasnt very good. Really underwhelming. His rebound control was terrible, and led to the first goal. Also, the game winner was disgusting, even worse than Schnieders botched save on Hagmans 2nd goal. Hopefully he can get his game together.