FGD: Tim Time

One of the most tenuous Calgary Flames issues this summer surrounded the team not signing end eventually trading former first round pick Tim Erixon.  He’s now a member of the New York Rangers and he’ll be in the lineup tonight when the Blueshirts make their only visit to Calgary this season (7:30 pm, TSN and Sportsnet 960).  It’s game two of a six game homestand for the Flames, which they started on the right foot Tuesday night.

The Flames took an interesting 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday while the Rangers continue a season opening seven game road trip.  It’s an opportunity for Calgary to get to the .500 mark, something they haven’t done in the early parts of the season.  Even though there were some pedestrian and punchless moments on Tuesday night, the Flames opened up their homestand with a win, which was the most important thing.

The Lineup

Miikka Kiprusoff was very good for the Flames on Tuesday night, but after three consecutive starts, it looks like he’ll take a seat to allow Henrik Karlsson to get the start tonight.  It’ll be Karlsson’s second action of the year after he played in game two against the St. Louis Blues.  I have no issue with the move whatsoever, as it shows Calgary is sticking to how they want to manage their goaltenders early on.

It was an optional skate this morning, so any lineup assumptions aren’t as iron clad as they would be during a normal skate, but it looks like Tom Kostopoulos re-enters the lineup after sitting out against the Oilers.  He enters in the spot of Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond who didn’t do much of anything in his first outing.  Anton Babchuk will sit once again on the back in end in favour of Derek Smith.

Alex Tanguay-David Moss-Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-Lee Stempniak
Niklas Hagman-Brendan Morrison-Rene Bourque
Tom Kostopoulos-Matt Stajan-Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester-Chris Butler
Mark Giordano-Scott Hannan
Cory Sarich-Derek Smith

I really liked the Bouwmeester-Butler pairing on Tuesday night, as I thought they played their best game of the season.  They were involved in scoring opportunities at the right side of the ice, and they allowed very little when in their own end.  That duo needs to be steady when they’re on the ice, so when they’re also affecting the play positively, it’s good to see.

The Opponent

Erixon started the season with the New York Rangers, even though it seemed like he wouldn’t be doing so.  Prior to the start of their campaign in Europe, the Rangers assigned Erixon to the American Hockey League but recalled him shortly thereafter when it was discovered Marc Staal might not be able to start the season.  New York’s number one defenceman remains out of the lineup indefinetely with a concussion he suffered last last season.

The Rangers made the biggest off season splash, signing Brad Richards to a nine year, $58.5 million contract.  He’s off to a decent start, with four points in New York’s first four games after two straight point-per-game plus seasons with the Dallas Stars.  Richards centres a couple dangerous wingers with finishing capability.  He and Marian Gaborik seem to have been given the high ground so far this season with a good number of the other forwards being fed more difficult situations to aid in that cause.

Derek Stepan-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-Erik Christensen-Kris Newbury

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Tim Erixon-Michael Del Zotto
Jeff Woywitka-Steve Eminger

The Rangers are missing forward Wojtek Wolski who’s missed three games with a groin injury, although he is back practicing with the team.  Defenceman Michael Sauer remains out with a shoulder injury suffered in Europe, and looking at their depth, they could probably use him.  It’ll be fun to see Brandon Prust back at the Saddledome, coming off a very effective season in his first full campaign with New York.

After posting an impressive shutout Tuesday in Montreal, Henrik Lundqvist gets the start in net for the visitors.

The Story

It’s an opponent the Flames see once a season, so it’s not like we’ll be picking out a ton of trends in that respect.  I will say there are some matchups they can exploit on the back end, so we’ll see if Calgary can end up doing the job in that respect.  Most importantly, this homestand is all about how the Flames play, and the team still holds up last Thursday in Montreal as their best game of the season.  There were some good facets of the Oilers win, but the pedestrian moments have to be limited against a better team like the Rangers.

  • xis10ce

    I’ll be at the game in my same old ghetto seats ready to boo the crap out of Erixon. Looking forward to this one, but hoping King Henrik doesn’t lay down another 40shot shutout…

  • RKD

    Wow, I don’t think I ever remember a time where a Flames backup goaltender played twice in October. Maybe it hasn’t happened during Kipper’s tenure. I’ll take some wild guesses with Fred Braithwaite or Dwayne Roloson.

    The plan must be to give Karlsson guaranteed starts on every back to back situation. If they play him twice a month over 8 months that works out to 16 starts for him and 66 for Kipper.

    If Karlsson plays 3 times a months over 8 months that will work out to a whopping 24 starts with Kipper playing 58 games. The latter scenario much more unlikely, but you never know.

    Best of luck to the Calgary Tower tonight. I hope Flames fans boo Brad Richards and Erixon each and every time those two touch the puck. Want to see Sarich deliver a blow to Erixon or a Giordano hipcheck.

  • Reidja

    This will be a big game for Karlsson standing across the ice from his name sake, countryman, and one the elite tenders of the NHL. I imagine he will be highly emotional and motivated which, should suits his personality in my mind (FIST PUMP!!!).

    Please lord…. for lord sakes, all that is freaking holy, damn, heck, arrrrrrggggggg, holy crap! WHY IS MOSS STILL CENTERING THE FIRST LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’d rather have Olli Jokinen there right now – OLLI JOKINEN! I need a warm glass of milk.

  • everton fc

    With Babchuk in the pressbox most nights… Going back to the posts about Bourque being moved… And getting Turris… Staal…

    Babchuk straight-up for Turris I’d do.

    Packaging Bourque/Stajan/Babchuk to anyone, for a good return, I’d do in a second. Could you get Staal for those three? Or even for two of those three??

    Mikkelson looks to be doing well in. I’d trust him or Henry as our #7 d-man, if Babchuk could be moved. Perhaps Babchuk can leave for New York with the Rangers?

    (I wonder if Bouma’s presence on the third line, or Nemisz… Would create some offence with Kosto and Jackman on the wings?)

    • Oyo

      never getting staal for those three. probably couldnt get kennedy for those 3!!!

      considering the Turris talks, i would think they have been interested in bourque. however this would be a bad bad trade for calgary. i wouldnt deal with phoenix unless getting either Yandle or Hanzel. preferably Hanzel. if i could have a perfect world….trade kipper + bourque for hanzel + pick (4?).

      we can get a goalie and then we have great option down the middle.

      in my dreams tho 🙁

  • RKD

    I doubt we could get a guy like Staal here, but you never know. I would prefer Bourque and Jay-Bo for Jason Spezza. Ottawa will be a seller. Or even go after a Parise or a Zajac. Way too early for trades. Let`s see after 15-20 games, that`s a bigger sampling size of games.

    • icedawg_42

      Trade Jay Bo? Why? As Pat said, him and Butler were a very effective pairing last game, and who the heck would replace Jay Bo and his minutes? BABCHUK!?!? I do NOT want to trade Jay Bo, sure he is very overpaid, but there are not a lot of Dmen that can play the minutes he does and still be effective and he’s been healthy, so at least you know what you have.

      @RKD, Why would you BOO Richards? He had a choice where he wanted to go, he was a free agent, and his preference was NYR, that doesn’t mean we should Boo him. Erixon is an entirely differnt ball game and deserves all his boos.

      I like this game and hopefully we can pull out a win, I like our bottom 6 forwards better than theirs, I like our defence better than theirs. The second lines are a wash, their top line is probably better than ours, same with the goalie matchup. I think its still a very winnable game and if we win this one, we are 1 game away from at least a .500 homestand and will actually put us on a winning streak and maybe get the ball rolling on playoffs.

      I believe it was Elliot Friedmans 30 thoughts colomn that had the stat that if you were more than 4 points out of a playoff spot on Nov 1, there were only TWO teams that actually ended up making the playoffs, so these games are Crucial right now.

  • Rangers have a better record than they deserve given their terrible shot differential. Lundqvist has saved their bacon thus far, but they aren’t that impressive at ES.

    Course, neither are the Flames, so it may come down to if Calgary can beat Lundqvist and stay out of the box.

  • RKD

    @Colin – there was a time I’d gladly have undone the JayBo signing and moved himout of here, but you’re right, you can’t move him now. With both Phaneuf and Regehr now gone that would leave only Gio as a legit top 4 D.

    • icedawg_42

      See this guy here knows, Other than Jay and Gio, we don’t have any other “TRUE” top 4 guys, maybe Butler develops into one, that has yet to be seen, he has played well, but we all saw last game he trips over a blue line as well, so…… And Hannan is okay, but I don’t see him as a guy thats true top 4 either, he’s doing a fine job but he couldn’t replace Bouwmeester either. Who on the Farm is gonna do it either, Brodie? Henry? MIKKELSON!?!? No one, so unless you were getting another top 4D back that mabye isn’t as good as Bouwmeester, trading Bouwmeester makes no sense.

  • xis10ce

    Granted I’m a Babchuk hater (he’s my goat) but we talk about him as though he has actual trade value… Would we be lucky to even get a used puck bag for him? Perhaps “future conciderations”.

    On a side note I always thought that would be the biggest kick in the balls as a pro, being trade for “future considerations”. I’m I wrong or does that basically translate to being traded for nothing except maybe I’ll throw you a bone in the future if I feel like it.

    • icedawg_42

      Pretty much, Future Considerations can be anything, from say giving up a 6th rounder if the guy plays in the NHL or whatever. From what I’ve found we still have NOT given the Capitals ANYTHING for the Seabrook trade, nor do I think we ever will.

    • Vintage Flame

      “On a side note I always thought that would be the biggest kick in the balls as a pro, being trade for “future considerations”. I’m I wrong or does that basically translate to being traded for nothing except maybe I’ll throw you a bone in the future if I feel like it.”

      Normally yes.. There are exceptions. I wouldn’t say Dallas picking up Eric Nystrom for future considerations falls into that category..

  • icedawg_42

    Are we doing a live chat tonight, thats pretty well the only way I’m gonna get a game fix, Can’t get the 960 out here and no TV either(at work), so the only way to get a good fix is the Chat.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    So, it’s game 6 and Babchuck is a healthy scratch – again. Someone remind me, why did the Flames sign this guy? And at $2.5M? And with a ‘modified’ NMC? If things don’t turn around for Anton, this is going to look like a very dumb signing.

    At the time, if memory serves me right it was fairly evenly split between Babchuck fans and Babchuck detractors, here at FN. Who’s backing this guy now?

    I think he has value, if and only if the Flames dress 7 defensemen, and bring him out as a PP guy only. I would have been okay dressing him tonight, if only to blast a shot at Erixon’s solar plexus.

    PS. For the record I was firmly in the DETRACTOR CAMP, and I still am.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      So we can take more dumb penalties? Cause thats what would happen, as evidence with Jackman last game.

      I think Babchuk still has a bunch of value, obviously not with this team, and we’d have to take back equal, or slightly less value, but teams are always looking for a PP QB, its about finding the right buyers. The problem is that I doubt Feaster wants to shop him as he just signed him and thinks he’s worth that much even though obviously Sutter doesn’t.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Babchuck can’t be traded this year without his consent. Next year, he will submit a list of 10 teams (maybe more) to Feaster. The Flames would then be able to shop him to those teams only. Not an impossible situation, but not ideal.

        Maybe he’ll learn how to move faster, skate and play hockey soon. Then I’d likely come to appreciate him as a hockey player.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          There is a Difference in Can’t be tradede and Hard to be traded. Babchuk might have a NTC, but considering he has been a healthy scratch 5/7 games this season, he may very well welcome a trade. Regher had a NMC clause I belive, Kotalik had a NTC, I think Langkow had one as well. NTC/NMC only prevent a player from going to an unfavourable destination. At the worst he is gonna be told they are gonna waive him(doesn’t have a NMC) unless he wants to accept a trade to what ever they may have worked a deal out with. I think most guys are competitive at heart and would rather be playing, if Babchuk isn’t gonna be playing here I would most likely thing him, his agent and Feaster will probably have a meeting and Feaster and Babchuks agent will probably start looking trade possibilities.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            “There is a Difference in Can’t be tradede and Hard to be traded. Babchuk might have a NTC, but considering he has been a healthy scratch 5/7 games this season, he may very well welcome a trade”

            Maybe but I’ll stand by assertion, he can’t be traded with his consent.

  • GermanFlame

    I hope anyone that attends the game boo’s Erixon like a madman tonight. Not like a sissy school girl, like a true angry belligerent person.

    Other than that, my only wish for tonight, I wish Horak still had a spot in the lineup to pull a dirty dangle on Timmeh and score his first NHL goal.

    I think after tonight I can move on from the silly Erixon debacle, but for now, still quite bitter.

    Missing the live chat and game tonight, so enjoy and lets try and actually pay attention to the game tonight… TEH!

  • GermanFlame

    I can handle that the guy who was against NTC’s gave one to Glencross, especially since it was in exchangef or salary, but how do you take that stance and give one to a depth d-man/pp specialist?