Postgame: Power Outage

The theme of Calgary’s 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild was their powerplay, or in this case, the lack thereof.  With a full five minute major sprinkled in there, the Flames went a completey inneffective 0-7 on the man advantage while allowing their opponent to score one of their own.  A dominating first period saw Calgary down a goal, and the final 40 minutes was not very impressive en route to their seventh loss of the season.

What Happened

As previously mentioned, the Flames were extremely unlucky in the opening frame, winning the scoring chance battle by a 9-2 count and firing 15 shots on Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom.  All nine of Calgary’s chances came 5-on-5 and they had the puck a vast majority of the time, but weren’t able to beat the Wild goalie, who made three or four ten bell saves on really good Flames chances.  At 5:35, Minnesota scored a fortunate one, with Darroll Powe notching his first on one that seemed to redirect past Miikka Kiprusoff in an odd manner.  That was the only goal of the period.

The second period was much less a strong effort from the home side, as the Wild really slowed things down and limited the Flames to virtually nothing at even strength.  To be fair, there wasn’t a ton of 5-on-5 play, as Calgary benefitted from four powerplay opportunities, including a full five minute major thanks to a Nick Johnson head-butt during a fight with Jarome Iginla.  I’ve seen the call and it’s tough to say whether they were intentional or not, but I can understand the call from the ref.  It didn’t really matter, as the Flames didn’t do a whole lot with it; on 13 minutes of powerplay time, Calgary generated six scoring chances.  Oh, and the second also saw the Wild score on a man advantage of their own; Dany Heatley was good for his fifth on a tic-tac-toe passing play that started with Marek Zidlicky and went through Mikko Koivu at 12:47.

Calgary saw two more powerplay opportunities in the third and were unable to score once again, and even in chase mode, Minnesota held the Flames to just four chances at even strength.  At 19:22, Guillaume Latendresse scored into an empty net for his fourth to seal a typical Wild win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  If the prior four paragraphs didn’t spell it out, it was the seven failed powerplay opportunities that spelled the story of this one.  They generated some chances, but not enough for 17 full minutes of time, and while they ran into a very good Minnesota goalie, Calgary should have scored on their man advantage opportunities.  Even strength they were great for a period, but not great for the other two.

Red Warrior

Jay Bouwmeester, hands down.  As much as I like to bug one of my favorite 20 year olds in the Flames blogosphere about his love for JBo, this was a game where he showed exactly why people talk about him having "so much potential."  He was on the ice for eight scoring chances (+7 in that regard), he fired five shots on ice, and was very strong defensively.  When Jay plays like this, he’s really good.

Sum It Up

A frustrating game to watch if you were a paying customer or otherwise.  Calgary had a great opening 20 minutes but was unable to do anything on it, and then fell off from there.  Along the way, their powerplay was terrible and the boo birds rained down.  Now back below .500 and a game against the Blackhawks on Friday night.

        • DieHard

          I disagree with first part but can agree with second. As an Oiler fan who went thru the last 5 years, I feel your pain. Your team as it stands right now is destined for ninth in the West and 15th in the league. What you need is what happened to the Oil. You need injuries to key personnel and play your best AHL prospects. I really want to see both teams in the Conference finals again. Those were great series.

          • Captain Ron

            Remember what really happened in Edmonton. They finally fired MacTavish, then signed “the world class goalie” and hired Pat Quinn to bring the work ethic back and get the guys back into the playoffs.

            A few lucky injurues later; Result – Taylor Hall and FINALLY admiting that it needs to be blown up and rebuilt. Two years later and they are showing signs.

            I also long to have the leagues best two teams in Alberta again. An epic battle of Alberta rather than that homey manure smell drifting across both arenas.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Backstrom stole this game. No ifs ands or buts about it. Im mot sure what all the whining is about.

    Yes Sutter sucks. Yes, this team is built poorly.

    Blowing it up right now has us in a weak ass trade position. If you can’t accept that the team is gonna be crappy this year then just stop watching.

    All the pissing and moaning is getting annoying. (yes, my pissing and moaning included).

    • There’s only a few rules I apply to the comment section here. One of them is don’t tell other fans how to be fans or how to feel about the team because that’s how comment strings and messageboards go from discussing hockey to becoming pissing contests between people who want to flash their fan cred or parade around on high horses. It annoys me to no end, which is why I don’t tend to spend a lot of time on messageboards.

      Feel free to disagree with other’s takes – comments are boring otherwise. Just stay away from looking down on others for the way they feel about a performance or the team in general. Pessimists and optimists are all welcome here as long as they can back their take with a worthwhile argument.

      Sound good?

      • RexLibris

        I like those rules, Kent.

        I read the Nation sites for four years before commenting so I could get a read on the mood and tone of the place. Anyway, in observing three to four years of Flamesnation comments and the fan mood I think I’ve only seen this kind of vitriol and anger maybe once or twice before.

        After the (t)Phaneuf trade there was an overall positive mood in the cap space saved and the perceived “problem-child” having been moved. And after consecutive 1st round exits there was still a feeling of being close to turning the corner. But it seems like last year and then the beginning of this year fans here are getting as irate and impatient as comments I’ve read from Leafs fans in previous years (no that’s not meant as an insult).

        From where I sit, in order for this franchise to actually commit to a rebuild and succeed at it there needs to be a change in ownership or ownership philosophy away from simply making money. Also, a change in the management and management goals, that means Feaster out or getting in line with a rebuild. The amateur scouting staff seems to have earned a reprieve and the pro scout staff has done some good work in finding Giordano and others. After that the coaching needs to be changed and then the fans need to be sold on the idea of taking 4 to 6 years to reboot the organization. And yes, I think it takes that long. You have assets that could fetch a decent return, and you have some good prospects in junior right now, but you want to take your time with them and continue drafting well. For all the pieces to be in place I think aiming for a 4 to 6 year timetable is conservative and prudent. That’s a whole lot to handle, and maybe it happens, but is that what fans want? I’ve asked before and the quick retool has always been the answer. Or is this rebuild talk just an emotional response from a frustrated fan base?

        If a rebuild is really being called for by some fans perhaps an article looking at the changes that had to take place in other markets before rebuilds, both successful and ongoing, were implemented (Bill Wirtz passing, the EIG selling, the Pens coming out of ownership issues and winning God’s Own Lottery, etc).

        Anyway, that’s my 2 (and then some) cents.

        • RexLibris

          Rex, Oil benefited from ghastly, unnatural run of injuries along with Kevin Lowes DSutter style signings. I really dont think Oil had designs for consecutive worst team in the league seasons. Your hope this year is the fact you got 2 18 year olds NHL ready consecutively. What if you lost the lottery & drafted 3rd everall each year? If Khabi’s save % was .890 & Duby’s solid .900, along with no Smyth’s rejuvenated push for a “retirement with Oilers” contract, would we hear a different take as to the best way to rebuild. Circumstances are different in every scenario and I dont think there is a fool proof way to rebuild. Any GM wanting to keep their job will endeavor to keep any rebuild as short as possible and they will never ever declare a rebuild publicly. Problem is, we have bigger pieces to sell than what the Oil did & it’s all about timing as to when you go into the free agent market to bring in the missing pieces. In fact I dont think Tambellini was doing that great of a job as opposed to he was very fortunate to score 2 consecutive 1st’s over all & having a Smyth fall on his lap at the absolute right time. Hey, we’ve all had fate tickle us in different ways.

          I see the venom from fellow Flames fans, so does the venom go away when we drop the bomb & have 18, 19 & 20 year kids learn their way up the curve, laden with mistakes & losses? or will it be GM’s & Coaches fault again?

          My last point is you can only have so much young talent because you only have 6 forward positions that young talented young forwards try to achieve for the bigger pay cheques. In Edmontons case, I see a young talented Omark& even Parjarvi was pressbox watching. If that happens this year, he sees 3rd line & pressbox this year & next year. How quick is he gonna want out next year when his ELC comes due. Flames need to cash in on these type of situations with the bigger pieces we need to move.

          • RexLibris

            I actually agree with you about the many paths to a rebuild. I have said as much on this site several times that each situation is different and needs to meet the circumstance of the team. Edmonton’s case, as you pointed out, was it’s own, and wasn’t engineered. We actually were bad enough to earn that 2010 30th place as well as the freakish run of injuries. I pointed out other examples as well in Chicago and Pittsburgh to highlight that there are many ways to reach the same conclusion. The similarities that I see in Calgary right now are an ownership group so committed to today that they are foregoing any thoughts of tomorrow and seem oblivious that the fan might actually want something a little more than just the same old menu.

            And yes, Calgary has some assets to move that the Oilers never did, and your point about timing is one that I have thought about a lot for the Flames. The best time to rebuild is when you are the only one doing it, you can sell to multiple bidders and draft picks can become cheaper.

            And I disagree that a team never publicly states that it will rebuild. Katz said it shortly after their failed attempt to bring in Heatley and the season started off so poorly. Once it became the standing strategy the fans got on board pretty quickly. A knowledgeable, and strong fan base will do that (so perhaps only in Canadian markets), and if they have faith that it will be attempted patiently and properly. No guarantees requested or offered, but an unwritten agreement between the two parties. Lowe said he believes the rebuild will take another 3 to 5 years, and the fans here are okay with that as long as progress is made.

            As for Paajarvi and Omark, I don’t see Paajarvi holding out as an RFA. He has connections here and knows that as Smyth declines he ascends. Omark might, but in all likelihood Tambellini will try to find a home for him this year either in our lineup or somewhere else.

            Mostly I was commenting in regards to the amount of calls for a full rebuild. Hadn’t seen that kind of fervour for the blowup here before.

          • RexLibris

            Not sure when Katz rose to the scene, wasnt it right after the Oilers did a huge firesale change at the end of the 2008/09 season and he emerged the summer of 2009? They couldnt get Heatley so they continued with the burn it path. What would have happened if Heatley said yes? I know it was the best thing for the Oilers that he didnt, but what if? It’s interesting looking back and seeing how things could have been so much different. As for the Flames & lets say Columbus continue to suck & are leading the race to have the 1st over all. This is a team that have had little playoffs in their history, do they go another rebuild. Their franchise wouldnt survive it. So if you could get the players involved to accept the trade, do you part with Kipper &/or Iginla for a huge boast for the future. Does Columbus go for a roll of the dice. Thing is, we cant deliberately tank, we have a good enough team to be better than 30th even without Kipper & Iggy. If it were that easy 1/3 of the teams would be rebuilding every year. If I was an owner, I would be telling Feaster, if you sell Kipper & Iggy, our biggest revenue producing player assets, you better be bringing back a sure future revenue player asset(s) back. I think Yapukov fits that requirement.
            I’ll make a bet with anyone Parise & Suter resign with their teams to long term deals this year & Weber resigns his last RFA contract to another 1 year deal with Nashville. There will be no free agent saviors for us. We will have no choice but to mske a bold move.

    • Derzie

      Hey Capt Ron. I’m glad I’m not alone. I want to win real bad & when we lose & stink while losing, I walk the dog & deep down find comfort in the fact this is what has to happen in order for change. If we keep winning, nothing happens right? We all know something has to happen, even when we win, there is no confidence this team can dominate teams the way a true contender will on most given nights. We play Dave King style international hockey where he had a true Canadian amateur team going up against the Russian Red Machine & he structured the team to keep the game close & hope to get lucky. Thats what we look like now. Gonna be a tough 3 months, even the option of waiving Stajan cant happen until later this year. If we lose him when he’s recalled, paying half of the 2.5mill for the next 2 years may be pallatable to ownership but 1/2 of this years 4.5mill will be like drinking castor oil.

      • Captain Ron

        Hey Kevin, were living parallel lives. I have a routine of taking my dog, a golden retriever out to the same field after every game, no matter the weather and listening to the overtime show on the Fan 960. He plays fetch, I listen to the radio. Its the perfect marriage. Been doing it for years now. The dog and I have become nite owls. We love it. The wife hates it.

        Your Dave King style hockey analysis is dead nuts accurate. Its Clydsdales against race horses. Really looking forward to watching a new group of kids grow with the team. The sooner the better.

        • Captain Ron

          Wow, too freaky. I walk my Golden Retriever (Molly) after dinner & late at night like clock work irregardless of weather as well. The wife walks with us after dinner but never the midnight stroll. To me thats the best. It’s amazing how you can solve world & Calgary Flame problems out in the fresh air. 🙂 🙂

  • Derzie

    We are going through a mini Maple Leafs Syndrome. This is where the owners see full seats no matter what happens on the ice. What is their motivation? For a Hockey guy, the motivation is winning. For a money guy, the motivation is cash. The flow of that is fine and dandy as corporate Calgary keeps the seats full of beer swilling marketing guys with freebie seats. Sutter’s time is up. Feaster is doing what Ken King says. King is glad handing the ownership. None of this will change until we the fan find a way to empty the seats. Whatever changes Feaster makes this season will be to cut expenses for the owners. If hockey improves as a result it will be a coincidence.(sigh)

  • Derzie

    I’d love it if we could stop focusing on PL3. I don’t understand why JayFe would give up an asset for him either, but he had NOTHING to do with the 3-0 drubbing (on home ice) with 17 minutes of powerplay time. Hagman and PL3 aren’t losing the Flames hockey games right now, so let’s not clog up timelines and news feeds with that banter.

    Spare me all the “unfortunate bounces” garbage. The crowd was pretty patient and reserved considering how poor this team played. The first period was unlucky (lots of chances, steady pressure, energy in the building). From there, this group of veterans folded up their tents and hung their heads. What a disgraceful powerplay.

    I have no idea where Jarome Iginla was the rest of the game. He stood still the entire game, waiting for the puck to come to him. Where was all that energy and emotion the rest of the game? Why did he need to fight a plugger on the opposing team to show he wanted to compete? Sick and tired of Jarome being babied, and standing up there making excuses. He’s not putting in the effort, he’s not making smart plays, so we can stop feeling sorry for him because he plays on a poor team. He is a big part of what’s happening here.

    If this team is going to get its a** kicked at home, I’d prefer for it to be with a full roster of 18-year olds. Watching players in their mid-30s feel sorry for themselves is infuriating. “Didn’t get the bounces,” “Ran into a hot goalie.” Spare me, Sportsnet. It’s the Minnesota Wild. It’s the 2nd straight drubbing in your own building, icing a team of veterans. It’s 0% efficiency in 17 minutes of powerplay time. It’s time for change.

  • DieHard

    I think what pisses me off the most is that the Flames are pretty much a cap ceiling team. They spend alot of money on terrible assets. Name any other business that if you were to make horrible investments, that you would stay in business. It will be interesting to see the stance the club will take when it comes time for season ticket holders to re-new more expensive tickets if the new rink is built. I have heard on the radio in the past 24 hours of three people that say they won’t be re-newing season tickets for next year. I live out of town so I don’t own season tickets, but I buy Flames merchandise for myself and the kids. It is now almost embarrasing wearing or flying (my Flames flag on a major highway) any Flames goods. It’s time Flames fans, jump off the sinking ship before you drown, it’s the only way ownership will notice.

    • RexLibris

      In response to your first question: Bombardier, AIG, and Citibank.

      As for refusing to buy Flames merchandise, that same sentiment was put forward in the book Leafs (Abomi)nation when the authors begged people to stop buying Leafs stuff so that ownership would be forced to realize that fans actually (gasp) expect effort and success once every, oh, hundred years or so.

      All that aside, I’d wait just a few more games before lauching the boycott. I know the-wolf is waiting for the PR spin about winning percentage, etc, but there is a team in there. Somewhere.

  • Get The Puck Outta Here

    Greetings All. Isn’t the internet a marvelous thing? Very much enjoy the blog. Lot’s of great comments. Truely a passionate following. I respect all opinions within reason. I have followed the blog for over 2 years. I feel it is time to voice my thoughts although they mean squat. I’m a long time player of the game. I have the scars to prove it. My passion has never dissappeared. I am a long time listener of the Fan 960.

    Just an observation. Coach was a lunch bucket player. He always gave an honest effort but was never a blessed talent. I respect his previous hardwork. You can’t argue with Stanley Cups. He is/has formed the team in his image. All creativity has dissappeared.

    Let the talent shine. Let the boys play. It’s a game, a game that they are paid well to play. They have this career because they love the game, but when harnessed, their love slowly withers. One of the best coaches I ever played for told me one time: “The hardest part of being a coach is knowing when not to be”. There is alot of wisdom in that statement. He always had great teams with players that would go to through the wall for him. Iggy is harnessed. Let him play his game. He worked for decades to get there and after 3 years you try to change his style? Look at all the players. Decades to get there and you change their style? What a shame. Sad actually. If the talent was left alone the fans would see an exciting product on the ice. Way to much coaching. Way too much.

    • Get The Puck Outta Here

      Amen brother! I think these guys gotta change their approach & let the players tell the coach how they want to play & let the coach harness this to a winning structure.
      Problem is, a guy like Keenan was accused of not coaching & got crucified for not practising the power play. Sometimes you’re screwed if you do & screwed if you dont.

    • Captain Ron

      What a refreshing take on the situation your last paragraph is. I really believe that if the coaching staff would take a similar stance the team would flourish. I’ve always felt there is a high level of control and micro managing with this team under the Sutter influence. I don’t know that they would become contenders but I really believe they would have more fun and in turn entertain us a hell of a lot more than they are right now. Happy players = successful team. Just look at Dallas for an immediate example. Possibly Phoenix too.

  • Captain Ron

    1) People are conveniently forgetting the Keenan era.

    2) What talent? If you think just opening the door for the players and letting them go will games I think you’re wrong. You’re overrating the talent level here. Sutter’s system is the only one that gives these guys a chance. When this team starts playing pond hockey they get slaughtered. They don’t have the talent level to play a puck possession game. When they play the system to perfection and the goaltending is good they at least stand a chance. Blame the players for lack of effort; millions of dollars/year and they can’t put out because their creativity is being stifled? Poor little Johnny.

    3) Why did St. Louis bring in Hitchcock? More structure, better defense.

    • Get The Puck Outta Here

      Respectfully,

      Not forgetting the Keenan era at all. Have followed the game for over half a century. Can still see Orr’s historic goal in a portion of my mind that retains clarity 🙂

      I don’t know Mike Keenan personally but he always came across as the “Drill Sargent” type. Maybe it was just the moustache. Coach seems that way as well although I have only met him once. The meeting left me with the same impression. I don’t know about you but I hate to work for that type of person. No way that type of personality gets my 100%. All the yelling and screaming eventually gets tuned out. Don’t need to listen to the yelling. Not paid to be there getting screamed at.

      Talent? The majority of this team has more raw talent than coach ever did. The passion is gone. Coach fit well into Arbor’s lunch bucket system as did most of the players on that dynasty. Al Arbor never struck me as a yeller and a screamer but then again never met the gentleman. Could be way off.

      If I could summarize. The Flames at this point are 1 point ahead of the defending Cup Champs. I think the “Blow It Up” button is being activated way too soon although I would seriously consider the “Shuffle off to Buffalo” (no offense Warrener) button be initiated on coach. I think Jay’s influence on him has been good but you can still see rage in his eyes on the bench. That body language does not lie and I bet you that when the dressing room door is closed there is yelling and screaming happening. I haven’t met one person yet in my travels that loves to be screamed at. It’s counter productive.

      I want to end with this little story. “A man buys a puppy dog and ever time the man is close the puppy wags his tail and wants to please his owner. But every time the puppy comes close the man wacks him with a stick. After a short period, every time the puppy sees the man coming close he shows his teeth and growls. Before long, when called, the puppy turns his head the other way.”

      Funny how some things in life can mimic others.

  • Captain Ron

    “Just an observation. Coach was a lunch bucket player. He always gave an honest effort but was never a blessed talent. I respect his previous hardwork. You can’t argue with Stanley Cups. He is/has formed the team in his image. All creativity has dissappeared. ”

    Sorry, but you’re way off on this one.

    Brent Sutter was a pretty darn valuable guy in his day and wasn’t immune to scoring. He had a 40+ goal season and was close to or over the 30 goal mark several times. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=5260

    Most coaches were pluggers and they’re usually the most successful coaches (ie. please refer to Gretzky/Phoenix). An extreme example for a rare club but Sather was a tool as a player and didn’t get in the way of the 80’s Oilers.

    See also Mike Babcock of the Red Wings.

    • Captain Ron

      He obviously didn’t go far enough with the music. Like it or not a happy working environment ALWAYS produces better results. The “poor Johnny” thinking is as archaic as Keenan’s coaching method’s were.

      No talent? Glencross, Iginla, Kiprosoff, Backlund, JBO, GIO, Bourque, Tanguay.

      If your skills are as a salesman and the boss wants you to be a mechanic are you going to be happy? Probably not and your may even look bad trying. Structure is fine but not to the point of being stifled. Is Dallas more talented than we are? Not from my point of view.

      I would get them together and ask them how they want to play. Then I would look for a compromise between players and coaches. Then make adjustments from there based on the results as a joint effort between players and coaches.

      From Brent: “There’s one way to play and its the right way”. That sounds pretty dictatorial to me. I know this is not all on the coach but the players have to be excited to be coming to the rink and I’m just not seeing that right now.