Postgame: Comfort Shmomfort

Seeing the Calgary Flames open up a 4-0 lead on the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night likely made some frustrated Flames fans breathe a little easier after their 4-1 loss in Chicago the night before.  Seeing the Avalanche battle back to within a goal and almost tie the game on numerous occasions might have made that breath a little shorter.  While it was a little too close for comfort, the main thing is simple: two points and back within striking distance of .500.

What Happened

What a first period for the Calgary Flames for a number of different reasons.  First and foremost, they were up 3-0 after 20 minutes.  They did that by scoring just over two minutes into the opening frame on a nice little give-and-go finished off by Paul Byron in his second game with the team.  Byron’s second career NHL goal came form Derek Smith and Lee Stempniak and started the night off in good fashion.  At 5:47, a nice little bounce made it easy for Jarome Iginla to deposit his fifth of the season; two scoring chances, two Flames goals and it was 2-0.  At 14:11, Curtis Glencross sniped number five on the season, capping off a very strong first period where Calgary outchanced the Avalanche 7-3.

The second period saw Colorado start to chase a little bit, especially after a fourth Flames goal courtesy of Stempniak.  His fourth of the season came on a backhand from the right circle beating Semyon Varlamov at 9:36.  Then things started to tilt, with the Avalanche scoring on a weak one of their own with a Milan Hejduk flutter shot popping out of Mikka Kiprusoff’s glove at 13:16; after review, the goal counted for Hejduk’s seventh of the season.  You could really tell the Avs were chasing in the latter half of the second, and that would continue in the final 20 minutes.

Just 26 seconds into the third period, Colorado would get back within two with Matt Duchene ripping home his sixth of the season setting up a furious span with Calgary way back on their heels.  The Avalanche outchanced the Flames 9-0 in the final frame, and they’d score on another one of them with David Jones good for his sixth at 15:25.  The Kiprusoff show would kick into full gear after that, with #34 stoning Gabriel Landeskog on two ten bell opportunities and a few more along the way.  With a great chance to tie things in the final seconds, Kiprusoff would shut the door one more time, preserving an important Calgary win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Well, as we saw as the game played out, it was the first period, plain and simple.  It was one of Calgary’s best periods of the season, and it earned them a 3-0 lead.  Why things got off the rails like they did for the remainder of the game is easy to answer technically, and more difficult to answer in theory.  The team went away from their blueprint as the game went on, and allowed things to turn into a track meet, playing right into the hands of the opponent.

Red Warrior

Miikka Kiprusoff, even with a bit of a gaffe on Colorado’s first of the night.  He’d end up making 36 saves on the night and once again was at his best when things were at their most dire.  His .932 even strength save percentage is well above what we’ve seen from him the last number of years, and he hasn’t shown any signs of regressing thus far.

Sum It Up

Yeah the final score ended up being too close for the Flames, but it’s a win.  The team needs to find a way to get themselves above the .500 mark, and while they’re still a game below, at least they are within striking distance once again.  Calgary has won eight in a row over the Avalanche, a team that they’ll likely be fighting with for a playoff spot.  So, more positive than negative for me coming from this one.

  • Scoring_guru

    Sometimes one team just owns another team. Calgary’s Kryptonite lately has been Minnesota. They’re 3-9-2 in the last 14 regular season games against the non-playoff Wild.

    It’s good to see them take it to Colorado. But Colorado’s goaltending is shaky (again), and Calgary has trouble scoring against competent goaltending. They could only put one past Ray Emery of all people.

    Calgary’s test will be scoring against good goaltending. If they can’t do that, they’re sunk in a competitive Western conference.

  • otto

    “The team went away from their blueprint as the game went on, and allowed things to turn into a track meet, playing right into the hands of the opponent.”
    Where have we heard that before?The biggest problem with this team is the total lack of accountability among the players.SOMEBODY in that room has to take charge and its not Iggy.The example he sets is not a good one,how can anyone call out Bourque when Iggy floats around the same way?

  • ville de champignons

    Its not about turning this season around anymore. Its about the future. (Obvious)

    If Flames management had the stones, they would but Connie behind the bench temporarily while Brent is given a “leave of absence” – anything to get him out of the system for a while. Here’s why:

    When he played, Conroy put a spark in the Flames play every time he stepped on the ice. His personality and wit undoubtedly kept the dressing room together. He led with his mind and his commitment to the boys. The players love him.

    Try it. Its the easiest change to make right now. And its essentially free. If nothing changes then at least you know its not a coaching/Sutter issue and you can re-sign Brent next year if you want.

    But if it works then congratulations! You have at least identified a big part of the problem.

    And then you can begin to move forward.

    Nothin’ to lose boys.

  • supra steve

    The only consistancy with this team is the damned inconsistancy.

    My vote, Iginla goes. Thank you for your services and for giving us that glimmer of hope for so many years, but you are needed elsewhere. Nilson begat Nieuwendyk, who begat Iginla, who begat ????. We need to cash this chip in again. From my perspective we should have made attempts last year, in hindsight that LA rumour probably was more than a rumour.

    The organization can be noble and keep him, like Colorado did with Sakic. The result being no return on your most valuable asset. An asset that I am becoming more and more disillusioned with, by the way. He is obviously a fine man and a good spokesperson. But his reputation as a leader…, where has he lead the Flames? Inconsistancy, no ability to sacrifice his own stats for team needs. Time to let him “lead” another squad.

    • supra steve

      You are part right & part wrong. Iggy has put in his full service as a leader of our team. Irregardless of his age, he has the pedigree to score & put up points in the NHL. He is at the end of his prime which is way better than most players in the NHL. But he cant put this team on his back anymore & will this team to a win. Management squandered those years with very poor decisions. Time ticks down on us all & the life expectancy for NHL players is unfortunately short, with a few exceptions ie. Lidstrom & Selanne. But Selanne found that fountain of youth because he doesnt have to carry Anaheim, they have Getzlaff, Perry & Ryan to do that. Selanne feasts just under that realm, he knows it & thrives on it. Iggy should be there too. But we dont have those horses to ride the high ground. I have no doubt if Iggy played on a team like Pittsburg, Chicago, Washington, Philly, Anaheim, LA, San Jose or even Vancouver he would be on a 2nd line, would be on the 1st power play & he would enjoy the type of point totals Selanne has. So your wrong, Iggy isnt needing to move on to lead some other team. Iggy needs to move on to take an already talented team to the next level & probably win a Stanley Cup in the process. So as we purge our way consistently inconsistent around the .500 mark this year, with sadness, I think we have no choice but use our valuable Iggy chip and cash it in for as much as we can get. There is no magical #1 centre now that is going to turn the clock back for our beloved Captain. Now if Anaheim could just let us have Getzlaff & Perry for Bourque/Stajan/Hagman/Sarich/Jokinen & our next 3 1st round picks, then I say we can afford to keep Iggy for life.

      • supra steve

        We agree on more then we disagree.

        re. your statement “he cant put this team on his back and will this team to win.”…
        My question is…Did he ever do this? I remember him having a lot of help in ’04 and I dont remember a lot of meaningful victories since. This is why I (and this is just my opinion) question the value of his “leadership”.

        Having said that I also question a lot of the moves made by the former GM. I mean, I knew Amonte was washed up but Darryl couldnt see that?
        I will not placing the whole mess at Iggy’s feet. He has been a valuable player and ambassador for the Flames, but I believe his leadership value has been overblown.

        • supra steve

          In 2004, Iggy couldnt be knocked off the puck along the boards. When that line cycled, they controlled & had great scoring chances. They had a chemistry we havent seen in years. In 2006 & 2007, we had very strong teams lead by Iggy. But we lost that magical secondary scoring we had in the Niemmenen, Nilson, Donovan line. After the lockout, Sutter made huge mistakes. First one was not bringing Gelinas back & then bringing the likes of Amonte, McCarty in hopes of finding that secondary scoring & he let Conroy walk over to LA. We won division Titles & were playoff bound in consecutive years. But as the years of missed opportunity go by, time catches up with even the most talented. Look at the drop off of Ovechkin, still an incredible player but how many would say he is the best player in the world now that was once said of him just a few years ago. Iggy is simply a class act that doesnt neccessarily exhibit the leadership abilities of say a Messier, but he was our leader by how he performed & dominated parts of games. Sadly, fans are seeing him no where near the dominating the way he used to. He’s still a great team player & class act but we are all seeing him trying to play a role he just cant do anymore. Take the C of his sweater & put him on a team with a true #1 line & I will bet $$$$ he has a 90-100 point season. Because in that environment, I think he will start to have so much fun playing in the NHL again, it will be some kind of scary & he will probably show flashes of the old Iggy. Hate to say it, but I dont think that will happen here in Calgary.

        • supra steve

          Also, remember the Detroit series & we were getting totally outplayed but we were only donw 1-0 & the monster D Hatcher was pounding some of our guys & Iggy dropped the gloves & not only fought the mammoth but fought him to a draw or slight edge. Huge show of leadership to the rest of the team. Then he scrapped Lecalvier in the final. That my friend was leadership.

        • TheCalgaryJames

          I don’t really see how you can call his leadership ‘overblown’ just look at the guy’s trophy chest. He’s a guy who has won the Art Ross, M. Richard, Pearson, Mark Messier etc… He’s been nominated for the Hart twice and if it weren’t for Ovechkin’s 65 goals, probably would have won that one. He was the captain of his team in 04′ and lead the team to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals both emotionally and statistically. All this goes along with the fact that he has won at every level save the Stanley Cup (and almost one that). He’s an obvious first ballot hall of famer who has been the only significant offensive weapon the flames have had for the last decade and in his time has never once not lead the team in scoring.

          I understand the argument that Iggy should be moved and I can’t say I disagree with it. I agree with Kevin R’s position that at this stage in his career he needs to be somewhat buried, insulated, and augmented by other offensive weapons in order to thrive… Weapons the flames just simply do not have. On another team with a more solid top line Iggy could easily be the guy to turn a good team into a juggernaut. I would however caution that there really is no guarantee that anything the flames would receive in return would amount to anything more than a pipedream. I stick with my position that unless you receive an absolute slam dunk (a first round pick, a blue chip prospect or two… etc) I don’t make that deal. I don’t know exactly how you make that deal or even if you’d be able to garner such a package at this stage in his career… but then again I’m not being payed to make those decisions either. It seems to me that these trades hardly ever work out for the team losing the asset and through out the course of the history of the NHL you can only point to a handful of trades where the trade was mutually beneficial to both sides.

          • supra steve

            Ok. If we don’t get that slam dunk offer and hold on to Iggy and have him retire a Flame, how does the organization benefit (other than morally)?

            LA traded a package to the Flyers this summer that sounded very similar to the rumoured offer for Iggy last season. Would that have done it for you?

            I realize we might not “win” in trading our captain, but I know we are having trouble winning with him.

          • TheCalgaryJames

            How does trading him for a couple of duds help the organization?

            My problem with most of the Iginla trade talk isn’t so much the idea but rather the overriding premise of the discussion; This discussion really hinges upon if you feel the flames need to blow up the team and start the whole rebuild process NOW. If the flames were to trade Iginla it would send a strong message to the rest of the league, media, and fanbase that this was indeed what the flames were embarking on. This thinking IMO is flawed because it assumes that a team actually chooses when to blow up their team. These kinds of melt downs are not chosen by upper management (despite what Oiler fans will have you believe). These meltdowns happen organically.

            My point is that if you decide to trade Iginla you are choosing to give up on this season and I would assert that Nov. 13th, less than a quarter through the regular season, four points back from a playoff spot, is not the time to throw in the towel. It’s a knee jerk reaction. If the trade deadline approaches and the flames are out of a playoff spot by a significant margin and the writing is indeed on the wall then yes, by all means explore all these options. But if we find ourselves in the thick of the playoff race (which I assume we will) then Iginla gives you your best chance to get there. For me (despite Kent’s opinion of the unenviable position of the ‘middling’ hockey team) every team, if it has a realistic chance should attempt to give it self a chance to make the playoffs. We should approach it with the kind of ‘intellectual honesty’ that Feaster has proposed and make sure we do not mortgage our future in the process but if you have the chance you go for it. That’s what a proud sports team does.

          • TheCalgaryJames

            My point about trading for a ‘slam dunk’ is that if all we are trading for is a couple of guys who peak out at 2nd line scorers then there really is no point. It’s not like we don’t have enough 2nd liners… if anything that’s our problem.

      • RexLibris


        I would agree with anyone who says that Iginla is likely your most valuable asset right now. That being said I would also agree with anyone who questioned the untouchable leadership status that Iginla has held in Calgary since ’04 (or even earlier?). I know he has a number of trophies, and he has played in the Olympics, but there are other measures and signs of a leader where he has appeared to be lacking. His repeated reluctance to participate in the IIHF championships when asked as an example, as well as numerable complaints made on this site about his lack of forechecking and neutral-zone drifting.

        I have argued that it is in Calgary’s best interests to keep Iginla because, contrary to what I believe most Flames fans feel, he isn’t a winning lottery ticket that can be cashed in for a prize. If he’s traded he goes to a contender, and they don’t draft in the top 5. So if you move Iginla you’ll have to get back prospects and/or picks and there aren’t going to be a tonne of top-flight prospects that a team would be willing to move for a 34-year-old winger at his cap hit. There’s be some, but I don’t think the Flames are going to be able to find another Iginla by trading this one.

        Another reason why it’s probably in the Flames’ best interests to keep him: do you really want Feaster to be the one negotiating that trade? In his career the best he has ever done is shuffle pieces to come out even, and the worst is sending away Brad Richards for Mike Smith, Jeff Halpern, and Jussi Jokinen (and a 4th rounder). Do you really believe that Iginla at this point in his career would garner more of a return than Richards did coming off the SC win? Or that Feaster would be the one to collect it?

        Good luck against Ottawa, best stay out of the box with them. They’re PP is at 25% right now and if the Flames get into penalty trouble the game could be over pretty quickly. Hopefully you get Anderson on an off-night.

  • supra steve

    Your assumption that I would trade him tomorrow for a bag of magic beans is incorrect. You wait and consider offers, but I still maintain last year was the correct time to make a deal.

    What about that LA/Flyer (Schenn) scenario I proposed. Would that kind of deal have got it done for you?

    • TheCalgaryJames

      Yeah, Schenn looks like a guy who could be a first liner and has the potential to possibly be a star in this league. I suppose I would have made that transaction assuming the team was out of the playoffs by a large margin. They weren’t and in fact were playing like they were going to make the playoffs and be a handful for whatever team they came up against. Iginla was a HUGE reason why that was the case. Sure they missed the playoffs but that’s what’s great about hindsight. At the time they looked like a team that could have made the playoffs.

      Like it or not the rebuild starts next season. In essence it started the day D. Sutter was relieved. This team will look light years different next year and with the right moves and allocation of funds we could be talking about a drastically different and I hope better team next year. That’ll happen with or without Iginla but unless your certain the year is lost why would you trade a guy who could and has before helped lift your team into a playoff spot?

  • supra steve

    The thinking seems to be that that is what Iggy is best suited to be now. A second liner on a really good club.

    There is always that chance the trade wont pan out. and then there is the chance you turn Kent Nilson into a second rounder that turns into Joe Nieuwendyk, etc. So I, personally, would have made the Schenn deal and ended up drafting higher last summer (and probably next year).

    I respect your opinion but we gotta do SOMETHING.

  • RexLibris

    The biggest mistake that GMs make, historically, is hanging on to ageing stars and UFAs in order to make a push to the playoffs. In the US this is largely because of financial concerns, not so here. Florida lost Jay Bouwmeester for very little compared to what he would have garnered if they had sold him at the deadline. Same with Dallas and Brad Richards. All because they wanted to make that push, and for what? Would they have gone on to win it all? Almost certainly not, they would have probably gathered a few more home gate receipts and broke even. If that isn’t a consideration for the franchise, as is the case in Calgary, then it just stands as a case of being stubborn and losing in the long run.

    Iginla doesn’t NEED to be traded this year, but next year that call will have to be made. And every issue of THN and episode of talking heads on SN and TSN will go on and on about it. So I guess we’ll see, but if Feaster tries to keep him, unsigned (even if he re-signs in the summer it’s a gamble), to push for a PO position next year, then he’ll be doing serious damage to the franchise.

    • supra steve

      You speak the truth.
      However, being patient and waiting to be sure we have no earthly hope of making the playoffs before considering a deal probably cost us a LOT last year.
      Realistically, we were out, then went on an unbelievable run such that the worst case scenario occured. No playoffs, no rebuild, drafting 13th (instead of top 5 or 10). If we are a little less patient this year I could be in support of that.

      • RexLibris

        Oh, I totally agree. Pick a direction and go. The problem, as I see it, is that the Flames management have chosen a direction, and the tide is pushing them in the opposite one, and so the failure of the franchise has been that they have been caught in the confusion in between.

        We’ll see what happens.

    • supra steve

      I gotta beg to differ with you. I see the Iginla scenario no different than when we traded Nieundyke & we got Iggy back. Different climate today than back then, if my facts are right, we got Iggy in 1996, called him up for the 1st round of the playoffs with Chicago. We didnt see a sniff of playoffs until 2004.
      I think there are teams that will give us more than you think for Jerome, & yes we may proceed not to make the playoffs for 2 years after the big trade, but pieces we get from him will probably have a big part in becoming a playoff contender in the future. Look at Fleury, he got us Robin Regehr & that was for Fleury being a rental player for Colorado in the playoffs. You can say what you want about how Feaster isnt the guy to do this but he’s the guy in the hot seat as of now & our destiny will be determined by his hand. Like it or not, it is what it is. I have more faith in Feaster than I would of D Sutter. In fact I know some Flame alumni that were a little concerned Daryl was going to pull the trigger on an Iggy deal & after what they saw what he did with Phaneuf were mortified. You can point out history where trading these kind of players have been a colossal failure & in our Flames history we have had both, success Fleury/Nieuey for future impact players & then the fail with Phaneuf. Yeah it can go either way, but you cant be afraid to make a mistake, you have to make the right decision & make the best deal you can. If we cant get the right deal for Jerome at the trade deadline, fine, keep him & see if we can do better at the draft. I’ll bet Pegula would eat big salaries to get a shot at trading for Iggy. If we’re prepared to take a short term salary dump, the draft pick & prospect package will be that much better for him. If word is out that Buffalo is trying to score a deal to land Iggy, you think teams like Wash, Boston & Philly are not going to want a shot as well. I have absolutely no doubt we can score a huge overpayment for Iggy if done right.

        • supra steve

          Yeah they do. Read my mind. You wonder if we can get the likes of Colorados 1st, Alzner & take Semin for the cap numbers to work for Washington.
          Then we turn around & parlay Semin out somewhere like Detroit:) for a prospect(would love to get Helm) & another 1st.

          Yeah, I meant regardless because sometimes my mind narrates quicker than my fingers can 1 key type.

  • RexLibris

    Anyone who supports keeping Iginla around, go back and watch that last Colorado rush last night and the Rangers OT goal. A $7million leader doesn’t let that crap happen. I am done with Iginla. If he has any value, get it now while you can.

  • CitizenFlame

    Enough already with the “leadership” debate surrounding Iginla. Unless you are in the dressing room then you don’t know s**t. I just saw an article in The Hockey News (I think) that had Iginla second only to Lidstrom as the most respected player in the NHL in a players poll. He wore an ‘A’ for the 2010 Olympic team, and won a Mark Messier Leadership award. If you want to say he is a lazy back checker fine, or critique other aspects of his game, fine because that is based on his actual on ice performance but the leadership debate, for or against is purely speculative and based solely on your own opinion and not based on facts.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    @Kevin R:

    You mean “regardless”.

    @CitizenFlame and others:

    Do you really put any stock in an award named for and given by a walking dunce cap?

    Can a player be a leader in the dressing room and not on the ice?

    As to accolades, scoring titles, medals, and the like: none of those things give any indication as to whether or not a person is a good leader. Skill does not equal leadership.

    • CitizenFlame

      I admit I don’t put a ton of stock into the Messier award, but it is given to recognize leadership on and off the ice in the community. Secondly, I never mentioned any scoring titles, medals or anything like that. I mention only what relates to leadership. Thats why I didn’t mention a Gold medal, I mentioned that he wore an ‘A’ on his jersey. There were a lot of Captains on that team, but only 3 wore a letter. My point is that we’re not there, you don’t know what happens in the dressing room. We don’t know personalities, and what goes on in the players lives, so all we see is what happens on the ice and base our opinions on that.

  • supra steve

    Messier had the reputation as a great leader. I wasnt in any of his dressing rooms but I know his teams won when it mattered on a regular basis.
    Iggy won in 2004, no one can take that away from him and I thank him for that. But since then, unless he has had Crosby by his side he has won nothing when it mattered.