Postgame: Milking

Even with the Calgary Flames being outshot and outchanced on Thursday night at home to the Phoenix Coyotes, they still managed to score a late powerplay goal and gain another point before falling 4-3 in a shootout.  Despite the ice spending far too much time tilted in the direction of the opposition of late, Calgary is still getting points out of games thanks in large part to the play of Miikka Kiprusoff.  They finish Thursday night tied with Dallas and LA for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

What Happened

Things started in a good fashion for the Flames, as Mike Smith decided to help his opponents out.  The Phoenix goaltender made an odd decision to come out and play the puck in front of him, giving it directly to Alex Tanguay.  As he tried to slide a pass across to Mike Cammalleri, the puck would take an odd deflection off a Phoenix defender right into the net for a 1-0 lead at 8:35.  Calgary’s second goal came at 15:38 when Tanguay found Matt Stajan in the high slot.  Funny enough, Stajan would fire a shot with a ton of confidence, going top corner on Smith for his second of the season and a big two goal lead after 20.

A familiar foe would get Phoenix on the board at 1:32 in transition, with Ray Whitney using some nice vision to find a trailing Daymond Langkow in the high slot for his eighth of the season.  With a couple posts in between the Coyotes would tie it at 17:08 right as a Jay Bouwmeester penalty expired.  As Blake Comeau had a chance to clear the zone, he’d instead throw it right to Keith Yandle.  A pass across to Oliver Ekman-Larsson turned into a tipped point shot by Shane Doan and his 19th of the season tied the game.  The Yotes were better in the second and had things all even heading to the third.

A bizarre play midway through the final frame gave Phoenix their first lead, as Scott Hannan would blow a tire inside his own blueline allowing Ray Whitney to move in uncontested.  With that much space, even a red hot Kiprusoff wasn’t making that stop, as Whitney would undress on his way to his 17th of the season at 10:27.  But it was Kiprusoff who kept this game within one as the period rolled on making two quality saves setting up the tying goal in the dying minutes.  With Radim Vrbata taking a seat for interference, Olli Jokinen would bang home his 19th at the side of the net at 18:14 for a powerplay tying goal sending this thing to extra time.  Regulation scoring chances finished 16-12 Phoenix, including 16-9 at even strength.

Overtime solved nothing setting up another shootout for both teams, as they both like to enter "flip a coin" mode.  With Smith stopping Jokinen, Tanguay, and Jarome Iginla in order all the Coyotes would need is a Ray Whitney shot to take a deserved two points.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  Well, once again, anytime you go to a shootout, it’s because the coin didn’t flip your way.  But in reality, the reason they needed to fight back and tie this one is because they displayed next to no traits of how to play with a two goal lead.  The puck bounced Calgary’s way in the first period and instead of clamping down, the Flames had next to no push back as the Coyotes fought from behind.  They were soft on the puck and made bad decisions for the balance, so to call a spade a spade, they were fortunate to get a point.  In fact, Brent Sutter was emphatic post game that Calgary was fortunate to get points in any of their last four games, so even he knows the team is flirting with the bottom falling out.

Red Warrior

Lance Bouma.  The guy did a great job against Phoenix depth today and was confident time and time again in moving the puck to the scoring areas.  He’s never going to do that against the best of the best, but having a guy with the ability and desire to move the puck from the perimiter against opposing depth is a value.  Many compare him to Brandon Prust for a reason and we’re starting to see a similar career path taken.

Sum It Up

To a man, the Flames were very unhappy with how they played in this one.  It was a better game than the Edmonton affair, no question, but they still had a two goal lead and let it slip.  Calgary needed last minute heroics just to earn a point in this one, yet even playing unsustainable hockey, the Flames still sit tied for eighth in the conference.  Now it’s the Flyers on Saturday night.

  • Danny Lawson

    Completely agree with the sentiment of Spector’s tweet. The Flames are much like the stock trader who is bound and determined to hang onto a stock who’s value is plummeting into insolvency. Of course, compounding the clubs problems are the no movement contracts the Flames management gave to virtually all players like so much Halloween candy. Calgary beloved hockey team really is going down, … in Flames.

  • PrairieStew

    Feasters interview with Roger pretty much showed he is being intellectually honest.

    If Sarich and Hannan get moved and ostensibly replaced by Babchuk and Piskula for this year and real prospects come back then I am for that.

    Jackman and Kosto could generate 3rd or 4th round picks in this sellers market. The other guys that could generate more – Stempniak and Moss are unfortunatley hurt. Jokinen has earned the right to stay out the season if he wants, but he might look at it as not only an opportunity for him, but a chance to help this org if he does move next week, and then come back to a stronger team over the summer.

  • RexLibris

    @ the-wolf, KevinR, and the inimitable Kent Wilson,

    Okay then, so the Flames are, based on our rough agreement of assessments, in a steady slow decline against which they have been making short-term, marginal moves in a vain attempt to swim against the tide of time and the improvement of opposing teams. Sound fair?

    Based on that, as KevinR said, there are now two doors open to them. With those options now being considered here on FN, I would suggest that Flames fans take a very strong interest in the kind of return that both Carter and, eventually, Nash garner as Iginla has numbers that are comparable but is older and has an expiring contract. My guess is that the deals of those two players will have some impact on any immediate appraisal of Iginla’s value should that option be explored this summer. My feeling is that he would likely return more than Carter but perhaps not as much as Nash, but that is an argument for another day.

    Kent, you mention “breaking the bank” for this year as not being plausible and suggest the long-term view. Does that mean that you are coming to conclusion that a larger-scale rebuild is in order? Or is there a third option you have in mind? Earlier this year you felt that adding a key piece via free agency would take this squad from a 7-10th team to the next level, somewhere in the 4-7th range. Is this still something you advocate? In other words, is Parise the required difference maker for this group?

    Trading Kiprusoff and others while retaining your youngest players and prospects and signing Iginla to a retirement, cap-friendly deal with a handshake agreement to move him to a bona fide contender should the occasion present itself sounds like a plausible scenario.

    KevinR, I like what you suggest in that Feaster has essentially positioned himself relative to the team such that, with the player’s poor play, he could make some drastic moves and the fans would support him at this time because of their disenchantment with this roster.

    Also, what you’ve said about the Flames basically running out of options is EXACTLY what happened here in Edmonton and something that so many people outside of the city (and some even within it) fail to recognize. That sometimes, fate just stops giving you the subtle hints and delivers a massive kick to your behind.

    The timing of this is terrible as the assets that the Flames have to move may have actually lost some value by now with many of the buyers already having stocked up.

    I think Feaster’s appearance of having a “let’s wait and see what we have” strategy has only served to delay the inevitable and the ideal window for action has begun to close. Based on market values, the best time to have sold off expiring UFAs was last weekend and early this week. Perhaps that changes Saturday and Sunday. We’ll see.

    the-wolf, this summer what would most Flames fans feel about trading Cammalleri, Tanguay, Bouwmeester, Babchuk and Kiprusoff? Because of the many NTCs I don’t know that a 1st and a blue-chip prospect is a fair return for every single one of them, but assuming a modest to below-average return, if that is what it took to kick the franchise into the next phase of their existence, would Flames fans be supportive of moves as dramatic as those?

    One last thing I’d like to add: if a total rebuild (let’s not call it Oiler-style, call it Flames-style and make your own template) is put into effect, is Feaster the best one to be at the helm for that and do any of you have the faith in the scouting and development departments that it could be done well?

    Good luck against Philly.

  • supra steve

    Thought this might be a good time to submit this. I have managed my 14 year old son’s hockey teams for the last 2 years and we are heading for a provincial tournament for the second straight year. Please accept this as my application for the Flames GM position. I KNOW what has to be done. If you bring me in as Jay’s “assistant” (wink-wink) and give us the greenlight, I will make sure the necessary trades occure. Iggy, thank you, you’re gone. Olli, thank you, also gone (don’t sell your place yet as I would be interested in bringing you back next year on a reasonable 2 year deal). Mika, I respectfully ask if you will accept a trade, you have earned my loyalty and respect and I will only move you if you give your blessing. I will not be upset if you choose to stay. Hannan & Sarich, thanks and by-by. Then when we lose a lot next year (and we will) I can be instituted as Jay’s replacement. Or hey, let me go too. Did I mention that I’m only signing up if I get a lucrative 5 year pact?

  • RexLibris

    The old guards on this team is too complacent. They talk the good talk, but when it’s crunch time, they have disappeared… this will be the 3rd or 4th year in a row now. I have no idea why there is no killer instinct with this team!!?? It’s like… we’re up 2 – 0… time to cruise because they expect the other team to give up. The Flames may give up if trailing 2 – 0, but other teams don’t!!! Wake the F – Up Iggy!!!

    Give the “C” to Cammi… maybe he’ll starting the Flames a bunch of losers and they might wake up and at least start trying. Or least look like they’re trying because it sure as hell doesn’t looked like they are!

  • T&A4Flames

    another year older and closer to death. should have blown the damn thing up last trade deadline. another 12 th place finish and older assets. wonderful vision.

  • everton fc

    I just listened to the Feaster interview…

    One could argue he’s calling out Iggy. Jokinen has come to play every night. Or close to it.

    Again… He’s calling out the vets. “Marhsall some assets”…

    Iggy? Tanguay??

    Feaster had good things to say about Byron… For all you Byron fans…