FGD: Take a Flyer

With points in nine of ten games so far this month, the Calgary Flames will look to snap a modest two game losing skid tonight when they welcome the Philadelphia Flyers (8 pm, CBC and Sportsnet 960).  It’s a rare game the Flames will play that isn’t against a Western Conference opponent they’re right in the mix with; Calgary has just three more games, including tonight, left with Eastern Conference opponents.

As expected, both the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche won last night.  That gives the Stars a two point edge on Calgary for the final playoff spot in the West while it moves the Avs even with Calgary in a tie for ninth.  This conference won’t be getting any less tight over the next month, so every regulation loss seems to take on double meaning while every loss in extra time feels like a regulation loss.  Must be almost March!

The Lineup

Guillaume Desbiens everybody!  The latest call up for the Calgary Flames will play on the fourth line tonight with Krys Kolanos sidelined with a lower body injury.  Desbiens enters the lineup after putting up 13 points in 51 games with Abbotsford this season, his first with the Flames organization.  I guess the team feels they’re a little too easy to play against right now?  We’ll see if Desbiens helps or hinders they’re cause for improving that.

Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay-Mike Cammalleri-Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos-Matt Stajan-Lance Bouma
Guillaume Desbiens-Roman Horak-Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester-Derek Smith
Mark Giordano-Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie-Cory Sarich

Jay Feaster told Sportsnet on Thursday night the team expects David Moss to return to the lineup for the week of March 5th, which will only be welcome news.  It’d mean Comeau could likely be moved to a bottom six role which is much more in line with where he should be at this point.  Lee Stempniak is still on crutches, so he looks to be a little further away than initial estimates.

Miikka Kiprusoff starts tonight.

The Opponent

Trailing the NHL points lead by three points, Claude Giroux will be very fun to watch tonight in Philly’s only trip to the Saddledome this year.  With 70 points, Giroux trails only Steve Stamkos and Evgeni Malkin in overall points this year and there’s no question he’s made those around him better.  Scott Hartnell, who has played on Giroux’s left flank all year, is on pace for career highs in goals and points with 28 and 56 respectively while Jaromir Jagr’s return to the NHL has certainly been helped by the guy they call ‘G’ as well.  Jagr, while not on the top line tonight, has 16 goals and 42 points in his return at the age of 40.

Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Daniel Briere-Matt Read-Jaromir Jagr
James Van Riemsdyk-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
Jody Shelley-Max Talbot-Eric Wellwood

Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn
Pavel Kubina-Matt Carle
Andrej Meszaros-Nicklas Grossman

Top to bottom, both up front and on defense, the Flyers are made up of some very effective players.  Talbot is one of just four players to have played all 60 games with the team this year and has the lowest offensice zone start among forwards yet still has already set a career high in goals with 17.  Simmonds has also shattered career highs with 22 goals this year and neither are doing it with overtly high shot rates.  No wonder Philly is the second highest scoring team in the NHL, even after their decision to deal both Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

On the back end, the loss of Chris Pronger won’t ever be compensated for fully, but Philly is doing a decent job.  Recent acquisitions of Grossman and Kubina give the Flyers two players used to playing hard defensive minutes on their respective teams.  Kubina is likely a rental, however the 27 year old Grossman might not be a bad re-sign if you’re GM Paul Holmgren.  He’s young and he can play a vital role.

One area that you don’t rave about?  Goaltending.  Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start tonight sporting a sub .900 save percentage and one sitting at just .911 at even strength.  He’s been nothing but a disappointment since signing his big money deal during the summer.

The Story

The Flyers don’t pose a four point game scenario for the Calgary Flames, but neither did the Edmonton Oilers.  Calgary cannot approach this game any diffierently than they have in important games against LA, Phoenix, Dallas and so on.  The trade deadline is just a few days away, and many wonder if tonight’s Flames effort will help the team decide their approach come Monday at 1 pm.

  • everton fc

    I think I read somewhere Flames were scouting the Flyers and Bruins…

    Desbiens wore the “A” in Abby. He’s got some leadership qualities.I wonder if he takes a crack at Shelley. He’s got far better hands than most assume. As I’ve said before here, comparisons with Ivanans and PL# are not only unfair, but misinformed.

    All that said, I think we may have an interesting fourth line. Once Moss comes back, Desbiens most likely on the farm.

    Our third line is pretty solid right now. In fact, I’d take Bouma over Comeau when Moss returns. Comeau might be good trade bait, in a package situation. Ditto Babchuk.

    Here’s hoping Desbiens can add some spark and offence to the 4th line w/Horak. Anyone know if they were ever linemates in Abby?

    • RexLibris

      Don’t all the players in Abbotsford wear an “A”? 😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      Good luck tonight. At the very least I don’t see the Flames letting the Flyers push them around.

      Don’t bother scoreboard watching today, Edmonton never plays well against the Coyotes and I’m not certain it will change this afternoon.

      • everton fc


        From a Flames fan who actually pulled for the Oilers vs. The Hurricanes the last time they went for the Cup… Pulling for the Oilers. You never know, they are playing well.

  • everton fc

    First of all I hate scoreboard watching. If the Flames would just win their easy games *cough EDMONTON cough* they might not have to be so stressed out about what other teams are doing. Calgary’s level of effort against Phoenix was unacceptable as well. We’re lucky to even get a point out of that game.

    On the Guillaume Desbiens side of the coin, I don’t see him doing much. I could see Jackman, him, or Kostopoulos going after Shelley. Hopefully we don’t lose more people to injuries.

    Did I also hear Kolanos was placed on waivers? Can’t see the move has dissapointed me as Krys has basically done virtually nothing since being given an NHL Contract. Good story, but the Flames actually need to win some games right now, not being giving useless players extra chances.

    I’m glad to have Smith back in the line-up and it’ll be interesting to see how he does playing with Bouwmeester. Hopefully he can play top-4 minutes once more.

    Good luck Flames!!!

  • xis10ce

    You know we are beat up when (as Tweeted by Nick Kypreos):

    #SNtrade #Flames the 1 team that had Sean Avery interest a month ago. #Rangers were reluctant to place him on re-entry. Change of heart?

    We are considering taking Avery, that made me want to barf, I can’t stand him. No class bum, but hey as far as we are concerned right now he’s a healthy forward. Still I would much rather never see him in a Flames jersey.

  • xis10ce


    Yeah I heard Kolanos is on waivers today… I just hope it’s a sign that Feaster is getting ready to make some moves on Monday.

    In a way I hope the Flames loose tonight because I would really be disapointed if nothing was done to shake this team up at the deadline. Feaster has got to make the right moves here…

  • everton fc

    Desbiens will be the next on waivers. He may even be sent down right after tonight’s game, as this is the last day team’s can put guys on waivers to clear cap space…

    Perhaps someone picks him up and the Flames are less one contract. Or he ends up in Abby. Time will tell.

    I don’t think anyone will sign Kolanos. If he’s hurt, he shouldn’t be up here. Simple as that.

    As for the Avery rumour… Let’s hope it remains a rumour. I, too, hate the bum.

    Rolston just got waived, as well.

  • T&A4Flames

    I thought players couldn’t be placed on waivers if injured? I could see Feaster taking a shot at Rolston if he is on waivers. Should be an interesting few days.

  • xis10ce

    Kind of hoping for a flat effort tonight, in hopes of deadline fireworks.

    If the Flames are in for a playoff push, I’d like it to happen with players that will really benefit from the experience and make the flames better long term (Byron, Horak). I’d really like to see what we have with these guys when the season is on the line.

  • Oh my, at this point, I’d trade everyone for Evgeni Malkin. Dude is on such a tear, 4 points with a hattie today. Undressed 3 defenders, fought Roloson, did everything.

    If only we had a Malkin on our team.

    Go Flames!

  • everton fc

    If Nash is heading to Manhattan, Dubinsky has to be heading to Columbus as part of the deal.

    Anybody have any information on who the Rangers might be offering? And justice would indeed be served if Erixon were exiled to Columbus.

    • everton fc

      Heard Rangers are offering, choice of Delzotto or Mcdonough, Erixon & a 1st rounder. Dont think Rangers want to include Dubinsky in that package but they did make cap space with getting rid of Wolski’s 3.0 something Mill cap hit. So who knows.

  • Franko J

    @ Fireonice

    I wondering if Leonis in Washington is wondering the same thing.
    IMO Malkin has surpassed Ovechkin as a superstar player in the NHL.

    This is why the Flames will struggle with 8 th or lower finishes. They are not bad enough to finish in the bottom five for a lottery player. To obtain a Malkin, Stamkos, and a player like say RHN in Edmonton, you have to be pretty bad for at least a couple of seasons.

    Unfortunately the Flames have a couple well known veterans who have carried this team for the past 7 or 8 seasons to some degree of success, but not enough to make the Flames an elite team or doormat of a team.

    If the Flames want the next Malkin it all rests on Feaster and what he is able and willing to do with those two highly respected veterans on the Flames.