FGD: RiDuckulous Reversal

 

 

The Flames get a chance to make the space between 8th and 10th a little more crowded tonight by taking some points from the Ducks. Unfortunately, Anaheim is a place the Calgary hasn’t won in a long time. Although the Ducks haven’t been a juggernaut since their Pronger-led, cup winning team bested the Senators a few years ago, the pond has nevertheless been a charnel house for Flames hopes and aspirations for numerous successive seasons for whatever reason. 

While the streak is quirk of chance more than anything, the Flames do have a few real issues to worry about tonight. For one, the Ducks are one of the most improved teams in the NHL in the second half of the season. The addition of Boudreau has had  positive effect, as has some under the radar additions (including Nik Hagman) and a rebound by Jonas Hiller after a ghastly few months to start the year. As always, the Flames will also have to worry about Corey {erry, Ryan Getzlaf and Booby Ryan, a trio who are capable of becoming Flames killers at a moments. 

The Lineup

Absent unforseen events or circumstances, nothing will change for the Flames tonight.

Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla
Glencross – Jokinen – Moss
Kostopolous – Stajan – Comeau
Bouma – Horak – Jackman

Giordano – Hannan
Smith – Bouwmeester
Brodie – Sarich

Sutter did indeed try to split time for the top two lines in terms of facing the Coyotes number one unit of Whitney, Hanzal and Vrbata yesterday. The Flames are somewhat at the mercy of the home coach since he has last change, so Sutter will have chase match-ups where and when he can.

The second line of Moss, Jokinen and Glencross had the best scoring chance differential on the club last night which is a good first step for what could be Calgary’s new (old) shut-down trio. Moss himself didn’t seem to be shaking off too much rust in his return to the line-up, which is good news for a guy who is battling for a new contract heading into the summer. 

In net, it will be rookie Leland Irving. The Flames have seemingly made their choice between Karlsson and Irving, with the kid winning out, meaning the big Swede’s future with the organization is now a question mark. Look for him to be waived, packaged in a deal or loaned back to Sweden this off-season. 

The Opponent

I didn’t mention him earlier, but, like Ray Whitney, the immortal Teemu Selanne just keeps on ticking despite being old enough to have fathered some of his team mates. He has 21 goals and 55 points at nearly 42 years of age this season. That’s bonkers.

Ryan – Getzlaf – Perry
Hagman – Koivu – Selanne
Blake – Bonino – Cogliano
Belesky – Pelley – Smith-Pelly

Beauchemin – Fowler
Visnovsky – Sbisa
Lydman – Brookbank

Anaheim’s weak spot remains it’s forward depth. After the "big three" and Koivu and Selanne, things get ugly in a hurry and that’s despite mid-season additions Hagman and Rod Pelley. That said, the Flames aren’t exactly three lines deep at the moment either, so the match-up is likely a wash. With them at home, though, look for Bourdreau to try to give his big line some softer circumstances. The erstwhile Washington bench boss has been a lot less militant about hard matching Perry and Getz against every top line relative to Carlyle since he took over. Instead, he’s not afraid to attack the opponents underbelly and let another line take up some of the heavy lifting now and then.

On the back-end, the super powerhouse duo of Lydman and Visnosvky from has been broken up this season. If you want an example of how misleading the plus/minus stat can be over a sample size of one year (and/or how players can indeed ride percentage waves for a season) look no further than Lydman and Viso from 2010-11: the pair were a combined +50 (including Lydman’s +32) due almost entirely to team high PDO’s (SV+SH%) of 104.4 and 102.5 for the two respectively.

This year? A combined +1 with PDOs of 100.3 and 101.6.

Hiller will be in net tonight, naturally. After battling a strange bout of vertigo at the end of last year and playing like he was still suffering it’s effects from October to January, the 30 year old Swiss netminder has mostly been excellent since the calender changed. Hiller is an elite goalie when he’s on his game and is the primary reason the Ducks got anywhere last year.

The Story

The Flames are two points back of 8th and the Ducks are five points back of the Flames. Their hopes for the playoffs were all but snuffed by their horrendous start to the year, but they have shown no interest in laying back and hoping for a lottery pick like some organizations *cough*Edmonton*cough*.

My bet is they over take the Wild before the year ends and continue to make life miserable for desperate bubble teams like Calgary.

  • PrairieStew

    Paddy Steinberg too busy to write the FGD today?

    I’m not expecting much from this one. Back-up goalie in net, a place where they haven’t won since 2004 (they did win in Anaheim once in the 2006 playoffs), back-to-back games… the list continues. A win would be huge, and with some help from our enemies up north, a win combined with a Dallas regulation loss and the Flames are tied for 8th. Funny how things can change so quickly eh?

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    What do you think Iggy’s chances are of playing as long as Selanne, Whitney or Lidstrom? People always talk about his great conditioning.

    Playing that power forward game might limit him though in my opinion, especially considering he has been on the decline for a few years, while others that pull it off seem to just keep on trucking.

    Is there any way he can re-invent himself in the way he plays to stay relevant and productive?

    • I would imagine Iggy can play until 40 & be close to Selanne’s type of numbers given the right scenario. He would have to be on a 2nd line & be in a secondary scoring roll. Not at 7.0 mill/year & he cant carry a team. Expectations would need to be lowered, just like Jokinens were with his 2nd contract here.
      That would mean Flames would need to have a brand spanking new 1st line that played like a first line. Something we dont have coming up & why many of us feel a trade would benefit both parties dramatically.

    • His chances of being physically able to play that long are larger than being able to meaningfully contribute to an NHL team at age 40.

      Guys like Lidstrom and Selanne are extreme outliers. There are all sorts of former stars and superstars who can’t hack it by the time they are 37, 38 because a crucial skill has eroded past the point where they can (or want) to compete any more.

      If I had to guess, I don’t think Jarome will be in the NHL by 40…or if he is, he’ll be a 3rd/4th line guy whose utility on the ice is more symbolic than real.

  • First Name Unidentified

    While I don’t doubt that Jarome will be physically capable of playing until he is 40, I don’t believe he has the finesse of a Selanne to contribute meaningfully to a team. Like Kent said, he’ll be more a symbol. I do not hope he stays that long and knows when to call it quits. His career decline will be similar to that of Brendan Shanahan’s. Shanny’s numbers are slightly better because he has played on better teams.

    Any how… calling for a another 3 to 2 victory for the Flames and Oilers to upset Dallas 4 to 3. Say what you will… Dallas is bound to lose some and Edmonton can score when given the chances.

  • MC Hockey

    Agreed the Ducks may play spoiler but I worry they will win 10 in a row and actually compete with the Flames for 8th further muddying the play-down-chase waters!

  • MC Hockey

    Oh just commenting again on behalf of Apu from The Simpsons who wanted to tell Kent “oh my Meester Kent, that Duck headline nearly made me spill my Chai and pee my pants due to the hilarity you bring”

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Iggy scored 40+ last year. Is he a consistent 40 goal guy? He hasn’t been even when his age was never an issue.
    What decline are people talking about? Iggy has been and is consistent.

    I would suggest that Iggy’s earned reputation takes the worst beating by so called fans of the Flames. It’s clear that this phenomenon is just due to the length of his tenure here ie people only see the warts in his game because he’s been here so long.

    People look around and see all these young good players and think I want that bauble too. I think Willie Mitchell referred to it recently as consumerism.

    Here is an undisputed fact. Iginla continues to be a top player capable of producing and playing big minutes.

    All attempts to slice it any other way are just projections of bias against him. Meaning you discount what he does, only to focus on perceived flaws.

    News flash: No one is perfect. Does Iggy slump from time to time? Yes.

    This fan base so ridiculously over reacts when Iggy slumps, the pronouncements of his demise are quick to come. However when he bounces back and produces people continue to say he is in demise. Of course he isn’t the same player as he was 10 years ago. But he consistently produces at a rate few others ( young or old) can claim.

    Give it a rest. Your attempts to create this false narrative are hugely boring and played out. Having said that, I haven’t researched any stats. Like I stated at the beginning I saw him score 40+ last year. I don’t believe a fall off is super dramatic year after year nor as catastrophic as some here consistently plead.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      I’d agree with this statement. When Iggy is hanging out at the redline or the opposition blueline, hell, I think he could get 50. If you want a guy that can score 30 and help out in his own end well…….

    • Give it a rest. Your attempts to create this false narrative are hugely boring and played out.

      Who exactly are you responding to? The discussion about Iginla in this thread was whether he could be a Selanne or Lidstrom type player in 6 years.

      Also, please don’t talk about “false narratives” if you haven’t done the research to back up your claims. My own view on Iginla is he’s still a useful player in the league, but he isn’t up the role of primary offensive driver that he’s given in Calgary and has clearly decline from his peak. And unlike you, I HAVE researched the issue.

      Ideally, Jarome would be a quality support player on team who has the types of guys to 1.) drive play and 2.) face the other teams big boys. That way he could still produce, but wouldn’t be so detrimental in terms of giving up chances/shots against.

      I have a post planned for this very topic and how, basically, there’s a chance Iginla’s reputation will be tarnished if he stays in Calgary and ends his career here…mostly due to the structure of the team and expectations of fans.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        If I was responding to any particular post in this thread I would have replied as I’m doing here.
        The purpose of my post was to comment on the incipent talk of Iggy’s demise whenever he goes a few games without scoring.
        It was directed to those who do that. If you took it as a personal jab, well that’s your issue. Many times posts in a thread are not in direct response to other posts.

        Furthermore, I think most analysis (mine included) are probably facile as Iggy’s worth, as far as the organization views it, don’t include the entire picture. What does that mean?

        We don’t see the day to day-behind the scenes-in the offseason contributions Iggy makes and INSIDERS frequently positively comment on.

        Although your research may be well thought out, in the end it will be superficial. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

        Hopefully that unbunches anyone’s panties.

        You can argue Iggy’s numbers to other individuals on other team’s but Iggy is still a top producer for this team. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not Iggy drives the offense on this team, even in down years for him.

    • supra steve

      from your own observations:

      “What decline are people talking about? Iggy has been and is consistent”

      “Of course he isn’t the same player as he was 10 years ago.”

      My argument remains consistent (unlike yours). Iggy will not, at this stage, be able to lift THIS Flames team to cup contender status. He has not been able, for 3 years now, to lift THIS Flames team to playoff team status. In only one year of his career has he been able to help lift THIS franchise to win a playoff round (2004 was glorious though). He is now a wasted asset on THIS team. His best potential contribution to the Flames is in his current value as a tradable asset. If he gets another shot at playoff glory/a cup after such a trade I would be happy for him. He is declining and THIS team is not the best place for him to do that gracefully. Trade him this summer, and lets remember him the way he was.

      • PrairieStew

        Nice post Steve. If we had young guys pushing & wanting to take the team to the next level, I would say, lets get Iggy resigned & extended to his retirement contract, but it would have to be structured to keep the cap hit reasonable so we can afford to resign our new stars. That isnt the case. D Sutter has run this team to the ground for his win now philosophy, that this is no longer an option. All we have left is a long tough rebuild staring us in the face. If trading the likes of Iggy & Kipper can shorten a rebuild, one has to seriously look at it. Iggy can no longer be guaranteed as being the highest paid player on the Flames after this contract expires next year.

  • wawful

    Injuries have a huge impact on how long a player can remain productive for. As players age they become more prone to certain types of injuries plus it takes them longer to recover. Lingering effects from “healed” injuries tend to pile up and degrade performance too. Anyone who has ever torn a muscle or ligament knows that, while they can be functional in months, it can take years (even at a young age) for the injury to completely heal.

    Players who can put together long iron-man stretches are much more likely to have long careers. Some of this is just luck, but some players just seem to have a knack for avoiding injuries.

    Iginla, despite the aggressive physical game he plays, is working on a 423 game iron-man stretch (Last injured in January of 2007). It’s not clear if Iginla was really injured in the preseason or if he had something that he would have played through had it happened during the regular season. Still, he’s been a pretty healthy guy. That bodes well for how long his career will last.

    Of course, one unlucky major injury could change that.

  • wawful

    I love Iggy. I really do. He’s done so much for this organization and this city and made Calgary into a big hockey city once again. However, he no longer drives possession. That is a fact. He cannot play against other teams top forward units anymore, he’ll get his head kicked in. We saw a prime exampe of this recently when playing vs the best with Olli and Curtis. Is Iggy still a useful player on the Flames? Absolutely. He is still by far the most competent offensive player when used in the right situation. He can score, no one is denying that. When he plays the way he did last night, he’s still a machine. But he’s nowhere near the level he was at in 2004. And he shouldn’t be; he was 26 during the Cup run, he’s 34 now.

    I would love to see Iggy finish out his career in Calgary. I still think they can rebuild with him still in the fold, and I bet that’s what they’ll do. We’ll see, but he’s no longer elite, in my eyes

  • PrairieStew

    Iggy at 34 years is still pretty good. Here are some 500 + career guys in their 34th year :

    First 4 guys that were definitively below Iggy :

    Lanny McDonald 60 10-13-23

    Mark Recchi 79 20-32-52

    Dave Andreychuk 75 14-34-48

    Pat Verbeek 78 17-17-34

    At about the same level as Iggy, except they all played in better offensive years :

    Keith Tkachuk 79 27-31-58

    Brendan Shanahan 82 25-28-53

    Brett Hull 60 32-26-58

    Mike Gartner 81 34-30-64

    And then there are two guys who are way out there :

    Teemu Selanne 80 – 40-50-90 – first year after lockout, scoring was up, but still !!

    Gordie Howe 70 38-48-86 – Are you kidding me ?