Postgame: Nails…?




I’m just glad the answer to the Flames struggles is in the room as Feaster says. You’d think that they could find it after 3-4 years though. Is it the Downey in the jerseys? The floor squeaks? … I tell you one thing, apathy has definitely set in with me. I could care less to watch another listless effort in a must win game for the rest of the year until some wholesale changes are made.

Commenter John Deere Green seems to be summing up what a lot of fans are thinking at this point in the Calgary Flames season after another 3-2 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars. While it was a better effort then many we’ve seen since…well, November of 2011, the Flames once again became listless and ineffective in the waning minutes of the game and it cost them-reducing their chances of making the playoffs to a meager 18.1%.

The Recap

While I wasn’t able to watch the game tonight due to work, I did catch the radio broadcast. There was nothing doing in the first goal-wise but with 22 shots it was an eventful start for the goalies. Both Miikka Kiprusoff and Kari Lehtonen turned away all of their respective shots against. The Flames had 2 power plays in the period, but were obviously unable to capitalize on either of them. A couple of weird moments kept the game exciting, however-Tim Jackman and Sheldon Souray’s offsetting Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties and Steve Ott and…Curtis Glencross (?) fighting. Shots in the period were 13-9 for Calgary but chances in the period were tied 4-4.

It’s safe to say that the second period had the offensive output the first period was lacking. Curtis Glencross scored his 22nd of the season off of a nice behind the net setup from David Moss 7:18 into the period. Dallas would respond a short time later, with Loui Eriksson making Alex Tanguay look like a complete fool for Eriksson’s 22nd of the year on the penalty kill. The Stars weren’t done there, however: three and a half minutes later, Michael Ryder buried a backhand past Miikka Kiprusoff with the man advantage, leaving the score 2-1 Dallas after two. Shots in the period were 10-15 in favour of Dallas and the Stars also won the chance count, 7-9.

Jarome Iginla had a great chance to tie it up early in the third, but was stoned on the breakaway by Lehtonen. Iginla would get his revenge, however, 8 minutes into the period after a sort of broken play from Cammalleri and Tanguay, a through-the-legs pass from Cammalleri set up the Captain for the easy tap in at the side of the net, resulting in his 25th goal of the year. From there, it sounded as if the Flames went to a 1-2-2 trap and it gave them what was to be the expected result-an overtime game. Calgary actually lead Dallas in both the shot and chance count, 13-12 and 5-4 respectively.

The overtime was back and forth until an unfortunate hooking penalty was called on Cammalleri-although at that point it saved a goal against and as a result a loss. Dallas used the 2 minutes to their advantage, getting 4 of their 5 chances in the extra frame within a minute. Kiprusoff came up big once again, robbing Souray on a one-timer from the top of the dot, sending the game to a shootout. Both Stars shooters (Benn and Eriksson) scored on Kiprusoff and both Flames shooters (Jokinen and Tanguay) missed. Shots in the extra frame were 2-4 in favour of Dallas and the chance count was equally lopsided at 1-5.

The Stars

1. Miikka Kiprusoff

2. Kari Lehtonen

3. Loui Eriksson

The Final

The Flames, ostensibly a playoff team (or, rather, what the organization deems to be a playoff team) have just a single win in their last seven games. For the past three years all we’ve heard around this point of the season is “2 out of 3!” and while it’s all well and good that the team’s simplified their goal, the actions they take on the ice are not indicative of a team that’s trying to put together a .600+ points percentage.

Last year, I wrote something that is even truer today about this team then it was in 2011-I said that this team doesn’t seem to know the difference between not losing and winning. You all know what I’m talking about-that horrific shell the team plays when they’re up or close to overtime. It always, inevitably, leaves a game a lot closer then it should be. While Sutter seems to recognize this and admonishes his team in the media for it, to me there’s only really two ways that allows it to keep happening: either this type of positional collapse and reliance on the goaltender is built into Sutter’s “system”; or it is a failure by the players to control their mental state and allow themselves to drift into a kind of weird risk aversion mindset.

Either way, the coaching staff, the players and hockey operations all should receive blame. This behavior has been continually practiced, causing the team to lose points over and over again and no one seems to know how to fix it, and that’s extremely worrying. Given all we know about the correlation between possession and winning, for a team to blatantly allow it’s opponent to control the puck and the pace of the play is asinine. Out of all the games this year to abandon that “don’t lose!” mindset, tonight would’ve been the one to do so.

The Flames play next on Tuesday, when the Montreal Canadiens come to town. Game time is 7 PM Mountain (Fan 960 and Sportsnet West).

  • Graham

    I think John Deere Green has a point, why the hell should I watch a second period when the Flames don’t play a second period?

    There’s a couple guys that you can see are giving an effort, but really where is the consistent effort, where is the 60 minutes of play?

  • Graham

    They actually havent been playing that badly these last few games & the points they got in February are OK if they hadnt stunk the joint out in Oct, Nov & half of December. But its the same thing every year with this team now. I dont know what the answer is any more & I dont think a coaching change will do a whole heck of a lot at this point of the season. Unless Feaster can pull a young new up and coming top line out of his hat for next year, some big pieces will have to be moved to start in that direction. 2 top 4 dmen wouldnt hurt either. It was a good effort but 10th or 11th place is in the cards for this team, short of a miracle on Olympia Way. I know our chances arent too good but the games still have meaning & I’ll try to enjoy them while they still do have meaning.

  • Graham

    That’s 7 games in a row the Flames gave up the lead. SEVEN! Either Feaster has no testicular fortitude or intellectual honesty, has no clue how to judge a team (my bet) or management is running. The guy has no clue and should either be fired or step down for someone who can. This is getting to be a joke.

  • Graham

    Some things never change. Whether it’s the way the Flames play hockey – or the way their Fans whine and complain about it after the fact. This is a bottom TEN team in a 30 team league and, because of the talent on the ice, that’s not going to change anytime soon.

    Love Smokey

    PS: This site could use an Editor – some of these articles, structure and grammar wise, are very difficult to read.

  • First Name Unidentified

    for the record, I don’t think the flames are done. not yet, anyways. if they fall any farther then 5 points behind dallas they’re done or if they’re more then 3 behind with 10 games to go they’re done.

    it’s cameron’s-dad’s-car-attempting-to-spin-the-odometer-back-and-out-the-window bleak, but it is still possible.

  • Graham

    If not for the loser point we would be in 23 and 2-points out of the bottom 5. Last time I checked there weren’t any loser points in the playoffs.

    The ability to lose in OT rather then regulation is what separates us from the bottom of the pack. We only have 4 more wins then Edmonton and they have 2-games in hand.

    It doesn’t inspire much confidence.

  • RexLibris

    I’m not trying to pile on here, but don’t expect much help in defeating your playoff rivals from the Oilers. They play the Ducks three more times this year, Dallas once and L.A. twice. None of those are games I expect Edmonton to win (okay, maybe one of the L.A. games because we can usually score more than one goal, that’s all it takes to beat them right?).

    While I understand the playoff-making percentages, I don’t think that, from a fan’s perspective, I would give them too much attention until you reach the 10-games-or-fewer pole. Earlier in the season the Flames were sitting at that 18% point, won a game and went up to 41%-ish and then lost a game (yeah, sounds like the Flames doesn’t it?) and dropped down to 14%.

    Their chances are fluctuating wildly (unlike their apparent effort), and while I think they are almost certain to miss the playoffs, one could be equally justified in saying that they are as likely to make the playoffs.

    What does not bode well for the Flames is that they are currently sitting in a position that, barring lottery alterations, would have them drafting 12th overall (almost deja vu all over again) in a mediocre draft deep in WHL defensive prospects. That is not going to provide the influx of talent this franchise so desperately needs in order to rekindle the interest of the fan base.

    From the outside looking in, this would appear to be another wasted season without a step taken in either direction. The Calgary Flames appear to have been cursed to spend the last eight years in Purgatory, neither ascending to Heaven nor descending to Hell.

    When the season is over I think one will look back not just at this Dallas game but at a half dozen or more games just like this one as the primary reason the Flames fell short.

  • Gange

    Sooooo tired of hearing of the lack of prospects.


    FYI – It’s not only the #1 and #2 overall picks that are talented. As an attempt at helping people understand that fact; the #9 and #10 WHL leading scorers are Sven Baertschi and Michael Ferland. I’d be willing to bet many teams would consider them talented prospects. Patrick Holland is #6 (was a Flames prospect) and I bet he’d be considered talented…

    If this team makes the playoffs, meh. If it doesn’t, meh. However I’d be very surprised if Baertschi and Ferland don’t get a long look at training camp. Just like that, without a blow up, this team looks very different. TAAAA DAAAA!

    Only time will tell though.

    • I think it’s fair to say Baertschi and Ferland are exciting prospects.

      However, you’re putting way too much faith in the team changing abilities of a pair of 20 year old rookies. Almost every kid coming out of junior seems like a guy who might make a splash…Mitch Wahl, Greg Nemisz, Ryan Howse are recent examples. The jump from minor to the pro leagues is a massive one and it’s rare for any kid to make it smoothly – let alone for him to be any sort of difference maker right away.

      Baertschi might be that caliber of player. I seriously doubt Ferland challenges for a spot though. He and Reinhart will doubtlessly need seasoning in the AHL.

      Actually, I’ll go as far to say that if Ferland and Baertschi make the Flames next season, it’s because they’ve decided to blow it up, not in spite.

      • Gange

        Hey, I never said that Ferland and Baertschi will turn the fortunes of the franchise.

        What I am saying is that the team will have a very different look and they have talent. We’ll have to wait to see what these two bring to the table in the bigs. I don’t look to Baertschi to turn the team around. However IF he can play that gives the team a different look. Couple that with, perhaps, a new coach there could be some new things to talk about.

        TBH – I’d prefer Ferland and Reinhart play in the A for awhile, I’m undecided on Sven though.

        No one is planning a parade by any stretch.

        @Nolan Moore

        Ferland is a big NA type player. 6’2″ 208 I believe.

  • Graham

    Reality has to eventually break through the bubble that has formed around Ken Kings and Feaster’s office’s.

    Management has told us for the last five or six seasons that they want to win with Iggy and crew. The problem is that Iggy and crew are not good enough to win. Management has failed to build a good enough ‘crew’ around ‘Iggy. To many mid and bottom level players signed to over generous contracts and terms, poor asset management, dismal drafting, no team identity, no fire, no real heart.

    Feaster stubbonly missed a huge opportunity to move assets like Jokinen and some of the UFA’s.
    The coach is adrift at sea, the management is clueless, and another season has gone to waste.

  • Graham

    I must warn everyone about the Euros in the WHL. Sven is a small guy, hes done well this year in the W and Ferland has dropped after a good start. But what would they be like in the NHL? Many players are known for gangbusters in Juniors and then nothing in the bigs. These guys are small speedy Euros, there arent many of those in the NHL who are successful. Holland is a possibility, he has size. Just dont think these guys will make the team and become Calder candidates. Remember Horak? Looked good at the start, now is up and down.

    • Gange

      I was under the impression Micheal Ferland was Canadian, since he was invited to Canadas wjc selection camp in December. Also, Sven certainly isn’t the biggest guy around, but we’re not talking Rocco Grimaldi or John Gaudreau small here. Couldn’t you also say that RNH won’t be a star cause he’s not very big? There are certain guys in the NHL who are small, but are also smart enough to still create chances and score goals. Derek Roy, mike cammaleri, and Marty st. Louis all come to mind. Even a guy like Pavel Datsuyk is on the smaller side at just 5’11 and under 195 pounds, and he’s one of the greatest hockey players in the world.

  • Main problem is… Flames don’t know how to win. The same problem from the last several years has crept into their minds and it’s telling… “uh oh… here we go again!” Playing with fear of losing is no way to win.

  • Gange

    FWIW – I think the Flames problem is entirely mental. The rash of injuries seems like they go into Eeyore mode. “We can’t win, may as well not even try”.

    It’s SUPER frustrating. It makes you wonder what is the root of that attitude. It didn’t exist in ’03-’04. It didn’t exist in ’05-’06. Seems to have become more and more prevalent as the years have gone on though.

    I think the solution is in the dressing room. However it’s probably a mental one.

    July 1st should be welcome change and a whole bunch of addition through subtraction I think.

    Just my $0.02.

  • Gange

    Hasn’t it been a few years now? Wait till the start of the season and see what they got and then they will make some changes- nothing is done. Wait till the trade deadline and then they’ll get rid of some UFA’s or RFA’s and change the culture of the room- nothings done. Wait till the draft and the start of free agency and the club will look totally different for next season- nothings done. Rinse, lather, repeat for waht 3 years? 4?

    • PrairieStew

      It has been done for a few years now. It was also done for quite awhile with Theoren Fleury as the offensive centrepiece back in the late 90’s. That collection of marginal players was more due to the economic reality of the NHL at the time, low C $$ combined with low oil prices and the owners were selling off assets. The other difference between that era and this one is that it seems to me that the margin for error is much narrower now than 15 years ago. It is way more competitive from teams 4-28 than it used to be. While the Flames are outside looking in, I think the injuries are a big part of that.

      I actually have more patience this year than I had two years ago when I advocated the complete blow up after losing to Chicago in 09. I really thought they could have stockpiled the team then if they had traded Langkow, Kipper and Regehr at that time.

      I do like what Feaster has done to make the team younger and add to the prospect depth. Comeau, big salary aside has been a decent add. Ditto for Jones and Stempniak when healthy. Smith has also been very good. Glencross’s contract looks good. Moving Bourque’s long term deal out for Cammaleri puts him in roughly the same term as Iginla is move that makes sense. This group is close, one or two players can make a difference so that all these one goal games could turn in our favour. Moss and Glencross were great in Phoenix but terrible the next night. Consistent play from them will do wonders. A third line with Stempniak and Backlund would be a massive improvement on the contributions of Horak and Bouma dontcha think ?

      Yes there is a worry that there is no superstar prospect coming, but you never know. No one expected Zetterberg to do what he has done. You have to keep trying to find that diamond in the rough.

      • Gange

        I think this was your last year to ride with this core. Dreger has said that Kipper would get a larger return than Iggy. I think Kipper has to be moved at the draft for an incredible return to either Chicago, Tampa or Washington. I cant imagine Iggy being too thrilled if Kipper were traded & that may be the thing for him to request a move out of Calgary. If so, two big changes potentially coming at the draft. We just cant make it 4 years in a row of the same ole same ole next year & no playoffs. Rex is right, our best 3 prospects should spend next year in Abbottsford. But I have a feeling Baers will be rushed & played on one of the top 2 lines. Which, I think will be OK. If we sign Joker, it should be as a 3rd line centre & paid accordingly. Iggy, if he wants to stay even if we trade Kipper, needs to be extended to a cap friendly deal, wont be the highest paid player on team & will get PP & 2nd line for secondary scoring. I pick on Kipper for the for sure major move for the following reasons:
        -NTC expires this summer
        -Salary versus cap hit attractive
        -coming off sensational year of playing 70+ games and playing like elite goalie. His trade value will not be higher. The fear of losing him will never be higher either.
        -the one area we have any depth coming up is Leiland Irving & Ramos & we even have Karlsson. The time is right.

        Therefore, depending on Iggy’s reaction to trading Kipper, Feaster should have at least 2-3 1st round picks this year to play with. If we get a 9th or 10th pick, maybe the Oil would take JBO & our 10th overall for their 2nd overall:) Just kidding.

        • supra steve

          correct me if I am wrong but I think Sven has to either plays WHL or NHL next year. Inelligable in Abbottsford until the following year. That being the case, he gets his 9 games with the Flames next year, then they need to make the permanent call for 2012/13.

          • Gange

            I thought I had read a few weeks ago that he is eligible to play AHL. I’m sure one of the experts on this site will clarify for us. If you are right I would agree, play 9 games & send him down but I think he’ll be 20 & AHL eligible.

            Wolf: I agree with your conclusion but probably have different reasoning but I totally agree the time to move on from the past is at this draft. I am hoping Kipper doesnt have the same pictures Iggy has on King & Ownership & once we trade Kipper first, Iggy will want out & state that to King & Ownership & to the Calgary public. No one would hold it against him that at 35 he is in great shape, feels great & wants to win a cup. After Kipper gets traded, the rebuild will be obvious & this will be him to help our rebuild & to pursue a Cup. I think he will be cherished even more than if he retires being the anchor of meiocrity for has last 4-5 years. Just hoping anyway.

    • Gange

      Would I? I have a decisive Maybe.

      It would depend on the coach really. The “new coach bump” might be enough to get them into the playoffs. Then we could watch 2 home playoff games and get back to golfing. 🙂

      Barring a really strong coach coming in, I’d say no. Let Brent play out the string and then make the change in the summer.

  • RexLibris

    Regarding the three Flames prospects in Baertschi, Ferland and Reinhart:

    All three are exciting prospects, indeed. Most teams would like to have those kinds of players in their system. Many teams already do.

    If I recall correctly, the NHLE for major junior is .3 per point. Kent, correct me if I’m wrong. Also, it has been noted here on FN that AHL players who average fewer than .5 ppg are highly unlikely to make a significant, long-lasting contribution to an NHL roster.

    I took a look at the points for the above-mentioned players and worked out their NHLE using that (hopefully correct) .3 equivalency number. Baertschi’s works out to an even .6 ppg, Ferland’s to .43, and Reinhart’s to .38.

    To my mind this would indicate that Baertschi might be the most NHL ready of the three and capable, given appropriate line support as he plays the wing, of making an immediate jump to the NHL. Ferland would appear to be the next most capable, but his numbers, and what I have read in his scouting reports, would suggest that he would greatly benefit by playing in the AHL. Reinhart’s numbers would also suggest that he needs time in the AHL and would probably argue that he is the least likely to have a career waiting for him in the NHL.

    From my own perspective, all three need to spend a year at least in Abbotsford, with Baertschi likely getting a call up or two during the season. I would also be inclined to give Reinhart the nod over Ferland as the more likely to have an NHL career, numbers be damned.

    Why I pointed out earlier that the Flames need an influx of talent and the related interest it creates in the fan base is that, while I have a relatively small sample size upon which to draw, the last time I recall Flames fans being very interested in one of their draft prospects was Dion Phaneuf, nine years ago. If the Flames are to avoid having to bottom out they need to follow up the relative success of last year’s draft with another one this year and next in order to feed enough prospects into their development system to turn out the required number of NHL calibre players.

    I agree with Gange, though, July 1st should offer a great deal of insight into the future of the Flames roster, barring any massive trades at the draft.

  • Gange

    @John Deere Green – “lather, rinse, repeat” – HAR! Well put.

    The draft this summer is Calgary’s last chance to do anything meaningful as far as bringing in young talent. Iggy and Kipper have to go. Both would improve the teams work ethic by leaving,though for different reasons.

    Honestly, losing Iginla now means very little to the team. He’s worth more on the trade market. The team will play more consistently without him. He’s has too much influence in the organization and takes too many nights and shifts off. He’s also a coach killer and has to be convinced (often a 2 year process) to play whatever system the newest coach brings in.

    As for Kipper, he’s a crutch leaned on too heavily.

    Study the crap out of what NYR, Ottawa and St. Louis did and then copy it. Succesful rebuilds in minimal amounts of time.

    Study Richards, Carter x 2, Kessel, Yashin, Fleury, Niewuwendyk, Nilsson on trading star players. ie. Focus on quality, not quantity.

    Team will blame injuries, they already have – ad nauseum. They keep on saying they refuse to blame injuries, but that’s just it – they keep on saying it. Why not shut up if that were the case. Instead, they take every opportunity they can find to publicly state that they won’t blame injuries, thus putting injuries as an excuse into everyone’s consciousness. Old Lawyer mind trick.

    Baertchi will be rushed in next year and when he doesn’t pot 10 goals inhis first 5 games he’ll be demoted to the bottom 6 until his offensive confidence is gone and he becomes another checker. He’ll then get moved in a few years and labeled a bust. He may or may not workout with another team. See: Stillman, St. Louis, Saprykin, Lombardi, Boyd, Horak, Backlund.

    • DieHard

      Who and why would anybody trade for Iginla at the draft. Old with declining skills vet with 1 year contract at 7M. He’s got 1 year left. He may want to retire after that and work for the Org in some capacity.

      • RexLibris

        There will be several GMs who look at Iginla and say that he has over 500 career goals and is only 1 year removed from 43 goals and is leading his team in goals again this year.

        Those aren’t the reasons I think he needs to be moved.

        Yes, his contract is a lot, but if you can fit it in and think you’re 1 scoring winger away from putting yourself in contention then the offers will come.

        Also, the MSM in this city have done a tremenous PR (brainwashing?) job over the last 15 years of promoting Iginla as a leader to the point that commentators out East and elsewhere repeat it without question.

        Every GM thinks players will play better on their team than on the team they came from.

  • RexLibris

    I believe that Baertschi has AHL eligibility for the 2012-2013 season.

    Flames fans should be concerned about how the team handles his development and call ups and hope that what has happened to Nazem Kadri does not happen to Baertschi.

    If Kiprusoff is traded this summer (NTC comes off July 1, correct?) my guess is that the return would be a 1st, maybe also a 2nd, a top level prospect, and perhaps a low-ranking prospect as well or a backup goaltender. That would, in my opinion, be the top offer for him and it would depend on the team doing the buying.

    Using KevinR’s example of Chicago, the return aside from the picks might be something like Mark McNeill and Stephen Johns or Michael Frolik. That’s not a half-bad return for an aging goaltender with two or three more good seasons. The Flames with Kiprusoff have had a very good run and neither side owes anything to the other. Calgary gave him a chance to play and he has rewarded them handsomely.