The Heat is On



As mentioned below by Ryan, the Heat began their season with a bang this past weekend, sweeping the Peoria Rivermen 4-1 and 6-2 in back-to-back game. Although you can’t take much from just two contests against the same opponent, it’s a nice start to the season for a team that has historically had trouble scoring.

Some Notes…

– It didn’t take long for Sven Baertschi to start living up to the hype. Not only does he lead the team in points (4), his two goals were sniper quality (dirty dangle and a slap shot from the top of the circle) and he leads the team in shots with 7 in two games. It looks like Troy Ward has him on the top line and top PP unit already and the kid is delivering. 

Again, it’s just two games and all caveats about small samples apply. Still, hard not to be encouraged.

– If you watch the highlight packages for both games, you might come away unimpressed with Danny Taylor – just about every goal that beats him is from a less than ideal angle. That said, he finished the first two games with a .932 save percentage so he obviously got the job done overall.

– Related: Troy Ward still doesn’t think Leland Irving is the better goalie. In fact, despite the organization jumping through hoops to get Irving a professional "try-out" contract to play in Abbotdford, the former first rounder hasn’t even dressed yet.

It’s more evidence of the organization’s apparent ambivalence (and growing apathy) towards Irving as a worthwile prospect.

– Make sure to take a spin to Ryan Pinder’s Heat Hub blog, where he shares a few thoughts after each game. No one has seen more Heat hockey than Ryan the last couple of years, so you can’t find a better authority on the club.

– The Heat site also has the team’s schedule posted here. The first three weeks are pretty much all back-to-back weekends, but things change after that.

– We plan to start posting Heat gameday threads here at FlamesNation. We won’t do the livechat thing, but feel free to come by and share your comments. The first GDT will be this Friday when the Heat take on the Wolves.

Other items of note: TJ Brodie has 3 points already. Reinhart has a single assist, but also just one shot on net. Roman Horak is currently playing on the wing.

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  • The Last Big Bear

    I played for a senior team called the heat in Northwest AB

    That said, the phrase and song “The Heat is On” makes me want to punch myself in the face after a year of it as a goal, warmup, and pregame song.

  • beloch

    Danny Taylor hasn’t exactly had an impressive career. Over 5 seasons in the AHL he’s averaged just 12 games per season, and it hasn’t been trending upwards! Is there some suggestion he’s made a big step forward, or is he just hot while Irving is cold?

    The unqualified opinions I’ve read suggest that Leland Irving is a slow-starter. If that’s the case, could Ward be trying to motivate him to change his ways? Maybe Ward thinks he could show up to camp in better shape or practice more over the summer? Let’s face it, a slow-starting NHL starter is a bit of a handicap when some teams (*sigh*) need every last point to squeak into the playoffs!

    • Colin.S

      @ justin

      I agree with Justin here.

      If you ever look at Jonathan Quick’s, or Mikka Kiprusoff’s numbers through junior, college and the minors, you’d really wonder how they got to where they were. (you’d really be psyched about every prospect with a sv% above 0.910 as well)

      The crease is all “what have you done for me lately”. Most of the development curve is figuring things out between the ears because with how big, athletic, and technical goalies are now there is not much physically distinguishing a star from an AHLer.

      • I looked at this in depth previously. Here’s how some modern slow starters but eventual #1 NHLers fared in the AHL.

        The take away was Irving has played more AHL games in his career than the group averag (even though they all had long apprenticeships) and he had a worse save percentage than all of them except Corey Crawford.

        I have no real interest in Danny Taylor – he’s not prospect, he’s an AHL goalie. But Irving has always struck me as a mediocre prospect and now he’s losing playing time to a career minor leaguer.

        He’s not old enough that you’d write him off completely and we’re only 2 games into the season, but his window continues to close rapidly.

  • Colin.S

    As a funny side note, Ryan Howse hasn’t even dressed for the Utah Griz. After finishing off the year decently last year, you figure he would at least be starting for Utah. He must have really put his conditioning on the back burner this summer to not even be starting in the ECHL.

  • beloch

    just an aside on Baertschi leading the team in shots on goal (and points)… Krys Kolanos has 6 shots in only 1 game played. But then, he’s always whacking at the puck.

    re: Ferland, I imagine he’ll get dressed when either both Bancks and Bouma are injured, or if one of them is injured and Aliu is suspended. Both situations have a high probability of occurring.