POST GAME: Buried Alive



So where do we begin with this tonight?

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Justin mentioned at the top of the FGD, that the Flames 1-2-1 didn’t look too fancy. Well then what does a 1-3-1 record look like?

"Tonight, Calgary will welcome the Colorado Avalanche to the ‘Dome. The Avs are on the second game of a back-to-back (losing 3-0 last night to Vancouver in the rainy city), and are currently sporting a depleted roster – meaning that tonight is a great opportunity for the Flames to pick up two points."

Did we mention that the Av’s were going to go this one without Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Steve Downie, and… uhh.. Oh yeah! Their backup in net!

The Rundown

The first period started as we had all hoped and predicted. Calgary came out skating, looking to take advantage of an Avalanche team that was playing its third game in four nights; while the Flames spent the last four days resting and practicing. (We talkin’ about practice? Already)

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Keeping the game at a high tempo in order to allow your opponent to run out of gas early is a pretty good game plan as long as you don’t commit any bonehead plays and cough up a bad goal. Well that’s just what Calgary did, control the play and bide their time while J.S. Giguere made some timely saves to keep his team in it.

As it turned out, at 7:23, Colorado would be the first team to blink when Matt Hunwick had his pass picked off by Jiri Hudler. The new Flame would deliver a nifty pass over to Matt Stajan for the one-timer. However as we all know, Matty Franchise doesn’t scor that often, but he did get the shot off fast enough that Giguere had to kick out the rebound back to Hudler, who would then put the sharp angled shot in the back of the net.

Tim Jackman had the chance to double the lead with a little over three minutes left with a fantastic tip off of a Chris Butler shot. The deflection cleanly beat Giguere, but not the post behind him. The missed opportuity would prove costly as the Av’s would tie it up at the 19:13 mark after Chris Butler would throw a blind pass right on the stick of John Mitchell; who would beat Kipper with a snap shot on the far side. One both Kipper an Butler would like to have back.

Not dwelling on a late tying goal, the Flames quickly re-established the lead at 1:49 of the second period. Brodie would start the play behind his own net with a quick dish to Stajan. Matty would then hit Hudler with the stretch pass. Then in one of the nicest tic-tac-toe plays we’ve seen in the Dome, the puck would go from Hudler to Cervenka, back to a trailing Stajan and finally finished off by Hudler. Flames fans were feeling pretty good at that point.

Unfortunately the Av’s would answer back 1:41 later, when P.A. Parenteau would lob a backhand towards Kipper that somehow found its way through his pads. A broken play behind the Flames net at 16:58, with Stajan dancing a do-se-do around Cody McLeod results in the puck finding its way to a wide open Mitchell, and then quickly behind Kipper. 3-2 for the refugees.

This time it was the Flames turn to score a late one to tie up the game. Alex Tanguay, still needing just one assist to reach 500, would instead register his 3rd goal of the season. Again, the series was set up by some nice passing, and again it was Hudler making it count when he touched the puck. So at the end of two, we were right back where we started, all tied up. The Flames had the only PP of the period, and it was the first of the game as well. It wasn’t overly productive for the team with the 4th best in the league, so we’ll just move on.

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The third period was the one where the Flames should have really put this one to bed. The Av’s should have been gassed and with the four days rest, Calgary should have had a lot left in the tank. Alas, would’ve, could’ve, should have… didn’t.

It’s not like they didn’t try, but somebody forgot to tell Giggy that jig was up and it was time to end this thing. Shots from the point weren’t finding their way, and Giguere turned away Mikael Backlund when he and the Flames would bring the play in tight as well. In the end, it was the Flames caught off guard when the Avalanche occured with less than three minutes left in the game.

At 17:20, Paul Stastny would score on the power play before Giordano even had the chance to sit down after tripping Matt Duchene. Stealing the puck behind Kipper, he would turn and wrap it around, sliding the puck under Miikka’s left pad. Then, at 18:49, Stastny would score again as picks up the puck off a Wideman blocked shot, and fire it past an out of position Kiprusoff. Not Kipper’s fault, but it didn’t provide an excuse for his performance tonight either. The icing on the cake came at 19:12, with P.A. Parenteau potting his second of the night into the empty net. We won’t fault Kipper on that one either.

Why the Flames Lost…

There are a number of reasons why Calgary lost this one. They didn’t capitalize on a lot of the chances they got. Yes they scored two incredibly nice highlight reel goals, but that’s not what wins hockey games.

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An unlucky bounce for Jackman (Sound familiar?) and some missed chances by Backlund. If those go the other way, the Av’s cave and are licking their wounds exhausted right now. But, the Flames also took Colorado for granted and the fact that they were facing a struggling team and their back up.

Perhaps the four days off after the win over the Oilers was too long and the team lost that excitement. Maybe it was another game where they did great with the secondary scoring while the top line was no where to be found. Honestly tonight, it was hard to tell who the #1 line was. Another game with no goals from Iginla or Cammalleri. Tanguay got on the board, but it was while on the ice with Hudler.

Then there was Kipper. Needless to say it was not his best effort out there. While I’m not going to blame him for the empty netter, of the other five, he was easily at fault for at least three of them. Kipper has looked shaky to start this season and many of us are getting less vocal about his ability to pull it together sooner rather than later.

Although the buck may stop with Kiprusoff, the blame doesn’t;  Chris Butler and Cory Sarich can stand right beside him. Hell, they might as well, cause they were doing a good job of standing around during the game. Honourable mention goes to Dennis Wideman too. While he was generating a lot of chances in the offensive zone, he also generated a few in his own.

Red Warrior

Not much of a stretch to realize that Jiri Hudler was the best on the ice tonight for the home team. He got the ball rolling and then got the team back in the game when they needed it. Jiri is showing a lot of leadership on this line, pulling it together and making it seem like the trio has been playing together for over 20 games, rather than 2. What makes it more impressive is that one guy is a guy who can’t speak english (although that’s not an issue for Jiri) and has never played in the NHL… and the other guy is Matt Stajan!

He might have this honour for awhile.

Sum It Up

Time is ticking on the Flames and the sand is going to start running quicker and quicker in the hour glass. This was supposed to be an easy two points, but then again nothing is ever easy for this team.

It doesn’t get any easier as the Flames get ready for a hellacious month of February, where they face the Canucks, Blues, Kings, Wings… the Stars twice and the Wild three times. Oh to kick it all off, they get the Blackhawks this Saturday.

Hope for the best people.. and maybe say a prayer or two. Unless your prayers include names like Jones or McKinnon, then you just shut up!

See ya Saturday, 8:00 p.m. MST on HNiC.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I know I have my moments of freak out. But to be honest. We are 5 games into a compressed schedule. If you think the standings as they are right now is any kind of indication of where they will be in 43 more games, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

    • Vintage Flame

      This is true Jer.. which is weird hearing you be the voice of reason. [Just kidding]

      There is no doubt that this could all turn around if Kipper gets his game in order.

      I had mentioned in my last VotN, that it’s easier for fans and analysts to be negative based on past performance than it is to be optimistic based on speculation and hope. The problem withthe Flames this year is that we can all SEE the potential, but the Flames haven’t realized it, which only reinforces the negatives right?

      Hudler has looked VERY good for Calgary and there is definitely something there with Cervenka. Now it’s just the same old swan song with the vets and teh core of this team that seems to be caught in the past… dragging the fans down with them.

  • Michael

    Roughly 10% of the way through the season so its not time to panic, but their are some definitve positives and negatives beginning to show up.

    Good news…
    The team is more fun to watch, has a better skill level (NHL average to good skill, not great or elite) and would be a good team on a larger European ice surface. Backlund and some of the new additions have shown up.

    Bad news…
    Smaller, softer teams don’t tend to do that well on the small NHL ice. The team is poorly constructed. Surplus on the wing, weak down the middle, the d corp is ‘softish’. Team has and continues to rely on Iggy and Kipper to much.
    Some of the vets have not really shown up (yet?)

    Possible solutions..
    They need to move a winger and acquire another center. They need to add a least one, maybe two larger bottom six forwards (not fighters) and stiffen up the d corp.

    Type of free agent I would have added last year, ‘Marcel Goc’ type as a thrird line center. Decent size, good speed, two way forward, face off guy.

  • RedMan

    Oiler trolls gloating, haha

    on one hand they keep bemoaning the fact flames aren’t rebuilding, like the oil genius’ did, but on the other hand they are right because the oiler’s rebuilt by sucking so bad for so long that they consistently took last place – and are still a last place team until they do something differently.

    I guess the Flames aren’t sucking enough to call it a rebuild?

    Oh, by the way, did the Oiler’s ship off some legitimate hall of fame-ers for big first round picks in order to rebuild? No, they just sucked, and real hockey players refused to go there or stay there.

    So, since the Flames suck, why aren’t the Oiler trolls giving credit for doing the rebuild the same way they did it?

    That being said, I am now OK with shipping off Iginla after his hot streak to give him chance to win a cup and allow Flames a top draft pick. At the trade deadline Iggy would be all but free, and a boost to any team that is legitimately contending

  • McRib

    Wow, Kipper let another one slip away, what a disappointing game from him. If they don’t have confidence to start Irving then lets make a move and sign Brust or Taylor ASAP or get a Ben Bishop from Ottawa. The minute that I found out JS Giguère was starting against his old team, I was worried and for good reason he kept the Avs in it the first two.

    Man I hate the style of play of the Avalanche game, it looks eerily similar to that of the Canucks brand. Its called flop all over the place to draw penalties in the third to secure the win and the refs bought in completely.

    The Flames deserved a better fate but that can be said about three of four losses. Maybe they just aren’t that good….. At least the flames are much more exciting to watch even when they don’t win under Hartley compared to Sutter.

  • McRib

    Keeping Kipper and Iggy has been what has been holding us back. We continue to try to build around them as well as give them elite minutes and situations when they are no longer at that level.

  • T&A4Flames

    jarome sundinla. iggies opposing d line floating backchecking scheme is growing very old. somewhat you are the captain, sowhat you score goals. last time i checked leaders led and teams with the most goals scored win the game. anyone see cammi, paging mr cammelari

  • khlhfs

    This Flames team is not as bad as their early record indicates (and this is coming from an oilers fan.) The flames traditionally are slow starters and I’m sure they will get hot within a few weeks.

    The most alarming part of this early season for you guys has to be Iginla. I’ve caught just about every game and have keyed in on Iginla and it’s very clear to me that his heart isn’t in it. I don’t believe that Iginla believes in this flames team which I’m sure is hard to watch.

    • Parallex

      Actually no, I’m quite pleased and not alarmed at all with Jarome Iginla’s start to the season… sure the goals havn’t come yet but he’s playing well and he’s getting shots unlike prior years where he looked like he was fighting it he just looks unlucky so far.

      I’m most alarmed with Kipper. The guy was having issues just covering up pucks, his reaction time looks slow as brown banana’s. It’s at the point where I want him giving up games to Irving… if he won’t give use even average goaltending then they ought to give someone else the opportunity to try to do so. After Kipper I’m also alarmed with Mike Cammalleri… he looks so slow out there.

    • The most alarming part of this early season for you guys has to be Iginla. I’ve caught just about every game and have keyed in on Iginla and it’s very clear to me that his heart isn’t in it. I don’t believe that Iginla believes in this flames team which I’m sure is hard to watch.

      Iginla looks better than he did last year for the most part so far. To me anyways.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Had to laugh. At the start of the game Rob Kerr mentioned that the game against the Avalanche is the closest thing to a free space on a bingo card.

    Only thing closer to being that free space on a bingo card must be the Calgary Flames? Is that what he meant saying that?

    On a positive note, there’s plenty of room for improvement in Calgary, there’s like 14 spots (the maximum) the Flames can move up. Enjoy being the free space for the Blackhawks tommorow.

    • Reidja

      Zing… The amount of delusional crap that has come out of Edmonton over the past few years would require a landfill the size of Sherwood Park… Wait…

      You guys have to watch Principe for effs sake. Let Rob Kerr have his fun.

  • Subversive

    I have a buddy who swears the Flames problem is their weak defence and allowing too many quality chances. I’m trying to tell him that while the Flames are not top of the league defensively, the amount of ‘quality chances’ they allow is no higher than most teams.

    Can anyone link me to data to help me prove this theory?

  • Vintage Flame

    For me the two biggest concerns are also Kipper and Cammelleri. Kipper is fighting the puck at all ends. Even last night in the first, when the Flames were controlling the play, Kipper seemed to fighting easy rebounds and plays at the side of his net. You just got the feeling that the Av’s were ALWAYS just one bounce or mishap from taking control of the game.

    Ultimately, that is exactly what happened. An errant pass here, and bad bounce there to the open slot and boom.

    Kipper was left to hang on a couple of thse goals, but it doesn’t take away from teh fact that he should have also made the save.

    The backhand lob from Mitchell that went through his pads was just terrible.

  • T&A4Flames

    It’s quite… interesting reading these blogs and posts from the Oiler game and then on to this one. The Flaming rollercoaster of emotion is in full motion.

    This is the 1st year, EVER, that I don’t feel angst when the Flames lose. I have asked for a clear path to be shown to the management of this team and at least for now, it’s getting clearer.

    They may turn it around, so far Hudler, Cervenka & Wideman are providing what they were billed as. Backlund is looking confident and even Stajan is showing up. Tangs is playing like I would expect a vet of his status to play. If Jarome, Cammi & Kipper can get back to their norms, and it all comes together at the same time, we may enjoy Flames PO again this year. I’m just praying that there is no magical hot streak 1 month before the deadline only to be followed by a late season collapse. I’m tired of missed opportunities with this team. Where is the “intelectual honesty?”

    • supra steve

      “This is the 1st year, EVER, that I don’t feel angst when the Flames lose. I have asked for a clear path to be shown to the management of this team and at least for now, it’s getting clearer.”

      Amen, my feelings exactly.

      Kipper will probably pull out of this funk soon, but what if he doesn’t. That would make stubornly holding on to your 36yr old goaltender this summer, rather then trading him at max value (when his NTC expired), seem rather foolish. At very least, if he never fully recovers….lotto pick here we come.

  • loudogYYC

    As much as Kipper was bad last night, and that’s an understatement cuz I like him, he’s in pre season form right now. Give the old guy some time and he’ll be pulling off his crazy saves again.

    I’m with @T&A4Flames in that it doesn’t bother me to see them lose this season. I’m normally in a foul mood for hours when they lose games like this one, but between the Anaheim loss and last night, I’m actually pleased.

    These are the Flames true colors, not saying it as the pessimist I can be, but it’s just so clear now that they’re a flawed team with a few good pieces. Not a good team with a few flaws.

    • Parallex

      “Give the old guy some time and he’ll be pulling off his crazy saves again.”

      48 game season… time is the one thing that we can’t afford to give him. He needs to wake up or get out of the way.

      • loudogYYC

        Out of the way for who?

        If you think of it, it’s a great scenario. He’ll take time catching up and the Flames will keep on sliding, he’ll find his game and show everyone he’s still got it.

        Playoff teams will pay big for that if they’re looking at a run. It didn’t happen last season cuz Kipper was playing out of his mind and was the reason the Flames didn’t finish bottom 5.

        • T&A4Flames

          Yea, that seems ideal to me as well. However, I’m not convinced that Feaster will move him until he knows that he has someone who WILL be able to take over ie. Karri Ramo

          I’m sure a team like CHI would love to have Kipper. With only the next 2 years remaining on his contract, that seems ideal for them to make a couple of runs at it and not be locked into a Luongoesque contract.

  • Vintage Flame

    Under the category of “BAD TIMING”, I got an email this morning from the Flames asking me if I wanted to purchase an additional game pack this year…

    Curious, the Flames had 5 game pack options available and only two of them sold out. Maybe the fans are telling them something.

  • Scary Gary

    A little late to the thread here, but: At least you guys didn’t have to stream the game from a Colorado based source! Watching all those stinkers go through Kipper, then listening to the announcers praise the offensive prowess on the play was hard to take. On the 5-hole, back-hand lob: “Parenteau is a goal scorer… because shots go in when he takes them.”

    Wow. That game was a flaming hot dagger right to my soul.

  • Ken V.

    I don’t know if anyone has said this already but here goes…..
    The game plan that should always be played against a tired team is to punish their defense for the first period by dumping the puck in and finishing checks. Simple, but I think I read we have the lowest amount of hits in the league? This is supposed to be one of the toughest buildings to come into but the point is moot if the players aren’t tough to play against. Also not one fight? Indeed it’s not that important, but when paired with the lack of hits it simply highlights that there is ZERO passion in this team right now. You should be going in to battle when you play not just spinning away from contact and pushing people around here and there. Lack of any grit is by far the biggest disappointment for me thus far.

    • Vintage Flame

      Okay this should be good…

      Tell me, tell us all in fact. What exactly is the payoff, and what makes it huge.

      Every year that passes, we hear how Hall, then Eberle, then Nuge, now Yakupov is the final piece of the puzzel to return the Oilers to the glory of yesteryear.

      So far the results have been moving up one whole spot, still drafting first overall, and a reality show that is more suited for Comedy Central.

      So tell me what this great payoff has been??

      And I’m sorry.. did you actually call Dubnyk a top 15 goalie? Oh wait, you did the same thing with Habby, before he became Re-Habby, and Roloson before you realized his body was 60% dust. Lest any of us forget what a brick wall Tommy Salo was.

      • Vintage Flame

        Not to defend an Oiler troll… But the blow it to the ground rebuild takes time and the suddenly rockets up. Pittsburgh drafted 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd (Fleury, Malkin, Crosby, Staal – in that order). Even with Crosby they got 29th… until they added Staal and got the others to grow up a bit. Then 2 years later they won the cup and have been a powerhouse ever since.

        But you are right, the Oil should be laughing. With their netminding they will be lucky to make the playoffs, even with the embarrassment of riches they have up front. Never mind D. Whitney looks like he barely belongs in the NHL, and he is supposed to be a top 2 dman. Like I said, there are a lot more Islanders perpetually rebuilding than there are Penguins. But it seems more likely to work than getting 9th forever IMO. At least its different.

      • Oilertown

        Have a peek at the standings there bub and while your at it take a peep at Dubnyks save percentage and your all stars kippers aside from one bad period against the Sharks Dubnyk has Been lights out. Sorry to burst your bubble but the Lames are a has been team too bad ownership can’t see that.

        • Vintage Flame

          Firstly: “Bub”?? Haha, who are you supposed to be? Wolverine?

          Secondly: I seem to recall Habby having some insane save percentage to start the year last year and the Oilers leading the western conference going into the break. How’d THAT turn out for ya again??

          … Riiiiiight, I forgot about this payoff you’re so excited about. Of course, you moved up one spot to 29! Maybe this year you can DOUBLE that progress and hit 27th!!

          Does that sound about right? Bub?

      • Oilertown

        Pssst have a look at the standings and we just came off playing the hottest team in the league and stealing a point. Have fun finishing 9th AGAIN this year and watching the boys on the golf course while the good team to the north has there first playoff birth of many many. 😉

        • T&A4Flames

          Wow. Oiler fans, with the odd exceptions of course, have to be the most oblivious and delusional in the league. Don’t even try to say we are; Flames management may be but the fans, from what I read here on FN, are pretty understanding of what this team is and where it is.

          You still think you are going to win the cup this year. 3 years running guys like you have been saying “this is our year, our young guys are soooooo promising” blah blah blah.

          • T&A4Flames

            Oh yea, here we go. An attempt to cover your foolish a$$. Your “studs”….

            Hall will get clobbered and knocked out for the season

            RNH will have a bout of growing pains and fall over suddenly growing feet and break one of his fragile paper-thin bones

            Yakoflop will miss his home country and after playing like an individual to try and boost his own personal stats he’ll go home for a HUGE KHL pay day.

            And Dubnyk….well…. it’s Dubnyk.

  • Vintage Flame

    Great… now we have Oiler trolls to deal with as we fight over the deckchairs on the titanic.

    I actually have a few Oiler buddies and they admitted they are cheering for us NOT to blow it up. I know their dream scenario is that we get 9th place for eternity. They are cheering for Iggy to get an extension so he can retire here, and for Feaster to keep signing old washed up veterans so we stay mediocre forever.

    @Oilertown – I wouldn’t get too cocky yet. The Islanders have shown flashes of greatness for 10 years now. Only to sink back into the lottery year after year after year. I’d say you still have a lot more in common with the Islanders than a playoff team.

  • supra steve

    I, for one, hope the Oiler fans are rewarded for their patience over most of the last…20 plus years (not unlike Flame fans). Their model (and no, I’m not giving them credit for inventing “fail for Nail”) is the one I would like to see the Flames follow. I’m hoping it will take a lot less time, and I think it can if it is done correctly and valuable assets are moved before the trade deadline for the right return. Does anyone know for sure when the trade deadline is this year?

  • jeremywilhelm

    Can anyone tell we what washed up veterans Feaster has supposedly signed that keeps us running in place? Sarich and Begin? Seriously? A 13th forward and a #6-7 dman, these are the two players keeping the team back from progressing?

    That is so incredibly silly that I am actually laughing at the idea that this is actually something people believe.

  • Oilertown

    santa claus, the easter bunny, happily married and a feaster led rebuild of the flames. which is the biggest myth? feaster’s rebuild is phonier than porn star breasts.