POST-GAME: Lost in the Desert




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The Flames looked to go into the desert, find the magical oasis and leave with two points to finally put them over the .500 mark. Instead they ended up running out of gas, lost, and will be on the plane tending to some really bad dog bites.

Experimenting with yet another goaltender, Calgary seems quite content to try and make hay out of whatever the opposition gives then on any given night.

Tonight, Mike Smith didn’t give them a thing, and after clawing their way back against Dallas last night for the win, they simply had nothing left in their canteens once they got to the desert.

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The Rundown

The much anticipated debut of Danny Taylor didn’t start off too great. Just :41 seconds into the game Phoenix was on the board when former Flames fan favorite, David Moss, would center the puck right in front of Taylor. Calgary was too busy asking Mosser how he enjoyed the desert air to notice Keith Yandle, and just like that, it was 1-0 for the Yotes. Taylor didn’t have a chance, but I’m sure many fans were already shaking their heads.

That was it for the first. Phoenix out-shot Calgary 14-8, out-chanced them 8-5. The only brightspot was that the Flames kept it out of the net on the Coyotes PP, the only one of the period for either team.

The second period was even less eventful. Despite the Flames out-chancing the Yotes 5-1 and out-shooting them 13-10, they weren’t able to generate enough offense to get the puck past Mike Smith; even on their one and only PP of the period and game.

On we go to the third. So it’s going to be just like the final period against the Stars right? Dig deep, press hard and just will your team into coming from behind again for the win… Yaaaawn, nope.

:30 seconds into the third, Mikkel Boedker would put the Yotes up by two. Ekman-Larsson would shoot wide left of Taylor and the puck would come right back out to his left. It seemed that Danny tried to track the puck behind him but was looking over the wrong shoulder. By the time he realized the puck came back out the other side, it was on  Boedker’s stick. The good news, Taylor slid over in time to make the save; the bad news is he left his pad open, which Boedker banked the puck off of and into the net. Not a good goal for Taylor but he was playing well enough to excuse it in his first game, the team however, was not.

After that, the third can be summed up with, "the Flames just didn’t have anything left."

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At 9:27, Antoine Vermete would make it 3-0, and  that was all she wrote. To add insult to injury, Raffi Torres would make it 4-0 and David Moss would get his second assist of the game.

Why the Flames Lost…

Because despite generating 15 scoring chances, they couldn’t get anything passed Mike Smith. With 30 shots-on-goal you would think that some of them would leave you saying, "Ohhhh that was sooo close". Not tonight.

Because the team didn’t bring any energy with them from Dallas. They played the game and despite keeping the score close for two periods, they were pretty much playing from behind the whole night.

Because their special teams was a non-factor tonight. Despite keeping the Yotes offthe scoreboard via the power-play, the Flames only had one themselves and couldn’t capitalize on it. If Calgary could have tied the game with Ekman-Larsson in the box, we might have had a different game in the third (doubt it though).

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Because the Flames only managed to win 29 out of 73 face-offs. Part of the Flames success in generating chances and being able to score often, has come from controlling the play. Calgary had 41 hits on the night yet only created four takeaways from Phoenix. Calgary isn’t talented enough to win games when they are playing from behind in all categories.


In a game like this? I don’t think so.

I’ll give an honourable mention to Danny Taylor. He let in four but really only one was a stinker, and let’s face it, tonight the whole team stunk. Calgary’s best line was their fourth line… THEIR FOURTH LINE!!

That means their was no one tonight providing any spark, of any kind, for this team. That means no Firestarter.

Ex-Flame, David Moss, had 16:03 of ice-time, 2 assists, 1 hit and was 50% on his face-offs. He can have it!

Sum it Up

Yeah… Hartley should be upset about this one. It seems for every step forward this team takes, they are just as likely to stumble back.

The Flames may have been on the 2nd half of a back-to-back night, but it was still a pretty pathetic effort tonight. Calgary went .500 on this mini road trip, but finds themselves a game under overall. Worst of all, they burned a game-in-hand that they didn’t have the luxury of giving up.

Anyways, you can’t whine about it after the fact. Take your beatings from Hartley and then put this one behind you. The Flames face the Kings on Wednesday back in the Dome. LA is a team that is currently behind Calgary but now has a game-in-hand on us. Wednesday night should be considered yet another must win… but then again, aren’t they all for this team?

Gametime against the Kings is 8:00 pm. It’s the late one on TSN’s double header night, which means they’ll probably join the game in progress.. cause well, that’s what TSN does when the Flames are on.

If I’m Hartley, I give the start right back to Taylor. Can’t put this loss on him when his team can’t score even one for him. Give em another chance? Hell, why not.

  • T&A4Flames

    Agree that the return for Iginla right now is the standard 1st rounder and then a B+ prospect at best.

    I think the best wat to maximize the return for Iginla is to ship him out with JBo. That way, if you’re LA, St. Louis, Detroit, NYR, the Bruins, or the Flyers and you think you’re a legit contender, now here’s this package of a 30 minue/night top pairing shut down D-man and a 2nd line RW who should still be good for 30/year and can play 1st or 2nd pp.

    That package would have to be looked at by several GMs as being bale to put an already contender over the top and therefore the return should include a top level prospect.

    • Oyo

      This is so irrational it’s almost ridiculous. What contending team can just take on over 12 million is salary and give back only prospects???? I understand the frustration with the lack of elite talent drafted or found by the org but can we at least try to stay within a reasonable arena of likelihood? Iggy ( which has been stated already ) would get us a late 1st and decent prospect. Jbo I bet would net us a fairly large return. Unfortunately we have no number 1 D anywhere in the system to replace his minutes. Frankly I’m rooting for any trade ( iggy, kipper ) that gives us cap relief and pray for getzlaf to not resign in Anaheim! Then offer him iggy money and be on our merry way.

      Tangs / getzlaf / cammy
      Sven / backs / stemp
      Hudler / cervenka / glen x
      Horak / jones / Jackman

      Bow / Gio
      Brodie / wideman
      Butler / free agent

      Ramo / Taylor

      That looks much more balanced to me. Plus has a few picks and prospects to work with.

      • Captain Ron

        HAR! Yeah, Getzlaf is coming to Calgary. But I’m unrealistic.

        If traded at the deadline, most of the cap hit is already used up.

        The idea is predicated around a rebuild to begin with.

        Also, my idea doesn’t preclude bringing back salary in the form of an unwanted player in order to level things out salary cap wise.

        So, how’s it ridiculous again?

        But OK, go back to dreaming about Getzlaf. You were obviously one of those people who thought we’d sign Parise and Suter in the off-season and be on our merry way.

  • Captain Ron

    Its a difficult pill to swallow but that orphaned team in the desert is better than the Flames. Especially two of their defencemen, their centers, and goaltender last night at least. Their style of play could cure an insomniac though. This week we will have the pleasure of watching LA, Minny and the Yotes again.


    • T&A4Flames

      And this is why I don’t get all the Sutter system bashing vs Harltey.

      1) Boring systems have been proven to work many times in the past;

      2) Give Hartley’s last year’s Flames team and tell me it’s any different.

      • Captain Ron

        You could certainly make an argument that the style of play is effective if you have the right mix of players to do it. For the paying customer though it can be lacking in entertainment value at times. Maybe I’m being greedy wanting to be entertained in both wins and losses.

        Did you go to the Dome very often and pay to watch Brent Sutter coached games? I did and still do with the new guy. If nothing else I’m still awake at the end of the game and feel like I got something a little more entertaining for my money.

        I was a fan of the B Sutter hiring in the begining but by the 3rd year I couldn’t wait to see him gone. I got tired of walking into the Dome with my ears slung low like a rabbit in hiding.

        I admit the results haven’t been much better overall yet but it has become fun to be there again even with the losses.

        • icedawg_42

          Yup. I gotta agree. I’d rather watch exciting hockey than be bored to death and end up with a .500 record. The problem is…Butter’s style probably matched the low end skill level of this roster…it’s slowly getting better but obviously not where the Hartley system needs it to be. Frankly my take on the whole “defense first” BS is that you should be trying to score for 60 minutes..whether you’re up 7-0 or down 7-0

        • Captain Ron

          As far as pure entertainment value goes, you’re 100% right, and yeah, seeing the Flames live in years past was even worse than on TV.

          But I think Hartley is starting to see the problems intrinsic in the style of game he’s advocating within the context of the player group he’s got. ie. Lack of drive, taking shifts, periods, games off. A team can’t play Hartley’s style without passion coming from within the player group.

          In other words, the ‘newness’ of his system seems to be wearing off.

          • Captain Ron

            Totally agree. This is an evaluation process & Hartley knows what kind of players he wants on his team that will play his system on a consistent basis. The novelty of the lockout, new coach, new system & the fact the Flames have had one of the easiest starting schedules is definitely wearing off. These next 10 games will be the agenda him & Feaster will have have going into the trade deadline. If we bat .500 like we seem to be pacing at & are 10-11-3, this team will be solidly entrenched in 12th or 13th place. I think how Iggy is being deployed & if he counters with what we witnessed last night, we are going to have a lot of scouts at our games.

          • Captain Ron

            I agree with you here. The newness is definately wearing off. Maybe we can hope Hartley is influential enough with Feaster and the owners to encourage some real change for the future.

            I had decided to give them 15 games or so before becoming too critical of this team. It is becoming pretty obvious that while it looks like there are some improvements the end result will be the same old inconsistent team. You are right about Iginla. When I compare him to other older notable players in this league he is under performing big time.

          • Oyo

            Look what Alfredson is doing in Ottawa. They have devestating injuries & he is leading that team to victories, good goaltending hasnt hurt either. Many said what Warrener did had no bearing on how Iggy played the next day. I am starting to think differently. We need our Captain to start to hate losing again.

          • Captain Ron

            I’ve been paying attention to a few guys and Alfredson is one of them along with Selanne, Koivu, Hossa, Datsuk, Whitney, etc etc. Iginla’s performance with a couple of exceptions is nowhere hear good enough. In fact its so bad compared to those other guys it is almost unwatchable. There is no excuse for this type of effort from the team captain. He has lots left I think but his head does not seem to be in it anymore here. Time for him to go and take the sense of entitlement with him before the fan base turns on him and it becomes embarrassing for everyone involved.

  • icedawg_42

    Fan favourite? Moss? I think you’re overestimating the average fan, VF. I know plenty of people who absolutely hated him, and were completely happy to see him leave.

    @Robert Johnson

    First of all, Kent means “money players” in the literal sense. As in, the players who are making lots of money.

    Personally, I think Jiri Hudler, Mike Cammalleri, and Alex Tanguay would all be 1st line players on the Blue Jackets. That’s a horrible team we’re talking about. Their 1st line RW is Artem Anisimov, he of the career high 44 points. That’s a bad season for Tanguay.


    Could you please stop bringing up the “Flames would need to go…” thing at EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY? We get it. Their chances of making the playoffs aren’t good. No one cares about you pointing it out every chance you get.

    Also, where are you getting 56 points from? I’m just curious.

  • icedawg_42

    Blech. Horrible game.

    If you’re an optimist, you could say that if the Flames won two of their shootouts, they’d be doing okay.

    I wonder if Feaster will bring that up.

  • Old Soldier

    I am not trying to make this an attack on Iginla, but for years people have placed the man on the alter of leadership, yet standing back and looking I see nothing to prove that standing.

    I can honestly say, whether if it was the Oilers or Canucks, I never once saw Messier smile genuinely and comfortably talking about his teams struggles. There seems to be a comfortable acceptance of the situation from Iginla, and the fact he is the one player in that city who could say anything he damn well pleased without serious repercussion, he hasnt used his mantel very well.

    Iginla is a HHOF star player, but I dont see him as a leader, and never have. He’s a good guy, a buddy, a charitable fellow, not someone you are scared to piss off, not someone who will threaten management, or teammates. I think the misconception of him as a leader has hurt the Flames as much as recent management.

    His play this year has been embarrassing, especially to those of us who admire him as a person. Parking himself at the blueline waiting for a stretch pass, then slowing play to a near standstill looking for a teammate to make a seam pass to, has worked exactly twice, and the rest of the time becomes another turnover to which he follows the pack. I am actually convinced this may be a retirement year more than a contract year, which in all honesty cant hurt the Flames either way, as his trade value is literally nil at this point.

    As far as the goaltending, Kipper is no longer the answer, his stat line is no better than the other three who have started, in fact worse than two of them. Every expert predicts Kipper is heading back to Finland next year rather than finish his contract for a meager $1.5 mil

    There are pieces that could be moved (JBow, Giordano, and others) but they would definitely put a dent in a defence that has very little depth in the system.

    And as far as natural centers, especially skilled 1st and 2nd line centers….other than the draft, I have no idea where the Flames think they can find those

    As gloomy as things seem, it might be just getting started, and could get much worse.

    • Vintage Flame

      I am not trying to make this an attack on Iginla, but for years people have placed the man on the alter of leadership, yet standing back and looking I see nothing to prove that standing.

      I think one of the biggest problems is that year after year this team struggles with their identity. The only constant they have had is that Iggy is the identity of this team and the city.

      I think Edwards really struggles with severing that link.

      There seems to be a comfortable acceptance of the situation from Iginla, and the fact he is the one player in that city who could say anything he damn well pleased without serious repercussion, he hasnt used his mantel very well.

      That is the catch-22 of the Flames and their link to him.

      If it’s true that he doesn’t want to leave and the Flames don’t want to trade him because neither wants to look like the “bad guy” then both parties are fooling themselves.

      If Iggy leaves as a UFA, then the fans will turn on him for abandoning the team and the team will look like idiots for not seeing this coming a “Red Mile” away!

  • Old Soldier

    The panel post game reaction was “if you’re a flames fan, forget about this one”. Broken record. Been hearing that a lot for the past 20+ years (other than 04). The team has not brought much pleasure to the city. We have been a joke for a long time in the league even though we have the fan support and better than average cap spending pleasures. Despite this we are perpetually bad. Management and ownership have clearly failed.

  • Vintage Flame

    Rhett Warrener needs to give us his opinion of Iginla every day, then maybe Iginla will give a consistent game to game effort. I doubt it but anything is worth a try at this point.