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.

  • RKD

    New coach, same results. Adding Cervenka, Hudler and Wideman may have uprgraded our skill in the top 6 but it hasn’t changed the team’s inconsistent play. Win one, lose one, world beaters one night and then basement dwellers the next.

    The top players always struggle, how many times does the Iggy-Cammy-Tangs line struggle. We keep hearing the same story again and again. Phoenix and Nashville are miles ahead of us because they play consistently and hate to lose.

    5-6-3, if 56 points is the cutoff the Flames would need to go 21-12-1 need to play .620 hockey just to squeak into 8th.

  • CDB

    One stinker? If that was Leland Irving people would be out with pitchforks. admittedley Taylor looked more stable and calm in net than irving but i count 3 goals that shouldn’t have happened. First goal is a shot from the goaline he kicked into the slot. 3rd goal loses track of the puck, still has time to gt across and then let’s a feeble shot along the ice leak through him. 4th goal I won’t even bother with.

    It’s comical Irving gets roasted for getting deked out of his jockstrap when guys are left all alone, but we make excuses for those goals. I guarantee you those goals tonight caused for more muttering than almost any of the ones Irving allowed, despite that fact Taylor did look better.

    Winnable game, but they were under tough circumstances. They still could have gotten a point out of it. This team gets out goaltended way too regularly, and they aren’t good enough to compensate. It’s simple. Ya they struggled to generate offence. They’re facing a tough defensive team, on the road, and the opposition is rested when they are not. That’s to be expected.

    If I was on that team I could live with giving up a goal when schwarz is in untouched, shoot outs by high end players are palpable too, so are shots from the slot. But those low grade chances cannot go in on the road in the second game of back to backs. Especially not on this team. Chances and shots were close. Under tough circumstances they need better in net to give them a chance to steal a point or two

  • BobB

    I didn’t see the game, but based on the highlights… those last three goals on Taylor were pretty ugly. Not sure how well he was tracking the puck during the game, but he sure wasn’t on those.

    The fourth he just moved out of the way of.

  • jeremywilhelm

    As much as I do it. Blaming the players in this is not worth it. This is a poorly constructed team up front. One NHL center on the roster. One. Good teams win with center depth. You can usually make due with weakness on the wings and shallow D depth or even some mediocre goaltending. This team is missing 2 of the most important parts of a good team. And until that is addressed, they are going absolutely nowhere.

    You add a center like ROR to the roster and you have a team like Phoenix, not great but good enough to challenge every team in the league.

    • jeremywilhelm

      Irving had 5 starts. Taylor has only had one.

      They are both not good. Unfortunately it looks like nothing is available this season. Hopefully Ramo is legit.

    • supra steve

      I think the reason that Taylor is being given a little more slack then Irving is because he actually beat Irv for the starting job in Abby. Irv was handed the job in Calgary, having only to out-perform Karlsson. Based upon merit, that job should have gone to Taylor to begin with (in a fair world). I was at the game this evening and was not surprised (or upset) that the Flames lost. 4 goals on approx 40 shots is not a horrible debut,though I’m hoping there is improvement ahead. A Ramo/Taylor (or MacD) tandem next year could be interesting.

  • Vintage Flame

    It’s not that Irving got blamed for everything. At the NHL level both Irving and Taylor are going to be mediocre right?

    It’s just that this being Taylor’s first start, he can’t be blamed for the loss tonight.

    I said Taylor’s 2nd was a stinker, some comments have said that 2 or even 3 were bad. The problem tonight was that the Flames SCORED ZERO.

    Maybe if Calgary got one in the second or Taylor didn’t give up the bad one just 30 seconds into the third, there may have been a different outcome… Maybe..

    The fact is the TEAM looked apathetic and tired tonight.. didn’t really matter who was in net. That’s why I said give the start to Taylor against the Kings.

  • beloch

    Taylor managed a better sv% in his first NHL start then MacDonald did after years in the league, and that was with one of the worst Flames performances we’ve seen this season! His sv% this game also surpassed Irving’s average for this season. He wasn’t perfect, but he made a decent debut under bad circumstances. Kipper would have been hard-pressed to steal this one.

    Going forward, who gets the start against the Kings? Irving is done for now. At the very least he needs to prove he can spell Barry Brust adequately before he’ll be called up again. MacDonald is a known, mediocre quantity. Taylor is still the only healthy Flames goalie who might be able to take a step towards league average. Given that his debut debacle was on par, or even better than, MacDonald’s standard of mediocrity, I suspect Taylor will get the next start. It’s also a chance for him to prove himself in front of the team that gave him a fraction of one game and discarded him. If we can’t have good goal-tending, at least we can have a good story!

  • loudogYYC

    I’d say give Taylor another shot on Wednesday. Everyone pisses on Irving cause he’s been in the system since 2006 and hasn’t shown much promise since 2008.

    Taylor has got to this point in his career by busting his ass and improving his game, Irving is where he’s at because Calgary had a severely inept and stubborn GM who would hand out contract extensions instead of recognizing he made a mistake and fix it.

    Maybe the next 2 minutes hate article is dedicated to Darryl Sutter?

  • loudogYYC

    Calgary burns out their younger players (who aren’t very good to begin with) and lets their budding stars leave town – been going on for decades now.

    Too many hands on the Ownership side, worst Club President in ALL of sports, and a GM who is trying to figure things out on the fly.

    Be thankful Columbus is in the league as they will own the NHL cellar the rest of the way.

    Flames aren’t too far off as second worse in the league. I’ll give 1000-1 odds that the Flames don’t make make it to the playoff party….get used to it.

  • Willi P

    One of the worst games I have ever watched. 73 face offs with a player or two being thrown out of most of them. Boring with no flow. The Yotes tried put Calgary to sleep, and succeeded. I wouldn’t watch hockey any more if every game was like this. Couldn’t wait to shut off the TV (which I did right after the third goal)

  • loudogYYC

    Iggy where are you, hey Iggy ,Iggy. Where is the leadership on this team, not one vet wants to step up and lead. I see no emotional leader, the flames have a roll over and take it attitude. This team sucks from the top through to the bottom.

  • I think it’s fair to say Taylor looked more solid and composed most of the night, but that at least two of the goals shouldn’t have gone in. He didn’t get any run support, so it’s all moot.

    More disturbing is the fact the Flames money players are MIA right now. Jarome looked a few years younger to start the season, but over the last week or two he has reverted to the guy who frequently got snowed under last year.

    • Willi P

      Not that any of us have doubted what has needed to be done for a long time now, but do you think that this is the season we will FINALLY see some pieces shipped out Kent?

      • I think it’s highly possible if this continues much longer. There’s simply nowhere else to turn if the team finishes 10th or worse again this year, especially with Iginla’s and Kippers contracts coming up to their respective due dates.

        • Yeah the thing that REALLY scares me is management or Feaster always do the “but we just need one more piece”

          We have already missed the boat on PRIME return on Iggy but if we wait much longer we get nothing at all.

          This is our last chance to kickstart a much shortened rebuild. We could suck many less years then EDM.

          ROR + iggy trade + kipper trade = Shortened.

          Also saw someone talking about trading JBO to buffalo for Meyers. Sounded pretty unrealistic but what else do you thing it would take with JBO to pry him away?

          And lastly everyone hates all our NTC we have but if you trade away iggy + kipper + JBO who the heck is going to want to stay in Calgary? I think the NTC get waived by themselves.

    • aloudoun

      Money Players?

      Appreciate the fact that you are a died-in-the-wool there Kenton but Money Players?

      No such thing on the Calgary roster.

      I doubt anyone, other than an aging WAY past his prime Iginla, could even be considered as a #1 on ANY line in Columbus.

  • I remember ken king’s comment that he didn’t see any need for change in the team as long as the seats were full at the dome. This is a very soft and mostly boring team to watch and I don’t see management changing too much.

    • I see people talk about what WE owe Iggy, how about this for a thought

      Iggy owes US the fans, and therefore he should do us a solid and ask to be traded away since he knows the B.S. management is pulling.

      Its better for him, his career and the team!

      Hows that for intellectual honesty?

  • The rebuild, or retool whatever you want to call it will officially begin when Iggy ultimately dictates so. I have come to the conclusion that IGGY and Murray are quite comfortable with the status quo. In reality Uncle Feaster is a de-facto GM, and the turnstile of coaches will continue until the annointed one retires. Just how many coaches have come and gone during Iggy’s tenure? One cinderella playoff run years ago and what else? Individual stats mean nothing when they come at the expense of the team. THE CALGARY FLAMES GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB.

    • Feaster must have known the situation with this team before he got the job. I mean I don’t blame him for taking it, who wouldn’t at 1.5mil avg salary for nhl GM. But the fact that you have no control over your team seems ridiculous.

      • The reality is this is not Feaster’s team, plain and simply stated Iggy picks the music the franchise dances to. The true pecking order of this organization is Edwards,Iggy,King, Feaster then the poor sap that runs the bench. Other than the cinderella playoff run years ago, the organization has not accomplished a damn thing with Iggy running point. His personal stats are just that personal. The lack of an NHL calibre backup speaks volumes as to the true direction. Dont feel to sorry for a hockey player who continues to win the 649 lottery year after year, the fans owe Iggy nothing, we pay his wages.

        • icedawg_42

          If Iginla gets signed for any more than 2 years at half his current salary…then we will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is running this team.

  • icedawg_42

    Aptly named article! The Flames are indeed lost in the desert. Not to defend Taylor here (Those waffles were awful) – but I think he needs another NHL start to see if he can shore up the weak stuff. I don’t see how anyone could defend Irving at this point, he’s been given enough chances to prove himself, and he has not done so. Not at the NHL level.

    The fact of the matter is that they’re hoping one of these unproven goalies will come out of nowhere and save the day. Watching the way this team plays, I have less and less doubt that Kipper will pack his bags and head for home this summer.

    As much as I hate to watch ‘Sutter hockey’, maybe Butter had it figured out, that the only way to prevent this team from being embarrassed is to run a game plan that you would teach to a middle division PeeWee team.

    This probably sounds more negative than I mean it to be – I enjoyed watching some of the more exciting moments this season. Problem is, we’re seeing just how many holes in the Flames’ game that Kipper being Kipper really hid. We need an NHL goaltender. STAT.

  • icedawg_42

    Hey, at least the opposition played their #1 goalie last night. I’d say its pretty damning evidence of what the rest of the league thinks of us when we go long stretches without seeing a #1 goalie.

    @vowswithin – I had the same thought about NTC not being an issue if we trade Iggy and make the team less of a country club. Players can’t be happy to lose and collect a paycheck. I think a mini re-tool (2 years?) would entice a lot of players to forget their NTC and move on. But history has shown that teams always get less in return when the player has ANY say in where they go… The fact that mgmt has to get trades approved by the player really screws things over. A prime example is of course Rick Nash. He happens to be 10x better than any asset we have, but Columbus still struggled to get much good for him because he could dictate where he went. And he desperately wanted OUT of Columbus.

    What do people think is a realistic return for Iggy?? I think a middling prospect and a 1st rounder (which will be late 1st round since it’ll be a contending team). Similar to what the Oilers got for Dustin Penner, but Penner had 1 year left on his deal. Is there any reason to be more optimistic than that? I keep seeing Iggy in Pittsburgh. Crosby is tearing it up with Dupuis on his wing. Imagine Iggy instead… I’m not familiar with any prospects the Penguins have in the system, but something like that seems likely to me.

    • T&A4Flames

      PIT doesn’t have much in the way of quality forward prospects, but they are chalk full of solid D prospects; Morrow, Despres, Harrington, Maatta, Pouliot. I would love to get Morrow personally.

      Iggy for a 1st and Morrow.

  • Scary Gary

    Although it is early days yet, Calgary Flames fans should be rejoicing with the season so far, particularly following today’s loss:

    (1) I think Calgary’s record not only reflects the overall level of talent of the team, which is simply not elite and perhaps not even good. And while it goes without saying that poor goaltending has certainly skewed the overall record downwards, it shows how Kipper has prevented Calgary from a top five draft pick in recent years. If these trends continue, which is most likely to be the case, then Calgary should obtain a high draft pick but also begin a bit of the firesale process.

    (2) The season so far “appears” to be showing that Iggy no longer has the skill or the drive to lead to motivate/lift the performance of the team. This is not necessarily a positive development but I think further reinforces the fact that if Iggy really wants to win the cup, he will need to accomplish this elsewhere. Iggy is clearly not elite but is still good and good enough to make a difference for a cup contender. While I continue to read that the Flames will only trade Iggy if he makes the request, this seems absolutely absurd. Isn’t management’s role to make the team better rather that cater to one play’s whims? This may sound crazy but I actually think one of the best places for Iggy to win the cup outside of the Penguins or Bruins maybe with the Canucks. The Canucks are still cup contenders and he could make them much better and perhaps put them over the top. I also think Iggy could be a good fit with the Flyers despite their poor performance to date. Perhaps package Iggy with Giordano and try to suck some good young talent back.

    (3) The season has shown despite the poor record that Brent Sutter was a pretty poor coach. He was from what I recall the only coach left in the NHL who purely deployed “dump and chase” strategy last year. More importantly, he defensive strategy clearly did not maximize the skill set of a lot of players, which notably include Matt Stajan and Jay Bouwmeester. This means in the event that management does decide to trade Bouwmeester, the Flames maybe able to extract more trade value from him. Kudos must be given to Bob Hartley for utilizing a more attack-first type of strategy and activating the defensemen into the offence. Although it seems like you pretty much have no choice to do so given the continued improvement in goaltending.

    (4) I also think Flames fan should be throwing “some” praise towards Feaster or John Weisbrod more specifically. Weisbrod has improved the overall talent level of the team. The preliminary results shows that drafting over the last couple years may reap some rewards. More importantly, the signings of Hudler and Cervenka show that the new management has the ability to identify more skilled offensive players then in the past. The trade for Stempniak for Langkow has proven to be a clear win. Regehr’s recent decline has shown that dumping his contract has been win. And what Olli Jokinen, he has played terrible for the Jets. So yes, even though the Flames desperately need a centre, choosing not to resign Jokinen has been a a very smart move. I would also have to confess that Wideman has turned out better than expected but the last couple games has shown that he is clearly not a shut-down defender.

    (5) And finally the Flames could eventually get better when Michael Backlund returns and when Sven Bartschi development accelerates. Backlund may not be an elite centre but clearly he is Calgary’s only skilled centre that is able to drive the puck the right away. He seems capable of being a decent second line centre and a very good third line centre. Yes, he won’t be elite but he is clearly the best centre in the Flames organization by a country mile.

    (6) So yes the Flames are a team full of holes but I think it should be much easier for management to identify what not only needs to be done but that it needs to done NOW.

  • T&A4Flames

    What we really need is a desperate GM that is ready to overpay. I’m looking at you McPhee in WAS.

    To WAS: Kipper, Irving and some other random piece (B prospect, Stajan, Jones…..)

    To CGY: Neuvirth/Holtby, Johansson, Forsberg and a 1st.

    Like I said- OVER-PAYMENT!! We could add Butler or Sarich quite honeslty and I wouldn’t be upset.

  • T&A4Flames

    Prediction: if we lose on Weds to the Kings, we see the first move, of hopefully many, before the next game on Sat. Also Iggy NTC waiving becomes a hot (er) topic.
    If we’re going to make some moves player wise it has to start soon, can’t expect to do everything at the trade deadline. Go time Feast!