Post-Game: Fallen Uncles

For whatever reason, games between the Kings and Flames haven’t been the most interesting of contests these past few years. That didn’t change tonight, as both teams doddered their way to a 3-1 decision in favour of the Kings.

While Calgary eventually outchanced the Kings 18-14 and were only outshot by a small margin (27-33, both of which can be blamed on score effects), the reality is the effort displayed by the Flames tonight was sub-par at best.

The Rundown

Dustin Brown opened the scoring with the Kings’ 7th shot less than 7 minutes into the game. Hard to blame that one on MacDonald, as there was 4 Flames just sitting in front of the net when the goal was scored. The ice was pretty one-sided to start with, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone: the Kings seem to have issues scoring but they haven’t had issues outshooting teams since Darryl Sutter took over. A nice little dangle by TJ Brodie around the 9-minute mark resulted in a chance but Bernier turned the puck away quite easily. Another chance for the Flames developed after a Voynov giveaway right in front of the Kings’ net, leading to both Iginla and Cammalleri whacking at the puck; but to no avail.

The Flames finally broke through when Iginla completely dominated Voynov down low, getting the puck to Brodie in the slot and Brodie sniped one right past Bernier for his first of the year. Iginla picked up his 9th assist of the year on the play. The Kings would respond quickly afterwards as Trevor Lewis took advantage of a huge rebound, putting it just out of reach of MacDonald’s blocker. Shots would finish 8-11, as the Kings would only muster 4 shots in the final 13 minutes of the period. Chances ended up being 8-5 for the Flames, meaning LA’s early dominance didn’t quite continue throughout the whole period.

The first few minutes of the second were pretty uneventful until Trevor Lewis decided to bowl over MacDonald, prompting this tweet from Eric Francis:

What a moron. You want to know what’s better than two goons beating each other? A goal on the PP.

Regardless, a couple brutal penalty calls later the Kings unleashed a flurry of chances on the Calgary net, but MacDonald made a couple of stops and absolutely robbed Anze Kopitar. Props to Matt Stajan on the PK as well, clearing a couple of good chances out of the zone. The period would continue to be back and forth, without much of note happening. Shots in the period would be 7-12 and chances were 2-7 in favour of the Kings.

The Flames started the third off badly; being gifted a PP and then proceeding to spend as much time in their own zone as they did in the Kings’ zone. Neither team mustered much of anything until the 7 minute mark when Jeff Carter streaked down the sidewall and fired a puck high blocker side on MacDonald. MacDonald would make that stop, but about 2 minutes later Carter would redeem himself as his wrist shot just snuck through the five hole of JMac, giving the Kings a 3-1 lead. 

MacDonald would make another strong stop with about 8 minutes left, coming across the net to rob Jake Muzzin of an easy tap-in. Bernier would respond with a big save of his own, shutting the door on Mike Cammalleri right in front of the net. The Flames would press a little as the period wound down, but it was all for naught as the Kings would win 3-1. Shots in the period were 12-10 and chances were 8-2, both in favour of the Flames.

Why the Flames Lost…

Pretty simple: they were chasing too much of the game because Los Angeles is a better team. There were some good efforts by a few Flames players, but “good efforts” from a “few” guys isn’t going to win you games at the NHL level, unless those guys are Crosby, Giroux, Stamkos and Weber.

Firestarter

I’m going to give this one to Joey MacDonald, as he made a couple of nice stops and the team hung him out to dry a pretty significant amount tonight. Iginla and Brodie receive honourable mentions.

Sum It Up

The boobirds rained down after the game, and I can’t say I’m surprised about it. Earlier in the year, the Flames were outchancing their opponents and losing, and I guess I was okay with that. However, the past couple of games haven’t followed that script. They’ve been outchanced, outshot and outscored and I’m left wondering what else the team can do to compete this year. Maybe a bit doom-and-gloom, but unless Kiprusoff comes back and the team can string some wins together with league-average (or close to it) goaltending, I can’t see how they’ll make any kind of dent in the playoff picture.

The forwards and defenders have been good enough thus far, but the goaltending hasn’t. I think it’s just a matter of hoping the goaltending situation will improve quickly at this point.

  • McRib

    jeremywilhelm wrote:

    “Hartley said “We have alot of really good guys on this team, but they need to play harder”

    This is the same type of sh!t Sutter would spew. Grasping at effing straws when there are no answers to be had. This isn’t midget A hockey, where playing harder nets you better results, this is the NHL, skill, talent and role players win hockey games, not effort ”

    I completely disagree with this. At the highest level of hockey everybody has pretty much the same skills. There are the elite star players, and then those fourth line grinders, but that middle 80% of the players are pretty much even when it comes to skill. The difference between the players is their compete level. How much effort and work do they play the game with.

    Hartley is back to where Sutter, Keenan, and Playfair were. Why does this team with its veterans and star players have such a hard time understanding that they need to play just as hard if not harder than the other teams in order to be successful. The league with its parity is going to come down to will instead of skill the majority of the nights, and a consistenly hard working team lacking in skills will defeat a higher skilled team that does not show up.

    That is why Hartley is talking about the same thing as Sutter. Because the core structure of this franchise is the same if not in complete name than in design as it has been the last half dozen years. Without the injuries we actually had a third line of skill that could help push the play, but without that depth we are left to the mercies of aged former star players that dont seem to be able to bring it every night.

    What has happened to Hudler? Has he run out of gas? Or has the message in the dressing room been that he needs to cool down and stop over shadowing Iginla? As long as Iginla is on the team no other player is going to be allowed to succeed.

    • jeremywilhelm

      Hudler? He isn’t getting the bounces he was before. It’s called regression.

      Thinking Iginla is telling Hudler to stop scoring because he isn’t is pretty silly.

      • Avalain

        what you call “bounces” I would call effort. He has not been trying as hard the last couple of games and has not been creative enough with the puck. That is effort as opposed to pucks going off of posts or legs or referees getting in the way generating bad bounces.

        I would never in the world suggest that Iginla would tell anybody anything like that. Monarchs dont get off their thrones to talk to people. They have other people for that. And I think that the Flame locker room is run just like a monarchy, and believe that it has been that wasy for at least the last dozen years.

  • schevvy

    Here’s a question to you all: Can the Flames rebuild WITHOUT trading Iginla? It may sound crazy, but Ottawa didn’t trade Alfredsson when they rebuilt. Just a thought.

      • schevvy

        I know that the right thing to do hockey-wise is trade him for prospect + pick.

        But…it’s the sentimental reasons (which GM’s should have none of btw) why I would want to keep him. I’m a young guy, I never got to see the Cup win in 89. All my Flames moments have Iggy involved in them in some way. It’s strange for me to picture a team without Iggy cause I’ve never watched a Flames team without him.

        If he gets traded, I’ll obviously accept it and move on , but for purely selfish reasons I would not mind him remaining a Flame.

    • McRib

      Before the season I would have agreed with this idea of rebuilding with Iginla, but after watching him this season I have changed my mind. Trade him while he is worth something to a team that can offer him some offensive support. Clearly he cannot do it on his own and his one goal speaks for itself, anyone can see his shot its nothing close to what it used to be, the Old Iggy would have had a hat trick last night, the new Iggy is trying to jam in chances five hole.

      Also after a third coach the Flames still are playing the same mediocre hockey like always. It makes me wonder if its more of a leadership thing and not a coaches problem.

      Honestly no team in history is worse than the Flames at not showing up in games they “should win”. Our record against teams like Columbus as well as teams playing the second game in as many nights speaks for itself (1-2-1 this season).

  • McRib

    After attending last nights game, gotta say what an AWFUL effort by boths teams!!! As everyone was coughing up turnovers left and right but the Flames failed to make two passes in a row the entire game. Honestly LA basically gave the Flames the game, all they had to do was show up. J. Mac kept it close until the final period or else it would have been a stinker and LA really didn’t bring anything close to an A Game, but the Flames managed to play at a worse level than LA.

    What has happened to the Flames team that showed up against Chicago???

    Iginla may have had 9 shots but his release is so painfully slow due to him hesitating that its hard to watch. No wonder he only has 1 goal and if he trys to go five hole ONE MORE TIME, I am going to loose my mind!!!!

  • mendicant

    My thoughts:

    1) “but unless Kiprusoff comes back and the team can string some wins together with league-average (or close to it) goaltending”

    Sorry, Kipper isn’t the answer here. Even a great goalie like him is only as good as the team in front of him. And that team is terrible.

    2) Everyone talks about how “great” the game against Dallas was last week when they won 7-4. Did anyone else watch that game? This team doesn’t even care if you are in the slot. Oh hey! You want to pass to that guy? Sure. Here’s a lane. They are leaving the goalies out to dry. There is a massive lack of effort, especially on D and let’s face it there’s very few bright spots on this team.

    3) Stajan: Is he really playing that good this year, or is the rest of the team just playing that bad? I say that jokingly because he actually is playing pretty decent, but he’s basically one of the best on the team right now and that says a lot about the situation.

  • schevvy

    I hope people don’t get their hopes up on a massive return though for Iggy and Kipper. For Iggy: middling prospect + a 1st. For Kipper: a 2nd and MAYBE a lower end prospect

    • McRib

      A First Rounder in this years draft is as good as GOLD!!! By far the deepest draft since 2003!!! Lets rip off the band-aid and trade him to Detroit for Gustav Nyquist and a First. Because there has to be a reason why Nyquist is still playing in the AHL. Honestly Columbus is set after this years draft with three first rounders, we should try to do the same.

      • schevvy

        I think if the do trade him he goes East to Pittsburgh or Boston. I doubt Detroit simply because I don’t think they’re a contender, and if Iggy goes anywhere he’s going to a team that can win the Cup this year. You’re right though, a late 1st rounder in this draft is not a bad thing.

    • icedawg_42

      Kipper to the leafs for any multitude of their young d corp. blacker, finn, they have a ton of prospects eith in junior or first year pro. makes jbo more expendable. i say scorched earth policy with the emphasis on size speed and truculence.

      • McRib

        Please don’t say “truculaence,” it gives me Burke flashbacks:)

        IMO TO tries to go the St. Louis route what with Scrivens racking up shutouts and Reimer playing well.

  • McRib

    Curtis Lazar is a great example of how deep this draft is going to be. He would be a Top. 15 lock any other year, but likely will be around at the 20-30 range this year. Same can be said for Madison Bowey in Kelowna and Morgan Klimchuk in Regina and that’s just the WHL, both those guys may even slip out of the first. J.T. Compher with the USNDP is another example.

    I know one of thoses Eastern teams is more likely but Detroit just seems like a great fit, as he always played well against them and his Power Forward Game would suit Zetterberg/Datsyuk phenomenally. They also frequently trade away first founders and have a handful of forward prospects ready for NHL duty. Lets put it this way if he stayed in the West, Detroit would be the only place I could see him going.

  • icedawg_42

    5 things…from me:

    1. I think Feaster’s plan for Hudler was to bring in not only his skill level, but in hopes that Detroit’s winning pedigree would rub off in the room – I think the Flames ‘content to lose’ attitude is starting to rub off on him

    2. I think that Iggy’s trade value may be significantly tarnished right now just due to his not doing anything right.

    I think that Kipper’s trade value may be boosted by the Flames record and performance without him – their lackluster performance makes it look like they can’t survive without him. Of course on the flipside, his value could also be significantly tarnished due to the rumors of his early retirement at the end of the season. Even if it’s only rumors, it would leave a potential partner wondering

    3. We all scoff at the idea of tanking on purpose to win a high draft pick aka the Edmonton route..whether they mean to do it or not, we’re witnessing it right now and it’s not going to get better. Kipper’s injury is the best thing that could have happened to this franchise. It has exposed this team for what it really is.

    4. I’ve always been Iggy’s biggest fan, but his play is seriously making me feel like the team needs a new captain. If he’s so content to coast and be ok with losing, then he NEEDS to not be a leader.

    5. I only have one question for Schevvy and Vintage: TEH?

    • icedawg_42

      1) Yup, but I still think part is natural regression.

      2) Not so sure this really matters to GM’s looking to get him. GM’s are famous for thinking a change of scenerey with their team and with the right players will cure all ills. Especially if there’s a bit of a bidding war for him.

      3) Everyone keeps saying this, but really, didn’t everybody already know it? Even Feaster stated it last year with his “worse than 30th” remark.

      4) I said the EXACT same thing. But 4 years ago.

      5) No idea either.

      • jeremywilhelm

        From what I have read now recently after you said it, it looks like Chicago and Pittsburgh suffered from incompetent owners and or bad luck for a few years. Nothing in their trade history indicates a scorched earth plan.

        The only teams that have seemed to sell assets for nothing in an attempt at scorched earth are the Thrashers and the Islanders, and neither team seems to be much better for doing it.

  • My feelings haven’t changed since I posted this. I think there are some pieces here and the team doesn’t to burn the entire thing down to kick start a retool.

    If the decision makers can be calm, strategic and maybe win a calculated gamble or tow over the next 6-12 months, the Flames could be leaner in terms of cap commitments, as well as younger with more future assets and still be able to compete.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I still like my plan to “Retool” Best

    1) Kipper to Was for first
    2) Iggy to Pits for first + prospect
    3) we will suck and have a top 5
    4) Jbo to whoever 1st + something
    5) Stemp or Glenx + Jankowski + 2nd for ROR
    6) possible picks for playoff backup like sarich, or babs, or irving anything! a 7 a 5 whatever…

    Imagine that 1 of our 4 picks end up a lottery? Ours could be a top 5 and Washington’s could be a top five.

    I get this is a best scenario but we still get to keep some good pieces and could still be competitive.

    in two years
    Centers could be
    1) Mack
    2) RoR
    3) Backs
    4) ? Arnold?

    Go ahead rip on my brainchild…..

    • MC Hockey

      Not horrible plans at all, very nice…but a bit idealistic. Do your really think all those trades could happen given that even great players are de-valued when they play on a bad team? Think about it: If Iggy and Kipper and JayBo and GlenX are so great, why aren’t the Flames doing better? I think Flames would be fortunate to make one of those trades happen. But I like the thinking, just don’t believe more than 1 or 2 of those transactions will happen with such excellent returns back to the Flames.

      • MC Hockey

        I think maybe the kipper and ROR trades are unlikely.
        I think iggy has the demand, and jbo as he’s a 25+ min top pairing guy.

        But i did read somewhere washing is getting a bit desperate now to do something that can shake things up, with emphasis on GOALIES Have sucked. I must say i do get the feeling that after what we have seen so far management will be scared to move kipper. Hope he tells them if he’s jot planning to return ao they can try and dump him for a pic.

        ROR most unlikely because we are a contender and they don’t want us getting better and to have to face ror a bunch of times every year.