POST-GAME: The Red Knight Rises



When the news came down that the Phoenix Coyotes were going to play this one without the likes of Hanzel and Vrbata, there was little doubt that Calgary needed this one. Not just to get themselves back to the .500 mark but to show many that even with this mish-mash lineup, they could skate with the conference contenders; even if the opposition was playing with one hand tied behind their back.

The Flames left the last one licking their wounds and branded by embarrasement, this time they dug deep and were able to bite back to pull out a much needed and much deserved victory; keeping hopes everywhere alive.

The Rundown

Calgary took a page out of the Yotes playbook from last time they met with an early goal on the re-direct from Tim Jackman. Winning an offensive face-off and then crowding the net made it difficult for Mike Smith to track where the puck was. Jackman hopped on the loose puck and in one swift motion, lifted the backhand home like the goal-scorer we all know he can be!

The remaining 17 mins were a fairly low event period, in fac the pace was very similar to last night’s game with the Flames showing a little more jump, which was encouraging; not to mention as Ryan Pike reported from the Dome, Calgary’s ability to connect on far more passes.

The Flames failed to capitalize on a 4 min PP, Yotes immediately get  an even up call on weak penalty to Stempniak.Though the play stayed in the Flames end for most of it, Calgary did a good job of letting MacDonald see the shots, that mostly came from the outside.

 Calgary out-shot Phonex 7-6 and out-chanced the Yotes 5-2, 2 of them coming while on the 4 min PP.

The second period was all about the refs as they felt like deserved their time on the spotlight. First Lee Stempniak took a minor for… then Stajan was called moments later for a rediculous holding penalty. Despite that, the Flames only allowed 1 shot against on the 5 on 3. After killing that, the ref decided that Matty came on the ice too soon so he sent him back to the box for interference??? What ever helps you sleep at night stripes. On that insuing PP, Clagary blocked the shot coming in from the point only to have Bouwmeester inadvertantly kick it passed MacDonald, into his own net. Tie game.

 Despite the calamaty of errors leading to the tied game, the Flames responded very well, controlling the play and generating some nice scoring chances.

So of course that meant it was time for the refs to call another rediculous penalty. Mike Cammalleri would be the second Flame in successive nights to go to the box for a face-off violation (Dumbest. Rule. Ever.). Though the Flames would kill it off, Raffi Torres would score to put the Yotes up before Cammy could get back in the play.

With it starting to feel like the Flames were fighting a war on two fronts, somone was going to have to step up for Calgary and get the team back on track. Cue the captain. With 3 and a half left in the second, Iggy would dig for the puck behind the net, when it got to the side, he would dig for the puck there too. Finally, from his knees, he would take one last stab at the puck and push it passed Mike Smith to tie the game at deuces.

Sparked to life, the Flames pressed the Yotes, shift after shift. With numerous chances coming late in the period, Mike Cammalleri’s first goal not against Dallas, would put Calgary ahead with just 34 seconds left in the middle frame. Curtis Glenncross would draw the assist, his 100th, and 200th point of his career. Congrats Scoreface!

Despite trailing for a time, Calgary dominated the play in the second. They out-shot Phoenix 15-7 but drew even 6-6 in scoring chances. More importantly, the period seemed to wake up Iginla, ending the frame with a tete-e-tete with Antoine Vermette.

Early in the third, the Flames would get caught chasing. Raffi Torres would start the play in his own zone and as the Flames flocked to the puck carrier, Michalek, Torres would sneak back into the play. With pleanty of time and space, Raffi scored his second of the game to tie it up… again.

Momentum shifted to the Yotes after the tying goal. As they took it to the Flames, MacBackup made a few really nice saves to keep his team in it as they tried to find their game again. That wouldn’t last for too long. With Phoenix hammering Calgary 12-2 in shots, Nick Johnson would backhand home the go ahead goal. The Flames were reeling and starting to look desperate.

 With 82 seconds left in the hour glass, Calgary needed someone to step up… again. and again, cue the captain. Alex Tanguay would dish a beautiful cross ice pass to Iginla. Jarome, on one knee would control the puck just long enough to get it passed Smith for his second of the night, and getting the Flames even on the board.

Solice in knowing that Calgary would at least salvage one point as we all felt like this one was going to OT?

Not so fast…

Just after I criticized the night of one Curtis Glencross, Scoreface was more than happy to throw it back in my face after taking a deft pass from Lee Stempniak and burying the slap shot passed Smith. Holy crap, the Flames lead 5-4 with only a minute to go.

Calgary would be out-shot 14-9 and the two team would again draw even with six scoring chances apiece, but the Flames staved off that last minute and held on for the win.

Why The Flames Won…

Because despite being dominated for a long period of time by a better opponent, the Flames continued to press and try and find a break in the Yotes armor and a holes in Mike Smith’s defence.

Because when the Flames panicked after giving up the tying and go-ahead goals, they were able to take a deep breath and get back to the game that got them the lead on two different occasions in this game.

Because unlike the last time they faced the Coyotes, they didn’t fold like a cheap tent and even when they had appeared to run out of gas in the third frame, the team was able to find another gear to ignite the offense.

… Because the captain was in fine form tonight and like we have seen so many times in the past, was able to pick this team up and drag them for another win that almost slipped away.


Like there could be any doubt tonight. 

Let’s go with the Captain tonight. It wasn’t just that Iggy had two goals on four shots tonight, but rather when and how he scored those two goals. He did it with tenacity and he scored them when his team needed him to.

Tonight was one of those nights where the big guy led by example; almost 20 minutes of ice-time and was 50% in the face-off circle.

He was just an assist and a right cross to Antoine Vermette’s face away from a Gordie Howe Jarome Iginla Hat-trick, and hey… Wouldn’t that have just been the piece de-la resistance for tonight?

You could see that Iggy got fired up in the second period and when that happens, he does have the capability of lighting up this whole offence. We got to see that tonight, and that’s why he get’s the nod!

Sum It Up

All in all it was a good effort tonight from your Calgary Flames. It looked in the first that we were going to be in for yet another low-event hockey game where the Flames held on to a narrow lead and then dumped and iced the puck until the opposition just tired of it, and decided to change the whole dynamic.

With shoddy officiating and a self-fulfilling prophecy working against them, the Flames decided to rise above their stereotype and with Iginla like a Phoenix (pun intended) rising from the ashes, decided not to finish this off like they were on night #2 of a back-to-back; and subsequently claw their way back to .500.

Much like the come from behind win against the Stars, (maybe that’s why Cammalleri scored tonight?) Calgary straight up earned this win.

With two wins and a row, the Flames now have to keep momentum in their favour. They get the WIld yet again on Tuesday. It’s another game they can win, and should win. Things got pretty chippy on Saturday’s match and with this being their third meeting in 16 days, expect that chippiness to get even worse. I’m sure there are a few people that would like to have a talk with Dany Heatley after the way he treated Tanguay in the last one.

It’s also another chance to move above .500 and depending how things shake out between now and then? Calgary is only two points out of a play-off spot, with a game in hand. The funny thing about games in hand is that they only matter when you win them right, so let’s hope they make this one count.

See you Tuesday. Game time is 6:00 PM on SNET-W

  • MC Hockey

    I was quite surprised at the outcome of this one! Yay for a win. Question Ryan I believe you were at the Game.

    Were there many scouts in there? Curious whats going on in case thing fall apart again quickly.

  • Not a ton of scouts, but a few. Scouts aren’t really a measure of what’s going on, though. Pro scouts generally travel a circuit and try to see everybody.

    Now, if we could see Jay Feaster’s phone records, THEN we’d know whether things are churning or not.

  • McRib

    The only thing that pleases me as much as Iggy finally getting on the scoresheet is that Glencross got the winner. He has been gripping his stick big time of late, if these two can get it together regularly than the Flames might be able to claw their way back into a playoff hunt. The next two games are HUGE, wins against Minnesota and Colorado would be a confidence boost and put us back in the hunt…. Unfortunately the Flames tend to have let down games in must wins….

    One question for the Nation? Is anyone else as completely frustrated with Comeau??? Hudler/ Baertschi deserve better, Backlund cannot get healthy soon enough and what happened to Cervenka tonight didn’t see much after picking up an assist on Jackmans goal, is he injured?

    • MC Hockey

      Yes McRib, Comeau is frustrating but makes a couple good plays a game, but still not usually enough to make up for the dumb ones. He is getting lots of leeway…why not give some to Blair Jones and Cervenka, I think.

      • MC Hockey

        Baffling who someone who is as dumb as a rock gets the chance to place all over the place on different lines, despite his suck.

        Yet you have 1 very skilled player and 1 player who gives 110% every night AND is a natural center sitting / demoted / whatever..

        I know I am not the coach, and I don’t know what what blaire did.. or cervenka for that matter.

        Conditioning bla bla, yet he gets back in the lineup and is sat…


        On another note, good for matt stajan for playing like a hockey player and not an anchor this year.

        • Vintage Flame

          I think many of us are baffled by the fact that Blake Comeau gets continued playing time over… well, anyone.

          Kent, Pike and I were talking at the Minnesota game and of course Blake Comeau came up and how he continues to stay in this line up despite the fact that his corsi rel is the lowest on the entire team.

          I don’t know what Blair Jones said or did either but given like two nights before he was waived, Hartley said he was the BEST Flame in shoot-out practices, I have to think he did something.

          As for Matt Stajan, yeah it’s good to see him playing the way he is this year. Not sure if it changes anything about his destiny with this team, but it’s great to see the effort he puts out there night in and night out.


          • Vintage Flame

            Its too bad because the First 5 games i was sold on the the coach, but now i am starting to wonder a bit.. Jones needs back in and we need another Natural center. Backs and kipper recovery wouldnt hurt.

            I am fully convinced we dont end up in top 5 draft and you just know the perpetual yoyo is gonna keep JBO IGGY KIPP on the team cuz we MIGHT make playoffs…

            I would KILL for a new management team

          • Vintage Flame

            I still like Hartley and Company as the coaching staff. I think we have seen a more exciting style of hockey and that credit goes to those three. IMO

            If they go on a bit of a tear here over the next few games, then yeah they might not finish top 5. If they poop the bed over this next week or so, then your faith may be restored for a top 5 pick.

            As for the big three. I’m going to throw caution to the wind here and now.

            I think this is the year that Iggy and Kipper get dealt. I have NOT heard anything, it’s just a gut feeling.

            As for JBo, I don’t see them moving him. I still think he’s their best defenseman and I see him staying put.

          • Vintage Flame

            AGREE agree!! Keep JBO, trade the other two… I would be quite pleased with that.

            I also agree that the next week or so is the finish line as far as deciding whether or not we’re going to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot… if we only manage to win one of the next two vs MIN and COL and then get wacked in California, game over.

            I’m looking forward to being optimistic once again… sadly that has me cheering for losses at this point. Losses and, as some others have mentioned, good performances from tradable assets!

          • Vintage Flame

            Yeah I sure hope they are smart enough to cash in while they can..
            Even if they want Iggy to sign after he is a rental. They have now seen what the world without Kipper is like and thats the scary part.

            Compete now at all costs…. (Macbackup)

            I agree about JBO has been the best D for a long time, but if they are tearing down it might be the time. Then again be competative while tearing down would mean keeping jbo.

            Maybe cammy has some value

          • Vintage Flame

            Cammy and maybe Stempniak as well, possible additions playoff teams would like to make come deadline time. I think Jackman garnered some interest last year to so who knows. A healthy Bouma can fill his shoes next year…

  • jeremywilhelm

    I think Cervenka is struggling with the pace of the NHL. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him play a smaller role as he continues to recover. Surprised hes even playing right now.

  • Vintage Flame

    Typical, team just refuses to finish bottom 5, 9th-12th here we come again!

    At least Iginla upped his trade value.

    And it all it took was for the team to be called out for 2 days ny the national sports media.

  • RedMan

    OK, so Stajan & Stempniak are both PLUS players… how does one explain that??? is there some sort of advanced metric that can help me understand how these two, out of all the players, are above water +/- wise?

    • Stajan has the best percentages on the Flames with a PDO of 102.5. Mostly that’s due to an on-ice SH% of 14.68! (league mean is about 8%). So Matty’s been the luckiest guy on the team so far.

      Stempniak has good percentages but also good possession.

  • RedMan

    Its gotta be ALIU can’t be any other viable rational sound reason. Drouin’s highlight last evening should wake some folks up, then again some are in dreamland all the time.

  • Vintage Flame

    Well I said previously the next 10 games were our destiny & we needed 7 wins out of the 10. We are 2-0. I’m shocked actually. I figured they would come fired up against Minnesota over that Joey hit. Phoenix was a bonus. Both Minny & Colorado are must wins again to hit that 7 wins. Both are teams we are capable of beating if we play the game Hartley wants. That west coast trip looks just friggin nasty so going 4-0 on this 10 game stretch is critical.

    VF: If this team does go 7 wins on this 10 game segment, I totally expect goundhog day from last years trade deadline. Would be a huge mistake that is where this management/ownership mindset is. They want a playoff run this year, its just we have no pieces to bring in any pieces to help that. If we lose 5 of the next 8 coming up, I’m with you on your gut feeling, except I think they keep kipper & trade JBO & Iggy. If we eat some of Cammi’s salary(2.0 mill of his 6.0 mill cap hit), I think the return would be a lot better.

    • Vintage Flame

      VF: If this team does go 7 wins on this 10 game segment, I totally expect goundhog day from last years trade deadline. Would be a huge mistake that is where this management/ownership mindset is. They want a playoff run this year, its just we have no pieces to bring in any pieces to help that. If we lose 5 of the next 8 coming up, I’m with you on your gut feeling, except I think they keep kipper & trade JBO & Iggy. If we eat some of Cammi’s salary(2.0 mill of his 6.0 mill cap hit), I think the return would be a lot better.

      I know the reasonable expectation is the “groundhog day” scenario, but for some reason I just think it’s different this time. The reason I think Kipper gets traded is because I think it’s last year here. [Again, not that I’ve heard anything, but..]

      I asked schevvy this. Why would you want to rebuild this team with Iggy? What good does it serve? There is different chatter this year, unlike others. It all just feels different from the usual rumours.

      I think if the Flames move a D-man, it would be Gio, not JBo

  • Vintage Flame

    Not good enough and not bad enough.
    They will continue to play .500 hockey and miss out on a top 10 draft pick and miss out on the playoffs as well. Worse thing is that the Feast will not only not trade any of our movable assets for future assets, but we will probably end up trading away some picks for players to help us push for 9th spot.

    Really thought that they were going to lose these two games on the weekend and force the organizations hand. But no they have to win and be a couple of points out of the playoffs.

    Does Iginla’s improved performance mean that teams might be willing to give up more for the Flames to make a trade decision if Iginla asks? Or does it mean that the organization is going to be so stuck on the belief that Iginla playing like this is going to get them into the playoffs for sure?

  • RKD

    Finally, they found a way to win instead of finding a way to lose. Their home record needed to be improved, the Flames could have folded after that fourth goal by Phoenix but we saw some of that no quite attitude.

    I still don’t think management is making any significant moves if we are in a playoff race, probably a decision that would do more harm than good in the long run. However, Feaster and co. have the mandate to keep winning in the short run.

    a .500 finish or 9th/10th place means the Flames are picking 10-20th at the draft. This state of purgatory will go on until the Flames drastically decline which according to management they haven’t yet.

    I can see it now

    Feaster: I’m thinking about trading Iggy.
    Edwards: Over my dead body.
    King: Do it and you’ll be out of a job.

    This country club mentality has got to go.

    • Vintage Flame

      Feaster: I’m thinking about trading Iggy.
      Edwards: Over my dead body.
      King: Do it and you’ll be out of a job

      I’d bet that when push comes to shove, King has about as much backbone as Feaster in standing up to Murray Edwards.

      • Avalain

        To be completely fair to them, it’s not about having backbone as much as it is about them simply being employees who are just doing their job.

        Country club mentality or not, the Flames aren’t a publicly traded company.

  • MC Hockey

    Just watched the Bob Hartley interview, and he basicly said he isn’t happy with Cervenka’s production right now.. Or atleast his play. So i guess what Pat Steinberg was trying to defend was wrong after all Kent.

    • CDB

      Makes sense. Over 82 games he’s on pace for 50 points. That’s while acclimatizing to a new league, language and culture. We need more Comeau!

      Comeau might be the least effective player in the league. Not many guys with no finish, zero ability to generate scoring chances, turnover machines around.

      At least most of those guys fight, or hit, or can get a puck out of the zone. However much you value or don’t value that, at least it’s something.. And this isn’t to rag on Feaster. Full disclosure, I thought it was a smart move bringing him back. Comeau had some success in the league, showed glimpses last year. Man has he regressed.

      • CDB

        It’s funny you say that, right after we got comeau (ok like two weeks) islander fNs were ripping on Him saying we would be sad we picked him up. At the time he was a plus with a few points and making hood hits and everything and told them they were wrong and defended him.

        Fastforward last week, my girlfriend hears me just ripping on Comeau and she says I thought you loved him? Yes i defended him and thought he was a good pick for free. i was wrong, hes a warm body and maybe a replacent level player. I really wanted him to pull a Stajan and start turning his career around.

        I more then anyone want to give players a chance if they can be semi competent in their roles. Buttler? I am good with him, Stajan this year? Yup, jones? Good with me.

        Comeau? BLOWING GOATS… Send him down for god sakes, and give cervenka a chance to get used to the NHL, English language and his team mates.