POST-GAME: Where the Wild Things Are



Being that it was the third time your Calgary Flames have played these Minnesota Wild in the past sixteen days, you’d think there would be a solid game plan that would allow Calgary to get out of St. Paul with two points, a game above .500 and their third win in a row.

A win would have drawn the Flames to within one point of 8th in the West and finally gain some momentum with a tough stretch of games looming near. Too bad they couldn’t pull it all together, because despite playing poorly once again in front of a goalie not named Kiprusoff, Joey MacDonald played pretty damn well; giving his team chance after chance to redeem their poor play with even a lucky bounce or a garbage goal.

There’s only so many chances you get to stifle a guy like Zach Parise in one game; tonight the Flames pushed those odds one too many times.

The Rundown

The Flames TJ Brodie took the first penalty of the game, but Calgary played a textbook PK, keeping the Wild to the outside and limiting their chances. The game remained in a scoreless knot, which is something everyone has come to expect when these two teams get together.

Half way through the period, the Flames would get their first kick at the PP and it didn’t take long to cash in. Jason Zucker would go to the box for slashing and just seven seconds later, Mike Cammalleri would take the shot from the circle and as the puck bounced up over Backstrom, Alex Tanguay would pick it out of mid-air and into the net.

At 13:22 of the period, the teams played a little 4 on 4. Minnesota controlled the play like they were on the PP. With the Wild buzzing around the net, it appeared that Zach Parise had tied the game as he muscled the puck around MacDonald. The play had to be reviewed and after the war room in Toronto took a look, it was determined that Giordano [that’s Jordano now BTW] had reacted quickly enough that the puck never fully crossed the line. No goal, and the Flames maintained their one goal lead.

Calgary got another shot at the PP late in the 1st but wasn’t that effective. Iggy actually got the best chance with only seconds left on the clock as he broke around Ryan Suter with a brief break in on Backstrom. He got the shot away but probably wished he took a bit more time as Backstrom made the save with relative ease. Calgary out-shot Minny 12-9, but were out-shot by the Wild 7-4.

The Flames only registered two hits in the period, oddly enough, both coming from Sven Baertschi!

As is the norm with these guys in the middle frame, not much of anything happened, on the scoreboard anyways. Calgary actually was very fortunate to keep their lead as the Wild started with an 11-0 run in scoring chances. Most of that was thanks to the Flames parade to the penalty box. Despite six of the Wild’s chances coming on the PP, MacDonald held his ground to protect the lead.

With five left in the second, the Wild’s Charlie Coyle took a 5 min major for a pretty dirty elbow to the face of Matt Stajan. The PP was a good chance to put some breathing room between them and Minny, unfortunately the boys couldn’t get much of anything going, and the advantage came and went without reward, or a shot for that matter…

Our own Kent Wilson sums it up best…

Chances were 12-3 MIN. The Wild hit posts, shot pucks wide and hit MacD in the chest all period. I guess the hockey gods kinda owe one to the Flames. Too bad they have to use up good luck against a lousy team though.

The third started right where the second left off, with both teams trying to establish something, anything to give them an edge in this game. After killing off another early PP when Mike Rupp did his second swan dive of the game, the Flames started to push back themselves.

After wasting the 5 min PP, Calgary got another chance when Curtis Glencross was high-sticked, the leaking made it a 4 min advantage which the Flames… again did nothing with only managing one shot. For you at home keeping score, that’s one shot over nine minutes with the man advantage.

When that happens, you don’t need to be a fortune teller to know what happens next.

At 15:41, Jason Zucker would tie the game for the Wild. Then with 42 seconds left in the third, Giordano would lose his stick and in a scramble to clear the puck, would take that dumb new delay-of-game penalty.

The Flames would make it to OT, but not long passed it. Zach Parise would get the PP goal just 27 seconds in and that was all she wrote.

Why The Flames Lost …

Because despite the Flames being able to stave off the Wild’s power-play, they couldn’t do anything to get their own going. Yes the Tanguay goal came with the man up, but after that, each power play looked worse than the previous one.

You just can’t expect to win many games when you go one for seven on the PP, especially when two of them were a 5 min and 4 min advantage consecutively. What made matters worse is that Calgary couldn’t score at even strength either to compensate for the lackluster special teams.

Because when you keep a team at 0 for 6 on their power-play, you just can’t let them make that 1 for 7 when it hits OT. The Wild gave the puck away 10 times while only managing 2 takeaways, yet the Flames couldn’t make them pay for mistakes.


I’m going to go with MacBackup tonight. 

He played a solid game and truth be told, he was the only reason the Flames survived long enough to pick up at least one point in overtime.

MacDonald stopped 28 of 30 shots. Of those 30 shots, Kent counted 25 of them as scoring chances. The Flames only generated 13 themselves on 21 shots; and I don’t know how many of those were "10 Bellers"??

The more MacDonald plays, the more comfortable he looks, and he is giving the team every reason to show confidence in playing in front of him. There is little doubt that the net is now his until Kipper returns.

Who knows, he may even hold onto it longer than that…

Sum it Up

This was one the Flames really wanted to get under their belt, and they should have. Unfortunately they just didn’t get the job done.

They had a chance tonight because of the play of their goalie, he was poised to steal them one, like they have seen Kipper do on many occasions; Too bad they didn’t remember how the pulled one out of a hat only, ohhhh two days ago.

The team now moves on to Colorado.. The Avs are another team that this team has to consider completely beatable, and a must-win. It won’t be that easy though now that the Av’s have Gabriel Gabe Landeskog back in the line-up.

However, no matter who is in the line-up, two things are for certain. They won’t have Ryan O’Reilly, and they are currently two point behind your Flames. Calgary needs to make sure the Av’s stay below them, because after this it gets pretty tough and there won’t be many gimmies.

Gametime is 7:00 PM on Thursday. Pick your poison… SNET-CGY or Peter Maher on Fan960.

  • Chris Fairfield

    As great as it will be to get Backlund back, it is still 2 weeks away, and the ever evasive 1 game above .500 mark slips out of Calgary’s grasp again. They have got to get some help in the immediate future and the AHL callups don’t count. Feaster, get off of your can and do something! I know that is the Flames website, but other teams have already started to make moves. ie. Montreal re accquired Ryder and Dallas got Cole, Flyers re accquired Gagne. Happy to get 1 point, disappointed that it could have and should have been 2.

  • beloch

    MacBackup played above his ability today, but he got some help from the post… and crossbar… The Flames got lucky tonight, but we’ll take it. MacB still has very poor rebound control and scary things seem to keep happening whenever he tries to play the puck. At least his positioning is solid. He’s definitely not looking more comfortable the more he plays. He just seems to have the Wild’s number.

  • jeremywilhelm

    “….. currently two point behind your Flames.”.

    And one VG center down. So are we. We don’t need to see them as a lesser team we need to beat Mr. Vintage. We need to see this as a game one of the Stanley Cup playoffs regardless of the opponent. As it stands now, the Avs are close enough to lose game this game and still pass us in the standings. This is war Mr. Vintage!!!! 🙂

  • beloch

    More good news… BC loses again, Gaudreau with no points again, he sure seems to be cooling off lately. No points, no shots, -2… On the upside, Arnold had both goals for the Eagles…

    Pardon my sarcasm but our prospects are the only thing I have left to cheer for.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I would imagine the Wild, Islanders, Bluejackets are much more frustrating for their fanbase to watch, but your point is very valid. Since 2008 we’ve seen new coaches, a new GM and managment team and many changes in the on-ice talent. The one constant seems to be a lackluster culture.

      This will be the third season straight where the team just does’t ‘get up’ for big games that will either put them into a playoff spot or get them over .500 on the season. As frustrating as this is to witness, watching the team back into playoff spots in 2008 and 2009 was even worse. I’m sure fans will blame Iginla for this, but it goes far deeper than a single player, regardless of his stature on the team. Where I sit this team clearly has a culture problem, and I believe they see themselves as a bubble team. That veiw of themselves will only serve to perpetuate the same results.

  • RexLibris

    VF, I am sorely disappointed. You had a chance to mention that with that point, the Flames go into a tie that, on statistical tie-breakers, puts them ahead of the Oilers in the standings (probably including something along the lines of “and balance has been restored to the Force”). Yet you let that opportunity slip away.

    For shame.


    I think the Flames match well against Colorado. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win a close, fast-paced game Thursday.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Off topic, but I’m surpised that with 3 1st round picks that CBJ doesn’t make a play for ROR. Together with Johansen that’d make for 2 great centers

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Priceless Theo comments from Hartley (damn I miss that guy):

    “I remember in Colorado, coming [into Calgary] and you always had to play against Theoren Fleury,” Hartley told the Calgary Herald.

    “Missing teeth. Snarling at you, grimacing in pain or anger. He wasn’t going to back down. He wasn’t going to give an inch.

    “You’d come in here, see Theo sneering across the ice at you in warm-up, and think ‘Well, it’s going to be a long night …’

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Sure would be nice to have a few players that make other teams thing twice. I wouldn’t mind a functional tough guy (Jackman seemed more like that player 2010-2011)

      A clutterbuck or Neil type player could work nicely for us.

    • McRib

      Can someone give me a legitimate answer as to why 14, isn’t retired in the rafters?? Or at the least a part of that stupid “Honor a Flame”.

      Al MacInnis scores 800+ Points as a Calgary Flame and we can’t retire his number??? Flames Ownership/Ken King are joke, now that HH and Doc are gone.

      If Flames Ownership are worried about Theo’s demons they didn’t seem to care much about Mike Vernon’s a few years ago.. Just saying.

      • jeremywilhelm

        You answered your own question. Ownerhsip is a joke now and not very classy. Al and Theo should absolutely have their jerseys retired. I hate the Honor a Flame thing too.

    • McRib

      Uggghhh, Lanny McDonald. Still remember vividly having to play his sons hockey team every year growing up. They used to get 10+ Power Plays a game, as he would summon over the refs before hand and bully them into refing a “fair game”. Jim Peplinski had a similar effect on refs as coincidently both their sons were the same age.

      I know they are both “Flames Heros” and all, but whenever I met them growing up they were both mega douches. So far out of touch from Hockey it was sad.

      • jeremywilhelm

        Couldn’t disagree more. Lanny is one of the few genuine ‘nice guys’ in the game and hi sinsights are usually spot-on.

        Not to mention that as a leader during his playing days he puts our current captain to absolute shame.

        • McRib

          I spent 10+ years in Springbank and other rinks against his sons team and never met this so called “Nice Guy”. Maybe he was just super competitive and in game mode during his son’s games, haha.

          But everyone playing hockey in Calgary born in ’86/87, learned to loath playing against Lanny’s son’s team. Honestly when I made Alberta Cup, I quickly learned it wasn’t just my team that thought the same. It was literally a joke in the dressing room. None of us could understand why our father’s all worshipped the guy…

          Theo Fleury’s first son was also our age and he had the opposite effect, it was something every kid looked forward to. He would sign autographs till the sun came home and he was still playing at the time. Hence why his hockey school was a must for everyone our age!!!

          • supra steve

            I’m guessing you don’t have a son in hockey, being an 86-87 born Albertan. It does bring out the competative side of a lot of parents. No big surprise that ex-NHL players are competative people. From my observations of Lanny & Pepper a few years back, in the dressing room at a charity hockey game, they are both first class. While I have never interacted with Theo, his movie left me with the impression that he was the first class D-bag in this group. Treated you great, but lost touch with his own son when he left Calgary. Great guy. Just my impressions.

    • RedMan

      I’d say it’s not even so much as “this iteration’, I’d say they need to actually play hard to whatever system they are playing…

      if they want to be the ‘fast-attack keep-you-on-your-heals’ puck possession team, well, they sure aren’t doing it. I saw them do it the first four or five games… where did it go? it was exciting and fun, but now they have slowed down so much it’s painful, like they are purposely trying to slow the game down.It has reverted back to dump and chase… seriously!

      They aren’t a tough team that’s for sure… they are actually polite to the opponent, making sure they don’t hit them whenever possible. there is just no response or push back – this team is maybe the softest in the league – which would be fine if the beat you on the ice with speed and skill, but they look like training camp rookies, unable to play together, no chemistry, like they have never played together.

      the forwards skate to the line and stop, waiting for a pass – easy to defend and forcing the guy skating the puck to dump it in, but the guys that are supposed to chase it are standing still.

      the PK – zero aggression – they sit in a box and do not pressure the puck… in fact, there is really no puck pressure anywhere from this team… they are always backing away from the other team… omg this drives me nuts.they are always chasing the play, never in control or driving the play. followers, playing to whatever the other team’s game-plan is.

      I guess what I am saying is that this team is not playing whatever system they have chosen – they are floundering and unsure what to do. this shows in how tentative and out of sync they are at almost all times.

      what’s really weird though is that I have started watching the Oiler’s – not to cheer from them, but in hopes that, if I can’t watch ‘my’ team win, I can at least watch them lose.

  • icedawg_42

    I think everyone needs to be realistic. We come out of a lockout with an intense schedule, short training camp, new additions & a brand new coaching team teaching a completely different system than what this team has been playing since the previous lockout. The core is old and is struggling with its identity because it is not successful, but mediocre as the last 3 years have proven. Are we surprised they are a .500 team? Personally, I’m surprised we are a .500 team & we probably wouldnt be if we didnt have one of the best schedules of any team coming out of the lockout. That is about to change as this road trip continues. Yeah we got 1 point last night but we in effect are -2 against a team we need to be ahead if visions of playoffs keep dancing in our heads.

    We have decent enough players but we have too many that are really going to struggle maintaining any kind of consistency with Hartley’s system. One player fitting into a new team & system is so much easier than changing a bunch of old dogs to take a dump in another part of the yard so to speak(please excuse the analagy). I just wish Management & Ownership stop with the playoff drum beating and just assist Hartley and focus on how the games are played, winning or losing right now should be secondary. The culture & this core need to change and that starts with changing the names on the lockers in the dressing room.

  • icedawg_42

    I wish ownership could understand the sense of frusteration the majority of fans are feeling around here. We are now debating whether or not Lanny and Pepper are good people.

    As much as I feel we need to make changes, ultimately I think they should start with KK, move swiftly to Feaster and his tight little group of helpers, and THEN player personnel. But I know it won’t happen.

    One thing I think the owner and management should realize is that the days of “having” to cheer for the hometown team is over. I became a fan(and will remain one) because there was no internet, no sports-only TV, radio, etc. The center-ice package didn’t exist. Today, you can grow up being a fan of ANY team you want, and still watch virtually every game they play, listen via internet, etc. If I was starting from scratch, I highly doubt this team led by these misfits in the suits would be my choice.

    Oh, and Lanny and Pepper are welcome at my place anytime.