Post Game: Everyone Went To St. Louis




The Flames, well they phoned it in tonight. Given that they’ve shed nearly $14 million in salary in the past week and are poised to cast off even more, perhaps it’s understandable that the Flames never arrived tonight for their tilt with their provincial rivals up north. The end result is, uh, unflattering, as the Edmonton Oilers coasted to a 4-1 victory over our heroes, and somehow made DEVAN DUBNYK look like a capable goaltender, which we all know in our hearts that he isn’t.

Unfortunately for you, and with even less of an excuse for things being the way they are then youer Calgary Flames, we here at Flames Nation are also guilty of phoning it in, as we all fled from FN headquarters to witness the slaughter down at the Tilted Kilt tonight, and I’m the one who drew the short straw to recap a game we all only half paid attention to.

So this should go great.

The Rundown

We’re not even going to pretend this one was the least bit pretty.

The Oilers scored early and often, but if you were paying attention, you knew the game was likely over before it began. Literally an hour before the game it was reported that the Flames had shipped top linde defenseman Jay Bouwmeester out to St. Loo for their first round draft pick and a couple of warm bodies, and that news lingered over the atmosphere of the entire game.

Not to say that that had anything to do with the outcome on this one. Outshootinhg the Oil 34-20, a combination of some Dubnykesque goaltending on Calgary’s part, and really just an overall ugly effort by the Flaming C, it seems unlikely that Bouwmeester could have saved the Flames in this one.

Things looked bleak in what seemed like an impossibly long first period, as the Oilers spotted themself an early 3-0 lead, simultaneously depressing the Calgary faithful while fueling the naive dreams of Oilers fans everywhere who still laughably think they have a playoff team in front of them, though they quite obviously don’t.

Justin Schultz put the home team up almost immediately, sneaking into a wide open slot just 4 minutes in, as Mark Giordano temporarily forgot what defensive coverage was and Dennis Wideman decided he was a forward, leaving the rookie defenseman all the time in the world to bury one past starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who may have also played his last game in a Flames uniform, if you believe rumours.

By the end of the stanza, the Oilers had the game in hand and Kiprusoff on the bench, as Taylor Hall and somehow Ryan Jones each netted a G and forced Joey MacDonald into action, Kipper’s night over after surrendering three goals on six shots. Truly a luminescent performance by everyone involved in the Flames organization in this one.

The second period happened.

the Flames got a lot of shots. None of them went in.

the second period ended.

The third period began.

After any point where anyone could logically dictate the score was still in balance, the two Alberta rivals traded goals, basically for superficial reasons only. Nail Yakupov scored to make it 4-0, because why not, and also because you can never ensure that Joey MacDonald is going to stop everything. The Flames’ most consistent forward, Brian McGrattan, potted his second goal in as many games to make this one respectable, but let’s be honest, this one was over in the first period, and that sucks.

Why The Flames Lost

Take your pick.

  • They put forth a lackluster effort.
  • They ran into a hot goalie in Dubnyk
  • They just lost their de-facto best player
  • this after they just lost the face of their franchise
  • Edmonton admittedly played well
  • They’re not a very good team
  • Nobody knows who’s getting traded next
  • Politics
  • Weather
  • Did we mention the Iginla thing?

So, you know, you have options here. It doesn’t really matter in the end. It’s tough to criticize this roster right now, because it’s hard to envision that this is the same roster come Wednesday night for the rematch, as the trade deadline will have passed by that point, and who the hell knows who is still going to be a Flame by that point?

Regardless, this one was ugly, and mercifully, it’s over.

The Red Warrior

I’m going to give it to our own Justin Azevedo, as his sometimes off colour remarks about the state of this team, the performance of it’s General Manager, etc., etc., were far better and more concise and powerful than anything anyone on the Flames executed tonight, and that’s terribly sad.

This also guarantees that I don’t have to award this to Brian McGrattan, because, obviously, I just can’t do that without my head hurting.

Good work, vedo, and hang in there.

And, In The End

The events surrounding the Flames over the past week or so have completely underscored anything worth talking about in this game, which isn’t saying a lot given the outcome. You’ll forgive us if we’re more interested in the future of Miikka Kiprusoff at this point (who refused to talk to the media post game. I’ll let you pretend like that means something if you like)

The truth is the Flames did not have their best defenseman in the game, nor did they have their best player, as he now toils in Pittsburgh, so you’d have thought that maybe the Ewing Theory would’ve kicked in tonight, but it sure as hell didn’t, so we’re more inclined to talk about the future of this team, their lack of identity, their now $24 million in cap space for next season, and just what this all means anyway. Obviously this is not business as normal in Calgary, and trying to figure out just exactly what comes next seems to take precedence over what happens on the ice on any given night.

Plus, like I said, we were all at the Tilted Kilt tonight, and quite honestly, they treated us so well down there that I really don’t remember what I saw on the giant TV screen in front of me tonight.

Brace yourselves, friends, the next couple of days are going to be muey interesting.

  • Scary Gary

    If the team has shed almost 14 mil in salary, do they not need to hang on to Kiprusoff and Cammalleri in order to stay above the floor? In theory you should not be able to carry more than 16 mil in cap space but I’m not sure. Anybody know?

    • supra steve

      I think because they were a near cap team for the first 2/3 of this season, they have some room to work with. Just as a team with only $2mil in cap space can add an $8mil player for the last 1/4 season (so only counts as $2mil on their cap).

  • Scary Gary

    The bright side: 1. it was a shortened season (thank gawd); 2. tearing down the old finally happened, the insanity has ceased, management has faced reality; 3. we have three (conditionally) first round draft picks this year; 4. we’ve picked up some prospects in an age category severely lacking, thanks Darryl; 5. we still have some decent players including youth like Backlund, Baertschi and Brodie; 6. our prospect goaltenders look to have a bright future (if we could get 30th ranked goaltending this team wouldn’t be as bad as its record implies); 7. we have a ton of cap space available this off-season when other teams will be looking to shed it; 8. only 14 games left!

    • Yup, as much as I thought Feaster got fleeced in the JBo trade (and almost every other trade he’s made), there’s nothing left to but pick up and carry on and hope they nail all 3 first round picks this summer.

      I think the team is trying to shorcut things exactly as you lay it out btw:

      – grab 3 picks this summer and add to existing top prospect in Baerstchi.

      – grab older propsects close to stepping in.

      – grab UFAs in summer that others can’t afford.

      – keep some of their vets.

      Of course, there’s about a million holes in that plan starting with the older prospects they brought back, but I do think that’s what Feaster is planning.

      • First Name Unidentified

        “grab UFAs in summer that others can’t afford”

        This is where I get nervous with Feaster running things. We will end up overpaying those FAs and get stuck with some terrible contracts.

        It should all be about the “B’s” moving forward: Backlund, Brodie and Beartschi. Build the team around the 3 B’s

      • RexLibris

        That much cap space for an organization with a history of trying to shortcut through a rebuild, and Feaster’s own track record of questionable contract negotiations (Sarich, Babchuk, Wideman) could be detrimental in the long term.

        If there were some significant free-agents available this off-season, then perhaps. However, looking over the list I don’t see the player panacea to resolve their roster issues.

      • Captain Ron

        Agree mostly. Clearly there’s a pattern here and the mandate must be to acquire 1st round picks and take back zero dollars in salary. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t only two of the four no names under contract?

        These two trades have been salary dumps and the only thing that makes sense (if I close one eye and balance on one leg) is that management is banking on the new salary cap leaving some good players on the outside looking in. So with that plan, having the most money to spend should theoretically put you in a good spot.

        Um, so… hopefully that works.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    What about Backlund for Red Warrior? He was the best player on the ice. for either team (well, except Dubnyk). 6 shots on goal isn’t worth at least a mention?

  • Michael

    Dear Hockey Gods…
    The Flames only have 14 games left, and if we loose all 14 that’s fine with me. Please send that lottery pick our way. I doubt even Feaster can screw up the first overall pick.

  • BitGeek

    So here’s a question… since we traded JBo to St Louis for a conditional 1st round pick this year, (which is conditional on St Louis making it to the playoffs…), is it considered a conflict of interest when Calgary plays them on 25th?

    Say Calgary really wants the 1st round pick this year… and St Louis is on the cusp of making it into the playoffs… Does Calgary tank that game to make sure that St Louis wins and gets 2 more points for their playoff push? What if that game is the decider for St Louis? Not sure what the implications are there…

    Of course… the way it stands right now, that’s really a moot point given the way Calgary has been playing lately. I don’t know if we will be able to put up much of a fight against any team left this year considering how the Flames just performed in Edmonton.

      • Chris Fairfield

        Especially with Feaster at the helm. But agreed, they need to reatin some vets and there should be no urgency in moving those guys.

        As For Rex’s comment, not to speak for him, but I think he’s refering to not wanting to do a typical rebuild at all while thinking he could take a non-playoff club and turn it into a contender.

        • Captain Ron


          Turn off the x box and take a look at what has happened in the last week. Your not getting anything close to that for Kipper. A 2nd or 3rd round pick maybe but that is it.

          Nothing personal intended.

  • Lordmork

    The Flames are at least 5 years behind the Oilers at this point. Other than Sven, there’s no notable prospects in the system (correct me if I’m wrong, please). It was the 2007/2008 season where the Oilers had to face reality, just as the Flames are doing now. The Oilers are finally competing for a playoff spot, but they’re still a long way off to becoming a contender, if at all.

    The point? There’s going to be a lot of dark years ahead if management chooses to strictly build through the draft. There needs to be a few UFA signings, which will likely require an overpay (who wants to come to a rebuilding team?) to short cut this rebuild. Look at the way the Leafs have done it; while they’re not considered contenders, they are in a playoff spot for the first time in years.

  • Michael

    The combination of several lower first round picks, and lots of cap space might point to the Flames being active in the trade market, rather than / or in addition to the UFA market. Some interesting trade options might open up as teams try to get down to next seasons lower cap ceiling.
    With the lower cap hit, the mid level UFA’s might start to see their salaries squeezed (you know the big names will be overpaid, leaving less cap room for the lesser names). A savvy combination of reasonably priced UFA,s and some pre season trading, might well help the rebuild.
    I’m just not sure that savvy and Feaster go together.

  • Michael


    The real question going forward, is how do you fit everyone under the cap? Sooner rather than later some tough decisions will have to be made, who goes and who stays.

    • RexLibris

      They have two more years of Yakupov’s ELC, one more on Schultz (the Younger) and Nugent-Hopkins. In the meantime, Khabibulin and Whitney come off the books creating an $8 million cushion to get under the cap.

      By the time Yakupov needs to be re-signed Horcoff’s cap hit will have come off the books creating approximately $5.5 million in cap space.

      In addition to that, Hemsky is likely to have been traded away, opening up another $5 million.

      At some point there will be defensive contracts paid out as well, although I strongly doubt that any of those are higher than $5.5 million per season, and likely only perhaps one at even that figure.

      All of those factors taken against what is likely to be a gradually increasing salary cap will mean that the core group should be able to be retained, provided contract negotiations can remain professional and timely.

      It may not leave a great deal for fleshing out the roster after the top nine, however no team has a perfect balance and if the Oilers do find they need to ship out an offensive forward then it is far better to be the seller with a surplus than a buyer in scarcity.

    • It must suck for the Oilers to have so many superstars they have to worry about the cap. Stupid Oilers. Reminds me of the time I had too much money and it was so annoying cause it wouldn’t fit in my wallet. Jeesh..

  • RexLibris

    With regards to the comments on the Leafs rebuild, and taking into account the success that they are having this season after Brian Burke was fired: one has to wonder if he isn’t looking like an attractive replacement for Jay Feaster to Ken King and Murray Edwards right now.

    He has had success in other markets, the Flames are very familiar with his work in Vancouver, his management style would fit with how the Flames want to be perceived to the outside world, and in the past he has eschewed the “traditional rebuild” in favour of more immediate returns.

    I’m not suggesting it would be the best thing for the team, but given how things have gone these last few months it is hard to believe that he wouldn’t at least be considered as an option right now.

  • Matty Franchise Jr


    Toronto is a playoff team. If it weren’t for Luon8o choking, the Canucks might have one a cup or 2. Anaheim has a cup and is still a serious contender.

    Burkie might not be a bad idea.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    People are forgetting that exactly zero UFAs are going to WANT to come to Calgary for the next 3-4 years minimum. We will get scraps or massively overpay. But likely as the oilers realized it doesn’t even matter how much money you throw at players, nobody wants to sign on with a team starting a rebuild.

    We need to get UFAs out of the head and start settling in for the long haul.

    I’m excited about the draft for the first time in ages. Hopefully we get that 1-2 overall spot that could reshape our organization.