POST-GAME: The Hav-lats and the Have-nots


When you’re 0 for 11 on the road and the team you are playing against is going for their seventh straight wins, you don’t have a lot to be optimistic about. Especially when you look at your roster and as Kent noted, Cory Sarich is your third best defenseman. O.o

Nevertheless, Calgary still has to play the games and as Kent also alluded to, have their pride hanging in the balance; so it’s still seems there are some important games left to play.

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The good news?… The Sharks have only lost one game at home in regulation time, so you know depending what side of the fence you are on for this game, there is always that. And, in the end, tonight would turn out to be a win/win sort of night for your Calgary Flames. Why? Let’s find out…

The Rundown

It sure didn’t look like we were in for anything different from the start of this game. The Sharks came out looking like they wanted that seventh win and they wanted to get it done early.

What they didn’t count on was Miikka Kiprusoff showing up and playing like he still had that chip on his shoulder for the Sharks letting him get away. As the shots came at the Flames net in abundance, Miikka, being his calm stoic self, made save after save. Like we have seen so many times over so many years, it seems that just about when you’re ready to count him out, Kipper pulls himself off the mat and gives a wink to the timer suggesting, "Don’t ring that bell just yet."

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You may wanna sit down before I tell you this, if not… hey you were warned.

At 17:55 we got a glimpse into our near future as Mikael Backlund went to work. Winning a face-off, in the offensive zone, while he was actually playing on the pwer-play, Backs would get the quick return pass from Cammalleri and laser home the shot to give your Flames the lead… in a game… on the road?

I know! Really?

Much better start for your Flames in the second frame. They found a way to limit the shots from the Sharks and in turn generate some offense of their own.

Having success on their first PP of the game, Calgary would go back to work when the Sharks Matt Irwin would go to the box because, well his name is "Irwin". However, the only thing they were successful at this time was planting a Cammalleri shot in the back of Adan Burrish’s knee. They would have scored if Wingles went to the box instead.

No one scored in the second, so we’re gonna chalk that up to a win for your Calgary Flames. At this point most fans should have been changing over to the Hitmen game (a game they won 2-1 BTW), but yet Calgary managed to protect the one goal lead through 40 minutes. In fact they even managed to out-chance the Sharks.

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What fate awaited the boys in the third?

Well at 2:40, just after the Flames had killed a penalty to Alex Tanguay, Logan "Rat Face" Couture would center a pass to Dan Boyle. Danny boy, left all alone in the slot, had the time and put the shot passed Miikka Kiprusoff.

Where is your head at right now Flames Nation? Relief? Or.. "Here we go again"?

The goal really seemed to snap the Sharks back into reality as thy started to tilt the ice in their favour, a lot.

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The Thornton line dominated every line that was sent out to face them and San Jose began to push Calgary back. Again forcing Kipper to stave off wave after wave of legit chances. Over the next 15 minutes the Sharks would out-shoot Calgary 10-2, ringing numerous shots off the post like they were ringing the dinner bell.

With two minutes left in the game "Lil Joe" Pavelski would answer that bell, taking the pass from Brent Burns and wiring it passed Kipper and putting the Sharks out in front 2-1.

Calgary would press back, almost tying the game up on a few 10 bell chances in the dying moments of the game, but would fall just short.

Why the Flames Lost…

If I could somehow embed a comment section here, I would.

Everyone is going to have their own ideas as to why the Flames lost tonight. Some will say this is what life is like without  Iggy, JBo and Blake Comeau (Yes that Blake Comeau) in the lineup. Some would even say that Calgary would have lost even with those guys in tonight. In the end the choice is yours.

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What I will say is that this is a team that is in a perpetual state of change, and most likely, confusion. San Jose is a team that is determined and playing some really good hockey right now, especially in their own barn.

So let’s go with this. The Flames lost tonight because they were supposed to and for 45 minutes, Kipper made them forget that with his play.

Red Warrior/Red Menace

I liked BoL’s idea after the game against the Oilers, so I’m keeping it for this game.

Tonight both honours go to Miikka Kiprusoff!

He gets the nod for Warrior for obvious reasons. The Flames were dominated in almost every facet of the game tonight, except the scoreboard; and that was only because of Kipper.

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He stopped 39 of 41 shots and many of them were legit and dangerous scoring chances. The Flames were under water for most of the game, but when San Jose started to hold them down so they couldn’t catch their breath, Kipper was there to bail them out… again and again.

Honourable mention to Backlund tonight. He scored a beauty off a nice effort and was his usual self creating opportunity for his team when others were getting run over like road-kill.

Kipper also gets the nod for the "Menace" tonight because like I said in the rundown, he made this team forget for 45 minutes that were supposed to lose this game.

Many people are fully invested now in the fact that the lower the Flames finish in the standings, the more beneficial it is for them in the draft and the long run of this rebuild re-tool restructure… whatever it is that the future holds for them. Kipper going all Miikka-like now isn’t going to help that cause, making him even more disliked by a fanbase eager to point fingers.

Scoring Chances

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Sharks in Red – Flames in Blue

Final Thoughts

Tonight has to be seen as a win/win for the Flames; at least in my eyes it was.

I never like to see my team lose, I hate it in fact, but I have also come to terms with what the end game looks like for this season; and what the potential reward for all the pain is.

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The loss tonight, coupled with the Avs getting the loser point in OT against the Wings, moves Calgary closer to that end prize and as twisted or as undesireable as that may seem, it’s ultimately a good thing now.

What I think is the bigger win tonight is that the team showed effort. They cared about playing the game, even if they knew what the outcome was probably going to be.

Their last game against the Oilers was nothing short of an embarrasment; for them, for management, ownership and for us as fans. Tonight was a different story. They still lost, but it was to a better team and they didn’t embarass themselves.

They may yet give us hope.

Next up is a date with the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night in VanCity. It’s the late game on CBC (8:00 pm) or if you hate Jim Hughson’s voice as much as I do… tune into the Fan 960.

This is a big test for Calgary. It’s another game along the same lines as the Oilers game. Get blown out in this one by another despised rival and the fans are going to lose it. They may want to see more ticks in the loss column now, but by no means do any Flames fans wanna see their show get run by the Canucks.

See ya tomorrow night!

  • Truculence

    Jaybo is going to keep thriving in St. Louis! While Flames fan are going to keep wondering why Feaster ended up paying Wideman 5.25million who is pass the apex of career!

  • Scoring_guru

    Would Kipper stay on another year to tutor Ramo and share the workload next year and possibly play less games to give Ramo a chance since he loves this team and city so much?

    • supra steve

      If Kipper wants to return, fine, but why do people think Ramo needs a tutor, and why would Kipper be a good one? Was Gretzky a good tutor in Phoenix?

      Ramo will be 27yr old. He has played in the NHL and more recently has been a very good starter in the KHL. Kipper has never made another goaltender better, that I know of. Backups come to Calgary to wither and die behind Kipper. Kipper is cheap next year, but his cap hit is still $5.83mil. That cap $ could probably be better spent elsewhere. Malarchuk is there to coach, and a veteran backup can be found, cheap. For all I know Joey MacDonald could be the best tutor money can buy. Like they say: those who can, DO. Those who can’t, TEACH.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        I’m very suspicious that Ramo will not be coming to the NHL, and I’m certain Kippruspff will retire. The Flames braintrust are desperate to get a goaltender for next season, they asked for Subban and Elliot Freidman said they were in on Bishop as well.

        • supra steve

          “I’m very suspicious that Ramo will not be coming to the NHL”

          Wouldn’t be a shock if Ramo didn’t come over, but I hope he does. He has said he is coming, but we’ll see. If not, goaltenders will be available this summer. How good a tender does a retooling team need anyways? Then in a few years, hopefully one of the young guys in the system is ready.

          • SmellOfVictory

            I’d argue that a good tender is important, if only for morale. It’s easier to forget that you’re being outplayed by better teams if you have someone who can stonewall them on occasion.

          • supra steve

            Agreed, but in looking back at the last 3 seasons the organization may have been better off without a world class tender, in terms of draft position.

            Kevin R

            If Barkov is the real deal, perhaps Flames consider trading down a slot or 2 at the draft if the opportunity presents (only if they are unable to trade up to get him with a second top five pick, and I doubt that they are able to do that).

            The likelihood of each team gaining the right to the first pick is as follows:

            Team 1 25.0%

            Team 2 18.8%

            Team 3 14.2%

            Team 4 10.7%

            Team 5 8.1%

            Team 6 6.2%

            Team 7 4.7%

            Team 8 3.6%

            Team 9 2.7%

            Team 10 2.1%

            Team 11 1.5%

            Team 12 1.1%

            Team 13 0.8%

            Team 14 0.5%

            No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Lottery. The remaining first round drafting positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

          • supra steve

            So then lets say hypothetically we finish 29th & lose the lottery & draft 3rd. Wonder how hard it would be to get that 4th over all. I wonder, would the league sanction us if we started with 6 skaters & no goalie against St Louis & Colorado? šŸ™‚

          • supra steve

            What we need, is to win that lotto. Then we get Brian Burke to play a little shell game for us and we end up with the 3rd and 4th overall selection having given up our 3 firsts. We then get Drouin and Barkov. How he does that, I have no idea, but he did something similar in ’99 to get the Sedin sisters.

            I know it is not realistic, please don’t clobber me for this post.

          • Vintage Flame

            No worries buddy, I considered Burke as an option if we wanted something done at the GM position prior to the draft. He’s available, he’s worked on rebuilds & overall, aside from the Kessel deal, his trades have been solid. Has respect from other GM’s and more vision than people give him credit for. But I dont see Edwards pulling the trigger on Feasty that quick, so all we can do is hope, pray Feaster does good things at the draft & over the summer. If I see stupid Babchuk/Sarich with NTC signings then the gloves come off.

          • piscera.infada

            I understand that was sarcasm. But there’s no way Sarich or Babchuk will have NTC or NMC, if they’re even back (which is unlikely).

            As for Burke, I doubt it very much. Unfortunately, his biggest weakness is that he comes off extremely condescending to the media.

            Fleury for GM! Hah!

          • Captain Ron

            It was kinda more than sarcasm. Babchuk did have a no trade clause & yes he is done at the end of this year. Good luck & God bless. Sarich my friend was given a 2 year deal last summer at 2.0 mill per & yes he does have a NTC. Yes he will be back next year. If I see anymore contracts given on players that had no business getting a NTC let alone the contract Sarich got, I lose it. No I think we get Theo in to be the shoot out coach:)

          • supra steve

            i agree. If Ramo doesnt sign a contract by August, I would consider asking Kipper if we amnesty buy him out, the actual buyout $$ is under a million(I believe 60% of the value) then see if he wants to play, resign him for 2 more years at 2.5mill per, which is actually 3.0mill with the buyout & keep him. I really dont want to see the greatest Flame goaltender in history of the franchise go out like this. We just assure him he wont play more than 45 games per year. Watching him last night told me this guy could come back next year & win games for a young learning new wave of players & keep them in tight games that definitely contribute to their learning curves. Imagine if the Oilers had Kipper(good) goaltending this year or the year before. Then again, if he truly is mentally done with the game, this is a mute point. He is still good guys, give him some time to digest what happened this year & then let him decide if his hockey career is done. He seems to love Calgary & doesnt care if the team is rebuilding. Cant ask for more than that.

          • Captain Ron

            I like your thinking here. But I would also be happy with both Ramo and Kipper here with an agreement that they each get half the starts in the first year no matter what. Then if they made they playoffs the guy with the best stats gets the starts. Then if/when he falters they switch. (injuries not taken into consideration)
            For a guy just coming back to the NHL and a guy who is nearing the end of his carreer this would seem to be a pretty fair and attractive deal. If Kipper isn’t performing well in the second year he could be used as a backup only. Or vice versa.

            Kipper on the buyout and resign deal that you suggest would be acceptable.

            Ramo on a two or three year deal of similar value.

            If these two play up to expectations they would allow the team to be competitive on most nights.

            The team needs help mostly at center and on D. With one real top line center, two more quality NHL D men, and those two in goal playing up to expectations they would become competitive pretty quickly.

            The top line center probably has to be drafted unless the two late firsts can bring something that fills that spot while the high pick (hopefully a center like Barkov or McKinnon) gets an opportunity to develop at a more desirable pace.

            Then shore up the D best as possible from the available pool with two or three new guys until some our own prospects make the team.

            Improve the wings whenever possible with some bigger talent when the opportunities present themselves. This looks to be especially important with the new teams we will be matched up against in our own division.

            Getting back to the playoffs will depend largely on their ability to improve play in their own end of he rink on a consistent basis, and NHL average goaltending at the very least.

            Realistic thinking is probably two years minimum, but probably three minimum to back to the dance.

    • Vintage Flame

      If Ramo needs a tutor at this point in his career, it will be a very short lived career in the NHL.

      I thnk when Ramo said he would love the chance to play under Kipperf for a year, he was sort of paying lip service. He left Montreal because he didn’t want to play behind Carey Price.

      By saying he’d play a year or so under Kipper, I think he’s saying, “Look, I’ll come but I want to be the #1 guy sooner than later.”

  • Franko J

    I sure hope Bouwmeester helps his own cause. Thus in turn will help the Flames. There is no disputing he will do better in St. Louis. Less pressure to perform than Calgary and playing with far better and more skilled defenseman on the Blues.

    Last night was a little bit vintage from Kiprusoff. As usual he made some really good saves to keep the game close. Maybe it was the fact he was playing perhaps his last time in SJ and his last hurrah.

    If last night was the beginning for auditions for next season along with deserved ice time this season I have to say I was impressed with Brodie and Backlund. I thought as the game went along they played stronger at both ends of the ice.

    As for players who should be shuffled off this team I would say Tanguay. It seems he almost doesn’t fit in with this team anymore. Every shift seems a struggle for him right now. If the Flames can get a pick or prospect at the draft they should be seriously looking at moving him.

    • supra steve

      If I were GM on another team, I would look at Tanguay’s performances when not playing with Iggy over the last 5 years. From these I would conclude that he is washed up, not worth his cap hit. And 3 more years, are you kidding me?

      On top of that, there are going to be all kinds of overpriced players for sale, so marginal player value is in the toilet.

      We are stuck with Tanguay, and he is stuck with us. Unless the Flames buy him out, or he rejoins Iggy somewhere.

  • Chris Fairfield

    Had a scary thought, its been weird how Oilers /Flames have gone down similar paths. Flames went on some miracle/magical run in 2004 & Oilers did that the very next year(after lockout) both lost in game 7. Now that the Oilers have bottomed out with 3#1’s in a row, how ironic if the Flames get one this year, suck bad enough next year & we actually do better the following year but miss the playoffs & we totally suck out & win the lottery for our 3rd #1 in row. How weird would that be?

    Then reality set in & we’ll be lucky to get a top 5 pick even if we did finish last. How does that work, is the order determined by straight lottery picking or is there a a lottery for only the #1 pick & then the worst we can move down is 1 place. If it the later, then we probably have a 3-4th pick pretty sewed up. Now if I assume the 1st 3 are going to be Jones-Mackinnon-Drouin in any order, boy, I saw a video on that Barkov. 6’3″, 205lb centre with hands. We need to get this guy. Feaster needs to get two top 5 picks at whatever cost.

    Finally VF, perhaps someone could play Weisbrod & Conroy & lets scout who some of these post apex cap hammered teams are, where they potentially could be drafting(curious if any of them may not make playoffs) & see what kind os scenarios we could look at. Would be fun & interesting & fill our time waiting for our Stanley Cup(the draft). Oh god, I sound like my Oiler fan buddies.