Post Game: I, Uh, Well…Hmmm



Well, chalk one up to you guys on Team Tank Mode. Your Calgary Flames (they are still YOUR Calgary Flames, are they not?) outclassed and outplayed their division rivals tonight, had a strong enough game to win, lost., and now sit one step closer to the NHL’s consolation prize in MacKiDrouJoneKov, or whatever other backwards high school kid Jay Feaster decides to draft that no one’s ever heard of.

Indeed, it was not the Flames night. A 5-2 loss to the Canucks might be more or less the way people expected this game to end, but that line really flatters the Canucks and makes the Flames look like the fat kid at the dance who couldn’t score a date, but that’s not how this one played out in reality.

In the same vein, the Flames, now with 11 games left in the season, are riding it out down the stretch and playing for something meaningful, just not in the way you’d be hoping they would. The most we can hope for now is for the team to play compeitive, watchable hockey, where the results dictate the Flames get something worthwhile out of it.

Which is exactly what happened tonight, and it was infuriating. A 5-2 loss, and all the Flames have to show for it is a shot at a Top 3 pick and a broken Matt Stajan.

Run It Down

 Van City is abuzz these days with the news that the Canucks might potentially be retiring Pavel Bure’s jersey, FINALLY, and in fitting fashion, the Orca played this game like they were in cahoots with Bure’s ties to the Russian Mob and throwing the game for a quick score.

That was a rather roundabout analogy, no?

Regardless, the Flames and their half a roster looked like the team that was attempting to win the division tonight, and even while being the squad playing the last half of a back to back for once, the Canucks were not able to come in and win this game through sheer will like they seemed to think they could.

Which, of course, happened anyway.

Cory Schneider happened big time in this game, and was very much a key factor in the win for the Canucks, making some timely saves off the likes of the Cervenkas and Cammalleris of the world when they balance of the game was very much still in question. The Canucks’ "Don’t Call Me Ginger" and number one incumbent made 36 saves in this one, and even the goal he surrendered to Alex Tanguay in the third came when the folks were all but adding the two points to the Canucks on the standings page.

The Flames could have had this game wrapped up in the first if not for a bit better puck luck and some frustratingly common Vancouver opportunism, as the Flaming C outshot the Canucks 15-8 in the first period, outchanced them 12-2, and….trailed 2-1. Vancouver opened the score 34 seconds in and Calgary could have packed it all in from there, but the fans were treated to a few scraps and the Flames pulling themselves up by the skatestraps as they went along. And Dennis Wideman scored, so everyone get happy!

It was more of the same in the second, as the granola munchin’ hippies from the West Coast padded their lead by adding 2 more goals on what some would say questionable goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff, himself playing in back to back games despite being 35 years old and also being 35 years old. I wouldn’t blame him myself, but hey, at this stage in the season and his career, it’s all kind of moot anyway – they both put a fork in it weeks ago.

Chances were even at 5 in the second, and with the Canucks outshooting Calgary 10-9 and the Sedins almost assuredly cheating somehow, the Flames found themselves down 4-1 going into the third.

The third period began and the game was over, but that didn’t stop Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks’ resident cymbal bangin’ monkey, from taking a needless, late, and deliberate elbow to the head of Flames All World Superstar Matty Franchise Stajan. Bieksa only got 2 minutes on the play like he was Gunner Stahl, but Stajan was all Gumby’d after, and it just did not look good. SO GOOD WORK ON THAT ONE BIEKSA, I’m sure you’ll get the proper amount of discipline meted out to you for haha just kidding, Brendan Shanahan.

The chances in the third were 9-1 Flames, as they dominated the period, but like you might have guessed, that ONE Canucks chance? Yeah, they scored. Story of the game right there.

Reinhart of The Game

Though there was stiff competition from Tim Hunter’s 21 year old son, who may or may not even exist, Reinhart of the Game went to rookie Max Reinhart, making his Flames and NHL debut tonight in absence of real hockey players currently available to the Flames (unless you count like Sven and Jones and whatever)

Paul’s son played over 16 minutes in his big league deflowering, and that’s not bad when you think about it. He had 3 shots on goal and rightfully played more minutes than McGrattan, Begin and the bunch, and filled in decently enough in what I guess is probably Blake Comeau’s roster spot.

Reinhart’s continued spot on the team remains tenuous, because the Abbotsford Heat have been eliminated from the playoffs, and Calgary is 5 or 6 losses away from the same fate, meaning a lot of AHLers are about to start getting a lot of looks from Flames brass as the season wanes down, just to see who’s worth a shot on and who should be cut loose but won’t because who are the Flames going to trade for when they already got their "big get" in Mike Testwuide.

The End

There’s 11 games left, friends, this pain will all be over soon. Have you guys picked a playoff team to cheer for yet? I’m going with Columbus, because after all those years of watching him toil in a Flames jersey, it sure would be nice to see Blake Comeau win a Stanley Cup, and he’s on the powerhouse squad to get it done.

(Hopefully Tim Erixon somehow gets cut before the playoffs start. I was hoping he was involved in a trade for Alex Ovechkin on Deadline Day)

The good news is the Oilers still look like they suck, and if they miss the playoffs, the Flames rebuild is automatically better than the Oilers one, though I have no idea how. But that’s something to look out for.

The Flames are back at it on Monday, traveling to Denver to take on those snowfooted sasquatch bastard Avalanche, and the implications for that one and how they relate to the number one overall pick make me weepy knowing that it’s come to this. But hey, buck up, tank fans, the game’s on the road, and we all know what that means.

And all your Raw Data, Nerds

And yet somehow Calgary lost this game. I need a shower.

  • I remember the last time Calgary took a ‘stud defenceman’ with their 1st rounder. Might know him, his name is Dion Phaneuf. Oh, he’s great, has a huge shot + scores goals, big hits, physical. And look where he is now.

    As others said, unless Seth Jones looks like the next coming of Chris Pronger or Nicklas Lidstrom, do not draft him first. Flames need a C, bad. Draft Mackinnon or Barkov. Trade everything else to take Jones (2 firsts + Gio, 2 firsts + Granlund, whatever it takes to move up). I hear the Florida Panthers could use anything you offer them.

  • Captain Ron

    This team needs a No 1 center in the worst way. If they have an opportunity to take one of MacInnon or Barkov and don’t do it I just might lose my mind. This is about the only way to get a first line center. Teams that have them almost never give them up. Stud D on the other hand do tend to become available from time to time.Jones is for sure a future star and a stud on D and reaaaaaaally tempting but the only way they should be taking him is if they have one of those two centers first. A big future star center, and a star goaltender is a must have ingredient for a cup contending team.

    The only other way they should take Jones first is if they have otherwise acquired a true no 1 center before they take that top 3 pick.

    • Rockmorton65

      I disagree on a few points. Good teams DO NOT trade stud d men. St. Louis screwed up and got impatient with Pronger. The Oilers traded him because he demanded out (ha). Lidstrom never moved. Doughty well never move. They don’t move….. Trading stud D men is as rare as Cs and stud D are even more rare to start with.

      Also, I think we can use our lottery pick NEXT year to get a C. Since D take longer to develop, I like starting things off with the stud D. I realize everyone hates the idea of lotto next year, but its realistic unless Feaster blows 30 mil in cap space on 2nd tier crappy UFAs and locking ourselves back into the 8-10 spot in the west for the next 15 years. Honestly how can this team be better next year? A full season without Iggy & Jbo & Kipper!? We will add 1 18 year old, skinny punk kid who will hopefully be amazing for 10+ years, but next year he WILL struggle. Look at Edmonton. Taylor Hall is only now (3rd year) becoming a star. RNH is struggling… Yakupov is a disaster in his own end. They all show flashes of brilliance and I have no idea they will be stars likely very soon. But expecting our lotto pick this year to turn things around in any meaningful way is a pipe dream.

      The bottom line is that we need a stud D (this year) AND a stud C (next year). THEN we can start to worry about shaping this into a real team.

      Baertschi + Backlund + Seth Jones + next years stud C = something to talk about.

      • Captain Ron

        Stud d-men do become available fairly often. Ryan Suter (ufa), JBOUW (trade and basically free agent), Dan Boyle (trade), Pronger (trade to Philly), Dion Phaneuf (trade), Chara (ufa). Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

        I don’t think the Flames can afford to pass up an elite centreman in the draft. It’s been centuries since the team had an elite #1 centreman, and they need one to play with Baertschi and Gaudreau in a few years (assuming those guys pan out).

        The Flames have a bit more depth in their D prospects than they do in their forward prospects. Kulak will dominate next year in the WHL as the Giants will get better simply through development/guys getting older. Culkin seems just okay to me, but Seiloff has definetly impressed this year.

        Flames should take Mackinnon this year, IMO. If they get the chance lol :). Feaster will probably deal that pick for some kid with Owski in his name.

      • Captain Ron

        Like Roberto said: Boyle, Gonchar, Suter, Pronger, Phaneuf, Chara, even Niedermeyer, JBO in his prime and I may be forgetting some. These are all D men that moved in the last ten years. At one time even Regehr was probably close to being on that list.

        Now lets think of No 1 centers besides Joe Thornton or (Brad Richards that marginally qualifies here) who have moved in that time. There may be one or two more but I can’t think of them at the moment.

        When do you think that any one of: Toews, Gezlaf, Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Spezza, Benn, Datsyuk, Kopitar, H Sedin, Backes, “Bergeron, Krejci, Seguin,” (how would you like that trio on our roster?) Huberdeau, Tavares, Stamkos, N Backstrom will be available? My guess is either never or when they are Iggy’s age and become expensive rental players.

        The facts don’t support your point of view.

        “But expecting our lotto pick this year to turn things around in any meaningful way is a pipe dream.”

        What time frame are you referring to here? Your leaving a lot to the imagination. This is no pipe dream. I fully expect our lotto pick to be a significant part in helping to accomplish this at some point in the next 3-5 years. Especially if he is a true no 1 center. See Tavares, John, for an example and ask your self how much he would help the Flames cause right now and in the future.

        “The bottom line is that we need a stud D (this year) AND a stud C (next year). THEN we can start to worry about shaping this into a real team.”

        You have your D’s and C’s mixed up here. When you get a chance to draft a first line center like one of the guys I have previously mentioned you take them without hesitation. I also think you are taking a big risk in assuming we will be a lottery team next year for a couple of reasons. First if the goal tending improves to league average which is reasonable to assume, they will win more games on that alone. Secondly next years draft won’t be as good as this years and why take that chance that we finish last again to even be in the conversation for that number 1 or 2 pick. Don’t forget they will have lots of cash to spend and you can expect them to do so on whatever the best available players are to improve the team now. Maybe not what I would do but they have said that will be part of the plan.

        I have seen this team play with both excellent goaltending and defence off and on for years and where did it get them? The missing piece is always that no 1 center and all the Olli Jokinens that are available don’t cut it anymore. We can buy or trade for defence and goaltending. Number one centers not so much.

  • Rockmorton65

    I’d also like to see Kipper watching from the press box for the remainder of the season and have Taylor get the majority of the starts.

    lets see if he has what it takes to stick.

  • Franko J

    Logical choices would be to draft Mackinnon or Barkov at the # 3 spot.

    However, my sleeper pick is Sean Monahan. I really like the combination of size, skill, grit, and leadership qualities he posses. Unfortunately I don’t think Flames management will want to move back in the draft to the six or seven selection.

    Probably in the next few weeks there will be plenty of threads associated with the draft and FN will have a number of hot button topics surrounding who the Flames should draft. For the time being while the team on the ice struggles, I am very excited to see the season end. In the meantime, I want to see if the young guys play. I want to see what they can do. Sometimes all they need is the opportunity to showcase their talents and drive.

  • Franko J

    @ Roberto

    How about Johnson for Shattenkirk? Another # 1 selection overall traded. The # 3 selection in 2006 draft Jonathan Toews. Unless there is a major trade or falling out I can’t see him going anywhere soon.

    I just have a feeling that the Flames are destined for an elite center in this years draft. Too long this team has suffered without an elite # 1 center. Besides in a season where the Flames traded perhaps their best and franchise player, I think it is pretty ironic that they will finally draft the elusive center that they craved to play with Iginla for so long. Funny how the “Hockey Gods” do work. Hopefully this draft the Flames will be most fortunate.

  • s_yav14

    I totally agree with Captain Ron, we MUST get the stud centre in the draft. We have not had any strength down the middle for so many years it is ridiculous. Every Stanley Cup winner for many years has had big time depth and strength down the middle. You can look it up. This is the Flames prime opportunity to get 2 or more centres which would solidify this extremely important area in the long term. Long term in goal looks great if even one of our 8 work out. Defense is pretty scary though. Oh well work on one thing at a time until you get the plan moving forward, they cannot do it all at once.

  • Captain Ron

    the flames still have to rid themselves of the toxic element, personally i can’t wait for kippa to bail. in a sense he has already quit and trust me nothing erodes a team quicker than guys who quit. tangs,cammy and kippa are not good influences for any youth movement.

    with little out there for ufa aquistions this summer, flyin j and company need to drop the we are smarter than you attitude and carefully examine team rosters, there may be a couple of good pieces that can be acquired through screwd dealing.

    barkov,looks to be a surefire bet.

  • RexLibris

    The Flames would be best served by drafting either McKinnon or Barkov this year and then letting them play another season in their respective leagues.

    The following season they could then look at drafting another forward with what should be a top five pick.


    Seth Jones is widely considered to be the dominant player in this draft year (not best, just dominant which is partially a result of size and early-developing skill relative to his peers), he plays for Portland which has of late been a Flames scouting haunt, and could play in the NHL next season.

    These factors listed above mean that his selection by the Flames would not surprise me in the least based on Feaster and Edwards’ proclaimed goal of getting right back into the playoff mix next season.

    Speaking of which, when Edwards made that comment, or when Feaster was given it, did either consider the new Conference standings for next season? Did either one look at the team they would need to beat out to even make the playoffs?

    They will need to be better than three of the following seven teams – Phoenix, L.A., Vancouver, Edmonton, San Jose, and Anaheim – and then beat out the remaining teams in the Western conference in order to be a wild card team, a list that will likely include Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, and Winnipeg.

    The chances alone with a league-average roster are slim, trying to do it after selling off core assets and following an off-season with a shallow UFA pool and likely limited trade options is virtually impossible. Feaster would need to pull off next year a retooling even luckier than what Tallon did last season, and get some help from underperforming competitors, to have a chance.

    • Captain Ron

      I don’t think it’s THAT unlikely that they couldn’t beat 3 of PHX, EDM, SJ, ANA. Anaheim is being buoyed by goaltending, pheonix is pretty average, san jose is not on the upswing, and edmonton… well maybe next year will be the year they make the jump?

    • Rockmorton65

      I think Barkov may have a chance to make the jump to the big leagues as well. Chances are we are drafting 3rd or 4th & I dont think that’s such a bad thing as it makes your tough decision for you. Also, I get the slim UFA’s & would agree that I wouldnt throw big money around mid level UFA’s. However I dont understand what you mean by limited trade opportunities. I disagree. This schwack of cap space where if Kippers 5.8 comes off, as well as Babchuks 2.5, & Cerevenka’s cap hit of 3.775 will either be reduced by at least 2.5mill or gone completely. Add 2.5 each fro Backlund & Brodie resignings & I think we have like 26 million cap space to play with. I guess how the trades are made & what is targeted, gives us a lot of trade options that may or may not improve our team next year. Quite frankly, if we just improve in the type of goaltending we have received this year, I have a hard time believing we will be a bottom 5 team next year(note I am not saying we will be a playoff team either)

      • supra steve

        Agree 100%. Should be many trade options this summer for Flames. There are teams that need to shed cap dollars and the Flames are in a good position to “help” while strengthening the team and hopefully adding futures (in the form of several draft picks and or prospects).

        If the trade option doesn’t come about, then there will be several buy out players out there for cheap. Example:Brian Campbell, I wouldn’t want him at $7.1mil, but if he were bought out by FLA and CGY could sign him for $2mil…well that may be worth looking at.

      • Captain Ron

        Your argument is the same as mine for why we may not even be a bottom five team next year. Especially if the goaltending improves to where it should be. No we are probably not making the playoffs but we likely won’t be as bad as we were this year either.

        Between the three top picks and the available cap money they should have ample opportunity to improve the team.

        • Captain Ron

          & Suba too: This is why I still have a bit of hope & excitement for this Draft & Summer. Because of that very fact. Yes, the trade returns were underwhelming, but no one considers the cap space as part of the return & Feaster still has a chance to look like a rockstar with effective returns of our 3 pillar in Iggy, Bo & Kipper. Now if Kipper has a change of heart & wants to play 2-3 more years in Calgary, here is what I do: Amnesty buyout of the remaining 1.5 mill & resign to a 2-3 year deal at a cap hit of 2.0 mill per. But only if Kipper gets excited about being here for a rebuild. If he still wants to play, but not here, trade him this summer to whoever, otherwise if I were Feaster, I would expect Kipper to retire this summer & the cap hit is gone.

          • Captain Ron

            Yup that’s a good way to handle Kipper. My biggest fear with him is that he may be done as a quality NHL level goalie on a consistent basis. Don’t know if I believe it just yet but I am concerned about it. Keeping him for 2 or 3 more years is not without a good deal of risk though.