Post-Game: Coyotes Ugly


The battle of #alberta tonight! #hnic #yyc #flames #oilers

pic via Chris Goulet

With just nine games left in the 2013 season, Friday night seemed like a prime time for the Calgary Flames to continue their trudge towards the draft lottery. Missing a handful of regulars and featuring a handful of AHL call-ups, including uber-prospects Max “Power” Reinhart and Sven Baertschi, the Flames are presently high on energy but a bit shy on NHL experience.

So the playoff-hungry Phoenix Coyotes would just run over this rag-tag bunch of local toughs, right?

Not quite.


The “Death for Seth” crowd was probably in a good mood early, as Antoine Vermette put the Coyotes up 1-0 on just the second shot fired at Joey MacDonald in the first period. The Flames buzzed around quite a bit in the first period and generally looked full of piss and vinegar, but just couldn’t bury any of their chances.

That changed late in the period, as the Flames played ping-pong in the offensive zone and Mikael Backlund bonked the puck in off of Jiri Hudler’s skates. One lengthy video review later and the game was tied at one apiece heading to the intermission.

The second period was very low-event, but featured one event that was rather cringe-worthy – even for the Flames fans that hope that the team tanks the rest of their games. Winger Alex Tanguay went down awkwardly in the corner, with his right knee bending rather awkwardly underneath a falling defender. Tanguay left the game and did not return, with the Flames officially noting that he’ll be re-examined tomorrow morning. Paging Blair Jones, again?

With a short bench, the Flames played a smart perimeter game for the remainder of the second period. They managed to draw a Phoenix penalty and capitalized late in the period. T.J. Brodie’s slapper trickled through Mike Smith and was poked home by Lee Stempniak, putting the club up 2-1.

The third period was played mostly on the perimeter, much like the second. The Coyotes seemed to realize late in the proceedings that they had to tie the game and they poured on the pressure. They finally broke through after penning the Flames in their own zone for awhile. After failing to clear the zone several times, Calgary blew their lead via a Keith Yandle one-timer.

And so we went to over-time.

The desperation that the ‘Yotes closed out the third with appeared to evaporate rather early in the extra frame. The Flames out-shot Phoenix 3-2 in overtime and generated some good scoring opportunities. The final one, courtesy a point shot by Mark Giordano, went in. The Flames captured just their second overtime win of the year by a 3-2 score.


The Coyotes weren’t terribly engaged until late in the third and were largely kept to the perimeter by the Calgary Flames defense. In addition, Calgary’s youngsters kept the team moving forward with their energy. To be truthful, if the Flames had less horrible puck-luck, they probably would’ve beaten the Coyotes by a wider margin.


Mikael Backlund had two assists on the night, but I’ve gotta give this to Max “Power” Reinhart. Reinhart played 20 minutes in just his fourth NHL game, had oodles of scoring chances, including 3 shots on Mike Smith, as well as two hits. He continues to be a very positive contributor to the Calgary Flames line-up and it’ll be very interesting to see how he improves between now and the beginning of next season.


Flames in Red:



The Flames managed to put together a good, but not great, 60 minutes of hockey and beat a team above them in the standings. In addition to being a moral victory, it was an actual, honest-to-gosh, hockey victory. And not only that, they managed to get a win without moving up in the NHL’s standings and lessening their chances at a high draft choice in June.

Draft fans, get worried if they do the same thing against the Oilers tomorrow night. But for now, bask in the glory of a win.


    • ChinookArchYYC

      MacDonald might just be the defacto #1 after Kipprusoff is gone, next year. That is unless they pick up Darkwing Duck after theFlyers potentially buy him out.

      The aflame obviously misunderstood the memo. Lose to the Yotes and win against the Oilers.

  • Frustrating game in getting two points, but there were a lot of positives..

    Brodie and Backlund look more like a top pairing dman and a legit 2nd line center every game. Sven and Horak are showing more offensive potential and confidence more and more each outing also. And Reinhart is sound positionally and he’s getting chances because of it.

    I’m excited for next year to add another 2-3 youngsters also.

    One question for everyone that has me very curious. Ortio, Broissot,and Berra are all signed as goalies. Given that info, what 4 goalies do you expect to be here and in abbotsford next yr?

    McDonald seems like a good insurance policy, and Ramo should be coming over, how many goalies do we ideally want under contract? I can’t help but think there is no room for Irving and Taylor anymore…


  • seve927

    Sven is looking improved and I think there is hope that next year he could stick. He still looks far too easy to knock off the puck, but that is certainly correctable. Once he gets past that, he should be able to start creating a lot more chances. I really like what I’ve seen from Max so far. I can’t really come up with a good explanation why, but it seems like all the kids are playing much better under these circumstances. Is it less pressure? Or are they thriving under increased responsibility? Are other teams playing them that much softer? It will be interesting to see if their development continues to improve at this pace into the start of next season. I’m already looking forward to development camp, and seeing the progress of guys like Jankowski, Kulak, Deblouw and getting a look at however many new guys actually get drafted.

    The most interesting thing about this summer will be how those extra first round picks are used. It may be that with a tightening cap, some players in the prime range on some overstocked teams may out of necessity be available. Can St. Louis and LA sign all their RFA’s under the cap, or under their desired spending limit? As was shown in Rex’s piece, the first round picks are far from being a sure thing – if we could get a RFA Dman out of one of those teams for a first and a prospect, it would be well worth it. It would be nice to get a 23 or 24 year old top 4 guy that will probably hit his peak about the same time as Brodie, Baertschi, Gaudreau and this years top 5 (?hopefully) pick.

    I have a bad feeling about the final few games. It’s still quite possible we work our way out of the bottom 5. Kipper has to come through with his worst effort of the season tonight! I still wouldn’t be surprised to see us finish ahead of the Oil. Probably for the only time in my life, I’m saying “Good luck Oilers!” and meaning it. Hope you score on a few bouncers from center, and we pound the posts, outshooting you 50-10, but losing 5-3. The kids put up a few numbers and we move up the draft list.

    • Brent G.

      There is no way we should be offering a 1st and a prospect for a decent 24-27 year old. We are rebuilding. We need to accumulate. Cap strapped teams can give us a salary dump and a higher 1st for a lower 1st. Example. Philly gives us Mezeros and their 1st for the Stl or Pitt 1st type of thing. I want to see this team draft and develop.

      • seve927

        The point is that if you can get a guaranteed very good nhler at the price of a prospect that’s got a 10-20 percent chance of ever playing in the NHL, don’t think twice. Take another look at previous draft boards. The vast majority of draft picks don’t work out. No way I would trade away our top 5 pick, but the others I think should definitely be in play. 27 is a little old for what I’d want to acquire, but defencemen like Muzzin, Voynov, Martinez, Cole, Shattenkirk I would say are all prime targets. They have not even entered their prime. If you get a top center in this years draft, his peak is probably going to be reached in the next five years. Ideally you would have top level defencemen in place. This year could be unique in history with teams having to shed high quality players with the falling cap. The normal draft and development guidelines I don’t believe apply right now. And I have no idea if any of these guys will actually be available, maybe they swing trades to create the needed cap space, but it’s definitely something Feaster&Co has to be prepared to pursue.

        • loudogYYC

          Of those you list, Voyonov and Shattenkirk are both quite good but would cost too much for a rebuilding team. The others appear to be 4-6 def and are not worth compromising the rebuild which is going to take time and patience. The idea of going to get players from cap strapped teams is to underpay as much as possible to give them some financial flexibility.

  • Im not too worried about the Flames working their way out of the bottom 3. Their vets are dropping like flies and at some point the kids won’t be able to keep this up. Tanguay was having a rough stretch, but he’s substantially better than Aliu, who is replacing him tonight.

    Re: MadDonald…I assume the org will do realy work to shore up the goaltending position this off-season, meaning Mac won’t be back.

    • Aliu is the *worst*!

      I can’t see them going with Ramo and MacDonald next year, unless they want another top pick.

      Is Broissot too old to play junior anymore?

      If he is turning pro, I’d imagine you have to at least have him split time in Abby, maybe with Taylor. So that leaves Ramo and Berra (and maybe MacDonald) to fight for playing time – not really a group that exudes much confidence.

  • My guess is Ramo gets a shot at number 1 next year, after that, man.

    Brossoit probably gets a chance on the Heat next year, and I’ll bet Ortio stays in Finland. Berra, I figure, probably ends up being pretty inconsequential, and stays in Abbotsford AT BEST (I see him back in Switzerland sooner rather than later)

    I don’t see Mac coming back next year, nor Taylor, nor Barry Brust (which breaks my heart). There are some options on the free agent market this year (though I really DO NOT WANT Mike Smith). If they took a shot at Anton Khudobin, I suppose I’d be okay with that

  • I really see a similar route for Reinhart that Brodie took. Max is really impressing like Brodie did when he cracked the Flames opening lineup that year. I think next year Max will get a really good look & possibly sent back down for one last time & then back for good with the Flames. Many have his ceiling quite low at 3rd line centre, but many had Brodie’s ceiling at mayber a 3-4 dman. You just never know. I see ther making of our new top 9 already & this is getting fun to watch develop.

    • loudogYYC

      Nothing wrong with a 3rd line centre as a ceiling, every team needs a good one and he looks like he wants to own the position. Centre seems to be a tough position for young kids to play but Reinhart is handling it well so far.

      It’s tough not to get excited about a prospect like Max, let’s hope he’s for real.

  • seve927

    A 3rd line ceiling for a guy like Reinhart is nothing to sneeze at. He’s tracking as a great defensive specialist who doesn’t hurt his team offensively. Every team needs a guy like that, and he might make a heck of a shutdown combo with Arnold at some point.