FGD: Last Time for a Legend




Tonight, Martin Brodeur will make his last stop in Calgary as an NHLer at 7PM MT when his New Jersey Devils (0-1-3) take on the Flames (2-0-2).

The previous contest between the two underneath the Saddledome roof didn’t end well for Brodeur, as he allowed 3 goals on 4 shots en route to a pull 8 minutes into the first period. I thought that might’ve been the last time we saw Brodeur in Calgary, but then the Devils went to the Stanley Cup, and, well, now we’re here.

The Line-Up

Via Daily Faceoff:

  • Curtis Glencross – Ben Street – T.J. Galiardi
  • Sven Baertschi – Sean Monahan – Lee Stempniak
  • Lance Bouma – Mikael Backlund – Jiri Hudler
  • Tim Jackman – Joe Colborne – Brian McGrattan
  • Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
  • Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
  • Chris Butler – Shane O’Brien
  • Joey MacDonald

Ben Street is basically the opposite of Blair Jones, apparently. Street has been fine, but unless Glencross has somehow regressed to a 4th liner Hartley is playing him over his head. We’ll see how long that group lasts. Jones will sit in the press box tonight in favour of Tim Jackman who is a.) playing his first game of the season tonight and b.) better than Brian McGrattan. (Jones shares the latter characteristic with Jackman.)

The Flames don’t exactly have a first line, per se, but it’s a little weird to see Glencross off of it. Switch him with Bouma, possibly? At least that way you’d have two second lines instead of… whatever that is called up there. At least all of the guys are legit NHLers, though – that’s a big part of the reason why I don’t think the Flames will be as bad as everyone thinks. Unlike Edmonton in 09, the entire bottom half of the veteran roster wasn’t in the AHL last year.

Bob Hartley continues to go with Joey MacDonald, even though Karri Ramo is sitting on the bench and there continues to be no legitimate reason to not play him.  MacDonald has played in 3 games thus far and has an EVSV% that’s worse than replacement level, 1 quality start and 0 positional awareness. I just don’t get it.

Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie have been the defensive equivalent of the golden gun thus far, as they are destroying top competition by almost every available metric. At this point, the Flames have 3 legitimate top 3 defensemen and it’s hella fun to watch.

The Opponent 

Via Daily Faceoff:

  • Dainius Zubrus – Patrik Elias – Jaromir Jagr
  • Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
  • Rostislav Olesz – Travis Zajac – Damien Brunner
  • Jacob Josefson – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
  • Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
  • Andy Greene – Adam Larsson
  • Anton Volchenkov – Peter Harrold
  • Martin Brodeur

The forward lineup, at first glance, might seem a wee bit thin. That’s not shocking, as New Jersey has lost two in-their-prime first line wingers in two years. However, there’s actually a lot of quality there, despite how old the team is. They might have trouble in the next couple of seasons but right now they’re still solid. I expect them to be a playoff contender.

The defense is the same way: veteran talent that has defied father time and a couple of young guys. Adam Larsson is basically following the exact same career path as his countrymate, Victor Hedman, has. Both underrated, both playing good comp and doing well and both having a surprising amount of offensive upside. 

The Devils’ top line is 113 years old. To put that in perspective, that takes us back to 1900, when the Titanic was still 12 years away from being sunk and when CEO’s of companies were just starting to become the dictators they are today. Despite that, Elias and Jagr still remain effective #fancystats players and they’re not slouches in the counting department either.

Martin Brodeur’s recent struggles have been well-publicised, but his past effectiveness had given the Devils too much pause when it came to finding a replacement – until this summer. Cory Schneider may not play tonight, but he’s going to be a huge asset for the team in a year or two if they can keep it together. Brodeur, on the other hand, hasn’t really had a good season for 3 years now – but despite that he’s still one of the greatest of all time.

Sum It Up

The Devils, as a team, are pretty good at possessing the puck and controlling the pace of play on any given night. Unfortunately for them, the past few years they’ve also been marred by Martin Brodeur’s sub-par goaltending – much like the Flames in the late oughts and early tens.

Go Flames. Puck drop is at 7:07 on 960 AM and Sportsnet West.

  • beloch

    “They might like to watch Matlock in the afternoon, but they sure play well in the evening!”. (Re: The Jagr line)

    The best color isn’t coming from the color commentator tonight!

    Sweet feed from Baertschi and nice overall play by Monahan. Nice play and a nice goal!

  • everton fc

    Monahan stays. And he stays with Sven. Funny, but that line will be what brings Monahan and Sven along. As professionals.

    Didn’t see the game; how did Street look? Bouma?? And yes, Jackman?? Just curious.

    Amazing run we’re on. And yes, it’s a run.

    • beloch

      Bouma was solid for most of the game and fantastic in the third. Especially towards the end.

      Street was his typical self. Fully acceptable and mostly unremarkable. Jackman looked like he was playing his first game in a while (as he was)

      • everton fc

        Good news on Bouma. Like Bouma. Like Street, too. “Acceptable and mostly unremarkable” works. On a 4th line, of course.

        This might be Jackman’s swan song in the league. Boy would I love to see two of the kids in Abby replace Jackman and McGrattan.


        (Might as well ask; “How did McGrattan look?)

  • beloch

    I’m not sure what that was… but I like it!

    This was a really different game for the Flames. NJ really kept the Flames from entering the zone with momentum and didn’t let them control play in the o-zone for long, but somehow the Flames still found a way to put pucks on net. To the Flames credit, while they didn’t dominate for long stretches they didn’t lay down for an entire period either! Brodeur went 0.897 and MacBackup was his usual 0.900 self, but the Flames put 6 more shots on net.

    All in all, a well-earned win and another entertaining game. Even when they lose this year’s team is fun to watch. It may yet turn out to be a good year for Flames fans!

    • MichaelD

      I really like it, if we can develop every person in this same environment (and I say person instead of young guy because I believe it’s about developing a team), then we can develop a hard working team… almost a Sutter like team

      But don’t laugh about a ‘Sutter Team’ because just recently I was talking to a buddy about all those greasy goals, and hard working shifts in the years surrounding 2004. And god I loved that, it was a southern Alberta identity that I’m proud of. Monahan is the perfect pivot for it (this year or next year, I personally don’t think either will stunt his development), and Bouma is a another perfect example of the identity. Not to mention guys like glencross and Gio as the Captain. And they bring in homegrown guys like galiardi and colbourne.

      You can tell King is still pulling strings to dust magic on 2004. And I like it because thats Calgary I wanna see a ‘Dovovan’ celi into the corner, and a ‘Nieminen’ finish around the net, or a ‘Iginla’ have an unbelievable shift.

      Like ir or not thats the team we are building again, and I love it it

  • piscera.infada

    Another added dimension to the Monahan debate – he seems to be playing well with Baertschi. If these two can help each other, does that help him stay up?

  • beloch

    One thing that’s eating at me is that this club still doesn’t know what it really has in Ramo. Is he a more expensive MacBackup who can’t play the puck or is he an upgrade who needs a little seasoning in the big league? The Flames have played far better than expected so far, but the realist in me knows their success simply won’t last if they play MacBackup and get 0.900 goal-tending for the majority of the season.

    Hell, the realist in me views this run with suspicion. The team looks better than it has in years, but it’s supposed to be worse! It might all be a dream, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts!

    • piscera.infada

      Call me crazy, but I don’t think he’s been that bad (I mean relative to last year). I saw him make two bad plays tonight – trying to break out of the zone on the strong side (which I have no idea why). But he also seems to be gaining some confidence. He’s been skating the puck really well and helping generate a rush – which was what he was advertised as coming out of Buffalo.

      I’ve been impressed with Russel as well. Not fantastic defensively, but his poise in the offensive zone is something I haven’t seen on the Flames blueline in years.

  • piscera.infada

    I think the greatest thing I saw towards the end of the game was after the Bouma shift, Baertschi patting him on the back and saying something along the lines of “that’s how it’s done” (obviously more expletive filled). I’m stoked that he’s stoked.

    Moreover, I’ve been extremely impressed by Sven’s last couple games. It’s as if he’s raised his compete level a ton. Finally starting to look like the kid who works hard and plays strong, like he was for Portland (maybe Burke was on to something?).

  • Big Ell

    Is it really necessary to dress McGratten when you are already dressing SOB, Bouma and Jackman. I thought he was terrible tonight and feel bad for those who have to play with him. SOB was bad too, he has problems skating with the puck, passing the puck etc.

  • RKD

    Flames still undefeated in regulation, Monahan continues to score goals. 8 points out of a possible 10 is looking really good. I hope our rebuild goes faster than the Oilers. We haven’t even hit the 10 game mark, and I’m already thinking about how guys like Gaudreau, Agostino, would look in the lineup. I know, too soon.

  • jeremywilhelm

    You guys kill me. Really.
    You have an undefeated team that is playing their asses off and, instead of enjoying the run they are on, you still look for things to be negative about.
    Just enjoy the game and the team for crying out loud. Will they be good enough for the playoffs? Probably not. But I will support them and cheer them if they do not win a game from here on in.
    Kent, you write an article, based on sound reasoning mind you, about how the fans and Flames need to temper their expectations about Monahan. Why? Tonight he scores the winning goal. And tonight you post a comment stating you are “okay” with the organization keeping him up. Well, bully for you! I guess if you were writing in ’77, you would have told folks with the Isles to “temper” their expectations for Mike Bossy.

    Sometimes players, especially young players, don’t know enough to know they are not supposed to be good.

    Perhaps the Flames sink to the bottom this year. Perhaps not. Either way, they win. The rebuild is in full mode, there are a ton of good, young players in the system and the future could be bright.

    Enjoy it! Turn off your advanced stats and enjoy the game and the team for what it is.

    Or continue to be miserable.

    You guys kill me.