Post-Game: Opportunities Fly Away


Joey MacDonald
If only Joey was still in Detroit


One night after the Dixie Chicks took over the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Calgary Flames hosted the Detroit Red Wings. Maybe it was the fancy new third jerseys (I like them), maybe it was the chippy ice, but the Flames seemed to struggle to grab hold of the play for chunks of the game. And despite a notable flurry in the second period, they just couldn’t capitalize on their chances and let some points slip away.

Here’s a look at how things went down tonight.


The first period was a sleepy affair, with both teams seemingly fighting the puck and neither team really getting that much in the way of five-alarm scoring chances. But when the Red Wings had those chances, they capitalized on them. The Flames had two full power-plays in the first and generated four shots on net. The Red Wings played the majority of the first period at even-strength, barely put the puck on the net, but made them count.

The Wings opened the scoring at the half-way point of the first, with the ever-dangerous Pavel Datsyuk knocking home a rebound past Joey MacDonald. The Flames defense (Butler and Brodie) had troubles clearing the front of the net, allowing Datsyuk to score off a Jakub Kindl point shot. The Wings scored late in the period as well off of a face-off set play. Datsyuk won the draw, passed to Bertuzzi, who found Henrik Zetterberg at the side of the net (with a gorgeous cross-crease pass) and Zetterberg tapped it home to make the game 2-0 for the Red Wings. To be blunt: Joey MacDonald had zero chance on either shot. The first was a rebound that should have been cleared, while the second was just a tremendous set play by the Wings. The Flames out-shot the Wings 12-5, generated more pucks to the net by a 25-11 margin, edged the Wings in face-offs 13-12 and had more scoring chances to the tune of 7-4. But the score? 2-0 Wings. Life ain’t fair sometimes, I suppose.

The second period began as more of the same – the Flames couldn’t capitalize on chances and the Wings did their best to keep the game to the perimeter. That approach worked…until it didn’t and the Flames got back into it. After a sleepy first period, Jiri Hudler made the first Flames goal happen. Drove puck into zone, tried toe-drag…no dice. Instead of giving up on the play, he stole the puck back, held onto the puck and set up Chris Butler for a point shot. Despite not getting good wood on the shot, the puck knuckle-balled off a Detroit defender’s ankle and past Jimmy Howard to bring the Flames within a goal at 2-1. The Detroit lead was not long for this world, and disappeared entirely just a few minutes later. Mike Cammalleri held onto the puck, out-waited the defenders and set up a streaking Sean Monahan for his seventh of the year to tie the game at two apiece.

The Wings edged the Flames in most metrics in the middle period: shots were 7-6, Corsi events were 18-16 and face-offs wins were 8-7. However, the Flames edged them in scoring chances 6-4 and scored twice in the frame to knot the game.

Early in the third, Joacim Andersson caught Joey MacDonald sleeping with a shot from the corner of the Flames zone, straddling the red line…which clipped Tomas Tatar’s skate and beat MacDonald inside the post to put the Wings back in the lead at 3-2. The Wings controlled much of the rest of the game, keeping the Flames to perimeter and eating up time with lengthy possessions in the offensive zone. Detroit briefly went up 4-2 via a Justin Abdelkader sharp-angle goal, but the Flames had some decent pressure and pulled within one via a Curtis Glencross marker (from behind the net) with 9.8 seconds left. However, 9.8 seconds isn’t enough time to tie a game against most NHL teams, so the Flames lost by a goal for a 4-3 final.

In the third, the Wings out-shot the Flames 10-7, out-Corsied them 18-12, out-chanced them 5-2 and won more face-offs by a staggering 14-6 margin. Mikael Backlund got zero even strength ice time in the final frame.


A few reasons.

Notably, the team deflated for a bit after the early third period softie. Fluke goal or not, it seemed to knock the Flames off their game-plan. It also allowed the Red Wings to shift into lead protection mode, and they’re a veteran group that won’t blow too many leads.

But ignoring that, unlike the Toronto game where the Flames were stifled by a hot goalie, in this contest the Flames just couldn’t capitalize on the chances they got. Passes didn’t get where they needed to be, or guys weren’t where passes were heading, either way the team generated just four shots on over 8 minutes of power-play time. If the power-play scores at all in the first forty minutes, the Flames probably take over the game. They didn’t and then they got scored on, so here we are.


Curtis Glencross had a goal, 5 shots on goal, and another 6 pucks towards the net. Despite one notable gaffe in his own zone, Glencross had another solid game.


# Player EV     PP     SH    
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 18:19 5 3 05:28 4 0 01:49 0 2
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 19:55 6 3 06:13 5 0 01:49 0 2
7 BRODIE, TJ 19:24 3 6 03:00 2 0 02:23 0 2
8 COLBORNE, JOE 13:17 2 1 03:08 3 0 00:11 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 06:44 1 0 00:00 0 0 01:26 0 1
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 17:42 3 1 04:49 4 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 05:01 1 0 00:00 0 0 01:27 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 15:27 4 4 00:00 0 0 01:43 0 3
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 14:40 4 4 04:11 4 0 01:30 0 1
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 13:23 2 4 03:23 2 0 00:12 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 14:17 3 4 05:04 3 0 00:12 0 0
27 SMITH, DEREK 09:56 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
35 MACDONALD, JOEY   9 9   6 0   0 4
39 GALIARDI, TJ 13:41 2 1 00:00 0 0 01:43 0 3
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 17:55 4 5 00:11 0 0 02:23 0 2
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 11:32 1 3 01:32 1 0 00:00 0 0
54 JONES, DAVID 13:39 4 4 04:01 2 0 00:00 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 7 4 2 4 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 6 4 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
3 2 5 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0


The Flames hit the road, Jack, for a four-game trip through the American midwest. The jaunt kicks off on Sunday when they visit the Madhouse on Madison to visit the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. The puck drops at 5:30pm MT on Sportsnet TV, Sportsnet Radio, Sportsnet Morse Code, Sportsnet Carrier Pigeon and Sportsnet Smoke Signals. FlamesNation’s army of hired goons will have up-to-date analysis of things via Twitter and here for post-game.

  • Parallex

    This game sucked, looked like it might get interesting in the second but no. Once again playing Joey MacDonald proves to be a bad move, giving Backlund only 8 minutes a double bad move.

    Furthermore, I think Bob Hartley should be fired.

    and if Jay Feaster won’t fire his nepotism hire then he ought to trade away Stajan and MacDonald ala Billy Beane in Moneyball.

    • Parallex

      I agree. I wasn’t against the backlund sit for one game but 6 minutes of ice is ridiculous, especially when he’s playing well. I can’t handle stajan, he drives me nuts. What does he bring? He’s soft, he doesn’t drive the play, doesn’t provide offence.. I don’t get it. Backlund is part of the future here. I think feaster needs to force hartleys hand

  • Parallex

    Free Backlund!

    It is complete garbage how they expect anything from him with how they are using him.

    What is Hartley seeing that everyone else isn’t?

    His words do not match his actions.

    • the forgotten man

      In Flames Land, this is not a bug of the system, but a feature…it is the franchise where young forwards careers go to die. They are already turning the screws to Baertschi and Mickis…Monahan is next. If he signs withe Flames, they will work on Gaudreau next year…shampoo, lather, rinse, repeat.

  • beloch

    Okay, for those calling for Hartley’s head…

    Do you remember how things were supposed to go down this year? Let’s go down the list.

    1. Monahan was supposed to get his 9 games and go back to Junior. In case you weren’t paying attention, Hartley eased him into the NHL with an almost perfect progression of, first, increasing TOI and, then, QoC. Monahan has responded amazingly well to this, but you have to give Hartley credit for giving the kid enough to challenge him without breaking him. There’s a lot that could have gone wrong bringing a kid direct from junior into the NHL, but Monahan seems to have been eased in properly.

    2. Colborne wasn’t even in the plan. He was dumped in Hartley’s lap and a lot of people, myself included, didn’t see where he fit in. Colborne wasn’t good enough to play on the fourth line in Toronto, but a first-round pick center with size was too good to pass up, even if he was 23. Hartley parked him on the goon squad for a few games, as expected. However, instead of converting him to the wing to get around the logjam at center, he found Colborne the TOI to start developing, and he seems to actually be doing that. He’s still very sheltered and clearly a step behind Monahan, but he’s no longer a guy that has to be buried on the goon squad and limited to 5 minutes a night.

    3. Backlund. Demoted to goon squad, scratched… Yeah, I don’t get it either. This could be Burke’s influence you know. Burke clearly has a crush on Colborne, and somebody’s TOI had to be slashed for Colborne to get off the goon-squad. One has to admit though, Backlund’s career has seemed to stand still for the last few seasons. Is it all just bad luck and injuries, or does he need a kick in the pants? It’s only been a few games, but if this situation persists it could poison the relationship between Backlund and the Flames. Hopefully it won’t persist.

    4. Baertschi was supposed to be svensational! Well, he went cold last season too. Perhaps he’s a streaky player, or perhaps he hasn’t gotten it figured out yet. Still, there’s no denying he’s developing some fantastic chemistry with Monahan and is becoming more noticeable in all areas of the ice. My money is on his scoring touch returning eventually but, in the meantime, he’s developing into a more complete player.

    5. Ramo was supposed to be a god. He hasn’t been, but that’s not Hartley’s fault. He’s better than MacBackup, and it is Hartley’s fault that MacBackup has been given so many starts.

    6. I almost forgot. Perhaps most important of all, the Flames are supposed to be on pace for a last-place finish. This team is supposed to suck hardcore! The fact that they’re putting along at 0.500 (the same as last year), but looking phenomenally unlucky to be doing that poorly says a lot.

    I don’t like some of Hartley’s decisions. Playing two enforcers on the good squad some nights is pretty dumb, as is playing MacDonald any night. Burying Backlund is bizarre. However, center-ice is rapidly becoming a position of depth and strength for this team, which nobody would have predicted even a month ago. The team is both entertaining to watch and competitive. If you’re still unconvinced, please consider what this team would probably look like if Brent Sutter was still coach.

    Some people have classified Hartley as an average NHL coach, but that might be worth reevaluating if the Flames fight their way into the bubble in a year they were supposed to be close to hitting rock-bottom. Given that Hartley seems to be doing a good job with development for the majority of rookies, the Flames would do well to hold onto him for now. If he was sacked tomorrow, who would replace him? I hear Brent Sutter might still be available… No, the Flames should avoid canning Hartley in a sudden fit of emotion. They should be ready to snap up a clearly superior coach if one goes on the market, but firing Hartley without having a clearly superior option lined up is a move of the sort the Oilers would make.

    • Double Dion

      Most of your post is reasonable, but you’re blind if you think Backlund has been at a standstill. It’s a toss up between him and Stempniak for our best two way forward. He also scores at a 40 point pace without PP time. Not many guys do that while providing elite level possession numbers. Backlund has consistently gotten the short end of the stick from this organization much like Giordano did as a young player. Hopefully we don’t lose him over it. Colborne sees 3:08 of PP time with his 2 career goals and Backlund doesn’t get a second?

      I remember Burke saying in an interview with 960 that he asked Feaster if he liked a certain player he never named. Feaster said yes and Burke said he didn’t like him. I’m trying to figure out if that player is Bartschi or Backlund.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        My guess is that it’s Beartschi that Burke doesn’t like. He said as much when he went out of his way to publically admonish him. Also, Feaster was the one pushing Backlund’s buttons last year and threatening his career 2 seasons ago. Also, Sven is smaller and does not play anywhere near Gritchart.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I agree with almost everything you have to say; panic is not what this team needs. While it amazes me that Hartley can’t or won’t embrace the idea of rolling 4 equal lines at least this team plays hard and is trying to embrace his system (unlike a team to the North of us;I watch the expressionless Eakins and his undisciplined and often lazy group and wonder how long he has).

      You also forgot to mention the injury bug, Stajan, Cammi and Jones to start then Gio and Stemp just as these other guys got back into the fold.

      This road trip and the current batch of injuries is a chance for this team to embrace the rebuild. Billings is coming up and he has been the best Heat defenceman to date; Smith/Russell type in stature and skill set. Rumor Joey the goalie is going through waivers (about time) and we will likely see Berra called up. They should also bring up a forward and I would suggest it is likely going to be Knight. This should then force the discussion about 4 lines as Backs. Bouma and Knight would be a lot more legit than a line with McG.

      I do have some questions about the logic Hartley is employing; such as how do you staple a guy with Sven’s skills to bench on the PP when it is struggling. I would give the Hudler, Monahan, Sven line at least 40 seconds every powerplay instead of breaking that line up.

      For those who want to fire Hartley ask yourself who out there would be a better option that is available. Also lets think how much Burke has already behind the scenes changed the direction of the rebuild; the article on fighting in the Herald may give you an idea of the direction Hartley has been given.

  • RedMan

    its an interezting coundrum inthat the quys play well enough to win and all of a sudden we are in a pickle.

    abondonded is the idea of finishing bottom 3-5 and hope of a franchise player at ghe draft? Now we wish that we had bernier and were winning these games to stay in the hunt? Nay men, stay the course!

    we need to give some vets the chance to play well so as to be trade bait and we need to draft a franchise forward and a stud defenceman, plus grow one of our goalies into the next big thing.

    ghe only puzzles in all of tbis are backlunds situation and ghe mancrush on the bigboys. otherwise we r right on course:

    Team playing strong team play
    team have way better effort then last 4 yeats
    young gouys developing well

    games fun to watch again.

    edit sorrry for horrible spelling am on phone while doing soething else :O

      • the forgotten man

        Two reasons:

        #1) Reward him for accepting the role they gave him and doing exactly what was asked of him

        2#) Just in case… so many question marks in goal… why not have a vet around – they know worst case scenario is they send him down to the minors and promote a young guy. He isn’t really standing in the way of developing our prospects and does provide them (a challenge) someone that they must outplay… The Macdonald signing does not stand in the way of promoting a younger player based on merit… another low-risk signing that doesn’t hurt the Flames.

        The initial reactions against the Macdonald signing are the same type of reactionary (not well thought out) comments and opinions we have seen in the past from writers on this site. Same thing on this site we saw with the Jones/Tanguay trade, the Hudler and Wideman signings – all of whom are currently playing pretty ok and earning their paychecks.

        Again, the Macdonald thing is no big deal as everyone knew he could always be sent down.

        • the forgotten man

          Don’t totally agree with you. Yes, Macdonald is a short term, cheap contract. Why do you feel we owe him $1.0Mill when we picked him off waivers from Detroit. If anything we extended his .900 save percentage for an extra year. I hated picking him up back then, I felt Irving deserved to get more starts & I felt Taylor deserved to play in some games as well.

          We then traded one of our biggest assets in JBO for a goalie as part of the return. This goalie played phenomenal in the World Championships. We also knew Ramo was coming, another highly regarded Goalie that was acquired in another trade. When we gave Mac a contract, we were past ground zero knowing this year was total rebuild. We have 2 very strong goalie prospects in Ortio & Brossoit that need as many AHL starts as possible. Those two should have started in Abbey & Berra & Ramo should have been the guys Calgary.

          Simply put, this was a poor signing & caused a delay in the development of all our goalies. Contract #’s & $$$ are insignificant.

        • supra steve

          Having a vet around can be a good thing, but when that vet is Joey Mac? Would have been not so bad an idea to let Joey walk in the summer and have Ramo penciled in as the #1, with Berra/Ortio in the backup roll rather then wasting starts on JM. Referring to that signing as “well thought out” is a sretch.

          Look at it from the viewpoint of Broissoit. You’ve just finished a stellar Jr career and are ready to start your Pro career. But because of the JM signing, instead of going to the AHL, you are going where?

          I have been a supporter of Feaster, mostly. Two moves I did not like were the Sarich re-signing (and he fixed that) and the Mac re-signing (sounds like he is now fixing that). I do agree with you though, that some of Feaster’s moves have been unfairly panned on this site (Hudler, Wideman). I just don’t agree that the MacBackup re-signing was one of those.

          • supra steve

            Right… I get why it is not a great move… but as a “just in case” we are talking about less than a million and with Joey Mac you know what you are getting… easy to evaluate a team that plays in front of this guy… in a rebuilding year it is a satisfactory move

    • gotommygo

      ‘Ortio is moving up to the Heat.’

      Already happened. He was recalled on Monday and played two games this week.

      I wonder if this means the Heat is going to recall Broissoit from the Aces.

  • All though I will add that since the summer things have improved on this site and that people are coming around to be more unbiased towards Feaster.

    Several months ago the anti Feaster agenda was very obvious.

    I want to add also the reactionary articles and statements by writers on this site against the Poirier and Kanzig picks.

    Things are getting better on this site.

  • Robhouli

    I think it’s funny that people are calling for the head of Hartley. This is supposed to be a rebuild, and a lot of “experts” are picking the Flames to be 29th or 30th. This team has been hard working and competitive almost every night since the season started. In the last 4 seasons how often could we say that. If the goalies had been better or even average this team would have won a few more games. Ramo and Macdonald have been disappointing, the soft goals are killing us. Maybe 10 years of Kipper spoiled me, but these guys are not the answer. Give Berra a shot, but I have my doubts. Don’t forget Ramo and Berra were the best goalies not playing in the NHL…. Maybe there was a reason for that!

    • the forgotten man

      Yes, I agree that we are in a rebuild…which I have advocated for. Therefore, when you rebuild it is not the score result that matters, but the development of your future talent (who will need to produce you results when it does matter) that should take precedence over Matt Franchise getting 17-20 minutes a night. If Hartley can’t let the young guys roll with it, then he needs to be shown the door yesterday and find a coach who will play and develop our future talent…with his handling of Sven and Backs I am already done with Hartley…he has proven incompatible with the teams most important goal.

      • supra steve

        The question here is Hartley really in control or has the new head honcho sent down certain expectations. Unfortunately I think this might be the case to a degree.