FGD: Back To Basics

After picking up a win at MTS Centre, the Calgary Flames (7-11-3) return home to kick off a three-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The puck drops at 8pm MT on Sportsnet West and Fan 960, probably due to wacky TSN rules or something. It’s a Wednesday game, so I assumed it was a TSN game, but I was wrong. It’s on Sportsnet West, coincidentally after a Subway Super Series game featuring Russia (and Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov) and the QMJHL (featuring Flames prospect Emile Poirier).

After a great October, the Flames kicked off November with a few uneven (and a few plain ugly) games. The club won a track meet on Monday night against another team with at-times wonky defensive zone play. They’ll face another tonight in Columbus, who they beat in Ohio in the second game of the regular season. Hopefully the team can play a more consistent 60 minutes.

THE LINE-UP

From our pals at Daily Faceoff…

Cammalleri (A) – Stajan (A) – Stempniak (A)
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Galiardi – Colborne – Jones
Bouma – Backlund – McGrattan

Russell – Brodie
Butler – Wideman
Smid – O’Brien

Berra
Ramo

The Flames return home from Winnipeg with two points, so they hope to continue their moderate success as they embark upon a three game homestand featuring the Jacket, lowly Florida, four days off, and then a visit from the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Outside of bumping Backlund, who struggled in Winnipeg, to the fourth line, not many changes. Jackman and Smith sit again, while Reto Berra makes his eighth start. Fun fact, if he goes the distance tonight, he’ll match Karri Ramo’s minutes-played so far this season, which may be the point of starting him again. That and he was pretty solid in Winnipeg in the win, particularly in the shootout.

THE OPPOSITION

Daily Faceoff has lines for Columbus…

Foligno – Johansen – Umberger
Jenner – Anisimov – Atkinson
MacKenzie – Letestu – Comeau
Skille – Chaput – Boll

Johnson – Tyutin
Murray – Wisniewski
Nikitin – Savard

Bobrovsky
McElhinney

The Jackets were embarrassed by the lowly Edmonton Oilers last night up in Rexall, setting up the rarest of things this NHL season – a meeting between teams that have lost to Edmonton. Nobody looked particularly good for Columbus last night, so not many changes. Every single player was minus-1 (Savard and Nikitin were minus-2 each) and Bobrovsky got lit up for four goals, so going back with the same line-up (aside from Jack Skille subbing in for Brandon Dubinsky) gives everyone a mulligan.

The Jackets haven’t been terrible this season, with a 7-11-3 start that’s identical to Calgary’s, but the move East hasn’t helped them much and the fact that they occupy the basement in the putrid Metropolitan Division probably doesn’t sit well with them. The thought is that the one-sided drubbing from the Oilers may serve as a wake-up call, so expect them to come out strong from the get-go.

Columbus is without Nathan Horton, Marian Gaborik and Matt Calvert, who are on the IR, and will be without Brandon Dubinsky. Compared to the group Calgary beat in early October, the Jackets are thinner and more beaten up.

SUM IT UP

The Flames face off against an opponent they’ve already beaten on the road. This time they’ll have last change and have the benefit of being rested, particularly compared to their opponents. There should be no excuses for a flat game for the home side.

  • RexLibris

    Not sure how Berra has earned an 8 to 1 start ratio over Ramo. Seems like one goalie is going to be ruined due to a heavy workload and the other for too much time on the bench.

  • RexLibris

    Very curious to see how Columbus responds tonight and how the Flames approach them.

    I’m guessing one of the Flames’ goals will be to crash Bobrovsky early and get his game off on the wrong foot.

  • BurningSensation

    Johnny G with a goal and an assist so far against Harvard.

    Hate to bring it up but any reports on Janko lately. Any hope in making team Canada. I imagine likely not but just wondered if others had heard speculation.

    • Lambert was on the fan this morning. He watched Janko this weekend and apparently he did nothing…no points, no shots.

      He said the kid is still very up and down. Looks good some games, but does nothing for long stretches as well. He has 7 points in 11 games now.

      • mattyc

        As much as I’d like to blame that on Lambert being negative those stats tell a pretty convincing tale. I remember Feaster said at development camp that they wanted him to step his game up and start seeing himself as an elite player on a regular basis.

        Thanks for the info.

      • RexLibris

        That Lambert, just can’t find anything nice to say…j/k

        😉

        This is the beginning of year two for Jankowski, correct? While I tend to argue that consistency is one of the last lessons that junior-age players seem to learn, this is a season where he needs to begin to develop the ability to at least run with the competition at this level. He need not dominate, perhaps, but competency and the ability to produce at a league average level have to be expectations at this stage.

        One factor that I haven’t heard much of is the coaching system he’s playing under. It’d be interesting to know if some of this is systems, deployment, learning curve, etc.

    • thymebalm

      He’s taken a big step forward, and he’s still among the youngest 20% of college players. I dont think he’ll play for team Canada but he is a better player so far this season compared to last.

      Johnny has 2 genos now, leads college players in points, Arnold leads college players in assists.

    • BurningSensation

      I think Rafikov may end up being another Feaster late round steal. The kid was ranked way higher on the THN draft board (81?) than where we landed him (7th rnd) and all the scouting reports I read were effusive about his ‘warrior mentality’.

      He may not be Paul Coffey, but a young Ladislav Smid type would be nice to have in the pipeline too.

  • Lober

    I understand all the hate for dressing McGrattan but his fights have been some of the lone bright spots on the year. It’s not like watching Jackman eat punches from anyone remotely good at fighting. McGrattan has also had a lot of nice hits this year, I do like having one guy such as McGrattan just in case. Having said that I think Hartley needs to tell McGrattan that no ones touches Sven or Sean, last game sven was getting his face shoved into the ice by some plug D man and no one did anything about it… We better not be turning into the Oilers who let other teams take shots at their best players.

    • RedMan

      You like a guy like McGratton “just in case”?

      Just in case what? Maybe, say someone like Ferrence decides to take some cheap shots on a stempniak and knock out some teeth?

      Like others have mentioned here, it’s hard to measure what hasn’t happened due to his presence, but for the number of cheap shots our guys have had (like stemniak) its fair to assume that he isn’t as much of a nuclear threat as one might like.

      • Lober

        I agree that simply having McGrattan dressed does not do much of anything except entertain the fight fans. This is why Hartley needs to tell McGrattan if you wanna dress you might have to take the odd fine and that if he takes a penalty or two sending a message that it is nothing to worry about. I would have no Problem McGrattan taking a penalty to stand up for a teammate (such as Stemp the other night) and obviously there is a time and place for everything.

        • RedMan

          judging by the response of the oiler fans the other game, they would have no problems if someone like mcgratton took RNH and punched out a couple teeth before RNH even gets his gloves off, regardless of whether he even wanted to fight.

          Now, i wouldn’t like it but oiler fans would think nothing of it

  • prendrefeu

    From Ryan’s bio: “He’s trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift.”

    I dig it man, I dig it. Thanks for being a really strong part of FlamesNation.

    Also, fun fact: the cannon in the picture is located in the Kremlin. I had the pleasure of spending a few days in the Kremlin last year. It’s pretty rare to see that cannon without tourists surrounding it.

    • RexLibris

      Ah, the good old days when they cast artillery with some class and style.

      There are, if I recall correctly, some pretty impressive artillery pieces on display at the Tower of London as well. Some pretty frightening specimens of human ingenuity.

  • RedMan

    not sure if flames benefit from a “fragile, tired” team, or will suffer the wrath of a team that was humiliated and lost, not because the other team was very good (worst in the NHL) but because they all collectively laid an egg and didn’t show up.

    • yomamen11

      Hey Geoff , it really is spelled GEOFF isnt it ?

      Worst team in the NHL ? and you lost to them, lol. The Shames will
      soon take the title, and will be responsible for the turnaround
      of the Oilers season. You are Jealous of the Oil admit it. Sure we sucked
      for the first 20 – but the upside is huge and will come to fruition
      well before the pathetic no Talent flames. Other than Monahan, he is special. ” Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”
      The Flames have no future – nothing to look forward to.

      You spent too much time in the Lethbridge Wind Geoff.
      I love reading your comments when you TROLL Like i am,
      just looking for you. Goof – oops i mean Geoff. Damn.

      • Schmenkley

        How shocking. An illiterate troll from Edmonton showing up to tell us how great they WILL BE JUST YOU WAIT!
        Let’s review:
        Yayyy! First overall pick because we suck! The cup is ours next year.
        Last place? Fire the coach!
        Yayyy! First overall pick because we suck! The cup is ours next year.
        Lottery pick? Fire the coach!
        Yayyy! First overall pick because we suck! The cup is ours any day now.

        They still suck, just less than we did last game.
        At least we aren’t delusional, but what else should you expect from the provincial seat of politics.

        Edmonton, you deserve the team you have.

      • BurningSensation

        I do hope that when Flames fans troll Oiler sites we do so with better grammar and proper spelling.

        So Edmontonians can at least see what literacy looks like, if not actually participate in it.

      • RedMan

        hahaha he definitely showed up to represent the oiler fans! and represent them in all their brilliance he did! hahahha

        I love how, for years, we have heard from Oiler fans how they were going to show us! they talk about victories yet to come as if they already happened, as did our friendly ‘special’ little oiler fan here did.

        Thanks oiler fan for giving is all a chuckle with your ‘wit’

      • Byron Bader

        3 First Overall selections in a row and five years of scraping the bottom of the pool should eventually turn around quicker than a team just starting a rebuild. Yes. In theory.

        The oilers did a fantastic job of getting two beautiful NHL94 glitch goals to take the last game against the flames. They’re on their way with esso now.

        “How’d they finish. Dead last. Yeah they have good players though” – Shooter McGavin … talking about the oilers

      • Arik

        Hey buddy, chill out.

        One: Jeff is short for “Jeffrey”

        Two: You don’t capitalize the J in “jealous” unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence. This also applies to “like” and “talent”

        Three: Stop acting like the Oilers are worth bragging about. Both Calgary and Edmonton have been awful this year, but it was expected for Calgary, not for Edmonton.

        Four: You’re awful.

        • mk

          Ha… zing.

          Its stunning Coiler fans starting bragging after a few wins. Pathetic, but a bit funny in a “feel bad for you sort of way”. I heard on TSN that Columbus was so embarrassed to lose to the Coilers they had an hour long players only locked door meeting after the game.

          7-0 IS pretty crazy. My roommate was asking me if we have EVER won by a 7 goal margin? Like ever? I honest to goodness can’t remember one example.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Peter Mahr had a this date in Flames history talking about joe Niewendyks 4 goal performance against the Noridiques. 9 – 1 was the final score.

            The 80’s were full of blowout performances. That ended with the Devils and the large acceptance of the trap.

            God I hate the trap.

  • Scary Gary

    McGrattan plugging away…wouldn’t want to mess with big Ern’s non-existent point streak and call Blair Jones up with his 20pts in 15 AHL games. Oh but that’s right, call-ups are based on merit, what a joke.

    I’m usually quite positive, I promise.

    • mk

      On a note only tangentially related to B. Jones, when was the last time anyone looked at the AHL scoring leaders chart and saw a Flames prospect there. Go Ben Street & Corban Knight!