Now that the Flames have returned from a back-to-back road trip that saw them get obliterated in Anaheim and snatch two points in tinsel-town, the local heroes return home, all of them just finishing their friending of Mr. Cammalleri on their myspaces and Calgaryplanets.
Tonight’s game features the Pacific Division’s most inexpensive team to purchase, the Glendale Coyotes. The ‘Yotes are just coming off of laying a conversion-less touchdown on our dear northern kinfolk and if the Flames aren’t careful, a similar fate could await them.
I know you are all absolutely dreading being subjected to another Flames home-game against the Coyotes and frankly, I don’t blame you. The past 4000 of these games have been Godfather III. However, tonight’s game features the return of Captain Gio, so it will be worth it just to watch for that.
Somehow, this Coyotes team is tied for fourth in NHL scoring. Huh. I had to check that a few times but it’s true. Perhaps this isn’t the same team that we have become so accustomed to seeing over the years. The ‘Yotes are also a point up on the Canucks with three games at hand, one of which being made up tonight.
Here’s their roster thanks to Daily Faceoff!
- Doan – Ribeiro – Moss
- Kennedy – Hanzal – Vrbata
- Klinkhammer- Vermette – Boedker
- Chipchura – Halpern – Szwarz
- Stone – OEL
- Yandle – Morris
- Murphy – Schlemko
Their roster features Flame extinguisher Mike Ribeiro, who will likely score four goals and touch the puck four times. The rest of their forward roster, outside of Boedker, Vrbata, Vermette, and Hanzal, consists of a lot of guys you would swear are made up. One of them is named Jordan Szwarz (yeah. six letters,one vowel). However, this plucky team continues to score a bunch by committee and do their best to work you to death.
The back-end of the Coyotes is sneaky good. Featuring noted underwear tycoon Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle, ex young-gun Derek Morris, and ex Calgary Hitmen Michael Stone.
Mike Smith played last night in Edmonton so it’s a good bet that we will see ex San Jose backup Thomas Greiss tonight between the pipes.
As previously mentioned, tonight marks the return of Mark Giordano whom left the team at 4-2-2 and in he fight for the Pacific Division Crown. Now, Giordano no longer trusts them with his stuff. Giordano’s return is a much needed boon to a fledgling Flames’ back-end that was being held together with duct tape and Chris Breen during that last road trip.
Here is the roster! Thanks, as always to Daily Faceoff for it.
- Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
- D. Jones – Backlund – Hudler
- Baertschi – Colborne – B. Jones
- Bouma – Byron – McGrattan
- Giordano – Butler
- Russell – Brodie
- Smid – O’Brien
It is good to see Backlund start to get rewarded with some competent linemates and hoepfully some top-six minutes, especially after that nice feed to Cammalleri for the game winner against the Kings. This is a great opportunity for Backlund and hopefully he can start showing more confidence with the puck and maybe even a little bit of the scoring touch we began to see last season.
Sadly, and demonstrated by his 2:36 of ice-time last game (!), Max Reinhart was recalled for a VIP exclusive look at Flames hockey. So close, he can even talk to the players! Not Backlund though. Mikael doesn’t get to speak during games. It is too bad that he is being weighed down by a goon, this season is supposed to be about evaluating the talent in the system and I cannot imagine how that is being accomplished by playing Reinhart for, like, 150 seconds.
Sven enters the game tonight for Reinhart which is obviously a much smarter move. However, he will be playing on a line with Colborne and B.Jones so it will be tough sledding as far as generating scoring chances. Hopefully, Sven can have some jump in his step tonight and use the energy that B.Jones has been bringing to create some offense. It will be interesting to see how the skating fairs on that third line though as both Sven and B. Jones are quick and Colborne is, well, not.
Karri Ramo is starting between the pipes after a rock-solid performance in LA, freeing us from the Swiss tyranny of Reto Berra whom had started basically the entire month of November, for basically, no good reason. Hopefully, Ramo can put a couple quality starts together and force his way into the net on a regular basis.
This lineup, especially with no Glencross, Monahan, or Wideman, is likely one of the worst in the NHL. However! Fear Not! These lovable little munchkins scraped out a win in LA here’s hoping they can do it again, this time with Gio.
Flames need to pick up a few big wins so that they can put themselves into the race for the.. ha haa haahha…
Folks, I kid.
The Coyotes could use the points to get further ahead of Vancouver though.
The Flames gutted out a win in LA last game which certainly must have felt good in front of their papas and those kinds of efforts will make this doomed season a lot more bearable. I am of the opinion that as long as they don’t stink the joint out at home, then I am fine with this team losing more than its fair share of games this year.
Captain Giordano is back tonight, six weeks and two days since this broken ankle. Because he’s a man.
Seeing Ramo in consecutive starts will be interesting also, hopefully he can gain some confidence moving forward and be the starting goalie that he is being paid to be.
But, above all, it would be nice, if this game could be interesting to watch. Which, because Paul Byron is in out there playing his tiny heart out, it will be I am sure!