FGD: NEW BEGINNINGS

 

 

– stick tap to @Notbaertschi for grabbing this beauty.

The Flames are two days removed from an emotional game against the Bruins on Tuesday, that saw the return of Jarome Iginla to the Saddledome for the first time since he was traded last Spring. After the emotions settled after a raucous ovation to start things off, the Bruins eventually got their game going in the 3rd period, beating the Flames 2-1.

Tonight, hoping to get back into the win column, the Flames (11-15-4) host the Brothers Staal and the Hurricanes (13-13-6).  The game is the first in the post-Jay Feaster era, after he was let go of the Flames GM role this morning.  Brian Burke has taken over as Interim GM for now.  While the impact won’t be felt tonight, player movements will certainly ramp up in the coming months.

As for the match up tonight, the Flames and Hurricanes play in different conferences and have only played each other a handful of times. As a result, the rivalry is essentially non-existent. However, one thing to watch tonight is to see how Elias Lindholm performs for the Hurricanes. At the 2013 draft, Lindholm and Sean Monahan were both considered high-calibre prospects that would go early in the draft. In fact, both prospects were estimated to go between 5th  and 7th overall in the first round of the draft.  The two prospects were so close in their skill sets that the Flames fans were not sure who they would rather the Flames choose come draft day. 

The Hurricanes made the decision easy for the Flames by choosing Lindholm in the 5 spot, leaving Monahan to the Flames at the 6 spot.  As of today, Monahan’s leading the votes for who got the better prospect with strong two-way play and 15 points in 24 games. Lindholm, although looking more comfortable lately, had a slow start with the Canes and hasn’t looked nearly as good.  He has registered only 7 points in 20 games.  Nevertheless, with Monahan out with an injury, many eyes will be on the Hurricane’s prospect tonight to see what the Flames might have missed out on.

THE LINE-UPS

As always, thanks to our dudes at dailyfaceoff.com for the combos.  Here we go…

  • Cammalleri –Stajan –Stempniak
  • Galiardi –Backlund – D. Jones
  • Baertschi Glencross – Colborne – Hudler
  • B. Jones – Byron – McGrattan
  • Smid –Giordano
  • Russell – Brodie
  • Butler – O’Brien
  • Ramo

TJ Galiardi is going to get back in the line-up after being out a couple weeks with back problems.  It looks like he’ll line up with Backs and D.Jones while Lance Bouma will come out of the line-up. Also there’s a chance that Glen-X is going to be back in the line-up tonight as well.  As a result, Blair Jones, Paul Byron or most probably Sven Baertschi (I hope not) will come out and the lines will be completely different.  As such, the above will be irrelevant. We will adjust as we get more news this afternoon.

That D, I don’t hate it. The Russell – Brodie pairing has looked good for the most part.  Gio and Smid as the shutdown duo ain’t too shabby.  Butler and O’Brien rounding out the bottom pairing isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen either.  Once Wideman returns we’ll really have a nice looking group.

Ramo appears to be getting the start tonight. 

Note: Alrighty then.  Looks like Sven’s heading to Abby.  So there’s that. Gonna guess Glencross is back in.

THE OPPONENTS

  • Skinner – E. Staal – Ruutu
  • Gerbe – J. Staal – Lindholm
  • Tlusty – Nash – Dwyer Semin
  • Westgarth – Dwyer  – Malholtra – Dvorak
  • Faulk – Sekera
  • Murphy – Hainsey
  • Gleason – Harrison
  • Ward

The Hurricanes top six, even without the always talented and rarely engaged Semin, who’s out with an injury, looks pretty good. That being said, the Staal brothers don’t appear to be their usual selves this year, offensively speaking. Jordan Staal, who came to Carolina to play with big brother Eric a few years ago, is on pace for 33 points this year.  That would be his worst total since his sophomore year.  Conversely, Eric Staal, usually good for 70-80 points, is on pace for 62 points. That would be his worst total of his entire NHL career. 

Note: I spoke too soon.  Looks like Semin will be in the line-up tonight after missing 12 games.

Carolina’s D looks pretty mediocre. Faulk and Murphy are young with significant upside and Sekera brings some good things.  Other than that it’s pretty rough. The Flames, while not having quite the offensively gifted forwards as the Canes, certainly appear to have them beat on the backend. 

 SUM IT UP

The Flames are looking to get back on the winning side of things and continue their decent run of late, having won three of their last five games. Based on Burke’s comments this morning, to get in his good books, the Flames would be best served to not give up a late lead tonight. The teams are relatively equal. They stand only six points apart. 

The Hurricanes might have more offensive weapons but the Flames have a superior defense core so it should be an even match up. The Flames and the Hurricanes have not met too many times but in the past two games between the two teams, both very close games, there were 23 goals scored in total. Hopefully we’re in for a night of old school river hockey!

  • EugeneV

    I am 6’2″ by the way, so I don’t have small mans disease and don’t take offense to the thought that big is better.

    Big doesn’t necessarily mean height either

    If you aren’t a stocky frame then shorter than 5’10” and 200lbs+ then you should be considered small for the purposes of winning a CUP.

    But NOT EVERYBODY on a team needs to be NOT SMALL.

  • Andy7190

    When I first heard the news I had to check and see if it was Aprils Fools day. Once I realized that it was not I was livid. It’s not because I think Feaster has been great, heck there are plenty of reasons to fire him. However I do believe that he had a plan for the rebuild based upon both skill and size and i was on board for this. I do not like Burke and his belief that size and grit will win; this reminds me to much of the Sutter plan and we did that for year with a great goalie and one stud forward and spent more times missing the playoffs than in. Burke is bully who is overvalued. This might make me want to cheer for someone else. Yuk

  • Parallex

    I’m a bit confused here.

    Burke stated that the two main reasons for firing Feaster – that came out of his “75 day review” – was Feaster’s draft record and his trading record.

    Trading record I get. Feaster’s hands were kinda tied, but still I get it.

    Regarding Feaster’s draft record, Burke stated when he took the job here that he thought Calgary “knocked it out of the park” in the summer.

    I had kinda thought that Feaster’s draft record, and how he turned our prospect pool around was a credit to him, not a blemish… Obviously jankowski is still controversial… but part of that was getting Sieloff.

    Can someone explain how Feaster’s draft record in Calgary – Jankowski aside – is suddenly now a negative.

  • everton fc

    Back to the Baertschi debate. I don’t think he was ready out of camp. He struggled to make the team out of camp, in my opinion. He’s not NHL ready. A guy like Blair Jones deserves more ice time. He’s earned it on the farm, where Baertschi will also have to earn it. Just my opinion.

    Fenton or Botterill should be the choices for GM. Troy G. Ward would be great as next year’s coach. Again, my opinion.

    Good to see McGrattan pot one. Bordeleau in Colorado has 4 already, and gave our hero/dancing bear a beating last time they met. McGrattan’s still got some catching up to do.

    How do we poach Simmonds from the Flyers? With Cammy and a d-man??

    • RexLibris

      Am I the only one who wants to see a player in the league with the last name “Khan”.

      Just one, single overtime goal would make the whole thing worth it.

  • Andy7190

    Just a thought on the goaltending battle so far, I can see the potential in both Berra and Ramo, but I think Ramo “fights for the play” a bit better at this point. He never gives up on the puck.

    Kind of like a bigger Vernon that way. Whereas Berra commits too soon, I think. He goes to his knees to quickly, and can’t adjust.

    He has great potential, but so far, I like Ramo better.

  • RexLibris

    Burke is an upgrade on Feaster. At least when Burke makes a trade it can be a coin toss as to whether the Flames win or lose the trade.

    With Feaster sometimes they didn’t even get the coin.

    • McRib

      No need to look further than the Bouwmeester trade to question Feasters trading ability, Burke is a major upgrade in that sense teams know he demands fair value in return when trading. As mentioned above Burke got Gardnier, Lupul and a 4th for Beauchemin we got a backup goalie and a late first rounder essential for Jaybo who everyone knew in a positive situation would flourish and is a much better defenseman than Beauchemin. Feaster tried to sell us on “not eating his contract”… Why would you need to eat some contract for a defenseman that currently sits 7th in scoring for the position is a +13 and logs the minutes he does?!?! Feaster always seemed to be focused on putting spin on all of his trade to avoid the fact he got little in return.

      Burke also got Cody Franson for essentially Brett Lebda. Haha. You can even criticize the Kessel trade but at least he brought in a skilled 30-40 goal scorer…. When Burke says “we need to get bigger” I think people panic and look past the fact that he also brought in skilled players Kessel, Lupul, Kadri, Rielly, Franson, etc to Toronto. Not to mention he drafted two of the most skilled big players in the league Getzlaf & Perry while he was in Anaheim. I think people want to think Burke drafts in a similar style to Sutter, but Sutter would never have drafted Kadri, Rielly, etc. Sutter drafted guys projected to go in the 3rd round (Chucko) & 7th round (Pelech) in the first round, wear as Burke drafts the big player every other year that is expected to go in the first and doesn’t overlook the value of a Rielly or Kadri.

      • beloch

        Sutter passing over Getzlaf in favour of Phaneuf really robbed us of that top line center that we have always needed. There a few others whom we could have selected instead of Phaneuf.

        I don’t even want to mention Ramholt when Weber was sitting right there. We could have had a top center and defenseman in that draft if Sutter has followed one of the unwritten rules of never drafting a Dman in the top 10. There always seem to be some good Dmen in the late first to second round.