Post-Game: Game 31

It was a busy, busy day in Flamesville, with firings, demotions and all manner of eventful proceedings. There was also a hockey game, as the Flames (11-15-4) hosted the Carolina Hurricanes (13-13-6), best remembered as the Hartford Whalers.

While the media types may be wringing their hands over the end of Jay Feaster’s tenure, the Calgary Flames still have 52 games left to play in 2013-14 NHL season. Tonight was Game 31.


Both teams seemed to engaging in a feeling-out process throughout the first period. The play was about even, with each club getting some significant zone time in stretches. The Hurricanes owned the first chunk of the game, inducing Matt Stajan to take a hooking penalty. (The Flames killed it off.) Late in the period, the Flames hemmed the Canes in their own zone for roughly two minutes, including a full line change. Overall, neither team generated many ten-bell scoring opportunities but neither did they look bad. Carolina led the Flames in shots (10-9), shot attempts (22-14) and face-off wins (9-4), but the period was deadlocked at no score after 20.

The second stanza was a tad more spirited, with both sides playing a more up-tempo style but not generating a heck of a lot of great scoring chances. The Flames seemed to have more spring in their step and generally pushed the pace more than Carolina, but for the most part Calgary couldn’t convert. After an offensive flurry late in the period, the Flames had a scare as a Carolina player rang the puck off both posts. Calgary didn’t get rattled, though, and generated the first goal of the game. Lance Bouma separated the defender from the puck and fed Brian McGrattan at the face-off dot, who put it past Justin Peters for his first of the year. Calgary led in shots in the second by an 11-4 margin, in shot attempts 19-14 and face-offs were even at 7-7.

The final period of regulation was more or less the same in terms of pace and event-level, with the Hurricanes pushing back a little bit more than they had in the first 40 minutes. Jeff Skinner knotted the game up mid-way through the third with a relatively weak goal (compared to what Ramo stopped) stick-side. The Flames nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of the regulation point when Ladislav Smid got called for water-skiing behind Jeff Skinner on a partial breakaway, but Karri Ramo stood tall on the penalty shot.

Overtime was another back and forth period. And in a night with offense from unexpected sources, Chris Butler scored his second of the year with just 3.6 seconds left to secure the win.


They made the Carolina Hurricanes play a Flames game, rather than a Hurricanes game. Tonight’s game was generally low-event, played on the outside and featured very few amazing scoring plays. In short: when your club is a lunch-bucket group that just saw its GM get axed, this is exactly the type of game you’d want them to play.

Then again, their lack of killer instinct in the first 40 minutes made their predictable third period collapse possible, so I guess you could say they were their own worst enemy in some ways.


Paul Byron, on a day where his boss talked about his team needing more size and truculence, had two assists. That’s a great way to start off the "new era."


Calgary improves to 12-15-4. They are now off for a road trip to the East Coast. Their first stop is a Saturday matinee with the Buffalo Sabres, starting off at noon.

Only 51 more games remain.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Ryan, did you purposely choose the smallest guy on the team for the Red Warrior? Okay, okay he was good tonight.

    I Thought Backlund was a beast tonight. I hope he gets the fire helmet from his teammates.

  • smith

    My guess is that Burke fired Feaster and Weisbrod because of disagreement about post-apex. I would not be surprised to see the Flames keep some of the vets Stempniak, Stajan.

    Even this year I wonder if he (or a compliant proxy “Asst” GM) acquires vets from other teams and uses more cap. space; the cap rises dramatically next year.

    My guess is the Flames finish about 18-20th this year, not in a great draft pick position. Forget about Eckblad and McDavid. I expect a blockbuster trade sooner rather than later.

    I don’t see Hudler being sold off, but Camalarri is likely to go. I think the “patient” rebuild model is gone. I also think the Flames will do less well in the later rounds of the draft. Feaster made decisions participatively with the scouts defending players they like — Burke appears far more autocratic. Net/net Calgary returns to respectability more quickly, but the parade is equally as far or further down the road.

  • Andy7190

    I realize Cammy’s contract makes him attractive to potential trade partners, but the irony is that Cammy is one of the small guys in the league who punches well above his weight. He is a true pro.

    Whatever Burke and company do with him, I hope they get a decent return.

  • the forgotten man

    I can pretty much sum up Burkes recommendation to King/Edwards: Feaster/ Weisbrod figure 5-6 years to win a Cup…I can do it in 2-3.
    The elephant in the room is that he had almost 5 years in Toronto before that ship sailed.

  • Andy7190

    The win is icing on the cake, but I’m just glad Ramo got the start tonight. Ramo recently has showed us how decent goaltending can actually win you games. Berra should watch and learn.

  • beloch

    Re: Tonight’s Game

    That was probably the best shift and best goal I’ve ever seen from MacGrattan. He might be a possession train-wreck, but damn he’s entertaining to watch some nights!

    Re: Feaster’s ouster and Burke’s next moves

    One thing you can fault Feaster for is the uninspiring return his wheeling and dealing netted for the big veterans he sold off last season. Aside from the 1st round picks, the return remains pretty unconvincing. Having Burke on board means the Flames are less likely to get fleeced on whoever goes on the block this season. This would have been the case whether Feaster hung around or not. The Flames moves have had Burke’s stamp on them ever since he came aboard.

    According to sportsclubstats the Flames would need to go 0.68 on the remainder of the season to have a better than 50% chance of winning the playoffs. That’s not quite “eliminated with absolute certainty” yet, although it’s extremely close. Few teams outside the top five in the league manage that kind of pace for an entire season most years, so if the Flames were to go on a big winning streak to close out the year there’s a slim chance they could close the gap to the point where someone who hangs out with the Sutters far too much might decide to “go for it”. This is pretty improbable.

    Burke’s December “trade ban” seems to be a tip of the hat to the “win sooner” desires of the organization. Burke is waiting for the team to be clearly out of the playoffs before he starts moving pieces, and that suggests he might act very differently if they appear to have a slim chance at the start of the new year. It also suggests that he has some moves in mind that will tank the team pretty effectively, so he doesn’t want to execute them before he’s completely clear of blame for the team missing the playoffs. Obviously, Feaster will be the scapegoat this year if that happens.

    If the Flames don’t go on a streak this month, we can expect some of the big veterans to be on the block. We should also expect Burke to make some deals that help other clubs dump salary. If the flames do go on a streak, things could get ludicrous fast! So long as the streak doesn’t happen and the org doesn’t catch Sutter fever, Burke is an excellent GM to have this season when winning trades is what could make or break this club.

    Whoever Burke selects to “replace” Feaster isn’t going to be making important decisions and is unlikely to have much impact on the team this year. I think the best we can hope for is that the guy tapped for the job is some kind of drafting savant.

    • MichaelD

      Burke has a background in scouting doesn’t he? I wonder if he gives the job to one of his buddies from a scouting background who has some management experience. I don’t really know candidates, but maybe he gets tasked with looking for draft picks and prospects that he knows about, while Burke works the phones and makes sure that the GM doesn’t get screwed in a deal when valuing NHL players. Could be interesting.

      • piscera.infada

        I think the most likely GM candidate is Jim Benning (the AGM in Boston). Apparently he is considered somewhat of a drafting guru – so it makes sense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Burke handle a great deal of the trading ‘leg-work’, and the GM to be more in control of the day-to-day and draft day planning. All-in-all I’m fairly confident in Bruke’s ability to pick the right guy for whatever role the GM will actually posses – although there’s obvious trepidation regarding what might happen with the roster. That said, I’d still rather have Burke in charge of the trades coming up than Feaster, although I tended to be on more of the ‘support Feaster’ bandwagon.

        • RedMan

          what I wonder is – does Burke REALLY want a drafting guru, or does he want someone that is smart enough to do the exact things Burke would do.

          Sort of like the “if i wanted your opinion, I’d give it to you” type of leadership?

  • EugeneV

    Baertschi and Backlund for Strome or Couturier

    Anybody here who wouldn’t make that trade?

    Backlund has been playing really well the last few games, and sending Bartz to the A will probably raise his value.

  • RedMan

    was it my imagination or was Burke spitting into a cup as he was sitting next to K King last night? does he chew tobacco???

    anyway, like it or not, here we go with the Burke era. personally i have a lot of trepidation. i wast overly confident in Feaster but I’m nervous as hell with Burke. I Don’t like him being the face of the Flames. i hope he does things to change my mind but so far i hear double speak.

  • smith

    I suspect we can all guess what comes next.

    Burke will make some really good trades, but in the process remove all depth from our organization. We will get a few star players and be a playoff team with a bottom six filled with size and truculence. This would be great but thanks to Burke’s crappy drafting and the now lack of depth in the organization we will not actually be able to become a competitor for the Stanley cup. Too bad.

    Five years from now another GM will come in and hopefully be capable of more.

      • Oh I’m still hoping for the day K-Squared and even Burke are gone…but if there is one thing we learned from the late Nelson Mandela is that patience is a virtue and freedom does not happen over night. With that said…I felt rejuvenated in my fan-ship yesterday…it was a breath of fresh air and all things Flames and NHL I care to follow again. I’m just happy it wasn’t longer than it already was. 5+ years may have killed me off for good.

  • Feaster Famine

    It’s funny how unexpected changes (in this case the timing, not the actual firing) can change your opinion of something. I was opposed to the move initially, until I remembered that Feaster was a below average GM through his entire tenure and I had very little confidence in his ability to rebuild. I think Burke is a more respected “hockey guy” around the league and manages to use that to work a better return on trades. I also think his model of success is a little old school (TRUCULENCE!) but he acknowledge the need for skill, regardless of size, which was good to hear (as long as they play hard – also a good thing). He also emphasized the need to draft better and that he’ll use one of the two available positions to bring in someone with experience there – which to me sounds like our first round pick is not being moved and he’s accepted we’re going to draft high. Whatever happens moving forward I’m sure it’ll be interesting. I think Toronto might have humbled him a bit (they still aren’t great after 5+ years) and hopefully he learned some things about how to rebuild.

  • MichaelD

    what’s better?
    The devil you know or the devil you don’t know?

    As all things like this. Time will tell. I just think that most fans are just nervous because we’ve become accustomed to Jay Feaster and how he does business and this represents change, which is scary at first.