Post Game: I, Uh, Well…Hmmm



Well, chalk one up to you guys on Team Tank Mode. Your Calgary Flames (they are still YOUR Calgary Flames, are they not?) outclassed and outplayed their division rivals tonight, had a strong enough game to win, lost., and now sit one step closer to the NHL’s consolation prize in MacKiDrouJoneKov, or whatever other backwards high school kid Jay Feaster decides to draft that no one’s ever heard of.

Indeed, it was not the Flames night. A 5-2 loss to the Canucks might be more or less the way people expected this game to end, but that line really flatters the Canucks and makes the Flames look like the fat kid at the dance who couldn’t score a date, but that’s not how this one played out in reality.

In the same vein, the Flames, now with 11 games left in the season, are riding it out down the stretch and playing for something meaningful, just not in the way you’d be hoping they would. The most we can hope for now is for the team to play compeitive, watchable hockey, where the results dictate the Flames get something worthwhile out of it.

Which is exactly what happened tonight, and it was infuriating. A 5-2 loss, and all the Flames have to show for it is a shot at a Top 3 pick and a broken Matt Stajan.

Run It Down

 Van City is abuzz these days with the news that the Canucks might potentially be retiring Pavel Bure’s jersey, FINALLY, and in fitting fashion, the Orca played this game like they were in cahoots with Bure’s ties to the Russian Mob and throwing the game for a quick score.

That was a rather roundabout analogy, no?

Regardless, the Flames and their half a roster looked like the team that was attempting to win the division tonight, and even while being the squad playing the last half of a back to back for once, the Canucks were not able to come in and win this game through sheer will like they seemed to think they could.

Which, of course, happened anyway.

Cory Schneider happened big time in this game, and was very much a key factor in the win for the Canucks, making some timely saves off the likes of the Cervenkas and Cammalleris of the world when they balance of the game was very much still in question. The Canucks’ "Don’t Call Me Ginger" and number one incumbent made 36 saves in this one, and even the goal he surrendered to Alex Tanguay in the third came when the folks were all but adding the two points to the Canucks on the standings page.

The Flames could have had this game wrapped up in the first if not for a bit better puck luck and some frustratingly common Vancouver opportunism, as the Flaming C outshot the Canucks 15-8 in the first period, outchanced them 12-2, and….trailed 2-1. Vancouver opened the score 34 seconds in and Calgary could have packed it all in from there, but the fans were treated to a few scraps and the Flames pulling themselves up by the skatestraps as they went along. And Dennis Wideman scored, so everyone get happy!

It was more of the same in the second, as the granola munchin’ hippies from the West Coast padded their lead by adding 2 more goals on what some would say questionable goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff, himself playing in back to back games despite being 35 years old and also being 35 years old. I wouldn’t blame him myself, but hey, at this stage in the season and his career, it’s all kind of moot anyway – they both put a fork in it weeks ago.

Chances were even at 5 in the second, and with the Canucks outshooting Calgary 10-9 and the Sedins almost assuredly cheating somehow, the Flames found themselves down 4-1 going into the third.

The third period began and the game was over, but that didn’t stop Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks’ resident cymbal bangin’ monkey, from taking a needless, late, and deliberate elbow to the head of Flames All World Superstar Matty Franchise Stajan. Bieksa only got 2 minutes on the play like he was Gunner Stahl, but Stajan was all Gumby’d after, and it just did not look good. SO GOOD WORK ON THAT ONE BIEKSA, I’m sure you’ll get the proper amount of discipline meted out to you for haha just kidding, Brendan Shanahan.

The chances in the third were 9-1 Flames, as they dominated the period, but like you might have guessed, that ONE Canucks chance? Yeah, they scored. Story of the game right there.

Reinhart of The Game

Though there was stiff competition from Tim Hunter’s 21 year old son, who may or may not even exist, Reinhart of the Game went to rookie Max Reinhart, making his Flames and NHL debut tonight in absence of real hockey players currently available to the Flames (unless you count like Sven and Jones and whatever)

Paul’s son played over 16 minutes in his big league deflowering, and that’s not bad when you think about it. He had 3 shots on goal and rightfully played more minutes than McGrattan, Begin and the bunch, and filled in decently enough in what I guess is probably Blake Comeau’s roster spot.

Reinhart’s continued spot on the team remains tenuous, because the Abbotsford Heat have been eliminated from the playoffs, and Calgary is 5 or 6 losses away from the same fate, meaning a lot of AHLers are about to start getting a lot of looks from Flames brass as the season wanes down, just to see who’s worth a shot on and who should be cut loose but won’t because who are the Flames going to trade for when they already got their "big get" in Mike Testwuide.

The End

There’s 11 games left, friends, this pain will all be over soon. Have you guys picked a playoff team to cheer for yet? I’m going with Columbus, because after all those years of watching him toil in a Flames jersey, it sure would be nice to see Blake Comeau win a Stanley Cup, and he’s on the powerhouse squad to get it done.

(Hopefully Tim Erixon somehow gets cut before the playoffs start. I was hoping he was involved in a trade for Alex Ovechkin on Deadline Day)

The good news is the Oilers still look like they suck, and if they miss the playoffs, the Flames rebuild is automatically better than the Oilers one, though I have no idea how. But that’s something to look out for.

The Flames are back at it on Monday, traveling to Denver to take on those snowfooted sasquatch bastard Avalanche, and the implications for that one and how they relate to the number one overall pick make me weepy knowing that it’s come to this. But hey, buck up, tank fans, the game’s on the road, and we all know what that means.

And all your Raw Data, Nerds

And yet somehow Calgary lost this game. I need a shower.

  • Franko J

    Finally this team is going to give the younger guys a chance. A chance to prove their worth. While this team may not have the youth movement or so called pedigree of some other teams, they have the necessary foundation in place to be better. Last night what I saw from Reinhart, Backlund, Brodie and even Butler, there are some pillars to build upon. What I saw from them is the work ethic which has been lacking from this team for a very long time. At the very least they didn’t give up. With Baertschi added to the mix, I am excited to see what our prospects can do. Cannot be any worse than the first 37 games of this season.

    Despite the games remaining may not mean much in the standings and to the veterans who will watch another season wasted with no playoff hockey, the next 11 games will give Flame’s fans a further indication what the future could have in store.

    After watching the play of Brodie and Backlund along with the 4th line play for the past 2 games in addition to Reinhart’s tenacity last night I like what I am watching.

    Maybe with youth there will be mistakes and inconsistency in their game, but
    I like the effort, the tenacity and most of all the ability to not give up through a bit of adversity.

  • MattyFranchise

    I was stoked before I heard Sven was called up! Now I’m really happy! Great move management! This isn’t just a tryout! This is for the fans! I believe they see that the fans need something to be positive about and thisworks! It gives us some hope! I would love to see some healthy scratches of old players, especially sulkers like tanguay! This is down right awesome!

    • First Name Unidentified

      Sulkers like Tanquay.Where does that come from? Also you’re living in lala land if you believe this or any other team can have success with all young player’s.We will need guys like Tanguay.I believe you also felt that Glencross was a sulker.Where does this come from?

      • Franko J

        You are in lala land dude! The crap we have on this team other than Glenn x and Gio have been around toooooo long! tangs shouldn’t have had more than two years! His raw talent is amazing but when it comes to crunch time he sulks if the chips are down! When Keenan was coach he requested a trade and sulked because of the different role Keenan had had for him! He was making 5+ then too! True pros don’t sulk, and he does! He doesn’t play with heart! I don’t question his skill! I’ll even give you stajan stempniak and wideman! We mined them! But I’m not a fan of tangs effort vs. skill! It’s tangs that’s in lala land!

        • T&A4Flames

          Lay off Tangs dude. That was a few years ago now and even Tanguay has eluded to the fact that he was less than happy with Keenan and that he has grown up. Same could be said for Cammi, GlenX and a few other guys. Bottom line, as long as they play hard and try hard, they will be good to help our young guys.

          On that note, I thought Reinhart looked good last night for his 1st game.

  • MattyFranchise

    Infuriating? Hardly! This is a good day Flames fans! We have some kids basically already at training camp for next year, the old dudes aren’t getting all the ice time and losing, and we are like the Jefferson’s on draft day, “movn on up”! Couldn’t be happier! This is refreshing! It’s not about winning. We are truly seeing who wants in and who wants out, and its pretty easy to tell! Kudos to the coaches for playing all the young kids on the PP! Just makes me realize how sick this team was , still stuck in the Sutter mode even after the firing of both sutters! This team needed an enema and it has begun, and the best thing about it is we go young and go young very quickly!

  • First Name Unidentified

    Hi Kent,

    Here are 3 names I would like to see the Flames draft (or at least try to draft) in the first round this year:

    Nate Mac: We have a decent shot at him because he has slipped in the rankings lately due to his injury. We take him at #3. I guess Avs will take Jones and Panthers will take Drouin

    Frederick Gauthier: (with the STL pick at # 17) A solid 6ft 5 centre who plays like a power forward but is also good defensively. He has 60 pts in 62 games and carries a solid frame of 210 lbs at his age.

    Morgan Klimchuk: (with the PIT pick).


    • T&A4Flames

      I’m completely on board with those 1st 2 picks but not so much on Klimchuck. From what I hear he’s a 5’11” C destined for maybe a 3rd line role. If CGY is able to get MacKinnon and Gauthier, they should look at a D and preferably a right shooting D. At #30 (or so), I would look at Madison Bowey. I would be ok with a big RW in Zykov as well.

      • supra steve

        The Flames MUST draft Seth Jones.

        For me the pick has to be Jones and the Flames should make whatever trade neccesairy to do it (package up our eventual lottery pick with one of the two other 1st and maybe try to get a 2nd rounder comming the other way or something). At any rate Jones seems the clear number one not just for the draft but to meet the needs of the Flames franchise going forth. Sven Barchie is not the future of the Flames franchise – no knock on Sven really, but he just doesn’t have the presence to fill the huge shoes left by Ignila. The post Iginal era needs to be handled smartly by the Flames (not that i trust the brains-trust to do it mind you). The franchise has reapped the benefits of a strong fanbase (much of it corporate) for the last ten years largely on the back of Ignila and a magical run in ’04. The team up the road is is likely gonna start winning one of these days (god help us) and we can’t afford to fall too far behind. The franchise’s pride is on the line here, let alone the fact that corparate ‘fans’ aren’t nearly as loyal old mom and pop. If the kids up north start winning interests and money will likely follow. For the sake of the franchise, both in terms of appealing to the ticket paying fanbase, attracting UFAs, and obviously being able to build you team around a player of Jones’ talent, he makes the most sense. I see no better way to rebuild the roster and reinstil the hard working style of play the Calgary Flames were once – and should again be about – than building around a stud defenseman.

        Jones is a big, smart all around dman with pedagree – albeit from the basketball court. Players of these types are premium commodities in the NHL. What makes him perhaps even more valuable is that he seems to hold many of the valuable characteristics of our recently departed hall of fame* captain. He’s a mature, articulate, confident, tough and competitive kid who seems well equiped to handle the duties of a captain both on and off the ice – and sooner rather than later I would think.

        MacKinnon and Drouin are sure to be solid players in this league at some point but Jones looks like he could step in to the lineup tomorrow. Picking the guy who can step into the line up and be the face of the franchise sooner rather than later helps honour Edwards’ “marching orders” – as unrealistic as those may be.

        Obviously Colorado really wants Jones too. His dad’s time with the Nuggets was evidently an influential period in the kid’s early hockey development. The Avs would love to milk that storylines in their own rebuild. By trying to land the first overall pick, the Flames have yet another opportunity to stick it to the Avs.

        The Flames MUST draft Seth Jones.

        • T&A4Flames

          I tend to agree they should draft Seth Jones (if given the choice.. I’m sure he’ll go #1). But your reasons are a bit backwards. You talk of immediate impact and quick turn around and all that. But Jones is a 10 year play. D men take time to mature. Even Drew Doughty (considered a generational talent) is still finding his game. He has been up and down, up and down. Pronger didn’t become Pronger until 6-7 years into his career. Same with Shea Weber.

          ANyways, my point is, I agree with drafting Jones, but only because I am also a proponent of a slow, methodical and calculated build up through drafting. So we’d have time to let Jones season for a few years before it even matters.

          But those who are proponents of a quick spin by way of blowing crazy money to overpay UFAs and try to get back to the playoffs quick (see Feaster, Jay) then I’d expect one of the skilled forwards, who will make a quicker impact than any d man will logically make.

          There are no examples of 18, 19, or even 20 year old d men who are elite superstars carrying their teams, so drafting Jones would be AT LEAST a 3 year play. At least. I’d say 5-6.

        • supra steve

          From all I hear, Jones will be a star. I have some trouble taking a D-man with the Flames best draft position ever though. The fact that most have aknowledged that the last elite C on this team was Joe Nieuwendyk makes me think we need to fill the #1C position first, then go looking for D with a later pick. I like the thought that if we were fortunate enough to land the coveted #1 selection, we could trade down a position or two and use the assets that brings in to move up from the St.Louis (and PITT) draft choice(s) and end up with two top 10 selections (say #3 and one of #4-8). Not sure that it is possible, but would be great to land 2 (possible) franchise quality players in a single year.

          Not saying Jones would be a bad choice, if he has the kind of impact that Lidstrom or Pronger had, he would be a great choice too. But, I would rather grab 2 first class players if passing on Jones made that possible.

        • T&A4Flames

          I think taking Jones 1st would be a mistake. I wouldn’t be upset if that is what we got but I would prefer a forward (just not a LW- we have more than enough).

          You want NHL ready, look no further than Barkov. Listed at 6’3″ and 209 lbs. as an 18 yr old. Already place a big mans game in the Finnish elite league. Russian heritage (parents) with Finnish hockey tenacity, yea, I’ll take that.

          Mac offers flexibility. A right shot who plays C but I believe has played some RW as well. Perfect fit IMO.

    • Franko J

      Can’t argue with those picks. Good choices.
      I was wondering if CAlgary went the way of defensive help who would you pick for a defenseman in the first round?
      I don’t know about yourself I can’t wait for draft position day on I believe April 30th. In all my years watching the Flames I think this is closest this team has come to the possibilities of drafting 1st overall.
      Too bad at the trade deadline the Flames couldn’t aquire a few more picks, maybe at the draft they might. Particularly few 2nd rounders. I find while the first round theoretically should provide the team with a top 6 forward, top 2 defenseman, or can’t miss goaltender, the real good teams with success finds the players in the 2nd round who can compliment and sometimes improve the teams fortunes. Too bad the Flames have a penchant for trading second round picks away. While the team continues to struggle I often wonder what could have been if they actually kept them?

  • wattree

    Not sure the Weiss hit kn McGratton doesn’t deserve a closer look. sure looked like he put his shoulder right into his head. but then he’s a human punching bag so what’s the big deal right? I hate the wheel of justice in this league.

    As much as we make fun of the ice time given to the 4th line, man are they fun to watch right now

    • Reidja

      I was thinking the same thing.Sure looked like a deliberate shoulder to head on McGratton.

      Also ,think Stajan has showed a strengh in character this year,by elevating his game despite his whipping boy status.

  • mk

    Well if has confused feelings writing that, so did I while reading it. I want the Flames to win, but a long-term view says losing now is best. Ugh. I’m hitching my horse to the Backlund wagon because damn is he…okay. Better than other players. 🙂