FGD: Hey, How About A Goal?

 

 

 

Your Calgary Flames return home tonight, fresh off a sad, tiny road trip where, well okay that Colorado game was great, but goal scoring, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, continues to be down. After falling 6-0 to the Coyotes in the hockey metropolis that is the great state of Arizona, the Flames have now been shutout 4 times in the past 6 games and scored only 5 goals in that same span.

Needless to say, that is a pressing concern.

And as that old saying about how things get worse before they get better, well brother, things are about to get worse before they get better. The Flames welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight, and if we’re all lucky and send a prayer to all our respective deities (mine’s German Titov), we mayhaps see a Flames goal or two tonight.

Maybe. We’ll see.

The Offensive Dynamo Calgary Flames

Lineups, as you know and always are, courtesy of our superpals over at Daily Faceoff, and let me tell you, those guys are all fresh sex on wheels.

  • Cammy – Backlund – Stemps
  • Byron – Monahan – Hudler
  • Galiardi – Stajan – Bouma
  • Westgarth – Colborne – McGrattan
  • Brodie – Giordano
  • Smid – Wideman
  • Butler – O’Brien
  • Ramo

More or less the lineup you’d expect to see at this point in the season, given injuries, mind numbing coaching decisions, and organizational philosophies. That second line is one I’m particularly intirgued in, as I think Sean Monahan could get a decent boost from what may be the two most consistent Flames forwards over the past 5 or 6 games. We all know Monarail has struggled a lot since returning from injury, partly because he wasn’t 100%, so maybe now that he’s healthy that line could be dynamic.

Anytime I see Backlund at 1C I get giddy.

Expect to see a lot of Gio and Brodie tonight. Obviously they’re just the two best defensemen on the team and the club’s best shutdown option, but also just because the Blues are good and the rest of these guys are more or less scrubs (not you Dennis, I love you). Could be a long night for that duo.

I don’t know if Stone Cold Matt Stajan (pictured above), has any designs on exacting revenge on David "Dave" Backes for his terrible knee on knee hit in overtime the last two times these teams hooked up, but supposedly they’re friends somehow and if the Franchise has any competitive juices in him at all (and we know he does), well…let’s just say I’ll be paying extra attention when the two of them are on the ice together.

Karri Ramo is not Reto Berra and that’s a good thing.

The St. Louis Bloos

  • Schwartz  – Backes – Oshie
  • Sobotka – Berglund – Tarasenko
  • Paajarvi – Roy – Stewart
  • Morrow – Lapierre – Reaves
  • Pietrangelo – Bouwmeester
  • Shattenkirk – Jackman
  • Cole – Leopold
  • Elliott

Damn, son.

What you’re looking at is basically the entire collection of every Olympic country’s roster. That is a good looking lineup, and it’s easy to see why the Blues are tied for third overall in the whole entire NHL. I mean that 4th line is pretty junky and you kinda see why Calgary would be countering with Westgarth and MccGrattan tonight (aside from they were going to do it anyway), but the Blues in general are a pretty physical team, and I expect a chippy affair tonight. Old school stuff, should be a lot of fun to watch.

Jaro Halak is currently on the shelf, so the Blues turn to one of the other two goalies they’ve always been comfortable starting. Brian Elliott and Jake Allen are clear steps down from Halak, but the Blues are good enough that no one’s ever really been able to notice. Still, if the Flames want to pop a few tonight, it’s probably better that Halak’s not the one standing in their way.

Playoff Implications

Reinhart or Ekblad?

Players to Watch

I already touched on this, but let’s go with Sean Monahan.

Assuming there’s any kind of line matching going on, and Ken Hitchcock loves him some matchups, I have no idea who Sean’s going to be going nose to nose with all night, but there’s not a lot of options to shelter him. That said, I think he’s in the best position possible to succeed tonight, and with some nicely skilled players in Byron and Hudler, there’s a good chance we see him on form. He did score the other night against Colorado, and hey, he hasn’t been bad lately, so maybe he’s getting his nice looking rookie campaign back on track. Tonight’s game should be a good test for him and the organization to see how his development has come along.

Also, goons. Lots of goons playing tonight. It’s going to be a #GRITCHART heavy kind of night.

LE Fin

I think if the Flames scored one goal tonight, the way things have been going, we’d be happy. If they scored two, there might be a parade. I know a lot of fans are ambassadors of Tank Nation, so they’re happy to see the way this season is going. Personally, I don’t think they’re tanking, they’re actually just bad enough on merit to be challenging for that first overall pick.

Somehow I feel better about that. I’d sure like to be able to write these FGDs someday and talk about how the team is right in the thick of a division lead. Someday, friends, someday. That bright future horizon is not as distant as it looks right now, I promise you that.

  • seve927

    Hartley still has the same stupid look on his face, like he knows what is coming, or is it? I thought that he was gone after the last disastrous homestand. What else has to happen in order for something resembling a positive change and a step in the right direction for the development of the organization? What is further down than rock bottom?

        • RexLibris

          They play Pittsburgh tomorrow night and Chicago on Sunday.

          Moving ahead in the standings would mean winning both games.

          I’m not putting money on that happening.

          • RexLibris

            Do what I can.

            The Oilers are playing better, but they now have a majority of games against the WC, including a bunch against the Pacific teams, and they dug themselves one heck of a deep grave in October and November.

            All of that taking in addition to the likelihood they are going to trade away one of Bryzgalov or Dubnyk at the deadline, perhaps move Hemsky and probably Gagner, means that their roster could be thinner by March 6th than it was before.

            Personally, I think this year’s draft race between Edmonton and Calgary comes down to who gets 2nd overall. Buffalo is pretty bad and I’d be very, very surprised if hey could climb ahead of both Alberta teams by season’s end.

            That being said, if the Flames keep up their aversion to offense, maybe Sam Reinhart pulls on a Flaming C in June.

  • RexLibris

    I guess the next set of questions that come to mind are:

    – could Burke make this team any worse?

    – what are the possible attractions of the Flames to a potential GM?

    – does the current lack of offense in any way diminish the market value of the Flames’ pending UFAs?

    – What area of the roster does Burke believe to be a priority?

  • beloch

    In the last two games the Flames have had 60 shots on net and 0 goals. They actually outshot the blues tonight! That’s some seriously bad voodoo! It’s like the Flames are in a Stephen King novel and just spat on a seemingly harmless little old lady!

    • EugeneV

      Cammaleri is the ONLY player on this team with a goal scoring acumen.
      Nobody else could even score in the Minors or Junior, so what do you expect?

      So it now appears that the majority of posters today what the team fixed “RIGHT NOW” rather than the rebuild taking a natural course?

      That’s easy, Just start giving away tomorrow for today so we can compete to get into the playoffs, just like we did since 1995. SOOOOOO CLOSE..not!

      Be patient and hope it only takes a couple of years like Chicago or Pitts.

  • RexLibris

    what’s weird is Burke fired Feaster for not doing this fast enough. What has Burke done since?

    Westgarth. yeah.

    this streak of futility has to be some kind of record… it really is horrible.

    • RexLibris

      Well, Burke fired Feaster December 12th.

      Since that time there have been four moves. Omark for a conditional 6th, Westgarth for Nemisz, Liles for Gleason, and Carcillo for a conditional 7th.

      Not a lot happening anywhere, and Burke is hardly the only one in dire straits right now.

      He’s trying to make moves on the team and interview for a new GM probably all before the trade deadline.

      My guess is that there are some predictable moves made March 5th and then this summer is when the Flames start to really make substantive changes.

      • seve927

        Seriously????????????????????

        That is the reason Burke cited for firing Feaster (well, one of them). It seems hypocritical that he’s done NOTHING since.

        You don’t think so?

        And thanks for the nauseating series of “insight”. Have you ever actually contributed anything to this site aside from acerbic nonsense?

        Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical.