Post-Game: Just Enough To Win

(courtesy the NHL/

Joe Nieuwendyk’s number was honoured (but not retired) on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. As expected, the Calgary Flames sat around on the bench for about 20 minutes as people talked about how great Nieuwendyk was as a player. Then they played a fairly uninspired two periods of hockey, aside from a few pockets of energetic play from the kids.

And then the New York Islanders failed to cash in on 66 seconds of a two-man advantage, already up two goals, and the Hockey Gods punished them for it. Three Flames goals in just over four minutes, and the Flames accomplished a miraculous comeback and won despite being the worse team for about 45 of the game’s 60 minutes.

It was as if the Islanders just wanted to lose the game more than the Flames did. (Spoiler: This is probably true.)


Just like Wednesday’s game with the Seantors, the Flames came out of the gate full of piss and vinegar. They had a lot of early scoring chances, but fell off a bit as the game wore on. With the team short-handed, Paul Byron came off the bench, corralled a loose puck, then slickly dished it to Markus Granlund down low, who sniped it past Anders Nilsson to put the Flames up 1-0. Joni Ortio got the other assist for his first NHL point. After that initial surge, the Flames play fell off and the Isles found their legs. They out-shot Calgary 11-0 after the Flames got out to a 6-0 shot lead, and Colin McDonald cashed in, beating Ortio over the shoulder glove-side from a wide angle to tie things up late in the period.

The second was all Islanders, despite the shots being even at 8-8. The Isles beat the Flames to loose pucks. The Isles kept the Flames to the outside in the offensive zone. The Flames somehow became completely unable to clear a puck out of their own zone. Flames players – veterans and youngsters alike – made bone-headed decisions that ended up in the back of the net. Mark Giordano over-committed on a Flames rush, allowing Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo to go up on a 2-on-1 and beat Ortio (via an Okposo shot) to go up 2-1. A bit later, an awful back-handed neutral zone pass by Ben Hanowski was intercepted, leading to an Isles rush and a laser-beam Brock Nelson wrister that beat Ortio to make things 3-1 after 40 minutes.

About two minutes into the final frame, the Flames dug themselves a deep, dark hole: they were down by two men (Giordano and Bouma were in the box) against the team with the most 5-on-3 goals in the NHL. However, the Isles failed to capitalize on the advantage – largely passing around the perimeter and not really committing on their few chances. After that big kill, the Flames found their legs again, although both teams really didn’t execute well offensively until late in the period. When one of the teams did execute – spoiler, it was Calgary – things got out-of-hand fast. A Mark Giordano wide slap-shot bounced off the end boards and right to Joe Colborne, who batted it in to make it 3-2. A little later, Sean Monahan flipped the puck on net from the blueline. Anders Nilsson couldn’t fully glove it, so he batted it to the corner. Monahan came away with the puck, shuffled it along the boards to T.J. Galiardi, who found Monahan at the front of the net for the rookie’s 19th goal of the year to tie the game. A little while later, the Flames beat the Islanders in on a dump-in, and a Giordano point-shot was tipped by Colborne out-front to make it 4-3 for the Flames. Joni Ortio (and his posts) stood tall on a few late Islanders chances and the Flames celebrated a 4-3 win. Shots were 9-7 Flames in the third.


The Flames played just good enough to win in the third and the Islanders played just bad enough to lose. Through 40 minutes, this was one of the more disappointing home efforts in some time – and that’s including games where they scored zero goals – but they woke up in the third period. Guys crashed the net. Guys beat the Islanders to loose pucks. Guys made smart passes. The Flames found their game for just long enough in the third period to come away with the win. Coach Hartley probably wants to burn the tape from the first two periods, but there’s a lot of positives from the third.


Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 19:20 Cammalleri 5 7 11 13 37 39 21 37 40 45 46 51 5v5
Home 1 19:19 Galiardi 5 7 11 13 37 39 21 37 40 45 46 51 5v5
Home 1 18:54 Backlund 5 11 17 37 44 11 18 21 27 45 51 4v5
Away 1 18:39 Okposo 5 11 17 37 44 11 18 21 27 45 51 4v5
Away 1 17:20 Bailey 3 7 11 32 37 3 12 15 29 44 45 4v5
Home 1 15:36 Galiardi 4 8 16 23 37 44 3 12 15 29 44 45 5v5
Away 1 15:27 Nelson 4 8 16 23 37 44 3 12 15 29 44 45 5v5
Away 1 13:39 Nelson 4 8 23 37 39 44 12 15 29 37 45 46 5v5
Away 1 13:32 Nelson 4 8 23 37 39 44 12 15 29 37 45 46 5v5
Home 1 10:03 Monahan 4 8 23 37 39 44 12 15 29 37 45 46 5v5
Away 1 7:09 McDonald 3 32 37 44 59 60 11 13 14 18 27 45 5v5
Away 1 2:52 Cizikas 3 8 23 37 39 56 11 14 17 43 45 53 5v5
Away 1 1:42 Okposo 5 7 32 37 60 3 18 21 27 44 45 4v5
Away 1 0:49 Clutterbuck 4 11 17 37 44 3 12 15 29 44 45 4v5
Home 2 18:09 Reinhart 3 23 32 37 56 59 13 18 27 37 45 46 5v5
Home 2 15:13 Reinhart 4 5 13 23 37 59 3 15 44 45 53 5v4
Home 2 14:45 Russell 4 5 11 13 23 37 3 15 44 45 53 5v4
Home 2 14:34 Monahan 4 5 11 13 23 37 3 15 44 45 53 5v4
Home 2 13:39 Backlund 3 5 8 11 37 39 11 21 29 40 44 45 5v5
Away 2 13:31 Okposo goal 3 5 8 11 37 39 11 21 29 40 44 45 5v5
Away 2 12:58 Martin 3 32 37 56 59 60 3 17 37 43 45 53 5v5
Away 2 7:53 Nelson 4 10 16 37 44 58 12 15 29 37 45 46 5v5
Home 2 6:13 Backlund 3 11 13 37 39 56 13 18 27 37 45 46 5v5
Home 2 4:31 Granlund 5 7 32 37 58 60 11 14 21 40 45 51 5v5
Home 2 4:01 Giordano 5 7 8 11 13 37 21 37 40 45 46 51 5v5
Home 3 11:34 Backlund 4 8 11 13 37 44 3 21 40 44 45 51 5v5
Home 3 10:03 Byron 3 32 37 56 59 60 11 12 14 15 29 45 5v5
Away 3 9:26 McDonald 3 11 32 37 56 59 3 13 18 27 44 45 5v5
Home 3 8:40 Brodie 5 7 8 11 13 37 21 37 40 45 46 51 5v5
Home 3 8:33 Giordano 5 7 8 11 13 37 21 37 40 45 46 51 5v5
Home 3 8:32 Colborne goal 5 7 8 11 13 37 21 37 40 45 46 51 5v5
Home 3 5:38 Monahan goal 3 32 37 56 59 60 3 17 43 44 45 53 5v5
Home 3 4:21 Colborne goal 5 7 8 11 13 37 13 18 27 37 45 46 5v5
Away 3 3:53 Nielsen 5 7 8 11 13 37 3 21 40 44 45 51 5v5
Away 3 1:13 Nielsen 3 5 8 11 13 37 11 21 40 45 46 51 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
3 SMID, LADISLAV 14:52 5 6 00:00 0 0 01:32 0 1
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 17:59 3 4 01:39 3 0 01:31 0 1
5 GIORDANO, MARK 21:01 9 3 01:39 3 0 03:22 1 2
7 BRODIE, TJ 20:39 8 1 00:21 0 0 02:44 0 2
8 COLBORNE, JOE 15:21 9 7 00:21 0 0 00:00 0 0
10 KNIGHT, CORBAN 06:24 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 17:55 10 4 00:21 2 0 04:15 1 3
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 19:07 9 2 00:46 3 0 00:12 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 04:58 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 13:48 0 0 00:00 0 0 02:28 1 2
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 13:30 3 4 01:07 3 0 00:05 0 0
32 BYRON, PAUL 14:07 4 3 00:53 0 0 02:40 0 2
37 ORTIO, JONI   16 11   3 0   1 4
39 GALIARDI, TJ 15:17 5 4 00:21 0 0 01:12 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 16:40 3 5 00:21 0 0 04:41 1 2
56 WOTHERSPOON, TYLER 11:15 4 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
58 HANOWSKI, BEN 05:31 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:10 0 0
59 REINHART, MAX 13:31 3 3 01:18 1 0 00:00 0 0
60 GRANLUND, MARKUS 13:30 3 2 00:53 0 0 01:43 0 1
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 9 5 5 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 3 8 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
3 3 7 3 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Two goals for Joe Colborne on Joe Nieuwendyk Night? On the night his hero was honoured, Colborne has a really solid game.


The Flames (25-31-7) have played 63 games, so they have 19 games left this season. The rookies hit the road tomorrow night, as they head to Vancouver for a date with the Canucks. The last time these two teams met, the Flames lost in a shootout.

Oh, and Bob Hartley got fined for starting his fourth line because John Tortorella lost his damn mind. The Flames’ recent resurgence and the Canucks recent collapse can probably be charted back to that one Saturday night in Rogers Arena.

Tomorrow night is the rematch. Doncha dare miss it!

  • prendrefeu

    So I’m confused on how I should feel about this…

    On one hand, I’m super stoked that we’re seeing the kids play and getting them some “big stage” experience. That includes learning how to come back, learning how to play a full 60, and #gritchart

    On the other hand, should we be in tank mode to get one of those top picks?

    On the other other hand, damn I like it when we win. I mean, yeah… Go Flames Go!!! And the future is looking good.

    On the other other other hand, I have no idea about Ekblad or the other names that keep getting tossed out there. How good are they? Like, generational Sid the Kid good? Or Rico Fata “good” ?

    • BurningSensation

      Here’s the thing about ‘tank-mode’ this year, it’s pointless.

      A. the teams below us in the standings are even more committed to being losers than we are, especially Edmonton, which is looking to make losing a multi-generational affair, and Buffalo, which has cut all the meat off, and is now digging deep into the bone. Bobby-Lou might win the Panthers a few more games they wouldn’t have, so we do have that going for us.

      B. This draft is weak outside of the top end of players. Outside of two or three guys (Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett) there isn’t a player who projects as a top line forward or top pairing D-man. Unless we win the lottery we aren’t looking at getting a guy who will alter the franchises’s trajectory on their lonesome. That said, I am hoping we finish no lower than 5th (Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett, Draisatl, Dal Colle – if we are drafting outside the top 5, hope to get Virtanen, and that Burke doesn’t have a size-on for Ritchie).

      C. The coach and management group have clearly decided they would prefer the team win some games with the kids through hardwork, than to lose games with the vets due to apathy. By my eye, the best players on the Flames last night were all under 25. These kids aren’t playing out the string, they just want to play.

      • RexLibris

        I think you are making an assumption on point C.

        Management cannot tell the young players to win or lose. Simply give them the opportunity by calling them up and perhaps then suggesting to the coaching staff how they would like to see them featured.

        The coaching staff then deploys them as they see fit, perhaps (emphasis there) under the advisement of management.

        Then the players have to execute. Perhaps the biggest “if” of the whole process.

        The result is just as you say “they just want to play”, but the reasoning behind that doesn’t add up.

        It wouldn’t be the first time a team filled with young players bucked the odds and hit above their weight class for twenty-odd games.

        I had a look last night at the general trends for the bottom five teams and, if they keep on as they have the last ten games – barring injury and streaks, and no lottery alteration – the Flames are on pace to finish 26th and draft fifth overall.

        The draft would run Buffalo, Florida, Islanders (so perhaps Buffalo again), Edmonton and Calgary.

        I figured that would mean that Edmonton would probably end up taking Draisaitl, unless Ekblad somehow drops the way Larsson, Fowler and Jones all did.

        This would likely mean that the Flames would be looking at Dal Colle, Virtanen, Fleury, or perhaps even Nylander.

        Still a long way to go, but something to keep an eye on.

        • BurningSensation

          Hey Rex,

          The assumption I was making was that the kids are more motivated to play balls-to-the-wall and win than the vets who want to avoid injury as they play out the string.

          Yeah, it’s bad pop-psych stuff, but I’ve lost count the number of times the Flames were all but mathematically eliminated and then went on a winning streak over the last quarter of the season because all the hungry young-uns are brought up to see how big-league life works.

          • RexLibris

            Seen that train go by a thousand times too.

            Look at 2007. The Oilers trade Ryan Smyth and then tank. Hard. But with one game left to go in the season, and tied with Chicago looking for that coveted 26th overall spot in the standings to enter the lottery for 1st overall, the Oilers beat the Flames in the final game of the season.


            Chicago finished 26th.

            Won the draft lottery.

            Picked Patrick Kane.

            With the 6th overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft the Edmonton Oilers were proud to select, from the London Knights, Sam Gagner.

            Really funny part is that the Hawks won the lottery knocking the Flyers out of picking 1st.

            Then a few years later that same kid scores this goal against the Flyers –

            Those darned Hockey Gods have a wicked sense of humour.

        • BurningSensation

          “This would likely mean that the Flames would be looking at Dal Colle, Virtanen, Fleury, or perhaps even Nylander.”

          I can’t see it being Nylander, he doesn’t check off any boxes other than skill. Wrong position (LW), he’s skinny and underweight, lacks physical play, foreign born (which matters even though it shouldn’t), and while he is a legacy pick of sorts, I just can’t see him being our guy unless we trade downwards for some reason to take him later in the draft (where he would be excellent value).

          Of the other three guys you list, I think the one name you could add is Nick Ritchie. He’s huge (230lbs already), plays a monster physical game, and he has some scoring ability.

          All that said, I’m hoping for Dal Colle or Virtanen at pick 5, and if it turns out that Hadyn Fleury is our guy, that’s ok too.

          • RexLibris

            Does the Nylander exemption come from your belief in the Flames scouting staff or Brian Burke?

            Because both have embraced smaller players, some foreign born in the draft (Baertschi and Kadri, to name two).

            It really depends. Last year Horvat and Domi were considered high picks, then had poor playoffs and fell.

            Virtanen, Ritchie, Fleury, Nylander, all names to consider.

            So much track between now and then.

          • BurningSensation

            Scouting is really a funny business. Last year Nylander looked like a sure-fire top 3 pick, with a chance to go 1st overall. This year, he has fallen off the pace of the other players and now slots somewhere in the 8-15 range.

            The Flames have a LONG history of preferencing size at the draft going back to Bob Johnson (and George Pelawa – may he rest in peace).

            Given it is a weak draft by all estimations and that Calgary won’t be cherry picking from the best of the group (barring a lottery win), I suspect strongly they will look at several players in a ‘tier’ and select the one that best fits the orgs needs.

            Given the depth at LW (Gaudreau, Baertschi, etc.) for scoring wingers, and that Nylander doesn’t bring anything else to the table, I think they would cheerfully select someone else like Fleury, Dal Colle, Virtanen or Ritchie who would either fill a hole (defense), or add size and scoring to the wing (VIrtanen/Ritchie/Dal Colle).

            If the Flames were to engineer a trade downwards I can totally see them selecting Nylander later in the draft where his value would be increased.

            As for Horvat and Domi, perhaps my memory is poor, but I thought both moved well up the draft list based on strong playoffs (especially Horvat), rather than dropped because of poor play.

            I need more coffee.

          • RexLibris

            You could be right about Horvat and Domi.

            They were trending up and down from roughly February onwards. I probably lost track of where the carousel ended.

            Let’s imagine that the Flames finish such that they are drafting 5th and are looking at Dal Colle and Virtanen as the top-end of the perceived available talent.

            Based on the perception of the draft’s depth, I’m not certain there is a partner for a trade down – Snow is likely out of the draft mix at this point, so we eliminate “crazy” as a motive.

            Maybe Gillis tries to move up, I suppose. Offers Markstrom or something similar and his pick to move from, say, 10th to 5th. I said “crazy” is off the table, “incompetent” is still hanging around.

            Personally, I’ve thought that Virtanen was a great fit for the Flames for awhile now. Their depth at RW is almost an insult to the term itself. Perhaps he compares as a scorer to Carter or Kessel if he reaches his ceiling?

          • RexLibris

            Virtanen is interesting. I like him a lot, but he scares the crap out of me. A player with those kinds of tools, those kinds of dynamics, shouldn’t be that anemic on the scoresheet.

            I was fooled by Bastian Collberg. I’m not about to fall for that noise again.

          • BurningSensation

            I think that if the Flames do trade down in the draft it would have to be WAY down. I can’t see any team (save an insanely desperate Gillis) looking to move up just one or two spots, but then, you never ever know. Burke has a way of getting teams to do really stupid things in trades (yeah, why don’t YOU draft Patrick Stefan 1st overall, and I’ll take the Sedins! – that sounds fair, right?), so I guess it can’t be ruled out.

            I think Carter is a nice comp to Virtanen, but Jake is much more physical than Carter, and may not have as high a ceiling as an offensive force. This may have to do with Virtanen being a more ‘pure’ winger than Carter (who was a C in jr. and eventually converted to RW by Philly).

            The Kessel comp is off side. Virtanen is much, much bigger/stronger than Phil the Thrill, and has nowhere near the offensive ability. (interesting to note that Kessel was also converted to wiing from C).

            Virtanen is kind of a funny prospect. He was a top pick in the WHL entry draft, and the Hitmen sort of expected an offensive whiz kid. When it turned out that Virtanen was more of a power winger than skill forward, I think it was something of a surprise given the kids obvious skill level. The Hitmen are a deep team, and Virtanen doesn’t get cherry minutes the way other prospects might. So there may be untapped upside to him still. Plus, big wingers tend to take longer to develop (Cam Neely springs immediately to mind).

            If Burke uses the pick on any of the guys I mentioned (Fleuy, Virtanen, Dal Colle) I’ll be thrilled. Ritchie makes me VERY nervous, as I am concerned he’s just Chris Stewart part 2.

          • T&A4Flames

            I don’t see Carter and certainly not Kessel as good compatibles for Virtanen. I think Perry is a good comparable. That’s right, the Corey Perry that helped Burke’s Ducks win a cup.

          • T&A4Flames

            Vitanen’s touch?

            18 Jake Virtanen LW 67 42 25 67 +22 93 10 2 1.00 1.39

            His scoring touch seems just fine to me.

            Comparatively, here are Perry’s # in his draft year.

            2002-03 London OHL 67 25 53 78 6 145 11 0 – – – 1.16

            And in draft +1

            London OHL 66 40 73 113 38 98 19 2 – – – 1.71

            Virtanen’s #’s look damn good.

          • RexLibris

            Well… his goals look good. 25 assists? Normally a player who just barely manages a ppg isn’t considered a top 10 prospect (see Nicklas Jensen and Brendan Gaunce).

            Compare his numbers to Josh Ho-Sang’s for instance.

            Virtanen reminds me of Curtis Lazar, except a little more dynamic.

          • T&A4Flames

            So Ho-Sang is a playmaker and Virtanen more a finisher. Considering what we have in the pipeline, we could really use a big bodied, right shooting finisher.

          • RexLibris

            Have you seen where Ho-Sang is ranked, though? Being able to score like he does at his size, why isn’t he in the top ten along with much bigger blokes like Virtanen and (shudder) Ritchie who don’t score anywhere near as often?

            Don’t take this as a suggestion that I’d take Ho-Sang over Virtanen, but there’s nothing encouraging about Virtanen’s season to date if he’s to be drafted in the top 7.

  • xploD

    Many positives, Colborne the beast, I was worried he was gonna be traded for a while and all of a sudden he’s playing to his strengths and looks amazing, next season should be great. One criticism on Ortio was being to dedicated to the shooter even with it being a 2 on 0. A little out of position a couple times but that can be fixed with experience so no worries. His glove hand though looks lightning fast.

  • loudogYYC

    Granlund and Reinhart looked great tonight, size no longer seems to be an issue with Reinhart and Granlund looks like he’s been in the pros for years.

    Hanowski on the other hand, doesn’t seem like an NHLer at all to me. I hope I’m wrong.

    Overall an absolute ballsy win, so good to see the Flames one-up the Oilers again!

  • MattyFranchise

    With the energy the team displayed in the third it seems that Hartley chewed them a new one during the intermission. You put this team in tank mode and the kids don’t learn that you have to work hard to win in this league which they showed tonight when they were all but out of the game heading into the third period.

    Tell me this: does Edmonton win this game in regulation when the whole team is making mistakes for the first 2 periods and goes down 3-1? My feeling is no.

    Tired of hearing about tanking it for a high pick.

    • T&A4Flames

      EDM actually made a big come back in the 3rd last night. So I guess that answers that. Apparently between 2nd and 3rd periods Eakins walked and said something briefly then left. Then the players began yelling. It seemed to work. I actually hope they go on a run, as well as the other teams around us. That way there is no guilt which ever way you view a win.

  • beloch

    The Flames have 3 games in hand on the Islanders, who were well positioned to dive below the Flames regardless of tonight’s outcome. There was a little help on the out-of-town scoreboard though. Florida beat Buffalo! Buffalo is likely going to be impossible for anyone but the Oilers to catch, but Florida is now just 2 points below the Flames with neither team having games in hand. The bad news is that Florida plays Boston tomorrow…

    The Flames are certainly going to be at a disadvantage after flying into Vancouver to face a rested Canuck’s team on the second half of a back-to-back. My gut says that Ortio will be rested tomorrow. He was good enough tonight, but not great. Unfortunately, that can only mean bad things about who will play in net if Ramo doesn’t miraculously return from sick bay. Of course, the Canucks’ goal-tending is now pretty questionable too. Also, as banged up as the Flames are, the Canucks are probably in even worse shape. Tomorrow’s game might actually be a battle even if there aren’t any line-brawls or hallway shenanigans! I’m still hoping Torts does something that gets him suspended or fined again though. That stuff is just too entertaining.

  • Elsewhere:
    -Yale wins 4-0 over Hahvard (1a for Agostino)
    -1a for Culkin in 2-1 Drummondville win over Sherbrooke
    -1a for Poirier in 4-3 Gatineau win over Rimouski
    -1a for Kanzig in 4-1 Victoria win over Kamloops
    -Swift Current lost to Red Deer 4-1 (no points for Gordon)
    -2a for Klimchuk in 5-2 Regina win over Lethbridge
    -2a for Roy in 6-3 Brandon loss to Edmonton

  • Also, ponder this gang – how many games did a veteran-laden Flames squad last year (and in recent years) get down one or two goals heading into the third and completely pack it in?

    The answer: a lot more than this group.

  • beloch

    More news about tomorrow’s game:

    Some in the ‘nucks fanbase are apparently excited because Niklas Jensen, their 2011 first round pick, is being called up[1]. This kid is a winger with a NHLE of 11. Ouch!


    • McRib

      The Canucks have drafted busts since Mike Gillies arrived its actually sad they are only realizing it now. In five years of drafting under Gillies Vancouver has only had one player play more than 50 games (Cody Hodgson). He was a surefire Top. 10 pick and they traded him away for Zack Kassian (Hahah). They are in a worse situation than we were three years ago, outside of the Sedins they have nothing, but aging veterans that want out of town. Nicklas Jensen would be 10th in scoring on the Abbotsford Heat (not counting Baertschi or Ferland who would have much more points in a more regular role).

      The strangest thing about Vancouver’s drafting is why they refuse to draft WHL players?!?!?! Hunter Shinkaruk was the only WHLer they have drafted in four years…. You would think in a market like Vancouver you would be aware of local talent….. Prabh Rai who they took in the fifth round five years ago isn’t even playing hockey anymore. Their drafting has been so bad they literally have a handful of players that they have taken who weren’t even good enough to play NCAA (Wesley Myron, Matthew Beattie, etc)…. When they draft from the 3-7 round the hockey world usually has never even heard of the player. Mike Gillies is a former agent this is what happens when you make an agent a GM. He makes Darryl Sutter look like a genuis at the draft table, at least he got it right a few times (Phaneuf, Brodie, Backlund, Ortio, Reinhart, Arnold, Ferland, Bouma)

  • mk

    As much as a higher draft position benefits the Flames, I’ll never have a problem cheering a win. That’s why I’m a fan, because I love seeing them win.

    It may be short-sighted, but hey, this is only entertainment.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Great comeback win..hopefully supports a “never-say-die” culture to play a full 60 every game.

    Looking forward to seeing Poirier and his speed and Burrow-like tenaciousness on the right side, and Gaudreau and his Fleury-like magic on the left. Ferland with some size & grit, Baertschi’s playmaking & Klimchuk’s pursuit .

    Overall forward group looking well-positioned and balanced to improve, replacing 4-5 vets over next couple years, with no one older than Backlund.

    Still need 2 more top 6 high-skill forwards to round out the group.

    Problem is defence. Have some 4-6 defenders in the system with potential to make it(Sieloff, Kanzig, Culkin, Roy, Kulak, Gilmour etc).

    However if we forecast forward 3 years from now (post Gio) there is a huge gaping hole with top 3 defenders with skill & size. If we don’t draft or acquire our rebuild will look front-heavy back-lite like Edmonton.

    Would love to get Ekblad as a projected top 2 defender but highly unlikely at this point.

    • Rockmorton65

      I have confidence Burke will address the situation at the draft. Don’t forget, this is the guy that turned a top five pick into the Sedins. There could be some interesting scenarios at the draft, not to mention there are a few notable FA’s we should look at. I think our team is going to look a lot different come the start of next season

  • T&A4Flames

    I will be honest I missed the game. But it is nice to hear that the kids are plying well. We however should not be planning a parade route to soon, it is still going to take a few years of development and patience. Upfront there is plenty to be excited about from Backs, Monahan, Bouma, Colborne, and even Byron brings more than many of the people on this site thought just a couple of months ago; add the newest batch that have us excited Granlund, Knight, and Rhino(sorry ww he is growing on us). Hankowski will be more of depth forward. Then many of us are really excited about both Johnny G and Poirier and the other solid prospects like Arnold and Agostino. This list does even include guys like Ferland(hopefully he fully recovers like Bouma), Klimchuk and Janko who all will bring something to this organization. Within 2/3 years we should be able to roll for solid lines if we can add a few more pieces. Stajan, Hudler, GlenX need to be supplemented with some skilled size in the leadership/mentorship role.(DJones in many ways has many of the elements but does not seem to bring it ever night)Burke will need to be very selective in the free agent market and through trades not to disrupt the potential this crew has.

    He will need to work hard on adding the needed pieces on the backend. It is clear that we have one very good pairing Gio and TJB but after that we have a group of 4/5/6 defenders at best and little in the way of ready young guys; although some of them may be ready in 2-3 years. Burke and the new GM need to be looking hard at UFA defenders that are out there. Again I would prefer not to trade to many of our young prospects.

    • RexLibris

      Am hoping Burke and ownership keeps focus on the primary objective..that of building a cup-contender rather than just a quick rebound back to mediocrity where we will sit for the next 25 years.

      Great to see the Flames are starting to show some potential to challenge for the playoffs in 2-3 years. But to be a cup contender we need a top 2 elite defender (usually matched up with a solid partner)..all recent Cup winners have had them e.g. Doughty, Keith, Letang, Chara, Lidstrom.

      Agree the Flames are likely resigned to drafting in the #4 or #5 slot this year (unless we can lose 70% of our remaining games to draft #2) which will prevent getting Ekblad who could be a foundation piece.

      That said Burke’s biggest decision is whether Hadyn Fleury (6’2″ 207 lbs) can be that elite guy. If not he’s better to go after best forward available.

      I have confidence that Burke will retain focus on building a cup contender rather than just a playoff team, given his choice of Morgan Reilly as a surprise #5 pick a couple years ago.

      Given the focus on McDavid next year, and Buffalo and Edmonton’s expected rebound next year, the key for Burke (and Hartley?) will be to continue to play well next year with 10 players under 25…but to end up dead last for the chance of drafting not just an elite, but a generational player, potentially to supplement an elite defender in this year’s draft.

  • Howie Meeker

    Curious what the nation’s thoughts would be if Burke trades our first round pick this year (if not in the top 5) and packages it with a prospect for Tyler Myers?

    • BurningSensation

      I’d do this in a heartbeat.

      Myers is still ridiculously young, and has a toolkit that is simply unbelievable.

      Would Buffalo do it though? I doubt it.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think this is a contentious issue but not for me. What happens with Hartley after the new GM?

    I love Hartley as coach. Some bemoan his treatment of young players (Sven) but I have nothing but admiration for what Hartley has brought this team.

    The vets bought in. They, themselves were seemingly tired of the ‘star treatment’, where ice time was predicated on reputation. Despite the talent deficiency, the players bought in (for the most part)and really, really work.

    People, enamored with ideas of talent, just don’t realize that execution has more to do with effort than what natural abilities players appear to have. Did Team Canada win gold because of their talent or the way they worked?

    Edmonton, enamored with their talent, just think they should be good because of the skill. They don’t work consistently. They put the fate of their team in enigmatic young players.

    Hartley doesn’t seem to care how good someone thinks they are, are how good fans and media think they are. You have to put the work in, in practice, in the gym, in meetings, on the ice. Not some of the time, all the time. I totally, 100% agree with him. This is the right way. I have no doubt and people who do doubt this–have never been successful. If you have had success you realize it’s because of how you work. NOT how talented you think you are. Very simple. The sooner Sven figures that out (when fans and media call you the best since Iggy, when people follow you on twitter it goes to your head. He’s believing the wrong crowd.)

    Burke, has praised Hartley on the hard working group but never says he likes Hartley’s system on the ice: puck possession.

    I have no evidence other than my admitted distrust of Burke but I believe he doesn’t like the style Calgary plays (in fact I think Burke said recently “I hate the way we play”. I think Burke likes a Randy Carlyle style — more north south than east west. Just a hunch.

    I think a lot of people think Hartley’s days are numbered but he’s a great, great coach. Positive and a hard worker himself, prepared and wanting to teach. Flame morning skates tell a lot.

  • RexLibris

    I was kind of hoping Burke would recall Trevor Gillies for tonight’s game against the Canucks.

    Flames vs Canucks and I’m predicting the Flames have the edge tonight.

    When was the last time I could comfortably say that? 2008?

  • RexLibris

    The Flames are still okay if they draft 5th.

    1. Buffalo – Reinhart
    2. Edmonton – Ekblad
    3. Florida – Bennett
    4. New York – DalColle
    5. Calgary – Draisaitl

    It’s if they fall (climb?) further that we should start worrying. Good god, if they take Nick Ritchie….

    btw, isn’t Nylander a C?

    • BurningSensation

      I have it as;

      1. Buf – Ekblad
      2. Edm – Reinhart (after screaming furiously that Ekblad was taken)
      3. Florida – Bennet (though they may be open for a trade down, as they are clearly looking for D-men more than C where they are already stacked)
      4. NY/Buf – Draisatl

      5. Cgy – Dal Colle/Virtanen/Fleury (which is my order of preference)

      • BurningSensation

        ugh. I really don’t like DalColle. I may have let my preferences slide into my post a little bit, because I can’t justify not taking him if he’s there at 5 (unless Draisaitl is too, which would be weird). But I wouldn’t be happy about it.

      • RexLibris

        I’m in the Reinhart camp, from an Oilers’ perspective.

        It allows them to move Gagner for a blueliner, which is probably an easier deal than for a replacement C.

        I was in the Seguin camp in ’10, Nugent-Hopkins in ’11, Galchenyuk in ’12. So we’ll see what happens, but I prefer to add down the middle and find blueliners through a variety of ways, sometimes allowing other teams to draft and develop.

        But if he is there, yes, I believe the Oilers take Ekblad. He and Nurse would be a nice combination allowing Klefbom, Marincin, Petry, Simpson and Schultz to round out your bottom group in a few years’ time.

        • BurningSensation

          Personally I think Ekblad is the clear best choice as a prospect.

          The problem for Edmonton is that while he fits a need, he wills till take a few years to reach his full potential as a #1 guy (look at the aforementioned Tyler Myers and his not-exactly-straight-line-development).

          The Oilers IMO simply can’t wait for Ekblad to develop into a contributer.

          That said, I think you (and all of Oilers Nation) are dreaming in technicolour about trading Gagner for a D-man. Gagner is the hockey equivalent of Andrea Bargnani – all he brings to the table is offense, and you have to adjust everything about your team to accomodate his weaknesses which are substantial (in Bargs case it was that he was a 7ftr who couldn’t rebound to save his life, was an inefficient and conscienceless chucker, and played atrocious help defense).

          I’m convinced he is not a genuine NHL player. He can’t be a #1C because he simply isn’t good enough offensively to make up for his deficiencies. He can’t be a #2 C because he gets killed at the dot, and he can’t check opposition forwards to save his life. He could be a #3 C, but then you have to give him cherry zone starts and gobs of 1st unit PP time for him to produce, and everyone else has to pick up the slack. He makes way, way, too much money to be a #3 C anywhere else. Edmonton recognized these weaknesses and have even tried to convert him to the wing, and that was a bitter failure as well. At this stage he’s something of a powerplay specialist with a big ticket contract. The forward equivalent of Marc Andre Bergeron, but with 10x the sunk financial costs.

          (As a side note, I have a bottle of whiskey riding on how bad Gagner is. I made a bet with an Edmonton friend of mine (occasional commenter at LTs site, Doug Mclachlan) that if Edmonton kept Gagner on the team the Flames would finish ahead of them in the standings. I don’t drink, but I expect that whiskey will taste really f*cking good)

          I chuckle every time a poster at LTs suggests ‘Gagner + ? for Couturier!’ or ‘what plus Gagner gets us Bogosian?’ The answer of course is ‘never going to happen’. Nobody sane wants Gagner, and certainly not for Couturier or a legit NHL defenseman (and if Mike Gillis trades Bieksa for him I’ll chalk that up to the ‘nobody sane’ qualification of my assertion).

          • RexLibris

            Gagner has managed 286 pts in 465 games while playing on one of the worst teams, and shallowest rosters, in the NHL over the seven seasons he’s been around.

            He’s a terrible defensive player, but has a .62 ppg average over that time.

            That is a genuine NHL player, by virtually any standard.

            Lowetide has described Gagner’s situation as “seven years’ experience, or one years’ experience seven times?” because of the number of coaches he’s played for (five in seven years).

            Unless you lace that bottle of whiskey with something strong, though, there is no way he could be traded for Couturier. Ignore those who suggest he otherwise.

            But he may be worth somebody’s underwhelming blueliner. In the same way that Luke Schenn was swapped for James Van Reimsdyk (granted, that was a heck of a deal by Burke) a swap of young players at different positions makes the most sense in a Gagner trade – forward for defense.

            Until the Oilers can upgrade the 2C position they are going to have roster imbalance. But let’s wait and see what MacTavish does this summer with Gagner before declaring him of no value to anyone.

  • Everyone is mentioning the kids right now which is nice, but the Flames top line and first pairing unit are killing it given their circumstances. Look at Backlund’s, Brodie’s and Giordno’s chance numbers tonight for example.

    • seve927

      A big part of the reason we are all talking about the kids is that is something new. We have been praising Gio and TJB all season and Backs for about three months, so it’s nice to have another distraction.

      I like the top line as posted on the flames website Cammi, Backs and Bouma; if we could have 4 lines of a similar makeup I would be happy. I wonder what happens when Stajan comes back to work? How close is Hudler and Glenx? Hankowski will be the first to be sent down, but how long of an audition will Knight get?

  • mattyc

    Also not getting the credit he deserves (imo): TJ Galiardi.

    He’s drawn 13 more penalties than he’s taken this year (by far leading the club), and has the best possession stats on the team (CF% and FF%) – even higher than Backlund (albeit in easier circumstances).


    • seve927

      It almost seems like he’s on the verge of stardom. I’ve never thought he looked dominant before (and never really thought he would be), just highly competent. He is beginning to rise above the crowd of ‘good’ players across the league IMO.