Post Game: Flames Refuse to Die

For those who desperately want the Flames to lose every game to end this season, have a look at today’s roster. How much harder can they try to lose? 

The flames started this game with one of the worst lineups they have dressed in my living memory. With Stajan and Byron both away from the team for personal reasons and Backlund not playing after a hand injury the Flames had Monahan, Cammalleri, Galiardi, and Bouma as their centres. Chad Billins and Chris Breen played, AS A PAIR. Oh yeah, with Joey MacDonald in net. All of this was in addition to their regular group of dynamos including McGrattan, Westgarth, Hanowski, and Agostino. They started a line of Hudler, Cammalleri, and Bryce Van Brabant. In an NHL game.

But dang nabbit! These guys don’t know how to quit! The Flames won back-to-back games in Florida after defeating the Lightning last night 4-1 and the Panthers tonight 2-1. Find out all about it after the jump.

GAME SUMMARY

SEX-PANTHER-

Anyway, the puck dropped in front of dozens and dozens of faithful fans, some of whom were possibly sticking around after they mixed up the date of a Billy Joel concert. The Panthers had a couple pretty good chances early on but were able to draw a penalty three minutes in and went to the powerplay, a powerplay that saw Kenny Agostino and Chad Billins getting time on it. As you might guess, the Flames were unable to score on this man advantage.

Seriously though, the early part of this game was DOA. Which wasn’t really surprising as both rosters were largely AHL-level and it was being played in a building that makes mausoleums look like frat houses. Bless his heart, but Joey Mac looked pretty solid in the first 10 minutes of this game and made a few reasonably good saves. Bascially, the first had absolutely no pace and it ended scoreless, even though Scott Gomez rang one of the inside of the post with under 20 seconds to play. Shots were 11-6 in favour of Florida.

Sportak

Before the start of the second, the Sportsnet broadcast informed us that on this day in NHL, there was the last recorded tie. This did not bode well for the game picking up in excitement. However, the start of the second had a veritable avalanche of offense. About two minutes in, a Brian McGrattan shot ricocheted to Kenny “shoot first” Agostino who beat Luongo blocker side for his first NHL goal. A nice shot from Agostino which is what we were told to expect from him, a shoot first mentality:

However, less than a minute later,Lance Bouma was whistled for a holding the stick penalty, sending the Panthers to the powerplay where Vinny Trochek scored to even the game at one. The goal came off of a pretty ugly rebound from ol’Joey Mac. But the goals didn’t stop there! 

The Flames took back the lead seven minutes in with Mike Cammalleri burying an absolutely gorgeous pass from Jiri Hudler, through three sticks. That was Cammalleri’s 500th career NHL point and his 26th goal of the season. All the way around, it was a pretty goal from the only NHL line that the Flames dressed tonight. At this point, I think BoL speaks for the fanbase with regards to Cammalleri’s future of the team.The Flames held on to the 2-1 lead heading into the third period. The second ended with the shots favouring Florida 27-14. The Flames were refusing to go down easy in this one again.

About five minutes into the third, Joey MacDonald made the most Joey MacDonald save imaginable with a two pad stack on a partial two on one for the Panthers. Shortly after that, Cammalleri had a breakaway and missed on an empty net after freezing Luongo. If we learned anything from last night’s third period, the Flames were going to try to sit on their lead and collapse around their net. That is exactly what they did.

The Flames won the game 2-1 and ended it with two consecutive blocks from Lance Bouma and Mark Giordano because they are brave and cool. The Flames were outshot 35-17. They won an NHL game with only 17 shots for. Also, MacDonald made 34 saves which is incredible. Good for him, seems like a nice dude. 

THE RED WARRIOR

Joey MacDonald had a pretty good game tonight and gets an honourable mention playing behind an exceptionally weak Flames lineup. The Flames were badly outshot again and MacDonald didn’t allow a back-breaking goal, in fact he played well enough to earn the win, which is more than one can expect from a goaltender like MacDonald. He made 34 saves on 35 shots which is pretty amazing even though the shots weren’t always quality scoring chances. 

However, it has to be Kenny Agostino for netting his first NHL goal in the second period of tonight’s game. It was a pretty good shot too against Roberto Luongo which has to feel great for him. I am not sure of Agostino’s future at the NHL level but he has shown flashes of offence during his very brief time up with the Flames this season. I am nearly certain that he will start next season in Abbotsford so hopefully he can continue to generate shots at a high clip and fill the net in the AHL.  

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?

Darren Haynes tweeted out the lineup from the 1989 Cup winning squad today and it stood in stark contrast to one of the weakest lineups the Flames have dressed in my living memory. Here is the tweet from Haynes

Basically the same as tonight’s right?

The Flames held on the entire third period and Joey Mac made some key saves to preserve the Flames lead. The Panthers managed a fair amount of shots but generally looked bland and disinterested. They looked like a team comfortable with losing. The Flames are the antithesis of that. With the win tonight, the Flames clinched a spot above the top-three this season so celebrate or grimace accordingly. 

  • The Last Big Bear

    I think the jg’s parents are playing games. They have decided what they are doing already, but are playing the media and flames for attention. My take is he goes back to college and has no intention to sign with calgary. If he declares he’s going back for senior year, I’d trade him asap.

    • the forgotten man

      As soon as I saw the Mom and Dad making cryptic comments, my spidery sense started tingling…Gaudreau is turning 21 in August, he is not a 16 year old being sent off to Major Junior…we sent 18 year old men to die in Europe, so hopefully he doesn’t need Mommy and Daddy holding his hand his first day to the Saddledome. Everything we are discussing on this thread is pure speculation and conjecture…Gaudreau has decided already whether he is signing with the Flames after the Frozen Four or holding out to play out East…like every other Flame he is simply an asset and Burke will need to maximize this asset depending on what Johnny ( or his parents) decide. The only good news is that we will know soon what direction to go.

    • RedMan

      i don’t get the sense anyone is playing games…. it’s not the parents seeking media, its the media seeking the parents, and for all we know the media is making a tempest in a tea pot.

  • This NCAA draft rule has to change. These entitled brats cannot have such an easy out. Its almost as bad as drafting a Russian in fear of them leaving for the KHL. Teams risk losing a draft pick for choosing
    an NCAA kid is just too ridiculous!

    • EducatedHockeyFan

      It’s not just the NCAA rules that are the problem, almost every year someone from some league decides he does not like who drafted him and they threaten not to sign and re-enter the draft. The worst case of entitlement was of course Lindros and of course in the flames case Erixon. Teams also contribute to the issue by deciding not to sign drafted players and sometimes develop bad reputations of not giving players a chance to immediately play.If teams can play these games I don’t see why we would not expect players to do so as well.(The NHL does not have a monopoly on the game any more; they pay quite well in the KHL and in some of the other European leagues) Teams need to work at developing relationships with their NCAA prospects and all of their draftees developing a level of trust and understanding; I actually believe that was one of Feasters’ strengths. Burke has not been in charge of this organization long enough for me to comment on whether he has this strength but he is a smart enough guy who has been around long enough to know this. Hopefully his GM will have these traits.

      Personally I think Johnny signs here after the Frozen 4.

      • piscera.infada

        I completely agree. The biggest thing with Johnny is that if he does, in fact, want a chance to play regardless of size, his best opportunity is here. He’ll get every chance in the world – whether it is at the NHL or AHL level – to prove he has what it takes to be a pro.

        @Jeff In Lethbridge

        I’m sure there’s one thing we can all agree on about Burke: he definitely knows about procedure and he’s not a person who is going to ignore something of this magnitude. I’m sure the minute those reports came out Burke himself or someone from the organization immediately reached out the Gaudreau family. I don’t particularly like Burke, but for anyone to assume he wouldn’t put in the requisite leg-work is an affront to Burke’s experience as a general manager (regardless of what you think of his track record).

        I’ve been saying this the whole time; if, in fact, Johnny hockey decides he’s not going to sign with the Flames, the decision was made a long time ago. I don’t see a situation where the organization could do anything differently if that’s the case (besides not drafting him). If he doesn’t sign here, it’s on him and his family, not the organization. If that does happen, Burke is a pragmatic enough guy to realize what’s happening and trade him to the highest bidder. Make no mistake, there will be a bidding war if that’s what it comes to, because the kid is that good of a prospect.

        My money is still on him signing for the reasons I mentioned before. If Gaudreau and his family are looking at the situation logically, this is likely his best chance to succeed both in the short and long term. It’s in everybody’s interest for him to sign here. I hope it happens.

  • RedMan

    I believe all this speculation about Johnny Gaudreau is exactly that – speculation, and there’s been a lot it. And there should be, the kid had another stellar season this year, and the Calgary Flames have never really been in this type of contract situation before (if there even is a situation at all). Admittedly there’s going to be a lot of talk about the subject and frankly, there has been; I’m surprised we don’t know the brand of toilet paper he uses in his house. Is it brand name? Is is double-quilted?! I think at this point, it’s become too much. Of course his parents are going to be worried, they’re parents. It’s their job to be worried, about anything and everything, for the well-being of their son; it’s their responsibility that he makes the best decision for himself moving forward in his life/career, regardless of his profession.

    Let’s just wait and see what happens in the days following the Frozen Four. Hopefully, for all our sake and to put this topic to rest, Johnny Gaudreau signs with the team before the summer and announces he will be part of the Calgary Flames training camp 2014.

  • RedMan

    Random thoughts:

    With a week left in the season the Flames only have one game that really matters in the standings and that is tomorrow against NJ; a Flames win and NJ hopes for the last wild card is in serious doubt. Kings are in, Jets and Canucks are out(yes there is a slim chance but really)

    The game that matters for most of us is the Canucks as to see how Torts responds to the Flames current lineup.

    Looking at the standings there is good news bad news for Oiler fans; the good news you are no longer the second worst team in the NHL, the bad news is that you will likely draft 3rd and Ekblad will be gone and you will probably draft another undersized skilled forward.

  • BitGeek

    Does anyone actually have a link to the article where Guy Gaudreau says he’s changed his mind about Johnny playing with the flames? The last I read, Guy wanted his son to make up his own mind. I haven’t been able to find the article where Guy says he’s unsure of Burke and the Flames.

  • Mullen Mania

    Flames site is reporting that Coda Gordon has been signed to a contract with the Heat. No details on the deal, but it will be interesting to see what he can do as a professional.

  • Rockmorton65

    I don’t see anywhere in that article that Daddy G is saying his son doesn’t want play for the Flames. Its about his son having to prove himself when he does. He seems smart enough to know that Johnny is going to have to work his butt off wherever he plays.

    I wish everyone would calm down about Burke’s “getting bigger” comments. The idea of having a big, skilled team is not a Burke thing, its a Western Conference thing. Look at LA, Anaheim, SJ, Chicago. They are all big teams who can play an aggressive, physical style. When Burke starts putting this team together, he is not going to just build a team that will make the playoffs, he’s going to put together a team that can compete with the LA’s and the SJ’s of the league in a 7 game series. We may be able to pull a win out of a hat against these teams, but we would get killed in a playoff series against almost any team in the west.

    You can have a couple small guys on the team, but the Flames have WAY too many sub-6 ft players and prospects. Cammi, Hudler, Baertchi, Russell, Byron, Gaudreau, Granlund, Billins, Cundari, Klimchuk are all under 6 ft. There’s no way Burke is keeping all of them. My guess would be 1-2, at most, on the big team and 1-2 on the Heat. Pick your top 3-4 from the list above and say buh bye to the rest. I don’t think half of the guys mentioned will be with the team in a year or two.

    • EducatedHockeyFan

      I always have to laugh when people call Chicago a “big physical team”. They’ve been dead-last in the league in hits for three consecutive seasons now, they’re bottom-third in the league in height, and dead-last in weight.

      Since we’re on the subject, the Sharks aren’t all that big or physical either. They’re bottom-third in both size categories (in fact, they’re currently shorter than the Flames) and they’ve been bottom-third in the league in hits for the last three seasons too (behind the Flames in two of them).

      So you tell me: what is a big, physical team?

      • Rockmorton65

        The Kings, the Ducks. I think a big physical team is when a significant number of your skilled players are over 6 feet, and are capable of playing a variety of styles, whether it be uptempo, finesse or “bang n crash”.

        The Flames have a lot if heart, but can’t compete when other teams play physical. You can have players like Russell and Byron, but you can’t expect to keep up with the Getzlaf’s and the Weber’s of the league.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          The Flames have trouble with the Kings, Ducks (and Blues for that matter) because those teams are much more skilled at hockey. Chicago and San Jose can both hold their own and win against each of them, in spite of being smaller and less truculent. I think that was the point of Baalmazon’s comments.

          • Rockmorton65

            Skill and depth throughout the line up is what makes these teams hard to beat. Size does help but if you don’t have skill you can’t be competitive(note you can’t just be smirfs either). For a long time these team lacked skill, during much of the Sutter period we had some size and grit but not enough skill. Feaster was moving towards more skill but was not able to sell this to management as goal, Burke starts with more potential skill than we have had in decade his job is to find the balance between skill, size and depth.

    • T&A4Flames

      The biggest thing I get out of the article is Daddy Gaudreau “having to prove himself everywhere he goes.” Well, this is the NHL, EVEVRYONE has to prove themselves, regardless of size.

    • EducatedHockeyFan

      hard to say as of right now jg is draft +3 , nhle 66 (which is insane) but still he is draft plus 3…

      If he enters draft with nhle of 66 id say easily top 5 pick