Heat Game-Day: Once More Towards The Brink

The Abbotsford Heat went into Grand Rapids on Wednesday night with their playoff lives on the line.

They won 2-1, off a gorgeous Markus Granlund power-play goal late in the third period. And so, now they stay in Grand Rapids, with both (a) their playoff lives on the line again and (b) a chance to even the series up.

Welcome to the magic of a best-of-five series.

Puck-drop is at 5pm MT on TeamRadio.ca and AHL Live.


The recipe for success thus far has been as follows: Joni Ortio has to be good, and the Heat forwards have to be opportunistic. In Game 1, the Heat couldn’t bury their chances against Petr Mrazek. In Game 2, they scored a bit but Ortio was sub-par. In Game 3, everything clicked.

It has to keep clicking.

Don’t expect many, if any, line-up changes from Game 3.

Street – Granlund – Reinhart
Poirier – Locke – Baertschi
Hanowski – Olson – Jones
Gillies – Bancks – Miller

Breen – O’Brien
Kulak – Billins
Arsene – LaFranchise

Ortio’s in net.

Corban Knight and Derek Smith appear to be still out with injuries. (As are Patrick Sieloff and Michael Ferland.)

Granlund and Reinhart have been arguably the team’s most effective forwards through three games. Sven Baertschi was excellent for two periods in Game 1. He’ll need to find his swagger again for the Heat to win. And Poirier will need to continue to be good.


To be honest, the Griffins played their third straight good game on Wednesday, but played just poorly enough to lose. Mrazek was evaded by two shots and the Griffins took a penalty late that cost ’em.

They probably won’t do that twice.

Lines from Game 3, courtesy GriffinsCentral.com:

Callahan – Sheahan – Jurco
Hoggan – Emmerton – Ferraro
Pulkkinen – Nestrasil – Athanasiou
Grant – McIntyre – Janmark

Paetsch – Jensen
Evans – Sproul
Backman – Ouellet

Mrazek’s in net.

As we’ve learned, the Griffins are a pretty strong team, particularly on the top two lines. Their defense is pretty decent. And Mrazek’s good at being a goaltender. Probably not many line-up changes here, either.

Sheahan and Jurco connected on a power-play goal in Game 3 after returning from the NHL. They otherwise weren’t fantastic, but sometimes the different pace of the AHL is an adjustment. They’ll be leaned on tonight.

  • Skuehler

    Heat are in tough against a veteran team, but to me it’s all about how the young guys respond. Great experience for these guys. Baerstchi needs to light the lamp though.

  • prendrefeu

    End of 1st period, 1-0 Heat.

    Abbotsford looking really strong, playing big and with truculence. Forechecking, puck control, breaking up passes, keeping the Griffs out of the Heat’s zone, not taking shit from the Griffs.

    Keep it up boys!

  • prendrefeu

    End of 1st period, 1-0 Heat.

    Abbotsford looking really strong, playing big and with truculence. Forechecking, puck control, breaking up passes, keeping the Griffs out of the Heat’s zone, not taking shit from the Griffs.

    Keep it up boys!

  • prendrefeu

    End of 1st period, 1-0 Heat on an O’Brien goal

    Abbotsford looking really strong, playing big and with truculence. Forechecking, puck control, breaking up passes, keeping the Griffs out of the Heat’s zone, not taking shit from the Griffs.

    Keep it up boys!

    Knight is in the lineup, Poirier is not.

  • prendrefeu

    This was the last game for Sven as Flames property. Book it. Mgmt can’t wait for another season of AHL mediocrity to torpedo his trade value–if he’s not in the long-term plans (and we all know he isn’t), you have to sell high(ish).

    He was -2.

    • jeremywilhelm

      Dr you are getting thrashed over this comment but I’m not sure you are wrong. With the love affair for Johnny G and Granlund’s play it seems that Sven has dropped to number 3 of the smaller skilled forwards. If you could move Sven and our second rounder(preferably Colorados) for either a mid first rounder or a 24-26 solid NHL er then you might be ahead. In saying that I’m not convinced about giving up on a young prospect.

      • jeremywilhelm

        Please make the trade with Sven and that second to Anaheim and get usEmerson Etem. He’d be a perfect fit here.
        6″1′ 206 lbs RW NHL 2014 29 gp 7 g 4 a = 11pts
        AHL 2014 50 gp 24 g 30 a = 54 pts

        Please Treliving make this your first trade.

  • jeremywilhelm

    For those who are predicting a Sven trade, I have one comment – Martin St. Louis. You don’t give up early on talent. If the flames are going to trade Sven, then at least wait until he’s a little more established. He appears to be improving defensively and getting a little more confidence offensively. There was too much pressure on the kid initially. I personally think you keep him for a while before considering trading him.

    • My point is of the three smaller forwards, all of whom we could be the next St Louis, Sven may be the furthest behind and also may still hold the most value. I also said I would be reluctant to do so, however if the return was good enough I would consider it. The potential market and possible return for Johnny might be the highest of the three but the outrage that would occur might just cause a riot. Granlund who in my opinion is most NHL ready would probably get the least return.

  • I can think of a few examples of teams giving up on skilled guys too early.

    Has anyone seen Nino in the playoffs for Min? Who do you think won that trade?

    If we trade Sven now, I think we lose the deal. We need to have patience with this kid.

    • mk

      There’s a difference between giving up on a prospect and flipping him for a plug and trading a prospect from a position of strength (LW) to address a position of need. No one is suggesting trading Sven for Cal Clutterbuck.

      Why is this so hard for people to understand?

      • I understand completely………

        Trading Sven would be giving up on him though.

        What do you think (realistically) the return for him would be?

        Someone suggested packaging Sven & a 2nd for a late first. That’s a big L for us, as Sven was drafted 13th overall.

        Until he figures out his game and starts producing better numbers, more consistently, at the AHL level, there is no point in attempting to trade him.

        • The suggestion was for a mid first rounder(high enough I would hope to draft Tuche0 or an s=established 23-25 year older. I also mentioned that I am reluctant to give up on Sven. You suggest that there is no point in attempting to trade him, I believe that other teams may be interested in him and may come calling and that is the point. I think you have to be open to listening and if Burke is as great a trader as his supporters suggest he should get something we need.

          Again I would be okay with starting the season with our current crop of forwards; the six signed established vets(Hudler, GlenX, Stajan, Backs, McG, and DJ) as well as the emerging four of Monahan, Bouma,Colborne and Byron, and let the young guys fight it out for the other 3/4 roster spots (Granlund,Johnny,Sven, Rhino, Knight, Poirier and the rest including whom ever we draft)What I would hope is that by mid season that some of the vets would be traded or passed by the young kids.

        • I understand completely………

          Simply put, you don’t. This statement proves that:

          Trading Sven would be giving up on him though.

          No, it wouldn’t. Trading him for Cal Clutterbuck or a late first or whatever would be, sure. Just flipping him for whatever nonsense people are willing to wave in your face. Yes, that would be giving up on him.

          Here’s the problem: No one anywhere is suggesting doing that. If the return isn’t good, you don’t trade him. Period. End of story.

          • You are assuming a whole lot.

            For some reason because I used the Niño scenario as an example, you think that I am under the impression that we’d trade Sven for nothing. I don’t believe Burke is that dumb.

            I am just saying that it’s not good to trade him while his value is low.

            Everyone was so hopeful that he was going to be the future of the franchise, and now that he isn’t panning out exactly how we’d optimistically expected, we want to trade him? — Kind of sounds like giving up on him to me.

          • You are assuming a whole lot.

            You’re right. I’m assuming that trading surplus for need down the line is the whole point of drafting BPA. I’m assuming that drafting BPA is what got the Flames so many wingers and so few defensemen. I’m assuming that one–ONE–winger might be parlayed to balance out the organizational depth chart.

            You’re assuming a whole lot of things too. You’re assuming that Sven’s trade value is low (we’ve seen that this may not be the case–for example, how high do you believe Adam Larsson’s trade value is? I see a defenseman in a situation very similar to Baertschi’s). You’re assuming that everyone who happens to be open to entertaining the possibility of trading Sven to improve the team/organization is one of the people who was squealing in orgasmic delight at “the new saviour”. You’re assuming that one of those things has anything at all to do with the other in the first place.

          • My “assumptions” are just responses to the ideas posed in this thread (and the Be A GM one).

            Like I’ve said, I don’t think Burke will lose a trade IF Sven is dealt, I don’t think most fans honestly would validate such a move either.

            I’d just hate to see us get rid of him & regret it later.

  • I’m aware that I might get bashed for this idea.

    But what if we could entice the Leafs to give us something to take on Clarkson (with the Leafs eating a portion of the contract).

    Something like Clarkson (Leafs eat 1.5 mil) + Franson (RFA) for Cammi’s rights, a 2nd round pick & average prospect.

    Clarkson had a horrible year, but I’m not convinced he’s horrible. He plays right wing & works his ass off. I wouldn’t attribute his bad year to being lazy, but to being unlucky (5.25% SH).

    Franson is a 2nd pairing Right Shot Defenseman with offensive upside. Addresses two areas of need.