Prospect Post-Game: (Penalty) Boxed Out

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The Flames and Oilers crossed paths in the first installment of this year’s Battle of Alberta, pitting their top prospects against each other. The unfortunate result for the boys in red was a 4-3 setback.

And it was entirely preventable, with the culprit being the many, many power-plays their undisciplined play gave the Edmonton Oilers.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames carried the play for much of the first period, with Oilers netminder Ty Rimmer earning full marks for keeping his team in it as his defensemen stood around and admired the Flames’ passes. However, the Oilers opened the scoring on the power-play, with Kyle Platzer leaning into a shot that beat Mason McDonald. The Flames tied it up as a nice bit of hustle and back-checking from Garnet Hathaway, Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau ended up with a nifty goal for Johnny Hockey. The Oilers, however, scored another power-play goal on a late 5-on-3 – C.J. Ludwig beat McDonald to put them up 2-1.

The second period was the period of many, many Flames penalties. The Flames took five minors (the Oilers took three) and the majority of the period was transitioning from 5-on-5, to 5-on-4, to 4-on-4, and the period generally had no flow. The Flames PK was pretty decent, but a late (even-strength) goal off a wonky bounce with just 1:09 left in the period (credited to CJ Ludwig) put the Flames down two goals headed to the third.

The third featured more special teams play, but for once things went the Flames way as the Bennett & Gaudreau Show continued, with Gaudreau setting up a Sam Bennett wrap-around on the power-play to bring Calgary within one. And then? A string of penalties for both teams, and another series of transitions from even-strength to various PP and PK combinations. Hunter Smith got called for charging, then came out of the box and tried to attack hug Kale Kessy, which lead to a brief fight. That led to yet another Keegan Kanzig trip to the penalty box – he had 13 minutes in penalties on the night – via a fight with Travis Ewanyk. Ryan Culkin took his second trip to the box of the game, and the Oilers capitalized on power-play #11 with their third PP marker, this one a nice cross-ice pass by Josh Winquist to a wide open Bogdan Yakimov (who had time to read a newspaper and then have some coffee before taking his shot) to make it 5-3.

Game over? Not quite, as the Flames pulled McDonald and tried to make it interesting. Austin Carroll scored off a feed from birthday boy Turner Elson (made possible by a nice back-check by Garnet Hathaway) but that was as close as they got.

The Flames out-shot the Oilers 26-17 overall.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

The Calgary Flames gave the Edmonton Oilers 11 power-play opportunities.

Out of the 60 minutes of this hockey game, the Flames took 39 minutes in penalties (though that includes 15 minutes in fighting majors). That’s way too much, and it didn’t give them much of a chance to implement a game-plan or even regulate ice-time during neutral zone play with regular shifts.

A particularly big dissatisfied shrug to Keegan Kanzig, who was personally responsible for 4 Oilers PPs on his own (Ryan Culkin gave them 2 also). And his penalties were ones of aggression, which probably isn’t a good sign – if you can’t reign the emotion in during a dang pre-season tournament against Edmonton, how can you be trusted to be responsible during a playoff series against them? (Hypothetically.)

RED WARRIOR

I thought Bill Arnold was good playing the Mikael Backlund role of shutdown center on a line with Kenny Agostino and Austin Carroll. I’ll give it to him, but let’s also recognize AHL signee Garnet Hathaway, who worked his ass off all game to set up chances for his linemates.

Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau were also good, but Hathaway was really impressive.

SUM IT UP

You can’t win ’em all, but it especially sucks to lose to the Edmonton Oilers when the Flames seemed to play really well against them five-on-five. Alas, the Oilers are now undefeated and will try to sweep the tournament on Monday.

The Flames are also off until Monday, when they close out the tournament at 6:30pm MT against the Vancouver Canucks.

  • BurningSensation

    Guys, I already felt bad back at comment 84. You didn’t have to drag the vitriol all the way to 155 just for my benefit.

    I already said I was sorry and… wait, I didn’t? Oh. Sorry.

  • JMK

    This is off the point, but how often and when do management start cutting players from training camp? After Pentincton will certain Junior players go straight back to Junior (as WHL games start this week I think)? And when will we see the panel start to take shape between NHL and AHL? New fan so still learning!!

    • piscera.infada

      A few might be sent straight back to junior after Penticton (most likely Mason McDonald will be one of those). And maybe a few invites will be released. Expect to see a lot of these guys at main camp, at least for a while. A few cuts will inevitably come in before the first Exhibition game, I think (or maybe just after since It’s a split-squad match IIRC).

      • piscera.infada

        I thought generally the first week of preseason was split-squad for the Flames. McGratton and then Freidman eluded to that being the case this morning on the Fan.

    • piscera.infada

      Most teams will keep their prospects through at least the first week of preseason. Training camp, and then preseason are valuable experience for young hockey players. They get a chance to train with and then play against pros. As for the specific date that the 23-man roster has to be set, I’m not sure. It’s usually right before the first game of the season. So somewhere between October 5th and October 8th – the 7th seems like a good bet (don’t know why it’s so difficult to find).

    • RedMan

      I’m pretty happy. He’s still a bit small to be playing the way he does in the NHL (though not all that much; his game is more tenacity than strength), and he has a bit of the junior “I’m going to dangle all yall” mentality. But he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and his skillset definitely comes as advertised. He definitely looks like a keeper and I’m happy the Flames made the pick.

      As to NHL readiness? I don’t think so. He could use some polish, and he seems to gravitate to the individual effort a bit too much. We’ll see how he looks in main camp. And I’m excited to see it.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        @ Rex

        I agree with you. As I read his comments (he believes he has more to give) I think it is just a matter of comfort.

        We fans, tend to underestimate the pressure these guys feel because they are constantly being evaluated.

        I have liked the showcase of his talents so far (dangles, hits, goals) and I think the spreading out of playing time is a real factor for all players.

        The more game experience he gets (especially with JG) the more his comfort and game grows.

        He is probably the youngest kid there, turning 18 in June. I can’t wait to see him at main camp. I don’t think he makes it but I want to get a sense of how he skates with NHL skaters.

    • RexLibris

      I like him.

      I think he has talent and a sense of where the puck is and where it needs to go.

      Great hands. Nice speed. Engages physically, although I don’t put a premium on penalty minutes the way others do.

      I’d strongly encourage fans to wait until he shows through pre-season before making any serious judgements.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Me too. I think JG plays with a freedom to use his skills (he likely isn’t going to throw his body around to get noticed) so he is going to try a lot of cheeky moves.

        Guys that play with him (or sit on bench and watch him) gain confidence in their own ability to try skill moves when the see him try and pull some of these moves off – this is what I call ‘making players around you better’

        So for Sam, JG is going to give him that creative freedom to try stuff and get confident in his skills. I think this is huge.

        He’s willing in the other areas, the intangibles. I think we all want to see him showcase top 6 scoring ability and to me, playing with JG is the best recipe.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Hypothetical:

        What if Sam plays real well – gets 9 gm audition and has better than pt/gm? Send him down still? I used this argument last year with Sean. And he did just that – so I wanted him to stay.

        However, with Sam it’s different. I think it’s just the number of junior games Sean vs Sam had/have (Sean completed almost 200)

        I realize the enormous speculation but Sam is #4 overall. These kind of guys tend to play (Drouin the most recent counter), especially on weaker teams. I hope it is a tough call.

        • Jeff Lebowski

          I think they would be obligated to give him a shot if he played really well through 9 games..

          But Monahan did have three years of jr and some size to help tip the scales.

        • RedMan

          at a point a game it wohld be hard to send him down, but keeeping him is not a good idea. he is very young, and instead of scoring a pt/game he is more likely to get dominated most nights and discouraged. Sean was older and bigger and much more experience… imho.

        • beloch

          I think it will really depend on the kind of minutes he’s getting. If Hartley can afford to give him plenty of sheltered minutes each game (or better yet, he doesn’t need much shelter), then staying in the NHL might be good for his development. If he’s getting under 10 minutes a night and Hartley is struggling to find enough shelter for him, it will likely be better for him to go back to Junior even if he’s getting points.

          Bear in mind that there are a lot of rookies knocking on the door this season and some of the “veterans” (e.g. Monahan, Colborne) are going to require a fair bit of shelter themselves. There might simply not be enough shelter to go around!

          • Jeff Lebowski

            This is a great point. Not only must Sam play well, but Monahan must substantially improve and force a move out of the other pivots i.e. trade Stajan. Thus Sam gets proper minutes.

            No way that washes out in 9 games. Junior it is!

  • Danny Lawson

    WOW!
    What’s with all the hostility & personal attacks and insults between the two fan bases?
    I’m all for some good natured ribbing between rivals but good grief, it was a rookies game!
    Edmonton won, congratulations to them. I look forward to the next BOA game when the real bullets fly.
    It’s doubtful either team are playoff contenders so those who pretend some air of superiority have little to be smug about.
    Some of you come across as junior high playground bullies rather than adult hockey fans