Post-Game: A Split Squad Split

Well folks, the first two pre-season dates on the Calgary Flames 2014-15 calendar are in the books, as the Flames and Edmonton Oilers did battle in a pair of simultaneous games. In Calgary, the home side won 1-0. In Edmonton, the home side won 3-1. In both games, the visiting team was said to be listless at times. In both games, the home side was said to have been filled with more recognizable names.

It was the first day of the pre-season.

This report will mostly focus on the game at the Saddledome. For a recap of the game in Edmonton, ON’s Jason Gregor has one for your reading pleasure. Curtis Glencross scored Calgary’s only goal (on the power-play), while Marco Roy, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton.

THE RUNDOWN

Calgary out-shot Edmonton 28-16. Shot attempts were 54-38. Both were basically good representations of how well Calgary played and how so-so Edmonton played. Lots of shots went off legs or feet or backsides. Execution was generally low, and a lot of passes – especially in the first – ended up several feet away from their intended targets. Calgary had fewer of those and generated more (and better) chances, so they won the game. T.J. Brodie scored the game’s only goal on the power-play.

There weren’t a lot of high-energy moments in the game, so let’s break format a bit.

WHO WAS GOOD?

Nobody on the Flames was excellent or took over the game, but a lot of players played pretty well.

  • Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie were already in mid-season form. They were poised and really controlled the flow of the game when they were on the ice.
  • Sean Monahan was excellent in the first period and merely “pretty good” in the second. He has a lot of confidence with the puck, and was quite patient at waiting for the play to develop in the offensive zone.
  • Similarly, in the first period it became apparent that Joe Colborne has finally discovered that he’s 6’4″ and big. He used his size much more than he has in the past, particularly on one chance where he backed into the slot from the corner and set up Johnny Gaudreau for a scoring opportunity. By using his back-side to create space (and time for the play to develop).
  • I am not a huge fan of the signing, but Deryk Engelland was better than I thought he’d be. His mobility is not amazing, but when he’s in the defensive zone, he’s very judicious with his movement – he doesn’t move around a lot – but he’s usually in the right spot to break up a play. He’s not T.J. Brodie, but he wasn’t a dumpster fire against the Oilers B-team on the first day of the pre-season schedule.
  • Max Reinhart was pretty damn good. He was good in all three zones and set up the only goal of the game (by T.J. Brodie) with a nice cross-ice feed on the power-play. He fore-checked well, too.
  • Garnet Hathaway appears to be channeling Lance Bouma, in terms of being a beast on the forecheck and trying to make the other team hate him by buzzing around the net and blocking shots and such. Again, first game of pre-season, but he was pretty effective in a supporting role.

WHO WASN’T GREAT?

  • Ryan Culkin never got burnt too badly, but he had a few wonky plays – he pinched at the wrong time and Sheldon Brookbank had to make a nice play to break up a 2-on-1 chance. He also had a stick break on a power-play chance that nearly led to an odd-man rush. He was more unlucky than bad, but he was arguably the most out-of-place player.

HOW WAS GAUDREAU?

  • I thought he was good. He definitely wasn’t able to wheel and deal in the first period, but he seemed to find a comfort level in the latter stages of the game and began to move around a bit more. After the game, coach Hartley mentioned that he wished Gaudreau would shoot a bit more.

A 16-SAVE SHUTOUT? HOW WERE THE GOALIES?

  • Neither was terrible. There was some miscommunication early on in terms of Jonas Hiller play the puck more than the defenders were used to, but they adjusted. Hiller wasn’t really challenged that much – he made 8 saves, and 7 of those were in the second half of the second period.
  • Nobody in the crowd seemed to register who Brad Thiessen was, but he was effective when he needed to be, making 8 saves in the third. He wasn’t really challenged all that much either, though.

RED WARRIOR

Gonna go with T.J. Brodie. He scored the game’s only goal and showed mid-season levels of poise and execution.

SUM IT UP

Calgary won! Well, they won half of the games they played today. They’re back in (game) action on Thursday in Sylvan Lake when they host the Arizona Coyotes. That game will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360. And it’s an early one, kicking off at 5pm MT, as part of the Kraft Hockeyville festivities. (Sylvan Lake won, so they get a game and arena renos. And presumably a bunch of Kraft Dinner.)

  • The Last Big Bear

    Man.

    That Oilers team in the ‘Dome was terrible.

    Remember, that was supposedly their first defence pairing, and the Yakupov – Arcobello – Purcell unit is competing to be their 2nd line.

    This was men against boys. I can’t honestly say I was ever worried that the Oilers were going to score a goal.

    • Dan 1919

      Boy oh boy do things look bad. Other than a couple future 2nd or 3rd liners, there is nothing to write home about on this Flames team.

      Considering you optimistically get one NHL player through a first round pick every draft year, I’d say the flames are 8-13 years away from being competitive. To make things worse the draft rules have changed and will make it more difficult for the Flames to rebuild.

      The best thing moving forward would be some type of “B” league like in Italian soccer, that way the Flames can actually be a mediocre team in say the AHL instead of getting mauled every night in the NHL for the next decade.

      God bless the cold ashes that once use to be the red hot burning pallace of Jarome Iginla.

      • Deaner_

        8-13 years??…I think you have confused your facts. That is exactly the Oiler rebuild model. Get your facts straight…Oiler Troller and chronic Loser!

      • Deaner_

        So even at 8-13 years, that still puts us well ahead of Edmontons rebuild!!

        God bless the slippery grease pit that once was the flowing mullet of Ryan Smyth.

      • Dan 1919

        If you sub in the name “Oilers” every time you use the word “Flames” you may be on to something. I looked at the roster for the Oilers team in Calgary, and thought they were icing their “AHL” team.

        The pre-season is a good time to evaluate players in different positions, situations and on different lines.

        Also consider that the following higher-level prospects or players that didn’t play or those that looked good in recent play:
        Backlund,
        Bennett,
        Agostino,
        Elson,
        Ferland,
        Poirier,
        Ramage,
        T-Spoon,
        Seilof,
        Kanzig

        The Oilers have TBH, one scoring line and 2 checking lines, offensive D with not much defensive skills and two good goalies that can play

  • Paging Treliving/Burke/Whoever makes the decisions in the front office these days:

    SIGN GARNET HATHAWAY TO A 8 YEAR, 63 million dollar deal.

    I kid. But still, Garnet is a beast, and should play on our 3rd/4th this year. MAKE IT HAPPEN!

  • Agree at YYC that Oilers were terrible. Hardly noticed Yakupov until he appeared to target Setoguchi just after the Hathaway hit of the game. Hard to believe no call…

    Monahan looked strong with the puck and his line was pretty dominant. Brodano & Kulak also very strong. Engelland also looked good, which was good to see.

    Not much intensity, especially for BOA but expect that to be cranked way up in October.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Edm’s B team was awful. And Calgarys A team barely beat them and couldnt even score an even strength goal for their fans in their own barn. EMBARRASSING

  • RexLibris

    The schedule says the Sylvan Lake game is WEDNESDAY evening!

    Boys, lets remember that these were the first games of Prfe-season and Split squads to boot. Both teams were playing some players who got their first and only look at the main camp.

    Oilers trollers: Flames finished 10 points ahead of the Oilers last season and whipped them 8-1 the last time they played. Can the Oilers improve by 10 points over last season?? I have my doubts! They need another 8 years of Number 1 draft picks! LOL

  • My thoughts after attending the game at the Dome:

    – Setoguchi: worked hard, but timing was noticeably off. Passes a foot behind or ahead all the time. Showed rust. Was the “play killer” on his line for much of the game.

    – Brodie/Giordano: Surgical, precise, impressive. Brodie had maybe two brief hiccups, but the pair looked like they were already in mid-season form. Controlled play whenever they were on the ice.

    – Monahan: Dominant in first half of the game. Dictated play, stole pucks, broke up rushes. Kind of faded a bit as game wore on, but probably best Flame forward.

    – Gaudreau: Had some flashes, but was more “understated” than other viewings. Probably some nerves mixed with feeling things out at a new level. Still calm with the puck and great at finding open line mates. Was maybe the best option on the team next to Hudler in terms of handling the puck on the PP.

    – Engelland: Even against the Oilers C squad, there were issues with his pucks skills and mobility. Is fine when battling for a puck in limited space though – pretty much shrugged off opposition down low and in close. Will need to play with someone who can retrieve and handle the puck because he was already being caught on dump-ins and pursuits by this lacklustre Oilers squad.

    – Hathaway: The best try-out in camp for sure. He had one rookie error that led to a chance against in the second, but otherwise was great at skating through traffic, fighting for puck possession and driving to the net. I expect him to get a pro contract.

    – Brookbank: A good sliding break up of a 2on1, but otherwise Brookbank is what you would expect – a slow, limited, glass and out defender. He gets in trouble quickly and has to resort to sub-optimal plays to avoid giving it away.

    – Jooris: A hard worker with gumption, he probably doesn’t have the offensive tools to be an NHLer. Flubbed a slapshot from inside the blueline, passed a puck back to a defender on an odd-man break, etc.

    – Colborne: Decently strong on the puck, though the same guy of last year who jumps from capable and poised to clumsy and oafish looking.

    – Kulak – liked him a bit more than what I saw in Penticton. More controlled game, wasn’t victimized for any strong chances against, good skater. Usually compared to Brodie, but not as a smooth or as incisive a passer. Could be something there.

    – Klimchuk: You can see the promise, but it’s clear Klimchuk’s in over his head right now. Doesn’t have the size or strength to win puck battles and doesn’t quite have the skill and poise to make things happen in open ice yet. Will be a longer soak prospect rather than a guy who breaks into the league at 20.

    – Knight/Reinhart: Not a ton of ice time for either guy. Neither looked out of place, but neither stood out spectacularly either. Reinhart made a few nice passes which showcases his heads up play and keen hockey mind. Knight may be a guy who gets lost in the mix with Granlund, Reinhart, Arnold battling for position in the org.

  • icedawg_42

    @Kent Wilson

    Agreed with Johhny on the PP; he looked dangerous everytime he had the puck. Even though he had 3 or 4 shots, he could easily had another bunch on the PP. I would rather have seen him with a hard-nosed C like Arnold/Knight or even Reinhart and a capable winger. Or Backlund when he comes back. Keep Colborne with Monahan, since the two seemed to click. Play Sven on their wing.

    For game 2, it might be nice to see the following lineup:

    Raymond / Stajan / Hudler
    Sven / Monahan / Colborne
    Gaudreau / Granlund / Ferland
    Reinhart / Knight / Setoguchi

    Gio / Brodie
    Kulak / Wideman
    Smid / Ramage

    Ramo (if available)/ Thiessen

    After all, it is pre-season, so seeing how guys step up is kinda important.

  • RexLibris

    @MichaelD

    I watched the Edmonton game and Diaz stood out primarily as a low-event player.

    He had a couple of offensive opportunities but these were more the result of D-zone chaos indicative of pre-season games than necessarily created by him.

    I thought he covered his zone well enough.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      19-2 at one point for shots Derzie. The goals will come.

      CGY destroyed EDM. With some puck luck (Glencross) they would’ve humiliated the coil up north too.

      It is gobsmackingly obvious how far ahead CGY is with a fraction of the time spent on rebuilding. The whimpers of trolls only reinforces this – they are scared and upset. They know full well that CGY is like a phoenix rising.

      To them, they thought at the very least they would’ve been laughing at CGY by now. Remember when they started their rebuild they brought in young guys and CGY had an aging lineup with no prospects.

      So to them, it was a matter of time before CGY sunk and they rose.

      It hasn’t turned out this way and they’re upset about it. Who wouldn’t? All those years of lousy hockey.

      But it must just sting them hard to see so many good young players on CGY – both drafted (first round, late round) and FA (Hathaway) show such promise. When they are staring at Moroz and the other plugs.

      Sure they might have 3-4 youngs guys with promise already in EDM but when they look at the prospects coming up…gulp! Everything rides on those 3-4. They are tied to them.

      CGY has a multitude of options. CGY young players are all capable of making plays – and they do – on the reg.

      The trolls will get louder only because CGY is better. It bothers them so much and their only response is to try and ruin people’s day because their day gets ruined when they compare EDM future to CGY.

      It’s a great day for hockey (in CGY !!!!)

      • You keep telling yourself whatever it is to keep positive jeff. Your posts suggest that Calgary is right on the cusp but the fact is they are miles away. I seriously dont understanf what your so optimistic about? A 30+ point season by Monahan? A prospect in Bennett who is as raw as they come? Giordano is a great player but he’ll be well past his prime by the time Monahan and company are in theit prime years.

        As every Edm fan knows rebuilds dont always work. Fact is Calgary is a couple more bottom 5 finishes from contending for the playoffs again, especially in the west.

        • Jeff Lebowski

          Harold,

          You could be right. Neither EDM nor CGY are contending just yet and until they do it’s all talk.

          I like my team just like you like yours. Let the best team win (and by best we all know that means CGY 🙂

          In any event, I’m sick of my own posts too so I’m just going to shut up and enjoy the season as well as the analysis the writers here provide.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think Sven is a HUGE part of this team. I’ve been guilty as much as anyone on focusing on the new toys.

    I love watching Sven play. He makes things happen when he’s playing with confidence.

    Everytime I’ve seen Sven with Corban both of their games become noticeable. They have chemistry and make plays.

    I think they have as much ‘headline talent’ as others and I think both can be so vital for the future Flames. There are just so many young guys that impress, sometimes you forget the best, most talented ones – you take them for granted. I did big time.

    We’re all human and make mistakes. But if we want CGY to reach it’s potential (I’ve said for a LONG time that there is something special being built here) we need to keep nurturing – best growing conditions.

    Lots of opportunity left in the preseason to mix and match all the headline guys and see where some unlocked potential can be brought to bear.

    Hockey Ops should be cognizant or mindful on their message of nurturing. Maximize everyone’s potential. Hopefully the message here is clear.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Some guys that I feel are being overlooked:

      Arnold – plays every place on the ice, good at preventing goals, but has offensive abilities
      Agostino – if he can get his timing a bit better he will be another GlenX type; sniper/pest.
      Knight – 4th line capable right now
      Poirier – when he is ready to play, he will be deadly
      Sven – needs to play with vets right now, as too many prospects on a line is not a good idea; he had chemistry with Monahan but maybe better to develop him separately
      Reinhart – he never stands out, but he rarely makes mistakes; solid, versatile player

  • powerwheels

    Full honesty, I’m Oilers fan…Actually a season ticket owner.

    This is the first time I’ve commented on any of the Nation sites. I’m very surprised how many level headed people there are in this post after really dominating puck possession all night. I was expecting nothing but bashing the Oilers…

    I watched both games and Calgary was way more dominant at home then the Oilers were at home. In both games Calgary looked like the were the harder working team.

    I’m again impressed how Hartley gets his players to perform. Even with Oilers much more skilled players, his systems allowed for Calgary to contain them very efficiently & keep it a pretty even game in Edmonton.

    To me Brodie was the best player in Calgary & Schultz was the best players in Edmonton. I really think both of these players are going to have a great year. Schultz is more dynamic but Brodie is more consistent. It’s weird how Brodie gets no love from the media like Schultz does.

    I do think this is going to be a long year for you guys though. I think this will be the year where the Alberta teams go in different directions. The Oilers will battle for a playoff spot and Calgary will sit at the Oilers table at the draft this year…But this is the perfect year to suck. I think bother McDavid and Eichel are franchise players!

    Cheers

    • powerwheels

      You could be correct in terms of where the Flames are in the rebuild process. The Flames in year 2 and the Oilers in year 9. At some point you would think a pro franchise would eventually start to turn things around after accumulating numerous first overalls? But I still have my doubts as the Oiler culture of losing seems to be engrained within the organization.

      It would be a shame to see the Oilers yet gain another top draft pick and ruin another young persons dream!