FGD: The Canucks Visit (7pm MT; SN360)

After a pretty entertaining 4-3 win in Sylvan Lake last night, the Calgary Flames are back at it! In the second game of both their 3-games-in-3-nights stretch and their 4-games-in-5-nights stretch (and 5 in 7 if you want to go that far down), they host the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

The puck drops just after 7pm MT and the game is on radio via Sportsnet 960 The Fan and on television via Sportsnet 360. Beware, again, it’s the Canucks feed, so no Ball, Hrudey or Millions tonight.

THE FLAMES

The Flames are 2-1-0 this pre-season and are in the midst of a tough stretch. The upside is they’ve gotten the opportunity to rotate a bunch of bodies into the line-up.

One body that’s getting rotated in (finally)? Sam Bennett!

Lines! They changed a bit during practice, so I ended up going with Steinberg’s:

Baertschi – Monahan – Setoguchi
Jones – Bennett – Ferland
Bouma – Arnold – Agostino
Bollig – Stajan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Culkin – Diaz
Yonkman – Kanzig
Wideman – Cundari

Hiller
Thiessen

Hiller gets two periods, while Thiessen mops up in the third. Since Kanzig has yet to play, I guess that Wideman and Cundari sit, but that’s a guess. Man, I like those forward lines! But they broke up the Giordano/Brodie super-pairing! No they didn’t, so they’re being smart.

In other news, Karri Ramo (hip) may play tomorrow in Vancouver, as could Mason Raymond. Heck, Bennett might get put in that group with a good game tonight – the team wants to accelerate him a bit, so expect to see a lot of #63 until they decide what they have in him. Wotherspoon is also progressing, but he’s a bit behind.

THE CANUCKS

The visitors are coming off a split squad set on Tuesday with the Sharks; they won 4-2 in Vancouver and lost 5-2 in San Jose. Shockingly, every single split squad pairing I’ve seen this pre-season has involved the pre-season winning. This is their first non-split game of the pre-season.

Probable lines, via the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap:

Burrows – Bonino – Kassian
Higgins – Horvat – Hansen
Shinkaruk – Richardson – Matthias
Sestito – Bancks – Jensen

Stanton – Corrado
Sbisa – Negrin
Huskins – Tommernes

Lack
Eriksson

Shinkaruk was passed over by the Flames in the 2013 draft, instead taking Emile Poirier. Negrin and Bancks are both former Flames. Oh, and expect somebody to go after Frankie Corrado after he elbowed poor Johnny Gaudreau in the jaw in Penticton.

SUM IT UP

It’s always fun when the Canucks are in town, in that their presence appears to bring out a specific type of rage in Flames fans. And the Canucks are icing a line-up that the Flames should be able to beat.

It should be an exciting game, if only to see how Sam Bennett fares in his first pre-season action.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I don’t know; he’s not a high calibre dude, but he’s certainly looking better than Brookbank, Cundari, Engelland, and Smid. I don’t think there’s a better choice for the Flames’ 7th dman.

    • MattyFranchise

      I’m just listening to the radio feed while I play video games but they mentioned that although he was injured in the worlds and missed 8 weeks of quality training time he’s been playing strong this game.

      Someone told him (drawing a blank on the name) that he has to go to the game rather than waiting for the game to go to him and apparently he’s doing that.

      He’s been involved in at least a couple chances tonight.

    • MonsterPod

      Sven doesn’t do it for me and I believe he will be moved. Not saying he won’t have an NHL career but I’d put my stock in about 6 other Flame youngsters ahead of him.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Many a star in this league “didn’t do it” for a lot of people before they found their game. Not saying he will be a star, but he might! Give him time. No need to be hasty.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          I don’t disagree and you may be right. Then again, many a star in this league “didn’t do it” for a lot of people and the team ended up holding on to him too long before he fled to Europe. The Flames need to evaluate their forwards and determine if he fits in long term – if not, ship him.

      • MonsterPod

        You’re getting trashed again MM and again I totally agree.

        Lone wolves.

        I’d put Granlund ahead of him at this point. Same size, age, but Granlund plays a 200 foot game.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          I don’t disagree with you on that point. Just that we should be patient with Baertschi. I think Baertschi has a higher ceiling than Granlund. Takes some longer to get there.

          • MonsterPod

            I hear ya. The Flames are in patient mode anyway. He’s not worth much in a trade as is right now so they may as well keep him. He’s already an RFA at the end of the year. Great year for him to step it up, but he’s gonna have to battle Johnny G for a LW spot.

          • RedMan

            I agree about Baertschi having a high ceiling… patience is in order. He has a lot of tools, and I can still see him being part of the new core in a couple years,

          • RedMan

            Agree.

            I tracked Baertschi all night (after getting used to him wearing #27) and came away impressed – he had a good game.

            Baertschi had a couple nifty subtle passes, one each on his forehand and backhand, both ending in quality scoring chances. He was distributing the puck really well, had good decision-making to take a couple excellent shots when he was in the best position to do so, and made decent contact/hits along the boards a few times.

            While he didn’t stand out like Bennett, he was quietly efficient. If he continues on this path he should be added to the young core being talked about …Monahan, Bennett, Gaudreau, Granlund, Brodie…AND Baertschi.

            Add in a dose of Poirier and Klimchuk, a dash of Ferland and some size in Smith/Carroll/Bollig and this team has some real potential in 2-3 years.

      • MichaelD

        I pretty well agree with you. I also agree with letting prospects develop but hockey is sort of a business of investments, but it’s a sport which for some reason has different ‘rules of thumb’.

        Anyways we don’t need him really and has lost some value to us, there’s probably a win-win deal to be made. I guess we don’t wanna sell low though

  • MattyFranchise

    Bennett is going to get his 9 game tryout for sure if he keeps playing like this.

    I’d rather see him in junior though. It’s too much to hope for another Monahan.

    • RedMan

      Agree he likely will get games. Bennett not Monahan, more of a cross between Monahan and JH, with a touch of Bouma thrown in for good measure.

      Based on skill will likely make the team, but size and age? Dilemma.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    Ah, The Score.

    Flames practicing face-punching during training camp.

    Yeah, The Score.

    Nice.

    Original.

    Except Ryan Lambert said the same thing earlier.

    Ryan Lambert is desperate and hopes he’ll find a woman who appreciates him for the kinder, gentler ice-girl hating, woman-understanding human being that he is.

    You, The Score, are hoping someone will just hit on your sorry excuse for a site.

  • BurningSensation

    Solely from a very biased ‘eye-test’, the Flames look very ready to move forward with a core built around; Monahan, Bennett, Gaudreau and Brodie.

    Especially Monahan. He looks visibly larger than last year, and his skating has an extra ‘pop’ that wasn’t there before.

    Running those guys 1-2 down the middle is going to be AWESOME

  • MattyFranchise

    Well, Lack won that one for the Canucks. Pretty good game all around. David Jones sucks, the kids played pretty good, Canucks’ next generation are going to be divers. All in all, a pretty nice preseason game.

  • Well that was an incredibly impressive performance from Bennett. He was Calgary’s best forward. Bennett, Gaudreau and Granlund have all had stellar pre-seasons so far.

    Baertschi had a much better game tonight as well. Deserved a couple of points.

    Setoguchi still looks really rough.

    Culkin needs to be scratched. Over his head.

    Ferland looks close, but I need to see more against better rosters to really decide.

    Brodie and Giordano control everything when they are on the ice.

    Monahan scored, but had a very up and down night. Terrible in-zone give away that led to Canucks goal and then another one in mid-ice that led to a Canucks chance.

    Arnold is a quietly efficient player, but the game looks a bit too fast for him on occassion. Needs some seasoning still.

    Agostino had maybe his best outing, though he was far more noticable in the first half of the game vs the second.

  • RedMan

    Jones really is an interesting case.

    Large body, experience and history, but has not been able to establish himself as a better option then a number of rookies. Given this, and the fact that the rookies have upside, I suspect Jones will be riding the bus this year.

    I have no personal dislike, just have been waiting to see something from him that justifies the contract. he really dropped off somewhere, or he really over-performed for a couple seasons in the past.

    either way, he will walk away a multimillionaire… so, no hard feelings right??