Post-Game: Conquering Hockeyville

The Calgary Flames headed up the road to Sylvan Lake, Alberta on Wednesday night to play the visiting Phoenix Arizona Coyotes. While cynics would joke that the poor folks in Sylvan Lake lost their arena already, why should they be subjected to a Flames/Coyotes game (ha!), tonight’s contest actually was pretty damn entertaining.

After some overtime power-play heroics, the Flames skated home with a 4-3 win to improve their pre-season record to 2-1-0.

THE RUNDOWN

The Coyotes came out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period. Both goals victimized the Sheldon Brookbank and Patrick Sieloff duo. On the first, Joni Ortio made an initial save and kicked out a rebound. Sieloff swung wildly in an attempt to clear the puck, missed entirely, and Matt Kassian put it past Ortio. On the second, the D-men got caught out of position in the corners and Joe Vitale drove the net and put his own rebound past Ortio. However, the Flames did manage to come back, scoring late on a power-play off a shot by Deryk Engelland with a couple guys screening Mike McKenna to make it 2-1.

In the second, the Flames began to take over the game. Markus Granlund drove into the zone with a head of steam. The Coyotes defenders seemed mystified in terms of what to do, where to go and who to cover. Granlund used this momentary freedom to put a tape-to-tape pass on the stick of Brian McGrattan, who scored a “gimme” goal to draw even. Arizona came back, scoring for the third time on Ortio – none of them were his fault – as a puck lobbed towards the net bounced off a couple bodies (the last being B.J. Crombeen) and past Ortio. With it looking like the Flames would go back to the room trailing after 40, Sven Baertschi collected a puck off the neutral zone boards and went in and put a puck through the pads of McKenna – this one had juuuuust enough on it to squeak through – to tie the game at 3-3 with roughly 10 seconds to go in the period.

Doug Carr took over for Ortio in net for the third, and the Flames also held Morgan Klimchuk out of the game for the period due to an upper body injury. Brendan Burke came in for Arizona. They had a really fun end-to-end game, with Carr seeming quite poised for a guy getting his first NHL pre-season action in. The game went to a power-play in overtime and Calgary’s strategy appeared to involve dazzling the Coyotes defenders with point-area passes between Johnny Gaudreau, Raphael Diaz and Kris Russell. It worked, because they basically left Curtis Glencross alone to screen the goalie, and one tipped Russell point shot later, Hockeyville was capped off with an overtime win for the “home” side.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Arizona was opportunistic throughout the game – none of the three goals they got were because they beat the goalie, but rather because they capitalized on Flames mistakes. However, the Flames stuck to the game-plan and really took over the game for the last 45 minutes.

Overall, a strong effort for the locals, aside from a few defensive zone gaffes.

RED WARRIOR

Brett Kulak. I neglected to praise him for Sunday night’s game, which is probably because I barely noticed him. That’s a good thing, so to make up for it I praise him here. Paired with Diaz at even-strength, Kulak looked every bit as NHL-ready as his partner. Granted, Kulak is definitely headed for Adirondack, no question, but he’s come a long way since being drafted in 2012 from the Vancouver Giants.

In terms of others who were strong: Johnny Gaudreau is getting more and more composed and poised as he plays, and he was buzzing around the offensive zone a ton. Markus Granlund created tons of chances. Sven Baertschi looked good, especially in terms of battling along the boards and not shying away from contact. Turner Elson was every bit the pest we’ve seen him be in the WHL, and played really well on the many Flames PKs.

In contrast, Sieloff and Brookbank were not good.

SUM IT UP

The boys are back at it tomorrow night, when they return to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome to host the Vancouver Canucks. It’s at 7pm MT, and it’s also on Sportsnet 360, but beware, it’s the Canucks broadcast team. It’s also on Sportsnet 960 the Fan.

  • RKD

    Can Diaz please get a contract now? And can Brookbank be released like yesterday?

    It’s strange that Kulak is looking more like his usual dependable self among the pros than he did against the prospects. But it’s nice to see.

  • beloch

    beware, it’s the Canucks broadcast team.

    Thanks for the warning. I’ll get my nephew to call the game while impersonating Jar-Jar Binks, blowing a Vuvuzela, and dragging a rusty nail across a chalk-board (my nephew is multi-talented). That should make the game a lot more enjoyable than listening to those guys.

  • RKD

    Sieloff and Brookbank certainly did not hold their own tonight and didn’t help their cause. On the flip side, there appears to be some good chemistry between Russell and Engelland as a pairing.

  • Southern_Point

    Hopefully the fans don’t get down on Seiloff! This kid just turned 20 and is in recovery mode from his serious health issues. A year in Adirondack will obviously help his development and get his game back.

    This kid is talented and rock solid.

    • Skuehler

      Totally agree. Seems it’s more decision making and groove (timing and confidence) issues.
      I just cringed in the third when his clearing attempt across the middle almost led to a goal.

    • Southern_Point

      I can not figure out why people or so high on this kid, he was mediocre at the world juniors, and has never scored at a decent rate any where. Kulak and Culkin have higher upside as far as I’m concerned, Sieloff just seems like Phanuef without the offensive instincts.

      • playastation

        Maybe because defense is not particularly based around the idea of scoring. I would like to think its about keeping possession afloat whilst limiting the other teams scoring chances. But potatoes potatoes (reading one differently would make that sound less retarded)

        He [Seiloff] didn’t have the greatest game. If you played with a immovable pylon named Brookbank you would probably have a bad game too. Which reminds me, Brookbank should be cut. Immediately. He is a human sloth.

        Also just a few thoughts on the game, I only saw the first and second period. I liked Baertschi and Granlund (who had a beautiful assist to McGrattan of all people), and Russell looked quite strong at advancing the puck. Klimchuck seems to continually struggle, yet show glimpses of talent (I say continually as I thought he didn’t do particularly well at the prospects tournament either). Engellund didn’t look bad, although he was playing against prospects and AHLers.

        I like Diaz, I thought he stood out especially during the PP, although sometimes I wish he didn’t shoot the puck so much (weird I know). Sometimes I felt he didn’t let the play develop on the powerplay because he was teeing up every puck he got (then again he is playing for a contract so perhaps he was trying to stand up/score).

      • SavardianSpinorama

        Because you don’t win Stanley Cups having 6 high scoring defensemen!

        You need mobile, physical, highly skilled defenseman like Seiloff to balance your defense!

        • Southern_Point

          You probably could win a Stanely Cup with 6 high scoring dmen, but it would be tough to fit them under the cap; with them being better then defensive defensemen, they get paid more.

          How do you know Sieloff will balance out our defense? How many times have you seen him play? How do you actually know he is good at defense? Sounds to me like whenever a defensemen struggles to do anything productive fans jump on the defensive defensemen bandwagon. A good d-man should provide provide both offense and defensive coverage. As far as I can tell Sieloff does neither.

  • Southern_Point

    Diaz addition to the Flames is really starting to interest me. Will benefit our special teams, provide speed, and depth. Don’t see why we don’t give him a contract.

  • KiLLKiND

    It seems to me Smid may be the 7th d-man as Gio, Brodie, Russell, Wideman, Diaz and Engelland don’t seem to be that horrible of a lineup injuries withstanding of course

    • JMK

      A lot of injuries are the result of overuse. Perhaps Hartley needs to tone down the “no one is in better shape than us” mantra a bit or institute a shallower curve, especially on the younger guys.

      I get and agree with all of the conditioning arguments, but it’s something that can’t be instituted in a random fashion or on players not ready for it, because there are about a few million degrees of what constitutes ‘fit’.

      Just a theory and not saying that’s what it is for sure (because how would I know?), but a lot has been made of the extreme fitness demands (the infamous “mountain climbers,” for example) in the media lately and I’d hate to see us losing what seems like mostly new guys to the team just in order to try and make some sort of point. Besides, if you’re injured, you can’t train.

      • Burnward

        Its a contact sport and injuries happen. I’m not sure that the Flames have more than their share versus other teams? Perhaps someone can check… Hey, look at some other major injuries in the league: Datsyuk, JStaal, Stepan, Drouin and etc…

        • SavardianSpinorama

          For sure, but overuse makes that more likely. I don’t if that’s the reason or not, just throwing it out there due to all the hype surrounding the Flames fitness lately. For example, it was stated that Backlund’s injury was the result of overtraining this summer. Understand, I have no problem with Calgary being the fittest team in the league, but this sort of thing really needs close professional supervision and proper timetables, rather than the coach merely deciding on whim.

          • RedMan

            Smid made some carefully worded comments about the different atmosphere between Calgary and Edmonton, not sure where they are, somewhere on the flames sight I’m sure, the attitude and expectations regarding practice being noted.

      • scoopz

        I’ll agree that many injuries are caused by overuse, but in this case, we’re looking at an upper body injury and I’d venture to guess that has nothing to do with overuse during practices.

        During the second, Klimchuk went awkwardly into the boards while battling for a puck. Kind of looked like he might have hurt his neck or shoulder on the play. I didn’t see him take a shift after that incedent, so I’m wondering if something happened on that play.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    Worked late and was only able to watch the third……..yuk!

    I am willing to give Sieloff a year in Addi before I judge him.

    Even Johnny didn’t look very sharp in the third, even though it was cute/ineffective to see him on the point on the pp….
    He seems to fade/disappear in third periods a lot, conditioning?

    I would not be surprised if he spends time in Addi this year.

    I also would not be surprised if he gets traded if some team is willing to overpay.

    WW

  • scoopz

    Gotta throw out the love for Colborne. He was strong on the boards and set up some great chances. I have a feeling he’s really going to break out this year.

    • Burnward

      Definitely better than last year, both on the boards and carrying the puck and trying to make plays. Good to see the development. I think its great the mix of skill guys we currently have. Seems that some moves, etc are rubbing off on others as they get stronger and more confident just like Colbourn.

    • Burnward

      Yeah, great to see. McGratton definitely one trying some new things, hockey-wise. Maybe all that time mentoring spent with Monahan, and Sean showing him a few things?

      On the play last night not only did he see the potential, but moved, twice, to get into perfect position to receive the pass. Very well done.

    • McRib

      Walter White has clearly setup a second account to give himself assists in prospect bashing… Mason McDonalds team was outshot by 12 and he still picked up the Win…. Thanks Trolls or I guess I should say Troll. Not to mention he just got off a plane and hasn’t practice with the team this season. Maybe you should go cheer for Vancouver and the amazing Thatcher Demko because playing for Boston College didn’t help his numbers at all! Hahaha. Demko is honestly the most overrated Goalie Prospect since Al Montoya, who was drafted sixth overall playing on a stacked Michigan team and after six years with three NHL clubs has finally found his niche as a backup.

      • RedMan

        You’re bang on @ the multiple accounts… maybe after reading the “The rise of jeanshorts” article, i need to rethink my opinion as to why he does this. Either way, he obviously gets a great deal of joy out of being the hated troll and arguing with himself.

      • JMK

        Ahhh no I’m me, no Walter White involved. I just posted that for peoples information. I’m new to hockey (so maybe misguided) but I saw those stats as a positive, showed improvement from previous numbers and from his teammate who posted 0.87 in the past 4 games.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    I watched most of the game last night and came away with these opinions.Russell and Kulak were clearly the Flames best defencemen.While Eng’s scored a goal I wass not impressed with his defensive game and I see the upside of Diaz skill set I also did not like his defensive game. Seiloff looked like a player who had not played a lot so I’m not down on him long term and Brookbank looked like a guy whose best days are long behind him.

    Granlund is making a case to start the season in the NHL, Sven scored and other than one glaring defensive mistake looked sound in all 3 zones.Johnny was more consistent and was not physically over matched. Elson Impressed with his effort and 2 way play. My favorite part of the game was the GlenX interview before overtime and Colborne teasing him, this team is close and loose which will help them through the season.

    • everton fc

      Diaz may very well make the team. Russell has been a real steal. I think he’ll pair nicely w/Engelland, if that’s the route they choose to go. Hearing Engelland interviewed a few times, he seems a pretty intelligent guy. Seems like he’d be a good vet on the ice/bench/dressing room And he’ll stick up for this teammates, who already appear to like him.

      I, too, think Granlund sticks. Hearing him interviewed, he already sounds like a pro who’s been in the league a while. Confident, almost haughty, but not arrogant. Apparently he likes to talk on the ice. Perhaps a leader down the road? Colborne seems huge. And is!