FGD: A Dish Best Served In Vancouver (8pm MT; SN1)

The Calgary Flames lost to their bitter rivals, the Vancouver Canucks, last evening at home. Tonight, a slightly different group of Calgary Flames players travel into enemy territory to try to return the favour at Rogers Arena.

The Flames (2-2-0) are at .500 in the pre-season and are likely using this game to evaluate before trimming their roster down significantly. The Canucks (2-1-0) are probably just trying to keep some momentum going.

The game goes at 8pm MT on Sportsnet One (with the Canucks broadcast team) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. It’s the last televised pre-season game this year.

For a look from the other side, check out the preview from those rascals over at Canucks Army.

THE FLAMES

Your local hockey heroes came out and played really well for 40 minutes of last night’s game, but failed to really accumulate goals off of their many, many chances. They’ll be hard-pressed to do better tonight, especially given they’re leaving some of their aces at home.

Upside? Tons of chances for the lesser lights to impress and cement themselves contracts or roster spots.

Lines, via Derek Wills (of Sportsnet 960) and Wes Gilbertson (of the Sun):

Byron – Bennett – Hudler
Agostino – Reinhart – Setoguchi
Van Brabant – Granlund – Hanowski
McGrattan – Knight – Bollig

Russell – Ramage
Sieloff – Culkin
Kanzig – Acolatse

Ramo
Carr

Your scratches tonight are Garnet Hathaway and Dustin Stevenson. Shocker. Stevenson’s the only healthy body not to get into any games thus far. It’s the first pre-season action for Ramo, Acolatse, Kanzig, Ramage, Van Brabant and Hanowski. It’s basically the AHL team, plus a handful of NHL bodies.

Can Sam Bennett carry this team on his back again tonight? If he can, start ordering #63 jerseys.

In other news: Tyler Wotherspoon, Corey Potter, Curtis Gedig and Trevor Gillies, previously of the injured skating group, skated with the main group in Calgary this morning. The other injured bodies – Emile Poirier, Mason Raymond, Mikael Backlund and Morgan Klimchuk – didn’t skate with the main group.

The Flames sent Austin Carroll back to the Victoria Royals this morning, dropping the camp roster to 57 bodies. There’s a chance that Keegan Kanzig gets the same treatment after tonight, but they may keep him around longer like they did last year.

THE CANUCKS

The home line-up, courtesy the radio voice of the Flames, Derek Wills (@fan960wills):

Forwards are Richardson, Vrbata, D.Sedin, Sestito, H.Sedin, Hansen, Jeffrey, Vey, Jensen, Gaunce, Dorsett, and Horvat. The largely NHL-ready defense is Hamhuis, Bieksa, Sbisa, Weber, Tanev and Stanton. Ryan Miller gets his first taste of Canucks action, with Eriksson backing him up like he did for Eddie Lack last night. We don’t have lines available as of this writing.

The big news in Vancouver is the waiving of Jacob Markstrom, but this is a mostly NHL-ready line-up playing against the Adirondack Flames. Ramo will get tested quite a bit tonight, but it’s also a nice test to see if any of the Flames’ aspiring bottom-six prospects can shut down – or even slow down – the Sedins and Co.

SUM IT UP

Tonight’s game represents the half-way point of the pre-season for the Flames! I’d expect some cuts imminently after this game, particularly since the Flames are getting some healthy bodies back and the Baby Flames begin their camp on Monday.

Tonight’s the last chance for fringe bodies to get onto Brad Treliving and Bob Hartley’s radar. After tonight, the axe falls and we get down to some serious, serious business.

Let the games begin.

  • MWflames

    So before the game Shannon and kypreos were endorsing the fact that bozak is a number one centerman. And just now the Vancouver pbp crew is labeling stajan and Monahan as the clear 1 & 2 with backlund as the 3rd centre… I realize backlund isn’t the best centerman in the league, but do Sportsnet employees watch hockey? I mean really…

  • MWflames

    Flames B- team did not look particularly impressive tonight and I’m not sure that the work ethic was there, which is a concern.

    That said, the Canucks did not score against them even strength. Don’t start planning the parade just yet canuckleheads.

  • MWflames

    Flames B- team did not look particularly impressive tonight and I’m not sure that the work ethic was there, which is a concern.

    That said, the Canucks did not score against them even strength. Don’t start planning the parade just yet canuckleheads.

  • MWflames

    Tough to watch. Not really many inspiring performances.

    Couple positives: Bennett looks like he might be really really good. I didn’t think he was that skilled. Vision creativity and such a strong skater.

    I thought Seiloff was better. He looks rusty and needs more seasoning but with some time maybe there is something there. No question he competes.

    I think we see some moves tomorrow. Hanowski goes down I would say. Vanbrabant too. Likely Ramage though I think he makes gains in the A this year. I like Agostinos game but he seemed to get pushed off the puck tonight.

    Knight wins draws and I don’t mind him in a checking role with some finish.

    Scoring goals might be a challenge this year.
    While we dressed a weak squad I guess I was hoping for a bit more. Just seemed really flat across the board.

    Russell looked like a pro.

    • RexLibris

      Scoring goals might be a challenge this year. While we dressed a weak squad I guess I was hoping for a bit more. Just seemed really flat across the board.

      The Flames dressed a pitiful defensive group tonight.

      Failure to score stems partially from having an AHL squad lineup against an NHL/AHL squad, but also because the blueliners couldn’t help the forwards by getting the puck to them more easily.

      I think the scoring will come when the Flames have their six guys set, but running the group they had tonight it was going to be a loss.

      I liked what I saw from Bennett and to be honest I think he is NHL-ready.

  • everton fc

    I didn’t see the game. But based on the commentary here this evening:

    Byron/Setoguchi – are they “locks” in the lineup? Should Byron be worried?? Has Setoguchi done anything that Ferland couldn’t do in the same slot on RW??

    The comment about lack of on-ice leadership – where was Bollig in all of this?

    Reinhart, Agostino, Knight, Hanowski – where were they? Reinhart and Knight might find themselves lost in the mix (ditto Byron) with Bennett showing he may be ready now (I agree with you Rex; he’s ready), as well as Ferland and Granlund, both of whom I think are close (Granlund and Ferland would be an interesting 3rd line with a complimentary veteran linemate). I also think Arnold pushes a few of these guys a bit. (How did Van Brabant look?)

    Might I add our depth on “d” is expansion-level?

    All that said, it’s an exciting camp. I hope Johnny G, obviously Ferland, Granlund, and maybe Arnold, get long looks. I’d really like to see them give the youth a chance. And Byron – what to do with him? He was on a 35 point pace last season. Or close to it. On a poor team. He’s interesting. Plays with a little edge. But he’s smaller than Scotty Nicol! He may not fit in here.

    • RexLibris

      All the guys you mentioned played half decent, and had their moments, e.g. Byron had a couple great set-ups to Bennett in the 1st. The others definitely put in the effort too, but overall there was not enough talent/skill/effort to make that push all the way to some serious scoring chances. Whether that’s inexperienced D, not enough skill etc I’ll leave others to input.

      Defensively, Russell really stood out as a leader and the rest did a very good on the Canucks limiting their chances outside of the PP. On the PP the Sedins pretty much kept passing it around (back and forth) till they found an opening and they capitalized. Their first 3 PPs did nothing, but after that they pretty much skated in and set up shop.

      Unfortunately for the Flames there was not the intensity and the hitting that you normally see in-season. Since that’s a large part of Calgary’s game the impact was noticeable. I suspect Opening Night will be MUCH different just from that aspect alone.

      After the Canucks got ahead the team visible sagged and had a harder time getting things going, or perhaps the Canucks just went into shut-down mode…