Post-Game: They Are What We Thought They Were

When tonight’s rosters came out over the Twitter Machine, two common thoughts pervaded the Calgary hockey world.

  1. “Hey, that Canucks roster looks pretty close to an NHL roster.”
  2. “Hey, isn’t that basically the Adirondack Flames roster dressing for our side?”

Well, on Friday night in Vancouver…that’s exactly what happened. The Flames lost 3-0. They barely dressed any regulars. No Monahan. No Gaudreau. No Giordano. No Brodie. Karri Ramo just played a period as he comes back from a hip injury.

In short: they are what we thought they were – a largely AHL roster going into Vancouver and losing fairly soundly to the Vancouver Canucks’ NHL roster.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames, despite facing a strong Canucks line-up, played pretty damn well by all standards in the first period. They were about even in terms of shots and chances, and one could argue that the play of young Sam Bennett may’ve tipped the balance of play in Calgary’s favour. Nobody scored in the first, and Karri Ramo packed it in after testing out his hip throughout the first and stopping all 8 shots he faced.

Doug Carr came into the game in the second period, and the wheels fell off. The Flames began to sing a familiar song called “Penalty Trouble,” in the form of three straight minors that gave the Canucks three power-plays in succession. Vancouver scored on two of them – via goals from Linden Vey and Jannik Hansen, coincidentally both set up by the Sedins. The Flames were out-shot by a 19-6 margin, particularly on the power-play. Oh, and Markus Granlund left the game with an upper-body injury. All-in-all, not a good period for the Flames.

The third period was more even, as the Canucks stood back a bit more and pressed a bit less, and only held a 6-5 shot advantage (and a 33-18 shot advantage and 58-40 overall shot attempt edge). Radim Vrbata scored on another power-play attempt (one of seven Canucks PPs on the night) via another Sedin set-up to make it 3-0.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

If you give the Sedins time and space to wheel and deal, you’re not going to be happy with the results. If you give Vancouver seven power-plays, you’re giving the Sedins 14 minutes to wheel and deal. They won’t need all 14, and they didn’t tonight. At even-strength, shots were close to even, but the Canucks converted on 3 of their 9 shots with the extra-man. Game, set, match.

And let’s face it, the Flames dressed an AHL roster (plus Kris Russell, Brian McGrattan, Brandon Bollig, Jiri Hudler, Paul Byron and Karri Ramo) and the team performed like an AHL club: lots of energy, but generally out-matched by the Canucks, particularly after the first period.

RED WARRIOR

I’ll go with Sam Bennett, again, with a 53% performance in the face-off circle, nearly 19 minutes of ice time and a lot of pucks chucked at the next.

Kris Russell was also good, but that was to be expected, since Russell is a pretty good blueliner. Paul Byron was also all over the ice and provided some energy for the Flames. It was helpful that the spark-plug was paired on the same line as Bennett.

Honourable mention to Doug Carr – he did get lit up for all three
Canucks goals and his rebound control is wacky, but the poor guy faced 25 shots and was basically thrown
to the wolves by his AHL defense. Have fun in Glens Falls, Doug.

SUM IT UP

We’re just a smidge past the half-way point of the pre-season and the Flames boast a 2-3-0 record. With the Adirondack Flames opening their first training camp after the weekend, I would expect a significant amount of cuts as (a) the Flames’ injured bodies are mostly recovered and (b) the Flames still have 57 guys in camp and just 4 pre-season games left to decide a few battles for spots.

In short: expect a much different, more veteran-laden group to hit the ice in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. The puck drops at 6pm MT and it’s not televised, but Sportsnet 960 The Fan has the radio call.

  • everton fc

    Good to hear Byron stood out a bit.

    Not so good not to hear Setoguchi’s name. Perhaps Ferland takes his spot?! 🙂

    Most of this evening’s d-core will be re-assigned shortly.

    Always wished the Flames could have somehow poached Linden Vey.

  • MWflames

    Well, that was a boring game. But I suppose boring is the best thing you can ask for when your AHL team plays an NHL team.

    The best thing our defense did tonight was make Russell look like an all star. In all seriousness I thought that inexperienced defense group did an admiral job of damage control. The entire team was defending most of the night because relatively they aren’t very good, but the reality is that they didn’t really sacrifice many ten bell chances except on the goals really. So I actually think that’s a respectable outcome for this group.

    Also, Bennett is really good. The only time the flames had any sort of pressure or scoring chance is when he was involved. He’s got a lot of physical tools: he seems to skate faster with the puck than without, and it always seems to catch the other team off guard. He’s got great hands, and he turns on a dime. But I was impressed with the way he thinks the game. It reminded me a lot of Monahan actually. I think this manifests itself differently than Monahan, but it leaves me with the same after thought: how did he know how to be there?

    Only thing that makes me hesitate on whether he’s NHL ready or not is his size. He battles for sure, but he definitely gets bumped off the puck. Once he puts on a few pounds and can maintain the puck in close he will be a real force. Good news for flames fans.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Looking at last nights roster and it looks like the cut list (except for the NHLers, Bennett and Granlund). I expect a big list of cuts to come down today or tomorrow, as the Flames need to focus on the last few selections.

    The opportunities for advancement has become interesting with Backlund out (hopefully for a short time), and for the first time in years it will be rookies (plural) up for real consideration.

    Hopefully Granlund is alright. He’s been a constant standout since the rookie tournament. I’m pulling for he and Johnny Hockey to make this team out of camp.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Bennett continues to impress and this kid is NHL ready. Still I’m in the send to junior camp. He will have a year to prepare himself for the show, by putting on some muscle.

  • Graham

    This game wasn’t about a win or a loss, it was an opportunity to evaluate the kids against NHL competition. Most of these guys looked like they where AHL talent not NHL talent, so I think many of the ‘prospect’ performances will make the next round of cuts easy. This is preseason after all, a good look at who we have and how ready they are, in many cases we have our answers.

  • Graham

    I thought Sieloff and Ramage did better this game. With the exception of Russell, the other D mostly marked time, progression wise.

    Knight looked merely okay but given his linemates, that is probably as much as could be expected.

    I would prefer to take Ferland over Setoguchi even though I don’t think Ferland is quite there yet. He is, at least, a big body that can bring the pain if the other team starts getting uppity. Setoguchi hasn’t got his mojo back yet.

    VanBrabant was unnoticeable.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    I was hoping to see more from Setoguchi this pre-season, and wasn’t disappointed when the Flames signed him; however, while it is easy enough to criticize the quality of his linemates, it should be up to him to elevate his play and take them along for the ride.

    At this point, I don’t think it’s unfair to say Seto is walking the bubble line.