FGD #31: Flames Try to Shake It Off (5pm MT, SN West)


(Maybe keep your speaker volume down a tad, there’s shouting)

Outside of dealing with people scoffing at their early-season, percentage-driven success, the Calgary Flames haven’t had to deal with a lot of adversity this season. Sure, they had injuries, but none of the injuries were to an indispensable player like Giordano, Brodie, Hudler, Monahan or Gaudreau. Or a goalie. So it was fine.

Now they’ve lost three games in a row, and after being high in the hog and feeling bulletproof, the Flames (17-11-2) are perhaps reeling a bit. Tonight, they try not to extend their losing streak any further.

Too bad they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins (18-6-3) tonight in the Steel City, as the Penguins are a really good team. Who have Sidney Crosby. And that Evgeni Malkin guy. And their secret weapon: Blake Comeau.

Puck drop is at 5pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

Projected lines for tonight, via our pals at Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.10.59 AM

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.11.08 AM

Looking to get something going here and change things up, Raphael Diaz and Lance Bouma come out and Ladislav Smid and MATT STAJAN (not Bollig, because he was already in last night) slot back in. I mean, Smid’s an upgrade over Diaz easily, but Bouma better be hurt otherwise this (Bollig and Stajan in rather than Stajan and Bouma) is nothing but a pure chemistry move. But hey, Brian McGrattan is also scratched (I think), so everything kinda makes sense.

Jonas Hiller gets the start after Karri Ramo gave up four goals to Buffalo. Yes, Buffalo. Hiller wasn’t bad against Toronto in his last start, nor did he steal the game. He was a goaltender and blocked most of the shots he faced, but not all of them.

THE PENGUINS

The big news is that Sidney Crosby is apparently alive enough to play, rendering the voodoo dolls that Bob Hartley was using completely moot.

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.11.41 AM

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.11.56 AM

Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Pens.

The Penguins are a good hockey team. Their defense is the worst thing about them, and it’s still pretty decent. Their top six is excellent and despite a drop-off to that group, their bottom-six is, at worst, functional.

The Flames need to shake off any rust or whatever voodoo’s hampering them, because you need to be good at what you do to beat Pittsburgh, regardless of whether Crosby has an alien growing out of his face or not.

UPDATE: As a precaution because of the alien growing out of his face (which is apparently not mumps, but they’re not 100% clear on that), Sidney Crosby is sitting this weekend. No Crosby tonight.

SUM IT UP

The difference for the Flames making the playoffs or not isn’t entirely analytics – it’s their ability to stop losing skids a game earlier than when they were a bad team (and in their ability to make winning stretches last a bit longer). With a tough test coming up against Chicago to close out the roadie, they need any points they can get, because the difference between April hockey and no April hockey is likely going to be very slim.

  • cgyokgn

    I know it’s been said many times but I can’t believe how brutal Engelland is at EVERYTHING!! I though he would be at least a solid 5/6 dman at that over payment but was I wrong! the penalty Brodie took was bc Eng throws the puck rite up the middle into the slot! He is an AHL dman and is costing this team every time he’s on the ice. The GM needs to find a functional bottom dman fast. Ideally I would love if he could land a younger D prospect like Gormley or larsson where we can accept some growing pains for a better future.

  • beloch

    Man, I love watching Johnny Hockey dance his way up the ice. That kid seems to know exactly where everyone around him is. The Penguins formed a bubble around him and, rather than running right into the D, he slowed up just enough to stay in the middle of the bubble right through the neural zone. Meanwhile, four Penguins are looking at each other and wondering whose job it is to get Johnny!

  • CDB

    Glad we have Bollig and Engelland in the lineup. And mcgratton on the roster. I could see the fear in Letangs eyes as he cross checked Gaudreau. Depres’ knees were knocking when he forearm shivered Smid.

    #truculence

    • Rock

      The enforcer era is gone, over, done. That Calgary still hasn’t figured that out disheartens me.

      List of players to get rid of:

      Stajan

      Bollig

      Engelland

      Smid

      Glencross

      McGratton

      None of those guys are contributing to on-ice success in any way and need to be replaced with youth/skill.

      For forwards over 26, unless it’s a great deal, I’m ok with keeping:

      Hudler

      Jones

      Raymond

  • Rock

    @savardsphincter

    The Flames are not lacking “enforcement”…they are lacking meanness.

    We have fighters but we have no mean players.

    Like:

    -the douche that put the knee on Stajan.
    -the douche who elbowed Ferland.
    -the douche who elbowed Smid.

    When was the last time a Flame injured another player?

    Even Malkin got in on the fun tonight with the “accidental” skate to Hudlers face.

    I know; we are Flame fans and we support clean play……

    As much as I hate Kassian; he slams his stick into Gagners face…..he cuts the Achilles of some poor sap……do we have a mean prick like this?

    No; we are Flame fans and we support clean play!!!!

    Gaudreau will get hurt by one of these pricks and we will do nothing……..

    WW

          • Burnward

            Actually I have been coming to this site for years, it is great. I just choose to not engage in the comments. Assuming there is quite a few of us who do the same and help to keep the lights on. So, no, I won’t be going anywhere. And I am pretty sure Kent et. al. Want to keep it that way.

            The problem isn’t people disagreeing on this site. That’s what I like about the comments thread. The problem is hubris, and people thinking they are the smartest guy in the room ( and then trying to prove that with every comment).

            WW: agreed that the fancy stats talk goes overboard, but so does the fan boy stuff. I probably fall into the later camp. There have been some fantastic comments lately about gaps in advanced stats that I gathered a lot from. The stock analyst added a lot to that conversation.

            My 2 cents: this team was probably not as good as their record showed a week ago and they definitely aren’t as bad as their record has been since. Regardless of where we end up its been a lot of fun so far and the kids are alright.

          • Burnward

            I have an opinion. Is it hubris? It’s up to you to decide.

            I may disagree with the wolf, Walter, and even the writers.

            I am entitled to my opinion.

            You know why?

            Because hockey is debatable, that’s why.

            If you don’t like what I or others have to say, by all means, weigh in, and lambaste us if you feel the need.

            But don’t deny Walter, me, or anyone else the right to speak.

          • Burnward

            @savardianspinorama

            Maybe more people would respond if you weren’t belligerent with everyone on the site. You say you want to have a discussion, but you just scream and insult anyone that has an opposing opinion. I don’t know if you noticed, but the message boards shut down every time you show up. No body wants to take part in your constant arguments. A discussion is a conversation with people who have opposing view points. One person talks, then the other listens. They take turns at this for a period of time. It is not patronizing the other person until they give up and leave.

          • KiLLKiND

            Didn’t notice. I really don’t care if people respond, and I don’t care about trashes and props. I will leave that to the “care bears” out there who need a cyber hug.

            What about you?

            Are you a care bear?

            Do you need a hug?

          • beloch

            You are literally proving my point. In one sentence you say you want people to have a discussion, in the next you say you don’t care if anybody responds. Well which is it? Or do you just want to scream your opinion at everyone, then ignore responses? That’s what you do now. Not the most productive way to discuss hockey. But it is a good way to alienate yourself to the point where people no longer care what you say. Even if you somehow managed to say something that could be construed as an intelligent point. Not that I’ve seen anything intelligent come from one of your many belligerent rants. Instead, people will just forget everything you said or leave after you berate them for some unknown reason. Ultimately hurting the website.

            Are you really content being hostile to everyone on the FN boards? It begs the question, why are you here? If you don’t want people to respond, why scream your rants? If you actually want to talk hockey, try being civil to other people. You’ll get a lot farther here and in life. Shocker I know. Such a weird concept right.

          • KiLLKiND

            While we are at it, my kind sir, I have defended this team ad nauseaum. While Ryan Lambert comes on here and ridicules our team, Brian Burke, Brad Treliving and the coaching staff, along with the people who frequent this site, I have defended the Flames. Perhaps I am wrong, but at least a) I have played the game (unlike Lambert) and b) I actually like the Flames.

            The Flames are MY/YOUR team. So you will have to excuse me when I get pissed off at some dork with a calculator who tells me my/your team sucks.

          • KiLLKiND

            But you aren’t just getting angry at people that say the flames suck. That’s my point and frustration. I agree those people suck (especially lambert). The problem I have been seeing is how you have been dealing with other flames fans. As soon as someone disagrees with yourself about the flames, you tend to snap at them, tell them to leave or insult them. Rather than discuss why they came to their conclusion. There’s a lot more to be gained. A disagreement doesn’t have to be negative, a lot of good can come from opposing view points.

            Now if it’s someone saying the flames sucks, screw them! Go all out on taking them down.

            Do you see what I’m getting at?

          • Burnward

            I’m thinking your a grade fiver who gets into his parents liquor cabinet when they are not home…and us FN fans have to put up with your BS comments! You directly insult media and hockey fans who freely express there opinions. You hide behind your phoney name (and numerous others)…you have no balls…go too bed!!

          • Burnward

            And by the way, if I am a “grade fiver” as you so eloquently put it, do I really have to correct the idiocy of your comments?

            “I’m thinking YOU’RE a grade fiver who gets into his PARENT’S liquor cabinet when they are not home… and us (actually it’s “we”) FN fans have to put up with your BS comments!

            You go to bed, Bobby! My mommy and daddy taught me where apostrophes belong, and whether they are possessive or not.

  • KiLLKiND

    Flames will be fine. LIke the drop in oil prices, there’s no need to panic. This is a season of assessment, particularly leading up to the trade deadline. The Flames are playing their entire squad which should provide them with a good idea what they want to do. Of concern is the big drop since the veterans returned – is it coincidence or is there something to it? My take is I liked the team better before the vets returned, but that may not be sustainable for the remainder of the year. By trade deadline I’m hoping Glencross, Hudler, Sven, and Engelland have new addresses and in return draft picks and/or young talent.

      • beloch

        Mike Richards, a good hockey player? I shudder to think what you think a bad hockey player looks like.

        Mike Richards is an overpaid 3rd line centre who’s signed for many more years to come. If Dean Lombardi finds a sucker dumb enough to acquire him, I really hope its the Oilers.

  • KiLLKiND

    Guys we should stop thinking about how to immediately help the team that’s how bad decisions are made. Just think in 2-3 years our lines could look something like this (not actual lines but players who could slot in)

    Gaudreau Monahan Poireir

    Klimchuck Bennet Jooris

    Colborne Granlund Hanowski

    Bouma Ferland Byron

    Gio Brodie

    Russel Wotherspoon

    Sieloff Culkin

    Ortio
    Gilles

    yes maybe our D prospects don’t look amazing right now but I think Rafikov could turn out to be able to play top 4 minutes or hopefully we draft a right handed D man or even trade for Madison Bowie.

    • Burnward

      Sorry….they beat the Sens but are 1-3 last 4 and 4 – 6 last 10. Point being that teams will lose some games. I was odd that no one stuck up for Smid etc but maybe the team has declared in the room to not take the penalties and let the refs and league govern? IT would have been nice to see push back from the Flames though.

      Bollig, Jones and Engelland gotta go though.

  • KiLLKiND

    Hockey and civility are not synonymous. That is how Ryan Lambert makes a living.

    I am not hostile to everyone on this site.

    There is a gap between hostility and a difference of opinion.

    I don’t often agree with Walter White, but his opinions shouldn’t be cast to the wayside. He has a right to speak his mind, and I have a right to tell him he’s wrong, if I think as much. And I can assure you, he lets me know when he thinks I am wrong. Great!

    Same with you.

    If you don’t like what I have to say, there’s a trash button.

    Knock yourself out.

  • Burnward

    Ah, the Flames’ fan who trolls Oilers’ Nation speaks.

    Tell you what, Bobby (do you actually go by that name?) I will simply cherish all that is Sven Baertschi and wait for all the props that will surely follow.

    You, BobbyO, contribute nothing. Deal with that.