Practice Notes – April 13 2015

The Calgary Flames practiced today as they begin to prepare to do battle with the Vancouver Canucks starting on Wednesday night.

Here’s the brass tacks of what went on.

No Sean Monahan or Kris Russell with the main practice group today, though both of them (along with Mark Giordano, Karri Ramo and Paul Byron) reportedly skated prior to the main group. All five have locker room stalls, so the 25 stalls in the main room are being supplemented by folding chairs right now.

With that duo missing, here’s what lines looked like for the most part:

Gaudreau – Shore – Hudler
Bennett – Backlund – Colborne
Bollig – Granlund – Jooris
Ferland – Stajan – Jones
(Extra: Raymond)

Wotherspoon – Wideman
Brodie – Engelland
Schlemko – Potter

So, at least right now, Bennett appears to be in. But it could be just one practice or could be Hartley’s gamesmanship. He admitted post-practice that he’s doing some experimenting, and some lines are locked in and some are being tried out.

Line-up decisions will be made on Tuesday night, he noted. And both he and GM Brad Treliving confirmed that all injured players are “day-to-day.” Of course, both said that with a wide grin, so take that for what it’s worth. We won’t likely get any injury specifics until the playoffs are done completely for these guys.

In other news: Treliving spoke with media post-practice as well. He confirmed that Garnet Hathaway’s deal is for two years beginning next season, and that he’s unavailable to join the team and play in the playoffs because he wasn’t on the team’s reserve list at the trade deadline. But Jon Gillies would be available because he was on the reserve list, though I think that was stated as a hypothetical. In terms of Gillies, he had nothing to report, but did say that the team is going to figure things out with its collegiate players in the next few days and then make decisions on other players. I asked about AHLer Taylor Vause, and in terms of other AHLers, they need to wait and see with the college kids before moving forward on anything else.

The team practices again tomorrow before heading out to Vancouver tomorrow afternoon to prep for the series.

    • mattyc

      It’s his shoulder, so as long as he’s not shooting much or in much contact, it’s probably more desirable than doing off-ice workouts. Plus he gets to be with the team. I wouldn’t get hopes up that he plays, but who knows – right?

      • MonsterPod

        Gio has a torn bicep, not a shoulder injury.

        Either way, he can skate, as he did in the Islanders warmup two days after the tear in NJ.

        Not sure if he’s doing up his own skates though…

        • slapshot444

          I believe it was a distal tendon repair ( tendon to the forearm) which takes between 2 to 3 months to fully heal. Muscle rehab would be required as well. As Gio is super human likely the tendon is good to May 3rd but you need to add rehab time. Are we going to the third round? Then maybe, just maybe you see him there. I suspect the safer conclusion is that he doesn’t risk it with several more years to go in his career.

    • piscera.infada

      Much ado about nothing. I get it, he’s a centre, and he will be moving forward. However, the wing is a lot less responsibility, so I see no issue in playing him there when he’s (quite literally) jumping right into the fire.

      There’s no doubt in my mind that next year (or perhaps even as early as the next game or two) we’ll see him at centre. I’m just unsure as to whether playing him at centre instead of a centre that has considerably more experience playing that role at the NHL level, on this team, is the best move. He can always shift from wing to centre, and likewise for Granlund, and I’d definitely caution against reading too much into this particular line at practice–or the fact that he moved around in game 82–he’s still a centre in the long-term plans.

      • Colin.S

        100% agree with this, it’s a little much to toss him in at center against some of Vancouvers good centers in the playoffs. Play him on the wing and if the center gets tossed you have a great secondary option.

        Bennett will be replacing Granlund most likely at center next year, if he’s still being played almost exclusively at wing by the middle of next year, than maybe you can start conjecturing, but for now, don’t worry at all.

      • MonsterPod

        I know I’m being a dork, but Bennett is not “quite literally jumping right into the fire.”

        If anything is figurative, it is a hockey player jumping into a fire.

        Trash me; I deserve it…

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Relax! Mony was not in the main practise group and they needed a body other than Raymond…

      And besides, Bennett won’t be in the opening game lineup….you goes with the guys that got you there first and foremost.

      • Nick24

        Monahan was replaced by Shore, today. If it was simply a matter of extra bodies they would have kept Raymond with his usual line.

        First and foremost, you go with the guys that you think are going to win you hockey games. If that includes Bennett, then he deserves to play.

        I don’t think this means for sure MayRay is out, but it means Bennett is definitely making a case to play.

        • RKD

          I would love to see Bennett play as much as anyone else, but I don’t think the coaching staff wants to see him hung out to dry if he slips up and costs the Flames Game 1. One game pro experience….against a less than stacked Oilers team.

          • Nick24

            It’s not a matter of wanting to see him play. He’s a member of the Calgary Flames. He’s a player as much as anyone else on the roster and if he gives you a better chance to win games, you use him.

            His experience is irreverent. The only thing that should be taken into consideration is whether or not he improves the team and if the answer is yes, then he should be playing.

          • MonsterPod

            Bennett also has the most recent playoff experience of anyone on the team. (Kingston, haha).

            But seriously, I don’t know what all the fear is about, like the kid is gonna blow it or lose confidence or get hurt. He’s a rookie. There are a few on the team already. And Bennett has been practicing with the team for months.

            If he looks better in practice than Raymond, then throw him in. At this point, I trust Hartley to figure it out. Also, “HIs experience is irreverent” is funny and freudian, like he has a history of not giving a sh–.

  • Colin.S

    Why was Raymond sitting and not “-5 last game” Joe Colbourne? or Bollig?

    You got to think that Raymond must be itching to play the Canucks in the playoffs.

    • Nick24

      Joe Colborne got caught on the ice when his teammates messed up. Blaming him for being a -5 in that particular game is an exercise in why +/- can be a misleading stat. But if you wanna talk +/- then Raymond is a -8 overall while Colborne is a +7.

      But talking actual minus plays the players were involved in, Raymond’s terrible pass followed by the softest backcheck ever on the Frolik goal just screamed “bench me” while Colborne wasn’t a direct factor in any goal against.

      • Colin.S

        He’s on the ice for all 5 goals against, but it’s only the other four guys and totally not him, right… Unless he just stepped on the ice from a line change as the puck was going in that’s simply not true. It might not be entirely his fault but when your on the ice for 5 goals against generally your doing something wrong.

        I’m not saying Raymond is ton’s better than Colbourne, but Colbourne hasn’t done anything in the last month to warrant his place in the lineup. And if someone needs to be benched to it should be him to get a fire lit under his butt.

      • DM

        I’ll go one step further and suggest that Raymond has looked flat out disinterested in his own end quite a bit lately. He is soft when the puck is coming to him on the boards in his own end, often extending opponent shifts in his own end. I would definitely take Colbourne over Raymond in the lineup.

        • Colin.S

          There is no 100% reason to take Colbourne over Raymond at this point(Even though it doesn’t matter because both of them should be playing over Bollig). There is not one thing other than “hits” that Colbourne does that Raymond doesn’t do as well.

          But if you want to see disinterested look at Colbourne on the 3rd and 5th goals, lazy skating followed by lazy stick checks and then just floating around while watching goals go in. The Lowry goal may not be his fault but damn if he couldn’t have played that any lazier. To steal one of FN favourite phrases he wasn’t even moving his feet, coasts right into where two Jets were positioned(along with all the Flames skaters except Ramage) leaving Kulaks only option a guy who was cross ice below the face off dot. It’s still Kulaks screw up that leads to the goal, but Colbourne just taking the lazy route into where 3 other Flames already were along with 2 jets just kind of exemplifies what I’ve seen from Colbourne lately.

          I don’t get what he contributes to the team that makes him invaluable while Raymond is bench worthy. His PPG isn’t great, It’s slightly better than Raymonds though. But Colbournes possession numbers are worse than Raymonds and close to worst on the team for forwards. He is tied with Brandon Bollig for Shots For, just as a reminder, Bollig is a terrible fourth liner who has almost HALF of Colbournes ice time, while Colbourne is suppose to be a top 6 forward. Colbourne also takes more penalties than he draws(Raymond is the opposite).

          Even looking at the last 20 games when it was crunch time for the Flames he’s had his worst PPG stretch of the season 4 points in 20 games, that kind of production puts him on pace for 16/17 points in a full season, that’s barely third line material never mind 2nd line.

          I’m just saying benching Raymond doesn’t really say something to him, he’s been up and down all season and in and out of Hartley’s dog house. If someone needs to be an extra at practice to light a fire under his ass it’s Colbourne. Because if Colbourne is going to be a top 6 forward on the team for the playoffs the team needs a hell of a lot more out of him than 1 point every 5 games.

          • RKD

            There’s no Canadian way to spell Colborne. Its spelt Colborne. No u.

            To try and add to this debate, the individual possession numbers of Raymond is at .450 Fenwick while Joe is at .440

            What’s interesting is that once you look at their xdiff you see that Raymond is by far a team worst .401 while Colbornes is .419. This suggests that Raymond is more of a perimeter player than Colborne and drives possession to lower percentage distances than Joe does (albeit marginally better).

            I don’t think either player has been particularily good this season but if I had to pick between the two I’d have to lean towards Colborne because in this case the numbers seem to match the eye: Raymond has a tendency to be soft in his own end and play on the perimeter in the offensive zone..

            In terms of lighting a fire under players, in don’t think there’s any value in doing that at this point of the season. Its the playoffs. You pick your best 20 and play puck.

      • Colin.S

        Colbourne 15:30 TOI (0:11 PP) 0g, 0a, 0p, 6 “hits”, 0 shots, 0 blks, 0 gva, 0 tka

        Raymond 13:30 TOI (0:42 pp) 0g, 1a, 1 p, +1, 0 hits, 1 shot, 0 blks, 0 gva, 2 tka

        Raymonds assist was the primary to Hudlers goal, nice drop pass as well.

  • RKD

    I don’t mind seeing Bennett and Wotherspoon in the lineup but maybe they could be deployed when need be. Definitely would love to see if Gio could return. Athletes heal a lot quicker and he could be rehabbing pretty aggressively. I don’t want him to re-injure himself but if the series goes long which I fully expect it to he could come back in a game 6 or 7 type deal.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    What about Diaz? (Shakes head as writing this). Would he be back with Russell also back? If so, I think we see:

  • amaninvan

    I know there are a ton of Bollig haters on this site, and I’m likely in the extreme minority here, but IMO there is zero chance that Bollig is a healthy scratch in this series. Especially for game 1. The guy was brought in for exactly this reason, this scenario. He has Cup experience, something this Flames team is seriously lacking. But that’s not the only factor at play. The playoffs are when you need, for a lack of a better word, truculence. And guys like Bollig and Engelland are going to be needed when cheap shot artist Burrows takes a run at JG. Because you know that it’s only a matter of when, not if. The Canucks game plan will certainly include taking liberties with our skilled and smaller players. But having a Bollig on the bench may just make them think twice, or pay the price.

    Say what you want about how fighting and the enforcer role going the way of the dinosaur, but I know some of our younger and smaller players stand just a little taller knowing a Bollig has their back.