Pre-Season Post-Game: Flames Extinguished (Twice)

It was a tale of two cities on Monday night, as the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers did battle in both cities in split squad action. What resulted was more or less what you would expect from a pair of contests with players playing high-level hockey against actual opposition for the first time in several months.

It was choppy. It was occasionally dull. But it was hockey, so it wasn’t really all that bad.

In terms of results: the Flames lost both games – 4-2 in Edmonton and 3-1 in Calgary. Both games were determined by late third period goals (and an empty-netter).


The game in Calgary was a fairly even affair on the scoreboard, and featured the Flames spending a surprisingly large proportion of time in their own end – a product of a series of penalties they took and a few defensive miscues. Rarely did it bite them in the backside, but it probably wasn’t a great way to start the pre-season. That said, everyone’s trying to get their legs under ’em, so you have to lower your expectations accordingly.

Nobody scored in the first period and each side took three minors (including a Dougie Hamilton double-minor). Hamilton redeemed himself with a wrist shot on a late-period power-play that knocked Ben Scrivens’ mask off. In the second, Michael Frolik opened the scoring on a neat power-play rush: Jonas Hiller’s outlet pass from the defensive red line found Johnny Gaudreau, who took a few strides into the offensive end and found Frolik, who sniped it top corner on Scrivens. Frolik also had a chance to put the game out of reach with a penalty shot, but was stopped by Anders Nilsson (who came in mid-way through the game, as did Joni Ortio in the Flames net).

Hunter Smith also got into a scrap with Darnell Nurse, which probably involved them reminiscing about the good old days in the OHL.

The game was determined in the third. It went back and forth (in a scrambley kind of way). Late in the third, Emile Poirier attempted to feed Mark Giordano in the slot. The puck trickled just past Giordano’s stick, and Jordan Eberle collected it and went back with Benoit Pouliot on an odd-man rush. Pouliot put it past Ortio for the lead. Justin Schultz added a late empty-netter to make it 3-1.


In Calgary: Michael Frolik. The lone goal and a ton of chances.

In Edmonton: Oliver Kylington. He scored one of two goals and was reportedly mixing it up frequently.


The Flames have an off-day tomorrow. It will be a day for solemn reflection, and probably for cuts. They’re back in (pre-season) action on Thursday when a group of players head to Denver to play the Colorado Avalanche.

  • Toofun

    I tried to watch both games on my Ipad while watching the Jays on TV which isn’t the best way to focus on a hockey game.

    “Expectations” make for a huge difference in perspective.

    Last year I would have appreciated the positives that came out of last night and shrugged off the bad plays to first game of the season rust. This year I expected more. More what? I guess more poise and maturity and possesion and penetration etc etc. The really good teams in the league control the play. I didn’t see anything close to that, even from Calgary’s best line last night.

    I know I’ll get a thousand trashes for this comment. I’m not a troll. I’m not off the band wagon and I haven’t given up hope. What I think I have to do is to recognize how hard it is to dominate any game in the Western Conference and to appreciate the hard work these guys are going to put into every game this year.

  • reddy14

    It’s hard to read a lot into pre season, but if I was a flames fan I’d be a little shaky on having essentially the NHL team lose to the Oilers’ B squad.

    But even loss aside, what should really be worrying, is the Flames were again terrible in possession and being out shot. Yes, the Flames still made the playoffs with that as a problem last year, but they just barely made it, and they needed no less than SIX of their players to have career years.

    As an Oiler fan I am worried that they are still giving up short handed rushes on the PP. I’m not positive but I would not be at all surprised if Justin Schultz had something to do with it.

    I am also worried that Geadreau is still just getting cart blanche to free wheel out there. And Scrivens looked very much the goalie that was terrible last year.

    I was really impressed with Frolik, that guy was everywhere. And Hamilton plays a pretty mean game. Those are not nice additions for Oiler fans.

    Anyway, should be interesting when the Flames NHL team plays the Oilers NHL team and not just their top line and a bunch of young D trying to make the team, and their back up goalie.

    • Cfan in Vic

      Worried? No.. actually I feel pretty good that the Flames played sloppy and lost a close game in Calgary then if they were actually playing good and lost.

      Also, in Edmonton.. our prospects looked pretty good and they probably would have won that if the ref didn’t call 5 consecutive penalties on Calgary.

      After watching McDavid in a few games now I can relax a bit, he is good.. but way over-hyped. From what I’ve seen so far Gaudreau is better.

      • Train#97

        Ah the infamous Train. Do you know Flames Trolls are coming to the ON specifically because they say you are ruining the comments section here at FN?

        Anyway, I’ll bite.

        I don’t have much of an argument if you feel pretty good they played bad and lost. Like, that might be the craziest thing a fan has ever said. “Sure they lost but they played crappy so it was fine. Better they play bad and lose then play good and lose.” What?

        At this point I would also like to remind everyone that this was a preseason game, which I prefaced my initial point with.

        I actually agree with you that McDavid is over-hyped. As no hockey pplayer since Crosby has been this hyped. The kid has been hyped since he was 15! He could have scored a hundred points last night and he still would have been over-hyped.

        But, even more than that, his game is really understated. I noticed that during the bears game and watching his Otters highlights. McDavid is a very roamy and shifty player. You don’t notice him, until you do. But by then, it’s too late.

        He’s definitely not like Crosby or Ovechkin that do everything and go end to end. But, what he can do with two, three, four defenders on him, and how he can go from a stand still to blowing by guys means he will make the team amazing. You saw it last night when he drew all the defenders to him along the wall and made the pass to a wide open Draisaitl in front of the net. You saw it early when he took the puck through the neutral zone and flew past the defnders in a blink. McLellan was using him on the PK by the end of the game.

        So you’re right, he’s a bit over-hyped, but if you think Gaudreau is even in the same conversation, then you are just not being honest. Lie to me, I don’t care. But lying to yourself?

        • Cfan in Vic

          LOL.. woah there.

          First of all, I’m not the Train#97 you’re thinking of.

          Second, why are your panties in a twist about me not being worried? Flames played sloppy last night and lost. Why should I be? The only way I would be is if the Flames played well and got smoked by the Oilers… how is that “crazy”?

          Third, I think Gaudreau is better then McDavid in my opinion, and I’m not the only one who thinks that.. just an observation. I’m not saying your precious McDavid isn’t good, but until I see more from him my opinion won’t change.

          Take it easy sassy pants.

          • Cfan in Vic

            Wow. I didn’t notice the #97/#79 switch either. I thought Train had somehow sprouted some humility.

            Nice one. I always thought that tag was more appropriate for a Ferland reference.

          • Brent G.

            Don’t get met wrong, I love your enthusiasm and respect your opinion. The only thing I wanted to add was rather than compare 1 CGY player to 1 EDM player and say you feel they are better I think the more appropriate argument to make is the team comparisons.

            The way I see it (roughly) is more or less that the Oilers are following the Pittsburgh mold of team building. They have some nice shiny pieces and will have some sucess for a while. BUT it is ultimately flawed by sh!tty defense and poor goaltending.

            The Flames, by comparison, are building like the Blackhawks. Again, they have some very nice pieces but it is ultimately about outstanding depth, everyone earning it and winning as a team.

            Let’s say that anaology holds somewhat true, I know which team I would rather cheer for…

            The fact all of these trolls are on here getting their panties in a bundle is because they are nervous.

          • RexLibris

            I will take it easy, but my pants will forever remain sassy.

            I just have never heard of a fan take any kind of comfort in a loss due to crappy play. It’s backwards thinking to me. In fact, when a team plays good and loses that seems like it should be more comforting. Like, “ya they lost but that’s the way it goes sometimes. If they keep playing that way, they will win more than they lose.”

            Your opinion is wrong and you and others should feel bad for having it. McDavid was scoring at 2.68 points per game in junior. 2.68! That is insane. I actually just had this conversation at ON with a Flames fan who said the exact same thing as you: Gaudreau is better than McDavid. And so I realize I’m not going to be the one to change your opinion. But what will? If McDavid scores more points this year than Gaudreau will that change your mind? What is it going to take? Cause clearly comparing numbers from points in their career isn’t doing it for you. Nor does it affect you when people like Stamkos come out and say McDavid is better than he is now. Like, maybe you know hockey pretty well, but I have to believe Stamkos knows hockey a bit better than you or I, and I’ve never, ever heard him, or Gretzky, or Crosby talk about how good Gaudreau is.

            I guess, we’ll put a pin in this and revisit later in the year?

          • Cfan in Vic

            Yep. Put a pin in it, and perhaps never revisit it at all. People have their opinions, and it never fails to amuse me how much others try to make it their goal to change said opinions.

            Also, Gretzky thinks Harper is far and away the best candidate for PM. That’s a grain of salt to say the least.

          • Cfan in Vic

            Well, it’s not so much taking comfort in a loss to crappy play.. it’s just that I’m not worried because I know the Flames will play a lot better, and win more games. A split-squad preseason game is a small sample size, and everyone knows is no indicator of how a team will play in the regular season.

            Pretty bold of you to say my opinion is wrong.. because an opinion is just an opinion. I also think Lemieux was better then Gretzky, though he didn’t have more points… and Pacquio is better then Mayweather even though he lost. Just an opinion.

            Do you ever think that maybe because McDavid has been hyped so much that is why there is so much attention on him and not a player like Gaudreau? He was drafted in the 4th round, not first overall. He put up 2.0 points per game in the NCAA (tougher league), won the Hobey Baker, was an NHL Allstar and runner up in the Calder Trophy just a few points shy of Patrick Kanes number his rookie year.. all while being half the size of everyone else.

            We should revisit this in a year; if McDavid puts up Crosby numbers this year I will change my opinion. But if not.. I will say he’s slightly better then the rest of the first overall picks you have on that team.

          • reddy14

            It wasn’t a player evaluation… and I’m sure you’re having a great time with you “Keeper fantasy draft”… Do you play that before or after Warcraft?

            A little advice.. don’t mention that around any girls your trying to pick up.

          • reddy14

            Not in a pool, vaguely understand what warcraft is, and am married with children. I would join a hockey pool, with you only because you drafting Gaudreau in the first round would essentially be giving me free money.

          • reddy14

            Your measured rational hockey talk is making it difficult to keep trolling. I hope your happy.

            While I’m not discounting that Gaudreau is, annoyingly, a good to very good player, I do think you are comparing apples to oranges. If Gaudreau begins hitting 80 point seasons, I will admit he is more elite than I give him credit for. But one 60 point season does not an elite player make. In fact, he hasn’t even gotten into the top ten in scoring, and already you’re saying he’s better than McDavid, the kid with the highest ppg to come out of junior ever. Harder league or not, it’s impossible to look at those numbers and make an argument.

            As for it being your opinion, well I do not subscribe to the idea that because it’s someone’s opinion it’s true for them. Truth is truth, it’s not subjective. By every metric, McDavid is a better hockey player than Gaudreau, plain and simple.

            But, as we’ve agreed, let us reconvene this conversation in the future when we can measure by the only metric that matters: points.

          • reddy14

            McDavid, the kid with the highest ppg to come out of junior ever.

            Not true.

            Crosby: 2.71 PPG (2.5 career)

            Daigle: 2.58 PPG (2.05 career)

            McDavid: 2.55 PPG (1.72 career)

            And those are just the two guys that came to mind.

          • piscera.infada

            Both Crosby and Daigle came out of the Q, a typically higher scoring league across the board. You are right that I mis-spoke about junior. Also, McDavid was 2.45 in the playoffs, Crosby only managed 1.2.

            But good call none the less.

          • Brent G.

            You’re right, we are comparing apples and oranges, because I don’t measure a players skill based solely on points.. there is way more to the game (Hockey IQ, skill, agility, compete level).

            But despite what you might think of my opinions.. they are not just based on subjective relativism, I know a thing or two about hockey. I haven’t yet seen anything that McDavid can do that Gaudreau can’t do, but I have yet to see McDavid do some of the things Gaudreau has skill wise.. make sense? We’ll leave it at that.

            And no, McDavid did not have the highest ppg in junior. I can give you countless players who put up similar numbers.

            McDavid is a special player, no doubt.. but some players get over hyped before they actually accomplish anything in the NHL.

            As for metrics.. if you want to use points, make sure you don’t assume Nick Foligno is better then Stamkos because he had more points last season.

          • Cfan in Vic

            FFS! It’s game 1 of the preseason. Let’s talk come November. I expect a dogfight in the Pacific & expect both Alberta teams in that dogfight.
            Like Doc Emmett Brown would say, once you start seeing our top 3 D start to roll, your going to see some serious s*#t.

          • reddy14

            Since you aren’t a Flames fan, I will give you some perspective on p/gp. Baertschi was 2.0 p/gp in his final season in the WHL. That’s in the WHL, not the OHL. He hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype of a 2.0 p/gp player yet. Not to say he will never be good to great.

            Even if you believe that the OHL is the be all and end all for p/gp, Bennett had 2.18 p/gp after recovering from shoulder surgery.

            McGenerational could become a franchise or even elite player in the future, but hold off on the gushing until he actually makes it through a regular season NHL game.

          • reddy14

            You are entitled to your own opinion. That’s fair.

            You ask 30 GMs in the league if they would rather have John gaudreau or Connor McDavid right now, all 30 will say McDavid, they just will.

            That’s not to say gaudreau is bad, because he’s not. But when you got guys on yesterday’s blog saying they wouldn’t trade gaudreau for anyone in the league, that’s absolutely embarrassing. I could think of 50 guys I would rather have then gaudreau. Just like I could think of players I would rather have then McDavid.

          • RedMan

            We have been following Johnny Hockey on here since he was drafted.. we know what we have, so don’t be so surprised when we say we wouldn’t trade him, he’s a corner stone of our rebuild, part of the identity of our team.. just like Gio. Some guys you just don’t trade.

            As for McDavid, sure, he is the most marketable player right now so who wouldn’t want him? It got the fans to fill the new arena right? Sell a few jerseys? How much were those pre-season tickets? Ouch.

          • RedMan

            The same price they were every year. I will never complain about seeing a generational talent, it’s a treat to watch. Even if it was $5 extra, it’s not really a huge issue.

          • Reidja

            I said that, and 30 percent of the props/trashers agreed. Quite a decent response given the black and white statement I posted left no room for interpretation. That even with a bunch of Oiler fans trolling this blog – so likely higher.

            If you don’t think Gaudreau is one of the best young players in the game, you obviously haven’t watched him enough. But you know, some people like to assume they can predict the future even when they have minimal information to go on. I’m not comparing Johnny Hockey to McDavid, but I would compare him to Patrick Kane who had similar rookie numbers (and similar numbers at the same age). Also, Johnny scored 9 pts in 11 playoff games. If you don’t want to acknowledge he is a potential elite winger, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe watch him sometime I guess.

            He’s worth the price of admission and I wouldn’t trade him for another player in the league.

          • Train#97

            Patrick Kane who had similar rookie numbers (and similar numbers at the same age).

            Not really. When Kane was 21 he posted 88 points–and it was his third consecutive season with at least 70.

            I like Kane as a stylistic comparable to Gaudreau, but qualitatively it really doesn’t work. Monahan is actually a lot closer to being as good as Toews was at the same age than Gaudreau is to being as good as Kane.

          • Reidja

            Yeah, his best season points wise, and his third. Thanks for splitting that hair. We shall see over the course of the next number of months. I like Johnny’s game and I think he and Monahan are going to light it up in the near future.

    • Cfan in Vic

      I know. Listing off corsi, like it’s an indicator of what’s to come is a bit ridiculous.

      Everybody shakes off the rust at different rates, and I don’t think ether teams showing is much of a pointer to what we can expect come mid October.

      Still, great to watch the new toys. Been waiting so long to see Frolik/Hamilton etc, and I couldn’t be more excited to get this season (and rivalry) back on track.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I missed the games last night except for the last half of the CGY game. So it’s good to hear some comments from others. This is what I come here for.

    My thoughts on the last half of the CGY game was the obvious scrambly play. Puck never seemed to be controlled real well… especially the Flames. Penalties were a problem to be sure.

    I really liked Frolik as others have said and Gio was being Gio… blocking shots in the pre-season… the guy doesn’t know how NOT to compete. That has to wear off on the rest of the guys.

    Nakladal looked solid to me. You can see the pro experience. If he ends up being a significantly better option than Engelland… I would want him and Russell on the third pairing. Have Gio and Wideman together… Brodie/Hamilton. We’ll see where that goes.

    If I am BT I am looking for expiring high priced one year contracts on other teams to trade for some of our two year contracts to help with next year’s cap crunch. Anyone think Shane Doan will want to stay in Phoenix this whole year? Local boy that plays the way Hartley wants this team to play.

    Raymond + Engelland and any two of Shore/Byron/Jooris/Colborne/Granlund. Might have to throw in a pick. I know it seems counter-intuitive to the rebuild, but it solves next year’s cap crunch and our excess forward problem while giving us a formidable top 6 for another playoff push this year. Arizona gets some veteran stability and young pieces to build around.




    Ferland/Stajan/whomever from the 3 leftover from above

    Not only a solid top 6, but bottom 6 as well. Add in one of the best D cores in the league and BOOM… laughing at regression.

  • RedMan

    the coach did what he said he would do – rotate guys around, experiment, get a good look at different guys as they played with different players under a variety of situations.

    the end result is there was no continuity, no flow, choppy play, and the team lost. except the team didn’t lose – the team achieved exactly what they wanted to in player evaluation.

    wins/losses aren’t the issue or question, player evaluation is where its at.

    now if the oilers sweep us for the next 5 years like we’ve swept them the last 5 or 10, then let’s start worrying.

  • Train#97

    High Scoring Chance against/60 teams

    #30 TOR 13.7; #27 EDM 12.6; #25 CGY 11.6

    #14 NYR 10.6; #15 TBL 10.7; #16 MTL 10.7; #17 CBJ 10.7

    .8330 is the average high chance shot save%

    Goalies with .8600+ HCS save% in each of last 2 season. One – Talbot .8687; .8617

    Goalies with .8500+ HCS save% in each of last 2 seasons – None

    Goalies with .8400+ HCS save% in each of last 2 seasons. Three: Price .8477; .8650; Crawford .8742; .8442; Halak .8421; 8671

    Goalies with .8330+ HCS save% in each of last 2 seasons. Five: Holtby .8686; .8387; Varlamov .8583; .8346; Hiller .8373; .8531; Bernier .8364; .8445; Reimer .8349; .8379

    One of the 5 worst HCSA team and they want to get rid of one of the 9 most consistent HCS save% goalies in the game.

    They made the playoffs cause of Hiller and Spector says treileving wants to trade him.

    That is Bat Crazy. Unless Reimer is coming to Calgary.

  • Train#97

    Since we’re talking Gaudreau…I’d say he’s on par with Eberle talent wise. Ebs second season was 76 pts in 78 games. I think Gaudreau can get there, but scoring is coming down slowly across the NHL…

    McDavid hasn’t played one NHL regular season game, but I think he’s better than both of them.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Did anyone else notice what appears to be nurse clawing at smith’s face..I think he is a classless player and will be exposed for it soon enough…big trouble for the Oilers locker room soon enough wait and see

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    We will see about that..keep telling yourself he won the fight your aloud to have dreams..I heard he has an upper body injury was it from the fight..did he break a nail clawing like a girl

  • Train#97

    It’s funny how you , Clyde , and others make up a story about Nurse having an injury just to make everyone think that he somehow got beat up in that fight. Back to the scrap . I thought it was a great fight and fairly even. Hunter early and Nurse in the latter half of the fight . If you have to give the fight to anyone you have to give it to Nurse based on a broken nose and leakage from the beak.
    Everyone was so upset at Nurse for fighting Rasmus Andersson, when in fact Rasmus was asking for it , and when Nurse’s beating didn’t take place there were a lot of hurt egos in Calgary!
    Ya win some ya lose some