Pre-Season Post-Game: Grand Theft Ortio

The Calgary Flames brought a mixed-bag of a roster to Denver for tonight’s match-up with the Colorado Avalanche. It featured a bunch of forwards who’ll be in the NHL, basically an AHL defense, and Joni Ortio in net.

If Ortio wants to be in the NHL this season, he sure did a good job making an impression on the coaching staff. He made 35 saves in a 1-0 Flames victory over the Avalanche.


This will be quick, because the game wasn’t streamed anywhere and I didn’t fly to Denver. Thankfully, the fine people at Sportsnet 960 The Fan broadcast the game with the magic of radio.

Anyway, the Flames played a Miikka Kiprusoff game: they got a lead in the first period and then they clung on for dear life. Josh Jooris – who has looked notably faster and more agile in practices – scored for the Flames, converting on a Rasmus Andersson feed to give them a 1-0 lead. After that: it was a Classic Kipper Game, except with Turku native Joni Ortio playing the role of Turku native Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Flames were out-shot 35-25 overall and 30-17 at even-strength. It didn’t matter, as Ortio stood tall.


Joni Ortio. Many saves in the win. Some goal support next time would be nice, but Ortio continued to look strong – he had zero chance on the lone goal he gave up against Edmonton on Monday.

Honourable mention to Kenney Morrison, who led the Flames with 24:43 in ice-time, and Josh Jooris, who scored the game’s only goal.


Jakub Nakladal left the game in the third period after being smooshed by an Avalanche defender. Peter Loubardias used the terms “pile-driven” and “body-slammed” when describing the incident. There were no penalties, but it doesn’t sound good.

Oh, and Sam Bennett won 5 of 16 face-offs tonight after winning 3 of 10 on Monday against the Oilers. He’s facing good opposition, but it’s not a great start.


The Flames fly back home tonight and get ready for another game tomorrow when they face the Vancouver Canucks. The puck drops at 7pm MT and you can catch the game…on television! That’s right. For some reason there are a ton of Canucks pre-season games on TV, so if you can’t make it down to the ‘Dome, the game’s on Sportsnet One (and Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

(Tomorrow’s recap might be delayed slightly, as I’m gonna try to do a dry-run of the new zone-entry counting we’re doing for 2015-16.)

Oh, and presumably we get some roster moves tomorrow at some point, as the Flames still have 58 players in camp.

  • everton fc

    Hartley liked Kulak and Anderrson’s game this evening, along with Jooris.

    They’ll have some serious decision to make with the three net-minders. What teams need a goalie real bad, at the moment?!

  • everton fc

    Got out-shot, again. Needed a superb goaltending performance to win, again. Blocked more shots, again. Out-hit our opposition, again.

    What I’m trying to say is – We lost the corsi battle but won, again.

    Welcome back to another season of Flames Hockey!

    • KACaribou

      Two things:
      1) Winning the Corsi and losing the game is much worse than what the Flames are usually up to.

      2) Isn’t Corsi supposed to predict the likely winner. If it doesn’t work to any degree of accuracy it makes me wonder if their is a Corsi to analyze Corsi.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      If your goaltending goes 100%, it’s impossible to lose. I said it in the pre-game thread, but it would be difficult for the Flames to have iced a worse team last night. Good on them for squeaking a win out last night. Big night for Ortio.

      It’s not a bad thing to win the possession battle, as a long established trend shows a strong correlation between possession and winning. In the end, who cares as long as they win.

    • RedMan

      considering that the Flames didn’t skate their top 5 forwards and top 5 defenders, I would say they acquitted themselves very well.

      This preseason is about evaluation, and last night was an excellent opportunity for those fighting for the few open spots to make a case for themselves.

    • FlamesRock

      I think I might lose my mind if BT sends Ortio down and he got picked up off waviers. Although the way he’s playing if they need to send anyone down it should be Ramo, not that I think that will happen!

  • OKG

    I believe end of day tomorrow is the “waiver free” deadline to send all waiver eligible players down before they infact can become claimable. Might have my day wrong, maybe someone can correct me but pretty sure it is tomorrow or the day after. Heard some rumours prior to the game that the Flames would be sending Ortio down tomorrow as it would be the only time they could get him down this season to the minors without possibly losing him to a claim.

    Even if true, not sure how they send him down after tonight. Hope BT can pull a rabbit out of his hat and find a trade partner for Hiller (or to a lesser extent Ramo)…even if it means retaining some salary in a deal, be worth it for a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

    Need another goalie on an opposing team to go down to injury to create a need to facilitate a trade with us.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Big fan of ortio since watching his first game in penticton..even though he had a rough game I knew he would be great because it was a team consisting of Greg nemisz mitch Walz that were our future at the time..the only players I remember shining were Bouma and Backlund…that is how far this team has come..way to go ortio and thanks for sticking with the team

  • Colorado Flames

    I was in attendance at tonight’s game at Pepsi Center with my seven year old son. Here are a few observations of the game:

    We sat by the glass for warmups. David Jones was gracious enough to toss my son a puck. Ferland and Raymond stick tapped the glass when they saw my sons Flames jersey. Jooris skated and then slammed into the boards at the end of warmups. It wasn’t clear if he was doing this as joking around at us or if he was preparing for the game as he didn’t look over or smile like the other players did. My son is always was stoked to be so close to the players.

    This was our first time seeing Sam Bennett play. To be honest it wasn’t as I hoped it to be. He didn’t show the “edge” I’ve heard he plays with. I’m not saying he was bad, but after all the hype around the highest drafted player in franchise history I guess I expected more. It’s only one game and it is pre season but it’s all been said that he makes the team so maybe he’s saving it for the regular season. I still have no doubt that he will have an impact. I read a few say his line got shut down and that’s a fair assessment. He was pretty quiet tonight. At last years pre season game Gaudreau played and he still had a high jersey number and some thought he should be in the AHL. Though he didn’t score in that game, I was impressed by his skill and it was obvious he was a special player.

    Ortio stole the game for them. This is my third time seeing him play and he’s been solid each time. He gave up quite a few rebounds early (which you could hear loudly deflect off his pads) and got very lucky a few times.
    A Flames defender( I couldn’t see his number from my seat) saved him with a diving poke check on a partial breakaway in the 1st. Also there was a wrap around that slid straight across in front of the goal line. He was beat but got lucky when the puck slid across the crease and did not deflect of his leg after that. I’m not sure if he was credited with a save or not. As the game went on he got better and gave up very few rebounds. They won because of him.

    Neither team had a ton of grade A chances/shots. Granlund had a couple good chances including a break away which he was stopped on. Earlier in the game the Avs had a lot of miscues the Flames couldn’t capitalize on cause of bouncing pucks hopping over the sticks. I think the Flames didn’t test Berra enough. He had kind of an easy night despite losing the game. He played the puck behind the net a few times and almost had his pocket picked. Looked really weak back there.

    Nakladal got hurt and didn’t return. Looked like he hit his head when he got “body slammed”. It was more like him and Mitchell got tangled up and he kind of threw him down to the ice to break free. I don’t think there was anything vicious or intentional just unfortunate. Hopefully he’s alright. He has a very hard shot though it doesn’t seem terribly accurate.

    Brandon Bollig got power play time in the 3rd period! I kid you not!
    Kulak got burned by Mc Kinnon at one point during the game.
    Wilson hit the post early in the second.
    Ferland had the puck for over 10 seconds at one point right before the Jooris goal, an Avs player must have touched it after cause I was surprised he don’t get an assist.

    Overall the game was quite boring from an entertainment standpoint. Great for father and son bonding over our favorite team. Seems like Avs and Flames games are usually one goal games where not much happens the past few seasons. This was no different. I remember back in the day they were like 6-2 and 7-4 scores. It’s only pre season. This season is going to be another fun one hopefully better than last year. Go Flames Go! Heres to a great season!

  • The Fall

    Some questions I believe are important:

    1) Is there any harm in sending Ortio down to start the season? I understand that the team is supposed to act on an “always earned, never given” mantra, but management still needs to navigate the everyday realities of operating an NHL franchise. You can’t give a guy a contract, even if he deserves it, if you already have 50 players signed. Do we ~have~ to roll with three goaltenders? I don’t see any harm in Gillies backing up Ortio for the first ¼ of the season while Hiller and Ramo share crease time in the big league.

    2) Are there significant problems with keeping three goalies on the roster at the start of the season? Surely Hartley could rotate them with the same attitude as last year–play the hot goalie until he cools off, then move on to the next guy. If we assume a 30-game period, with everyone performing optimally, each goalie would get 10 starts. Hopefully that would be enough of a trial period to determine who deserves to stay, while leaving open the chance that another team will need another goalie for some reason. If all three stay relatively “hot,” you pick the two you want to roll with and figure out what to do with the remaining asset.

    Last, a minor editing note: Ortio didn’t “look good” in a game the author didn’t watch!

  • RedMan

    Bollig sure got a lot of ice time, including power play time. I wonder if he could play his way in to the AHL, or if the youngsters can play their way into his spot. Last year Hartley seemed pretty loyal to him and Engallend, but I am wondering how far they take the “always earned never given”. They did after all bury Big Ern in the AHL, even though they respected him.

    By the sounds of the radio broudcast Ferland had an excellent game and is on his way to making a case for top six if he continues. Bennett on the other hand has been somewhat underwhelming, although last night he was matched most of the night against the Avs best line.

  • KACaribou

    Corsi fans: consider the possibility that great players like Johnny Hockey don’t take low percentage shots. They take high percentage shots.

    Sometimes teams are filled with uncreative players who can’t think of anything to do with the puck except pound it off the goalie’s pad. They get a lot of shots… but it doesn’t mean they are doing a whole lot out on the ice.

    These players and teams may have high shot totals but don’t have the skill to win games.

    I am implying that the Flames take fewer shots but the ones they do take create more goals because they are taken in a scoring position more frequently because of the skill level of the players.

    I am not saying Corsi doesn’t have some validity, however it is ridiculous to put so much faith into something with so many holes in the theory. Build a theory around evidence, don’t try to find evidence to prove a theory. If 1+1=2 most of the time, but sometimes 1+1=3 or 4 it wouldn’t be a factual formula.

    • KACaribou

      Build a theory around evidence

      What exactly is it that you think they did? No one says that Corsi = Winning (except, for some reason, the people who criticize underlying numbers). What people actually say is Corsi has a strong correlation with winning. Which it does. The evidence says so.

      By the way: taking pot shots at the net is a great way to surrender possession. Which means the other team takes the puck the other way and starts taking shots. Which means bad Corsi. And if you don’t turn over possession it’s because you (or a linemate) got the rebound. Which is a good thing and means you made a good play by taking a shot. Your team keeps the puck and gets further chances. Good Corsi.

      Meanwhile, teams that “work the puck around” in order to get “better” shots is working with the puck the entire time. Maybe they hold the puck for four uninterrupted minutes and only attempt two shots. But the other team had 0 because the shot quality team had the puck the entire time. Good Corsi–low-event, but still good.

      • wot96

        Corsi has nothing to do with who holds the puck the longest, you are misinformed. It relates to putting pucks on net, not taking into account shot quality, which is why it is flawed.

        And yes, authors on this site on every post game write-up simplify a team’s performance or worth by, if they won the Corsi battle they were the better team and should have won the game, while also stating if they have poor Corsi numbers they are a bad team and shouldn’t win, their winning is “luck”. See every single article Ryan Lambert ever posted here…Ari, Pike, Kent use this same approach, shocking that writers that get paid to write about advanced stats are pushing it no matter what…not hard to connect the dots

        For a much better well balanced read, go to Darren Haynes site and read his stuff, well written, factual and doesn’t try to equate one single measure with success every single game

        • RedMan

          Did you in fact read what I wrote? Because I’m fairly certain that I made the point that shot generation = Corsi. And that while you have the puck the other team doesn’t, meaning the other team isn’t generating Corsi events.

        • KACaribou

          Well put my friend. And yes Darren Haynes makes a lot more sense than the people who write on this site. He just doesn’t update his topics daily unfortunately.

          • KACaribou

            The writers here on Flames Nation use advanced stats and will likely do so indefinitely. If you don’t like it, guess what? You can leave.

            Advanced stats are here to stay sorry to ruin your day…. The NHL has incorporated them into their website, does that sound like a fad to you? Again if anyone here does not like it, feel free to leave and not come back.

            The writers here at FN are top notch as far as I am concerned.

          • KACaribou

            Okay so if I don’t agree with Corsi I should leave? Or if I acknowledge that there are better hockey writers in the world than on FN, I should leave? Okay you don’t want Oilers Trolls here, and now you don’t want anyone who doesn’t buy into the validity of Corsi here?

            What I said: “I am not saying Corsi doesn’t have some validity, however it is ridiculous to put so much faith into something with so many holes in the theory. Build a theory around evidence, don’t try to find evidence to prove a theory. If 1+1=2 most of the time, but sometimes 1+1=3 or 4 it wouldn’t be a factual formula.”

            Perhaps you should use your analytics to Corsi simple printed words.

            Further, I realize baseball has a million advanced stats but some are more valid than others: Like ERA for a pitcher. Baseball doesn’t insist that there is a formula that works when accumulating ball players or ball results. Corsi does imply this, as obviously you do to.

            Sorry to insult your religion.

          • Cfan in Vic

            I think what vowswithin is getting at is that we should all expect a good dose of corsi info from this sight, be it in the articles or the comments.

            The writers have/do/will use corsi and other metrics in their analysis, because that’s what makes this sight different from others. Darren Haynes has some really good articles, he also brings a certain side that I haven’t seen elsewhere. It’s impossible to have analysis that is everything to everyone, and it’s nice to have different places to go and find variation.

            I’m not in love with being corsi’d to death, but I find it an interesting measure to consider. I also find it funny how many people continue to battle against this particular metric, as if insulted by it, when we should expect it here. It’s what they do.

            Just my 2 cents.

          • KACaribou

            Actually what burned my ass is both you implying you don’t like the writers here and that people should go read elsewhere instead…

            again you don’t have to read here no one is forcing you guys to…

            I wouldn’t come to your house for dinner and tell you how my other friend cooks way better because he does such and such differently

            And yes, authors on this site on every post game write-up simplify a team’s performance or worth by, if they won the Corsi battle they were the better team and should have won the game, while also stating if they have poor Corsi numbers they are a bad team and shouldn’t win, their winning is “luck”. See every single article Ryan Lambert ever posted here…Ari, Pike, Kent use this same approach, shocking that writers that get paid to write about advanced stats are pushing it no matter what…not hard to connect the dots

            For a much better well balanced read, go to Darren Haynes site and read his stuff, well written, factual and doesn’t try to equate one single measure with success every single game

            Well put my friend. And yes Darren Haynes makes a lot more sense than the people who write on this site. He just doesn’t update his topics daily unfortunately.

          • KACaribou

            I warn you that if you only go to places where you know everyone agrees with your points of view at all time, you will live a very shallow life and your opinions will become more and more narrow.

            Suggesting different opinions is how ideas grow. These writers not accepting that Corsi is not accurate to within a very small degree like a DNA test – but rather opens a serious gap for doubt – is just not good journalism. Calling them on that is not a criminal offense in Canada. Hopefully they will consider the merits of the idea, agree or not. Stifling thought is what Joseph Goebbels was up to as Propaganda Minister for the Nazis in WWII.

            This site doesn’t have an application process which states that you must be a Flames fan or that you have to dismiss all logic and place utter and complete faith in the mystics of Corsi. Nor will there be SN Brown Shirts showing up at my door because of my crazy radical contradictions I hope.

            I don’t mind advanced stats, but I don’t care for people putting blind faith in something unreliable for assured results. If what should have happened doesn’t, it means your theory is wrong or at the very least flawed. Simple. That’s the beauty of mathematics. It is always right. That is what makes it factual. That’s what makes Corsi non-factual.

            I suggest writers here consider these ideas that’s all.

      • KACaribou

        You seem to be tripping up on your own explanations. Look, Corsi is generated from lots of data, and in general, in a vague statistical kind of way correlates with success (winning) more often than losing. Great, but it has lots of holes, like shooting %, shot quality, quality of shooters, quality of goalies, sample size, score effects plus many other things that can easily explain away wins with “poor” Corsi.

        The point is, who cares, you can win with poor Corsi (Flames 2015) and you can lose with good Corsi (LAK 2015). And since the great correlation is only about 60-70% true that means it’s not true 30-40% of the time without hurting the Corsi argument one bit.

        Sure, we want to be better at possession because in a vague, LT way it seems to correlate with more successful teams than not successful teams, and the Flames have addressed that in the off-season and it’s a high probability the team will improve in that area. However, at the end of the day winning is what matters. Last night the team won, great. They were ahead half the game and the Avs were pressing. What did we expect would happen. The guys played a great game and beat a mostly NHL Avs team at home.

        Congrats to us. Do we really have to have this season-long battle about Corsi AGAIN? Perhaps you numbers guys can figure out an even better way to evaluate success that better represents the style the Flames play. THAT I would be interested in hearing about and discussing.

        • KACaribou

          Very well stated by a hockey fan who without doubt enjoys viewing a game more than viewing statistics compiled by a human being who may either be right or wrong in his estimation of the game’s analytics. Well written and thought out… BUT GET THE HELL OFF THIS SITE IF YOU REFUTE THE EXISTENCE OF CORSI!… kidding…

  • #97TRAIN

    Starting to wonder about Sam Bennett? We have to remember he only played a handful of games last year . He hasn’t looked particularly good this preseason and when he has looked good he has got nothing to show for it.
    Let’s not put such high expectations on this kid.

  • Purple Hazze

    I don’t think there’s any reason to be worried about Bennett’s face off numbers. This is a skill that develops with practice and not many rookies are very good at it when they start. We witnessed this with Monahan, even Crosby in his rookie season was horrible at the dot. Expect Bennett to lose a lot of faceoffs this year; and he’ll be a better center down the line because of it.

  • Purple Hazze

    Those who think Ortio can slip through waivers are foolish IMO. He’s too good, someone will grab him.

    When exactly though is the window to send him down without him having to go through waivers that some have mentioned?

    Do not want to lose this guy.

    • RedMan

      if we send him down, he would still have to clear waivers to come back up, not?

      if this is the case, than it really doesn’t matter if we can send him down right away, unless the team is committed to leaving him in the AHL all season.

      in fact, in my opinion i would think there is more chance he clears waivers at the beginning of the season than in, say, January, when teams have a better picture of their own teams goalies and may be looking to replace someone who hasn’t lived up to expectations.

      • wot96

        If you send Ortio down and he has had a better camp that Ramo or Hiller, then so much for earning a spot.

        If it isn’t clear enough to give him the spot, you send him down now and if one of the other goalies goes down, Gillies can be brought up to sit on the bench or play an occasional game.

        Ortio probably needs to go down now, and be told that he has a real shot next year, when all these contracts are up.

        • everton fc

          In two years, the combo in Calgary will be Ortio & Gillies. I think we most all agree with this. So…

          Do they use them this way in the AHL this season? Or do they move Ramo or Hiller to make room for Ortio? We’ll find out soon enough.

          The fact that Bollig got opportunities on the PP and heavier-than-normal ice time – the latter was due to the roster on the ice last evening, me thinks. But both developments make me wonder if Hartley is looking to give Bollig a chance to actually become more of a hockey player. If so, and Bollig rises to the challenge, good for the Flames, as we are eak on the left-side, with Raymond so-so and Byron on the shelf.

    • piscera.infada

      I’m not going to say you’re wrong about Ortio, but it is still entirely likely that Ortio would clear waivers. It seems like every year there’s a highly touted goalie prospect who makes it through waivers, simply because of roster space (like Markstrom last year).

      If a team were to claim Ortio on waivers they would need to have an NHL spot for him–very few NHL clubs would have a vacant #2 goalie position available at the close of training camp. They would then, have to be convinced that Ortio has that #2 spot locked-down for the remainder of the season. The team would also need a vacant roster and contract spot. It really isn’t as simple (especially at the beginning of the season), as saying “good goalie on waivers, claim him”.

      The waiver period begins on “the twelfth day prior to the start of the Regular Season” (per the CBA). That would mean today is the last day before waivers “kick-in”.

      • KACaribou

        Good points and intellectually I agree with all of them. That said, given they didn’t have to re-sign Ramo, if we did lose Ortio, it would really sting.

  • wot96

    Flames have more takeaways and have fewer giveaways. They did that often last year too, even when being outshot. Is there an advanced stat that factors these events?

  • RedMan

    You know, I wouldn’t be upset if there were no arguments this year about CORSI.

    the writers of this sight use it a lot, more than some people like, and that’s not going to change over night, and really it is a metric that adds value within context.

    I’d say rather than challenging CORSI or arguing it every article, I’d like to hear those who are looking for other measurements to bring them up in the discussion, either as an observation or a question, and move the discussion beyond CORSI that way.

    • FlamesRock

      Hear hear. I have enjoyed the last while without mention of Corsi.
      Looks like the writers have wiped the egg off their face after having the local heroes laugh in the face of corsi all lasy season and are now brave enough to start piping up about it again.
      Too bad

      • piscera.infada

        The local hockey heros did nothing to discredit the validity of corsi though. All they managed to do was prove that outliers exist–a fact corsi’s proponents readily admit. Now, if the Flames were to somehow ride several back-to-back-to-back seasons of bucking the corsi trend and having massive success, then your comment might have more validity.

        I’m not even a “corsi warrior”, I don’t believe it’s the be-all, end-all of hockey analysis (which, newsflash, most corsi proponents don’t). However, to dismiss it outright, is ridiculous.

        In my opinion, worrying about corsi in the pre-season is a fools errand. Case in point, look at the team the Flames rolled out last night–if you expected anything less, you’re reaching. Likewise, I don’t worry about Monahan, Gaudreau, Hudler, Gio, all being in the 30% range in the game against Edmonton. Why? Pre-season, it was the first competitive game they’ve played since April.

        That said, they need to be better in this area during the regular season. I believe they will.

    • KACaribou

      The problem is Jeff, that these people spew their Corsi like it is indisputable fact, and they do it very, very often. They treat it like it is their religion! Like a religion it is based on Faith not Fact.

  • Toofun

    Listened to the game last night while playing online poker. Got knocked out of the tournament when my pocket aces got busted by a set of 9’s on the river. It was play money anyway, kind of like pre-season hockey…

    So Ortio, that’s a nice problem for Treliving to have.

    Ferland, Jooris, Morrison, Phat Ras, sounding good.

    Raymond, Colborne, Bolig, time is ticking.

    So many story lines this year. I think I like the Rasmus Andersson one the best so far though. Wouldn’t it be great if he kept playing so well that they couldn’t send him down??

  • KACaribou

    Some observations of Sam Bennett:

    He’s looking really poised and confident. I’m impressed with his hockey IQ. I know it’s only been a few games so far, but I can see him Centering the second line this year, although I would still love to see a second line of:


    • KACaribou

      I think he has all the skills and characteristics you want in an elite centre. But I think he is trying to do too much by himself and I would prefer to see him on the wing. He will have fewer defensive responsibilities there and it will allow him to use his edginess on the forecheck and may spring him on a few breakaways that he would not otherwise get at centre. He can then fill in from time to time at centre as injuries occur or as opportunities permit.

      I do not expect my preference will be popular nor will Hartley actually deploy him that way.