FGD #10: Brodie Returns (5:30pm MT, SN1)

After nine games of the 2015-16 schedule, the Calgary Flames are in trouble. They’re looking for some rhythm, some rhyme, and to figure out what the heck has happened to their meat-grinder of a game.

Tonight, they get a golden opportunity for a course correction in Ottawa against the Senators. The Flames (2-7-0) haven’t been great, but the Senators (3-3-2) are hardly a world-beater and are on a losing streak. And given their injury-ravaged state, there’s no better time than the present for the Flames to take advantage of a diminished foe.

And thankfully, tonight’s (probably) the long-awaited return of T.J. Brodie to the Flames line-up!

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Puck drops just after 5:30pm MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines from the morning skate via Daily Faceoff:

 Joe ColborneSean MonahanJiri Hudler
Johnny GaudreauSam BennettMichael Frolik
Mason RaymondMikael BacklundDavid Jones
Brandon Bollig(DEREK GRANT)Josh Jooris

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Mark GiordanoT.J. Brodie
Kris RussellDennis Wideman
Deryk EngellandDougie Hamilton

After Joni Ortio’s loss in Brooklyn, Jonas Hiller starts tonight in Ottawa. It’ll be his sixth start and seventh appearance. He’s 2-3-0 with a 3.52 goals against average, .872 save percentage and .888 even-strength save percentage.

The Flames will get a boost tonight in the form of the return of T.J. Brodie, who is a game-time decision officially! He’s missed the first nine games (and the majority of pre-season) with a broken bone in his hand, but the upside is his cardio should be good and he’s been skating with the team. His return bumps Ladislav Smid to the press box, where he’ll join Jakub Nakladal and Matt Stajan tonight. To make room on the roster, Micheal Ferland gets bumped to the injured reserve (retroactive to last weekend), where he joins Lance Bouma.

Through nine games, what have the Flames done well? The polite answer is “not much with consistency.” The hope is they’ll take tonight as an opportunity to push the pace against a depleted Senators team, wear them down with cycling, skating and some hitting, and then take advantage of whatever odd-man or special teams opportunities they’re afforded. You generate chances and induce penalties by working harder than the other team for 60 minutes. We’ve only really seen that against Detroit so far.

THE SENATORS

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.03.18 PM

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Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.03.28 PM

Craig Anderson starts for Ottawa. He’s 3-2-1 with a 2.61 goals against average, .918 save percentage and .929 even-strength save percentage. He’s off to a very strong start for the Sens.

Ottawa is presently without Clarke McArthur, Curtis Lazar and Mike Hoffman, which has depleted their forward ranks a bit. Be honest: when you skimmed Ottawa’s lines, you had to run to HockeyDB to find out who a bunch of the players were. Shane Prince? Max McCormack? Ottawa’s stretched a little bit, but they’re still a talented team with a deep defensive group and some really good goaltending. That’s the key: if the Senators can get enough run support, they’re good enough on the back end to squeeze out their opposition.

For the Flames to have success against Ottawa, they’ll need to get to Craig Anderson early and get the Senators feeling uneasy about their defensive schemes. With the way Calgary’s been playing this season, though, that’s easier said than done.

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WHEN LAST WE MET

The Flames took three of a possible four points from Ottawa last season. They beat them 4-2 in November at the Saddledome, then lost 5-4 in a shootout in early March in Ottawa.

Overall, the Flames are 17-12-4-2 against Ottawa all-time.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Ottawa
Wins 2 3
Power Play 12.5% 19.2%
Penalty Kill 78.6% 78.8%
Corsi Close 45.6% 50.8%
Faceoffs 47.0% 52.3%

SUM IT UP

The Calgary Flames desperately need wins, by hook or crook. They need to beg, borrow or steal points in the standings. They’re falling behind the pack, and time may be running out.


  • Burnward

    Frolik must be so excited. Like a breath of fresh air.

    Good move.

    Two lines that can score is much better than one.

    And welcome back TJ (hopefully)!!!!!!!

    • KACaribou

      You’re right, but it remains to be seen if the “top line” without Johnny Hockey CAN actually score. He’s the straw that stirs the drink. There just aren’t enough of him. Staj could be a point producer again if Johnny H was on his line.

      FN Mod: KACaribou – this is a good post. More of these, less of the ones I have to moderate. Thank you. 🙂

  • Sanintarious

    What has Bollig done to deserve getting in to the line up again? He’s next to useless and a huge liability for taking penalties.

    How hard is it to honestly take him out of the line up and just play Grant on the wing with Stajan and Jooris.

    Also, why the hell is Smid still getting ice time? He plays so little minutes and is a mess when he is out there. He should have been sent to the AHL for some conditioning. Nakladel should get some ice. How can the organization find out what they have in him if they have him eating popcorn in the press box.

    Its not like the current line up is winning games, so why not give him a go?!

    Coach of the year for ya!

    • OKG

      What are his other options?

      Russell-Nakladal? Yes, let’s get a rookie with 0 games of NHL experience into the top 4.

      Nakladal-Wideman? See above.

      Smid-Nakladal? See above.

      Smid-Wideman? Slow as hell, been there, done that.

      Russell-Engelland? Possession black hole

      Smid-Russell? Possession black hole

      Russell-Hamilton? Have you seen Hamilton play this year?

      Wideman-Hamilton? Have you seen Hamilton play this year?

      Smid-Hamilton? Maybe in a few months.

      Gio-Wideman + Russell-Brodie? No, we need Brodie with Gio because they are teh Ultimate.

      Kulak-Hamilton? Maybe in two years.

      • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

        Would’ve been the perfect opportunity to sit Dougie and let him watch how he’s eventually going to fit with one of the two top D-men in the league.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Colborne on the TOP line??? What the Fluff??

    Hartley has lost his mind! Oh! never you mind! If the Flames lose again tonight Raymond will be on the top line! 🙁

    • piscera.infada

      For what it’s worth, I agree with placing Gaudreau on a line with Bennett. I think it’s important to reward Bennett for his good play thus far, and hopefully get him some points with Gaudreau and Frolik (the two players who are really “going” right now). I imagine the Gaudreau line will be given the high ground anyway, and it can’t hurt the effort to try and spark some scoring.

      So, if you want Gaudreau-Bennett-Frolik, who do you throw out there with Monahan? Seems like a toss-up between Raymond and Colborne.

      I don’t agree with much that Hartley does, but frankly, I do agree with the Gaudreau/Bennett experiment.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Oh yes, God forbid Hartley tries mixing up the lines to find chemistry so that you can actually score more than a goal a game.

      One minute, he’s not making enough adjustments and the next, people are whining about the ones he does make. You know, because you all know better and he shouldn’t dare try something you don’t approve of.

      What a fickle bunch you are these days.

    • Parallex

      Actually I can see a rational for putting Colborne there… Monahan hasn’t been playing well so I’d guess that they want to shelter him more right now. Colborne needs to be sheltered as well but you can’t realistically shelter multiple lines so that’s where they put him.

    • ClayBort

      From what I saw, he was the only one shooting the puck at the net, so why not? Also, If you’re going to move Gaudreau to the 2nd line to see if you can get Bennett going, the only two other natural positions options are Raymond or Bollig.

    • everton fc

      Hartley has to do something to generate offence. Look at our roster. Really. We have few options to mix up the lines – options that can generate offence. (Of course, it continues to beg why Bollig’s on the ice, other than Neil, but Engelland can handle Neil, if need be). And I like Hamilton relegated to playing with Engelland. Perhaps he’ll learn something from Engelland, like Kulak did.

      Sad to see Stajan benched, but he’s not producing offence. He and Backlund have struggled for years offencively. Grant’s played well. He deserves the shifts.

  • piscera.infada

    That game was a massacre at 5v5. Too bad it didn’t end that way on the scoresheet. This is one of the few games this season where I will call out the goaltending. The colour commentator (don’t know who it was) said it well with something to the effect of: the team’s 2-7 right now, yes there are defensive breakdowns, but you have to save at least one of those. For example, look at some of the save Anderson made. The goalie doesn’t have to be perfect, but they have to be able to make a save a crucial point in the game.

    The Flames outplayed the Senators for long stretches of the game, that game should have never went to overtime. I really hope Bob gives one goalie a chance to run with the ball. Hopefully they got the offense going, got some confidence, and come home ready for a very tough test against the Canadiens.

  • Parallex

    Hey why is Engelland still playing? I thought he would be a 7th or 8th defenceman with all the talent on the blueline but here he is almost playing regular…WTF?

  • RKD

    A totally different team with Brodie, even though they lost they got a point which is more than they were getting in the other games. Finally they score some goals, about time too. Sure nice to see Bennett get his first, he’s working his butt out there without getting rewarded.

    • Derzie

      Yes we need points.

      The math is already getting hard… Crazy how much a bad start hurts. (I’m aware this is not perfect math but it conveys the point)

      If you think the playoff bubble was around 43-45 wins last year.

      As of today we need at least 41 wins in the last 70 games. Yikes. Every game we lose now makes that number more daunting.

      These moral victories are great and all, but this team needs points ASAP. If we lose to Montreal, the Oiler game could virtually be a must win on October 31.

      If we lose to MTL and EDM we’d have to win AT LEAST 41 of our last 68 games which would basically be the rate that the presidents trophy was won at last year. So we’d have to hope that after 12 games this team suddenly becomes THE #1 BEST in the league, just to be in the bubble talk. Ugh.

  • mattyc

    I actually don’t mind Colborne on the top line, at least for tonight. I thought he has been playing not too bad so far.

    Engelland – Hamilton is killing me though. Just Killing me.