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.


    • 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.

  • 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. 🙂

  • JumpJet

    The Flames website has Stajan in instead of Grant.

    I like the look of the second line as well as the third. That third line could generate some chances is Raymond is on.

  • 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!

  • KACaribou

    It is kind of hilarious that the second we got Hamilton, TJ was on our second pairing – no questions asked. Now everyone is so bloody happy to see TJ back and the fewer minutes Hamilton seems to get the better chance we have of winning. I don’t know how long we go like this without proclaiming that Tree screwed up on this kid. Meanwhile let’s blame the whole thing on Coach Hartley right????!

    • piscera.infada

      I don’t know how long we go like this without proclaiming that Tree screwed up on this kid.

      That is an absolute trash take. You, I, and everyone knows it.

      • KACaribou

        You guys are quick to point anything out Wideman or Engelland does wrong, what’s the problem? This kid makes more than them. If he causes three goals a game we should shut up and tough it out??? Most guys on the Flames that play as poorly as Hamilton get a plane ticket to Stockton.

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      Jesus Christ, the kid (and yes he’s a kid, he’s only 22) hasn’t even played 10 games on a whole new team with vastly different systems than he’s used to. Has he been great? No. But all you guys bashing the kid not even 10 games into his Flames career is seriously annoying. You can point out his game so far has been disappointing, but don’t call the kid a bust or some other $#!t like that. It’s unnecessary and wayyyy to early.

      • KACaribou

        Hey Kent! What kind of language is allowed on here? I know the words “joke,” or “insignificant” aren’t allowed, but using the Lord’s name in vain? You should be ashamed.

        [redacted – FN Mod, it was a personal attack (stop those, for the love of Scorch)].

        FN Mod: I know I am a teacher, but I shouldn’t have to be teaching adults about the differences here. One is a personal attack, calling someone a loser or insignificant. The other is an exclamation in frustration. Unless he’s calling someone Jesus Christ, in a negative way (not sure how that works), it is fine.

        • ClayBort

          Holy fuck you are a god damn loser. Everyone here just gets dumber every time you post.

          Can I recommend you go join CalgaryPuck? You would fit right in with kool aid drinking, Hartley ass licking crowd over there.

        • mattyc

          I’m not sure if you are being serious or not but..

          I think everyone should try keep it as respectful as possible on here.. just be mindful of what may or may not be offensive.

        • Tomas Oppolzer

          Oh yeah, my post contained all the personal attacks. Just an awful, awful character assassination on my part… I certainly wasn’t defending a 22 year old kid who has PLAYED LESS THAN 10 GOSH DARN GAMES IN A BRAND NEW SYSTEM!!!

          All you guys ragging on him, give him a bloody chance. Before the season started everyone was saying that you need 20 games to truly evaluate someone. He hasn’t even played half of that.

          • Tomas Oppolzer

            The point of this comment section is to have discussion, not attack people personally. If you have a problem with the mods cutting down on that, stay away from the comments.

      • Rock

        So it is better to call the people that got us to the playoffs last year a bust. That is what everyone is doing blaming coach of the year all the players that were here last year are bust.
        Not Hamilton who has made everyone he has played with look like midget players. Now it is England’s turn to look bad I already know that everyone on here will blame England for all the goals against they get tonight but just pay attention and watch the game. Don’t forget England looked good with Kulak so we will see tonight how it goes you Hamilton lovers

        • Tomas Oppolzer

          Did I say, even once, that I thought Hamilton has been good? No, I haven’t. What I said is that it’s too early to call it a bad trade and say that Dougie is a bust. Way to twist my words like a journalist though!

        • Tomas Oppolzer

          Engelland looked good with Kulak in the same way that he looked good with Brodie. Hint: It was the other guy making him look good.

          I’ll say it again. I’d much rather see the likes of Kulak, Wotherspoon and Nakladal out there vs Smid, Engelland and Russell. I’m ok with watching promising young players make mistakes. I detest watching mediocre veterans doing the same simply because the coach applauds their truculence.

          • everton fc

            Kulak himself, all through camp, said Engelland was a big help and influence. Now I’d, too, would rather see Kulak and Nakladal over Smid/Engelland. But the reality is Engelland’s playing every game he can. So if Engelland had any positive influence at all on Kulak, here’s hoping he has the same positive influence on Hamilton.

            We’ll know soon, as the puck is about to drop….

      • TRAIN#97

        This is what happens when you give 6 mil to a guy that many say here is still a project and that he is only 22.
        People then expect the play that goes along with the salary he makes.

        • Tomas Oppolzer

          Like Hall and Nuge?

          Some people need to keep in mind certain economic realities that exist in the NHL. Those realities are hardly ideal (I’d love to see players renegotiated every season, but won’t happen), but they do exist. Every team makes Hamilton type deals and at the time the contract was applauded. But 10 games in, right?

          • TRAIN#97

            In today’s market Hall and NUGE have proven to be worth that . As of today Hamilton hasn’t . Do you think he has? That why he is under the gun . He is not playing up to his 6 ml contract. Judging by the comments on here there are not many that think he has been worth it
            He and Russell have the absolute worst plus minus in the league, so if you think he is worth it then so be it.

          • MontanaMan

            Cmon, Hall & Nuge are 1st overalls & neither of them have taken a leadership role, picked up the team to any success & you are saying their contracts are worthy versus what Hamilton got? Hamilton at 22 has played in how many playoff games versus the combined amount of all your 1st over-alls? The talk up to the draft was how Hamilton was going to be offer-sheeted by many teams, including the Oilers. That offer sheet would have been way over the 5.75mill Flames signed him for. You are just trying to cherry pick arguments here for the sake of it. Stop it.

          • TRAIN#97

            I was actually discussing Hamilton and one of your boys starting discussing the oilers not me. Try to follow along

            FN Moderator: just in case you missed my last message. Stop trolling now.

          • MattyFranchise

            Agreed. I’m sure they have strongly led over the past 5 and 6 years as they get all the opportunities. Perhaps with a few more top picks, their leadership will lead to wins.

      • CMG30

        I agree it’s too early to call Hamilton a bust. He could turn it around. However Flames fans do have a legitimate grievance with Hamilton.

        22 years old or not, new system or not, he’s the highest paid defenseman on the team and was brought in to fill a top paring spot. His performance so far, has not been ‘as advertised’. Fans should not be expected to tolerate an extended learning curve on a player being paid this many dollars while occupying such a key role on the team.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • ClayBort

    For the most part I Like the line-up. Maybe Bennett with Gaudreau and Hiller, Monahan with Colborne and Frollik. Even though I have no problem with Stajan as the 4th centre, I don’t think it will hurt to sit him a game or two. The same could be said of Backlund as well.

  • RedMan

    there’s times to sit people, and time to let them play through. With Hamilton, I don’t see sitting him as the answer, because the effort is there. He is just out of sync and lost in the system. I expect he will get better. Obviously the coach thinks he will get it too. 20 games from now this will all be ancient history.