Flames 2, Predators 1 (OT) post-game embers: Save the best for last

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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

The Flames played what very well might have been their worst period of the season, and came away with a win.

I mean, obviously that win was in overtime, and without the aid of special teams; but hey, that’s what T.J. Brodie and Johnny Gaudreau are for.

Oh my god that first period was so bad

It took the Flames 8:04 to get their first shot attempt of the game. For eight minutes and four seconds they were so badly hemmed in their own zone, or so badly thwarted on the rush, Pekka Rinne could have done some shots and still not have had to worry about anything.

Seriously, it took the Flames three minutes and five seconds to direct a single puck anywhere remotely near Rinne’s way after Cody Hodgson opened the scoring.

The Flames ramped things up a little towards the period’s end (at least before flatlining when they got their first power play of the game, as they are wont to do), and came out of the first period outshot 12-5, out-corsied 28-8, and trailing by just 1-0, somehow, off only a penalty shot goal.

Karri Ramo managed to stop 21 of 22 on the night, and did some serious work to keep the Flames in the game. I’m not going to deny I still wasn’t occasionally afraid whenever the puck went his way, particularly in the third period, but Pekka Rinne was way more scary with his leaving a wide open net four times or so throughout the night. 

Ramo kept his team in the game. Ramo out-dueled Rinne. And the Flames were forunate they were still within striking distance after what may very well have been their worst period of the year.

Oh my god the power play is so bad

The Predators took four penalties. 

The first came at the end of the first period, right when the Flames had just been starting to get a bit of momentum going, and completely killed it.

The second and third came simultaneously, giving the Flames a full two-minute five-on-three. They had one shot. And really, they should have had one goal to go with it – that puck crossed the line – but they didn’t. And they absolutely deserve fault for that, because when you have that golden an opportunity to score, just one shot on net isn’t going to cut it.

I will say this, though: the commentators talking about how Sam Bennett didn’t celebrate after what would have been his sixth goal of the season was bizarre. I’m glad he didn’t. Play until the horn or the whistle, and when neither goes off, don’t waste your time looking like an idiot when you could be trying to score. If the NHL thought it was inconclusive, then Bennett’s arms in the air wouldn’t have changed that.

(James Neal is garbage, by the way, and has clearly shown no intentions of ever learning from or reforming his dirty play. He needs a Raffi Torres-sized book thrown at him.)

The fourth power play came at the end of the game, and you just knew it was going to overtime as soon as it happened.

Nashville wouldn’t even let them enter the zone, let alone generate actual chances.

So that’s now 15 straight power plays without a goal, or one for 28, or two for 43. They have a success rate of 11.1% with the extra man. This is beyond absurd.

Oh my god T.J. Brodie and Johnny Gaudreau are so good

The debate for just who is actually the Flames’ best player starts and ends with these two. Absolutely nobody else in a Flames jersey even comes close to the discussion.

Brodie played 23:40. He didn’t lead the Flames in ice time primarily because he isn’t on the power play’s first unit; although, considering the state of the power play and the fact he’s in the running for the Flames’ best player, maybe he should be? 

Brodie took away in the beginning by fouling against Hodgson, giving him a penalty shot, but he gave back with his own goal later on – one that only had the chance to happen because he kept the puck in the zone to begin with, and had the presence of mind to go into the wide open slot the Preds left for him.

He’s now very, very quietly on a seven-game point streak, having picked up a bunch of assists that started when the Flames played their dismal game in San Jose, and lasted throughout the entire homestand – and now, then some. With 14 points, he’s tied with Dennis Wideman for the team lead in defencemen scoring, and that’s with nine fewer games played and without a lot of power play time. 

He also had an ES CF of 52.63%, just one of four Flames to be a positive possession player at even strength.

Johnny Gaudreau, meanwhile, played 23:04, the most out of all forwards. Even though he got a lot of power play time – 5:33 – he’s far from the problem on the man advantage. Gaudreau was often the only guy who could even enter the offensive zone, and there were a couple of instances where as soon as he had all this space created, he had nobody to give the puck to because his teammates are all inferior to him.

Kris Russell totally murdered a couple of plays he was trying to set up earlier in the game. Thank goodness he scored that overtime winner, because flubbing that would have been grounds to just leave him behind at the arena.

(Although it was awesome to see them hug each other, because they’re almost the same size.)

(Also, you know how Gaudreau has had a number of plays so far this season where he’s able to outsmart the opposing defender at the blueline and keep the puck onside? Ryan Ellis, who is also pretty small, forced him offsides. This doesn’t really mean anything, I just thought it was funny.)

Gaudreau has now been directly involved in seven of the Flames’ eight overtime wins. He has 97 career points in 111 games.

Dougie Hamilton is the Flames’ third defenceman and needs to be played as such

Dougie Hamilton led the Flames with a 62.96% ES CF. There were times throughout the night he was the only positive possession Flame at even strength, and by a considerable margin (think 69% near the end of the second period, and Joe Colborne was the runner up at 50%). 

He also played 19:23, fourth on the Flames in defencemen for ice time, with just 10 more seconds than Wideman.

Wideman played 5:00 on the power play, for all the good that did them, while Hamilton got in a mere 27 seconds. Wideman also played 1:54 on the penalty kill, a situation Hamilton seemingly is not allowed to partake in, even though there’s reasonable evidence to believe he has the potential to succeed in the role

Hamilton was quietly one of the Flames’ best players of the night, has been one of the better defenders outside of his disastrous start, and isn’t being played as such. He played better away from Russell (60.00% ES CF with compared to 71.43% without; Russell was 55.56% without). 

Russell didn’t have a terrible night, but he’s a worse player than Hamilton, and Hamilton has the much brighter and, hopefully, longer future on the Flames than Russell does, so it’s about time to start playing him in a manner that reflects that. He’s going to have to be used eventually; what’s he going to do on the bench?

  • smith

    Hartley’s player usage is just bizarre. I have to believe it has resulted in a lot less points for the flames this year.

    The insistence on using Colborne and Raymond on the power play ignoring Frolik, Ferland, Brodie and Hamilton is absolutely ridiculous.

    Then the burying of young offensively capable players like Bennet (earlier in year) and Ferland now.

    The usage of Wideman and Colborne on the penalty kill and the complete overplaying of Wideman and Russel through out the game. You have 3 good defensemen. Give them 20 – 25 minutes each, 16 – 18 for Wideman and Russel and the last 10 – 12 or so to Engelland.

    How can he not notice how much better Bennet was as a centre? How useless Bollig is and how Colborne does not score on the powerplay ever!???

  • EhPierre

    I think the verdict on Hartley should not be reflective of the team’s record. Just because we are within a playoff spot doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly figured out how to be a good coach. It feels like we’re winning despite of Hartley’s questionable choices rather than because of his questionable choices. Based on our special teams and player usage I don’t believe he is the coach that will lead us to lord Stanley.

  • CofRed4Life

    “The problem with Johnny Gaudreau is once he draws all the opposition in towards him, whoever he dishes it off to is not Johnny Gaudreau.”

    Bahahaha I got a good laugh from that tweet. Thanks ol’ flooby!

    • smith

      “The problem with Johnny Gaudreau is once he draws all the opposition in towards him, whoever he dishes it off to is not Johnny Gaudreau.”

      The plight of all generational players!

  • Kat

    Hamilton!

    Ha, so much YES to your last line.

    I mean, did you see his push to get the puck behind the net to set up Gaudreau/Russ? What resilience. What effort to match Gaudreau’s
    practical tactical brilliance.

  • piscera.infada

    I’m going to beat this drum one more time. The biggest issue with the powerplay after gaining the zone (which has actually been better the last handful of games), is a severe lack of movement, especially on the points.

    Last night’s 5-on-3 was the perfect example of this. Wideman and Giordano played the entire thing. Eventually Johnny got so fed up with them just firing it into the Predators’ shin pads that he just stopped passing it to the point–you could see him visibly frustrated.

    The Flames are easily shut down once they gain the zone on the PP because outside of Gaudreau, Brodie, and Hamilton, no one moves around. They just stand there and look for shots, but surprise, surprise, when you don’t move, the passing lanes and shooting lanes are non-existent. Wideman is the biggest culprit of this, and sure he has a big shot, but if it’s not getting through to the net, he’s of no use to anybody.

    • Captain Ron

      I agree with your take exactly. It’s Johnny, TJ, Dougie and then the rest of them are like pylons sometimes.

      I don’t even want to get started on zone entry attempts on the PP.

    • cberg

      I agree that lack of movement is a big problem. But to go beyond that I ask the question: Who is to blame?

      Many writers and posters on here seem to imply that it is BH’s fault, that it is his “system” to just pass the puck around the point and blast pucks into shin pads, all the while having the rest of the guys stand around doing nothing. Have I got that correct?

      Perhaps that is the only option they are supposed to try, but I have seen several instances of going behind the net, down below the goal line, cross-crease passes or back door set-ups, so I’m pretty sure they only have one option to try.

      To me its on the players. If you can’t execute under pressure you can’t execute. Now if its the wrong players, that may be mostly on the coach to try someone new or try to maintain some semblance of accountability. Having said that, many on here want Brodie, for instance, which might be a good idea, however with him ALREADY playing top minutes virtually every night and being key on the PK, how much is too much? The PP is a 5 man unit and they ALL have to contribute.

      Overall with the very, very poor success I’m sure its a combination of all of the above. If so its a bit frustrating to hear time after time here that it is all about the coach. Perhaps if we held EVERYONE to account we’d get a lot closer to the truth, and knowing the truth, perhaps to finding a way to of the team’s current situation.

      Cheers to all.

      • MattyFranchise

        In this case you’ve more or less said it yourself. If the system is fine but the players can’t execute it then changes the players on the PP units. If it’s the system that is flawed then you have to change up the system.

        BH has done neither and that’s why many of us feel that it’s a coaching issue since he seemingly refuses to try one of two things that could improve this PP. And honestly, at 11% I’d almost be willing to throw Bollig out there on the first unit, something’s gotta give.

  • EhPierre

    I feel bad for Winnipeg. Seeing them tied with us, Oilers, Canucks and then realizing that they are no way close to being in the playoffs because they’re in the league’s most competitive division. Brutal.

  • Rock

    Real hockey people had Russell as the number one star and his stats and play reflect that. But yet you stat *people* [-FN Mod] still dog him. His return has improved the numbers for Hamilton. To the point Hamilton is looking a lot better with Russell then without Russell. He also helped out on the pentaly kill last night which needed Russell return obviously. It is sad how you guys like to single out people and attack them even when there play has improved

    FN Mod: did your mother / father / schoolteacher ever tell you that calling people names is stupid? I bet they did. You should listen to them. Does not matter if they are poopybumface or something worse (but really, can you get worse than poopybumface?) – just don’t do it. You’re [presumably] an adult. Act like it.

    • RedMan

      On the road? Absolutely. Until you play Bennett as the center on the 2nd unit, he can easily play on RW on the 1st unit. A lot of good teams have LHS on RW. Bennett could be an effective tool, considering we don’t have many options on the PP.

      So sick of the same tired setup, and the same lame passes to the point that don’t result in a shot on goal.

      • MattyFranchise

        I figure if Hartley is going to continue to play Bennett on the wing then we can sure use his scoring touch and body in front of the net instead of Colbourne.

        While the first unit is hopefully actually scoring then having Gio, Wideman, Colbourne, Granlund, and I dunno, Raymond(?) on the second unit won’t look as bad when they continue to fail to score.

        That still leaves Engelland, Russell, Backlund, Frolik, Jooris, Ferland, etc for PK duty.

      • DestroDertell

        Guys,
        They have tried Jonny, Mony, Bennett on the 1st PP. It was after the Boston Game where they had a few days to practice the PP like crazy. Againt SJ it was Gio to Mony in the slot who redirected it past Jones on the PP (the other forwards on where Jonny G. and B.) Then they went like “oh” for 10 with that forward group for the rest of that game and against Buffalo. With all those games in the home stand being so close, I mean… how long is it reasonable to persist before you try something else when the team is so desperate for PP goals?
        They have also tried Jonny, mony, Huds. which was so successful last year (we were 13th in the league on the PP last year as someone has already pointed out). I can assure you that any combo that we can think of they have tried/ practiced/ put into play; we are just shooting the breeze here– it’s their butts on the line.
        I have no doubt that the PP 1st unit you suggest will strike fear in the hearts of other teams in the not too distant future. It just quite hasn’t happened yet–doesn’t mean it won’t maybe even later this year.
        Look at last year’s top line. It was tried with limited success early in the year when Jonny was still trying to find his way, but was ON FIRE when they were reunited for good sometime in late Feb.

  • DestroDertell

    Ari!

    Another great 2 points for the squad. A superb beginning to what is slated to be a very tough road trip.

    2 things:

    1. What a great photo to lead this article! Catching that wonderful saucer-pass over to Russell shows super camera work.

    Plus I had to PVR the game and as I was just hitting the buttons to turn it on, I made the mistake of seeing the score on the TV and noticed that it was in OT. Well I just had to watch and it was when Weber was just about to shoot his wrister … with Hamilton’s (?) diving help the puck goes to Johnny and I just started to laugh and chuckle … seen too much of this positive action not to anticipate another goal and sure enough, seconds later, Russell beats Rinne. As with many of you … just a fist pump and a head shake. We are so priviledged to have JG as a Flame!

    2. I second your props for Dougie Hamilton! The stats show he had yet another great game BUT yesterday’s game marks his battling to the “0” mark in plus-minus! He was mighty deep in the do-do 6-7 weeks ago and I am very pleased to see his compete level exemplified by via the +/-!

    Someone said Ramo “looked” the part for once … I agree! With average league goaltending from here on in, we will be a force to be reckoned with!

    Keep up the fine work!

    • DestroDertell

      He wasn’t deep in the doo doo for me. Anyone with half an inkling wasn’t worried bout Hamilton. Kid’s gonna be a pillar and how could you doubt him? C’mon Man

      • piscera.infada

        Guilty as charged Ultra … I was muy disappointed … thought pre-season he could walk on water!! Roundign into a nice situation for the Flames.

        His WOWY number differential with/away from Russell was illuminating.

        If we get goaltending on Thursday, it should be a real good game.

  • DestroDertell

    “He played better away from Russell”

    This is important, and a recurring theme for a while now. Since he played his worst game of his life at Calgary vs. Washington, Dougie has played 213:13 minutes w/ Russell and 147:30 without; both reasonable sample sizes for Corsi purposes.

    In those minutes, he has a 47.2 CF% with Russell and a 58.3 CF% without him. That should tell you a whole friggin lot. TBH I didn’t even notice it was that bad myself before I did the WOWY.

    Before anyone brings up context: 1) Russell has a 45.2 CF% in his 155:43 minutes away from Hamilton, sooo yah. 2) OZone% are pretty much the same with and without 3) they both play with the same partners when they’re away from each others, except that Russell got to play nearly an hour with Brodie.

    The Hamilton/Russell pairing needs to be split. But Hartley is the coach, so it probably won’t be.

      • piscera.infada

        Why does it matter how many cups he’s won?

        You know who doesn’t have any cups? McKenzie, Duhatschek, Dreger, Freidman don’t have any cups. Treliving doesn’t have any cups. You certainly don’t have any cups (unless you are, actually Nick Kypreos–in which case, you had about as much to do with that cup, as I did). Are we honestly saying none of those people know anything about hockey, or that they can’t formulate a reasonable opinion?

    • MattyFranchise

      “The Hamilton/Russell pairing needs to be split. But Hartley is the coach, so it probably won’t be.”

      This is what I find so amusing. Hartley can only play with the players that he has. So you make a great case for breaking up Ham. and Russ. on the 2nd pairing. So who do you play Ham with? Do you break up Brodano? hmmmm…the team has finally managed to get their head out of their shoe playing with that pairing so pro’ly not. I know! bring up Englland to the 2nd pairing so he can play 20 min a game because I wanna see that AGAIN…I didn’t quite get my fill last year when Brodie (poor little Brodie) had to endure that for the most important stretch of the season and the playoffs (on a sprained ankle no less). This way, we could also enjoy what has been the “tire fire” pairing of Wide and Russ. this year!
      Or Bench Russ. and play Ham with Smiddy. Hmmmm…. I like Smiddy–he’s a proud warrior– but he no longer has the foot speed to play in the NHL as it is being played today. I find myself “white knuckling” the Lazyboy each time Smid and ENG/Wide are on the ice, until they get off (reminiscent of the Anton Babchuck/ Steve Staios pairing)
      Sure, we finally clawed our way back to the brink of a playoff position, but what we need to do is bring up Kulak from the minors and play him with Hamilton on the 2nd pairing. His 7 games of NHL experience is exactly what this team needs now (not if/when they are clearly out of the playoff picture, but RIGHT NOW!!!!!)
      Or we should just bring up Phat Ras, Nakladal, Culkin, Kyller, or T spoons– better yet! Morph them all into one “super Defenceman”. We can make a Disney movie out of it at the end of the year when we win the Stanley Cup following this “BOLD move” and call it ‘The Mighty Flucks’
      I will apologize in advance for being such an insufferable sarcastic ASS, but the Coach can only play the players that he has. When you say something like: “The Hamilton/Russell pairing needs to be split. But Hartley is the coach, so it probably won’t be.” without offering any viable solution, it is very grating on the nerves. Maybe I’m alone in feeling this way.
      What is more interesting to me is how the management and coaching staff were able to get this roster which more resembles a cross between Gymboree and the Movie Stripes (I mean, Schlemko…really??) than an actual NHL outfit, to the Playoffs last year (and in contention in a terrible Pacific Division this year). A roster mind you, that EVERYONE including the Esteemed FN panel last year predicted to finish 27-30th (because on paper, that’s exactly where they SHOULD have finished!)

      • piscera.infada

        That’s an entirely reasonable argument (horrible sarcasm aside), but in response I would say yes, split up Brodie and Giordano.

        Remember for a minute that defensive pairings (or lines, for that matter) are not created in a vacuum. This is not an NHL video game. The pairings can, and should be adjusted depending on game flow. I’ll point out the fact that we’ve seen Hamilton paired with just about everyone on the current roster for a substantial amount of time except for Brodie–yes, they have been paired together on the power play, and unsurprisingly they were incredibly effective.

        The point I’m making is you can pair Brodie and Hamilton together, and allocate ice-time where Brodie and Giordano are together at “key moments” when you want them to be (ie. final minute, penalty kill, etc.). The simple reality of the situation is that Gio, Brodie, and Hamilton should be your leading defenders in terms of ice time every night, it doesn’t really matter who’s paired with whom. You can mix and match as much as you want.

        All that said, I do agree with you. Hartley is restricted by the players he has. Part of that is on Treliving (Engelland) and part of it is on his predecessor (Smid, Wideman). The simple truth is, I agree with not getting too bent out of shape about it, because in reality the defense on this team is going to go through a massive change in the next three years. As long as the three pillars we have can help carry the load, it will be very exciting.

        • DestroDertell

          I have no objection to your argument of hockey being a dynamic animal. My point revolves around short and long term objectives of the team going forward. The Question I ask: is it a worthwhile endeavour to aggressively pursue the playoffs this year and would this be beneficial for the development of the young players? To me, the answer is yes. To that end, do I feel it to be risky to break up the teams top pairing D men when it seems they have finally righted the ship after a horrendous start and are currently on a 6 game win streak? To this question my answer is also yes.
          Would all of this and more be okay to try if we were talking about the ’13/’14 Flames? Absolutely.

          Look, D.H. is going to be an absolute stud for this team for a long, long time. We are all seeing flashes of his brilliance already. But I don’t think anyone can argue that he, and the team for that matter, got off to a rough start. He was 1.2 seconds away from “Shampooing the rugs” against his old team in front of his new fans (can you imagine what that would have done to his confidence?). He is finally starting to get his legs under him… do you think it’s wise to give him a new D partner right at this moment, and add yet another layer of complexity to his game in which he plays with Brodano except for “key moments” in which case he has to play with someone else? For some of you, the answer to this question is yes. For me, it is a no.

          Now, let’s say we start losing a few games. Would I support scrambling the D pairings? Absolutely yes. But I feel that this is what any reasonable coach would try as well.

      • DestroDertell

        An ugly mix of being a clown and sarcastic always makes for the worst kind of delusional.

        Re-read my post. I said that Hamilton had much, much better CF% when he was paired up with either Wideman or Engelland than with Russell in similar context. That doesn’t say “um if it ain’t Russell then who do you pair him with?”, that says it’s pretty likely 90% of NHL-caliber defensemen can replace Russell and do a better job at Corsi with Dougie.

        And yes, you can rotate your top 3 defensemen. There’s no rules that say you can’t mix it up every game or even during the game.

        • DestroDertell

          Again, I apologize for being an insufferable sarcastic ASS.
          I think we can all agree that criticism that is not based on fact or is pure speculation is the worse kind, as it is indefensible.
          As you point out, the coach has already tried Ham with Wides and Eng. with more success, and I have no doubt that we will see Ham. play with those two as well as Brodano due of injury, poor play/stellar play in the future; game 82 is a long ways away.

          I don’t think anyone will argue that Russ. has not been shooting the lights out this year. What’s interesting is that the Flames and the coaching staff have tuned a guy that was waived by St. Louis, passed on by 29 other teams, then traded to the Flames for peanuts into a serviceable NHL D man and a potential asset. Weather we feel he should play here or elsewhere is an argument for another day.

  • piscera.infada

    It’s 5:00 somewhere.

    How great has it been to see the Coilers finally win some games and top them every step of the way.

    Going to be a tough one in Dallas next but the boys have beaten some good clubs lately. All the more important to grab the win last night.

    It’s good to be home again, unwinding with sailor jerry’s, need to figure out how to register my account so I don’t get hijacked and framed and kicked out by Kent’s Royal Decree. Hear Ye! Hear Ye!! Go Flames

  • MattyFranchise

    With the Flames very weak start this year, it’s not surprising many players have been in the fans doghouse–like Hamilton, and Russell for example. As the season has gone on, their play has gotten them more positive treatment on the boards.

    The goalies have been even more maligned. But Ramo’s save % is now above .900% In fact, it’s .903. I’m not saying that’s great or anything, but I look at other goalies and it is not much worse–Miller is .910,Niemi .909, Rinne .907 and Smith is at .901. And Ramo has come up from about .870 in the first few games of the season.

    Maybe now that Ramo is the undisputed number 1 he plays like it and gets confidence and the tending situation for next year (and this) is not as bleak as it seems.

    GFG!!

  • piscera.infada

    @FN Mod

    FN Mod: did your mother / father / schoolteacher ever tell you that calling people names is stupid? I bet they did. You should listen to them. Does not matter if they are poopybumface or something worse (but really, can you get worse than poopybumface?) – just don’t do it. You’re [presumably] an adult. Act like it.

    Are we not using “nerd” anymore? Really? I’ll readily admit I’m a nerd–I spend a countless amount of time on a hockey blog, afterall. That isn’t a term that should be banned. Sure, in the context of @Rock‘s post it perfectly illustrates his/her ignorance, but it’s not a term that I would deem offensive.

    FN Modthe issue isn’t in the usage of the word nerd, that’s fine. If it is directed at a person then it is meant in a derogatory fashion, and that’s not tolerated, regardless. Hence why I used poopybumface. You can be absurd in the things that you call people, and they may not be anything of substance, but it does not remove the intention.

  • Derzie

    75% of the “fans” in that picture are having a good old chin wag while an exciting 3 on 3 goal gets scored to win the game. Reports of Nashville being a hockeytown are greatly exaggerated. Great win boys.

  • Danomitee

    Just read an article saying that both Burke and Treliving were at the Leafs/Bolts game last night.
    Scouting players most likely, chances are a possible goalie swap with Bernier and Hiller. Well lets hope it’s Hiller and not Ramo, without him we might as well have a shooter tutor between the pipes. Both of our tenders are done after this season so with another couple seasons of Bernier it’s low risk considering how good he can be, maybe he just needs a change of scenery. Could they be there looking at other players though? With the flames all of a sudden in the playoffs discussion could that make them buyers from a Leafs team who under Babdick, do look like a better team, but are most likely going to be sellers at the trade deadline?

    Thoughts??

  • TurkeyLips

    Guys, I think we’re playing people like Wideman and Raymond so they actually have some stats before they’re inevitably traded for low round picks.

    Wideman still has more points and a lower +/- than Giordano with the same games played. Let that sink in.

  • Danomitee

    A win is a win is a win and all that but if the other team gets a penalty we should have the option of letting them take it or not. That 5 on 3 save for Bennett’s almost goal was hard to watch.
    Our penalty kill last year was bad but we took so few penalties it was sheltered. Our PP has dropped from 13th to 30th. Isn’t this the type of thing that gets coaches fired? We can blame some of the PK troubles on very suspect goaltending, but dead last in both categories normally results in an axe falling.

    • Rock

      Your completely right, being last in both categories of special teams and and also in goal differential should be enough to get any coach axed, but I think Burkie and BT still have faith in the reining coach of the year. This is still a young team and their two most productive players are barely old enough to buy alcohol. Hartley’s system isn’t evident on the ice as of yet but not for long. Their play is starting to come around as of late and soon enough their special teams will too. Taking on a new coach at the moment and having them learn an entirely new system isn’t going to fix anything.

      • Danomitee

        I agree, I’m not saying fire him right now were in the midst of a 6 game win streak, I doubt anything like that has every happened. But our special teams and some of his lineup choices have been extremely suspect and frankly he’s cost us some serious points that would have separated us from this log jam of crappy records. It’s why I’m torn, I like the system they play under Hartley because it best suits the players we have, but he’s not allowing all of the players to play to the teams potential under his own system. Its baffling

  • aflame13

    Anyone that holds the special teams play this year against Hartley should remember that it’s the assistant coaches who are supposedly responsible for the PP and PK. Not that he doesn’t have a say, but it’s apparently not his responsibility.

    • piscera.infada

      Fair comment. Although, who hired those assistants? Who do the assistants answer to? Who’s job is it to have a team playing consistent hockey in all phases? Who is the one who ultimately decides who gets the power play ice time?

      As I said above though, it’s just as much on the players. Right now, they aren’t playing the power play correctly, regardless of how it’s drawn up.

    • piscera.infada

      If you are the head coach you are both responsible and accountable. Otherwise anyone of us could be head coach at a fraction of the price point.

      He steps in and fixes special teams, or not, at his peril.

  • MattyFranchise

    A closer look at the first period of last nights game would not show how badly the Flames played, but showed what a strong forecheck can do for any team. Give the Preds some credit! That is their game, and they played it perfectly.Give the Flames credit for keeping the score close. Reading the comments, it would never seem like the Flames won last night. How many games in a row must a team win, before someone doesn’t want to get rid of a player or fire the coach. I am enjoying this run of wins for the Flames, regardless on how the wins are coming. The management seems to believe in this group of players, regardless of what all you armchair GMS think and for that I am grateful. GFG!

    • MattyFranchise

      Yes it’s great that they are winning and I am certainly happy that the wins are coming but a large part of the discussion in this thread has been about the power play. And when the PP is clicking at 11% with the players that we have then there is definitely something wrong with the coaching in that aspect.

  • MattyFranchise

    Hartley really wants to reunite the line of Johnny/Monny/Hudler but the magic is not there like last year. Johnny can make magic with any linemate but ideally he needs a winger that can keep up and win puck battles.

    One thing I have noticed about Hartleys 3 on 3 approach, is that he is one of the few coaches that start OT with 2 D and 1 F while others use 2 F and 1 D. Our first 3 players sent out for OT are TJ/Gio/and Monny… We seem to weather the storm with good man on man coverage. When we win possession Monny usually comes off for Johnny…and the rest is history.

    • MattyFranchise

      Despite Gio’s early season struggles he remains one of the Flames best options on D at even strength.

      As soon as Gaudreau steps on the ice 3 on 3 he generally employs Hamilton and Russell. Why Russell is out there, I have no idea, maybe his skating?

      But overall BH’s 3 on 3 deployments make sense. What it is about the rest of the game? It’s anyone’s guess.

  • MattyFranchise

    It is time for when the Flames are on the power play to take a penalty to make it four on four hockey or three on three. It looks like dog poop out there.

  • DestroDertell

    absolutely agree re. hamilton. but i don’t think possession stats tell the whole story re. russell’s value.

    and “it was awesome to see them hug each other, because they’re almost the same size”? pure gold!! 🙂