Post-Game: Dogged In The Desert

Last night, the Calgary Flames won an energetic, crazy, sloppy game.

Tonight? They were much less energetic and much more calm. They were almost as sloppy, and were never really in control in a 4-1 road loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Nothing about this game inspired confidence that this group can be a playoff team.

If you wanted an idea of just how inconsistent this group can be from game to game, the last 48 hours are a picture perfect example of that.


For a team that played a crazy game 20-ish hours before, the Flames had a lot of jump in the first. Unfortunately, some odd choices in the defensive end cost them, as Shane Doan beat Jonas Hiller five-hole (with a rare double partial-screen from Dougie Hamilton and Kris Russell) for the period’s lone goal. Shots were 11-7 Calgary and attempts were 18-16 Calgary.

The second was rough for the visitors. The Flames were on the power-play to begin the period, a carry-over from the end of the first, and almost immediately saw Hiller get beaten. The shot was initially called a goal, but it was crossbar-and-out. However, the Flames got into penalty trouble – shades of San Jose – and gave up a pair of power-play goals. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Duclair scored on man-advantage. Shots were 16-11 for the Coyotes and attempts were 30-17, and the Flames weren’t really active participants in the proceedings.

The Flames were slightly better in the third, in that they broke the shutout attempt for Louie Domingue; Joe Colborne went to the net and had a couple whacks at a rebound off a point shot, so he was able to hack at it until it went in to make it 3-1. However, there was no more comeback magic left in the Flames, and Doan scored his second of the game (and Arizona’s third power-play goal of the game) to ice it. Shots were 12-5 Arizona in the third, while attempts were 22-12 for the home side.


(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Gaudreau 64.71% 93.33%
Monahan 62.5% 86.67%
Hudler 50% 78.57%
Hamilton 58.54% 72.22%
Frolik 46.88% 63.64%
Giordano 44.64% 56.52%
Bennett 45.83% 50%
Russell 40.54% 46.67%
Backlund 42.11% 46.67%
Jooris 28.57% 42.86%
Colborne 36.84% 40%
Brodie 37.25% 35%
Smid 21.74% 33.33%
Engelland 28% 33.33%
Ferland 28% 27.27%
Bouma 16.67% 0%
Stajan 25% 0%
Bollig 45.45% 0%


Well, let’s see…

  • They weren’t great in their own end, again, like in San Jose.
  • They gave up three power-play goals, again, like in San Jose.
  • Their goalie tried, but he just couldn’t withstand the onslaught of chances he faced. Just like in San Jose.
  • And they got out-shot in the final two periods – during which they always were trailing – and that’s never a recipe for success.

The all situations possession battle was 68-47 Arizona. The attempts in the final two periods were 52-29 Arizona. Calgary had no push late in the game, which is troublesome considering they see themselves as still in the post-season battle.


    Jonas Hiller faced 35 shots. He made 31 saves. He got very little help. He wins by default.

    The top line had some chances and possession, but nobody else had much of anything going on tonight.


    The Flames limp home from this short trip and begin preparing for a battle with yet another Pacific Division foe, the Anaheim Ducks. That will be a rare home afternoon game on holiday Monday, starting at 2pm MT.

    • flames2015

      Hiller the red warrior? Did you watch the game Pike or just read the stat line? 3 of the 4 goals were horrendous and luckily for Hiller they called back Rieder’s goal otherwise he would have put up a 5-spot. The stick boy was the only person worthy of the red warrior tonight, all around bush league effort.

      As I mentioned in the game thread, Hiller’s lemon of a performance tonight might just necessitate the unthinkable…Ortio actually starting next game

        • cberg

          I’m only upset being in limbo land. I have no problem embracing going full lotto, but ONLY by trading out players, which I wish had already started and was going full force. Embracing lackadaisical play, acceptance of mediocrity and defeatism in the players is a dangerous game and one I will never embrace.

          For all you guys ragging on BH with supposedly questionable line-up choices and player usage, I would think you’d be delighted he’s doing so, because according to your thinking it only enhances our chances to lose and therefore get a better draft pick.

          The real problem here is an excess of players, too many vets and too-limited opportunity for our prospects. This has been a serious problem since even before last summer and hasn’t gotten any better all year. For all the belly-aching about BH, there is an easy solution: trade multiple short-term vets for whatever and then he has no choice but to play youth.

          The issues here are multiple and the responsibility for them lie in multiple people’s laps. At the very start of the season BT stated he felt the group that got to the 2nd round last year ‘deserved’ a shot to get further, and with the additions of Frolik and Hamilton thought we had enhanced the line-up to do so. Well, at the time I wasn’t too sure about that thinking, and now, a half+ season later I’m certain I don’t like it. Though of course its easy to view things 20-20 hindsight.

          The thing is, we can only (truthfully) view things from where we are at the moment. That view is currently 6 points out of a play-off spot with a game-in-hand and lots of games left. We clearly are capable, with a good run of making up the gap and getting into the playoffs, though with injuries its a stretch. However we also clearly have some big holes and needs and multiple players that aren’t cutting it and need to go. I can think of 4 for sure, and that’s before the additional 4-6 controversial ones. My hope is get rid of the players, make the moves then what comes, comes. Come on BT, we need action.

      • Phillip

        Good analysis. But everyone wasn’t horrible. Just most. Bennett played like a man. Jooris and Staj worked like dogs.

        I don’t get the Hiller pick. But I hardly ever see the game like Pike does. That dude is out there…

    • Phillip

      Almost every one of the very many problems the Flames had tonight began and ended with one problem – passes to skates instead of sticks.

      They could not start a proper rush because they were always trying to dig the puck out from their skates. Endlessly.

      Of course it is also hard to get a flow going when the goddam refs suck so hard like the past two games. 16 PP in 2 games to the most disciplined team in the NHL over the past two years? I don’t buy it.

      Tonight’s horrible refereeing done by:
      Eric Furlatt, Kyle Rehman

      • Kevin R

        So either the Flames have become a dirty team over night or the referee society has put a target on their back. Some of the penalties can be attributed to feeling the heat of having to win these games while part of it has to do with impressing …good ole dad with rugged play….but the refs do not seem to care about the annual dad’s trip.

    • MattyFranchise

      I’d give Doan the red warrior since he was also wearing a red uniform while becoming the all time Jets/Coyotes franchise points leader.

      Throughout the first two periods I saw Backlund make one excellent play. For the other 39:57 of those periods not one single Flame deserved to be on the ice.

      I didn’t watch the third. If the Flames can barely manage to hold a 3 goal lead then there’s no way they’re coming back from 3 goals down against a team that they’ve scored a grand total of 2 goals against so far this season.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Buddy of mine sat behind the Flames’ bench tonight and just heckled Gaudreau and Monahan. While Monahan either ignored or chuckled at my buddy’s barbs, Gaudeau licked his lips every time buddy mentioned booze. Buddy reckons that he was responsible for the Coyotes’ third goal as Gaudreau’s penalty came seconds after his being scorched by buddy and leaving the bench visibly agitated.

    • cberg

      Realistically, with the playoffs more apparent than ever of not being a reality and the focus shifting to the trade deadline then draft what’s everyone thinking with respect to which of our UFA’s will be moved and if so what the return is. I’ll take a stab at it:

      Hudler – Traded: 2nd round pick
      Russell – Traded: 2nd round pick (could see them resigning him though)
      Jones – Traded: 3rd/4th round pick
      Hiller – Traded: A bag of pucks
      Ramo – Likely kept and extended for 1-2 years as a stop gap until Gillies is ready

      Wideman – Not a UFA but if Russell is not traded and instead re-signed I’d like to see Wides moved at this coming trade deadline. We don’t need both of them back next year, only one of them to round out the top 4 Dmen.

      Have at it folks

      • Phillip

        The thing about these trades is yes, we stock the cupboards. But everyone we get rid of we have to replace with other teams’ leftovers.

        Unless we get push from Stockton. But so far, Derek Grant seems to be the only player down there that might… and I mean might… make a push for a spot.

        That means this same time next year we will be bitching about another handful of secondary players we should get rid of once again.

        Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

      • cberg

        I think one of the Flames biggest issues this year is failure to bring along their prospects and too much dependance on vets. This is impacting both our team here as well as the one in Stockton. We need some vets, yes, but we need new, better prospects too. Will the new guys be as good? Maybe not, certainly to start, but I’m not falling into the trap worrying about it too much. Guys, we’re 25th overall. Its not like we can get that much worse.

        On D I would like to see ALL OF Russell, Wideman and Smid traded ASAP. I feel today they can be replaced by Nakladal, Kulak and Wotherspoon on a trial basis. If they cut the mustard, great. If not we can try others or additions over the summer.

        At G I would re-sign Ramo for 1 yr (preferably), 2 years max. I would trade Hiller for whatever, immediately, or waive him and call up Poulin. Then I would play each of Ortio and Poulin 50% of the remaining games to see who gets the 1-2 year contract next season to back up Ramo, if either. Depending on that I may look to pick up another goalie over the summer, though probably not a big, #1 guy as I’m still looking to youth in two years (Gillies).

        At Forwards I would look to trade ALL OF Raymond, Bollig, Jones and Stajan. I would try to re-sign Hudler but trade him if he won’t sign for at or under $4mm, 3 years max (unlikely he signs). I’d bring up Agostino, Arnold, Hathaway, Poirier and Grant (to get familiar with big club, as a reward while injured). These guys get a significant number of games to prove their potential and fit in. If they just don’t bring it, at least we know which direction we’re heading next summer.

        Beyond that, consider hockey trades for several others to make us bigger, faster, tougher. That’s it, folks. Next year land…

    • Phillip

      I was really hoping that Hiller could ride the high from last night where he was the key reason that the Flames even got a tie but the reality is he came crashing down to earth….letting in a weak goal on the first shot. That just can’t happen when a team is in a must win situation.

      This year’s flames may be better on paper but they are missing the X-factor that the had last year. I sense that the team resents the 2, soon to become young millionaires. I don’t see us riding Hiller into the playoffs but I do see us riding him into a top 3 draft. Win or lose Calgary needs to find the harmony that good teams need to be great teams.

    • Franko J

      Play Ortio now, give him the chance to play. Hiller is not the future of this team and you need to evaluate what you have in Ortio.

      Under the Heading of WTF
      (All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
      Bouma 16.67% 0%
      Smid 21.74% 33.33%
      I’m probably not interpreting these numbers well but,to me these are bad numbers. Played last night I get it but, you’re supposed to be athletes not poker players. Maybe Lance is big league now, doesn’t remember why he’s here.
      SMID…. WTF dude???

      On another note…

      I think in the end we can probably say Calgary won the Neon Dion for Matty Franchise trade but the Smid trade goes to Edmonchuck! Always seems to be on the ice when the cow patty hits the barn. Broisoit looks like a playah!

    • Franko J

      Another proverbial nail in the coffin for the Flames tonight. As much as the team wants to spin the fact that they are trying to stay in the playoff race, the reality is that this season is definitely over. The only way this season is salvageable is by hopefully making some trades that will move this team in a positive direction starting next year.

      Tonight’s game further emphasized that when the big line isn’t going and Brodie and Giordano aren’t playing lights out, there is not enough from the supporting cast to convincingly win games.

    • TDM

      With the worst PK in the league… It might be time to change it up. Onły 2 players did not get any PK time….Johnny and Huddler. Throw the kid a bone he wants to kill penalties….can it get worse.

      • WildfireOne

        Sure it can.
        Given our current emphasis on shotblocking during the PK, I can see Johnny taking a puck to the face. Or the foot.
        I wouldn’t risk it with the current PK scheme…and I’m a guy who wanted Iggy to kill penalties!

        • DeadRedRedemption

          They could ease Johnny into the PK with OZ starts or change him. On the fly… He does not have to block shots to be effective he just needs to read the play and use his quick stick. I know some stars never kill penalties but players like Crosby and others have done it effectively. He must have killed them in College and been effective otherwise he wouldn’t want it so bad.

    • brodiegio4life

      This team is just way too inconsistent to make the playoffs this year, as much as people hate to hope for losses… at this point every loss get us closer to drafting a fantastic finn

    • Phillip

      A couple of weeks ago I heard BT say that he wanted to give the giys who made the playoffs another chance to repeat the magic (not exactly his words but last year was magical). It reminded me of one of the JF lines. Well BT they have had their chance and now it’s time to smell the coffee and realize that they re not going to make the playoffs.

      It’s time to trade away some of BH favorite play things. Begin with Russell get an asset for him. Force BH to access some of your own assets. Trade or demote one of Engs and Smid again look to the future. These two moves would allow two of the following 3 defenders a chance to be accesseed: Nakladal(this would help your image when talking with other Euro’s) Spoon, and Kulak. It’s time to trade Hudler and yes even Hiller even though Ramo is injured. Find out if Ortio can play. See if Poirier can play, Agostino as well.

      With 28 games left it is time to look to the future. Yes it will suck to not make the playoffs and possibly fall behind the Oiler’s but it needs to be done. And if BH won’t buy into the game plan then he is expendable as well.

    • Plumsrus

      Hiller needs to be shipped out of town. Get a bag of pucks for him pls. Even offer to pay the rest of his contract this season. Give Ortio the last part of the season and finally make up your mind on what we are going to do with him. Sign Ramo for two yrs till Gillies is ready.

      Russel must go an hope we get a 2nd for him.

      Huddler 2nd as well, and if jones is okay look for a 3rd or 4th.

    • Phillip

      How many of the penalties where not penalties? I think back to the Sharks game and the only marginal call against the Flames was the Backlund penalty and the bench minor. Backlund’s penalty was to the letter of the law and is a rule that needs some amendment and a bench penalty is always a judgement call.

      I turned the tv off when Arizona got up 3-0 so I did not see all the penalties so I won’t comment on them. But what makes one of the least penalized teams in the leagues look like the Jets, pressure and fatigue! They are trying to hard and making mistakes and no longer getting any breaks from the ref’s. Time to get back to just playing.

      • cberg

        I kind of agree with your comment. The problem for me is the disparity between teams and inconsistency of the calls. Really, refs could likely make 40-50 penalty calls a night if you really applied all the rules fully, but they don’t. They let most stuff go, but need to do so consistently for both teams.

        • Kevin R

          It’s pretty rare to see two penalties called on the same play, even when the infraction on the 2nd penalty is pretty flagrant & late in the game. Flames seem to be getting the work to rule treatment which in 20 games we are going to go from the most disciplined team in the league to the most penalized. Cant prove that statement but we’ll see, my bet is we see more veins in Hartley’s face screaming at the officials in games coming up. Personally, I didn’t think Wideman deserved the 20 games but it looked bad & it was an action he shouldn’t of even been doing to a Predator. Take the 20 games & shut up. Anyone hear when we’ll hear about Wideman’s appeal?

    • FlamesRule

      Hiller keeps playing on his knees – so not working for him and so frustrating to watch him keep doing it.

      Hiller as Red Warrior tonight a joke.

      Trade Hiller and re-sign Ramo.