This is fine. Points are the devil now. Points give you worse lottery odds. The Flames are now tied for the third worst record in the league, and other than cashing in big on Kris Russell’s reputation, the main goal left for this season is to not get points.
The good news is if the Flames are going to not get wins, at least they’re going to do so in very entertaining fashion – all the while the youth on the team continues to provide us with at least a glimmer of hope so there’s no need to fling ourselves head first into despair.
Also, make the retro jerseys full time, this is such an obvious thing to do.
One last chance for trade fodder to impress
With Jiri Hudler having left us for Florida (and if we don’t get an elaborate photoset of Hudler and Jaromir Jagr cavorting around Miami half naked and shoeless at some point, we have failed as a species), somebody was going to have to fill in on the top line. Hudreaunahan gave us several fond memories, including some beautiful goals to go out on, but now, it’s time to move on.
To… Joneaunahan? At this point, hey, why not? David Jones is an upcoming free agent, and a team might want him, if only for a mid-round pick. Josh Jooris was drawing back in the lineup, but he got to take Jones’ spot with Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland for his own chance.
(This is the moment where it really smacks you in the face just how badly the Flames could use another top forward. There’s talented youth present, but it’s just not enough right now.)
As it turns out, Jones is not Hudler. He did a passable enough job, but when your linemates pick up five points and you pick up zero, well, you’re not the long-term guy for the job – though I think we already knew that.
But hey, you know who else is supposed to be on the block? Joe Colborne. You know what Colborne did last night?
HE SCORED A POWER PLAY GOAL. THIS IS WORTHY OF ALL CAPS, BECAUSE AT LONG LAST, IT FINALLY HAPPENED.
Colborne played 2:41 with the man advantage. He has now played 81:31 on the power play, and at long last: vindication. Vindication for sticking with this probably failed experiment, vindication for trying him out there time and time and time again in the face of amounting evidence opposing the cause. In the season of our lord 2015-16, Colborne can finally claim to be a power play scorer.
I am extremely proud of him. Please have upped your trade value.
Remember that time Johnny Gaudreau was too small to play in the NHL?
Gaudreau lost a linemate, but he gained three points. Mika Zibanejad took away his hat trick thunder, but it wasn’t for lack of Gaudreau’s trying. He had six shots on net, after all: the most of anyone on either team. He also had 22 corsi events for, the most of any forwards – albeit tied with Calder Trophy rival Mark Stone.
Let’s check in with Stone for a second while we’re at it. Micheal Ferland’s former junior linemate is having himself a pretty good sophomore season, thus far putting up 49 points in 61 games as Ottawa’s second highest scorer, behind just Erik Karlsson. That’s not bad.
Gaudreau, meanwhile, is sitting at 62 points in 60 games. He’s on pace for 84 points this season, and that’s with a game missed because somebody overcompensated for a bad football game earlier in the month. He’s sixth in NHL scoring, and him and Karlsson are the league’s only top scorers with nary another teammate in sight to help them get there.
He’s two away from matching his rookie season output. He’s six goals away from hitting 30. He’s probably going to score 80 points this year. So as bad as the Flames may descend and we’re left with what’ll probably be more pitiful hockey than not after the trade deadline, at least we’ll always have Johnny to watch.
(Not to go unnoticed: T.J. Brodie had three assists. Brodie has 39 points in 52 games. He’s third on team scoring, and just four points back of Sean Monahan. In eight fewer games.)
The potential that is Joni Ortio
The Flames finally scored some goals for Joni Ortio! In return, he… let in five.
To be fair to Ortio, he started the game off really, really well. He didn’t get an assist on Colborne’s goal, but if tertiary assists were a thing, he would have – and really, he deserved some sort of acknowledgement for it, because that was one hell of a pass.
Alas, Ortio has yet to record a point since his sixth NHL game. He has two assists: that one, and one from his third. No goals of his own as of yet, but maybe one day he’ll get there.
He also handled the puck outside of the trapezoid at one point, but it went unnoticed by the officiating (but not by the broadcast) and uncalled. I’ll chalk it up to excitement that he was able to move the puck so well early in the game, because that was awesome.
As was his performance for the most part, before everyone simultaneously collapsed. He was athletic, he was quick, he clearly has the tools to do something. Whether that’s be a regular NHL goalie or not has yet to be decided, but the good news is the Flames have a month and a bit to figure it out, should they choose to use it.
But if they don’t make any big goaltending-related moves at the deadline, then there aren’t many options for them in net for 2016-17. Ortio may at least be playing himself into getting a contract extension.
Damn you, Chris Wideman
What the hell? I know you exist but I did so many double takes. Who do you think you are, a guy not serving a 20-game suspension that has given us endless drama for a month now? How dare you.