Post-Game: Swept By Shelbyville

It was a tale of two cities on Monday night for the Calgary Flames.

Unfortunately, the tale was the same in both Calgary and Edmonton, as the Flames dropped a 2-1 pre-season game at the Scotiabank Saddledome and a 4-2 decision at Rogers Place and ended up losing twice in the same day to the Edmonton Oilers.

It’s pre-season, but it probably still stings.

THE RUNDOWN

The game itself was a bit low on chances that were capitalized upon, and the first period itself was a bit low on chances overall, but the pace picked up as the game wore on. Shots were 8-5 Flames in the first, but they were undone by a bunch of bad turnovers and awkward passes that missed their intended recipient. It was apparent that many of these guys were a tad rusty.

The rust got knocked off quite a bit in the second, as the Bennett-Brouwer-Tkachuk line generated a ton of chances in a short span: a goal by Brouwer that was disallowed as Tkachuk was on top of the goalie in the crease and a pair of near-misses by Alex Chiasson and Deryk Engelland from the slot. Bennett and Brouwer also combined on a great scoring chance during a penalty kill, but the Oilers kept it scoreless. Shots were 8-7 for the home side in the second, and the Flames out-chanced the Oilers quite a bit in the contest.

Mason McDonald took over in the third period. Unfortunately, he couldn’t score for the Flames. The top line generated a metric ton of chances once more, but Laurent Brossoit was really solid in the final frame. Anton Slepyshev scored on the power-play, collecting an errant point shot under the goal line and bonking it in off of McDonald. That was all she wrote. The Flames generated a ton of movement with a late power-play, but they couldn’t score and Jere Sallinen scored on an empty net to ice this one. Mark Giordano broke the combined shutout bid for the Oilers (on another late power-play), but it was too little, too late, and the Flames fell 2-1.

WHO LOOKED GOOD?

Sam Bennett was the best player on the ice for either team. In a tie for second place was Brian Elliott and both of Edmonton’s goalies, which is why the Flames lost a close one. Troy Brouwer was also quite good on Bennett’s right side, but Matthew Tkachuk wasn’t quite his rambunctious self and seemed a bit passive (and occasionally lost) as the night wore on.

Others that impressed were the speedy Hunter Shikaruk, the dazzling skating and puck-handling of defender Oliver Kylington, and the booming shot of Eetu Tuulola.

SYSTEMS STUFF

The main takeaway from tonight was the Flames aren’t going to be nearly as passive in their own end as they were last season. If teams are able to get past the contested entry at the blueline and can recover the puck, the Flames were much more active at attacking the puck-holder with speed and numbers to generate turnovers (and minimize quality chances).

Yes, that puts a huge onus on intelligent positioning and individual player foot-speed, and that’ll be something they’ll have to make adjustments with.

The active forecheck in their own end also translated to a more active penalty kill, which generated some turnovers and looked good aside from the wonky goal against.

The power-play seemed to cycle the puck well, too. We’ll need to see how their zone entries fare against actual NHL defensive groups before we figure out what they’re all about, but they did manage to get the puck deep and maintain pressure.

MEANWHILE, IN EDMONTON

The Flames lost 4-2 in Edmonton. Kenney Morrison and Freddie Hamilton scored, with Morrison’s goal coming off a nifty feed from Mark Jankowski. Jon Gillies was said to be quite solid, facing 39 shots from the majority of the NHL-ready Oilers and only giving up 4 goals. Given the AHL-level defense he had in front of him, his performance should be commended.

The group that played in Edmonton will now travel to Winnipeg, where they’ll play the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night.

QUOTEABLE

“Wideman put it on a platter, and Giordano decided it was time to eat.” – Peter Loubardias, describing Giordano’s late-game PP goal.

I liked territorially where we were, I saw a lot of things that they’ll see tomorrow that were positive, just gonna reinforce our game. We’ll make some corrections on some things where we cheated here or there. We’ve looked at those things a little bit already. We’ll make the corrections, we’ll reinforce the positives and we’ll keep moving.” – Flames coach Glen Gulutzan on his team’s adaptation to his new system.

UP NEXT

The non-playing group practices in Calgary tomorrow, while the rest of the team will be in Winnipeg to take on the Jets. That game goes at 6pm MT, and it’s on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and presumably a web stream from the Flames site.

  • OKG

    Not too worried about the win-loss column. Tkachuk concerned me though, I didn’t think he looked like a top 6 forward at all, which you need if you’re going to burn an ELC year. Bennett and Monahan both looked better IIRC in their first preseason games. I am thinking more and more that Tkachuk needs the extra year to work on skating.

    I am also thinking we should split up Backs and Frolik. I was looking at their WOWYs and surprisingly, Frolik doesn’t actually make Backs better 5-on-5:

    2015-16 Backlund with M. Frolik – 578:59 TOI / 52.3% CF / 50.0% GF / 50.0% OZS
    2015-16 Backlund without Frolik – 438:57 TOI / 52.2% CF / 63.2% GF / 47.5% OZS

    So what I had in mind was:

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Shinkaruk
    Frolik-Bennett-Brouwer
    Bouma-Backlund-Chiasson
    Ferland-Stajan-Hathaway

      • The Sultan

        STFU Train. Shink will go on to have a better career that newly appointed top line grinder Milan Lucic. Have fun paying him seven million over seven years. And get used to these wins now — the only time the Oilers will beat the Flames this season.

        • The Sultan

          The same Hunter Shinkaruk who had 2 goals and an assist in 8 technically “meaningless” games? The same Hunter Shinkaruk who led the Utica Comets in scoring before being gifted to us, his hometown? The same Hunter Shinkaruk who ripped up the WHL and was drafted in the first round despite nursing a serious injury? The same Hunter Shinkaruk who crashes, bangs, goes to the dirty areas and drives the net?

          You mean the same kind of player the Edmonton Oilers are in desperate need of, and have been for years, and paid one Milan Lucic 7 million a season (for 7 years) despite him being on the wrong side of 27? Get outta here.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Not putting down Shinkarauk just the fact that he basically has no NHL experience, and he is another small forward. You wanting him on the first line RW shows what I have been saying all along. There is no depth on the right side in Calgary.
            And Edmonton is not in any need of , let alone “desperate need of” a guy like him.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            There was some chemistry when he played that last games of 2015/16. In 7 games, he scored 2g, 1a. He battles the puck and is good at backchecking. So, he is the type of player that EDM does need, not soft guys that swoop around looking for taps ins.

            Calgary has depth on RW, but our lineup is based on pairs. Johnny-Monahan, Backlund-Frolik, Bennett-Brouwer(a new thing). Two of three of those pairs have RW. What we need is one of the kids to develop chemistry on the top line or have Pribyl healthy to start in the NHL. Have other options with Vey and Chiasson, but I see those as depth players right now.

            Are you one of those types that has Poolparty in the top 6 without playing a single NHL game? If not, your RW depth is suspect.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            No I think Puljujarvi should get AHL playing time, and Edmonton has a proven first line player on the right side in Eberle. The last 3 years he has averaged 25 goals and had a 76 point season as well.Versteeg will also shore up the right side.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            Soft as butta. Except for a few guys, that is the makeup of the team. I like the top 6 mix of skill, size and softness, though. Without Poolparty, the team will struggle to score as much as last year. The defense still will only generate marginal(30th) defensiev scoring this season.

            I hope, for your sake, that the Oilers do not play Poolie this season. He deserves a chance to learn the NA game in a winning environment.

          • Arminius

            Than say that the first time instead of your passive aggressive chicken shit one liners meant to stir it up. Why you are still allowed to come here is beyond me. Goof

          • Arminius

            Than say what you mean the first time instead of your usual passive aggressive chicken shit one liners meant to piss people off.
            Than you come slinking back 7 hours later kissing ass and suckholing to the mods saying that’s not what you meant.
            Why you are allowed to keep coming back is beyond me. Goof

          • Arminius

            Than say what you mean the first time instead of your usual passive aggressive chicken shit one liners meant to piss people off. Than 7 hours later you come suckholing back and crybabying to the mods whining how you didn’t mean it that way.
            Why you are still allowed to come here is beyond me.
            Goof

    • Stu Cazz

      Shinkaruk is a natural left winger. He will make this team as a LW and i’m betting will be a big surprise this year….The top line needs an experienced talented RW….I don’t see one on the roster at this point….

      • OKG

        Half the top six RWs in the NHL are “natural LWers”. Frolik? Hudler? Kane? Kucherov? Tarasenko?

        Not saying all players can play their off-wing, but skilled players like Shinkaruk or Gaudreau have no difficulty making the switch.

        • Baalzamon

          Half the top six RWs in the NHL are “natural LWers”. Frolik? Hudler? Kane? Kucherov? Tarasenko?

          Voracek, Hossa…

          Heck, the top LW is a righty. Ovechkin.

  • The Sultan

    Edmonton is and has been the worst NHL team in the league for the past 10 years. The worst professionally run sports team out of all the major sports, MLB, NBA, CFL, NFL, you name it. “The best player in the world” isn’t going to want to play on the worst team in the world.

    And that’s not just my opinion. It’s a fact. Just like the fact that you’re a troll and so long as you keep posting here I’m going to keep reminding you about how bad, awful, and terrible your team is.

  • Arminius

    Re. Trains initial comment on Shink at 1130pm and plenty others besides that. Than say what you mean instead of your usual passive aggressive chicken shit one liners Train. Your coming back 7 hours later crying and suckholing how that wasn’t what you meant is a crock of shit and I don’t know why you are allowed to come back time an time againand troll.
    I’d punt you so fast your head would spin. Goof .

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Just a Guess, but I really think the line up will look more like this…
    1)Gaudreau-Monahan-F.Hamilton
    2)Shinkaruk-Backlund-Frolik
    3)Ferland-Bennett-Brouwer
    4)Bouma-Stajan-Chiasson
    5(Bollig) – (Hathaway)
    6(Higgins) – (Vey)

    “Fun Fact”, Kenny Agostino had 2 goals & 3 assts in St. Louis the other night. Still not sure why we let him walk without giving him one more year? Meh~!

    • The Sultan

      Preseason is meaningless. Kenny Agostino does good against AHL players but can’t translate that to success in the NHL. Wish him the best of luck, though.

    • Stu Cazz

      Real fact: In 2 actual NHL games last season he was soft on the puck and had 4 takeaways against in one game. Nice kid but at age 24 you don’t get many chances to make an immediate impact….he did not!

  • Backburner

    My observations on the game last night:

    1) Elliot was great. It felt so weird to see a Flames goalie actually bail the team out a few times, this is exactly what the Flames need.

    2) I knew as soon as McDonald went in the third, the game was over. Not to be too hard on the kid, but he’s a long way off.

    3) Brouwer looked pretty good. A lot better than I expected he would be, so I’m pleased for now.

    4) Chiasson was invisible, and Klimchuk was not very good at all. Not a lot of hope for those two.

    5) Kylington looked good. If he can just tighten his game up a bit, and get a little more confident, he will be a great defenceman. I saw flashes of Brodie when he was that age, so that’s really promising.

    6) Tkachuk and Tuulola weren’t great last night, but I can see the potential is definitely there. Might not be this year, but I think they are close to making the jump, maybe in a year.

    7) I was really impressed by Dube and Lomberg, they both had a pretty solid game. They won’t be NHLer’s anytime soon, but they will both be great in Stockton.

    8) Jokipakka was looking really good too. I think coming back from the WCH he was on his game.

    9) I couldn’t make much out of the new system, but Calgary did seem to have a much stronger possession game last night.

    10) If Gaudreau played last night, he could have easily scored three goals… sign him Brad.

    • piscera.infada

      I primarily watched the game in Calgary yesterday, so here’s my observations:

      I tried to pay more attention to the style of play than the individual players, and while it’s far too early to come up with anything concrete, I do think it’s safe to say that the Flames at least appeared to play a more substantive system. They actually had structured neutral-zone play, and there was a concerted effort to maintain puck possession through offensive-zone entries. I will say the defensive system seemed more structured, but for the first period the players looked a bit tentative in their own zone. They got more comfortable as the game wore on.

      I don’t understand why people seem disappointed with Tkachuk. He wasn’t an elite talent, but he wasn’t poor either. I don’t think he makes the team out of camp, but I never did–he’s done nothing to change my mind about that. Frankly though, his skating was better than I thought it would be, he’s hard on the puck for such a young player, and the way he mixes it up intrigued me. As a person who was sceptical of him as a prospect out of the draft, I must admit there’s something there. However, people who are looking for him to come in and dazzle with the kind of moves we’ve been accustomed to out of Bennett and Gaudreau the last couple years, were always going to be disappointed. He’s not that player.

      I didn’t think McDonald was horrible in his one period of work. He got caught high in his crease on the one goal against, but that’s a play that is made a number of times on veteran NHL goaltenders. Overall, he was square to shots, and very good at absorbing shots as to not let wild rebounds get away from him. He needs to get quicker laterally though, and that’s going to be a big thing for him to work on this year. I think there’s something there in terms of raw ability, but he’s a long way from putting it all together. Here’s hoping a year in the ECHL lets him figure it all out.

      Kylington played a much more reserved game than he did in the Young Stars–I personally think he took the “stars” part of young stars too literally, and really tried to do too much there. The NHL structure actually helps his game, and makes him look less like he’s playing “pond hockey” (as someone put it). As I said in the FGD post, he’s actually much better at playing the rush than I expected. His gap control is very good for a young defenseman, and he has an effectively active stick (not too active, but he makes good poke checks). He needs to get stronger, and figure out a way to get his shots through to the net more. He probably should have had a goal last night on the powerplay–he was good in that aspect.

      Bennett was the best player on the ice in Calgary last night. He was dynamic, and made things happen all game. He could have easily had 3 points, but no one was hitting the net for the Flames. He looks stronger and faster this season. Kid’s going to be an absolute horse.

      I didn’t think Chiasson was very good. Plays seemed to die on his stick. Basically, he played a very Colborne-y game to my eye. He took a brutal penalty as well.

      Klimchuk was better than I expected until he took his own bad penalty in the second period. Then he became invisible. I saw flashes out of him though. He’s a good skater, and he’s good along the boards. I see him with a similar ceiling to what I saw out of Agostino–good possession driving middle-six winger, without a ton of offensive upside. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. I still have hope for him in the long-run, but he’s nowhere near NHL ready.

      Dube was a great pick. He is good with the puck, a good skater, and he seems to have good vision. He also took a pretty bad penalty though. He could be a factor in a couple years time.

      Shinkaruk was playing like he wants an NHL job this year. That’s a good thing. He’s quick, he made some hard accurate passes, and he probably should have been rewarded. Good start to a big off season.

      All in all, I’m not sure what you can really glean from individual players in the first pre-season game, so I tried to stick to the young guys. Like I said, I tried to watch the team as a whole. It’s far too early to make any sort of definitive claim about systems, but from a cursory perspective I think you can see the fledgling stages of what they want to do, and I like it. Structure through the neutral zone was severely lacking under Hartley.

  • freethe flames

    I only listened to a bit of the home game last night but reading the comments here and elsewhere here are the takeaways from last night. We miss Johnny/Monny/Backs. Bennett/Brouwer will continue to work together (that’s GG plan), Elliott is what we expected, Gilles looked like what we hope he will be, Shinkaruk is close to making the team but probably needs to play with better players than Stajan, and Janko may be closer to NHL ready than many on this site expeccted. Oh the other thing is, most of the guys here on PTO’s need to be moved on from already as they are getting in the way of younger prospects getting preseason games.

    Let’s not get too down about losing to Edmonton and Oiler fans don’t go planning the parade route quite yet.

  • RKD

    Brouwer looked pretty good, but I was more impressed by Sam Bennett. He looks thicker now with that 10 lbs of pure muscle he added on in the offseason. He’ll be a force to be reckoned with this season.

          • The Sultan

            The Train starter pack:

            I didn’t come here to troll. McDavid is better than all your players despite playing only half a season.

            When is Gaudreau going to sign?

            Shinkaruk sucks.

            Lucic is awesome.

            2016-2017 Stanley Cup Champions woo!!

            Adam Larsson is the best defenseman in the league.

            I’m only trying to create discussion by telling you how much better Edmonton is, all the time on every post.

            I don’t post on Oilers Nation because they nip this in the bud and don’t allow trolls because they don’t find it amusing.

          • BluDino

            No sure why you would be expecting any other answer?
            Despite the constant claims that he wants to play in the east, there is zero evidence of this.
            So why wouldn’t money and term be the only issues?
            The flames want his peak years and he wants to be paid for them.
            Simple as that. If it was all about moving teams we would already have a very short term contact and the wheels in motion to get him gone and a nice return.
            Players don’t demand trades when they hold zero leverage over the team.

          • Baalzamon

            I think the holdup is a game of chicken. And I actually don’t think term is the issue at all; I think they both want a long contract. It’s just $$ at this point.

            Treliving wants Gaudreau to come down as far as possible before conceding. Gaudreau knows Treliving needs his cap hit in order to get cap relief from Smid going on LTIR (granted, the Flames don’t have to put Smid on the injured reserve right away, but they can’t go over the cap during the season so it’s easier to do it now; also, Gaudreau should get some preseason games in).

          • KiLLKiND

            Well those are basically the only two options, but in the long run it won’t matter at all. Gaudreau is an RFA no other team can really afford to offer sheet him at this point and he will end up signing with Calgary sometime before December 1st. If Treliving and Gaudreau’s agent are both playing hardball and we have to start the season without Johnny Hockey in the long run it won’t matter. Calgary isn’t winning the cup this year and it is about keeping the cap hit down for when we are capable of contending.

            Other than Gaudreau potentially missing a few games in a season where we hope to be challenging for a playoff spot Gaudreau holding out doesn’t really matter as we all know that he is going to sign with Calgary and the only questions are money and term. What do you think the holdout for PK not signing with Montreal was or any of the other non-Trouba holdouts from this year? “Money and term” Gaudreau has regularly expressed his love for Calgary even during his holdout. So why don’t you drop the Gaudreau contract talk and actually talk about the games, which your team won both and you should be happy with.

      • Backburner

        That comment wasn’t even for you.. it was for whoever was trolling my comment.

        Anyway regardless, piscera.infada is right.. no point going down the rabbit hole of Gaudreau and McDavid contracts.. this is a post-game thread.

    • MontanaMan

      Agree and I did the same. Moderators need to get this site under control or those wanting to discuss Flame related topics will leave and the site will be left with Oiler trolls.

      • Nighteyes

        Agreed. Trash-talking is fun in certain contexts, but this site is for productive discussions about hockey and the Flames. It would be nice if we could back to that without all the oiler trolls. Same goes to any flames trolls on ON. Its getting tiring to sift through all the garbage trying to locate the good posts.

      • piscera.infada

        As a mod, there’s not much one can do until things become inflammatory. I definitely sympathise with your consternation over the off-topic pissing contests that frequently occur.

        Trolling is a fine line. I have warned Train a number of times, and I have warned other commentors who have subsequently responded. If things get too off the rails, the comment section will be cleaned up.

        The best course of action, as with all trolls, is to just ignore. Don’t allow them to get the response they want. Don’t take the bait.

        • MontanaMan

          I understand and there’s a fine line between an open forum and trash comments. My issue is that I come here for Flames discussion which always turns into an Oiler promo followed by an Oiler trashing. A guy like Train has very little to offer the discussion yet posts more than most Flame fans. Maybe it’s me but I tire of incessant yapping by Oiler fans who turn a Flame discussion into a Neanderthal exchange.

        • KiLLKiND

          It’s really unfortunate that certain posters only like to talk about the Gaudreau contract and McDavid, A seperate daily post for the trolls and people who like to talk about the same issues every day would be an improvement. I had to miss the games yesterday and was hoping for more of a breakdown of which players performed well, who looked out of place whether it be for skating, making poor decisions or simply not being good at hockey.

          From what I did gather

          The good; Elliot, and Gilles each played well, I assume Mcdonald didn’t play too horribly as he only let in 1. Brouwer and Bennett worked really well together. Dube, Lomberg, and Shinkaruk each played better than expected, although after watching Lomberg in Penticton he makes something happen everytime he touches the ice. Jankowski was apparently one of the better players for Calgary in Edmonton, which isn’t too surprising, Jankowski is a smart player and mostly avoids risky plays. Jokkipakka looked in better form than others especially after his return from WCH. Kylington looked decent, but still needs to add the finishing touches to his game. The best for last Calgary played a much stronger possession game and had fewer turnovers, simply couldn’t convert enough at least in Calgary.

          The bad; Chiasson, Tkachuk, Tuolla, also Wotherspoon and Hamilton. Chiasson is quite disappointing, but from the sounds of it a very suitable replacement for Colborne. Tkachuck from what I saw in Penticton when we played Vancouver was a selfish player who actually took the puck from a teammate on what should have been a 2-on-1, he took some unnecessary penalties and had the tendency to hold on to the puck longer than he should. I doubt he makes the Flames this year, but really wish he could play in the AHL to learn how to play the game like a proffesional. Tuulola wasn’t great, but he was never expected to make the team this year or even challenge for a spot. The Wotherspoon, Hamilton combo didn’t light it up in Edmonton which may have been less on them and more indicative of the team that was sent over as it was a pretty weak roster to have to contend with Eberle, and the roster that Edmonton did have.

          You and Jumping Jack Fish and Backburner all had excellent comments to highlight players that stood out.

      • everton fc

        Two sane, mature, important posts here. Agreed.

        And, as Canadians, as Albertans… As Flames fans… It’s in our collective best interests, on both sides of the Red Deer-divide, to hope both our clubs improve, become competitive, and develop a rivalry similar to the one in the 80’s & 90’s. Everyone wins, including the NHL, if this ever occurs….

        • Captain Ron

          I agree with you to some extent but it has also been a lot of fun pounding the crap out of the Oilers for the last 9 or 10 years. Feeding them a healthy helping of humiliation time and time again has been rather gratifying if you ask me. I would be OK with watching it go on for another 10 years while losers like Train curl up in their seats with a thumb in their mouth thinking of new excuses to explain away the futility to anyone who will listen.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Allow me to add to the game played in Edmonton. Calgary fell behind 1-0 but jumped to a 2-1 lead heading into the third period. The Oillers scored 2 quick goals in the third to erase a 1 goal deficit and finished with a 4-2 win.

    Despite the fact that Calgary had a 2-1 lead for a large part of the game they were being badly outshot.

    Here are some player observations:

    Jon Gillies was very strong and made some really good saves. If not for his strong game the game could have got out of hand. I was a little concerned with his rebound control, often he would kick the save right into the middle.

    Mark Jankowski was the most noticeable player(next to Gillies). He is a a very smooth play maker but does still get bounced around.

    Mangiapne had his moments but I was hoping for more.

    Hathaway had some energy shifts, but got helicoptered by a oilers player and chased him down.

    Rasmus and Morisson were decent but got pinned in their zone a few times.

    Vey, Grossman, Higgins, were barely noticeable and did not look like a threat to crack the roster.

    In summary, Edmonton had more and better chances and deserved to win. Calgary did not generate much offense and relied far too much on Gillies.
    Janko was Calgary’s best skater, set up some nice chances that were wasted.

    The Oilers best player was Pitlick but Vesce and Versteeg were strong as well.
    Did not notice Poolparty and Lucic was a non factor.

  • everton fc

    I watched the Edmonton game more than the Calgary game. Not sure why.

    Freddie Hamilton looked good. Gillies looked good, and didn’t get defensive help on many of the goals. Kulak looked good, almost coaching Anderrson at times. Jankowski was okay – good at faceoffs. Hathaway was a pest. Morrison looked okay. His was a nice goal. He definitely has offensive skills.

    Dougie Hamilton and Wotherspoon didn’t have their best nights. Would like to have seen more out of Pollock, Mangiapane and Poirier. Poirier was invisible, to me. Aagard keeps getting shots on goal.

  • jakethesnail

    No sense in getting worked up over two exhibition games…especially split squad games.

    Bennett/Brouwer combo best of the Flames forwards. If they keep Tkachuk on this line, watch him improve over the course of pre-season and his 9 game tryout.

    Are the low scoring games the future of the Flames? I don’t think so!