Hurricanes 4, Flames 2 post-game embers: RIP

I have nothing against Deryk Engelland here, I just feel like I make this face a lot when I’m watching this team. Side eyes for days.

The only redeeming thing I think I can say about the Flames’ fifth game of the season – one that saw their record turn into an unimpressive 1-3-1 – is that there were moments when the Flames just wouldn’t let the Hurricanes get the puck out of the offensive zone. There were times throughout the night when they really battled to keep it in there.

Though nothing really came of any of those battles. And you just knew they had to fight so hard because it was a miracle they got into the offensive zone in the first place. Especially when they have an extra guy, for some reason.

Yeah, this isn’t on Brian Elliott

Brian Elliott was the Flames’ big get this offseason. A team in desperate need of goaltending, they found one of the better guys throughout the entire league, and got him for a relatively cheap price. And so far, he has given up at least four goals a game.

I don’t know how you blame this one on him, though.

Last night, goals against him were the result of:

  1. A gift to Troy Brouwer that was immediately turned over and rushed down the ice. Was it stoppable? Sure. Should that situation have ever happened to begin with? No.
  2. A powerplay goal. You know, powerplays? Those things teams are supposed to score on?
  3. Both of his defencemen falling asleep and getting beat. Sure, a stop would have been nice there. Viktor Stalberg not getting the chance to score would have been nicer.
  4. A five-on-three powerplay goal. You know those things? Powerplays??

The Flames waited nearly two full periods to score a goal. By that point, they were down 3-0. And quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how many you give up – if you aren’t scoring to begin with, you aren’t winning. They couldn’t even pull off that feat with the Vancouver Canucks.

Or is Elliott the one who’s supposed to score on powerplays now? Yeah, it helps when your goalie can make the save. Try giving him a lead to work with. This team has done that in one period. One. Out of 15.

Basically, nobody can do anything

They can’t enter the offensive zone. They can’t keep ahold of the puck. It feels like every battle is a threat for them to turn it right over. They can’t make accurate passes and they can’t receive them.

I don’t blame someone like Johnny Gaudreau, who knows he has to be the offensive heartbeat of this team, trying to dangle through everyone on his own. One time he’ll score a goal, other times he’ll get knocked on his ass or have the puck stripped. But it’s not like there’s any cohesion or chemistry or any reason for him to believe his teammates will be in place to help, so whatever. He got a goal out of it.

I don’t mind line shuffling when this is the forward group they have, but seeing it this often this early into the season – hell, seeing lines swap so many times in one game that looking at the lineup beforehand is basically completely meaningless now – is a sign of panic.

Besides, it’s not like it matters who’s on whose line, anyway – none of them can do anything. There’s little point in looking at anyone’s individual stats, or praising or condemning any one player in particular. Right now, they suck as a whole, and that’s what matters.

For the love of god, the powerplay

Six powerplays, including a full, uninterrupted four minute advantage in which literally nothing happened. Zero goals.

One for 22 on the season. That’s a success rate of 4.5%. That’s a special level of incompetence; that’s depths of pathetic we didn’t even see last season, and last season was bad.

And it’s not like this can even be totally tied in with how pathetic the team is at even strength. Hell, they have more successful offensive zone entries on the penalty kill. (I don’t have the numbers to back this up, I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly feels that way.) It’s as though the second this team gets a man advantage everyone turns a special level of useless and you’re better served taking a two minute nap rather than watch them try and fail.

It’s almost as if there was a previously-established history of Dave Cameron being not great? History as recent as a couple of months ago? But no this is fine. At least with Glen Gulutzan you can point to the fact that it’s been a couple of years since he was last a head coach, and he was younger back then and maybe he’s learned something. I don’t know where the logic with the powerplay hiring came in. But it’s officially the worst in the league. If only there had been some way to have foreseen this.

Paul Jerrard is cool though.

Is the season over?

Up next for the Flames is the St. Louis Blues, a team that made it to the final four last season and is off to a good start to this season. If it turns into a loss – which is probably the better bet to make – then the Flames will have a 1-4-1 record. Their one win came in overtime in a game they never had the lead; their shootout loss only happened because the other team scored a goal for them.

In 2015-16, we knew the season was over in October. It’s not something anyone wants to believe, but the writing was on the wall pretty quick with that one. You dig yourself into a deep hole, you’re gonna have a pretty difficult time getting out. You can’t dig up, stupid.

After the Blues, it’s the Blackhawks. Then the Blues again. Then the Senators, who had the sense to stop having the Flames’ current powerplay coach hanging around. Then the Capitals. Then the Blackhawks again, then the Sharks, and okay at least the Kings and Ducks have also had bad starts to the season. How many of those games do you think these Flames win? One? Three if they’re lucky? And that’s not being a downer, that’s being realistic.

The Flames didn’t open their season against world beaters, and they’re 1-3-1. The world beaters are coming up, and this is a team that hasn’t improved one bit. There’s only so long you can blame that on “well Monahan’s back and Gaudreau missed preseason and bloo bloo bloo.” Preseason was uninspiring, but at least the games were meaningless; this is probably worse.

So yeah, the season might be over. This might be a little too “sky is falling” but almost nobody on this team has their shit together. (And no, they probably wouldn’t be much better off right now if Bob “we have to block more shots” Hartley was still on board.) And at this point in time, they are simply not worth watching. And they have shown zero signs that they will be any time soon.

Tkachuk?

Over the past few days, we’ve talked a lot about reasons to keep Matthew Tkachuk up or to send him down. Reasons to keep him up? He hasn’t looked out of place, and is there really anything more he can learn back in the OHL?

How about this: is there anything he can learn on this team, as it is performing, right now? When Sean Monahan played his rookie season during a hopeless year, at least it was at the start of the rebuild. This was supposed to be a “turning the corner” year and instead we’re talking about Nolan Patrick.

Forget burning ELC years. What’s better for an 18-year-old kid who still has plenty of room to grow: keeping him up with this mess, or letting him go be the guy in a lower league and have fun trying to defend a Memorial Cup?

  • My post was deleted. Man it wasn’t even that trolly. Just some honest truths about the state of the Flames and where they could be heading. I even said I hoped they get back to playing their brand of hockey. Fans and mods in this community have thinner skin than Trump.

    I will reiterate:

    It’s not the goalie it’s the team in front.

    I feel bad for fans who now have to suffer a young coach who thinks he’s smarter than everyone who has gone before.

    Given the contracts of the core, I would worry this is the team for the very foreseeable future. Short of winning a lottery (hard to do now), no savior is coming.

    Bennet, like many promising young Oiler players, will not progress into a second line C if he’s not surrounded with solid vets who can still contribute.

    I feel bad seeing that schedule. Edmonton has been crushed by their early season schedule. THis is the best early season schedule in… ever? So I can empathize with the group of world beaters the flames have in front of them.

    I still really hate Jhonny Gadreau, cause he comes off very self centered.

  • prendrefeu

    DOOM, DOOOOOM I say

    DDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM

    But really, 5 games in chill.
    10 games in, if it’s still well under .500, ace the GG and co train wreck, give the boys some practice time and bring on a new coach.
    That’s at 10 games.

  • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

    Your articles are unreadable tripe.

    You’re whining is non-stop.

    Backlund, Backlund, Backlund, Frolik, Frolik, Frolik blah, blah blah…

    Not one player on this team is playing well. You can’t blame it on the coaches or the GM or Burke. The players have to play against the other team. THEY ARE NOT getting it done. Plain and Simple.

    You all worry about the guys who get very little ice-time, when you should be worried about the guys playing the majority of the time.
    Hamilton sucks, Giordano sucks and Brodie is too small. It doesn’t matter how crappy Engelland or Wideman or whoever are if your “top guys” are playing like crap!
    They will not be making the playoffs.

  • Dan the flames fan

    I am struggling to blame any one player, or group of players.

    I am more looking at the coach and the systems he’s trying to implement. What good is focusing on possession rates if you don’t do anything with the puck when you do have it!?! I will give it to Hartley. He knew how to motivate, and work to a team’s strengths. GG does neither. For that reason I am not confident that he is our coach, now or in the future.

    Hartley let the Flames’ speed work for them. The team’s speed now seems to be stifled. Their’s no movement or synchronization. I don’t no how many times I’ve seen JH pass to where he expects a player to be; open areas mind you, and not only is no one there, it’s like they really didn’t think JH would even pass. Last year, we at least saw them allowing creativity.

    Cameron needs to go now, before the season is totally tanked on PP. GG needs to be reviewed…and then let go.

    Goalies have have one primary job. Stop the shot. How is that possible when they have 3 or even 4 opponent players in front of the net. Goalies make the first stop, defense clears the puck from the danger zone. This isn’t happening either.

  • Skuehler

    Constant change was a constant under Hartley and now the mindset continues with BT and his new coach.

    Change is upsetting and it takes a lot of energy and time to settle things into a state of flow again. This team is a mess and i see it being so for a while.

    Sure, change what isnt working…the goaltending was a clear issue to be addressed. But change for the sake of change is a bad idea.

    BH is a good coach. Lots of head scratchers but those could have been tweaked. Players like Byron, Colborne, Jooris, Grant, Schlemko, Nakdaddy were all found money that filled important roles.we gave them away and are rolling the dice with unknown variables and re-treads.

    Disappointing.

  • Skuehler

    Seems like in a league with so much skill parity, systems and chemistry are a huge difference maker. Its why you never see the sedins split up, and why Iggy never won a cup here with his parade of linemates.

    Having an ‘Us Too’ coach may get us to mediocrity but doesnt really project into the flames being dominant or even scrappy

  • everton fc

    Not every Flame is playing poorly.

    Stajan has played as well as he capable. Ferland’s looked good. Backlund and Frolik have not hurt us. We have no depth. Guys like Bouma/Versteeg/Chiasson have yet to provide any secondary offence. Chiasson has at least taken shots.

    Bennett’s off to a slow start. Ditto Monahan. Ditto Gaudreau… Hamilton… Brodie… Elliott’s current .839 Save Percentage can’t last, but we are not using speed, seem to have no jump, no will to win. “Chemistry” is an often overused word. But we have none (yet), so it fits here, in terms of usage.

    Too many line swaps. No confidence in the set lines.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I agree that Stajan has really played well. He is much faster than I recall…it would be funny if he turned out to be the missing piece on the top line. On paper other player would appear to be a better fit… Yet other than Hudler no one has stuck .

  • Deef

    WAAAAY too early to say doom and gloom on the coaching staff and the players. These things take time, sorry.

    But I will say this. Calgary is now into some tough competition, and should we lose 3 of the next 4 its almost an impossibility to come back from, even if they have the system, and each other, figured out.

    – Tkachuk should MOST DEFINATELY be sent back to London. Live to fight another 3 years for cheap. Replace him over the year with call ups to assess what they have in the farm.

    – DO NOT sign Elliot to anything until we prove hes worth the contract (though I still believe he will). Other good goalies are coming up for FA next year (Bish, please?).

  • Locker Room Talk

    It would be dishonest to put a positive spin on things right now. I have no idea what the hell is wrong with this team, it’s pretty hard to describe. I was at the game last night and sweet jesus was that PP bad. Abysmal, abhorrent, atrocious, appalling, and awful.

    Dave Cameron needs to go first, then we can start talking about Gully.

    I will say that Elliott looked better than in his previous games…after the first 15 shots where he surrendered 3 goals. After that he looked a lot more in control. In the first two games it seemed like he had no idea where the puck was most of the time, but last night he was tracking the play a lot better. So there’s that, I guess. It won’t keep me warm at night though, especially heading into the game against the Blues.

  • jakethesnail

    Cameron and the guy responsible for his hiring (GG) have to go sooner than later. The power play looks so disorganized and hopeless. The Flames went from a mediocre power play of last year to a gawd awful one this year.

    The players are not using their speed and skills to their ability, whether it is not being able to grasp the new system or the coaches not being able to teach them or the GG system is just plain useless! They look tentative, not wanting to make a mistake, resulting in crappy play.

    GG must have been able to baffle Tre with bullsh!p like the former coach of the team up north did with MacTavish.

  • calgaryfan

    Monahan is a 2 line center, Brodie is 2 and Gio is a 3 on defence, so the flames are missing a first line center, right winger and a number 1 defenceman. Maybe what we have seen last year and this year is what this team is.

    Treliving adds a goalie who played behind a better team, 3 wingers Brouwer, Chaisson and Versteeg who are 2nd and 3rd liners and defenceman Grossman who is not good enough to play in the NHL and we are expecting more than last year?

    • TheoForever

      Your take on the Gio and Brodie is simply wrong, they are 1 and 2, and you cannot name 30 dmen better than them, not even 20.

      The Gio contract will be brutal in couple of years, and in 6 it will be Wideman all over again, but it is what it is.

      Monahan could become a 1st line center, he isn’t right now. I like Brouwer, even as a 2nd line winger.

      Grossman contract boils my blood, Versteeg is Raymond, can he still play? Should of given money to Colborne.

      Chaisson hasn’t been terrible, low risk, but first line minutes, give me a break.

      The goalies are an upgrade and that’s why everyone expected better performance from Flames, but Eliot has been brutal like the rest of the team. Chad has been good.

      Gulutzan and Cameron is a huge part of the problem.
      The team sucks, but still those coaches suck more.

      BT, has made some bad moves.

  • T&A4Flames

    Why consult my opinion? Your on her frequently reciting your brilliant solutions to all the at ails the Flames. You’re missing the point. No shit Sherlock, you need good players to win. You also need a good and competant organization.

    You guys are like Seinfelds Kramer. You fall ass backwards into luck and have no idea what you’ve acquired or what to do with it.

    You’re brilliant by the way with your logic and ability to decipeher and make up things from what people write. Not to mention your hockey knowledge.

  • T&A4Flames

    Why consult my opinion? Your on her frequently reciting your brilliant solutions to all the at ails the Flames. You’re missing the point. No shit Sherlock, you need good players to win. You also need a good and competant organization.

    You guys are like Seinfelds Kramer. You fall ass backwards into luck and have no idea what you’ve acquired or what to do with it.

    You’re brilliant by the way with your logic and ability to decipeher and make up things from what people write. Not to mention your hockey knowledge.

  • T&A4Flames

    Why consult my opinion? Your on her frequently reciting your brilliant solutions to all the at ails the Flames. You’re missing the point. No shit Sherlock, you need good players to win. You also need a good and competant organization.

    You guys are like Seinfelds Kramer. You fall ass backwards into luck and have no idea what you’ve acquired or what to do with it.

    You’re brilliant by the way with your logic and ability to decipeher and make up things from what people write. Not to mention your hockey knowledge.