Post-Game: Black and blue

It was obvious heading into this week that tonight’s homestand capper against the St. Louis Blues would be a tough match-up for the Calgary Flames. The Blues are good, deep and well-coached and the Flames have been struggling.

This one wasn’t ugly, but it was definitely hard to watch. Despite a fairly strong goaltending performance by Chad Johnson, all the warts of the 2016-17 Flames were on full display during a 6-4 loss to the Blues.


The opening period was poor for the locals, who allowed the Blues to dictate the pace. With Sam Bennett in the box early for holding, David Perron got a nice deflection in the slot and redirected it past Chad Johnson to make it 1-0. Nothing much else happened in the first. The Flames had a power play, but they generated three not-very-dangerous shots and the Blues never looked in danger. Shots were 13-8 for St. Louis.

The pace picked up and things opened up quite a bit in the second, but not entirely in ways that benefited Calgary. After a few chances end-to-end, the Flames too advantage of a defensive lapse by the Blues as Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg went in on a 2-on-1. One nice Brouwer pass (and Versteeg one-timer) later, the game was all tied up at 1-1. Things got better for the locals, as 35 seconds later they were the beneficiaries of a big gaffe by Jake Allen. Matt Stajan entered the zone and made a nice pass to Micheal Ferland just inside the blueline. Ferland hucked the puck at the goal and Allen couldn’t handle it, squeaking between his pads and giving the Flames a 2-1 lead.

But that would not last. 3:26 later, the Blues tied it up off a nice individual effort by Perron (taking advantage of a gap in defensive coverage). Perron drove the front of the net and Johnson made a great sprawling leg save. Unfortunately, the rebounding careened right to Perron and he roofed the puck over Johnson to make it 2-2. The Flames had a power play and a chance to restore their lead. They looked a lot better than on their first advantage, but just couldn’t get a great chance. The play went the other way and Mark Giordano took a double-minor on an odd-man rush: two minutes for holding and two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct (presumably for arguing the call).

On their man advantage the Blues spent 1:58 continuously in the Flames end passing the puck around (and chasing down loose pucks) and finally Paul Stastny deflected a puck from the slot past Johnson to make it 3-2. Giordano was victimized again before the period was done, getting turnstiled by Nail Yakupov at the defensive blueline. Yakupov then waited out Dennis Wideman (who was doing his best Ian White Starfish) and made a gorgeous pass to Patrick Berglund for a chip shot over Johnson to make the lead 4-2. Shots were 14-10 St. Louis in the second.

The final frame was more of the same. The Flames were okay at even strength, but the Blues were playing with a comfortable lead and were able to make the Flames pay for their miscues. A bad pass by Dougie Hamilton was intercepted by the Blues, leading to an odd-man rush and an easy top-shelf goal for Perron to cap off his hat trick. Giordano scored off a one-timer midway through the period to draw the Flames closer. Versteeg added his second of the game with a nice one-timer off a face-off win to make it 5-4. The Flames pressed late (by drawing a penalty and pulling their goalie), but Alex Steen added an empty-netter to polish things off. Shots were 13-9 for the Blues in the third.


Lots of reasons.

At even strength, they were soundly out-played and out-chanced. They were fortunate to be ahead in even strength scoring (4-3), as they had to be very opportunistic and take advantage of some shakiness from Allen. Johnson was the main difference in “regular,” non-special teams play.

But the Flames were not good at all on special teams. The Blues had two power play goals. The Flames had none. The Blues seemed poised and dangerous with the man advantage. The Flames seemed skittish and unsure of what to do with the puck.

The result? A fairly resounding victory for the Blues.


Without a doubt, it’s the Giordano double minor in the second period. The Flames lost one of their best penalty killers (and their on-ice leader) and the Blues got 1:58 of continuous zone time. The resulting ability to pass and get comfortable in the Flames zone resulted in a second Blues PP goal and a lead that they never relinquished.


Chad Johnson was Calgary’s best player.

He gave them a chance to win. His goals against were (in order): a PP tip in the slot, a great individual effort by Perron after a great initial save, another PP tip in the slot, bad defensive reads by Giordano and Wideman, and a bad pass by Hamilton leading to an odd-man rush. He made 34 other saves.

The fourth line (Ferland, Stajan and Freddie Hamilton) was also consistently good, as was the Versteeg/Bennett/Brouwer line in flashes here and there.


(Percentages are even strength. Game score is overall.)

Player Corsi
Start %
Versteeg 54.6 60.0 2.225
Giordano 54.6 73.3 1.075
Bennett 51.9 75.0 0.950
Gaudreau 47.2 92.3 -0.375
Stajan 47.1 20.0 0.530
Frolik 46.0 75.0 0.460
Jokipakka 44.4 40.0 0.650
Monahan 44.1 85.7 -0.375
Chiasson 43.8 50.0 -0.310
F. Hamilton 43.8 20.0 -0.060
Wideman 43.3 60.0 0.900
Brodie 42.4 68.8 -0.875
Engelland 40.0 33.3 -0.550
Bouma 40.0 28.6 -0.550
Brouwer 40.0 75.0 1.060
D. Hamilton 37.9 50.0 -0.425
Ferland 29.4 20.0 0.900
Backlund 27.8 33.3 -0.215
Johnson -0.350


T.J. Brodie was on the ice for 5 Blues goals. Johnny Gaudreau was on for 4.

The Flames have allowed power play goals against in 5 of 6 games and scored power play goals in just a single game this season.


The Adirondack Thunder lost in overtime (but got a point). They have points from each of their first three outings (2-0-1).

Eetu Tuulola returned from his shoulder injury. He didn’t factor into the score sheet but Everett beat Victoria 3-1.


“I don’t know what else to say. I think that game’s, that’s on me.
It’s a lot to do with me as a leader, taking a terrible penalty there. I
thought the fourth goal was directly a bad play by me again. So those
type of things, you can’t have happen, especially as a guy who plays a
lot of minutes and I really let our team now. Pretty disappointed in
myself tonight.” – Flames captain Mark Giordano on his performance in the game.

“I thought he played well. He gave us a chance. He made some saves. And we hung him out to dry. Pretty simple.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on Chad Johnson’s performance.


The Flames (1-4-1) practice tomorrow, then jet off to the Windy City. They play Chicago on Monday night and St. Louis again on Tuesday night.

  • DeadRedRedemption

    Now? Now can we fire GG and his assistants? 6 games in… 1-4-1.

    Blackhawks, Blues, Senators, Capitals, Blackhawks, Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Stars coming up… Which of these games do you believe we’re going to win with things they way they are?

    Something is up with our 6 million dollar men… Is it the system? Or do they just not like GG?

    Our power play is AWESOME… at giving up breakaways.

  • RKD

    First it was Brian Elliott’s fault and people are calling him a bust. Then it was Glen Gulutzan’s fault and now it has switched to Giordano. Every week it’s a new scapegoat. There are bigger problems on this team. I don’t understand what Gulutzan’s system is or how he wants the Flames to play. I don’t know what their identity is. Even if the Flames switch coaches, I’m still not convinced a new coach will turn things around.

      • RKD

        Treliving gave Gulutzan a 3 year deal, good luck getting ownership to sign off on paying a guy for 2 1/2 more years and then paying a new coach. We are stuck with GG for now. Treliving won’t give the players a free pass. Even if they do fire GG, another coach may not be able to turnaround this team.

          • Jakethesnail

            If nothing given always earned is the Motto then why would not you just give the coach a one year deal and make him also earn another deal.?
            The coach should be held accountable not just the players.

          • Rockmorton65

            Not sure. Maybe he wouldn’t sign for less than three years. Makes sense. A mans not going to uproot his family and move them to a new city for a job that might last less than one calendar year. I sure wouldn’t.

          • Jakethesnail

            I know you are right but these guaranteed contracts suck when it comes to that. If a normal hard working guy doesn’t have that security he works his butt off to keep his job.

      • flames2015

        Ignore the tag WW

        We’d have a better chance at tying the game by by not pulling the goaltender at this point. Every game that we’ve done so, we’ve given up another goal right away.

        Gio, Bennett and Hamiltion are the 3 most consistent players to sit in the box with double digit PIMs. And its mostly the same crap, holding and high sticking. Get it together.

        Johnny and Monahan both -4 tonight. Johnny’s guilty of still trying to do it all himself, he leads the team with 8 giveaways and no takeaways. Not going to get easier for him on the road. Tit for tat but Wideman has the same amount of points as him in 3 lesser games.

        At this point it looks like we are going to finish the month of october in similar fashion to last years.

      • WingNut

        Hey Walt – Just curious, how old are you and, if you are old enough, what do you do for a living? Also, do you get more pleasure from firing off your antagonistic jabs OR viewing the responses once the jabs land?


      • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

        He should definitely be traded before then for at least “something”

        Does he have a NMC? Might be better to expose him in the next expansion draft to get out from under the last 3 years of Dennis Giordano.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    So how much longer until Gulutzan, Cameron, and Sigalet get fired. Its not entirely out of the question that this team starts 1-6-1. They look awful and are showing no signs of improvement. Wasn’t a big fan of the Gulutzan hire, given that other former NHL head coaches were still available. Not sure what they saw in Cameron. Just look at Ottawa’s special teams last year. In a Pacific Division that looks banged up this year, the Flames should be taking full advantage of it. Changes will need to be made soon, or else this team won’t be chasing anyone except Nolan Patrick.

  • RKD

    Listening to Gio in post game interviews reminds of hearing Iggy having to face the media after every Flames loss or early playoff exits, hearing the disappointment in his voice and given the same old cliche answers.

  • Juan Valdez

    This loss is on Dougie Hamilton. Mistakes were made by other players, but that pass to Perron up the middle of the ice was unforgivable. If that goal doesn’t go in, the Flames tie it and get at least a point out of this game.

  • Jakethesnail

    Let Tkachuk play his 9 games and send him back to junior to have another good year with London. He doesn’t need to be surrounded by performances like the Flames have had this year. Let him work on what he needs to and come back next season bigger , stronger and a better skater and not burn a year of his entry level deal.

  • Crakupov

    There are some problems but it is still early. If Johnny $$$ Holdout Gaudreau can get back to form as he was last year some of these games might be won. Gaudreau seems to be more interested in his offshore banking than hockey these days.

    • Jakethesnail

      I disagree somewhat. Gaudreau did what was best for him but he came back and did not miss a game over his holdout.
      Treleving still needs to surround him and Monahan with quality players who can force the opposition to key on a couple of lines and just not one.
      Gaudreau’s line does not have the size to go head then head against teams like St. Louis.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    OK .. The Flames Have Almost ZERO Defensive coaching. They seem to be stuck between whatever GG’s D-scheme is suppose to be and hartley’s remains, but its the worst of both intertwined together in a slow chaos and utter bewildered like a deer in the headlights. Besides Giordano ‘s late goal, the Only D-man that gets a Kudos is Jokipakka… The Rest were just Brutal, Giveaways galore, slow & bad decision making with the puck and just bad positioning and then readjusting all round. I don’t even think an in his prime miikka kiprusoff would fair any better than Chad Johnson & Brian Elliott right now!
    Flames Need A Sandy Mccarthy Dang it! Someone to punch the lights out of Anyone who gets away with the Abuse of Gaudreau, Really if Mc-Jesus was treated the same You Know there would be a Penalty called immediately and someone from the Oilers would step up in his defense!
    Where has the Hard Work gone???? have we replaced it with possession skill and control??? lol.
    Where has the Speed & Hitting gone? Have we replaced it with smart angle encroachment and calm assertive forward intervention? Blaaaa!
    Dave Cameron… Sorry Bud, you need to go away NOW.. Your brutal display of special teams and defense has crept into the Flame game plan and it Stinks! I’m giving GG 2 more games, both wins and a turn around or his neck should also be on the block Next! D-O-N-E.

    • cberg

      I think this s a pretty good assessment, I just can’t figure out if its the players not listening to the coach? With GG RUNNING off the ice at the end of the game it makes me think so, especially after all those atrocious Give-away stretch passes that I’m sure GG wasn’t too happy about. I’ll have to check the post-game videos. …

  • Gfountyyc

    I’m sure everyone can agree this team is not a contender this year. The coach we fired BH for is coaching for the wild. I really don’t see the team growing right now.
    It’s also impossible to play the kids from the heat with our cap problems.
    This year is a total write off, and I think it would be in the best interest of the team long term to tank for Nolan Patrick.

    Ps: not to bring up old wounds but Paul Bryon had a hell of a night for Montreal earlier.

  • Suzycue123

    Playoffs? Playoffs? You’re talkin about playoffs?

    No passion. No identity. No wins.

    Maybe GG should spend less time on his hair and more on the game plan.

  • Newbietwo

    Few realities we must accept

    1. The NHL teams now have Johnnys number.. He is given zero space and thus becomes irrelevant in games.. Seasons past they gave him space but no more after his big contract and points history.. This could very well become a long term issue for us as it could make him irrelevant in a line up

    2. We have no system or atleast not the aystem I thought we were supposed to have based on what I heard the coach preach prior to the season start

    3. Whatever way Gulu wants these guys to play one thing is extremely clear.. Our centre are net negative offensively and that is a major problem when you don’t have scoring wingers or playmaker wingers

    4. Our defence sucks and I mean really bad

    5. Is it me or are we playing a game of pass as little as possible? When we hit the offensive zone we shoot before we damn blink and give up the puck.. Hey Gulutzun.. You ain’t gonna win hockey games when you barely have your opposition in their own zone

    • Juan Valdez

      Remember when Hartley talked about playing with pride before he got fired. There is a serious attitude problem on this team and it all starts in the dressing room. This team needs a leader both on and off the ice.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      As a big fan of Johnny, I am afraid he is going to have to reInvent his game. There is no need to cover him if he is not going to shoot, when he does shoot it is not that hard. When he has the time he can unload but that extra half second he needs is rarely available. He has been able to get away without adding much size and more strength…. But no longer.

      I don’t think he will continue to play that bad, but so far this year in 6 games he has had one game at -3 and one game at -4. He has become a liability in puck battles. He is getting hacked and slashed and not getting the calls… The cross check he took along the boards which lead to a break away would have been called in the last couple of years.

      I don’t know what system Gulutzan plays but it has to fit the players you have not the other way around… And it clearly doesn’t.

      • flames2015

        Agreed about Johnny getting less penalty calls as of late. However, I’ve noticed several times when minor things happened (clean hit, tap on the gloves etc) Johnny throws a fit about it and tries to embellish it rather than just moving on and continuing the play. Obviously the refs have taken note of this.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          There was no one better at yappin’ at officials after being hit fair or foul than the Great One. Have you forgotten how he used to be serenaded “Whiner, Whiner, Whiner” at the Dome whenever Neil Sheehy even looked at him crosswise? It appears Johnny is in elite company when he throws his hissy fits.

  • Juan Valdez

    Paul Byron was the heart and soul of the Calgary Flames and they lost him for nothing. The worst part is that he loved playing for this team and would have done anything to stay here. He was a player that actually gave the fans something to cheer about.

    The problem with this team is mismanagement from the top levels of the organization. The Oilers and Flames organizations are both shackled by this ineptitude. The difference is that Oiler fans readily admit to it, while most FN posters appear to be in denial about the situation.

    Kelly Hrudy’s done pretty much everything to sugar coat the situation and put a positive spin on things, but I’m pretty sure he’s getting tired of it. This has been my favourite team for a long time, but there comes a point where you just have to say enough is enough.

    This team is making the exact same mistakes over and over again. You’d think they’d be making adjustments to address the issues from one game to the next, but some players just don’t get it. Some players are uncoachable.

    This isn’t a situation that’s going to be resolved any time soon. We’re stuck with selfish players that are earning millions of dollars and tuning out the coaches like spoiled brats. IMO they need a player like Brower to be captain to teach the youngsters accountability because Giordano isn’t cutting it.

  • TheoForever

    I wouldn’t be concerned about Gulutzan getting fired, he will, halfway through next year. So, only couple more seasons to write off.

    We are in for the worst start in the franchise history, and it will be historically bad on NHL scale. Ottawa game will most likely be the only win in the next 11.

    During the last 3 years, I have never felt as dejected about Flames as I do now. I got ZERO believe this coaching staff can turn this around.

  • CMG30

    A coach gets too much credit with the wins and too much blame in the losses.

    All the 3rd period miracles last year obscured the fact that the makeup of the team is wrong. Defense too old and slow, forwards too one dimensional. That’s on the GM.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    Paying small talented forwards the farm and giving long term contracts to a slow footed D crush any hope of the cup ever being in southern Alberta for a bit. Hiring a coach that looks like a back ground dancer at the last disco train reunion.

    Your Neighbours up north made the blue print??? Why follow it?

    • BlueMoonNigel

      What in the hell does a guy’s appearance have to do with his ability to do his job?

      If that be so, Dave Dickenson had better be chased from the sidelines and into the accounting office.

      How the hell has Hitchcock been as successful as a hockey coach despite being grossly overweight for most of his coaching career?

      Then there is that Jesus fella with his long, stringy hair and unkempt beard and simple threads The Messiah? Hell, he looks like a homeless guy who weaves in and out of stopped traffic holding a sign and begging for money.

  • Kensington

    Gone back to my old trick of taping the game then only watching the parts of the game where Calgary is ahead and FF through the rest. Makes for a far less frustrating night and Flames game are usually over in about 15 minutes.

  • JohnyR

    I was hoping that this team would be .500 by the ten game mark. Giving them a cushion to learn the new system then make a push to the playoffs. Not happening. Too many holes in the top two lines. Too many defensive blunders. Shakey goaltending and a coach who looked lost from the first game on. Teams a mess right now. Top two lines should swap with the bottom two. Whats it going to hurt at this point? GG might not see december let alone Christmas.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      You do know that the first time the Flames assembled as a whole team was in Game 1 against the Oilers?

      You do know that the first time GG addressed his complete team was the same day as above?

      You do know GG and his bench staff are newbies to the Flames and at the same time they are learning about their players, they are trying to implement new systems?

      You do know the Flames were a very bad team last year, so adding a new coaching staff was not simply a plug and play move that would magically turn the team around?

      You do know that Monahan played one preseason game because of his injury, so he is at a place now where most players were at a couple of weeks ago?

      You do know that Dougie Hamilton is playing 20+ minutes a night in the NHL, while 93% of defencemen his age are still not NHL ready?

      You do know that Tre is one the best GMs in the NHL, and if even for a second he thought there was a problem with his team, he wouldn’t fix it ASAP?

      Less bawling and more keeping the faith we need from your ilk.


      • KenBone18

        So what you’re saying is the ineptitude starts at the top (salary cap team so Tre has no flexibility; hiring a rookie head couch), spreads to the coaching staff (putting players like Hamilton in over their head, always throwing the lines in a blender) and the down to the players (JG, Monny, Gio and on and on and on).

        Time to hit the reset button again?

        • Jakethesnail

          Calgary will have more flexibility do straighten things out at the end of this year with some big deals coming off the books.
          Colbourne was a guy they should have held onto, as was Jooris.
          Calgary needs to add a solid veteran on the backend .nobody flashy or expensive just a good solid vet and if Brodie and Gio ( mostly Gio) come around they need to play the hell out of those two to solidify the backend.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          GG may be a “rookie head couch” but he is far from a rookie head coach. He is in the Top 50 hockey coaches under 50.

          Hamilton is bloody brilliant! He is a whipping boy to the ignorant because he doesn’t play a physical enough game based on his size. He is in the NHL because he belongs there. And he is only getting better.

          Monny was injured for most of training camp, so he is only now rounding into game form. Johnny’s contract dispute kept him on the outs until very late, so no chance to mesh with the new coaching staff and new teammates before the season began.

          What I’m preaching is common sense and patience. No team in NHL history has ever won or lost the cup after 6 regular season games. The Flames had some significant changes in the offseason and these changes take some time to show a positive result. Maintain present course is my mantra.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    What’s the shame in being defeated by superior opposition? How come no one is talking about how the Flames roared back in the 3rd and fought like mad until the final whistle blew? I saw a lot of fight in the dog last night. That’s what I took away from the game. They play like that night after night, the Ls will soon become Ws.

  • FL@med

    We really need a guy like Brouwer on the top line to create space and stick up for Johnny hockey (kinda like the lucic and Mcdavid thing). Monny also has to get a bit more phySical, he has the size to make an impact in terms of hits.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      So now you’re calling for knuckle draggers whose only function is to punch the faces of those who assault Johnny. Ernie is just an ocean away. I’m sure he’d be happy to leave the bright lights of Bracknell for Calgary.

      Fact is Gaudreau is going to have to learn to use his elbows and stick the same way Theo used to. “Hey, Ref, I wasn’t elbowing. I’m just a little guy trying to protect myself.” Can’t waste a roster spot on a goon and we can’t afford a Lucic type.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          I’m a feared that big Ferland might be held together with scotch tape and twine. Despite his imposing stature and lion’s heart, I seriously wonder if his body will allow him to play a rough and tumble style 82 games a season.

      • Jakethesnail

        You’re asking a skilled player that become something he is not. He has to play his own game which is puck possession and Calgary control, darting in and out of traffic. He can’t become Fluery ever that is not his game. This team is too small to handle that and it has a long way to get to become what they want here.
        They seem disconnected. What are s the real identity of this team?

        • BlueMoonNigel

          HOFer and legend marvellous Marcel Dionne was a half pint who was famous for his scoring prowess but he was equally renown for his on ice swordsmanship. He was a master at using his stick to carve his initials into the face of opponents who were overly aggressive. He also used his stick to transform a lot of bullies into the world’s famous Chinaman–Won Hung Low. Finesse was Marcel’s game but he knew how to make his own space and defend himself against brutes who tried to take advantage of the difference in size and weight. Johnny is going to have to do the same.

      • FL@med

        I’m asking for a guy who can both score as well as hit. We have guys in our own system who are close to capable of doing that (Ferland, Hathaway). If Johnny Gaudreau decides that he is gonna play dirty and use his elbows, he’s just going to get targeted even more. Frolik for now seems like a good fit, however i’m more interested in seeing how Priybl is going to work out. Let’s say that this is still a problem in the offseason, maybe we can sign Radulov? I personally think we should sign Tyler Biggs. He’s an excellent long term player, and is currently suffering in the ECHL. He’s a Big body that makes his presence known. Perhaps we could have a block buster trade and acquire Wayne Simmonds? Only question being who would we give. Maybe Gio and a 7th for Simmonds. Simmonds is a consistent 50+ point scorer and can make his presence be known. We let Engellend and Wideman walk and then keep Kulak. Bring someone up from the farm, or sign UFA”s such as Nathan Beaulieu and Patrick Weircoch.

  • Achilles

    I find it oddly hilarious and utterly ridiculous that we already have an armada of fans calling for GG’s head.

    Are you serious? We are going to blame the man who had one off-season, without, at any point, his full contingent of players to work with, and some pre-season games as well as six regular season games? I do not think so.

    At the end of the day, blaming GG, at this juncture, is the most irrational possible response to this lacklustre start to the season. These players are the ones to blame. They spent a multitude of years under the ineffectual tutelage of Bob Hartley, i.e. years of stretch passing, dump and chase hockey, shot blocking, and passivity in the defensive zone. No wonder they are experiemcing tremendous difficulty trying to execute the high paced system, characterized by lots of short passes and carried zone entries that GG is trying veeeeeeeery hard to teach these guys. From the very first few losses he diagnosed the real problem with this team: poor puck management. And, he has been trying to eradicate that problem.

    In sum, hold the players accountable. All the mistakes we are seeing in game are primarily on them as they are committing egregious errors that they simply should not make. Let us hope they keep learning and are able to start effecting some cohesive, prudent, exciting hockey.

  • Franko J

    Unlike the other team under Flames management, the Flames are polar opposite. Right now what I see is a team struggling immensely with their confidence in each other and the inability to overcome basic errors within the game.

    I just think when this team steps on the ice they have very little faith in playing winning hockey.

    Finger pointing and blame can be legitimately passed around from the fans and the media to the management, coaching and players alike for the poor start to this year just for the fact this team would be better or has shown improvement.

    Reality is another frustration and long season might be in store for the faithful masses who follow the Flames.

  • Nolan

    people, Gullickson isnt a rookie coach. He had 1.5 (one was strike shortened) pretty bad time with a decent team. Then went to Vancouver and didnt do much there on a bad team. Typically when you look for a new coach, you look for someone with recent success and team success. such as poach a top Tier`s team`s assistant. Or a successful AHL or CHL coach.