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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Slack Sundays: Eddie Lack, Glenn Gawdin and Gaudreau scoring a lot

The Calgary Flames bounced back from their 8-2 loss in Detroit on Wednesday with a 5-4 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. In the afterglow of that victory, we assembled the crew for our weekly chat to discuss the perception that Eddie Lack isn’t a good fit as backup (and other things).

Ryan Pike: To begin: is the Eddie Lack panic justified in your opinion(s)? I mean, he’s only played something like nine periods as a Flames goalie.

karimkurji (Karim Kurji): No, gotta give Lack a fair shot to prove himself. His leash can’t be very long though.

Ryan Pike: What would a “fair shot” be?

ctibs (Christian Tiberi): ehhh i feel for him. rough to come in cold unexpected and then get shelled because of a terrible PK. i don’t like the play of mike smith recently, but i don’t think lack is going to be the saviour. smith has been under .900 for his last five full games, if i’m not mistaken. (and was also terrible in the first period against st louis but we’ll write that one off)

karimkurji: Yeah it’s tough. Lack had some seriously unucky things happen to him the other day and it’s totally unfair to judge his play off that game. Despite Smith’s shaky play lately, he does still make key saves here and there. Lack just didn’t.

Ryan Pike: I’ll say this: Smith can make many of the saves that Lack can’t, but both are getting victimized by the team’s defensive play in front of them.

karimkurji: I’d give Lack a couple more starts to see what he can do

ctibs: there’s a few back to backs until the new year, so we’ll see what he’s made of

karimkurji: For the sake or argument, let’s say Lack is just horrible in his next ~2 starts. What do the Flames do?

Ryan Pike: I think the short answer is “it depends.”

ctibs: yeah it depends. we’ll see how gillies or rittich is doing in the AHL, we’ll see how smith is holding up in the NHL. not an easy answer to that one.

Ryan Pike: David Rittich has similiar AHL numbers to what Lack had in his time there. Would he necessarily be better?

ctibs: no. i think it’s hard not to get excited about him because of his sv% but he’s inconsistent

karimkurji: I really thought Lack would be better

ctibs: two games though. still room to improve

Ryan Pike: he’s played, what? two full games and two games of mop-up?

ctibs: i’ll say this about smith: he has his hot streaks and cold streaks, but you can dependably lean on him for those hot streaks. it’s not like last year where you have to go with johnson because elliott stinks, but then johnson stinks so you have to go back to elliott, who doesn’t improve

Ryan Pike: That said, if the Flames are able to set up Lack in a few nice situations to succeed and he doesn’t, then it’s probably time to have a “what about Rittich?” conversation. But that’s probably a Christmas-time problem.

karimkurji: I’d like to see the Flames trade Rittich, but I know it’s not that easy

Ryan Pike: There’s enough teams with goaltending questions that they probably get calls about him.

ctibs: i wouldn’t trade for a 24 year old AHL #2 who has two (if that) periods of NHL hockey

ctibs: like vegas went to the WHL for goalie help and montreal went with the corpse of niemi

Ryan Pike: Vegas might’ve been more like nobody wanted to help out McPhee after he twisted the knife during expansion.

karimkurji: Let’s not get into Vegas’ player management. It boggles my mind how they’ve been handling things over there

Ryan Pike: Speaking of player management: Glenn Gawdin’s a Flame! That’s neat.

ctibs: he’s cool

karimkurji: Is he actually good

Ryan Pike: He’s shooting at 17%. Steenbergen is 33%.

ctibs: it’s a good bet, but he’s a guy who wasn’t much until he was in his fifth WHL season. best case, he’s a micheal ferland type pickup, worst case, brett pollock

karimkurji: In that case, I like the signing!

Ryan Pike: He’s well-regarded in junior circles, and the thought process is that the things he does well should translate at least to the AHL level.

ctibs: the best case is often not the most likely outcome, remember

Ryan Pike: He’s probably an AHL body, but they need centers in Stockton next season.

ctibs: stockton could be a fun team to watch next year. a long ways away, but you could add dube, phillips, tuulola, fox, valimaki, fischer, and gawdin to that roster next year

Ryan Pike: And Parsons as backup probably, too.

karimkurji: Mangiapane and Andersson are likely gone

ctibs: yeah that’s a fun but too early chat to have: who graduates next year?

Ryan Pike: let’s not open that can of worms. that’s an even more loaded “that depends”

ctibs: i’m in the mood for fun

karimkurji: Is Johnny Gaudreau gonna score 100 points?

ctibs: 200 points

Ryan Pike: The top line is pretty good, I guess.

ctibs: in all seriousness, those guys have taken their respective games to another level

karimkurji: Absolutely. That breakdown by Cassie Campbell on Gaudreau’s zone entries this year compared to last was so great. And Ferland is playing pretty darn well

karimkurji: Monahan is on a 50 goal pace now too

ctibs: i’m so happy with ferland. i thought he would at least hack it until they found a bona fide 1RW, but he’s actually looking like one which is scary

Ryan Pike: His agent is probably sad he agreed to a two-year deal. I mean, he’s gonna cash in either way…

karimkurji: I honestly thought he would fail miserably this year. Good on him for not

ctibs: some of his /60 rates are looking nice

Ryan Pike: Let’s see if he can do it for 82 games, but he’s a bargain right now.

karimkurji: That third line is terrible on the road. What happens there going forward? Actually they did hit two posts today

ctibs: they were not great for the rest of the game though. part of their success has been because glen is able to control matchups at home by heavily sheltering them

Ryan Pike: Honestly? Probably that happens on the road, or Glen hopes they progress a bit and dig themselves out of it.

karimkurji: This is the most amazing thing ever. I want to go on a 50s themed train ride!

Ryan Pike: Eddie Lack in a porkpie hat

ctibs: there’s probably a good flames dot com video coming up on this. i imagine versteeg adding “see?” to the end of all of his sentences

Editor’s note: There sure is!

ctibs: i also like paul jerrard getting in on the action

karimkurji: This feels weird to say, but Troy Brouwer looks great

Ryan Pike: The pocket watch is a nice touch.

karimkurji: Accessorizing is key

ctibs: smh at this team for promoting the usage of tobacco products. (says the guy who has versteeg with a huge cigar in his mouth as his profile picture)

Ryan Pike: As we wind this sucker down, might I add: holy crap, the Flames have two players in the top 20 in scoring. And one of them is third.

karimkurji: The Flames have one of the best top 6s in the league. If the third line starts doing good things more consistently… yikes

Ryan Pike: They’ve been good at home. They have four road games left on this trip to show they can do it on the road, as well.

  • freethe flames

    Discussing the AHL goaltenders both Rittich and Gilles have been solid. Trying to determine if either of them is NHL ready is difficult in large part because there is no continuity in the AHL; it is set up more like the NCAA than a pro league with most games played on the weekend and back to back and Huska generally interchanges them therefore neither of them able to get into a rythim. If Lack struggles in his next starts I would be in favour of bringing either of them up and giving them a shot; at this point I would go with Rittich if for no other reason than to see if he could build some trade value.

    • cjc

      Even if Rittich were to put in 20 or so games of solid relief, he would fetch a third rounder, best case scenario. And then you’d have to say, why trade a solid backup? Most teams have a goalie they like in their system, so Rittich would need to really blow minds and be consistent. With Parsons struggling and battling injury in the ECHL, I don’t think the Flames are too keen to make a goalie trade anyway.

    • Justthateasy

      Why would we be working on Rittich as trade value?
      Having seen Gillies in Detroit he looked slow getting back up on his feet. You can’t improve on that.

  • freethe flames

    You mention some of the guys who could make the Heat next year; many of them could join the Heat at the end of the season and an infusion of that much talent upfront could help push them deep into the play offs. Stockton’s Finest would be pleased to watch them.

  • Skylardog

    Lack should have one more chance, the 2nd of the back to back coming up, they play Colorado.

    Has to be a good showing and really anything short of a win against a weak team should be cause for a change.

    There should be no opportunity for him in Stockton. Failure on his part has to mean we send him packing so there is room for Parsons in Stockton. At least it is a small cap hit.

    Can we release him out right?

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    It seems forever we have been looking for the trade to help the top six. A bottom six trade could help us out a ton! MTL is going nowhere and looking at a rebuild pet Kypreos. I doubt Byron is long to re-sign there. I think we need to spill a bunch of digital ink on this proposal. Stajan with half salary retained (gets him his thousand games) + poirer for Byron. MTL was interested in Poirer at the draft.

    • BendingCorners

      I’d make the trade because it means sitting Brouwer to make room for Byron on the 4th line. Plus Byron scores a bit and is fearless and always plays hard, never floats. Kind of the anti-Brouwer.

    • Kevin R

      I honestly don’t think trading for a bottom 6 is the answer. Our top 2 lines are great, the 3rd line is coming around & who cares with Jagr mentoring two of our brightest young forwards at the NHL level. The 4th line is vet laden & actually, Versteeg Lazar & Brouwer are fine. The elephant in the room that no one talks about is our underwhelming defence. I even got wrapped up in the hype of how they are in the top 3 of the league. If they are, I’m certainly not seeing it, in fact I find it nerve wracking watching them get cycled in our zone. The reason is they are all the same profile type defender. Brodie, Hamilton & Gio are all power play, puck carrying type of D. Hamonic & Stone aren’t nasty enough & Kulak is starting to look like a young Brodie as he makes his way in the league. We need a tough nasty guy back there that just punishes the opposition forwards & won’t back down from anyone. We don’t have that coming up either, Andersson, Kylington, Valamaki, Fox all seem to be the same profile we seem to be drafting. & thats ok, because that seems to be what teams want. It is so hard to draft that Chara profile & we have tried many times. But 95% of these 6’8″ type of monsters can’t skate. But you have to give to get one of these guys & that should be on Tre. That’s the type of player this team needs to trade for, not another soft player like Byron. We have lots of young forwards that can come in & play bottom 6. We’re too soft on the backend. Just my opinion.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      While I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what a specific trade might look like, I’ve believed since last season that Tre could make a killing when the Habs crash and burn.

  • Skylardog

    And for a little fun, after yesterdays loss, the model I run has Edmonton missing the playoffs. Up until now, the way they play had them getting in (largely a possession stats), but they are simply not getting the scoring, goaltending, or wins to make it.

    Calgary is now showing a second place finish behind LA in the Pacific, only a half point back by seasons end.

    We are starting to look like the first place team in the Pacific to me, but that doesn’t change my view that GG is not good enough to make this team a playoff contender. We are well back of the top teams in the Central, and the best teams in the East, according to the model. The Pacific is a weak division.

    • Derian Hatcher

      I am really, really hoping that the Oilers can replicate what he Flames did last year after their poor start. The Flames proved that a team can go on a nice run and turn his around. Optimistic? No. hopeful? Yes.

    • HOCKEY83

      So they are just like Calgary was after 20 games last season. 8-11-1 is not much different than 7-11-2. Calgary still managed to make it. Edmonton could pull off a point streak that could put them right back in the mix. They are only 5 points out of a playoff spot.

  • McRib

    “ctibs: it’s a good bet, but he’s a guy who wasn’t much until he was in his fifth WHL season. best case, he’s a micheal ferland type pickup, worst case, brett pollock”

    In Glenn Gawdins defense he never got legitimate first line minutes until this season, as he had 1.13 PPG last season while battling some minor injuries in only a middle six role with rotating line minutes who were also coming in and out of the lineup because none of them could stay healthy last year. I don’t disagree with CTibs concern though, as normally I would be concerned as well about a 20 year old finding his scoring touch playing on a good line, seeing at as a red flag, but I think he has shown more than enough upside in the past to quell this concern for me. The one thing I like about Gawdin is he can skate rather effortlessly, which should translate well to the professional game, as he can stay ahead of the play. To be breifly negative this is why you don’t draft Zach Fischer types, as you can find as good or better prospects as FAs. Not that I don’t think Fischer himself can’t end up as a decent AHLer. Lastly:

    Dear Flames,

    Now please sign former 2016 Development Camp invite Brayden Burke of Moose Jaw, I understand he has had some minor off ice problems in the past (mostly partying), but let’s just chalk it up to immaturity, because it’s rare that someone with his Hockey IQ can be had as a 20 year old FA coming out of the CHL. I honestly think Burke has the most upside of WHL FAs since Tyler Johnson.

  • Off the wall

    Love the theme ride. Versteeg would be one fun guy to have around in the dressing room.
    He’s not short on personality, that’s for sure.

    The boys look great in their respective 50’s looks. There’s enough velvet on Steeg and Brodie to redo a panel van…

    • Carl the tooth

      I think I read he was one of the best/harshest trash talkers in the league . I always wished we had him when he played for Chicago the guys got guts,Heart,emotion , bit older now but definitely one of trevling s key signings that I don’t think get mentioned enough .

      • Off the wall

        “Carl the truth Tooth”
        I love his antics, from bird flapping wings- to the queen wave in the playoffs. That’s a veteran with some good ole fashioned fun in him.

        I’d love to see him mic’d up for a game, but we’d probably need to have it censored.

      • Carl the tooth

        I’d like to see a comparison chart for Top scorers on how they score there goals during a season or points ? Due some shooters score there goals more consistently than others or in bunches . Example. Say Monahan had :
        2 Hatricks =6 goals
        8 ,Two goal games =16
        20 ,1 goal games = 20
        Total= 42 (hopefully by end of this season)
        Then break those into special teams .

  • WillyWonka

    calgary enters a favorable period in the schedule after doing well during a tougher stretch of opponents. if they can continue to trend right, correct the PK, start clicking in the defensive side… things can look good fast. as a fan base we are looking forward to feasting on the Oilers… hopefully they haven’t turned it around by the 2nd of December, and the flames can then hand them a loss that would be the final nail in the coffin that their playoff hope rests in.

    • Off the wall

      Saturday December 2 is on my calendar. Can’t wait to see the results of game #2 vs the Oilers.

      I’d love nothing more than to see the Oilers lose. I’m hoping we dash all hope for them making post season berth.

      One season of them making claims of grandeur, has me hoping for their epic fail…

      Is that mean? Nah, that’s justice

        • Off the wall

          True, but I’m hoping we get favourable match-ups. It is in our Dome this time.

          I know that should mean something, but given GG’s propensity for all things foolish, we shouldn’t assume anything.

      • Derian Hatcher

        See that’s the concern. I really think most real Oiler fans were cringing at every prediction of “grandeur” by analysis, fans, whoever. Under promise & over deliver works well unless you have some media and fans predicting greatness. Oilers in a deep deep hole now. how they play on dec 2 will say much about the heart of this team.

        • Off the wall

          You’re the only Oiler fan I like and respect.

          Realistically, we are still lucky to be where we are in the standings. Without Smith’s early heroics we would probably be sharing the same fate as your team.

          I’d love the BOA to mean something and without sounding cliche, I would hope to see both teams in the playoffs, especially facing each other in the first or second round.

          It’s been too long since we’ve had a meaningful series against one another.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        The coach has to match up McDavid’s line with 3M. They can handle the best in the league. As well, they have to make sure that the best defensive pair is out there. Not that difficult in theory. Shorten the bench so that you aren’t stuck with the 4th line as a result of a icing, at least lessen the chance.

        The Oilers PP and PK is dismal. And they aren’t getting as many McDavid calls as they were to start the season. The big thing for us is improving our own special teams. Can’t be weak in the O-zone with McDavid killing penalties. The last thing you need is Brodie and Versteeg trying to get back with McDavid already cheating towards the neutral zone. I just hope we don;t bother dressing a goon for the sake of Looch and Kassian. Byng is enough to get them off their games.

          • Carl the tooth

            Talk about huge respect for the 3MLINE all Capitalized letters from now on when Referring To The Top Line In The NHL next to JOHNNY MONY AND NIW THE SNIPER WE ALL NEW FERLUND HAD TGE POTENTIAL TO BE ,Once again inevitable! . No disrespect to any Oilers Fans only the soiler trolls (lower case)

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    This could probably be answered better by SF, but Stockton seems to have a 1A and 1B. If you read Huska’s comments he states he thinks he has the best tandem in the league. In Friday’s comments, the players raved about Rittich’s performance. In Saturday’s performance Gillies was peppered with shots including stopping a penalty shot. I am not sure the quality of the shots since the players never singled Gillies out on his performance.

    I am not sure why the organization refuses to give Rittich a shot at the NHL level. At least this would give them an idea of what the have in him. We don’t know how good Rittich would be if he was the starting goaltender but we know that he can play the back up role effectively. I don’t see Gillies as effective in this role. On a separate note, MacDonald came within 6 minutes of getting a shutout yesterday winning 5-1 in the AHL.

    • Stockton's Finest

      I have said numerous times that Rittich is a better goalie than Gillies. I think he is more active, controls rebounds better, and gets up and down faster than Gillies. I am not saying Gillies is bad; just that Rittich is better. He is older has has more professional experience. I would say he has deserved the next call up opportunity.

      • supra steve

        A lot of us thought Rittich deserved the last call up. He seems to be below Gillies in the Flames tender ladder, they probably have good reason, but I’m not sure what.

      • BendingCorners

        Rittch’s numbers are better but I prefer a quieter goaltender since it implies better positioning and anticipation. I’m hoping we see both of them for ten games in the NHL this year, to get a better feel for their potential.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Shows that maybe his usage under BH wasn’t right. At least this year he is getting more looks on the PP after Brouwer didn’t produce. And he’s playing with two that know how to score. I’m impressed with his touches around the net. When was the last time we had a power forward?

    • OYYC

      I’m very happy for Ferland. He’s always had the skills, but now I think even GG realizes he’s an integral part of that top line. Ferland got messed around again at the start of the year, playing down the lineup once Jagr came on board. Since the Nashville game, where he got put back on the first line, he’s been on a tear. That’s was 11 games ago, and he has 7g and 4a in that span. His confidence level is sky high.

      I remember Oilers’ writer Jonathan Willis doing a piece in the preseason where he figured that Ferland had over-acheived. Sure Ferland went from 4 goals to 15, but over-acheiving denotes he won’t do it again. After politely ripping Willis’ head off, I threw Milan Lucic’s name into the conversation. I said if both Ferland’s and Lucic’s contracts got shredded tomorrow, and I had to sign one of them to a $3M x 3 year contract, I wouldn’t even blink and sign Ferland.

      Ferland is getting $1.75M on a 2 year deal. Lucic is in the second year of an abomination of a $6M x 7 year contract. The hilarious thing is that they both now have 12 points. Ferland needs to stick on that top line, he needs powerplay time. Ferland needs ice time to show what an excellent hockey player he really is. Did I mention I like Micheal Ferland somewhere?

      Ferland will be a UFA in a couple of years, and he’s going to cost a lot of money to resign with the Flames before he gets there.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I remember when the first tried Ferland on that line before the Nashville game and he did well but was not getting any points. In fairness, Johnny and Monny were only looking for each other. The big difference is he is now on the first PP and getting points. I don’t think anyone thought he would be a better NHLer than Benett… But he trending that way.

        • OYYC

          I don’t think there was ever really a problem with Ferland, it was just that he was one excuse away from getting dropped down the lineup. Now the coaching staff is hopefully at the point where they would consider it a pretty stupid to move Ferland off the top line, and to give his PP time back to Brouwer.

          Ferland does a very good job on the powerplay too. He’s a load to move, he gets in the goalies’ sight lines, and he’s great at tipping pucks. Haven’t heard much lamenting these days either that the Flames need a top 6 right winger. They’ve have one all along at a bargain basement price.

          Bennett is still very young, and player development is different for every player. That 3rd line looks great on paper, and they continue to work on chemistry. All four lines should be set now to be honest, barring any injuries, major slumps, and vapour suspensions.

  • Off the wall

    For all the talk about Hamonic recently, we fail to recognize what he meant to this team against the Red Wings!

    I cannot understate how much I appreciated his willingness to stand up for his teammate Kulak. We need more like him.

    Let’s give Hamonic some time to adjust his game, before we call him a bust.
    Remember when we first acquired D Hamilton?
    We were quick to label him too..

    • MontanaMan

      He’s had his moments where he’s struggled but a new team, new partner and new system aren’t easy adjustments. Guys that have been here for years like Brodie, Gio and Hamilton have struggled as much or more. I love Hamonic’s compete level and team game – I’ve said it before on FN, but I think he’s the next Flames captain.

      • Atomic Clown

        I do believe it will be Monahan. Quiet, not flashy guy, does his job day in day out, most successful first round pick this millennium. The fact that management keeps taking him and Gio to drafts and such things is further proof they’re grooming him to be the next captain. He already has the A.

      • Carl the tooth

        TO say that Tkachuk could never be a Captain is ridiculous ! Him and Bennett have huge Heart.grit,Fight,will.,determination, there not even 22 and there written off? Lol TKACHUK is already a TOP 3 Possession player since he joined the league .ya I would hate to have a captain that wins battle s .sticks up for his teammates , almways makes the right play .one of the smartest players on the team . Go back to ON your not Foolin me.

        • Carl the tooth

          Where do these lame ducks come from? Quack!! Quack!! Help we’ve been takin over by a square army .! Lol broken mountain Montana man back sequel. Soiler trolls are easy prey wouldn’t you agree?

          • Carl the tooth

            Either that or start at per wee level then work your way up to this site k liitke fella . If you could have those tps reports in by Monday that would be greeeeat mmmm k thx .

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Chucky engages. In that skirmish in Motown where was Gio? Chucky was front and centre standing up for his mates. It was Chucky who goaded the goon to get suspended.

        Not sure how you can say a player with a year and a month and a half of NHL experience is not captain material when he has been a leader on every club he has ever played on.

        The kid’s the face of the franchise.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            It wasn’t more than a year ago when many Flames, possibly even you, called Lil’ Johnny a fat cat and wanted him run out of town because of his very slow start to the 2016-17 season. I have yet to hear any Flames’ fans say the same about Chucky.

        • MontanaMan

          First of all, Tkachuk started the skirmish so he should have been in the middle of it. And never question that Gio won’t be where the action is – he’s a quality captain and can stand next to the best. What makes Gio an even better captain is the work he will do with someone like Tkachuk who needs veteran guidance to stay on track. I also loved the fact the Monahan wanted to jump the boards to join the fray – I’m glad he didn’t but love that he wanted to. A real sign of a leader. And Hamonic’s actions speak for themselves – the guy is a battler and ultimate team guy.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            Matty started the skirmish? What game were you watching? The skirmish started when the Detroit goon jumped Kulak and deliberated tried to injure him as he pounded the defenseless Kulak on the ice. So are you saying no one on the Flames should have said or did anything when the goon was being escorted off the ice? It was Matty who not only riled the goon but who was willing to dance with the goon. Matty chirps and he backs it up. Yet another wonderful example of Matty sticking up for his teammate, something he has always done.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            You’re looking at Matty at age 19.5. What kind of player is he going to be at age 22 or 23?

            Can you honestly tell me that after Getzlaf and Chara played a year and a month in the NHL they were destined to be captains? Getzlaf was still Getzloaf at that time to his coaches and teammates and fans. Chara was just a freak who was just trying to stay in the NHL. It wasn’t until his 4th or 5th season in the NHLb before he could hold down a regular job.

      • Carl the tooth

        Tkachuk is barely 20 . We need a Captain with Fire !! I’d say TKACHUK is definitely Captain material.maybe not this season or next but he’s our next Iginla.