Sharks 7, Flames 4 post-game embers: Same old, same old

And there went the last of the Flames’ leeway.

From hero to six goals against

Sometimes, bad goals will happen. It’s a thing. Even the best goalies in the world will be victimized by them. The Flames should have come out of the first period with a lead – they were the better team to start – but at the very least, they tied things up.

And then they took the lead.

Gave it up.

Took the lead again

Gave it up.

Fell behind.

Fell behind further 90 seconds later.

And pretty much were just done to start the third period.

The game prior was a goaltender’s duel between Mike Smith and Cam Talbot; this one was Martin Jones having a shaky start, the Flames not capitalizing on it, and then Smith just completely bottoming out. His team gave him offence and even looked like they had quite a bit going for them; he sucked the wind out of their sails.

Were all of the goals on Smith? No, absolutely not – but the first goal against should have never happened. The third was pretty bad. The fourth was a wide open rebound. The fifth was just atrocious, and it should have been David Rittich coming out to start the third period, though the sixth goal against was more a team-wide failure than on Smith alone.

There’s only so many times a team can score to come back in it only to fall behind mere minutes later. Three goals against in just under seven minutes that not only saw the precarious one-goal lead evaporate, but saw a multi-goal lead established – that did them in. For as much as the Flames may have tried, there was never going to be a happy ending for them once they faced a three-goal deficit. The 19 minutes with which to work wasted away easily, one successful early pull of the goalie aside.

They gave up. By the time they wanted to try again, they were facing a team better than them that knew how to just coast away.

The second half of the second period can’t happen.

This and that

Kris Versteeg is alive! He played 11:01 in his return to action, including 29 seconds on the powerplay. Curtis Lazar was the only Flame who played less than him. His shift lengths were about in tune with his linemates’ – Versteeg averaged 38 seconds a shift while Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway averaged 40 seconds – and his minutes went up as the game went along. He had a pretty blank stat line otherwise, but hopefully this was a good adjustment game for him.

Dougie Hamilton led the way with six shots on net; his 234 on the season is tied for second amongst defenders in the NHL and is far and away the best on the Flames; it’s absolutely mind boggling still that it took more than 50 games to get him on the top powerplay unit.

Speaking of the top powerplay unit, though… a 44-second 5-on-3 translated into absolutely nothing more than a display on perimeter passing. The Flames had the perfect chance to get the lead back and maybe even settle things down; instead, nothing. Their 17.5% powerplay is 24th in the NHL. They are fourth in the NHL in powerplay opportunities. What a complete waste.

The fourth line has been alright as of late. Nice goal from them. I dunno, but I guess it is a fair bit harder to get mad at them when everyone is failing so spectacularly.

So… playoffs?

Don’t be silly.

Although, say this for the Flames: if they had to lose any of these California games, it was probably best to lose to the Sharks. They’re further ahead than the Kings and Ducks, and are probably the least likely that the Flames will be able to catch. Not that they couldn’t have used those two points last night – they really, really need them to even attempt to keep pace – but of all the teams they’re chasing, the Sharks are too far ahead to be concerning.

That said, if that’s the kind of effort the Flames are going to put up against a superior opponent (re: non-lottery team) when they know their season is on the line, well, playoffs save face but what else would they really do for this group?

They had it, kind of like a seven-game winning streak. They lost it, kind of like a six-game losing streak. Welcome to the season.

  • Bob Hartley

    The biggest issues begin and end with our leaders. To often if Mony, johnny and Ferly aren’t scoring they aren’t doing anything. Mony doesn’t forecheck hard, finish his hits, fight, or ever get in your face. He is easy to play against. Ferly is even worse. Some days Ferly looks so disinterested out there it’s not even funny. How many times during a broadcast do they put the camera on Johnny and he looks like he’s about to cry!!! I can’t stand that. Body language is everything. This team plain and simple is just to damn easy to play against.

    Make Mike Smith the first ever player coach.

  • Honkydonk

    It took Winnipeg 7 years don’t forget.

    I however suggest blow it up. Keep Mony, Bennett, Johnny, Ferland and Jankowski and obviously Chucky . On D keep Hamilton and Brodie,Kulak and Hamonic. Because you need to hit cap floor.

    Trade everyone else Gio because of his age, Frolik, Backlund,Brouwer, Stone, Hathaway, and yes Smith because we go young!

    -Backlund and Frolik for Logan Brown and a first rounder 2019.
    – Gio for Kappanen and a first rounder 2019
    – Mike Smith for a first rounder 2018
    – Brouwer and half retained for a 2018 fourth rounder
    -Stone for 2019 third rounder

    Then go with


    Kylington/Anderson with Witherspoon 7 D

    Then after next season you trade Hamonic for a first rounder and move in Fox as a start and possibly Kulak to move up Kylinton and slot Witherspoon in 6 spot.

    Point is it’s time to do something major. Get rid of age and crap and at least get something for it

  • SgtRoadBlock

    Backland is Stajan 2.0 in 2 years not hard to see that coming…This Core need to be cut it half, starting with Jonny’ his Return in trade would fix two holes on the Roster…Or Keep him Like we did with Iggy primes years and fail 6 years finding him a Center… we got the 1st line Center now But no Rw…. MattyTkachuk the Real 1st Line Winger down the road,

  • everton fc

    BT hired Gulutzan. He signed Brouwer, and traded away picks for Hamonic, who I actually like, and Lazar, who is nothing more than a 4th liner. BT did this when our farm team and pipeline has no real eye-opening prospects, amongst the forwards. Hiring GG was a poor decision. So was the rest of the “aforementioned”. We hire Maloney, and look more and more like the Coyotes of the past. Why?

    I say go for someone like Paul Fenton, as GM. Fire Burke, and King, of course, “prior”. Clean house. I like Queenville, but also like Lindy Ruff, and Vigeneault. But Hynes in NJ, and Cooper, in particular, are proof an astute, wize GM (see Yzwerman), can find a coach that’s off the radar. This team is not, and has never been, as good as we all may have thought, “on paper”. We squandered a dream year for Smith, who could have driven us deep in the playoffs, because of poor trades, a poor hiring behind the bench, and poor player usage. Everyone I have mentioned, is to blame. I also believe we need a front office, a GM, and coach, who won’t put up w/prima donas. I think we have a few prima donas here. Just a feeling….

  • Jimmyhaggis

    GG, BT and Burke all have to be shown the door. I’m sure Burke had some say in the moves BT was contemplating and signed off on them. I don’t think management had a proper assessment of the talent they had. GG had to work with this bunch, 2 top lines and 2 4th. lines, you aren’t going far with this group.
    Goaltending is still an issue which has to be addressed, no way Smith can carry the load night in and night out, he’s not a kid anymore. Flames haven’t had a real solid goaltender since the Kipper. How many years has that been?
    Ownership should clean house and start fresh, time for tinkering is over, let the new GM assess the talent here and Stockton.

    • RonR

      There is no doubt in my mind – the goaltending is the number one issue. Smith was good up until about January but they overplayed him, and now obviously he does not have the ability to give consistent goaltending game after game. Yes, there is the occasionally tease – (Edmonton game) but bad performances before and after really deflate a very fragile team. Unfortunately the media in this town has a luv-affair with him, and he is always said to be the MVP. How many games does he have to blow before he has that title taken away? The team likes the older goalie and they are paying for it now. If it was me, Mr. Smith would have his place at the end of the bench, and they should go with Rittich and Gilles from here on in.

      • Bucky 1989

        Ron, agree rest him now and play some kids. My view is that Smith really made the Defense look far better than they were the first 25 games. The defence was so bad the first 25, we had to rely on him. I think if he had just played average the first 25 we would not even have had a shot. I agree I think they over played him. Again GG looks like he’s done.

    • LannyMac

      I read all of your comments about which player is useless which coach needs to go. People stop this is the big picture. Again the Atlanta flames hired Cliff Fletcher. He took a a very subpar team similar to the one this year and progressively turned it into a champion. Since then the Calgary Flames have absolutely no f in ability to create a winning culture. If by chance I live another 30 years I could copy and paste this text and it will apply the only difference will to delete the 3 and insert a 6. Once more a mult billionaire insert d bag owner here has gone to the people of the city and asked for their money to build his mansion. Many people in the city live paycheque to paycheque just scraping enough money together for property taxes. Murray Edwards you continually put a garbage product on the ice that embarrasses the city and then you ask us to help you pay for your mansion. Your an a hole leave pls just leave and if you want take your team with you. I’m done enough is enough.

      • Kevin R

        The first part started ok about creating a winning culture. Tough to do & way easier arm chairing spewing it on line.
        You lost me on the building. I am not an advocate of Calgarians just writing a cheque but the building is a long term asset of the City & will generate revenue for years to come. The football stadium has been so ignored it’s nothing but a turd & only suitable for University & Bantam football. Now the thing that really irked me was when a couple of days ago I hear Provincial, Federal & the City “us” are giving the green light to spend $10 f**#ing Million dollars each to set up a committee to investigate if its viable to make a bid for the 2026 winter Olympics. Are you kidding me????? $30 million dollars paid by tax payers to just bid on a 10 day money pit stage show. But lets not throw a nickel at an asset for our City to gain a longterm asset, keep a professional sports franchise & breath oxygen to all the spin off small business that thrive downtown from such an attraction every year. Sometimes I just shake my head, the world truly is a twisted place with lots of twisted minds.

        • LannyMac

          Ok there are spin offs but tell me why the average person who can not afford to attend games or if they do cannot afford to pay a fortune for a meal in the area before the game. In other words the final third the flames are insisting and stamping and pouting about should come strictly from a users tax. Whether it be flames games, concert or what have you. Why is it the rich feel so entitled. Thx for calling me twisted for sharing my opinion I’m pretty sure you come across as an a hole at times in fact I would put my vote in right now.
          That ten day money pit made a lot of money in the hands of Calgary in. 88. Maybe if you did your research you would know that. I for one am interested in a mayor who is taking the time to find out whether this bid is financially feasible. Because if it is not I’m guessing he will tell the Flames to go to hell which is the correct way to approach this junk franchise. Finally your right it is not easy to build a winning team 30 other teams are attempting to do the same thing. I am sick and tired of people giving multi millionaires a pat on the back saying “it’s ok I know it’s tough”. BS get the job done stop failing constantly or get the hell out of town including the owners.

  • Seattle_Flames

    Sure glad we don’t have that repugnant human bieng Evander Kane on our team… OR sure glad we have that stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of gun! Woooooo! Evander Kane on our team. I know which one I would choose. Shame on Evander for playing the Wild Rover. But hey, don’t worry kitties, Evander ain’t coming here in the offseason (even though he’s a perfect fit for what this team needs.) He’s already wasted too much time in Winterpig & Buffalo, & sadly cowtown is on par with them these days. Flames are doomed with docile souls like Hamilton, Brodie & Monahan. Meh, millenials, you need a good slap in the chops.

  • Bucky 1989

    Bring in the kids! They had to win last night…its over. Everybody do a reset because that is what we are all going to have to do. I’d like to see them bring up some of the kids and get them some action leading into the off season. This off season is going to be interesting to say the least. A few suggestions and hunches.

    1. Brodie gone.

    We have two good young prospects close to stepping up. He desperately needs to change locations and we should be able to get a winger back.

    2. Get rid of the slow dead wood; sorry but Stajen, Brouwer, Glass, Stewart, Bartkowski all should move on to bring in more of a youth ( passion please) group that will be a challenge but we need to go with more speed and youth. Rationale: The veterans could not sort out the problems in the room and on the ice… cut em loose. Buy out Brouwer.

    3. The Harmonic deal looks bad and it may cost Treliving his job if it ends up being a Top 5 pick. GG is on the ropes and management will need to determine whether he has lost the room. If he has, he’s done.

    4. Patience….. We need to be patient with Bennett, Ferland, Jankowski & Lazar. Expectations during the off season for these four need to be very clear. You all need to step up significantly based on where you are in the lineup. Accountability going up or playing time going down.

    5. Lastly, Identity: The management and leadership of this team needs to work on what type of game they are going to play and what the expectation of the system next year will be. I believe there defensive system needs to be addressed. This team should have played better D. They did not and in fact they were just bad regardless of pairings. We need more scoring up front and I think we need to change the dynamics in the dressing room somehow. This team is in need of an attitude adjustment with an injection of 2 more kids that “hate to lose” like Tkachuk and Smith.

    • Stockton's Finest

      The “kids” are deeply entrenched in their own playoff battle. Right now we are in 5th place, just a few percentage points from 3rd. Every point counts for the Heat. You cannot rob their playoff hopes just to get in some NHL games now. If anything, start sending a few down here (Hathaway, Glass, Lazar). Even if they are not on the playoff roster, they can help in these last 12 games to get them there.

  • Kzak

    When we gave up our draft picks for Hamonic, I wondered why we didn’t use them to get a top winger instead, since it seemed that was our biggest need. Hmm. I wonder if we could have had Kane for a third of what we gave up for Hamonic. We suffered through fifteen years or so of saying “when are we going to get a top centre for Iggy?”, and it never happened. We’re now three years in of saying “when are we going to get a top RW for any of our first and/or second lines?”. We can’t hit the net, we can’t score on the PP, and we can’t score clutch goals (Monahan aside), so either we trade a couple of our prospects (Fox, Dube, Phillips) etc for a couple big names and win now, or move out veterans for draft picks, grow those young prospects and aim for a 2-3 window. Right now, we are destined to be a 10th place team for the next couple of years (I will jump off a bridge if we draw a top-3 draft position) and that just isn’t acceptable.

    • Juan Valdez

      Poirier was projecting to be that top line RW until Huska ruined him. If Kucherov was drafted by the Flames I’m inclined to think he would still be toiling in the minors as well.

      • The Beej

        Do you know anything about Poirier or his story? Guess not. If you knew anything you would know that Huska didnt ruin him… he has his issues he is battling with and according to the assistant coaches in stockton he refuses to play two way hockey.

        Think about what you just said about Huska. Its just blind conjecture with no factual basis in reality.

        Huska did great with Janko, Hathaway, Kulak, Andersson etc… but yet he ruined Poirier? How exactly did he ruin Poirier?

        You are just frustrated and need a scapegoat. Pathetic – no real thought or analysis. Perhaps Huska hasnt been given jack on the right wing to work with. Ever think of that? Cause every other position our high potential prospects are doing just fine under Huska.

        Keep your scapegoating to yourself and maybe put some actual logic or thought into what you post. Cmon just try it.

    • TurkeyLips

      Hamonic is not being utilized well. He should be playing with Gio. TJ Brodie excels offensively and should synergize with Hamilton as a result.

      But no, GG has decided the players within our top two pairings are designed to compromise for, rather than complement, each other.