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.

    • kirby

      No, he was just himself. We’ve seen it all year long. One stand out game followed by 3 sloppy ones. I’m sick of the guy. Weak on his posts, lazy technique, trying to play the puck like he’s Marty Brodeur circa 1999, so fed up with how people always talk about him like our MVP this year. Cost us more games than he’s won. Way too often he just looks slow and clunky and old. I’m done with the guy, might as well let Rittich finish out the season. Smith hasn’t even been an upgrade over Brian Elliott who everyone couldn’t run out of town fast enough, yet Smith for some reason is treated like a star around here. I don’t get the medias love affair with him, i really don’t. He’s one step forward and two steps back, been seeing it consistently all year long.

        • kirby

          I said that right from the start. They were blindly playing him every night like he was Kipper in his prime. Since Nov/Dec i was wondering why he started every single game reagrdless of his performance in the last, even on b2b’s, etc. I said if we expected to count on him for a playoff run, then we can’t run him into the ground before the All Star break. But they obviously had no confidence in Lack, so why they didn’t let him go sooner and find someone they WERE confident in as a #2 (like they finally did with Rittich) was beyond me. They came into a season with a 36 year old goalie and a backup they didn’t want to ever let touch the ice. Made no sense to me.

          But regardless of his workload, he was just way overhyped from the start. I like his toughness and the fact that he battles, but he’s just overall a sloppy goaltender. It’s really that simple.

          Even how everyone praises his puck playing ability, for every few nice passes he makes there’s a completely boneheaded move that leads to desperation scramble drills and open net goals which completely negate every good pass he’d made before. Even last night to start the 3rd, 2 defensemen behind the net, 2 Sharks bearing down, and for some reason he still feels it necessary to go try and play it. Then nonchalantly meanders back into the crease and before he even has the chance to get set, boom, another goal that wouldn’t have happened had he just stayed in the damn net.

          I just can’t wrap my head around how he’s treated like a super star and Elliott was a bum who had no business in our net.

          The coaches handling of Smith has bothered me like you mentioned. They let him call his own shots, let him start whenever he wants to whether he deserves it or not. That’s where the coaches need to step in and say “sorry Mike, you aren’t giving us a chance to win right now. Take a seat and catch your breath”. Never happened.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    There is an inherent problem in hoping this season is a hiccup similar to what Winnipeg went through last year and subsequently stayed the course this year. It is dangerous to set up false expectations but even more dangerous to give the current coaching staff this out. GG’s only way to keep his job is to convince management that staying the course is the best approach.

    But staying the course is the absolute worst approach. The coaching staff has had 70 plus regular season games to try and sort things out and guess what….despite some really bad stretches, the top 2 lines have not changed. The 3 rd line has stayed he Same since Jagr has left. The 4 th line has been a mixed bag. Matty should have been taken off the 2nd line a long time ago. Most of Matty’s increase on production has come from his increased playing time and PP time not his linemates from last year.

    The top line has struggled for several months likely due to injuries but that is no excuse not to rotate other players into those spots while giving Ferland and Monny lesser roles. As a fan I have much more leniency in seeing our prospects make mistakes than our high priced vets. Kjillington can make the same mistakes that Brodie is making while getting vital NHL experience. TSpoon likely does not try a flip pass behind the net like Hamonic did yesterday, that resulted in a goal. Ras likely has a higher hockey IQ than anyone on the backend not named Gio.

    There should be very little issues with trading Brodie, since he is very unlikely to bury his old team with a heartbreaking goal or timely brilliant defensive play. Calgary continues to give up too many high danger chances which points to the porous defense. A new coach could help correct this but I doubt it could be fixed with this D core. Brodie and Stone out to make room for Ras and Fox. Brodie gets you a late first and Stone gets you a third. Pursue Hoffman or Kane to address scoring deficiency. There is nothing wrong with a healthy Monny and Ferland.

  • Alberta Ice

    Great picture to start off article. Yep, things look awful. Let’s enjoy this spring runoff playoff type run to get in the playoffs. Got to win 8 out of 10. Let’s face it. Vegas and Colorado weren’t suppose to be where they are. Edmonton and Calgary were supposed to be where those two teams are. How do you spell disappointment? Flames and Oilers. It looks like a long off season ahead.

  • Flamesfansince04

    I can just hear GG’s post season (or should I say post job) media comments ‘Ive been telling the boys for two years now, believe in my systems, believe in my systems, blah blah blah’. Tough luck lad, if your ‘systems’ don’t work, maybe try an oil change.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • PlayitagainSam

    Gulutzan should be axed today!! The season is not done yet and this team needs a kick in the teeth to get going.
    What a statement it would make to the players on this team to get their a$$ in gear.

  • Off the wall

    Two more loses and we’re done.Our postseason hopes are at 10%. U-G-L-Y

    Sunday against Vegas will be dagger #1 and Wednesday at home against the Ducks will be dagger #2. Season finished by March 21st, just as spring arrives. At the hands of the most hated team in the league.

    Let’s see if Treliving has the calendar marked for GG. Get the word out Tre, we’re going shopping for a new coach.

    Oh btw, can you get us some scoring depth at the draft, you know since you’ll have lots of time on your hands..

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am curious why some people want to trade Johny? After a sub par year last year he has been awesome. He has proven that with 2 healthy linemates he can challenge for the scoring title. If he had a winger like Kessel or Laine he could win a scoring title. IMO our window to win a Stanley Cup is directly contingent on the remaining years of Johnny’s contract.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      Not going to Win a Cup with Jonny, he will be the next Iggy for years. Keep building around one player and failing when the better move would be to trade that piece to fix the holes now.
      For Years people said all we need is a Center for Iggy, 6 years Later we trade him for junk..
      Now we have people saying we need a Elite Right Winger in the top 6.. we not going to draft it, so overpay a ufa player that what 29years or older? lol This is iggy all over again build a team around 1 guy .. play him on all 4 lines, the power play is run by him..

  • TurkeyLips

    Rumours and whispers of friction between Treliving and Gulutzan…
    Some of that player usage by GG comes across as nothing more than a middle finger act of defiance to his boss. Starting the fourth line after goals, not pulling Smith until far too late, generally stubborn bs behaviour. Tre must be sick of the antics ?.

  • 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.

  • Vernon30

    Saw a story on Sportsnet saying the Hawks are playing for Q’s job. Not sure how accurate that is, but hope they’re dumb enough to let him go, and BT and co. are given the cash and leeway to get him. Although, he’d have to want to come here….

  • RKD

    It’s not even funny how mentally weak and fragile this team is after Gaudreau scored San Jose replied back. Then the Flames absolutely cradled. Sharks players were left out in front and the Flame d-men were caught in no man’s land. Everytime this team has a goal scored on them it’s oh no the sky is falling. This coach is useless he can never get his group ready from the start of the game and never takes any timeouts. Just too busy staring at the ipad or Jumbotron with a woe is me look on his face. His player usage doesn’t make any sense. I bet Brouwer will be on the top line soon enough. Time for Tre to make some sweeping offseason moves. This coach and personnel look great on paper but can never execute on the ice.

    • kirby

      That’s been a problem all year. The team is all talk and no heart. There’s talent but there’s no execution. There’s veterans but there’s no leadership. There’s some size but there’s no grit. There’s a big goalie but somehow pucks rarely hit him.

      Been one of the most disappointing seasons i can remember. Especially early in the year, seeing Anaheim struggle, San Jose struggle, LA slow start, Edmonton (who so many “experts” for some reason assumed were suddenly Cup contenders lol) was nowhere to be found. We had a chance to take a stranglehold of the division alongside Vegas right from the start, SHOULD have played this entire season with the lead. But everytime they got the slightest bit of momentum they’d loaf around, get complacent, and give it all right back. We had an opportunity to seize an opening in the balance of power of our division, but instead we sh** all over ourselves at every single turn.

      I don’t know if there’s some egos in the locker room, or a sense of entitlement, or what. But all season long, they’ve simply played like a team that doesn’t get the point. A team that doesn’t understand how to grind. Some questionable GM moves (i’d gladly give Hamonic back for those picks in a second if possible but it seemed like a solid addition at the time), some questionable coaching logic, but at the end of the day it’s the players on the ice who haven’t gotten the job done. Their talent, regardless of systems, regardless of pairings and lineups, should EASILY be FAR BETTER than they’ve shown this season.

      Especially on home ice, what an embarrassment. Remember when the Dome used to be a hard place to visit? Now it’s basically just free points for whoever rolls into town while our guys sit there feeling sorry for themselves. What a joke.

      • LannyMac

        Yes exactly the same thing we have been talking about since the 04/5 lockout give your a head a shake people this is a deep rooted cultural thing with this organization. It’s looservile top to bottom. There needs to be new ownership. I sit and hope that d bag M. Edwards moves on.

  • 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….

  • Alberta Ice

    Saw some of the Oilers game this afternoon. Rattie and Bear, AHL call ups, are auditioning for next year and look pretty motivated. Any chance we get to see some of our farm assets soon if the dreaded “e” happens? (Like Andersson, Dube, Philips, or Gawdin to name a few.)

  • Off the wall

    I think the picture describes our season, down and out.

    Silver lining? I’m getting really busy with my workload. At least I won’t have to rush home to watch us lose anymore…

  • snotss

    “toast” ” done” what ever…what a horrible year and now we get to watch our 1st round pick which could end up being a lottery pick go to the isles..what else could go wrong…just a very disappointed fan..again..this team is hard to cheer for man !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 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,

  • 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