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Coyotes 5, Flames 2 post-game embers: That’s that

Can’t compete with playoff-bound teams. Can’t sweep lottery teams. Math is the only thing keeping them alive at this point, and it won’t for much longer.

-18

The Flames now have a goal differential of -18. Against the-then worst team in the NHL – the Coyotes’ win jumped them all the way up to tied for third worst – they managed to briefly grab hold of a one-goal lead, cough it up two minutes later, play out a third period like they were destined to go to overtime so they would at least get a point– oh wait the Coyotes, who have absolutely nothing to play for and haven’t really since like November were still trying and got a goal with just under four minutes to go. Follow that up with two empty-netters and yeah, you’ve got a -18 goal differential.

The Flames have struggled to hold on to positive goal differentials all season. Every single time they got up there they’d get blown out and it would fall right back down.

They have gotten mostly good goaltending throughout the year and have one of the league’s top point getters playing big minutes every night. They have a -18 goal differential to show for it.

Playoff-bound teams have positive goal differentials. That’s it. Full stop. The Flames have the fourth worst goal differential in the West, and they’ve earned it.

For want of an actual goal

Sean Monahan: eight shots. Mikael Backlund: six shots. Sam Bennett: six shots. Dougie Hamilton: six shots. Johnny Gaudreau: five shots. The rest of the team: 13 shots. (Notable that Micheal Ferland, after being replaced on the first line, had zero shots on net?)

Twenty-fourth game of the season in which the Flames have had at least three powerplay opportunities and failed to score a single goal.

Here’s something hilarious: via Natural Stat Trick, the Flames lead the NHL in high danger corsi events for per 60, at 13.24. Toronto is second, at 13.04. The Flames are fifth in scoring chances for, at 31.72. The Leafs are first, at 33.09. The Leafs are fifth in goals per game, at 3.23. The Flames are 24th, at 2.69.

Screw it, I got nothing.

What’s even the point

No, seriously, I’ve got nothing. They’re not making the playoffs. There’s no reason to look forward to the draft with so few picks available. This is a team that probably deserves better but ever since they managed to string seven wins in a row together they’ve collapsed at every single sign of adversity and I don’t care. I just don’t care. I have not cared since the Olympics started. I am literally only still bothering with watching them because of this blog. I have tried finding ways to write about them but they have exhausted them, it’s the same old every single game now, the players look like they know they’re done, there’s no useful information to be gathered from any of the remaining games. They’re just things that are going to happen.

They can reach a maximum of 96 points, if they somehow manage to win every single game from here on out. The way other teams are trending, that won’t be enough for a wild card spot.

So I guess I pose this question: do you continue watching? If yes, is it because you genuinely want to, or is it out of some misplaced sense of obligation and/or obsessive nature that says you have to see this trainwreck of a season through to the end?

I guess there’s hope Rasmus Andersson plays out the season and plays so well the team is forced to have him on the starting roster next year. He played 13:32 last night, the least out of all defencemen, which isn’t exactly surprising. He played 2:01 on the powerplay, which actually was kind of exciting to see him get that chance. He had a 36.00% 5v5 CF, which is uhh less exciting, albeit with 25.00% offensive zone starts and primarily against 35 point scorer Christian Dvorak, and it was also only one game, so probably not entirely his fault.

  • MDG1600

    Firing the coaches is a no brainer but I am shocked by the number of people willing to give a free pass to BT. He is the architect of this mess from top to bottom. IMHO a lot of people on this site are over-estimating the talent on the Flames roster. There are some talented players to be sure but no depth. Flames 3 & 4 lines have been a weak spot all year.

    • Sensei

      Not sure that I agree with lines 3 & 4 being the weak spot. Defense was the weak spot and Brodie was the weakest link. From the standpoint of coaching – why would you play your two best defense men together all season and let your 3-4-5-6 guys flounder? It was GG’s job to find some chemistry back there and he didn’t do it. Gone!! It was BT’s job to supply the manpower for GG to get the job done – he didn’t. Gave the farm away on Hamonic when Engelland had been on of the core 4 – Gone!!!
      And then there’s Burkie the Fashionista. Knows his hockey just like Kevin Lowe!! Gone!!

    • where.is.ville?

      It has been a massively disappointing season. Not quite as bad as Edmonton, but close. The GM has made bone-headed decisions all along. They clearly need clutch scoring. So many chances – so few goals. The coach absolutely has to go – he is a disaster. But, where are they going to find a decent coach! Not like they are just hanging around.

    • I'm Just Going To Put This Out There

      BT has set the team back two years. Sure they have a few better players than they did, but it’s no better than Hartley. He needs to be held accountable too.

    • Rockmorton65

      Holy overreaction. It’s not a mess. There are a few key changes that need to be made, but it’s certainly not panic time. GG was Tre’s first autonomous hire. He’s going to get another chance. I DO think Tre’s clock officially starts ticking the off season. If he keeps GG and there’s no improvement, they could both be gone. Just because Gelboy didn’t work doesn’t mean the team has to start from scratch.

      • I'm Just Going To Put This Out There

        The team actually has a very limited window to truly contend with what we have now. Who knows when this team will have raw talent like we got in some players? The team keeps playing like this year after year how long do you think they want to squander their best years here? BT is acting like he’s got years to throw away. This is unacceptable we won’t stand for it.

      • I'm Just Going To Put This Out There

        BT has infact acquired more pylons for important picks than he has acquired actual talented skilled players. Bad coach, bad goalies, bad reclamation projects for top picks, underachieving players for 1sts, it goes on and on. It’s really all on BT. He’s steered the club in the wrong direction not the right. If you can’t see this you are clearly not paying attention and are just in it because you think the jerseys are cute.

  • The Doctor

    My impression from last night is that Gulutzan may well have “lost the room” in hockey parlance. Much like Tortorella lost the room in New York and then again in Vancouver. But I’d be interested to know if there’s any chatter from inside the Flames dressing room or organization confirming that. The Flames’ play the last two games in particular seems to suggest that. It’s almost like they’re on a work-to-rule campaign.

      • The Doctor

        Come on, man. At one point we had at least 12 more regulation wins than losses and were in a divisional playoff spot. The wheels have clearly come off the cart lately and our guys look like they’ve mentally checked out once anything adverse happens. I agree though that many of the underlying problems have been around for a while. But now they’re in full blown festering mode.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          They gave up 45 shots against the Oilers in the lid lifter. Had Smitty not stood on his head that night, Oilers might have hit double digits in goals. An inability to score and an over reliance on their goalie was evident in Game 1 just as it was last night. Only thing being that Smitty didn’t bail them out in the desert.

  • Craigster

    This is a very critical point for this team. It’s almost a mirror image of 2009-2010. Load up on Dmen, Trade first round pick, finish out of the playoffs etc. The only thing that is missing is a really bad trade that sends the team down the wrong path and to an eventual rebuild. I’m as frustrated as the next fan, but am hoping there aren’t any knee jerk reactions from management (i.e. Sutter in 2010).

    • Derzie

      If they trade Bennett, I’ll find a new team to watch. He is a two way player that takes time to gel and has not been given good linemates enough. Classic diamond in the rough.

        • Franko J

          To name a few:
          Pasternak, Ehlers and Larkin or Nylander. Again how much say and influence does Todd Button and the scouting staff have over the GM. For sure there must be someone in organization with some actual eye for talent who thought that drafting local kid Brayden Point over Hunter Smith would have been a better pick in the second round. Only to be overruled. In pro sports those in charge will always salivate over the “size” of a prospect rather than look at actual heart and skill set.

      • I'm Just Going To Put This Out There

        Yeah and I bet your favorite GOAT was Alexandre Daigle too. Drop the emotional connection already, Bennett has had three years and many linemates to prove his skill. He’s a third line winger at best fourth liner on actual good team not a top 6 center.

  • Flames fan since 83

    I don’t understand the love for Bob Hartley the coach. He missed the playoffs 3 of 4 years.
    His last year, the players hated him so much they gave up. We went 35 wins and 77 points. Why would anyone advocate having Bob back???
    GG is not the answer either.
    BT in my opinion is doing ok. Yes he’s made a mistakes. But MDG1600 above is correct. Lines 3and 4 need a lot of work.
    I would much rather have lines 3-4 need work opposed to 1-2 need work. Much easier to find bottom 6 players wouldn’t you agree? Look how easy it was to find Troy Brouwer:) (joking)
    Seriously, the season is lost. But I believe the team has good “bones” to work with.

  • Bucky 1989

    Turn off! Take the dust off your golf clubs…mighty early and tune back in on October 1st. Between then and now it will all come down to the brass, not the draft, not trades, not patience. It has to start with what the identity of this team is going to be. If I can hear that from anyone, I’ll start to be interested again. Change out the coaches…fine! Change out management…fine. But at the end of the day this is about a team that has no idea what they want to be. They are not based on speed, puck possession, strong defence (like they thought!) or truculence as Burkie would say. They don’t have a clue of what the two or three things are they need to do every shift with and more importantly without the puck. Until I see an interview with the GM via The Athletic, that tells me succinctly what this team is going to be and stand for… I’ll turn it off.

    Enjoy your Spring and Summer everyone!

    • Alberta Ice

      I mentioned earlier that the Bogey Man stole our season (aka Tiger Woods on his last day at the Arnold). The Bogey Man says during the playoffs, you Flames will be golfing. The team was expected to make par this year. But bogey and boogey games wiped out our season.

    • Kevin R

      Tre’s statements on Sportsnet basically show he is a vulcano wanting to burst but knows he can’t react but will need to just think it out & be precise how he goes about this. He didn’t give his coach any hope of reprieve but just sid what to be said that GG is trying to get the ship righted. We have 8 games left, personally with my temper GG would have been given the cab treatment Gallant got in Florida, but that wouldn’t be right. I think he plays out the string, & then the fury gets unleashed April 9th. Probably the right thing to do given the situation. Just hope the Oilers don’t catch us for crying out loud. Im starting to wonder if we are going to win another game this season with this fragile bunch.

    • Derzie

      Elliott Friedman & Bob McKenzie have both said they feel GG is not on the block. The reason is that Toronto media don’t watch western teams unless they are playing eastern teams. No help from those guys.

  • The Beej

    2 years is a good sample size to evaluate the coaches. As others mention changes are a no brainer.

    What I am worried is how mentally weak this team seems to be. They are frustrated and I get that… but they are Pros or at least they are supposed to be.

    They way they crumble when things dont go their way.

    The lack of hustle on the back check and attention to defense.

    The errors and give aways… the repeated shooting themselves in the foot. I said it last year with Wideman and Ill say it again with Brodie, you can play a decent game but one bad error can undo all of it.

    Attention to detail. Presence of mind. Not ready to question heart yet as they work outshoot and outchance. But at some point you have to bear down on those chances and not just hope to beat the goalie. These guys all need some target practice.

    Anyway.. my actual point. Hopefully changing coaches will be a big part of the solution but for reasons above i am pretty concerned about this group and the overall leadership. It wasnt the lack of scoring that blew my mind. It was the 5 minute lapses and ridiculous errors that cost us points.

    Where do we go from here? What kind of coach to bring in. We need more from Ferland and Brodie. Sutter drafted them both. Bring him back. One year deal? Unfinished business. Im not a fan of old school coaches really but lessons need to be learned here. An identity needs to be forged. Defense is important. Sutter helped us with that before. Can he again?

  • snotss

    what is up with Calgary sport teams i’am talking lames and the stamps..they both showed good early but the stamps choked again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and the lames are a joke as they seem to crap the bed when things go south…great records fellas year in year out

    • The Doctor

      Most Flames fans would kill to have the kind of seasons the Stamps have had in the last 5 years or so — in the playoffs every year for the last 14 years, in the Grey Cup game 4 of the last 6 seasons — that would be the equivalent of the Flames being in the Stanley Cup Finals 4 of the last 6 seasons.

      • FlamesFan27

        Well, not really. It’s a lot easier to get to the playoffs in the CFL with 6 of 9 teams making the playoffs. And getting to the SCF takes 12 wins, not one or two.

  • Dunk

    Burke should pay the price and all his minions. What the hell has he ever done for us. We dearly need someone who can evaluate talent. This has been a most disappointing season. A coach that is feared and commands respect would be on my list. I dont think we even know what kind of talent we have. This coach has had no idea what he was doing and has depleted the confidence of our whole team…….sad to say… Here we go again..

    • The Doctor

      I don’t think we need fear — we just need a coach who’s not a doctrinaire boob. GG’s insistence on rolling all four lines to the point of absurdity, his rigid right/left shot fixation, his total inability to recognize the value of speed etc. He’s too rigidly fixated on stuff like that and doesn’t heed reality when it clearly shows his pet theories aren’t working in certain situations.