Blue Jackets 5, Flames 1 post-game embers: There is nothing left

The Flames do two things. They genuinely try to create chances, and they lose horribly.

I get it, in a way. The team, as a collective unit, has absolutely nothing left to play for. They did, for a brief time, when they actually did still partially control their fate and playoffs were still a realistic possibility, but then they lost. And lost. And lost some more. And now they’re still losing, and they legitimately may not win another game this season, and it’s just… who cares?

Some individuals have something to play for. Jon Gillies needs to fight to try to get more NHL games in, maybe even games that actually mean something one day (though, even with a questionable defence in front of him, it’s not looking too good this year). Brett Kulak, with 20:01 played, needs to fight to prove he can be more than a bottom pairing defenceman. Rasmus Andersson, with 18:53 played, needs to fight to prove he should be in the big show full time next season. Spencer Foo will have to fight for the same when he draws in Saturday.

Other than that, I’m not really sure. Nick Shore, at least, continues to look like an astute pickup: he’s young enough he should be able to play at this level for a while yet, and he’s smart enough that he can be relied upon to carry bottom six minutes without being a hinderance in any way, shape, or form. Sam Bennett at least led the way with five shots, and Micheal Ferland and Shore with four; credits to them because this team apparently has no other sniff at any offensive weapons up front.

The roster has been decimated by injuries, and Travis Hamonic probably shouldn’t even play again for the rest of the season at this rate. But it just strongly highlights how completely, utterly screwed this team is. The Flames thought they would be getting something more out of this year – hence, you know, no draft picks until the fourth round – and now their 2018-19 is looking like it’s going to be same old, same old without some major forward upgrades.

At least all of the top forwards being out means they can’t hide behind any excuses. The Flames’ warts are on display, crystal clear now, and they will need to be addressed before October if this team is supposed to have a hope in hell of accomplishing anything, and not entering a second rebuild immediately after the first.

They had 18 scoring chances to Columbus’ 12 in the first period; six high-danger corsi events to their five. In the third period, it was 13-5 and 7-2; say what you will about score effects, but there were genuine attempts made. The problem is nobody on this roster is good enough to capitalize on them.

So where does this leave us? There are four games left in the season. Three of them are at home. I would not be surprised if they did not win another game for the rest of the season. I would not be surprised if they did not score another goal for the rest of the season.

God help the poor souls who pay money to see them play out the string. For two straight weeks now, they have not been worth it. It’s hard to imagine that suddenly changing. All they have to play for is “pride”, and just like everything else about this year, it’s completely meaningless.

What a farce. Maybe next season will be better, but there’s nothing left in this husk.

  • First Name Unidentified

    For the past decade the poor play of the oilers made this franchise look relatively better managed. It will be tough to continue that moving forward. Imagine what McDavid could do with real hockey players around him.
    I still believe the coaching change is essential for any progress next season. Admittedly, few key player changes also needed. Reminds me of the last B Sutter season, total write_off.

      • Juan Valdez

        I totally agree with these sentiments and will also add that we should have traded Backlund last season while his value was at its all time high. The guy is good defensively, but scoring-wise can’t hit the broad side of a barn. I’ve lost count of how many times he’s had an opportunity to put the puck into an open net only to shoot it ten feet wide. A good GM would have seen this drop off in production coming from a mile away and not signed him to that ridiculous contract.

    • cberg

      With all the injuries, the line-ups have not included the top guys together with Backlund, neither Bennett, Jankowski nor Ferland. Instead Brouwer gets elevated. Talk about a waste. Again, GG’s poor player deployment comes to the fore.

  • Wupass

    They weren’t going to do any damage in the playoffs this year, anyway. Yes, it really highlights their lack of secondary scoring. Homework for Treliving.

  • VK63

    Columbus played well and the Flames mailed it in with gusto.
    I suspect they will gather up some measure of effort for Saturdays tilt against the other relegation worthy squad.

    • cberg

      Watching the game, Columbus ALWAYS had solid d-zone coverage from all 5 players whereas with the Flames it was just the opposite, with 2-3 players always left wide open. Once again, coaching.

      We can badmouth these guys all we want but until a much better coaching team is in place it is hard to truly tell what the needs are. Remember, these now-terrible Flames stood nose to nose with the best, and beat them fairly consistently earlier in the year. There’s a reason for that. Focus on the source problems and we’ll have a much better shot at turning it around next year…

  • Burnward

    For a franchise that has had a lot of embarrassing moments: this time is right there.

    Teams are not just beating them, they’re laughing as they do it.

    Said it on the last thread, we are now the Oilers.

  • Raffydog

    The way this team has completely given up is a reflection of the leadership of the captain. Do you think any of the great captains throughout the leagues history would let their team give up like this? Well worth the 8 million a year they’re paying that clown.

    • Stu Cazz

      Speaking of clowns you are not even able to figure out what he get’s paid….with all the data available on-line not difficult to get a simple task like that correct…bye clown!

      • Raffydog

        Oh sorry, the amount was an exaggeration. No matter if they pay him 8 or 6.7 or whatever the hell he makes, the point is that the captain has mailed it in, and that is a reflection of his leadership skills. Crappy leader = crappy team.

        • WillyWonka

          no Raffydog, , the point is your opinion is ridiculous, as usual. whether your an oiler troll or a flames troll trolling your own team, your takes are all sorry troll attempts.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          I’m happy with Gio’s leadership.

          Can you imagine if the whole team played like Gio? Wow. I mean, when was the last time you said; “Jaysus…Gio is useless tonight.”

        • Stu Cazz

          I’m happy with Gio’s leadership. Has been our best and most consistent D all year. Your opinion on Gio giving up is yours only and IMO has no basis. The poor performance of the Flames this year is widespread throughout the organization. To put it on Gio’s leadership is hilarious……I guess it’s McDavid’s poor leadership that caused the Oilers poor performance this season??

  • buts

    I was thinking a new coach and a couple of moves would turn this around. Now in these last few weeks it’s turning out that the teams troubles are much deeper. Still with a new coach who knows what he’s doing will get traction in the right direction. Again if GG is here April 11th I will be calling for BT’s head.

  • Franko J

    When is the last time the Flames went into a draft without their first, second and third round selections?

    Whatever BT thought he was doing last off season to make this team better has clearly backfired this year and may have set this team in a tailspin for few more years. I sure do hope that management this off season doesn’t try and trade away picks and good prospects out of desperation. It would have given me some solace knowing that if we still had our first and second picks in this year’s this tank job the Flames are doing was for good reason.

    Instead the management traded for a defenseman who is clearly not worthy of the picks given up. Even with a coaching change I think it was major overpay and it will take some time for the Flames to recoup.

  • BendingCorners

    All they need is what they’ve needed all year – better scoring depth and better backchecking by the forwards and more physical play from the defensemen. BT will be busy, I hope.
    On a happier note, I saw parts of three good games last night on nhl dot com; the playoffs will be good viewing in spite of the Flames’ absence.

    • The Beej

      Totally agree. Backchecking by the forwards is one of the big issues. When it was going we were breaking up plays in the neutral zone and stuffing teams in their own zone and dominating.

      Definitely a big part of it is coaching. Defense is not all on the D and Goalies. Gulutzan has clearly given up and it is infecting the team.

      We need an upgrade or two at forward.

      I dont think the personnel situation is as bad as some if the people whining and freaking out here think. If PIT lost Crosby Malkin and Kessel their roster wouldnt look so great either. Perspective, sample size people.

      Is the lack of effort down the stretch a concern. A little bit but nothing has gone their way this year and I can understand some of the dejection.

      I think if they find the right coach add a good RW to balance the forward lines and continue to develop and graduate the prospects this team will be good. Do we have a starter in Gillies or Parsons. That we dont know yet.

      This year was a disaster but the exact same thing has happened to other teams. Im really disappointed with all the whining and negativity on this site. Flames fans didnt get what they wanted this year. Lots of fan bases didnt. Have some perspective and stop whining.

    • Beer League Coach

      You are correct. Flames have their own picks in rds 3, 4, 6, and 7 and Panthers pick in rd 4 from the Hudler trade a couple years ago. The 3rd rd pick to AZ for Mike Smith is 2019 draft and was conditional. If Flames made the playoffs this year it would have become a 2nd rd pick in 2019. Then the second 2nd rd pick to NYI in the Hamonic trade would have slid to the 2020 draft. Also we get NYI 4th rd pick in the same draft where they use that second 2nd rd pick.

  • Ben.

    I’m not familiar with this aspect of hockey, but when BT overpaid to obtain Hamonic (or any player) was that primarily his decision or do folk like Craig Conroy, Brad Pascall, Burke, scouting staff have to shoulder some or same or most of the blame for over-rating him?

    • Derzie

      The evidence is clear that the pro scouting is very poor. If we can see that moves are bad before they are made why can’t they? They should all step down or be let go. Brouwer (too much cost, can’t play) & Hamonic (extreme cost, 3rd pairing at best), Stone, Grossman, Stewart, Bart, Lack. I could go on. No one would put that on their resume. Garbage work.

  • Trevy

    If you look at a team like Vegas vs Calgary on paper, it’s obvious that the Flames are a somewhat better team. Yet Vegas is already miles ahead. First and foremost, that’s the result of a great coach getting his team to play as a unit and all believing in each other. Can’t be said for the Flames. The second revelation over the last few weeks is our actual skill level. If you watch a team like Columbus last night, Panarin is highly skilled, Dubois is going to be a great centre in this league the way he carries the play and a great support of secondary skill. I believe Dubois will be better than Monahan by next season for sure. If you look at the top teams (Winn, Nash, Bos, Wash), they all have at least 3 or more very skilled players. We have a Johnny and Tkachuk, then the skill level drops and unfortunately, I don’t see a whole lot of exciting new prospects coming in to save the day. We are extremely weak skill wise on the right. I believe it starts with a new coaching staff, but Tre has got his work cut out to bring in more talent cause I personally don’t see this bunch as a contender now or in the future unless some bold moves are made

    • calgaryfan

      it will take a few years to fix this mess. Monahan and Backlund over rated and soft, no forward depth in Stockton, and a lack of draft picks. Not a lot to look forward too.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    After reading an article about Florida Vs Gallant, I now understand why the Flames didn’t go after him… Flames are making the same mistake as Florida brass made… Lets just say, I hope the Flames Brass can learn that “on paper” isn’t the same as “on ice”…
    Here is some of the article.
    — Gerard Gallant wanted the Florida Panthers to play one way, and his bosses wanted another.
    As such, they’re not his bosses anymore.
    The Panthers cited philosophical differences Monday as the primary reason why they fired Gallant, a coach of the year finalist last season.
    The Panthers’ ownership and other team officials rely heavily on advanced statistics, and Gallant was not the biggest fan of analytics. He spoke openly about how his views differed from the perspective of Florida’s management on the analytics issue in August 2015.
    Gallant told a story about how an unnamed former Florida player looked great to the analytics staff but wasn’t the sort of player he wanted.
    “I couldn’t stand watching him on the ice,” Gallant said that night in Canada. “I didn’t like the way he played one bit.”
    Soooooo, Until the Flames Stop relying on Advanced Stats to solely build a team, they will Fail….IMO…

  • Dunk

    Dump Burke and his coaching minions…
    Get rid of these over paid, average players Backland, Geo, Monahan, Brower. Dump these contracts if you can. and fire the idiot that negotiated them. Hire a Sutter like coach. Fix the power play. Playing out the season like this creates such a looser mindset we will become the new Oilers.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Wow!! What a great plan!!! The only thing you’re missing is the part where you explain how you do all of that!!

      But other than that thanks for such a fresh take on things.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Let me see if I’ve got it. The Flames have a better team Corsi, PP and PK than the Jackets, yet the Flames are out of the playoffs and the Jackets could well have home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. What gives? Flames under Hartley had terrible Corsi. Tre promised that Gully would improve the Corsi and he has delivered on that in a big way. The Jackets are proving that club can have a terrible PP and PK and still make the playoffs, so why the rush to fire Cameron?

    Just as the 2014-15 Flames had puck luck coming out of their ying yang, the 2017-2018 Flames’ puck luck has been as cold as shady lady’s heart on a winter’s night in Sudbury. Stands to reason with a normal season of puck luck this edition of the Flames–with or without Jagr–makes the playoffs.

    Conclusion: Bring Gully and his staff back next season. He deserves a chance to redeem himself, and he will given normal puck luck. Just like your memories of Hartley as being a better coach than he really was are wonky, so are your ideas that Gully is the wrong coach for this club. Helmsman, maintain present course.

    • cberg

      The narrative that BH was a bad coach and only succeeded because of extreme puck luck is BS. In just the same way the narrative that GG is doing fine and this team is the victim of bad puck luck is also BS. When you figure out what actually wins hockey games come back and we can have a real discussion about moving forward.

      When an evaluator fails to see obvious things right before their eyes, like, scoring actually matters, that’s not a good thing. When mediocrity is rewarded, like Brouwer with the A and starting on the top line and honest mistakes crucified that’s not a good thing. When failure is accepted, like a season-long terrible PP, it becomes ingrained and that’s not a good thing. When you over and over and over fail to put your best foot forward, like Hamilton on PP1 and dubious starting line-ups, that’s not a good thing. When you consistently send out your worst players after meeting adversity, like answering a goal against with the 4th line, that’s not a good thing. When failing to provide even the smallest insurance against disaster, like failing to protect against a potential qOA pick in a trade, that’s not a good thing. When you’ve had a full 2 seasons to teach and train your team and they still can’t/won’t perform simple tasks like back-checking and covering their man in the D zone, that’s not a good thing. When you overplay your starting goalie night after night after night, and wear him out long before the season is over, even when your back-up is playing great, that’s not a good thing. When you are reluctant to play your young players and put them into positions to fail when you do, like numerous call-ups who never got to play, or say Bennett playing with Brouwer and Lazar…, that’s not a good thing. When you believe that washed up players can suddenly spring back to life under you magic touch, like a Glass, Gazdic, Lazar, Stewart… that’s not a good thing. When you commit to spending to the Cap on players every year but settle for the cheapest, unproven coach you can find, who has to mold and shape and lead them all… that’s not a good thing. When you hang on to something broken or clearly not working, for WHY? …that’s not a good thing. For getting sucked in to the flavour of the month, ie that Corsi is anything more than a coincident correlation to good teams but is not predictive, that’s not a good thing……

  • Kevin R

    Ari, I dont agree with saying how Flames out chanced the Jackets last night. Jackets were all over us out of the gate & the first goal early was like bam, oh oh, here we go again. Jackets left wide open in front of the net, absolutely no semblance of any defensive system in our end. Then leading up to the 2nd goal they had way better chances. They literally walked around our guys. Once it became 2-0 you just felt the Jackets pulled back & content to play at the Flame level. This was like a rest stop for the Jackets. Torts should send GG a thank you card & basket of Easter chocolates for the easy night & 2 points. Sorry for the digression. But thats when we got some offensive zone possessions, but from what I saw, lots of perimeter passing & attempted shots into a maze of players or of course, shots that went wide. There was not set breakout of our zone that really got us any dangerous scoring chance off the rush like what we saw in 2014-15. Game was basically over after the first. I know I nodded off at different times & was checking my hockey pool score board summaries on my i-phone but I honestly am darn sure we had no breakaways all game & I don’t recall even having a 2 on 1 break or even a clean 3 on 2 break into their zone

    . I will admit, I have never seen such an unlucky team for so many games ever. Again, maybe it’s just my old age but when was the last time we totally won a game where everything went right for us. Bunches of goals scored on deflections, off players, bounces that kept coming to our guys, just a game that you walk away saying, man did we get the breaks that game. I was one of the last poor suckers that stayed & cheered like we won the Cup when we finally scored that goal, kind of making a point to the players. I noticed Stewart actually rolled his eyes when he scored.

    I have one last game I have to endure, personally I think, get rid of each & every coach & I think Treliving behind the bench would trigger a better effort than last night. Ferland got just crushed & he got up & Cole really didn’t want any part of him, but where were the other guys? This team doesn’t play like a team anymore, so what the point of having a coach behind the bench for these last 4 games.

    • Franko J

      @ Kevin R
      Last time the Flames had a few bounces and odd goals go there was last year against the AVS. I remember at least two goals being deflecting off their defence and into the net. Also something to remember that I think Avs only won a handful of games in the second half of last season. You could pretty much parallel 2016-2017 AVS to this year’s version of the Flames.

    • Bob's Hockey Stick

      the good , we won in Anaheim for once. The Bad the season overall. the Ugly three wins in march when we were fighting for playoff lives. Four if were lucky tomorrow. But given the way this sad sack has played I wouldn’t hold my breath. we need a new coaching staff , water carrier, stick person. the works. Because the group of coaches we got now can’t get the job done. Who do we replace them with ? I really don’t know anymore. I also suspect Tre and company don’t have a clue either on who to hire as replacements. It’s good Friday that’s all I got for now. Happy Easter everyone !