Blues 5, Flames 3 post-game embers: The opposite of domination

What a difference a single game can make: from near perfection to all of your flaws exposed, with very little in between.

Feel of the game

The Flames got off to a good start, with secondary scoring combining for the opening goal of the game – only the wheels fell off immediately after with the Blues tying it up 12 seconds later, not even giving anyone much of a chance to bask in the afterglow of a rookie’s first point or enjoy a skilled move from a hard-luck player. It tumbled further away after that, with the rookie defence pairing getting burned, and the Flames finding themselves down by two after 20 minutes.

But these Flames are different, right? Different forward makeup (this group is designed to score), different coach, different attitude. Only sloppy special teams struck and questionable goaltending continued, and down four goals heading into the final 20 minutes, that had to be it.

Really, all that could be asked of the Flames by that point – barring an improbable comeback – would be to win the third period, and they did that just fine, maintaining some dignity as secondary scoring worked further to put the game back within reach. Only it was too late to finally start playing that strongly, and predictably, the Flames lost, having dug themselves a hole to deep to climb out of over the first 40 minutes.

Do moral victories count for anything this early in the season? Because that’s kind of all they could muster.

The good news

Dillon Dube got the first point of his NHL career. It was unspectacular, but that doesn’t matter: what matters is that he got it. We’ve all gotta start somewhere, and this is a relatively unheralded kid (at least outside of Calgary) jumping straight to the NHL out of junior, playing centre and picking up a point. That’s awesome.

James Neal and Derek Ryan got their first goals as Flames. Hopefully there will be more coming up.

Dube and Sam Bennett might work well together, actually? Bennett’s been without a partner in crime throughout his time as a Flame, unlike Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan’s instant chemistry. After the 2017-18 season, maybe it was Mark Jankowski; then again, that line only had flashes. Maybe it’ll be Bennett and Dube? Though it’s only been one game so far in which they started clicking. I guess a positive thing here is that plenty of options remain.

It would have been extremely easy for the Flames to roll over and die, but they didn’t; they got a bit of puck luck, sure, but they did come alive in the third period. It wasn’t a loss like the ones experienced towards the end of the previous season, wherein everything and everybody was completely miserable. They faced a four-goal deficit and tried anyway. And maybe that attitude will lead to success down the line.

David Rittich looked solid in his season debut, stopping eight shots in the third period to keep giving his team a fighting chance.

The Flames keep a positive goal differential on the season: +1.

The bad news

In three of four games, Mike Smith has been a major problem. That doesn’t detract from what he did in Nashville, but he was only able to stop 19 of 24 shots for a .792 save percentage. No, the goals weren’t entirely on him – rookies playing in front of him showed their warts – but he still has to be able to keep his team in the game. In three of four games this season, that’s been a problem for him. And the eventual game-winner, the fourth goal in which he came out to play the puck, was completely avoidable. If that’s how Smith is going to get involved in the play, then maybe it’s just time for him to stop. Forever. The Flames have an extremely mobile group of defenders; let them pick it up.

Rasmus Andersson and Juuso Valimaki reminded us that they’re just a couple of kids without even 20 games of NHL experience between the two of them. It was easy to get caught up in the hype considering the stellar job they did in Nashville; this sort of performance was almost inevitable. It’ll be a learning experience, though. They’ll be fine. Just maybe not immediately.

Monahan hit the post on a penalty shot. Mark Giordano hit the post on the powerplay. There was an Austin Czarnik post in there, as well. This game was a matter of inches from being tied – though that’s something we saw in 2017-18 as well. Really, this could be good or bad news, depending on how pessimistic you’re feeling.

But speaking of Giordano on the powerplay, the Flames’ special teams cost them. They went zero-for-four on the man advantage – including a two-minute five-on-three – and only killed off four of six penalties they took (and really, that’s just an unacceptable number of penalties to begin with). They need to tighten things up. This game was a disaster, and they deserved to lose, from top to bottom.

Numbers of note

54.55% – The Flames’ 5v5 corsi throughout the game. That mostly comes from the 65.63% they posted in the third period; they were under 50% in the first two frames. Too little too late on the trying, but at least they tried?

45.45% – The 5v5 corsi Andersson and Valimaki posted together over 10:25 of ice time. Andersson also spent like a minute alongside Noah Hanifin; Valimaki almost two minutes with TJ Brodie. I’m a little surprised they weren’t split up after the first period. Doesn’t mean they’d have to be split up forever, but they were clearly hurting in the first frame.

16:58 – Valimaki’s ice time through the game, including 3:10 spent on the kill. Granted, the Flames had to kill a lot of penalties, and he was on the lower end of the penalty killing ice time (only more than Andersson, who didn’t kill any penalties at all), but that’s still a fair bit.

16:34 – Michael Stone’s ice time. As in less than Valimaki. He played 4:02 on the penalty kill, third amongst Flames defencemen, but he didn’t take any penalties this game. Valimaki did. And still got more ice time than Stone. So, that’s interesting. (Also, not for nothing, but Stone was the only Flames skater to not get any shots on net – which, considering how one of the positive aspects to his game is that he has a hard shot, is unfortunate.)

4:23 – Anthony Peluso’s ice time this game. I have no idea what Mark Jankowski could possibly have learned from watching this one.

8:48 – Michael Frolik’s ice time, which is just weird? He’s only averaged 9:17 so far this season, more than just Peluso and Jankowski. He averaged 16:55 in 2017-18. I don’t get it. Increased forward depth plays its part, yes, and Frolik had a poor season last year by his standards, but he’s still a reliable defensive presence, and just not playing him at all is weird. And he still played 3:17 on the penalty kill – the third most used penalty killing forward, behind Mikael Backlund and Ryan.

– Matthew Tkachuk has tied Gaudreau for the team lead in points.

.881% – Smith’s save percentage on the season now. It’s still early, so every new sample added causes wild fluctuations, but seriously, one out of four games has been good.

Final thought

I have two this time, the first being that bad games will happen. Hopefully they’ll happen a lot less often than the good games, but because we’re just four games in, right now everything is so much more pronounced. They’re still in a good spot right now. Because everybody is in a good spot. Because it’s the first half of October. If the Flames win in Colorado, they’ll have had a 2-1-0 road trip, and that’s something I think we’d all be pleased with.

And second: Maybe, if we say Rittich is going to start the third or the fourth game of the season, have him start the third or fourth game of the season. The Flames know they have a 36-year-old goalie with a history of injuries as their starter. He can’t play every single game. So make your schedule and stick to it, good performance in a preceding game be damned. No one player should ever be above the team, right?

Rittich starting might not have won the Flames this game, but Smith’s play sure helped them lose it.

    • TheDallyLama

      Johnny is a superstar and our best offensive guy no questions, but you’re right about that one, Isn’t it kind of just common sense to stop after the puck hits your skate directly in front of our own goal? Bennett seems to be gaining some momentum, think he’s realizing now he has a lot to prove.

  • Skylardog

    The flaws in Andersson and Valimaki’s game together were apparent in the Nashville game, but Smith bailed them out. This is not a condemnation of their game, they are young and will make mistakes. They both move the puck up ice onto the sticks of forwards so well. They just get caught out by not expecting the counter attack to come at them so quickly. Stone has shown he cannot cover for Valimaki when he gets caught. Prout seems more prepared in those situations. I think Prout tends to focus on staying back when his partner pushes offensively.

    Bennett clicks with Dube, and has a finisher in Neal that buries a chance he sets up. They then split up the line about 10 minutes later. Finally get the kid going then split up what might be working. That was a head scratcher.

    • Kevin R

      Actually, that line of Bennett-Backlund-Lindholm looked pretty darn good. They were very dangerous that 3rd period. Lindholm is a keeper thats for sure. As much as I like him on that top line, maybe we keep this line intact. Move Byng up to the top line, & have a 3rd line Neal-Ryan-Czarnik & Im concerned Dube isnt 100% so pop him down to the 4th line with Janko & Frolik.

      Blues were at home in basically a must win game before heading out on a road trip, not surprised they were a hungry team in the first two periods. UIf we could have had even 1 more period like the 3rd & Riitch in net from the start (he seemed to be in the zone) that game could have been ours or go to O/T minimum.

      • Porcupine at a balloon party

        You had me until “& Ritich in net from the start” …. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see him start and thought he played well in relief, but saying that in hindsight is just a fools game. We’ll never know. They being said, I’m looking forward to a strong game from Ritich on Saturday vs Col and will be very disappointed if he doesn’t start.

        Also side note, sit Peluso. Seriously can’t understand the argument that his 5 minutes is making the other lines better (or standing taller, or whatever). Him being on the bench doesn’t stop teams from slashing, tripping or hitting Gaudreau.

  • buts

    I wish Jonny would take a check to make a play instead of letting guys get the puck in a 50/50 situation especially on the PP. Take a hit to make a play is being a true team mate. Goaltending is a concern for sure.

  • Jobu

    Jekyl and Hyde, this club. How can one team go from a perfect game to hit garbage in two days? Fatigue? Coaching?

    Does every team have as much drastic inconsistency as the Flames do?

      • Cfan in Van

        I was just about to say that. Nashville was a good complete effort, but they weren’t perfect by any means (Smith was). The Blues were a hungrier and better structured team than the Preds were, and that was enough to topple a mediocre (not horrible) effort from the Flames.

      • Jobu

        Maybe not perfect but they were a LOT better in all 3 zones.

        Most of Smith’s shots in nashville weren’t high risk. St. Louis clearly exposed our D zone in a bad way.

        • The Beej

          Effort was a big factor. That and Smith wasnt able to cover for any of Andersons or Valimakis mistakes.

          Mistakes are going to happen with the young guys. What worries me is that aftet one good game the flames start reading their press clippings and come out with a so so effort.

          But it is still early and those types of games are gonna happen. If we are still seeing this kind of effort every other game come November then it is time to be concerned.

    • The Doctor

      I totally agree with the Jekyll and Hyde assessment, and I’m willing to cut them some slack on the basis that this group is still getting used to playing with one another. If that’s still an issue at the 40 game mark then I’d be really concerned.

  • buts

    Elliotte Friedman said on the radio that the pressure up in Edmonton is immense and implied that everyone was on a short leash except Gretzky. My suggestion is to fire McClellan and put GG in charge….that should fix things.:)

  • JusAFlamer

    Ummm, why the hate for Smith? He did not play badly, would he have liked 2 of those goals back (the 1rst and 4th) sure he would have but seriously the number of grade A chances early could have easily been 6 or 7 against. Save % for me is another of those stats like +/- that really do not tell the story. I do not hold Smith accountable except for the 4th goal and so long as that is a 1time in 50 games thing, these things happen
    Whole team looked out of their level until score effects kicked in, was a very bad first 30 min for the whole team

    • Play Jankowski

      I have to disagree, Peters said the problem on Thursday wasn’t the goaltending, I believe this is just a weak attempt to protect a 36 year old goalie. Meanwhile we bench Jankowski and talk about the errors of our two rookie defence? Why do goalies always get special treatment? The back breaker in that game was the 4th goal which was 100% Smith’s fault. Those goals should rarely happen, but the way he plays expect lots more where that came from. If Peters treated Smith the way he has Jankowski, Smith would be starting for Stockton by now.

  • freethe flames

    One of the advantages of being retired is that you can watch things when no one is around and can watch a game without the emotion of the game. I just finished watching the game as I PVRed it. Sometimes you win games as a team (the Nashville game) and sometimes you lose as team (last night vs St L). What amazes me is people’s criticisms and praise of players based upon their feelings on players rather than what actually happened in the game.

    Ari starts by saying that the Flames started well; but that is just not true and it was not true when I watched the first period in real time nor again on the recording. The first 7 minutes were all the Blues and had Smith not been sharp we could have been down 2 or 3 goals by then. After that Allen out played Smith but the first 6/7 minutes he was sharp. First goal against: that is a team goal against although I think Smith should have it; here’s the sequence the Flames score and BP leaves the Dube line on; the puck goes into the Blues zone but gets head manned and Neal makes a have a$$ed effort on the check; Dube coasts back and Hannifin screens Smith and the puck goes under Smith’s arm pit(if he’s further out it hits hi in the chest). Goal two; the goat is Andersson as he turns the puck over but he does not get any help from Lindholm or Monahan getting back. Goal 3 where is the center covering his man.(that might have been the goal where Johnny does not cover very well) Goal 4 all on Smith. Goal 5 a deflection off of Czarnik on the PK.

    The power play goes away. On an early power play Dube has an unforced turnover. Monahan hits a post on a penalty shot (that could have changed the game) then the PP does not score. 5 on 3 for over a minute and a half and no Tkachuk on the 5 on 3; if we score then things change as well.

    People here slam guys who they hate even if they have a good game. One great example is Stone; I made a point of watching him this morning on tape, yes he did not record a shot on net(boy I wish he would hit the net when he does shoot) but he was very solid defensively; he pinched when he should have, he hit guys along the boards, he won more puck battles than he lost, he was positionally sound most of the night. He was not the reason we lost this game.

    People want to attack players for bad games I get it but lay blame on guys when they have bad games; don’t lay so many absolutes on players. Give credit where credit is due on a given night and lay blame where it’s due as well.

    • Dougiefred

      People here attack players they see as blocking “their boy” who is eating popcorn at the time, or still in Stockton. Doesn’t matter if they play well or not

    • Chucky

      Not quite going to buy the bad start you saw. The Blues came out flying like a team that had lost 2 in a row, the Flames managed to contain this with solid play and good defensive coverage. They gave up a few good opportunities but a good start was to weather the storm and start with a lead.
      While I don’t think it is a major problem, this was probably a coach’s loss. I would be surprised if we see the same scenario play out because Peters is a bright coach. The situation that I see is that he prepared them for the hard start by the Blues and probably emphasized getting the first goal. I don’t think he anticipated the “we got this” attitude that allowed the Blues to come back and go ahead. I am also not sure that he anticipated the wear and tear on a 36 year old goaltender who gets a 43 save shutout.
      Once again Peters is a bright guy and he will figure this out quickly, there is a learning curve players to coach and coach to players, they just moved along that curve and expect better after the next shutout. The comeback in the third period shows how he is adapting to game situations, it is refreshing to always have hope because the coaching staff can make changes on the fly.

      • freethe flames

        Go and watch the first 7 minutes again. The Blues were flying and the Flames were lost; Smith made some important saves. Did the Flames have a couple of push back shifts in the first 7 minutes; yes but they were short and resulted in no significant scoring chances.

    • everton fc

      I respect your post.

      Funny how many commented on Czarnik’s poor defencive play, at times “soft”… But Wills and “Lombo” on the FAN both praised Czarnik’s willingness to play defence. I listened on the radio, so I get a different take, I suppose.

      Still think Hathaway would be a good addition to this lineup. And if Rittich does well in Denver, leave him in, for the next start.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Well put. There is an article in the Athletic about Smith and it is bang on. I missed the tutorial on embedding text so I will sum it up by saying the author breaks down Smith’s game as “ High risk/High reward”. He shows video evidence of the good and the bad and there is a lot of both…as we have seen over the last 2 games. I think for Calgary to be a contender they need to find consistency.

  • brodiegio4life

    Rittich should’ve started this game. Peters is falling into the same trap GG fell into last year by riding a 36 year old goalie instead of spacing out his starts. Hopefull Rittich gets in next game.

    Also thought Ari made a great point, Smith’s puck playing is getting ridiculous. Like he literally plays it every single time most of the time its completely unnecessary. There was a play when he literally left the net to play the puck while St.Louis was set up in the flames zone on the PK and gave it away and it almost led to a goal against. It’s gonna be a long year if he keeps this up

    • Cfan in Van

      I was already sick of it last year, and thought that Peters might try to reel it in a bit. Smith seems to be as “active” as ever though, if not more so. At the beginning of last season, I thought it would likely prevent more goals against than it led to, but I’m firmly in the opposite camp now.
      It’s like other teams start to salivate when they seem him leave the crease. It also promotes Smith to be overly aggressive with contact and interference, which isn’t a good thing for a goalie.

      • The Doctor

        I was at the first game in Vancouver and Smith was doing stupid wandering and puck(mis)handling stuff then. I was cringing every time he did it. Somebody should remotely deliver an electric shock to Smith every time he starts doing that.

      • brodiegio4life

        Exactly, we all know teams are doing their scouting and watching video and they damn well know exactly what smith is gonna do. I have no doubt after every dump in they head to the boards cause they know smith is gonna inevitably just rim it around the boards for no reason.

    • Cfan in Van

      For anyone interested, an article just popped up on The Athletic about “Mike Smiths Hyper-Aggressive Tenancies”. Perfect work-fodder for the late-morning.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Perhaps that is where Smith needs to fine tune his game as he gets older. He clearly does not. Have the foot speed or processing speed to match the high tempo game so he may need to learn to play a more quit game.

    • The Beej

      Easy to say Rittich should have started in hindsight.

      And I dont disagree.

      But it only counts if you post that opinion in the pregame write up. No5 the post game write up.

      Anyone can say that a goalie should not have started after a stinker and be right 100% of the time.

      If you are going to post your opinion on the starter do it where it is relevant in the pre game write up.

    • buts

      I sure hope coach’s aren’t scared of sitting Smith. I hope he’s not one of those players that pouts if they are not playing with so and so or on special teams or not starting.

  • KeepitReal

    The Blues are a good team, they deserved the 2 pts. We made it too easy for them in the d-zone. Wasn’t Smitty’s best game but he probably stopped a couple pucks in Nashville that should have gone in so things tend to average out over the course of a season. I’d like Rittich to get more exposure not just relief due to Smith being fatigued or getting torched for 5+ goals.

  • Burnward

    To be honest, .500 from the first four games is about what I expected.

    Couple stinkers, couple decent outings. Early season woes.

    After 10 games as long as they are no worse than 5-5, it’s time to run.


  • Baalzamon

    So if Rittich has a good game on Saturday he gets another start right? Since Smith got to pre-empt Rittich?

    Smith has not solidified himself as the starter. If Rittich plays well enough to take the job he should get it. Smith won’t be back next year. Rittich will.

    • Willi P

      Peters fell into the same trap as GG. Smith play a great game and even though Rittich was scheduled to start, I could see Smith going to the coach and begging for the Blues start. Hopefully Peters learn from this AND, like you say, if Rittich gets on a roll, let him play a few in a row.

    • Sobueno

      One of my long-shot predictions for the year is that Rittich takes the starter role if given a chance. Probably wishful thinking, but interested to see how he plays!

  • calgaryfan

    Could Johnny get rid of the short gloves and get an old school pair that are higher up the wrist. Don’t tell me the short gloves are necessary, lots of great puck handlers in the past with the old equipment. Maybe the trainers can add some protection to the wrist. The wrist slashes on Johnny are not going to stop as long as it works. If he keeps reacting like he does they will continue. I am not saying it doesn’t hurt just saying the Flames need to find a solution.

  • Korcan

    Why calgary lost? It’s best players had an off game, it’s starting goalie did too, it’s powerplay was bad because it is dependent on the best players performing well, the pk was bad because it is dependent on the starting goalie playing well. Pretty much as simple as that.

    Positives? Dube, Bennett, and Neal finally got rewarded for what has been some strong performances, some other depth players played well and also got rewarded, Andersson bounced back after his big blooper instead of folding, Brodie is really starting to look like the Brodie of old, and Rittich looked good in relief — here’s hoping that will continue on Saturday.

    Bold prediction: Rittich will play great, showing he learned and has grown from last season’s experience and, as Smith continues to struggle with inconsistency, Rittich will start getting more and more games with the season ending having him equal Smitty in starts, bettering him in wins, AND being Calgary’s starter going into the playoffs where he plays awesome! (Okay, admitted wishful thinking here, but hey wouldn’t it be great?).

    • Sea of Redd

      Flames lost because of 3 mistakes that can easily be rectified. Smith let in a bad goal, gave one away behind the net (when is he gonna learn to stay in the net), and a bad giveaway by Anderson.

      On the bright side, first game I saw someone other then Monahan. Gaudreau, Lindholm or Tkatchuk do something with the puck. Hope they can put it all together sooner then later.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I am not sure it matters what goalie we have in if the defense keeps letting players get behind them. Smith’s performance anvd the timely PP scoring against Nashville covered some of the warts.

  • Off the wall

    I think we need to remind ourselves that Treliving has built a fast, skilled team.
    One thing I believe he didn’t address, was a physically tough team. Look at St. Louis. They are BIG, physical and have talent.

    Same with Washington, who -by the way, won the Stanley Cup.
    I don’t know how many hits we had against St.Louis, but I can tell you, it had to be single digits.
    Doesn’t anyone HIT in hockey?
    It was sad watching Johnny get creamed the last two games.
    He might be tough, however how long is he going to last, if the opposing team has a heyday with him?

    Que Hathaway. At least he’ll hit.
    Name me all the players who have an edge to their game?
    Bennett, Tkachuk, Giordano, and our broken face Hamonic.

    I’m going to start sounding like Mickey, however is he wrong?
    We could have had Reaves. Big mistake by Treliving. Functional toughness not only wins you games, it creates an atmosphere of solidarity. I’m not saying Johnny won’t get checked or slashed, however when you have a monster who can send a message to the opponent, they take notice.

    We’re built for speed and offence. When you get to the games that start to really matter, watch what happens. A physical game trumps speed.

    • calgaryfan

      A tough guy who plays 5 minutes a games does not help that much. The blues have a big team especially the defence. I am sure the Blues could care less about Peluso or any other 5 minute player. Treliving knows this but finding some size that can play is obviously not easy. The Blues were finishing their. checks and for the most part playing their game. I think the Flames need to keep playing with speed and try to play ahead or at least keep the score close, when the opponent gets a 2 or 3 goal cushion they can turn up the cheap stuff.

    • ZZMiddle

      And herein lies the problem OTW. Poor drafting by the Flames. It’s like they wanted to have the smallest, softest team in the league. Did you see the Jets vs Preds last night? Flames cant play in those kinda games. We get destroyed. And people still want to add Mangi? Kylington? With Phillips on the way? Foo? Dube, looking good but just again makes us smaller. Flames are the softest team in the NHL. Drafted and built to be. Small, soft forwards. Small, soft defense. I can only hope for an entertaining style, because there will be no going deep in playoffs for this team. Note to Flames mgmt., watch Chevy in Winnipeg, he has the proper plan for speed, size, toughness that leads to championships.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Do I need to cite the Tampa Bay model and their plethora of tiny perfect players? The Pens recently won two cups without any large men with violent on-ice proclivities.

        Sutter as GM drafted horribly as he was way too fond of drafting big physical guys with dubious hockey-palying credentials.

        • ZZMiddle

          Its about being a soft player Nigel. Like Monahan. Not small, but zero toughness. Wont stick up for teammates, first guy leaving a scrum, just soft, unlike lets say Crosby, who is the opposite of soft. Its not a size thing, its a mental thing. Pens win cause they will stick their nose in, Flames players put their head down and skate away. Flames have skill without toughness. Monahan, Bac’s, Fro, Brodie, the list of soft players goes on and on, quicker to name the couple players that have toughness, and young Mr. Tchuck is not going to lead these guys into battle, they dont have. But you keep telling yourself this soft game will lead to a championship dude, as long as the organization can keep selling you hope, the paychecks roll in, and paychecks is what this whole thing is really about.

      • Off the wall

        ZZ, I’ll take Winnipeg over Toronto and their All Star cast any day.
        Toronto will light it up at the beginning, and every Leafs fan will claim sheer dominance, however the Jets will be the team that’ll knock Toronto down a few pegs.. pun intended!

    • everton fc

      We traded Ferland. He provided what you are seeking, which is why he didn’t have to fight much. Remember, though, when Rinaldo gave a cheap shot to Stajan. Who was the one who responded?


      People say Hathaway can’t fight. He’s not horrible, but I get that’s not his #1 role here. But at least he’s willing to stick up for his teammates. And can provide more “hockey” than Reeves and Peluso. And Rinaldo. And so on.

      It’s why Iginla was so great to have, here. And Engelland. And Regehr. Even Sarich served that role well – a guy who could respond, but also play a regular shift, in the NHL. We don’t have a Byfuglien. Nor a Wilson. Nor a Roussel.

    • Skylardog

      Game score effects. Never see it at the end of the season, just some crazy fancy stat that the “experts” say should have been good enough to make the playoffs, but bad luck got in the way.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Against Nashville, Smitty was a one-man team who single-handedly led the team to victory against an opponent who outplayed them. In St. Louis, the same Smitty was shaky and the team failed to play a full 60 minutes. Welcome to Billy Peters style hockey. Funny, but it looks remarkable similar to Gully style, and he outcomes are still the same.

    We can all take comfort in saying that it was only the fourth game and that Peters is still imprinting his brand on the club so that they aren’t yet his team, and that is fair ball. But at some point within the next two months, this grace period will expire, and then Peters will indeed have to show the real identity of his team.

    • calgaryfan

      Not even close to GG style, just watch the game and see the puck movement forward not sideways, trying to forecheck aggressively and willing to change lineups.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Results trump style. The last 2 games were very reminiscent of what I saw under Gully. Against Nashville, I saw Smitty flashback to his All-Stat form of early last season and steal the win. Against St. Louis, I saw a sloppy Flames’ team give not put in a solid 60 minutes. An over-reliance on Smitty and the club not giving a 60-minute effort were two hallmarks of Gully’s Flames last season. The last two games might have been a carryover of last season’s bad habits or it could mean the club is backsliding into its bad, old ways, something Peters had better get on ASAP.

  • Just.Visiting

    Some miscellaneous observations…..

    The team is a lot faster and more engaged than last year. Although they didn’t tie the score last night, they played with a lot of emotion in the third period, which is a great sign for the rest of the season relative to what we’d seen under GG.

    Smith should only go behind the net after the puck when no one from the opposing team is remotely close to him.

    BP should have followed his initial instinct and rested Smith to mitigate the potential for burnout that GG allowed to happen last year.

    I’m liking the growth I’m seeing in Valimaki and Ras so far.

    Bennett is showing great jump. Lindholm and Hanifin are fitting in really well.

    I have a major growing concern about how BP uses (or more accurately doesn’t use) his fourth line. I think he’s on a path in which he’s going to burn out the top two lines and frustrate the 4th line players enormously through lack of playing time. While there’s a time for shortening the bench, I don’t think it’s sustainable over a long period. In addition, it leaves the other players poorly prepared to play up for the inevitable injuries, etc. that occur.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Even under Gully, the Flames showed bursts of emotion during games and kicked up the GAS meter, but the problem was that on too few game nights, the meter ran the whole night. I didn’t see much movement on the GAS meter the last two games, save for Smitty in Nashville. The club also didn’t look fully locked in on opening night.

    • Off the wall

      Probably the most sensible post yet. Good job JV.

      The 4th line has to be given more than 5-7 minutes a night, if we expect anything from them.
      How do you get into the game when you’re essentially getting 2 shifts a period?

      There’s absolutely no reason for Peters to give 22 minutes to our first line, 18 minutes to our 2nd line, 14 minutes to our 3rd and 6 minutes to our 4th.

      My figures are a rough estimate. Don’t get caught up in the minutes I used.
      It the idea of overplaying you’re top line and underplaying your energy line.

      If there’s one thing I’m going to harp on Rebar, it’s his usage of lines. Spread it out..

  • FlamesFanFromMI

    Okay what I saw was this
    The secondary line scored ( Neal, Doc). Good thing. Bannet was great. Dube is awesome for a Rookie. If Mony scores on palenty shot then it be quite different game. Teams figured out if they stop Jonny on power play ( by hitting/slashing ) then power play is not good as second unit on PP is no good. They start flat , why only on the 4th game of season? Why? No clue. Stone well not only he can’t hit the net with his shot but he can’t take a hit without going down(it happened twice) why? I have no clue. Don’t you play the game because you are passionate? If so where is the passion in Stone’s game? Mostly he look like deer in headlights ( I been big advocate of NOT trading him). Last year for opposing teams the game plan was simple stop the first line and you will win the game. Wasn’t last night’s game ( first 40 minutes) reminded of the same? I am not sure what the issue is but the end result shouldn’t be same as last year. I hope they get the S together and play real hockey. I don’t mind the losing as long as their is an honest effort which I saw in third period which was too little too late. I love to have luxury of making millions of dollars and decide not to show up for work on game night.

  • snotss

    i’ll say give the flames goal tending till the end of october to see how things play out…we will find out if bt and his questionable goalie inactivity in the off season bites him in the ass