Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary’s postseason demise is simple to understand

Calgary’s first round loss to Colorado is one of the more disappointing finishes I can remember in this city. Sure, expectations were sky high after the best regular season in 30 years, but it goes beyond that. The Flames were a shadow of the team they were en route to nailing down the top seed in the West and it’s not hard to pinpoint why.

Major departure

Calgary won 50 games during the regular season because, well, they were legitimately one of the league’s best teams. The Flames were the league’s fifth-best possession team, allowed the league’s fewest shots per game, and limited scoring chances at an elite level. That all went out the window as soon as the puck dropped in Game 1.

Regular Season Playoffs
53.8 52.7 45.1 43.8

The Avalanche deserve a ton of credit; they were bought in, dangerous, and consistent all series long. They executed a perfect game plan and 100% deserve to be moving on. From a Calgary perspective, though, it’s hard to wrap your head around how lost they looked for the vast majority of their four straight losses. With all they accomplished on merit during the regular season, you’d think the Flames might have at least mustered a response.

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Calgary led the league averaging 28.1 shots against per game over 82 regular season games. In five playoff games, they averaged 41.0, which included a pair of consecutive 50+ debacles in Denver, which was a franchise first. Yes, Colorado deserves a great deal of credit for how they played, but the Flames were totally off-brand, which didn’t allow anything close to an answer.

Disappearing act

Johnny Gaudreau

“We just need to play our game,” might have been the most frequent seven words uttered during Calgary’s eight days in the playoffs. Well, it’s hard for a team to play “their game” when their most important players are missing in action. That’s not me using an overused cliche, either.

Bottom line, the Flames got next to nothing from the players they needed the most from. Remember midway through the season when there was a fun debate about whether Calgary or Colorado had the NHL’s most dangerous line? That seems like a million years ago after what we witnessed during five head-to-head showdowns, which included a 4-0 win for the Flames.

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Player PTS HDCF% Player PTS HDCF%
Sean Monahan 2 40.0 Mikko Rantanen 9 61.1
Elias Lindholm 2 39.3 Nathan MacKinnon 8 57.8
Johnny Gaudreau 1 35.5 Gabriel Landeskog 4 63.6

We all know the Avalanche got more from their best forwards, but when you contrast it like above it’s even more stunning. Not only did Calgary’s top trio accomplish little offensively, they hurt the team countless times with their puck management and work defensively. High danger data courtesy Natural Stat Trick.

Monahan’s play was frighteningly bad and I’m almost hoping we find out in the coming days he was playing through a significant injury. Gaudreau was a disaster defensively and allowed frustration to win the day; Colorado had a 20-11 edge in high danger chances at five-on-five when he was on the ice. And, while Lindholm had noticeable moments, he was nowhere near as effective as the team needed him to be.

But the top line wasn’t alone in their “Invisible Man” imitations. Mark Giordano will almost certainly be named a Norris Trophy finalist later today and deserves to be. But as much as it’s uncomfortable to point fingers at the captain, Giordano wasn’t a positive impact maker against the Avalanche. It was the opposite, in fact, as Giordano struggled defensively and had all kinds of issues with Colorado’s speed.

Regular Season Playoffs
CF% P/60 CF% P/60
57.3 1.8 45.4 0.0

Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk round out the group of top players and neither performed overly well. It’s worrying to see an entire core fall off a cliff and raises crucial offseason questions for general manager Brad Treliving. Was this a one-off? Can this disappointment turn into a positive learning experience? Do these guys have what it takes to perform in the postseason?

A missed opportunity

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If you had told me Colorado would be winning this series in five prior to it starting, I would have been certain goaltending would have been a main reason why. That’s not the case at all. In fact, goaltending was the least of Calgary’s concerns thanks to Mike Smith’s heroics. It’s too bad his efforts were wasted.

Smith started all five games and gave the Flames three of the best goaltending performances they’ve gotten in a decade. Smith’s work in Games 1, 2, and 4 were reminiscent of Miikka Kiprusoff keeping an overmatched team afloat against superior opponents like Detroit, Chicago, and San Jose. In the end, Smith’s 0.917 save percentage is the fifth-best playoff performance (minimum five games) since the team moved to Calgary.

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Season Goalie GP SV%
2006-07 Mikka Kiprusoff 6 0.929
2003-04 Mikka Kiprusoff 26 0.928
2005-06 Mikka Kiprusoff 7 0.921
2014-15 Jonas Hiller 7 0.919
2018-19 Mike Smith 5 0.917

You can critique Smith for Game 3 or 5 if you want, but that seems fruitless knowing how poorly his team played in front. I thought Smith was stellar and his story is one of the few positives coming out of this playoff loss. Whether you think he earned the Game 1 start or not, he came to play once the postseason puck dropped. It might not be with the Flames, but I think Smith has done enough to earn another NHL contract.

Picking up the pieces

If Calgary had played their best and were beaten by the better team, I feel like this loss would be easier for fans to swallow. Well, they were definitely beat by the better team, but can anyone in that locker room say they’re happy with their effort? I’m not saying this comes from lack of trying or effort, but as hard as they tried, the Flames executed poorly and got their teeth kicked in.

The hope is Calgary’s top players take this feeling and use it if/when they qualify for the 2020 postseason. For the first time in a while, the Flames will enter next season in “talk to me in April” territory, which means a good regular season isn’t going to cut it for most fans. It’s easy to pinpoint why Calgary went out so quickly this year; unfortunately it’s going to take another year to determine if those issues are fixed.

      • _vntony

        You don’t have to be a first round pick to be dominant.
        What’s wrong with wanting your players to take another step in the playoffs and be absolutely dominant?
        What about a guy like Datsyuk who was dominant in his time. Drafted 171st overall, won a few cups.
        Brad Marchand drafted in the 3rd round his year. Bergeron drafted in the second round.
        The list could go on and on.

        Point is, MacKinnon was able to step up and carry his team when called upon. Why couldn’t our top guys do that?

        • Derzie

          Because they cannot. We all have 1 of 2 reactions when things get pressured: fight or flight. We have too many guys on the team in the ‘flight’ category. Management needs to adjust how they recruit character.

          • _vntony

            Right, I agree with you completely. However, I just don’t like the narrative that albertabeef is spouting. That because Monahan or Gaudreau aren’t first round picks, they should not be expected to show up to the big show?
            Come on, let’s stop giving these guys an easy way out. They’re paid the big bucks to show up when it matters the most.

          • The Beej

            Not sure I agree. This team is young. This will be a learning experience for them that:

            1. you truly have to elevate your game
            2. Nice pretty passing plays dont get the job done in the playoffs. You have to shoot more and drive the net. How many times during the regular season were you frustrated watching them overpass instead of shooting the puck. They didnt learn that lesson because it didnt cost them then and they were able to get by. Well now they have learned that lesson and it be something they can adjust in their game.
            3. Play smart. Giveaways. Giveaways killed them. They forced passes that werent there. Passed when they should have shot.

            You say this team is flight not fight. I didnt see that at all. We hit enough. But we didnt win the battles (my first point) and we gave the puck away a ton. (Points 2 and 3) we gave it way to Mackinnon how many times. It doesnt matter what line you are on you have to be aware who is on the ice against you and play a smarter game. Keep things simple.

            To dump on this team is fair but to say they are weak and not a playoff team after 5 games is a little silly. Games 2 and 4 could have gone their way very easily and we could be watching hockey tonight. These are things this team can learn from.

            That said. If moving any of the core pieces results in an upgrade Im all for it. But if you are going to make a knee jerk reaction and just get rid of players because of a silly playoff narrative that is fundamentally stupid. Thats what the oilers have done and it doesnt help. Is Monahan a true #1? Maybe not. But you dont move him unlesd you have a true #1 coming back. That said I would strongly consider Monahan + Brodie + our 1st for Malkin or Kopitar.

          • Albertabeef

            I’m not saying that should not step up when the time comes. I’m just saying please keep your man-crush with Mackinnon to yourself. There is a reason he went first overall. Guys like him aren’t even available first overall every single draft year, let alone easy to find in later picks or rounds for that matter. No Johnny and Mony are not him, everyone is different. Is it fair to ask a player to play outside of their capabilities? Are we over valuing players and asking too much more than they can give? Maybe, maybe not. Mony and Johnny have had better playoffs. Mony scored in every game last time against the Ducks. Maybe Mony will have a better year next year with a summer of training instead of summer of rehab. Maybe we will find pay dirt with one of our gritty Slovaks. Tkachuk has been mostly invisible offensively in both of his playoff years so far. He is supposed to be the noticeable one. He needs to be better going forward.

        • Albertabeef

          Ya guys like that are rare. When you find guys like that it’s mostly luck more than good management. I just don’t understand why people cry about players we don’t have. We have to do the best with what we have and what is available to us. Envy is never pretty.

  • Willi P

    Game 4 was the turning point. Clearly it was not working and Bill Peters et al were not ready to make substantial changes to the lines/line up to mix it up and get Colorado of their game.

  • MDG1600

    Pop up ad is covering the comment box with no apparent way to close it down. If Flames Nation want people to continue to frequent this site they need to do something about this. I understand the need for ads but they don’t need to be so intrusive and bloody annoying.

  • jupiter

    Agree with all and think it’s worth adding that the quality of officiating is no where near consistent enough to consider them professional.How many times during any of the first 4 games in any series did you hear the play by play announcers say that they had no idea what it would take for a official to call a penalty.

    All this inconsistency while the league will be moving forward with other professional sports in online gambling.Not sure how the odds makers could be happy with what they have seen so far from the NHL ,but i doubt they want to lose their shorts over inconsistent officials. It will require a major clean -up.

    • Brian Burkee

      Pleeeeease enough with the “we never win because of the refs”. Read team blog websites from across the league. They all feel the same way. Every fan base thinks the refs are against them (especially canadian teams) but Calgary seems to think even Bettman is in on this conspiracy. The refs didn’t make the top line of Johnny mony lindy get outscored 21-5. The refs didn’t trade for Neal.

      • jupiter

        You must have a way to handicap the officiating . Maybe you could let the rest of us in on it. I did not blame the re;s for Calgary’s poor performance , by the way, i pointed out it’s inconsistency. Comprehension 101.

    • Kevin R

      I wouldnt get too worried about the bookies because of what I agree is the most inconsistent officiating in pro sports because all they will do is tinker with the payouts & odds to accommodate the League & officiating factors to maintain parity in the league. Taking underdogs will only pay a fraction of what it would pay in other sports. Bookies win because there will be so many suckers betting the underdogs to an extreme.

  • MDG1600

    Remember the good old days when people were debating if coach of the year should be Peters or Cooper? A lot went wrong for Calgary in the playoffs and Bill Peters coaching needs to be added to the list. Strategically I did not see much change to Calgarys game plans even though Colorado clearly had the playbook on how the Flames like to breakout of their own zone. It was frigging unbelievable how many times Calgary turned the puck over at the blueline trying to breakout of their own end .

    • LannyMac

      Excellent assessment MGD as much as there are some players on this team that I think can learn from this there are others I think are ingrained in there ways and will never be effective playoff performers. I’m curious to know where Peters and the coaching staff lie in that continuum. As much as the players didn’t deliver I believe the coaching staff fell way short of the ideal.

      • Speed Kills

        We all knew this as fans, watching teams like Dallas, canucks etc play a tight forecheck and pressure pace crippled & erased the Flames One Dimensional gamer plan. We saw this over and over in the Reg-Season yet The coaching staff had Zero Back-up game plan for opposition who played the Flames this style… Petters better figure out a New Successful Secondary Style to Coach this team or good teams will adjust and beat us on a regular basis. The reason Bill/Players “Had No Answer” Is Just That… They Better expand the ~ Game Plan Tool Box ~ or One and Done will be the epitaph on many a Flames post Seasons.

          • Kneedroptalbot

            Speed killed the Flames, they scored many goals on odd man rushs and breakouts in the regular season. Colorado took that away and was faster in all 3 zones. Essential they had no time to make plays and were forced to be a dump and chase team. Even then they usually didn’t win many battles along the boards. Colorado’s PP was very good as well.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Good points. What I saw, Gio didn’t lead the troops, that’s the captain’s responsibility.
    Peter’s was schooled, poor game planning. Plus our best players didn’t show up for the most important series, hard to understand how you can’t raise your level of play for the Stanley Cup.

    • Brian Burkee

      Gio is getting tired… you can tell by all the grey hair. 38 years old. How much longer does the window stay open? Calgary’s strength has usually always been defence. If that starts to decline then the flames are in trouble. This forward group does not have the testicular fortitude to carry an average d core.

  • Franko J

    Coming from this fan Pat, I think what was the most disappointing aspect of this series was how the whole team just fell apart and was so fragile to adversity. As the old saying goes “the playoffs are a different game”, whether Peters and his coaching staff tried to tell the players what was to come starting April 10th, they either ignored his advice or just didn’t care. The issue won’t be easily fixed because for a second straight season the core group just cannot raise their level of play when it is needed the most. When the games become that much tougher and harder our so called best players on this team just cannot rise to the occasion. Fundamentally there is no easy solution to this dilemma facing Treliving this off season.
    No if the Flames lost in the same fashion in the second or third round there would be a different narrative. However since the expectations were to make it past the first round and this team flopped that is my major concern going forward. I just don’t think the top end skill and talent on this team have the necessary top end compete and fortitude to win the most difficult games.

  • snotss

    just another playoff choke job plain and simple….will bt have the balls to fix a obvious core player issue or does he hope it does’t happen again..and do nothing…………..its not like the flames have choked before……………oh wait that seems to be the norm every year…are they cursed…but its an on going problem when ever they make the playoffs it seems….hope this is the last choke job but i don’t know??????????

  • calgaryfan

    Not a referee problem, not a coaching problem, the players plain and simple were not good enough. They were not a good team for the last 2 months of the season. Other teams picked up the pace after the all star break and the Flames did not. Treliving and his staff probably know which players need to go and what needs to be done this summer.

    • Albertabeef

      Yes but some of that falls on the coach. Gio and Hamonic were horrible on the PK together in the regular season. For BP to keep throwing them out together in the playoffs is complete madness. No other Dmen were scored on during a power play in the playoffs. Not really sure how much faith I have in BP going forward.

        • Speed Kills

          More like ~1X3 Square Aluminum Tubing~!!!!! … Fine…. I’ll give Some leash due to his First Playoffs… But really… Flames better bring in some Serious Playoff EXP Assistant Coach to help next year or…. more of this kind of finish I would imagine.

          • Albertabeef

            @BMN I don’t know. Three coaches and a bunch of crappy goalies have done it in 3 of the last 5 years. I think almost any old coach should get this team into the playoffs. If GG could his first year, anyone can. We are arguably better today than 2 years ago.

    • Brian Burkee

      Yes but the coach should have seen the problem with the players and there demeanour. At what point was he going to lose his sh!t on such an uninspired group. They played like crap since the all star break. Sorry but that’s not just on the core players but it’s also on the coach. Otherwise why even have a coach.

    • Kevin R

      Not totally agreeing with you. After the All Star break the Backlund line & the Ryan line really stepped up & won us some games. The first & third lines went missing after the break. I think Peters got a valuable but expensive education not to ignore some flags. Maybe Tre should have gotten a rental to shake up the top 6. Guys like Zuccarello & Nyquist went for reasonable prices. Hoping that top line was just going to flip the switch come playoff time maybe wasnt proactive enough. Also, we sorely lacked an answer to players like Zadorov to get our key guys off their games. We also lacked having a Zadorov type player in our backend to get their big stars off their games. I dont think there are any one answers what happened, just the sum of many things that totally took us off our game. Im sure they are asking the same questions in Tampa.

    • Skylardog

      As a coach, you have the responsibility to ice the best possible lineup for the playoffs and for each game. When you never explored the depth players ability to perform, and left the lines and line ups stagnant despite locking up a playoff spot early, a coach should take a huge part of the blame.

      He left a totally ineffective top line together for 36 games after the all star break. How is he not complicit in the failure?

      • calgaryfan

        I know what you are saying but who would have made a difference on the number 1 line? The GM has a lot to do with players ice time. I am sure the coach would have liked to send Neal to Stockton and benched some top end players at times but the Flames organization has never managed like that. The Flames need to quit coddling their players and up the expectations. I would have no issue with them trading anyone from this team if it will make the team better. Tired of Gaudreau yapping at the refs, tired of Tkachuk grabbing his face and looking at the refs, tired of Monahan coasting, I could go on. These players need to man up. They all talk the talk but don’t show up. Rant over, Sorry!

      • Toma41

        You kept saying this since the all star break. But certain people thought with emotion and kept trying to justify the 1st lines terrible play (Monahan’s especially). I dont know why people thought after 36(!!!) poorly played games the top line would all of a sudden flip a switch.

  • Director772

    Why did we play so poorly? Sure we will learn that there was some injuries but was everyone injured? Were the Avs that much the better team? We were so much better in the regular season, why couldn’t we bring it in the playoffs?

  • Forrest Grump

    Stats are all great and that when analyzing after the fact…What’s the stat for heart and compete? Trelliving talked about that after last season, apparently he didn’t move enough of those guys.

  • Off the wall

    My points in the playoff pool were great… up until now.

    I’m going to drop like a boulder in water. I picked Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm, Tkachuk and Giordano. The fab 5.

    I really thought we would make some noise. I certainly didn’t expect a mere 10 points in total between those 5.

    Colorado’s top 5 accounted for 30 points in 5 games. 3x better production than our top 5. That sums up our playoffs.

    Can I have a mulligan on my Playoff Pool choices?

  • Sterls

    The theme of this playoffs may be upsets. Tampa & Calgary out. With Winnipeg losing last night and both San Jose and Nashville on the ropes going into game 6 in hostile territory, we may see the top 4 seeds in the west fall in the first round. The Leafs have the opportunity to knock of Boston out east. If that happens the top 3 teams overall are out. Talk about Parity.

  • Budgie

    How to be ‘hot’ coming into the playoffs? St Louis and Colorado are hot-regular season is to make the playoffs and then get on a roll in the last games of the season, or rest your top players instead of letting them play for their point totals. Monahan was gassed, how about resting the top players once you’ve been assured of your top finish and home ice advantage? MacKinnon ran over Calgary

  • Albertabeef

    Oh sure blame the first/second line. Just don’t mention the Flames never scored once while Jankowski was on the ice. Ryan express line only scored one goal together in five games(Ryan scored his not with Mange and Hath). Our depth disappeared just as much as the big guns.

    • Forrest Grump

      outside of Bennett and, although it pains me to say, Smith, it’s hard pressed to find anyone that competed. However, you look at the offensive zone starts for first line compared to Ryan’s line, you take in to consideration the ice time the first line gobbles up compared to others, plus their chances on power play. First line really sucked in the playoffs.

  • TrevorKidd37

    One good take away from all of this was seeing how Sam Bennett is built for the playoffs; he looked great on all 200 feet of the ice, and was the most physical player in the series. The beauty about Bennett is that’s he’s still a kid and is very much developing into a power forward. Sure, maybe he’s not what we expected out of a player that went 4th overall, but he’s the kind of player the Flames need on their roster for subsequent playoff rounds.

      • LannyMac

        @willi Bennett can’t play that way in the regular season no player can. The best example I can see of that is Bouma played a very physical game, game in and game out because he new he might have to to stay in the league but even the toughest guys bodies will deteriorate at that pace. Some play a relatively physical game in the regular season but no where near the grit and pace of the playoffs.

    • Kevin R

      So you think the Oilers will have a GM prior to the draft? Might be nice to hire him a week before so that he has time to trade that 8th over all pick or decide to maybe keep it from all that reliable intel from Oiler scouts.

    • Luter 1

      Most fans like the toe-drags, the between the legs, the hotdog stuff and lots of goals. The Flames did that in spades during the season. My concern coming into the year and throughout the year was their toughness and whether or not that lack of toughness would cause grief come playoff time. I never expected the Avs would have put Johnny, Mony and Brody running but they did and we had no answer. We could come back with 120 points next year and I would dare to say not have playoff success with this group. Too many smaller, soft players or timid larger players. The list is long – Johnny, Mony, Backs, Frolik, Ryan, Czarnik, Janks, Neal, then backend – Brodie, Hanifin, Kylington. The rest of the squad not named is less than intimidating by any means. We have good assets, let’s look for a little sandpaper to support our talent. And yes we need a big tough defenceman man every good team has one. Gubranson comes to mind, maybe cheap.

      • LannyMac

        I think Tre will come to that conclusion. But it’s unfortunate he is learning on the job. At least the guy seems intelligent and is a hell of an asset when it comes to winning negotiations whether it be with agents or other GMs seems to be a very savvy individual

  • Burnward

    My take:
    – Smith didn’t have the boys. Rittich is loved and earned it. They were playing in spite of Smith who did not and acted a fool all year. Did not deserve it.
    – Reffing in the regular season allows a guy like Johnny to be a wizard. This is his leveller. Post-season reffing is nothing like we see. And it’s unfair to judge Johnny by this standard because it’s silly.
    – Mony needs to either spend a summer working on his skating or be replaced.
    – this year was entirely a bonus. Let’s not forget that. Window is just opening.
    – we were two shots away from still playing hockey.

    • Albertabeef

      Last offseason Mony was doing rehab. This offseason should be a training one unless he needs more rehab. Something nobody has even thought of. Offseason rehab and offseason training are two different things.

      Smith did deserve it. He totally outplayed Rittich down the stretch. If I were coach I would never have started David at home in game one when he was sporting a 3.24 goals against average and .885 save% at the dome this season. I would have for sure started Dave on the road with his 2.07 goals against and his .932 save%. We did well rotating goalies down the stretch, there is nothing to say you can’t keep doing it in the playoffs. I thought BP was supposed to be a modern stats based coach.

  • Gus Fring

    I don’t believe all the blame can be put on coaching. Our team lacks a true offensive leader. A guy that can just take over a game with skill or with physicality. That isn’t on the coaches but on the players themselves. It seemed like the team truly didn’t buy into how tough playoff hockey is going to be. I said it before but this team lacks personality. We are way to easy to play against. Like how is Carolina putting up a fight against the Caps? How did Columbus take apart Tampa? Those teams dug deep and played hard. We spent way to much time running around in our own end. And all we were able to do was dump the puck in and change lines. You won t win games playing like that!

    • Cheeky

      Not all of it is on coaching but this was Peters first time in playoffs as head coach. None of the staff ever played NHL (besides Gelinas but I don’t know what actual role he has these days). You mentioned Columbus (Torts) and Carolina (Brindamour), throw in the Islanders (Trotz)… You need drive, determination and heart in the playoffs, of which most our players had none, but coaching need to adapt fast and have a system for each team you play against. Peters and co. lack of playoff experience also came out in this one…

  • LannyMac

    Hey don’t be so high Tre. I think it is time to take a sharper look at the myth the legend to many. It is not a slam dunk he won last years trade. Yes it still looks good but not lopsided. You add in a defenceman who I really like his heart but backed up to his goalie on every rush because he was scared of being laped. Love Hamonic but he sold the farm to get him for what he offers. Two absolute bonehead free agent signings. I do not study players outside of this organization but you can’t tell me that the people that get paid 7 figures to study all players in the league didn’t see some signs of danger when it comes to Brouwer and Neal. You could say that other GMs also make mistakes and you are right but for every GM that does make his far share I will show you a middling team. Were Ken Holland and Cliff Fletcher to name a couple geniuses. No even they will tell you that some of their moves turned out better than they thought and they had some good luck along the way.But I am pretty sure they never made bad moves like the two free agent signings by this club. Should Tre be fired no but he is a first time GM and is learning on the job. Wasting away 5.75 per year really hurts a team and so he is a perfect example of the growing pains this team is having to go through from top to bottom right. Look at the coaching staff. I don’t think they game planned or prepared this group for what was going to come at them. The most important thing is that they all learn from the past number of days. Back to the GM what is inexcusable in any organization hockey or not is to repeat the same mistakes and that is what Tre has done by signing Neal. He just wiggled his way out of the Brouwer fiasco and has now put the organization right back in my estimation a worse spot. Stanley cup winning GMs don’t do that. In an extremely competitive league that just doesn’t cut it. Your move Tre how do you fix this one cause Edwards isn’t going to pull your ass out of this one.

    • Albertabeef

      I was mostly okay with “Tre is learning” the first year or two. My patience with him is running thin. If you imagine Ryan in that Carolina deal then we won by a landslide. This was a learning season for the group. I think we can give them that, considering they have yet to make the playoffs in back to back years to really learn the playoff groove. How many playoff rookies did we have as well? We did have the least amount of playoff experience of the 16 playoff teams. Hopefully we can expect a better showing next season.

  • LannyMac

    Very simple Pat but I don’t have the time nor interest in going in to great detail. Calgary and especially Tampa are very talented teams relative to the rest. When Peters says that Calgary was the least physical team (via hits) because there possession no.s were hi that’s a crock of Sh!t. C & T won in the regular season because they can finesse and talent themselves to victories. When playoff teams ramp up there speed and physicality in the playoffs unless teams such as Calgary and Tampa ramp up there grit and nastiness to match the so called lesser lites then the results we saw are inevitable.

    • Albertabeef

      Lindholm hurt his shoulder he threw so many hits. I think it’s possible the Flames tried too hard to play defense and physical and completely got away from THEIR game. Just should have actually played hockey instead of trying gooning.

  • Flamesfan4life

    I think they should have put Rittich in for game 4. Although he played well, his style of play, played right into Colorado’s hand. Smith tends to give up a lot of rebounds which could be in part the reason for the inflated shot totals. Also how do you slow down a fast team? Freeze the puck and slow down their momentum. I think Smith’s ability to play the puck was a hinderence.it kept momentum going for Colorado. Also when you allow your defenceman to get the puck, they have momentum and are often able to move themselves and the puck into good spots on the ice to transition. With Smith playing the puck so much, the defense was quite often stationary. All Colorado had to do was wait and feast on a turnover. Which is what they did all series. Not saying Smith was the reason they lost, I believe that was a group effort (or lack there of). I think a different approach, could have been a difference maker.

    • Dougiefred

      Not one of the 31 coaches in the NHL would of put Rittich into the series the way it unfoled, you don’t take a goalie who has been doing well just to find out how the other guy can do. Having said that it just seems wrong Rittich never got a shot and more importantly an opportunity to gain some playoff experience.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      IMO, the reason they lost was that devil’s disciple in charge of the tunes being played during games at the Dome. What the hell was that cloven-hoofed son of a witch thinking when he played “Raise a Little Hell” on Good Friday?

        • Budgie

          Yes, should have stuck with the ‘Bird Dance’ and “Tequila’ on the organ over and over. NHL DJ now that is worth spoofing, they always leave the music going after the puck has dropped-I wish they were not even in the mix-Organist and 6 Tubas, 3 acordians

          • BlueMoonNigel

            Obviously you are not a not a local guy because if you were, you’d know that in Calgary you gotta have a fiddler in the band.

            The Flammin’ Fiddler forever!

          • Albertabeef

            In my experience only East Coast Calgarians feel that way about the fiddle. In my 38 years of living in Calgary I never heard that you gotta have a fiddler in the band. In fact most bands I know in Calgary would say the opposite.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            You, Sir, have been hanging with the wrong bands in Calgary. Probably bands whose members hail from Toronto or Vancouver, or the worst, local guys who try and deny their roots. You know the guys. They are born and raised here but they reject everything Calgary calling it redneck and unsophisticated. A certain AB political party that lost the election last week is full of guys like that. They are ashamed of their AB roots, would rather use $5 words and hobnob in fashionable Rosedale. TO, after all, is the centre of the universe.

            Quite the opposite, laddiebuck. If there ain’t a fiddle in the band it ain’t real Calgary, nor is it real Alberta. Accept no imitations.

          • Budgie

            Actually I am from Calgary-remember the Flames in the Corral-Pat Riggin in net-agreed about a Fiddle, anything to get the crowd jumpin and the fiddle or two would help-heck get the bagpipes in there. Why did the DJs stop playin Rock and Roll by Gary Glitter? Cause of his charges?

          • Albertabeef

            You NEVER hear a fiddle in rock bands. I rejected that garbage country crap because I had it shoved down my throat. 80’s country sucked! I despised Stampede week for a very long time due to force feed country music crap. I do not deny my Alberta roots, I love my home province(except Edmonton lol). I don’t have to like country music to be a good Albertan.

  • Derzie

    This article’s title & content is a puzzler.
    “Calgary’s postseason demise is simple to understand”

    Playing like a shadow of yourself is ‘why’ they lost, but ‘understanding it’ is a whole other matter. Bad corsi is a symptom of what happened, not a root cause/reason.

    The narratives floating around that the top seeds ran into ‘better teams’, is straight up hokum. Teams do not magically get better or worse just because the media concludes so.

    So what did happen? There are many variables that could be candidates for root cause. In my opinion, and to call on Occam’s Razor, the simple and obvious is the most likely.

    1. Choking under pressure
    2. Response to changed reffing (less calls)

    For #1, we don’t have a lot of ‘gamers’. The game scores summary highlighted that our gamers are Ras, Bennett & Smith. That’s not enough. We need more gamers.

    For #2, we do not have the size to handle the increase in rough stuff. We need some tougher scorers. Our first line has no grit when the rulebook is not called. We also need to add a few tougher depth guys that can skate. They don’t need to be scorers, just fast enough to catch better players and give them the business when the refs start silly season. Our shutdown line is high on skill but low on grit. Chucky is an agitator but he’s not a tough guy. He’s a skill guy. We need more muscle.

    • Franko J

      You can add the term “functional toughness”. The ability to take a check and still make a great pass. Or going to greasy areas without hesitation or fear. Pressuring the puck carrier and just leaning on them enough to turn the puck over. How many times did the Av’s have trouble leaving their zone in the series? I thought they had too easy of a time moving the puck and were in the offensive with no opposition. Simply put the Flames played not to lose mentality and the Av’s played with whatever it takes to win mentality.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Tkachuck is way too slow and can’t fight. Also blessed with the largest contract in Flames history, how keen will he be to play his guts out when he has a bloated salary for the next several years? Remember Keith, who in my opinion was one of the laziest players of his time. Great skills, almost no compete level. You can’t expect playoff Bennett for 82 games. It would kill the guy. Hathaway? He gone. Even if Tre doubles his salary, you know the impending free agent is going to get a sweetheart deal from some GM. I say the Rangers as he has always played well against them.

  • This may sound cliche and I didn’t hold as much weight to it previous years but…it really came down to not really being built for “playoff” hockey. Year in and year out the refs change the way the game is called and they just let them play. This year seemed even more so but I admit maybe I was just more sensitive with Calgary playing. Flames biggest successes this year were dancing around the opposition and some great in close, fancy passing. When they had space and time they were magical. It is such a different grinding type game in playoffs that requires speed, hitting, being nasty and just wanting it more than the other team down to the bones. Just don’t see that in these guys.

  • I can only guess Bill Peters thought he had to stick to the same formula that led to the win in Game One: trust in Mike Smith, keep the top line together & be saved by the lower lines if they did not produce, keep the Avs limited to 10 or less shots per period on goal and don’t sweat a slow start by the Flames. Well, other than Smith coming through most of the time, it didn’t work. Welcome to the NHL playoffs, coach.