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Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Some musings on the worst ways to lose in the playoffs

After watching the Sharks defeat the Golden Knights in Game 7 overtime – a game during which they were trailing 3-0 late in regulation – it just feels wrong to talk about how the Flames should proceed with their offseason. I mean, after a playoff classic like that? It’s hard to care about much else.

Though it’s also easy enough to relate it back to the Flames: why, exactly, they couldn’t pull off anything like what the Sharks did at any point in their series? The Sharks, after all, also came back from a 3-1 series deficit – it’s possible, for as much as the Flames seemed ready to throw in the towel.

Let’s get philosophical. Which way to lose is worse?

Just laying out my personal emotions, but for me, there hasn’t been much to the Flames’ past three exits from the playoffs. It was so clear the Ducks were going to dismantle them in 2015 that not getting swept victory in and of itself. The end of the Flames’ regular season in 2017 left me with doubts; I didn’t think they would get swept (thanks, goaltending), but I thought they were going to lose. And by Game 3 in 2019, the Flames had made it obvious their season was over, and the remaining periods were just a formality.

So the Flames’ losses were, ultimately, rather painless. (This past season is a little different – it held actual expectations – but those were mostly gone by the time the puck dropped for elimination.) It’s difficult to get worked up when you can see it coming, to do more than shrug your shoulders and say, “Yup, bye then.” There aren’t any inherently strong emotions associated with it – not like losing in, say, overtime of Game 7.

Or by one goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Flames’ failure to just put it all away – despite being so close – in 2004 is what’s kept me coming back to them time and time again. There’s a certain adrenaline rush that goes with watching high-stakes sports that makes them so difficult to quit or walk away from. Apathy is the worst emotion you can settle on – what is there that keeps you coming back? – even if it’s probably better for your heart overall.

So, here’s my first question. From a fan’s perspective, which is the worse way to lose: bowing out quietly without much of a fight like the Flames did in five games, or having the score go so horribly against you like it did for the Leafs in their Game 7 this year? The former left you with little hope; the latter, much more of it. Is it better to have experienced that hope to begin with and be disappointed, or to just have been disappointed from the start?

I don’t think I’m sure of the answer there – it would have been great to have seen the Flames actually push back and have a couple more games we could have actually enjoyed, but maybe it was better to just get it over with quickly if the end result was going to be the same.

My second question. From a fan’s perspective, which is the worse way to lose: bowing out quietly early on, or having a 3-1 series lead, three chances to close things out, twice in overtime, and to lose on all three tries like Vegas did? You get to feel good at the start of the series – which was even the case with the Flames after Game 1 – but in the end, it’s just even more disappointment. Not being able to fight back is one thing; not being able to close things out despite so many opportunities is something else all together. Both call character into question, but which instance is the more concerning?

And finally, my third question. From a fan’s perspective, which is the worse way to lose: establishing a solid lead in Game 7 only to see it all go away in part due to a questionable penalty call, like what just happened to Vegas, or to simply bow out quietly? If Cody Eakin had received a minor – not a major and a game ejection – then the Golden Knights are probably well on their way to the second round. The officials almost certainly had a very direct influence on the outcome of the series. On the other hand, though, you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt, and there’s really no excuse for Vegas having that disastrous a penalty kill that they allowed four quick goals to go against them.

So maybe, in that case, the Golden Knights can raise their heads a little higher – it wasn’t totally their fault they collapsed – but does that take any of the sting out of it, knowing they do have someone else they can blame for at least a part of their defeat (as small a fraction as it may have ultimately been)? Or is that just being delusional and making excuses for their own failures, an inability to close things out despite multiple opportunities to do so? And is that better or worse than having your own failures staring you right in the face in the form of a pathetic five-game loss, knowing the team could have done so much more and there really is nobody but themselves to blame? Nothing can really be done about the former, but the latter…

The heartbreaking losses play a big part in keeping people coming back for more, even though they’re always so much more painful than they really should be. But then, I guess that’s just what sports fandom is – and this year, the Flames just couldn’t really bring it. It spared you the hope, but the hope is actually what makes it fun.

  • Jobu

    Jobus answer to all three.

    The further you get the better it is. The more your team is actually in it the harder the heartbreak (i e It was in) but at least you can hang you head high in that your team actually showed up.

    The Flames performance in the postseason this year was epic bad, disgusting, embarrassing. At least if we lost in game 7, even by a BS call, you can still have pride in your team.

    As of now Jobu cannot be proud of the Flames. Getting dominated this bad looks like the team didn’t even try and appearances go a long way with Jobu.

    • JMK

      Spot on. I want drama and I want to see a fight, losing 4 games in a row (two by a score of 4) to lose the serries 4-1 is not in the least bit entertaining. To be honest I don’t even want to see Calgary win series 4-0 or 4-1. I watch sport to be entertained and to see the Flames bow out limply without much of a fight is much more disappointing than any other outcome. Sure Toronto lost their game 7 well, but at least they won 3 games and made it close.

  • flames2015

    Epic collapse by Vegas in that span of 5 minutes. For one, Eakin shouldn’t have cross checked Pavelski anyways right off the draw, it’s a stupid play that’s always going to get call. It’a debatable if it was worth a 5 min major, cause of the fall afterwards that lead to injury. But he was bleeding out of his helmet so I believe the call had to be made. A time out should have been called when SJ scored two in succession. The PK allowing 4 goals, that’s on Vegas. And not closing the series, when they had 3 chances. That’s on them too.

    Just proves anything can happen in the playoffs. Vegas gave up a ton for Mark Stone, and are now ousted in the first round as well. I remember a few people thinking the Flames would go all the way too and a Mark Stone would guide us all the way to the finals. Looking at how our own series played out, I’m even more estatic that the trade didn’t pan out.

    • cjc

      Mark Stone scored 6 goals and 12 points in that series. Against a deeper team than Colorado. Not saying he would have done the same in Calgary, but he probably would have got the series to Game 7 (looking at the 2 OT losses) and maybe further. He had jump which is something Calgary sorely lacked.

      • flames2015

        I know how many points Mark Stone has, just saying it doesn’t take one guy to get the job done. With the lack of effort basically the entire Flames had, having gone all in for him probably would not have not made a difference.

        Jobu, they lost Erik Brannstrom. Wouldn’t say they didn’t lose anything.

      • canadian1967

        Wrong. Textbook example of Cross Checking. Eakin had his hands apart, pushed his hands forward and contacted Pavelski. That IS Cross Checking, plain and simple.
        The only question is whether it’s a minor or major. The result is immaterial remember, because of course IF there had been INTENT to injure, then the correct call is a Match Penalty. At no time is whether or not someone was or wasn’t injured taken into account, only the severity of the infraction, AT THE REFEREES DISCRETION.
        At the end of the day, it’s up to the Ref what the call is based on his opinion.
        If a Team has 3 games in order to close out a Series and fails to do so, then you can’t EVER say it’s the Refs fault. It is totally on the players, Eakin didn’t need to Cross Check Pavelski, but he did, so at that point you are at the mercy of someone’s opinion and a Real Sportsman understands this.
        I’ll guarantee that Vegas never once during their history went to the Ref and said, no Sir, that guy doesn’t deserve to be receiving a penalty, please let him out. No, they understand that in Sport, and in Life, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It’s HOW you win or lose that shows your quality as a Human Being.
        You, Jonathan Marchessault, did not act like a quality Human last Night.

    • Kevin R

      With all the finger pointing going on in Leaf lala land, how about Brodie for Kadri. Having two pests like Tkachuk & Kadri would drive McJesus just wild. Kadri might even be a decent fit with Gaudreau & Lindholm. Move Monahan down with Tkachuk & Bennett.

      • Baceda

        Kadri is a prick and I don’t like him but he scores and he’s tough to play against. We need more guys who play with an edge and if he can learn to be smarter about where to draw the line I would welcome his presence on this team. Not so sure if Gio would though haha

      • Derian Hatcher

        You may be correct, but after the first game, Tkachuk did nothing. Couldn’t keep up, and as everyone witnessed, starting crap after the whistle means nothing in the playoffs. What’s Tkachuk worth this summer 7m? 8? 9?

        As far as kadri goes, he doesn’t have the self discipline to keep his composure in one playoff series, let alone 2. Boston worked him so well, and predictably, he took himself out of the series.

        Bottom line with all players on all teams…who shows up when it counts?

        • Kevin R

          Truly said. I think I am just looking for some sandpaper players with skill & nasty mean. Maybe Chucky feeds off of Kadri & between the two could potentially put a top line off their games. But discipline is huge & sometimes too much isnt what we want either & Mathew may want to find a happy medium.

  • cjc

    “The officials almost certainly had a very direct influence on the outcome of the series.”

    The officials gave a major where a minor was deserved. They didn’t let San Jose score 4 goals on the ensuing powerplay. It sucks for Vegas, sure, but how many times does a team allow 3 goals on a major penalty, let alone 4? Give San Jose credit, but the blame for that meltdown lies directly with the players.

  • oilcanboyd

    Two of those games were OT losses.
    We have come a long way this season! How many predicted the Flames would have won 50 games before the season started? With questionable goaltending? Get real guys. First step in the process…

    • Jobu

      Two overtime losses where they were SEVERELY outplayed. We were lucky to even be in it. Most of that lands on Mike Smith who surprised everyone and is gone next year.

      Appreciate the optimism but we are being VERY real.

      • withachance

        Ignoring some other facets that are very much real as well. Fact is within the last 5 years, this organization has gone from no chance in hell, to surprise underdogs, to underacheivers, to a conference champions. Yes its very much disappointing the way they went out, but look at Tampa and Pittsburgh this year and Chicago 2 years ago – sometimes the dominant teams in the regular season dont make it as far.

        All we can hope for is that they take another step next year towards cup contenders, it certainly is looking that way 🙂

        • Jobu

          Jobu’s take is that that step towards becoming contenders was taken a couple years ago now. Back then we all knew we weren’t contenders but we were taking steps to become one.

          Is this really a step forward, or is it running in place?

          And how many years of first round exits are we going to accept as “getting closer” before the window closes? Regular season results were a good sign, but as you suggest with the other teams, it cannot be relied on as a metric to determine if we are contenders or not.

          • withachance

            we were never contenders. This year was the first year this team was remotely close. we were contenders to get in the playoffs maybe, but this was the first year where everything finally came together.

  • KeepitReal

    The SCPO’s are a street fight. We looked like we were in a pillow fight. Some Flames have clearly defined themselves as pillow fighters. Tre knows that a few players need to be moved.

    3 outta 4 Wild Cards have advanced. Maybe 4 outta 4 if the Canes win tonight. Finishing 1st means NOTHING.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Hell, we all know which players need to be moved, but can Tre move them and can he find the replacements that transforms this team from pillow fighters to lights out fighters? That’s his challenge this long, long offseason.

      • Albertabeef

        And what a challenge it is. How to improve without selling the farm. We all pretty much agree the top three to move are Neal, Frolik, and Stone. Lazar is still an RFA, do we part with Hath and try to insert Lazar or do we part ways with Lazar?

        I think unless an upgrade can be made we keep all current top 4 D for injury insurance purposes. For the next two seasons I am actually willing to keep the team mostly “as is” until the expansion. Then you make moves with whatever we can after that. It’s still crazy to think we just played a playoff series and dressed 3 D aged 22 and under and it could have been 4. It’s a whole new process we are going through now. It’s like rebuild phase 2, the second injection of talent. That could include Dube and Phillips. Phase one was Mony, Johnny, Benny, and Tchuky. Phase 3 could be one of our other prospects recently signed to an ELC, or shortly upcoming draftees. If this team can really grow up over the next 2-3 years it will be fun.

        The painful sting of the playoffs is pretty much through for me now. I’m still upset but it doesn’t sting as much if I look at the future.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Moon’s Playoff Musings:

    Under my playoff format, the Avs would never even had made the show. Habs were the 14th best club in the regular season, yet Dallas, Vegas and Colorado, all of whom finished with fewer points than the Canadiens, made the playoffs. Weird.

    Also under my playoff format, if a lower seed beats a higher seed, in addition to eliminating the higher seed, they win the higher seed’s ranking for as long as they remain in the playoffs. For example, the #8 Avs killed the #1 Flames. Colorado should now hold the first seeding in the west for however long they remain in the playoffs. Sharks should be starting in Denver.

    Have Flames fans forgiven the contrite Neal? I have not. The man isn’t a fit here. He must be dispatched ASAP.

    Loved how Lil’ Johnny gave the Trudeau salute to Flames fans and the local media last Monday. Tre has to seriously consider if this is the kind of guy he wants to build the team around. I love cocky jocks provided they can walk the talk. We are still waiting for Johnny to walk.

    So Stone gave the Knights two more games than the Flames. Big whoop! To have got Stone here it would have cost some combo of Valimaki, 2019 1st rounder, a young roster guy likely Bennett and a farmer, likely Dube. Sure Stone racked up the points against the Sharks but his team lost. Watch Stone on the GWG, and Vegas is paying $9M a year for that kind of hustle. LOL! As for the $9M a pop, it would have been higher if he had come to Cal because of taxes. Notley was still premier at TDL and Stone’s agent would have used that to brutally maximize his client’s contract.

    Does Babs survive in TO? If Dubis looks at it objectively, the answer is no. Babs and Matthews loathe one another and with Matthews locked in long term, it is Babs who is on the short plank.

    Maurice in Winnipeg should also be sent packing as he too doesn’t seem ready and able to move the club forward. On the other hand, with all the expected player changes happening in Jet land this offseason, maybe they want to keep Maurice as a stabilizing factor. I wouldn’t.

    Loved seeing the Knights implode with 10 minutes left in the game. Too bad it had to be the Sharks doing the dirty deed.

    Are the Stars the playoff team nobody is talking about but should be? The Stars badly underachieved for the first half of the season but that was due to most of their defence on the DL. They were expected to be a solid cup contender last October, and that is exactly what they are right now.

    Jackets are by far the most fascinating team still in the playoffs. They began the season with expectations of glory and gold, but those went sour fast. They held onto their impending big name free agents and even added another one at the TDL. They squeaked into the playoffs and then demolished a team that had had a regular season for the ages. Would anybody be surprised if the Jackets lose or win 4 straight in the next round? I wouldn’t. That is a team of mystery.

  • The GREAT WW

    In the playoffs I would rather lose 5-2 than in overtime.

    I look back at our playoff series and can’t but wonder how it would have ended had we just won one of the 2 overtime games…..
    In both games we “almost” scored just prior to the eventual overtime winner.
    It SUCKS!!!!!

    WW

    • withachance

      If the Flames won the OT games, we’d be talking about how this team found the will to win. If the Flames lost the series 4-3 i feel like the vibes around here would be pretty different. Kinda funny actully

      • Porcupine at a balloon party

        I would argue the game plan was changed, for the worse. And if it wasn’t, then why wasn’t there any counter to what Colorado was doing.

        The regular season gameplan was ‘a good offense is the best defence’ you’re of system. Highly aggressive, active defence, strong forecheck (usually 2 forwards pressing in offensive zone even if we didn’t have the puck), and quick skating transition game. Against Colorado all of that went out the window with the exception of the last half of game 1 AFTER we scored.

        Take game 2 for example. Didn’t really deserve to win, but we took a lead late in 3rd. Instead of playing our game, we went into a defensive shell (a sign of what was to come in game 3). Our PK never once generated any kind of offensive pressure to keep Colorado on their toes. They just dumped it instead of skating.

        Hire many times did we see Calgary forechecking strongly?? Check that against how many times did we see them backing off and trying to trap? Then when it was clear that standing pat on neutral zone wasn’t going to stop MacKinnon, why did we keep doing it? You want to stop Nathan?? Do what got you there on the first place, and control the puck, play aggressive, force the other team to make mistakes by removing time and space in ALL 3 zones.

        Probably the most annoying thing though, was after defending so long, they just lost the will to play their transition game. How many times did we see someone recover puck in defensive zone, and literally have no one moving to get in position for a pass. Not only that, the guy that recovered the puck wasn’t moving either. Everyone was flat footed. So what’s that lead to?? Either an icing, a penalty or a turnover (and probably a goal or wicked save by Smith).

        Game 1 the flames came out with a mission to hit everything that moved. Good for them, that’s how you win playoff series right?? I’ll agree you gotta finish your checks and wear down opponents, but don’t forget what got you there. We aren’t a defensive shell team, a trap team. We are an aggressive, forechecking, transition team and we have up on it all series.

      • MiamiRedhawks

        I think the highly aggressive part went out the window since the Flames are very predictable. Drive towards the net/pass and open the ice up in their zone. Teams counter that by log jamming their blue line. We can’t drive or pass so everything collapses. That’s why they turned into a defensive shell with dump and chase.

        By changing the game plan, utilize the neutral zone more, draw their forwards towards center ice.

        Do you think any roster moves will change any of that or is that BP territory?

  • SetTheWorldOnFire

    That Eakins penalty call to me was just utter nonsense. That check he gave Pavelski happens 50 times a game in every playoff game…the awkward fall by Pavelski is all the call is based on. I guess the good news may be that the NHL will review officiating…the bad news is they’ll probably mess it up and make it worse.

    As far as the Flames are concerned…I’m suprised we sucked that bad against the Avs, literally felt like we had no answers. I’m worried the same thing will happen next year. Anyone want James Neal and a second round pick for a bag of pucks?

    • Kevin R

      This officiating in the NHL has been bugging me for several years now. I know it’s not just us that is so frustrated with it as well. Most fan bases have been burnt by bad calls & non calls. What happened last night is my worst nightmare for the Flames. I think if what happened to the Knights happened to us, I will always be a fan & watch on TV but I think that would put me over the edge & I would stop paying the way over priced tickets & stop going to the games.

      The NHL announced at the beginning of this season how they are going to go into on-line gambling to tap into that revenue stream. Well they better get this officiating sorted out because these striped guys can impact the outcome of games. I would rather have the coaches the ability to challenge penalty & non-penalty infractions than some of these offside calls. Maybe the league should have two officials review on video at each game. Hard to believe out of 4 officials not one was able to see that it was not a hit to the head & no intent to injure, just two players (Statsny) fighting for position & the ice did the damage. League needs to interject in these situations. It truly is an embarrassment to the league they cant get this right.

      • supra steve

        The calls that REALLY bother me are the shoot the puck over the glass/delay of game calls. There is absolutely no discretion on these penalties, you shoot the puck out of play and you go to the box. You can commit very violent offences against another player and often get away with it, but you accidentally shoot the puck out of play (because the puck is rolling and you are about to get your head plastered into the glass by a 6’3″ winger) and there’s no way you are getting out of it. It’s not any one particular call, I have always felt this penalty was BS, considering the violent crap that the refs let go.

        • calgaryfan

          before that rule, goalies and d men would just shoot the puck over the glass to relieve pressure. The penalty is better than what was going on before in my opinion.

          • supra steve

            Perhaps a 30 second penalty would be enough to discourage the practice. But with most slashes/cross checks etc. going un-penalized, an automatic 2 min call for delay of game is complete garbage.

          • BendingCorners

            Offending team lines up behind the hash marks, other team gets the puck inside the blue line, first touch must pass not skate. Free puck, like NBA or European football throw-in.

          • HOCKEY83

            It’s purpously delaying the game. if you can’t play the puck in the rink area because the opposing team is coming at you then you don’t belong on the ice.

          • supra steve

            It’s only “purpously delaying the game” if there is intent to shoot it over the glass, and I rarely see intent in these penalties, just unintended results. Usually when Gaudreau gets slashed I see intent, but no penalty.

        • Captain Ron

          The over the glass penalty came to be when the NHL was looking for ways to increase scoring and the GM’s voted it in if I recall correctly. I’m with Ari on this one treat it like an icing call. The thought that a Stanley Cup winning goal could possibly be scored on the ensuing PP is a disgrace if you ask me.

        • Jobu

          You mean the “Regehr rule?” Yeah it was the ‘04 flames run that mandated the rule be created. We abused the crap out of lifting the puck out that run. Slowed the game down big time.

          Just ask Rhett!

    • KeepitReal

      You are correct sir. Stasny skating thru that area finished off Pavelski who was caught in an awkward position. Seeing a guy on the ice leaking red was an emotional scene and the refs made a bad call based on the visual, not the actual. I’m still surprised at a 4 goal PK but that was a horrible call. I’d rather have the refs take a 2nd look at that video instead of the blueline offside crap.

      • Captain Ron

        The refs need to take a second look at a lot of calls that are wrong but where do you stop. Last nights game magnified the problem to a great degree but even if it was a two minute call in a one goal game where a goal is scored to tie it and force overtime or a tie game in overtime where an incorrect 2 minute call produced the game winner the result is the same.
        Bottom line is that there are bad calls in the NHL all the time that influence the game score. Lots of cross checking infractions during a game go uncalled and then last night happens and all of a sudden we are confused as to what is or isn’t a penalty. Imagine how confusing it is for the players and coaches? The officiating in the NHL is a mess and it is hurting the on ice product. I’m a paying customer and I hate it.

  • Just.Visiting

    I’ve been watching games from several of other series the last few days. What I found to be consistent themes from those games from both teams were a very high level of consistent intensity, an aggressive forecheck, speed and size.

    Even in the regular season, the Flames demonstrated very inconsistent intensity as a team and a number of players who routinely had a low level of intensity relative to the tempo of playoff hockey. The Flames are a smaller team that also includes some larger players who play small. The forecheck seems more passive, and the Flames frequently appeared to struggle with an aggressive forecheck. And at least four of the top twelve forwards are, for lack of a better expression, speed challenged.

    One of the things that jumped out at me last night, for example, was the hustle that Ryan Reeves showed on a back check from deep in the offensive zone. I didn’t see a lot of that against the Avs.

    The net effect is that it looks like we would have struggled against everyone we might have met.

  • jupiter

    Much easier to pull a dog out of a fight than coax one in. I was totally surprised that Calgary got walked on,and appeared to roll over. Smith was the only terrier we had.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    What I saw last night was the league in a nutshell… The best sport in the world ruined by the worst officiating in the world.

    Having said that, although that call was complete and utter BS, Vegas’ pi$$ poor penalty kill was what finished them off.

  • Zesty14

    My long time buddy’s wife is a golden knights fan. When they got married their honeymoon was in vegas. They went that night to the very first regulation game. Her never giving any thought to hockey ever before became a fan and she found her team (him being a pens fan.) After last nights loss she was very upset. I wrote her a message to help her work through and understand why she feels the way she does. And I quote ” Welcome to being a hockey fan! When you don’t think it can get any worse it does. Pens out in 4, Calgary had easiest team in western matchup out in 5. Vegas implodes for 5 mins of a game at the very worst time. And all you can do it sit there and watch the train crash, light on fire and listen to all the people trapped inside burning alive screaming until it slowly goes quite. And there you are standing there alone not fully comprehending what you just witnessed.”

  • Captain Ron

    I for one am thrilled that Vegas was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round especially in such barn burning grand fashion. The idea that a two year old franchise should even be in it without having to start from the ground up is a real pet peeve for me. The way that team was celebrated in their first year was also pet peeve for me. Screw Vegas it looks good on them and their big mouth coach Gallant. While last nights epic collapse was not possible without some influence from the on ice officials Vegas had a 3-1 series lead and a 3-0 game lead with 10 minutes left and they absolutely blew it. Was a bigger choke job than the Flames losing to the AVs if you ask me. Maybe we won’t have to hear about how great they are with their fancy free agent signings for a while. I hope they miss the playoffs next year too. I found myself actually cheering for the Sharks last night as that was unfolding which felt weird. At least the Sharks have paid their dues to get where they are. They deserve another shot at the Cup before Vegas does.

    • Kevin R

      LOL! Yeah but I happened to load up on Knights in one of my hockey pools with $200 entry fee & had they won, that pool was mine & the $1800 1st place prize. But I know what you are saying, they seemed to get the benefit of the “discretionary” calls last year, which was a bit of over the top. Welcome to our nightmare Vegas & fans. :->

      • Captain Ron

        Sorry about your luck eh!
        Would have been a nice prize!
        I won my season pool last year and lost this years final to my son during the last few days when a bunch of my key guys were suddenly on IR while their respective teams cruised into the playoffs lol

  • Garry T

    There are obviously a number of long term commentators on this site really upset to see our boys out of the picture. What can be done regarding 2019/20?

    1. Adam Ollias Mattson was selected by Stockton as their top D man.
    Take a serious look at promoting him for next season. The man is huge
    and he can play.
    2. TJ Brodie has value and at this point I think either Kylington or Valimaki
    can replace him. That saves $4 million.
    3. Smith will be 38 next year and I do not see him performing like he did
    In the playoffs. He has to go.
    4. Johnny is a tremendous player and he scares the crap out of
    Opposing defenders. See if Hayes will come to Calgary. He can play any
    Style of game and would be a good compliment to the first line.
    5. Monahan needs to become a different players next year. He is wonderful
    With great hands in front of the net. If he wants to stay a number one
    Center he has to become a play maker and make use of his wheels. He
    Has to become a fierce fore and back checker. He has to become more
    Aggressive in our zone pressuring opposing players. He should also take some lessons on how to throw em. If he doesn’t want to improve himself, do a hockey trade and get a quality scorer who wants to dominate back.

    6. Johnny has to learn to go into the Ozone and set up like Fleury and Lanny did. He can’t do it all by himself.
    7. Benny and Hathaway have to knock down their pms. as they both are a little on the reckless side taking stupid penalties that cost us.
    8. Tkachuk is not worth anything more than $4.5 mill max over each of the next three years. The playoffs showed that. Stand up to him and do not get ourselves into those whopper contracts. They kill teams.

    9. We need Frolik. Keep him and the 3M line together.
    10. Try to get Ferland back and play him with Lindholm and Jankowski.
    11. Do exactly what I talked about with Monahan with Jankowski.
    12. Neal talked a good game the last day here. I don’t think he can change his spots overnight but we shall see. Try to move him.
    13. I still think we need a player come tough guy.
    14. Backlund has to become more focused as a play maker and he has to become more of a 200 foot guy.

    When we play a hard fore check back check we create. We have to be very aggressive in our Zone and our goalies have to come to work everyday.

    Our coach is old school and he mis managed team play during the Avalanche series. He wore guys out and that is not smart coach Hawerchuck in to be an assistant coach, Ward stays and the other goes back to Stockton.

    That is the only way we are going to succeed.

    • withachance

      Agree with everything here mostly!

      9: I think Frolik is replaceable, Dube screams a Frolik type player, with better offensive upside in the long run
      10: interesting line combo, but i think BT is done with Ferland. The staff couldnt really get through to him on a personal level. If anyone could get him to come back, its probably McGrattan
      12: I dont think anyone would take Neal that’s the thing. Would be interesting to see what Tre does
      13 and 2: Brodie for Kadri!

    • Puck Head

      Fleury was a better ‘hockey’ player than Gaudreau hands down and I would take a Fleury-type player any day.

      Monahan is too one-dimensional and soft.

      In a nutshell, I’m kinda done with smaller players or players with no grit to their game.

      Tkachuk really sh!t the bed in the playoffs. Pretty disappointing watching him do nothing. I don’t know how management is going to deal with his contract but Bennett was better in the playoffs. I would actually prefer a player who plays tough hockey as opposed to talking tough.

      • Zesty14

        Jonny needed Bennett and/or Hathaway to be on his line. Tough forechecking going into the dirty zones to give him the time and space needed. To many liberties on JH with no response back. Can still have smaller guys on roster just need some grit next to him.

          • Zesty14

            Bennett with 0 hands and IQ led our team in points…. so what does that say about the rest of the team? And Hathaway was one of the only players that stepped up his game to contribute with body contact. And one more thing. What makes you think if JH is on the line its “the top line?” JH was top of p00p post season.

      • Oil Spilly

        In the regular season Tkachuk can run around and act like a clown. In the playoffs it’s all about business. Look at how Cole handled Tkachuk in game 2 when Tkachuk tried doing his regular season routine of chirping. Cole laughed in his face. Then Cole proceeded to out battle Tkachuk. You don’t see Marchand chirping in the playoffs. It’s fn go time that’s why. This isn’t juniors.

    • Albertabeef

      48 points might suggest Mony is working on that “playmaker” stuff already.

      Johnny vs Theo: Nobody should ever have to go through what created the Theo Monster. With respect, you have to go through a special kind of hell to become an angry little a$$hole like that. Lots of drugs and alcohol to help you fight guys a foot taller and 50-100 pounds heavier too.

  • Budgie

    Calgary’s disallowed goal is pale in comparison to the Vegas screw job. Not since Kerry Fraser called a penalty in the last minute of Calgary/Tampa 2004 Stanley Cup final have I ever seen officiating influence an outcome.
    Calgary has a good team but not the right mix to match hitting forwards with skill like MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Raatanen. Calgary lost because players were playing hurt, depth should have allowed not using players that weren’t 100%. Monahan and Lindholm were not 100%.

    • HOCKEY83

      That’s just garbage excuses…no teams are 100% going into the playoffs. The teams with heart and the teams that want to win are the teams that have success. The flames played with absolutely no heart and didn’t played like they cared to win at all.

      • Budgie

        Calgary has depth, play players that are 100%, they may not have won-but if things aren’t working don’t throw the same lineup at the opposition when you have depth. I would have sat three of the starters-two for injuries and one for lagging behind the play. Monahan didn’t look like he was into it. When your top players say they are good to go and want to play it is a difficult choice-Monahan had a cracked thumb-sit him

    • Franko J

      I think the Flame lost the series not because of injuries but due to a lack of self preparation, fragile confidence, and a void in accountability. As painful as it was this team didn’t learn anything from a mediocre second half heading into the playoffs.

    • Franko J

      After this year’s first round I have no clue whatsoever which team is going to win the Cup. I have never in my lifetime of 45+ years of watching playoff hockey there is no clear cut consensus front runner to win it all.
      This year it is now a matter of which 7/8 seeding will actually keep their Cinderella season going. So bizarre.

  • Franko J

    First question:
    No contest, losing in the fashion the Flames did was deplorable. Especially when the team didn’t show up at home to extend the series. Win or lose the next game in Colorado, at least give a fair and honest effort in front of the paying customers (the hometown fans). Going to a game seven is like drafting a player in round 7 —— big ?.
    No idea what will happen.

    Losing a series when up 3-1 is more disappointing than anything else. Not closing down a series is pretty tough pill to swallow. However, the playoffs are about competing and trying to win with a honest effort.

    Up 3-0 in game seven with 10 minutes left and self implode is pretty unbearable. Seeing the LVGK just fall apart the way they did I think is far worst than not showing up for a game seven.
    So to sum it up, I still find the worst way of losing is when a team is so close to clinching a series and just can’t get it done.

    • Budgie

      I thought things were perfect when winning the first game 3-0, but that second game, losing in OT 3-2 instead of being up 2 games was deflating-a late goal to tie it up-yikes it was brutal