Thursday, March 02, 2006


Flames Game Day

The Flames take on St. Louise tonight, hot off of the Blues' victory over the Oil last night. This is rather rare; most times that a team has come through Alberta for a back-to-back this season, it's been Calgary first, then Edmonton, who by the way have done a dismal job of taking advantage of those should-be-tired teams. (As I recall it, the only game in which the Oilers got a better result than the Flames was Vancouver on Feb. 3/4.)

The hot topic on the radio and in the paper is the Flames' lack of scoring. Randy Sportak's piece in the Sun today is subtitled, "Flames will go nowhere in playoffs if Sutter doesn't acquire a scorer". I'm ready to concede to the concern in general, but I totally reject the idea that a trade is the solution. (See also: SUI 2, CAN 0)

The Flames have Jarome Iginla, Matthew Lombardi, Chuck Kobasew, Daymond Langkow, Tony Amonte, Mike Leclerc, and Tommy Huselius. All these guys have the talent to put the puck in the net on a semi-regular basis. Hell, throw Chris Simon and Shean Donovan in there too, not to mention Dion Phaneuf. Scoring will not get better with the addition of one more guy who scores once every 4 or 5 games. Scoring will get better when these guys start playing better.

Bruce Dowbiggin had a rare moment of lucidity on the radio yesterday when he said that essentially what the Flames need is for one or two forwards to get hot, because right now, nobody is pushing anyone else. ("They're sitting in the dressing room, looking to their left and to their right, thinking, 'Yep, I'm OK.'") That sounds about right to me, and I'm not saying it's a conscious thing. But ideally, the guys listed above should always be thinking, "Jeez, I'd better have a good game tonight, or someone else is going to grab my ice time".

Actually, check that: there might be an even more ideal situation, and that's to have the forwards thinking, "Jeez, I need to play really well, so I can get on (or stay on) Jarome's line." That's not happening right now, because Jarome's not playing very well. He needs to play better; that's the answer to the Flames' scoring problems. And it's not the actual goals; if Iginla was tied with Jagr for the goal scoring lead (i.e. had 15 more goals), the team would be tied for 19th in league scoring, which isn't that exciting. It's simply that he's the straw that stirs the drink.

The Flames are Jarome Iginla's team, and they will go exactly as far as he takes them. I noted during the Olympics that I thought he'd have a good stretch drive, and I still do.

All that said: one of Calgary's forwards is going to play tonight like they have something to prove, and key a 3-1 win. Go Flames.


While it's always fun and exciting to improve the team through a trade, I've begun to think that that road isn't the answer for Calgary as well - we seem to be a sink-hole in terms of offensive production. Aside from perhaps Jagr and Forsberg, it seems like anyone the Flames bring in (aside from the Dion of course) is unable to escape the offensive- ability-sucking vortex that apparently resides within the team.

So is it systems? A team-wide malaise? Im not really sure anymore...

Funny how the Flames fans - and this includes our contributor to this blog - have become rather quiet about their supposed superiority over the Vancouver Canucks lately. I am waiting with bated breath for Matt or any other Flames fan to comment on the recent loss to the supposedly inferior Canucks - who happened to play minus four of their regluar six defenceman and had Alex Auld outplay Kipper. (Not to mention this is the third loss on the trot for the Flames against the Canucks.)

I say this not to be confronatational, but because I read your site often and frequently encounter attacks on the Canucks. Yet, when the Canucks come in and win a game like the previous one, which under the circumstances they had no business winning, I find the lack of discussion of it among Flames fans rather conspicuous in its absence.

Well, "anonymous", fans of teams tend to be self-serving in various ways. To whit: your conspicous absence from the comment page here at BofA - until, of course, the Canucks won three in a row aginst Calgary.

Yes, the scoring woes of the Flames are EXACTLY the same as the scoring woes of Team Canada. An excellent analogy. Same depth. Same talent. Yes. So Flames fans, don't be worried if you get shutout a few more times between here and the playoffs, and then lose four straight in the first round. It was your team's destiny.

That is not really a fair comparison however is it? I simply stated that I am surprised that nothing has been said about the loss, given the circumstances surrounding it - e.g., the Flames abysmal offensive play of late and the fact the Canucks were without four of six regular defenceman, including their top three - on this blog.

The difference is, I don't blog - and I don't take a bunch of cheap shots against teams I dislike (e.g., the Flames). Matt does. That is, of course, fair enough; this is a fan blog after all and I recognize that. I simply insinuated that if you are going to piss all over the Canucks you might want to either (a) credit them for winning a game that, under the circumstances, they should not have or (b) criticize the Flames for losing said game. Unfortunately, there has not been a peep on the website about said game. And, I have to say, if the Canucks got butchered I can't imagine this silence would hold, notwithstanding the large number of legitimate excuses Canucks fans could have mustered to explain it.

Rob - same guy that posted anonymously before.

I went to that 'Nucks game on Tuesday and it was one of the most frustrating games I'd seen all year. Both teams had ridiculous chances in the first period, but flubbed the shot or missed or otherwise screwed up. Then in the second the Flames absolutely took the game to the Canucks but made Auld look good by shooting at him every chance they could. Then the 'Nucks have a good shift, score two quickies and the Flames mail it in the rest of the night. The whole bunch of them looked like they had lost interest, Jarmoe as much as anyone.

I don't think the Nucks were full value for that win, but if you only score once you will usually lose.

I worry that this team is not putting in the full 60 minute energy game that was so successful for them last year -- they are doing that for a couple of periods in a lot of games (yes, like Team Canada!). They certainly have the horses, but they have to play their pressure game to succeed.

And they tend to play down to their opponents, which means it could be a long night tonight.

End rant.

Flames have proven offensive talent, but it just seems to die. Bring in Huselius, he immediately sparks Lngkow, puts in a couple bank shots, all is looking good, then it all dries up.

It almost looks as if the 'defense first' approach has become so ingrained that at the first possibility that the puck may go the other way everyone shifts to defensive mode. Even if a Flame does deflect the pass, more often than not the troops are already heading back to circle the wagons.

I'm wondering if perhaps an assistant coach with a bit more offensive ebtn may not be what is needed. Someone who can say, "Take the extra stecond to see if the puck comes your way, you are good enough to recover even if it doesn't".

Sorry, the canucks do suck. That is all. Carry on with your discussion.

Cheap shots? I resent that!

It should go without saying, I think, that I post about whatever I damn well like, and anyone who doesn't like it, their refund is in the mail.

That said, I wasn't too surprised at the result of Tuesday's game. All those rookies were ultra-psyched, and the Sedins were on fumes, but they were adrenalin fumes. Auld was excellent; he should have been the 1st star, I thought.

The cost of having those regular D out will come out in the longer run. Auld may or may not be a legit #1. The Sedins probably won't be able to maintain quite as high a level of play. Depending on what the Oilers do, I still think the Canucks finish 7th or 8th in the West.

As for the Flames, as peter notes, most of the 3rd period was awful, but before that they weren't too bad. They looked rested, but they also looked dumber. (Why is Donovan playing without a stick when it's 5-on-5? How did they get caught on a bad line change for a goal, for the 2nd straight game against the Canucks? Did McCarty literally forget how to play hockey?)

As regular readers of this site are well aware, I'm not one to get too excited about a single loss. The good sense of this should be even more obvious when that loss is right after 18 days off. Do I think the Flames would beat the Canucks in a best of 7, starting today? Hell yes.

And Grabia, I don't think I'm clear what your point is. Are you saying that looking at the Flames' lineup, it's obvious that they're NOT talented enough to score any more than they are, whereas with Team Canada it's obvious that they ARE? That's fine, I suppose, I just disagree.

Honestly, don't you think your own list of bankable scoring talent looks a little threadbare? Some of those guys I respect, and some I don't, but none of them except Iginla has any measurable chance of catching fire and giving you 40 points the rest of the way. Is Amonte going to suddenly wake up six years younger? Is Daymond Langkow suddenly going to start playing like Ales Hemsky?

I rarely see the flames score a pretty goal, most are point shots or bang in rebounds. A lot of them luck due to hard work.
Well, when luck runs out and burnout creeps up, you need some talent to tide you over. The flames do not have talent up front.
Amonte is a has been, who cost you the first goal against the nucks.
I think Calgary really misses Conroy. He gave your team an offensive dynamic that is really lacking right now.
But you guys are right, offense can win you a division title, just not a playoff series.

Isn't the whole point of being a fan, as well as a man, that you take cheapshots at opposing teams and their fans as much as humanly possible? Didn't Descartes say, I talk trash, therefore I am?

My "point" earlier, as Cosh has noted, is that the Flames can't score, don't have scorers, and that the proof is in the pudding. You were implying that Team Canada couldn't score either, that the proof was in the pudding, and that ergothe two teams have the same problem. The only difference is that Lombardi, Kobasew, Langkow, Amonte, Leclerc and Huselius couldn't even make an Olympic roster, let alone score on one. Gagne, Nash, Heatley, Thornton, Smyth, Richards and Sakic are doing quite well on their NHL rosters.

I guess what I am saying is that it is retarded to state that the Flames don't need new players because Team Canada couldn't score either. It's about as retarded as saying that players should be paid based on past performance rather than future performance, but now I am digressing.

Sorry, are there any Retard fans out there?

I'm a fan of retards.

Go, Canucks, Go!

That is super unfair. If the Okanagan Valley seceded from Canada, Chuck Kobasew could definitely make the fourth line of its Olympic team.

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