Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Flames Game Day: Time to quit jacking around

OK, stop losing, now, please.

A jumble of thoughts on the Flames, including last night's loss to Nashville:

**Sometimes when the top line doesn't play well, the thought is, "Yeesh, we need better depth so that we can have success when our All-Star doesn't score." (And sometimes it's true.) But sometimes, and last night was one of those times for me, the thought is, "Well, DUH. When your top line doesn't score and doesn't really create anything, your team is generally going to look bad. That's not a roster management issue; that's reality for 25-30 teams in the league."

**Anyone remember those terrifying days in June, where one of the big fears about Keenan was that he was indefensibly biased towards over-the-hill veterans, and thus younger players who might make a more positive difference (and improve all the while) would rot? Ah, were we ever so young? Actually, this seems like a good time to do a Mike Keenan Halfway Review.

What I Like:
The Unknown, Indifferent, and/or Irrelevant:
What I Don't Like:

We'll start with an extended quote from MetroGnome's lovely rant this morning:
Matt from Battle of Alberta said yesterday [~] "don't run a kid line against Nashville...Trotz will take advantage", and guess what? With 25 year old rookie Nystrom out, Keenan replaced him 26 year old sophomore David Moss. The predictable result was poor Lombardi and company skating against Arnott, Radulov and Dumont at ES all night. In comments after the game, Radio personality Rob Kerr said something to the effect of "Dustin Boyd really needs to improve his board work, especially when trying to get the puck out in his own zone." My response is...NO FUCKING SHIT. Show me a 21 year old rookie who's been converted from his natural position and playing against the other team's top line that DOESN'T struggle at that.

No doubt Mike Keenan has his own reasons and perceptions, but what he's doing with the 3rd and 4th lines Is. Not. Working. It's good to have Moss back, and he's actually proven himself quite effective over the past year at the little plays (i.e. on the boards, getting it out of his own end, etc.); he just doesn't have a scorer's touch.

If Nilson's spot in the doghouse is essentially permanent -- and it certainly appears to be -- then fine: but Yelle needs to move up with Lombardi/Moss. Last night, on one of the few forays the 4th line made into Nashville's zone, Yelle showed a few times that he can keep the puck alive on the end boards, and win possession from a defenseman. Those three would have at least a puncher's chance against good lines.

Now, this creates a "problem" -- if Yelle is not around to babysit Godard, the 4th line gets killed, right? Almost definitely... which is why Godard should be up in the pressbox, with a sticker on the door that says "For Use in Grudge Matches Only". Then you could have Boyd, Primeau, and Smith (or Nystrom, or Nilson, or Godard on special occasions) as a 4th line that is used carefully, i.e. not for defensive zone faceoffs on the road when you know bloody well that Arnott, Dumont, & Radulov will be coming on for the home team. When/if the bench shortens, particularly when the Flames are trailing, Boyd can still be spotted in on the other lines.

Maybe my prescription is stupid, but the Is-Not-Working is indisputable. Since the beginning of December, Lombardi is +5/-18 and Boyd is +7/-14. Boyd has the highest GA/60 on the team, and but for Anders Eriksson, it's by a mile. My preference would be to see if the veterans Yelle and Nilson can earn their money the old-fashioned way, but I'd settle for "something else".

The Flames are in Minnesota tonight (630PM MT, TSN), and that might actually be cause for some optimism: the Xcel Centre has actually been good for righting the ship the past couple of seasons.

They may well have saved their season this March there with back-to-back wins. And in '05/06, they hit St. Paul at the end of a disastrous road trip (sound familiar?) and pwned the Wild, followed by 3 more wins.

Prediction: Curtis McElhinney gets the start; Calgary wins 1-0 despite being outplayed and outshot by a wide margin; on Thursday morning the Flames announce that -- what an amazing coincidence! -- there's a problem with CuJo's medical, and the contract offer is rescinded.

Enough with the dreaming and bitching, on with the rooting. Go Flames.


If Nilson's spot in the doghouse is essentially permanent -- and it certainly appears to be -- then fine: but Yelle needs to move up with Lombardi/Moss.

Indeed. And Boyd was actually doing pretty well against the fodder when he was on the 4th line earlier in the year.

I can somewhat understand Keenan's reluctance to break up the 3rd line when the team was winning (even though they in particular weren't doing that well), because it's hard to argue with positive results. But now it's simply mystifying.

According to Kerr, Eriksson is scratched tonight.


four losses in a it time yet to start another winning streak? at least until the end of the month, then get back to losing?

the veterans are not getting the job done. like you said, the top 2 lines are okay. need to bring in from QC guys, mix it up. Nilson, either play him or trade him. i feel bad for the guy. keenan is turning him into the next huselius. he will be traded, then have the best season ever.

i just checked the roster, looks like eriksson is in. i say give pardy a little more than 45 seconds.

this team just frustrates me. win 6, lose 3, win 5, lose 4. what a tease.

Not to start a habit of feeling bad for Flames fans, but McGuire and Healy? Holy shit. Better hope Cuthbert doesn't get dinged down at the bench. The horror.

Annnddd...Eriksson is actually playing. Yelle is the scratch with Primeau in instead.


oh, and i said this yesterday. there is still no 'official word' from the team (, about CuJo signing. he his not listed on the team's roster.

does any one know what number cujo will have. i need to update my roster on nhl08 and geek out. thanks

please understand that i am in los angeles, and i cannot get fan960 at work via internet. i used to, but the damn firewall is blocking it. i have to 'watch' the game using play-by-play, until i get home so i can listen to fan960.


the biggest calgary fan south of alberta.

oh, and i said this yesterday. there is still no 'official word' from the team (, about CuJo signing.

Pending a physical exam, which CuJo will no doubt pass. Can't help you on the jersey number though.

If someone from the future came to me back in September and said, "For a game against the Wild in January, Warrener, Yelle, & Nilson will be healthy scratches", I'm not sure *exactly* what my reaction would have been, but something like, "Wow! How fucking far up in first place are we!"

why are warrener and yelle still listed as alternates? i have yet to see a game (via stat sheets, of course) where either of these two are wearing the "A"...and why would you ever scratch a healthy alternate captain???

I have the sudden urge to strangle this Justin St. Pierre fellow.

I have the sudden urge to strangle this Justin St. Pierre fellow.

haha, indeed.

And as I type, Sarich clears the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty.

The hockey gods are angry today, my friend.

I have the sudden urge to strangle this Justin St. Pierre fellow.

No kidding; doesn't this dink know what a makeup call is?

No kidding; doesn't this dink know what a makeup call is?

He's Quebecois, you can't expect much.

Damn, that Springsteen puck is tight!

Eriksson you fucking wanker!



I concur.

Oh, I see you guys got a *bonus* win.

Okay, I think we've found our shoot out strategy: Dipsy Doodle from Huselius, Slapper to the throat from Dion, and then Iggy cleans up the pieces. Backstrom never looked comfortable the whole shoot out plus is going to be sore as hell tomorrow.

I hate Dion, but nice move on the shootout. On another Dion note, after 2 seasons of wonderin where I have seen him before, it hit me! The sloping forehead, giant jaw and beady eyes---- elementary school science was the place and neandrathal man was the topic!!!

McGuire has expanded his "active stick" concept to include "active cross check."

What an idiot.

Healy is an idiot too.

I feel better now.

Why did kim jonsen (sp?) look like he was in 'roid rage all night?

i just watched the highlights, that phaneuf shot was crazy! both he and iginla have hard shots, i wonder if either of them can win the hardest shot contest at the all-star game.

also, the whistle was way too fast on the disallowed goal.

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