Archive for the ‘Calgary Flames’ Category

Was Fleury the answer?

Posted 02 May 2010 — by Greg
Category Calgary Flames

This afternoon, Eric Duhatschek, of The Globe and Mail, wrote an interesting article called Was Fleury the answer? The big question he had for us hockey fans was: would Theo Fleury have made the difference for the Flames this season?

After a season of sub-par play, a complete absence of inspiration, and a season that ended with the Flames missing the playoffs for the first time in 6 years (5 seasons), I’ve pondered the same question myself. In the pre-season, Fleury did show us that he still has some great hands, but I’m not convinced that he would have made a difference on the ice. At the age of 42, I doubt that he would have had the endurance to go the disatance after an 82-game season.

Where I do think Fleury could have made a difference is in the dressing room. It’s no secret that the Flames had a dysfunctional dressing room this season, and his feistiness and veteran presence could have made a difference for the team. Getting rid of Phaneuf and bringing in 6 new players late in the season didn’t help the Flames as much as Darryl Sutter would have liked, and perhaps he wouldn’t have had to if he had put Theo on Dion, and seen who had the greater ability to piss off the other.

So feel free to post a comment on Duhatschek’s article, and/or leave your comment below to let me know what you think.

Flames sign CHL star Bryan Cameron

Posted 01 May 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames have agreed to terms with overage centre Bryan Cameron, of the CHL’s Barrie Colts.

Cameron, 21, led the Canadian Hockey League in goals this season with 53. The five-foot-10, 175-pounder also added 25 assists for 78 points in 62 games. He was originally drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but the two sides never agreed on contract terms.

Cameron has proven his ability to put the puck in the net, something that was missing from the Flames game this season.

A Hat Tip to all my Flames Friends

Posted 10 Apr 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Flames Fans

I suppose it’s fitting that the Calgary Flames ended their season by not only getting routed 7-3 by the Canucks, but also by letting Henrik Sedin get 4 points and move 3 points up on Alex Ovechkin in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. The Flames’ 2009-2010 season comes to an end with 2 consecutive losses after they were mathematically eliminated from playoffs last week.

The season was a big disappointment for Flames fans and for the team itself. The team looked like a Cup contender on paper, and until mid-December, it looked like that was a real possibility. Then the Flames hit a cold streak and continued to slide down the ranks. The turning point of their season was a 9-game losing streak in January. By the Olympic break they were on the outside of the playoffs looking in, and only spent 24hrs actually in 8th place after that.

While the rest of Flames Nation starts the dissection and discussion about whether we should trade Iggy, and the rest of the team, and whether Darryl Sutter stays or goes, I’d like to say thanks to the Flames players and to some of the greatest hockey fans in the world. I had a great season despite all the heart-wrenching losses, and had the pleasure to meet some awesome people along the way.

So a big Hat tip to all the great fans I had the opportunity to Tweet with, to watch games in the pub with, or head to the ‘Dome with this season. 2009-2010 didn’t end up like we hoped, but we had some fun along the way and I don’t regret a minute of it.

Flames win. Avalanche lose. 2 points back now.

Posted 31 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, Playoff Race, Win, home
Coyotes Flames Hockey

The Calgary Flames have moved within 2 points of the Colorado Avalanche thanks to a 2-1 win against Phoenix tonight, while the Avs lost 5-2 to Anaheim. Tonight’s action sets the stage for a huge Friday game between Calgary and Colorado in Denver on Friday.

The Flames started the game slowly with a lackluster first period, but picked up speed in the 2nd period and took a 1-0 lead when Ian White’s shot bounced off Rene Bourque’s foot into the net. They played their best hockey during the last 5 minutes of the 2nd period, but couldn’t beat Coyotes’ goalie Jason LaBarbera.

The Flames added one more goal from Ales Kotalik early in the 3rd, and it turned out to be the game winner. Phoenix scored ten minutes later to make it close, but the Flames stayed ahead thanks to some awesome goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.

Kipper was definitely the best player on the Flames tonight. He bailed them out several times, and stopped 29 of 30 shots including 13 in the 3rd period. Two other players that stood out from the crowd were 21 year old Mikael Backlund and the ever-steady Rene Bourque. Backlund notched his 3rd point in the last 2 games with the assist on Kotalik’s game-winning goal.  He was also one of the few Flames players that consistently played like he wanted the puck every time he was on the ice. In addition to scoring the opening goal, Bourque had a couple other good chances and played a responsible game. He was solid in the neutral zone, and always seemed capable of skating the puck out of his own end when the Flames needed to get it out.  The Flames could have used a bit more of that late in the game. That, or another goal…

Though Colorado has been losing more games than they have been winning lately, it didn’t appear as though the Flames were getting any help until tonight. The combination of a Calgary win and a Colorado loss now sets the teams only 2 points apart in the race for 8th place in the West. Colorado still has one game at hand over the Flames, so to say that Friday’s 2 points are important it a gross understatement. We all know that the Flames need to win every one of their final 5 games to have a hope of making the playoffs. The dream is not dead yet, and if the Flames win a few more games, the fans here may just start believing again.

Flames Keep The Dream Alive in Washington

Posted 28 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Bourque, Calgary Flames, Hagman, Ovechkin, Road, Stajan, Washington Capitals, White, Win
Flames Capitals Hockey

After a dismal game in Boston yesterday, the Calgary Flames proved their doubters wrong by showing that they still do have something left in the tank by beating the league-leading Washington Capitals 5-3 this afternoon.

Finally showing the ‘desperation’ that a team in their situation should, the Flames scored 3 goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, and added 1 more before the first period was finished. The 4-goal cushion was enough for the flames as they held off the potently offensive Capitals on their way to another much-needed win. Rene Bourque was definitely the player of the game, scoring the 5th goal to re-establish a 3-goal lead and adding 2 assists in the game. Always one to show up for a game, Alex Ovechkin scored the Capital’s first goal early in the 2nd period and added an assist for his 100th point of the season.

As the regular season winds down, the Flames and Capitals are in such different positions that it’s not surprising the future President’s Trophy winners didn’t show up for the first 2 periods of this game. The Capitals clinched a playoff spot a couple weeks ago, and are pretty much guaranteed to finish with the best record in the NHL – barring any major screw ups. By contrast, the Flames have been hanging onto a thin, splintered rope with one hand for the last 3 weeks. They should have been climbing that rope, but they seemed content to hang out hoping that someone would pull them up.

Today’s win (and Colorado’s loss) now leaves the Flames 4 points back of the Avalanche for 8th spot in the West with 6 games left. The Avalanche have one game at hand over the Flames, so it’s an understatement to say that they must win their final 6 games if they have a hope of squeaking into the playoffs.

The Flames now return home for a game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday.

Help me, help you

Posted 27 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Out Of The Playoffs, Shutout

The Calgary Flames aren’t helping themselves into the playoffs this year, and they are certainly not getting any help from other teams. With just 8 games left in the season, the Flames headed into Boston today sitting 6 points behind Detroit for the 8th spot in the Western Conference. To say that this game was a “must win” is an understatement. The Flames last 10 games have been “must wins” but they haven’t shown the sense of urgency that they need to battle their way into a playoff spot.
Iggy after loss to Bruins
After Calgary’s last game (a 3-2 loss on Long Island) The Detroit Red Wings dealt a serious blow to Flames fans hopes for the playoffs by winning 6-2 in Minnesota. Detroit had one game at hand over the Flames and increased the gap from 4 to 6 points with the win. Detroit is now healthy after struggling with injuries all season, and have been on fire since the Olympic break, going 10-2-1. During the same period Calgary has gone 7-5, including 3 losses to teams that are out of the playoffs.

Today’s 5-0 shutout loss for the Flames leaves them with almost no hope to make the playoffs. They now rely on either Detroit (unlikely) or Colorado (also unlikely) to start losing like the ‘74-’75 Washington Capitals… and at the same time, the Flames need to start winning like the ‘76-’77 Montreal Canadiens.

As a passionate Flames fan it hurts me to admit that my team probably isn’t going to make the playoffs, but I’ve known the team had problems since they went on their ‘infamous’ 9-game losing streak in January. When the losing streak ended, my dad said to me “we’ll be talking about this losing streak in April when they don’t make the playoffs.” I didn’t believe him then, but I believe it now.

The Flames next game is tomorrow afternoon in Washington (oh great…)

A Glimmer of Hope at the Saddledome

Posted 12 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Saddledome

Brent Sutter’s “defence-first” philosophy turned many Flames Fan’s stomachs into knots as they watched their team defend numerous 1-0 leads only to see them disintegrate into 2-1 losses, in the final minutes of the game. Early in the season the Flames were scoring 4 or 5 goals per game, against staunch opponents like the Canucks, Blackhawks, Canadians and a couple of wins over the hapless Oilers. However, in those same games the Flames were giving up over 3.33 goals per game and that probably didn’t sit too well with coach Sutter. In the ensuing months the Flames tightened up their defensive game but their offensive game also suffered – leading to a dearth of ulcers among Flames fans during those 2-1 losses.

Then some missing pieces to the puzzle began falling into place, including a trade on the back-end in favor of some new forwards that could not only put the puck in the net themselves, but could play with Jerome Iginla while taking some of the heat off him in the process. The loss of Dion Phaneuf has gone virtually unnoticed at both ends of the rink where coach Sutter’s defensive game has been improved even further and Phaneuf’s offensive output has more than been replaced.

The Flames recent scoring surge (alright it’s only been 5 games) of 16 goals in 5 games must come as a relief to those who were getting ulcers in those earlier 1-0 games. Meanwhile, at the back-end, the Flames gave up only 1.4 goals per game in those four games, playing against some equally formidable opponents. It seems there’s a glimmer of hope that the 2009-2010 Flames are finally going to look as good on the ice as many thought they looked on paper.

Flames shutout Senators

Posted 12 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Higgins, Mayers, Ottawa Senators, Shutout, Win, home
HKN Senators Flames 20100311

Miikka Kiprusoff put on a stellar performance tonight stopping 33 shots as the Calgary Flames shutout the Ottawa Senators 2-0 to win their 4th consecutive game. It is Kipper’s 34th shutout of his career. Coincidence? I think not…

The Flames started out slowly, seeming to give the Senators too many chances, but by the end of the first period it was 1-0 Calgary and the shots were only 4-4. In the 2nd, the Flames seemed to be skating with elastic bands keeping their feet from moving too far apart, but they still managed to stop the Senators from getting shots on net. When the Sens did get a shot on net Kipper was there to close the door with a Finnish smile and his flashy white pads.

I’m not sure what the final shot-block count was but the Flames must have blocked 25-30 shots tonight. Eric Nystrom took a “walk it off” walk down the tunnel tonight, as did Cory Sarich. According to the always knowledgeable Alex Ruiz, Giordano blocked 6 shots, Sarich blocked 5 and JayBo blocked 4. After exploding for 14 goals in their previous 3 games, the Flames needed shot blocking like that tonight to come out on the right end of a 2-0 shutout.

Calgary’s win tonight keeps them in 8th place in the tight Western Conference race for the playoffs. They are one point ahead of Detroit and tied with Nashville. I’m sure the Flames have their sights on their next game in Vancouver, but us Flames fans are looking at 6th, 5th and *maybe* even 4th place in the West, which are all looking a lot more feasable now that we’re only 6 points back with 14 games remaining. The season is far from over at this point, and win streaks will determine who finishes where.

Needless to say, the Flames are far from done – both in the “out of the playoffs” sense and the “our work here is done” sense. Let’s see how far this new infusion of energy from the new players can take them.

Sens steal Flames mojo, But I’m not worried

Posted 09 Feb 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Hagman, Loss, Ottawa Senators, Road, Stajan

The Calgary Flames have got to be getting frustrated. They are playing well; they are getting consistently excellent goaltending; and they are seeing some added chemistry from their new players. But they aren’t getting any lucky bounces these days. This evening, the Ottawa Senators stole the Flames mojo as they bounced their way to a 3-2 win.

Though the Flames controlled the play for much of the first 2 periods, the Sens had the help of 2 lucky bounces to score 2 of their 3 goals at Scotiabank Centre tonight. The first Sens goal banged off 2 Flames players on its way from Alex Kovalev’s stick to the net. Jarkko Ruuto was the recipient of the 2nd lucky bounce on Ottawa’s second goal. The puck took a fortuitous bounce off Adam Pardy and right onto Ruutu’s stick in front of a “Kiprusoff-less” open net. The only Sens goal that was far enough from garbage to be considered a legitimate goal-scorer’s goal was the game winner by Jason Spezza.

Bad bounces and mojo aside, the Flames new line combinations seem to be getting something going. The newly formed top line of Hagman, Stajan and Iginla scored both Flames goals and converted for a total of 6 points. They seem to have found some chemistry and are playing very well together. The addition of Hagman and Stajan has taken some pressure off Iggy, since all 3 of them can score a goal at any time.

Despite the loss, the Flames return from their 3-game mini-road trip with 3 points. They are busting out of their slump and they are starting to play consistently good hockey. Though they’ve lost more games than they’ve won recently, they are actually playing well. Now they need to get some bounces and mojo going their way.

A good road win

Posted 06 Feb 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Giordano, Kotalik, Road, Win

Note: This was supposed to be published last night, but my computer and internet voted 2-1 against me on that plan.

Three of the newest Flames had points tonight as Calgary rolled through Florida and won the first game of their 3-game road trip. Ales Kotalik scored his first Flames goal on the powerplay with an assist going to Niklas Hagman. After the Panthers tied the game with a bouncing goal, Ian White set up Mark Giordano for the game-winning goal on the powerplay. The Flames played a tight game and held the Panthers to only 13 shots on net as they won their 2nd consecutive game with relative ease. The 13 shots against is a season-low for Calgary.

The new Flames (soon we’ll be able to call them just the “Flames”) seem to be gelling after a couple days together. They are finding line combinations that work and certain players are finding chemistry together. Matt Stajan has a lot of creativity and has been playing very well with Jarome Iginla and Niklas Hagman. Even Kotalik seems to be playing with some enthusiasm since coming to the Flames.

All the pessimists have cooled down over the past 2 games, and the general feeling of optimism is coming back to Flames fans. I suppose it’s natural now that the team has won a couple consecutive games afer losing so many in a row.

I wouldn’t say that Flames head coach, Brent Sutter, was happy with the game, but he did admit that it was “a good road win” since his team only allowed 13 shots on Miikka Kiprusoff. Let’s see if the Flames can get another good road win in Tampa tomorrow night to keep this streak going.