Baertschi Blows it for Flames; Calgary 2 – Chicago 3
The mantra before the game was a ‘consistent 60 minute effort’. After a four game hiatus the Flames faced the visiting Stanley Cup champs only to be badly outmatched in the skill column. Nonetheless their game plan responded to the Hawks relentless attacks. Game plans are useless when only a handful of players carry the load; Sven Baertschi will sit in the press box next game after ignoring the pre-game keys to victory and instead blowing a chance to put the Flames up 3-0 midway through the third, and then giving up a terrible icing with 30 seconds remaining to give the Hawks the eventual game winner with 15 seconds left.
I called it right after the miss:
The Flames can chalk this up to a lack of skill and folding the tent late. It didn’t help that Baertschi’s mishaps almost single handedly crippled the team. Tough to figure out what to do with the ‘young’ players on the team. On one hand you want to see them play and excel, but on the other hand they aren’t being trusted to play the minute (Backlund logging 4th line time). But when you do put them out they’re terrible defensively.
It was a coaching decision to put the Monahan line, probably the worst defensively behind even the 4th line, with 30 seconds left. That proved costly. I’m all for trying to give players opportunities, but when the game’s on the line make a better call. FlamesNation has put it out there, Monahan may score but he’s a loss every single time there’s a faceoff or one on one battle in both zones.
Reto Berra generally stood tall but it’s time Ramo got back into the net. I understand trying to see what we have in the netminder, and he has skill, but he also needs to work on those skills and refine. Certainly there’s promise, but the first goal was another bad goaline score that even though was tipped, caught him off his post.
Calgary is clearly unskilled and has a long, long road ahead to rebuild. They’ll eventually get there, but at this pace it’s going to be a brutal road for fans to endure (and even harder when tickets are a dime a dozen and each home game is filled with Calgarians bearing opposing team jerseys).
Notes: No O Brian and a second game in a row scratch for Galiardi. David Jones should be next, or even Stempniak. The number of boneheaded turnovers was maddening. Blair Jones will likely stick in the lineup with Baertschi out next game. Just a prediction to continue my pace.