Winning? Flames 3 – Montreal 2

Hmmm, something seems to be amiss. The Calgary Flames don’t win games in October. After all, Iginla always has a slow start. Maybe that guy was dragging the whole team down because early in the 2013 season Calgary has been a pleasant surprise. Admittedly, the sky will come crashing down, or at least that’s what fans expect, but in the meantime, there’s exciting hockey to take in, even if it’s a bit of river hockey action from time to time.

Defensive zone lapses are the achilles heal. The team gets scored on when you expect them to get scored on, not the random times of years past. But they’re also putting up points. Team point leader? Sean Monahan. Is he going to stay up? Well he can’t win a draw to save his life but he’s learning quickly and contributing in big ways.

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Flames Drop Home Opener 5 – 4 to Canucks

The Flames will win quite a few games up to December because other teams take them lightly. Vancouver did it and they should’ve lost. Even without a ‘star’ hockey player on the roster, and with Stajan and Cammalleri out with injuries, the Flames still compete night in night out. In fact, the same issues that plagued the team day 1 of this season are the same problems 3 games in. That’s a good or bad scenario.

Each of the 3 games Calgary has played thus far they’ve lead in. Each time, they’ve blown leads. Part of it is the ‘talent’ problem, but most of it is just brain cramps. Brian McGrattan played himself out of Wednesday’s lineup with a boneheaded giveaway that put the Canucks up late in the third. Curtis Glencross did the same to give the Canucks even more momentum.

Eliminating the mental mistakes was something Calgary never could do in the past. A full 60 minute game was a problem night in and night out. This year we have glimpses that they’ll compete for 60 minutes, but we don’t have enough evidence to believe they can fix mistakes. But, all indications point to differences in this year’s Flames team–they’ll get it together eventually.

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Game 2 – Flames Win First of 2013 Season

Calgary 4 – Columbus 3

Well, it’s not dump and chase hockey, it’s actually exciting most of the time, at both ends of the ice. Sometimes it looks like a defensive zone fire drill, but this year’s Flames are certainly different. New faces everywhere and with them come new zeal. It’s only been two games but there’s certainly a different feel to the club, particularly in consistency.

Taking 3 of a possible 4 points after tonight’s win means the Flames play their season opener against the Canucks on TOP of the Pacific Division (how many times will we be able to say that this year?)

Second game is as many nights with two lineup changes. In goal, Joey MacDonald, who picked up from where he left off last year–offering competent backup goaltending. Joe Colborne, recent acquisition from Toronto, factored in the lineup for the injured Matt Stajan. He’s a big body but looked out of place and slow.

Calgary’ all around even strength game looked good against Columbus, a playoff team last year, and perhaps slightly less talent than a Caps squad from the night earlier. That’s good news for the Flames given they were able to keep pace despite all the consistent talk on the opposite from NHL pundits.

Special teams is the concern, ineffective on the PP and in need of real help on the PK. Having more consistency in the place we all knew would suffer, the faceoff dot, will help. It’s hard to believe the Flames could get worse on draws, but so far they’re not so great.

Final Notes: Baertschi continues to try to find his way, albeit playing a more rounded game. McGrattan taking space on th ebench with his four minutes a game…..although he did draw two penalties. Derek Smith and Tim Jackman healthy scratches. Mike Cammalleri still on the mend with a hand injury. Sean Monahan with his first NHL goal. He looks good, albeit small, and if he’s play continues to improve over the next 6 games he might stick.

Flames 2013 Season Opener – Worst Team in History? Flames Drop Season Opener

Calgary 4 – Capitals 5 (SO)

That’s what the pundits are saying, this Flames roster is ‘up there’ as one of the worst. Hockey ‘analysts’ (honestly, I give the same credence to awesome bloggers as I do to TSN ‘analysts’ *cough*Aaron Ward*cough*), pit the Flames to finish no lower than 30 (you can’t go any lower).

Is this team really THAT bad? Is this really a revamped but worse version of the ‘Young Guns’ from the mid 90s? ‘Hard work’ was the name of the game back then and it still holds true today. Competing every game will be the calling card for this squad. Chances for the young prospects to shine, and no-name goalies to showcase their wares will be innumerable.

For the first period in the season opener on the road in Washington the Flames silenced all the pundits. 3-0 going into the second intermission. But alas, classic Flames, the lead was squandered in a hurry.

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Sven and Sean & Low Expectations

#1 draft picks don’t have a stellar career when picked by the Flames organization.

A brief history of Calgary Flames first rounders and GP with the Flames:

2006 – Leland Irving 13 career GP
2005 – Matt Pelech 7 career GP
2004 – Kris Chucko – 2 career GP
2000 – Brett Krahn – 1 career GP
1998 – Rico Fata – 1 assist over 3 seasons
1997 – Daniel Tkcazuk – 19 career GP
1993 – Jesper Mattison 0 career GP
1991 – Nik Sunblad – 2 career GP

Not to be outdone, also ’85, ’86, and ’87 Calgary’s first rounders were, respectively Brian Deasley, George Pelawa, and Chris Biotti, the three of whom have combined for a grand total of ZERO NHL GP.

This doesn’t count Dion Phaneuf, obviously.

So Sven and Sean, we’re ready to be blown away, maybe 25GP!?!?!?!

Calgary Flames 2013-2014 Pre Season begins

The new NHL season is upon us, a full 82 game slate to entertain local fans. 48 home games with each NHL team on the schedule will make for an interesting season. What everyone is talking about is three-fold:

1) Who will be captain (since there’s not much contention talk going on, you have to fill it with something). Some say Glencross, but most say Giordano.

2) Who will start in goal? Ramo? Berra? MacDonald?

3) How low will the Flames go? 30th or 29th?

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Flames Trade Tanguay and Sarich for Jones and O’Brien

By now news from Flames camp has hit most flood ravaged Flames fans (and those high and dry). The FLames shipping their only notable offensive player with games under his belt for a ‘used to be a 20 goal scorer’ in David Jones. Sarich for O’Brien a clear win, but apart from age what is FLames management thinking?

Calgary ADDS salary and loses skill. They shed age, but lose veteran presence. Sure, Tanguay wouldv’e been around for pretty much no successful years. But ultimately, Feaster and co. have a habit of adding players that had one good season a few years ago in hopes they can translate success. Blake Comeau anybody? Roman Cervenka? How about Kari Ramo?????? I do’nt like the way this rebuild is going….

THis is a marginal loss for the Flames. Not that keeping both players would’ve been a win either….

Iginla Didn’t Pick Wrong, Kipper ‘Retires’ & Draft Day

Well lots going around Flames-land, most notable of course being the loss of significant portions of Saddledome memorabilia. We’re talking 1989 and more. The loss of history won’t be fully known till the Flames release that information, but all that said and done, the water covered the entire first 10 years (higher than players heads if they were on the ice). Most of the brains of the organization was on the bottom level too….

Iginla didn’t choose wrong after all, Boston had a great rally but Chicago won the Cup.

Kipper is apparently ‘done for good’ as in retired from NHL. The Finnish national team released the news, Calgary has yet to release anything official. Columbus wants to coax him out of retirement. He’s probably done like he said though.

That leaves draft day. Will the Flames find a trade to go top 3? That’s a franchise player if they can swing it, but stocking the cupboards with great prospects isn’t a bad deal either, unless you draft very poorly…. In the past 5 years FLames have done relatively OK (anything after Sutter). No franchise player yet though….

Flames Falter: Calgary 1 – Vancouver 4

Calgary continues their torrid pace to the bottom of the league, which at this point means a first round draft pick (they they’ll no doubt squander on some unknown college kid). Playing Vancouver for the second time in 3 games was much of the same. Calgary dominating despite playing half their AHL club, and Vancouver pulling it out in the end.

For Flames fans they don’t really expect a win, so a loss is good in a sense. For Vancouver fans, they’ll enjoy the win, but the simple fact remains if Vancouver is consistently outworked and dominated for 52 minutes by Calgary’s AHL squad, they’ll at BEST make a second round playoff performance. THat’s a guarantee.

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One Word Post Game: Calgary 2 – Edmonton 8


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