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Calgary, AB • Canada • 31 Years Old • Male
I wasn't intending to write a post after tonight's game. But considering this was a 5-4 overtime loss that was much more lopsided than the score, and considering this followed a 6-0 season-opening loss to the same team, I figured it was noteworthy enough. Only two games out of 82 may be in the books, but in short, the Flames look even worse than my most pessimistic state could have predicted. Though they were slightly improved tonight, through two games the Flames' defense looks completely brutal, Miikka Kiprusoff is not back to his old form, the offence looks inconsistent and not that much improved, and, as usual, the powerplay looks atrocious. Tonight, it was mainly the lack of a powerplay and terrible defence that lost them the game.

The Flames looked outstanding early on. After both weak defense and weak goaltending led to an early first goal by Daniel Sedin, Flames goon Andre Roy was the unlikely recipient of a drop pass in the slot, which he one-timed between Luongo's pads to tie the game. Halfway through the first, Todd Bertuzzi tipped in a Mark Giordano shot from behind the blueline, and then Rene Bourque got a rebound off a draw to give the Flames a 3-1 lead. However, this was as close as they'd come to having control. Two wasted powerplays in the early second were followed by the Canucks tying the game midperiod with two quick goals. A sweet three-line pass by Dion Phaneuf to Rene Bourque on a Canucks line change allowed Mike Cammalleri to put the Flames up again on a rebound. Early in the third, the Sedin brothers were uncovered as usual, and Kiprusoff had no chance as Daniel one-timed the tying goal home. Pavol Demitra scored on a a 2-on-1 3:54 into overtime; I viewed this goal as almost merciful.

The Flames were outshot 34-29, giving up 18 shots in the second period. The defense simply looks atrocious through two games. I felt that Miikka Kiprusoff's first goal against was soft. But these concerns seem petty through two games when you consider the Flames' powerplay. If the Flames had converted just one of their powerplays, they would have had the game. But no, Rich Preston remains behind the bench running this thing for some inexplicable reason (one day, the mystery of how the man still has a job will get its own blogpost.)

Other notes. I really like Rene Bourque; he's looking like he might be a viable second line solution after all. Right now, the Canucks look like a much faster team than Calgary, but you know what doesn't help things? When Keenan scratches Boyd and Nystrom in favor of Primeau and Prust. This may be emblematic of a bigger problem that I'll explain in my next post. I know Bertuzzi is washed up and I'm only expecting him to replace Owen Nolan, but he seriously seems to have lost a physical edge. Mark Giordano was the Flames' best defenceman tonight. At this point, I'm willing to bet that Curtis McElhinney gets at least one start next week. I'm not blaming anyone or making any excuses: Miikka Kiprusoff does not look that good right now. The powerplay looks atrocious but the penalty kill is much better.

A final note. I can't get through a postgame blog without mentioning the controversial penalty to Todd Bertuzzi at the end of the third period. Like most, I agree that Ryan Johnson dove. I didn't feel this was the only blown call; I can't remember what penalty it should have been but I felt there was a noncall right before the Canucks' game winning 2 on 1. Overall, the reffing was awful on both sides. But I'm not going to complain because I felt the Flames deserved to lose.

This was originally going to be a much longer and deeper analyzing post, but I felt that my post game reactions and my overall impressions should be two different posts. Since many people dislike the game by game format, and it's redundant to post summaries and reactions to every game in an 82-game season, I'm instead planning on weekly "reviews" in which I evaluate each week's games briefly and update my impressions of the team. This doesn't mean I'll only be posting once a week, but it probably will mean less postgame posts. That is, if I follow through with this. I was originally planning on posting one in the next two days but due to the Flames' schedule I think it's better suited for next week.

It's still too early to evaluate the Flames with confidence (and before you ask, Nucks fans, I think Calgary has looked so brutal that I can't say yet whether the Canucks are for real either). We should have a clearer picture of how serious the Flames' problems are in the coming week, when they play the Avs and have a home and home with Edmonton. If their horrific defence, mediocre goaltending, appalling power play, and mediocre offense continues, they could easily be looking at 0-5. The type of start which gets coaches fired. On an unrelated note, Alex Tanguay scored four points tonight.

Filed Under:   flames   skr  
October 12, 2008 7:47 AM ET | Delete
Very well done and accurate blog. I thought Giordano particularly was brutal last night in his own end.
October 12, 2008 1:16 PM ET | Delete
Very good game last night. Calgary did have 2 more power plays and did get away with chocpping Luuongo in the neck(Phaneuf) and trying to decapitate Sedin with and elbow(Bertuzzi). I'm not really gonna complain either because we got 2 points out of it.All you need to do is stop giving up odd man rushes and you are getting no defensive support from your forwards.
October 12, 2008 2:45 PM ET | Delete
First off, just a correction -- Bertuzzi would not have got the goal if it was shot from "behind the blueline", right? That would have been offside. Secondly, Burrows could have got a penalty just before the Canuck's winning goal that he assisted on. But then Phaneuf could have got the penalty for whacking Luongo in the neck...and Johnson for a dive. All that pretty much evens out. Perhaps the Canucks contributed somewhat to Calgary's play? It takes speed and drive to expose a "stand-up" defense -- and the Canucks did. And they did not let the Flames goon Iginla intimidate them like last year. Love the way Iginla plays but he only helped the Canucks from the penalty box. He's so intent on "getting" Ohlund and Kesler that it hurts his team.
October 12, 2008 4:59 PM ET | Delete
It was Mitchell's stick who hit Luongo, not Phaneufs.Worst decision of the game was Prust fighting Rypien.
October 12, 2008 5:52 PM ET | Delete
The "behind the blueline" thing was supposed to be an exaggeration cause Giordano was so far back he was practically behind the line. Forgot to add the word "practically". Also, every time I've posted that while the reffing was crappy ON BOTH SIDES I'm not blaming it on the Flames losing - the reason the Flames lost was because they went 0 for 7 on the PP - yet nobody can read and thinks I'm really complaining.
October 12, 2008 10:04 PM ET | Delete
bforster, Mitchell hit Lou on the head, Phaneuf hit him in the throat.
October 13, 2008 12:55 AM ET | Delete
Do the Canucks get any credit for shutting down the Flames' power play 2 straight games? Do they get any credit (especially Mitchell and Kesler) for keeping Iginla off the scoreboard in both games? Or is it just that the Flames played so poorly that "even" the Canucks could beat them?
October 13, 2008 2:08 AM ET | Delete
Rdfred, it doesn't take that much to shut down the Flames power play. I will give you guys credit for shutting down Iggy though. However, like everything after two games, it's too early to tell. I'm going to wait and see how the Canucks do against some other teams before I even try to make a conclusion, just as I will see how the Flames do against the Avs and Oilers this week before I try to make a conclusion.
October 14, 2008 12:14 PM ET | Delete
I have no problem blaming the ref's! They were bad calls. Period. with a 1 1/2 minutes kleft you better be SURE he hit him! The ref even knew it he was over apologizing to Keenan! The non call on the trip was brutal as well and led to an odd man scenario in which Van scored. The goalies were both equally bad, the defence were both equally bad the offences were both having an easy night the difference was the refs. It was 3-3 and both teams had 16 shots on net at that point! BAD. Great game to watch though!!
October 14, 2008 2:40 PM ET | Delete
Nice to have you back, Shaun!The should-have-been penalty before Demitra's game-winning goal was a obvious trip on Cammalleri. I don't know how the refs missed it (there was one standing on the blue-line about 6 or 7 feet away from the play). If it hadn't have been such a close OT, there would have been a call on the trip.Giordano had a great game. I like he and Dion on the PP. It gives them some options for sure. Gio is a smaller d-man, but he packs some great skill; I can't wait to see him really open up.I didn't think Bertuzzi had such a bad game. He positioned well (in front of the net) and even tipped one in on his way there. I can think of two times where he missed a great chance, but was positioned well. His hit on Johnson was not clean, but was made to be much worse by the dive.But, the glaring factor, in my mind, has been Iggy's offensive effort (or lack thereof). I appreciate the "knock-out punch" on he and Mitchell's fight to get the bench going, but he hasn't been as sharp as last year (so far). Mind you, 'Couv had some great coverage on Iginla, but he can certainly sharpen up his offensive game. And, he really needs to put some accuracy on those shots from the blueline he's always taking instead of trying to put all power on it.
October 14, 2008 6:57 PM ET | Delete
Yo JamCam I think you got the wrong blog...lol
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