Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Flames vs Canucks ROUND 1

Calgary Flames (10-12-2) vs Vancouver Canucks (12-7-3)

7:30pm TV: TSN Radio: FAN960AM
First meeting of the year for these two bitter rivals!

Flames projected line-up:
*Kotalik could draw in
Kiprusoff (S)

Keys to a Flames victory; complete game needed! The Canucks are better in the face offs, power play and penalty kill categories! Flames however, do average more shots for and fewer shots against per game, and that will need to continue to be successful against a very skilled Canucks team.

Flames better be motivated for this game, if not, they clearly lack some focus. It will mark the first game for Morrison against his old club since they gave him that try out. Also the first game these two teams play against each other this season and as we all know, these two teams do not like each other! Flames players keep talking about how they are gaining “confidence”… it’s now time to show it. Enough with the talk that the team is getting better and that they are feeling better, just go do it. Reality is this team needs points and needs to get them against division rivals like the Canucks, so they can get back into the fold! Kiprusoff has stood on his head and Regehr and Bouwmeester have been a force the past few games, and if the rest of the team does not follow right now than I am afraid this team will struggle to stay afloat!

Injury update:

Kotalik- Appears ready or at least very close to being good to go. Depending how soon he returns the Flames will need to send a player down or move a body to make it work financially.
Pardy- Also appears to be getting closer, should be back before Christmas
Ivanans- I hear he is skating, but the Calgary media doubts he plays at all this year anymore due to the amount of players we have and his role.
Langkow- Still not exercising looks to be out for the year.
Stone- Who? Still recovering from an injury and the process seems slow, Feaster says they hope to have him join the Heat come March.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Calgary Flames VS Pittsburgh Penguins

Calgary Flames (9-11-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-2)
The time is now! Pittsburgh is the hottest team in the NHL at the moment, and this is the perfect time to build some confidence! Flames have been getting some points lately and their play has been better, but if you want to become relevant again in the Western Conference, the time is now! You beat the Penguins (and I don`t care how), you prove to yourselves that you can turn this around.

Projected line-up (subject to change)
Tanguay Backlund Iginla
Glencross Moss Bourque
Hagman Jokinen Kostopoulos
Morrison Conroy Jackman
*Stajan could play he is a game time decision!
Regehr Bouwmeester
Giordano Babchuk
Staios/Sarich Mikkelson
Kiprusoff (S)

Apparently, let the opposition score first. As bad as that sounds, the Flames seem to wake once the opposition scores. Also Pittsburgh is an average faceoff team. If the Flames can dominate the face offs, it will take away puck possession time from the likes of Crosby and Malkin. We all know how important that is, but it`s easier said than done.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Flames fall to Rangers and is it a Suspension??

Flames fall 2-1 at Madison Square Garden.

Another one goal loss and another injury, as Stajan left the game after receiving a shoulder to his head. All the talk after the game was the hit on Stajan, but before I share my opinion on the hit, let me re-cap the game.

The first period was terrible. Flames were slow, timid and had very little offensive zone puck possession. It seemed to me the team had to adapt without “Regehr” in the line-up. With defensemen Mikkelson, Babchuck and Sarich playing like they were nervous. But then the second period came which had been labelled as the Flames worst period, and it began to look that way once the Rangers scored on an own goal by Mikkelson. An unlucky bounce but the Flames began playing their game and were rewarded on an Iginla goal. Iginla has now scored 6 goals in his last 3 games but the Flames have only come away with 3 points in those three games. The Flames continued to play strong and were creating some chances but after a Glencross penalty the Rangers took a 2-1 lead which proved to hold up in the end. The third period was much like the second but the Flames couldn’t find that tying goal and the whole team was rattled after a massive open ice hit on Stajan by Marc Staal. (http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Sports/Must-See_Moments/1403720114/ID=1658444912) You can view the hit by clicking on the link provided.
What’s my opinion? Well first off Stajan was admiring his pass just like how Booth admired his pass when Richards hit him with that infamous hit. Staal was in front of Stajan although he came from the side. Staal clearly was out to hit Stajan and hit him hard, and Staal took his opportunity and laid his shoulder/forearm at full force onto Stajan’s face. In the video you see Stajan with his head up but looking away (which is his own fault) but at the same time Staal leaves his feet, and he lets go of his stick to make sure he does some damage. I am not saying the hit was intentional, which it was not. The league is trying to eliminate hits like this from the game and that is why I believe he receives a 1 game suspension. On a personal note I like seeing big hits and love players who lay it on the line, but I also know I would view it different if I was the victim or family from the victim. I believe this hit is suspendable and should be a suspension. I have seen hits that are less violent (Glencross on Drury last year with a 2 game suspension). So I would like to see a 3 game suspension for this hit, which is probably a stretch.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flames Trade Ian White

Calgary Flames trade Ian White to Carolina

At 2pm today the news broke that the Flames had traded Ian White and Brett Sutter to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos. What does the deal mean? Well to me it shows this team will not be rebuilding yet… We gain a cheaper, bigger and a massive shot in Babchuk (UFA 2011) for White who is also a UFA at season’s end. Then you upgrade Brett Sutter with a rugged fast skating experienced player in Kostopoulos, who should add some energy and character to our team. And in the end the deal saves the Flames 1.9 mill in cap space which will be valuable with Kotalik, Pardy and Ivanans close to returning from injuries.

Early opinion; I like the move. It shows to me that this team is not going to fold up and rebuild yet! Also this trade could improve both the power play and penalty kill, because Babchuk has a massive shot and Kostopoulos has his gritty hard working style of game. I feel we upgraded Ian White who was struggling hard this season, I know some fans felt White was a good asset but reality is that he hasn’t worked out so far with the Flames. I will say this; I do not believe this is the last trade the Flames make before deadline day. I expect another smaller move to follow shortly, if not two.

6’5” Anton Babchuk (Age, 26) from Kiev Ukraine’s best season:
2008-2009 72GP 16G 19A +13 16PIM
6’0” Tom Kostopoulos (Age, 31) from Mississauga Canada’s best season:
2009-2010 82GP 8G 13A +4 106pim

On a last note, many believe that Sutter was dealt because of his antics in Phoenix. But Darren Dreger from TSN said this deal has been in the works for weeks!

Good trade D. Sutter and Feaster?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flames Searching for Changes

Searching for changes? Answering some common questions.

In a week where our beloved Flames do not play until Wednesday at home vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, a lot of questions and suggestions surround this club.

Whose team is this? Let us begin with that one; some say Bourque, some say Iginla. My answer is Kiprusoff! Why you ask? Simple, he is the only guy who has come to play every night! To me it doesn’t matter who wears the “C” or who has the most all time points or has scored the most goals in recent history, it is all about who comes to play for this team and the jersey they put on every day. Kiprusoff might not have the most unreal stats at the moment or be the most media friendly guy, heck he might not be the prettiest face to put on posters or team promoting signs. Yet come game time he is the first one in the zone and gives it his all every day regardless of what his stats say or what his teammate’s attitudes are. We often look over his play because we have become so use to it, but reality is we are very fortunate to have him on our team! Most keep asking; between Bourque and Iginla, whose team is it? Well it is Iginla’s, and it will remain that way until he leaves the team or retires. Doesn’t mean he will put up the most productive stats but he will always be the leader of this team. Has he been good this season? Absolutely not! But does he want to be here? YES he does, he is too passionate where he won’t give up after a bad stretch! Mark my words, he will show us whose team this really is either way!

Next, who is leaving? Well I am not sure anyone is…. Kotalik, Ivanans and Pardy will all return in the near future. Meaning someone will be sent down to the AHL or placed on waivers. Players like Meyer and Mikkelson seem like likely candidates for that maybe even Staios, only time will tell. Now when it comes to trades, Regehr’s name keeps getting brought up. I am not sure if Regehr has ample value where something comes back in return that changes this team enough unless he is included in a larger package deal. Next name is Ian White, UFA at the end of this year, has played very poorly lately and has looked slow for most of the season. But is there too much upside here? With the injury to Markov in MTL and teams such as Washington, San Jose and Anaheim continuing to search for an established d-man…I will let you make some possible trades with those teams but there are possibilities there, although I would stay away from the Habs.

Next, who needs to get fired? Brent Sutter? NO, we have fired coaches in the past few years with the same leaders on the team as we do now. Yet no real change has come from it, and in my opinion we are fortunate to have Brent. So is it Darryl Sutter? Maybe…Feaster is capable to take over I guess. My opinion is he will never be fired! He may be moved to a different responsibility within the organization due to the owners love for him. But that will not happen unless the owners and Ken King feel it is time for a rebuild and then a new philosophy will come in and take over. It’s easy to blame Sutter, yes he has made some questionable trades and signings but he believes in this city as a great hockey market and great place to raise a family. If Sutter is the issue, then the pressure should be on the owners and Ken King, to make changes to better this team. I still believe Sutter is doing his best job to make this team better. I am not saying it is working but he is sticking to what he believes in, and that is a quality that is admirable but maybe not function able for this club.

Like you can tell I have no real suggestions as to what to do when it comes to a big change, I just gave some opinion on recent rants. But I do think if the coaches keep preaching what they are preaching, and maybe we move a body or two, this team can turn this around as there is still a lot of hockey to be played. Playoffs are reachable but will it do any good for the future and can the Flames really make some noise if they make it? That is up for debate but nothing beats playoff hockey where anything is possible! And with a goaltender like Kipper, anything is possible.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Calgary Flames (7-8-0) VS San Jose Sharks (7-5-2)

8:00pm at HP Pavilion
TV: CBC Radio: FAN960AM
Will the Flames get back to five hundred or does the late travel bode for an excuse?

Projected Line Up (subject to change)
Morrison - Stajan - Iginla
Glencross - Jokinen - Bourque
Moss - Backlund - Morrison
Tanguay - Conroy – Jackman

Regehr - White
Bouwmeester - Giordano
Sarich – Mikkelson


Power Play
Flames 14.3%- Sharks 23.5%
Penalty Kill
Flames 83.6% - Sharks 84.1%

Keys to a Flames victory, face offs! San Jose has a 6.8% better win percentage than the Flames! If the Flames cannot find a way to better manage the face off dot they will be picked apart! San Jose loves possession and with some speedy wingers this could get ugly fast! Calgary must get the puck on net! That sounds easy yet against a Sharks team that only allows 26 shots against a game it could be a tough task. I believe with the late travel and a “routine” change because of it, the Flames could benefit from it and come in with some energy early, but can they sustain the energy. Stay out of the box, win some face offs and attack the net!

Things to watch for,Iginla Iginla and Iginla! Many say he is sending a message and shows he does not want to be a Flames player anymore. I disagree, I do think his effort has been poor and he needs to step it up! But he does not want out IMO! I believe once he gets a goal or two and makes some plays that allow him to feel better about himself this train will explode. I understand until his effort improves it won’t happen but one has to believe an injury or something is tied to his play? No? Also this team has to play like a team; we can’t rely on one line to bring the energy while the others coast. Now Bouwmeester can skate but until he shoots the puck or drives the net with that speed no team will fear him. Last thing if Karlsson does play it will be interesting to see how he responds since his last game.

I will touch on some rumours again. Iginla to Buffalo makes little to no sense, Buffalo is in the same boat as the Flames, and Iginla wouldn’t waive to go there! Iginla to L.A. Yes the package sounds good but is that an actual offer? And would the Kings really give that up? Iginla to Philly for Carter, if this goes through more would have to be attached to the deal and regardless I do not believe this one either! Regehr being moved? I am starting to believe this might not be a bad idea, but whom and what could we get in return?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flames defeat the Avs 4-2

Post-Game Avalanche VS Flames Break Down
The Flames win over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver tonight, 4-2!

First period was anything but good! Flames came out flat and quickly took a penalty. The Avalanche capitalized and took an early 1-0 lead. It seemed to wake up Iginla and he became very noticeable in his next few shifts. I felt Stajan hurt Iginla in that period by being easily pushed off the puck and being a step behind. Flames had a great chance by Bourque who rang one off the post but that was as close to everything the Flames fans could be excited about! It was an average first period, with no real offensive pressure by Calgary, except for the late power play.

Second period had a great start with a power play goal by Glencross! After the goal the Flames controlled play for a little bit. But then more penalties came and the Flames stopped moving their feet! Flames penalty kill was great and kept the Flames a float! Although, for the rest of the period the Flames played some lack luster hockey. I really do not understand how this team goes on its heels so fast! The Flames showed they had skating issues with the young Avalanche but they also didn’t make it tough for the Avs to gain the offensive zone. At the end of the period and after Kiprusoff got knocked over, the Flames showed some emotion and we got to see Backlund’s mean face (if you can call it that),

The third period started off with an extra penalty only given to the Flames for that scrum at the end of the second period. Colorado scores on a play where Moss couldn’t clear the zone and the hopeful comeback began…and it came to fruition! A great effort by Moss and a beautiful spin move shot by Hagman, resulted in a rebound that Backlund buried! Moss redeemed himself in some sense and overall had a great effort full game! And that effort was later paid back with a goal with 4 minutes to go in the third period. The Flames moved their feet more and the line of Moss, Backlund and Hagman really lead the way! Overall the effort and will to win in the third period was there and although it was not a full 60 min game, the Glencross empty net goal sealed the Flames victory!

Overall the team struggled the first period and most of the second period. They didn’t deserve to win per say but neither did the Avalanche! So let’s hope we can build off of the third period and the play of Moss and Kiprusoff (as always) and turn this ship around. Iginla was better and was noticeable at times, same goes for Bouwmeester who I felt for most of the game was one of our better players regardless of the one mishap he had! Now Phoenix is next where Karlsson will probably get the nod!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Little Colorado Bush Cuddling Needed!


After a 2-3-0 home stand the Flames now have a 6-6-0 record on the season!
We can pick apart everything and see where the mistakes are but it’s obvious; No skating, bad 5 on 5 plays. Actually let me rephrase that, “terrible” 5 on 5 play, a non-producing power play, constant bad positioning and bad penalties. A lot is wrong but it can be fixed! It all breaks down to confidence and the will to be better. Right now I believe the players are thinking it will improve, not making sure it improves! They can think and say what they want, but unless you go out and do it and you make the commitment as a team, nothing will change. This team has the players, leaders and coaches to turn this around. So when and how will it happen? The Answer: when they commit and believe they can do it. And quite frankly, also when Iginla, Bourque and Bouwmeester begin to play like stars and game breakers!

I briefly expressed it on twitter, but the Flames need to look at their 6-6-0 record as 0-0-0 as they go on the road for 4 games. Look at this trip as a re-start! They fly out tomorrow and I believe that is a good thing. So get on that plane fly to Minnesota play the game (hopefully) win. After the Minnesota game go to a zoo, a bowling alley or a laser tag facility and force the guys to be around each other and have some bonding time, and if one guy doesn’t make it out then so be it! (Unless that person is Kiprusoff) Have some fun, realize that the guys in that room are fun and are competitive. Loosen up, change things up stay at some log cabins in the bush in Colorado for all I care but come back out of this trip as a new group! Still 140 points up for grabs and it’s not too late!

I hate pointing the finger at coaches and I believe we are fortunate to have Brent. Yet, Brent Sutter needs to quit displaying his frustrations towards the team so blatant on the bench and so quickly. As soon as they make one mistake he begins the cursing and lashes out. I get that the team is bad right now but clearly these guys are lost and when the coach is the first one to lose it, the players will most likely follow suit. But hey! I hear Playfair is coming to coach the Flames during home games. JK
Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.