We have all been there before. For months you’ve been looking forward to a 2 week paid vacation and now the day is almost here. You have 1 last shift to get through until your vacation is finally here and no matter how hard you try to focus and get your work done your lazy pants slowly start sliding themselves on.
Today’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers will be as much of a mental battle as a physical one as both teams will be fighting human nature and try go into the Olympic break on a high note.
Unfortunately for the Flames it is the Philadelphia Flyers going into the break on a high note, outlasting a late Flames push to hold onto a 2-1 win. There was definitely no lack of try tonight from either teams, but the execution on both sides left something to be desired. Not sure if it was the early start time or if both teams were kind of looking towards the break but there were a lot of turnovers and some really sloppy play in this one.
Reto Berra had himself another quality start. Standing tall for most of the game, including a really nice cross crease pad save off a Wayne Simmonds wrap around. Berra is making the most of his opportunity, which is good to see because there is a young Joni Ortio chomping at the bit to get in some game action. Unfortunately for Berra the team in front of him was unable to get anything going for most of the game and the team has failed to capitalize on his solid goaltending winning only 1 of 3 games.
T.J. Brodie had a very active stick tonight, breaking up a bunch of plays and logging over 24 minutes of ice time. Sean Monahan showed some great patience tonight, making several nice passes. Monahan also almost scored the tying goal with just over a minute left but Ray Emery absolutely robbed him. Lance Bouma had a very Lance Bouma-esque game tonight, playing extremely physical and using his speed to create some offensive chances.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
There is only 1 game today that had draft implications for the Flames. Later today the New York Islanders will play the Colorado Avalanche at 5pm. With the Flames loss today they currently trail the Islanders by 1 point for 26th place and have 1 game in hand.
If there is 1 player on the Flames roster who could really use the Olympic break it is Dennis Wideman. The guy has just not been the same the last few weeks. The points still seem to be coming somewhat, but Wideman has been way more of a liability than normal defensively, constantly mishandling the puck and just generally making poor decisions with it… On one hand, it’s really good to see Reto Berra finally string together some consistant play and take advantage of his opportunity. On the other hand I kind of wanted to see what Joni Ortio could do at this level. Depending on how quickly Karri Ramo is ready Joni Ortio still might get to start a game after the Olympic break… Who does this team send down when Curtis Glencross comes back? I don’t think this team can take the chance of putting Paul Byron on waivers because I feel there are definitely some non-playoff teams who would have no trouble slotting him into their NHL line-up. The Flames are in a position of having too many forwards and not enough roster spots… Flames defender Ladislav Smid took a heavy hit into the boards in the second period and didn’t come out to start the 3rd period and did not return for the rest of the game…
The only roster move for tonight’s game was Kevin Westgarth drawing in for youngster Paul Byron.
Where Do They Go From Here?
All the way to the Olympic break. The Flames have 18 days between games and don’t play again until Feb 27th where they return home to face the Kings, 7:30 PM start time.