March 9th, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
These aren’t you father’s Vancouver Canucks.
For the last five years the division winning Canucks were a terrifying road game to take in on your television. They’d come in waves offensively. They’d use their speed to draw penalties and then hammer you. Even with Miikka Kiprusoff in net you’d be lucky to find points to the high flying province to the left.
Things change I guess.
Last night the Flames only gave up 14 shots in a 2-1 loss in Vancouver, a game that likely should have gone the other way.
First choice in this category is easy … Lance Bouma. What a display in the first period. Can’t say enough about this guy. Interesting to note that his season turned on a dime in his last game in Vancouver. With guys tossed from the lineup every one got more ice time and he seemed to gain a lot of confidence with the puck.
TJ Brodie again was rock solid. His play skating the puck up the ice, or moving the puck down the blueline and over to his defense partner was a key part of the Calgary attack. Not sure if this guys is going to be a #1 NHL defenseman, but he’s certainly heading down that path.
May as well mention Giordano again as well. Fought Kevin Bieksa and had 7 shots on goal.
Markus Granlund is NHL ready. His defensive play, back check, work down low and consistency are all good accompaniment to his hands and ability to create offensively.
Max Reinhart had another good game. He makes smart plays with the puck and seems to have shed that young player terror in NHL traffic. Will be interesting to see if there’s another level and he’s destined for NHL second line duty or if he plays more of a checking role at this level.
Tyler Wotherspoon was over 11 minutes of ice again, -1 but picked up his first NHL point on McGrattan’s long bomb past Lack. Was impressed again with his ability to move the puck in a calm fashion and not look out of place. Good young defenseman.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Literally not a game that matters out of town save the Flames results on the night. So came up short on the scoreboard but winners in the rebuild, as the Flames stay tied with the Islanders and in the 5th draft position with only 18 games to go. Club sports stats has the Flames 13% 6th overall, 32% 5th overall, 24% 4th overall, 15% 3rd overall … very miniscule for 2nd or 1st.
Ran a poll on the site today about jerseys, specifically trying to figure out the popularity of the retro (80s) jerseys they wore last night in Calgary against other jerseys in history. I’m not a statistician, but you’d have to think if a web site with hard core, very knowledgeable fans has an opinion you may want to listen to it. The results so far have the 80s jerseys at 76%, the 2003 issue (cup run) at 17% and the rest sharing crumbs. The horsehead jersey and the ugly 90s jerseys are above the current regular set, and the new third is last. Give these people what they want Mr. King! … How long can Lance Bouma last blocking this many shots in a hockey game? I mention Mark Giordano a lot for his leadership, but noticed Colborne’s admission of Smid’s presence in the dressing room last night, and then again today saw him come out to Bouma after he blocked three straight shots. Great culture emerging. Back to Bouma, that’s quiet leadership too, albeit from a young player, but how do you not work your tail off when a guy is sacrificing like that. Hope they keep him in the organization when he can’t walk in three years. … Two very clear cut groups of young players in Calgary right now. One tier has Markus Grandlund and Max Reinhart playing a serious role at the NHL level, and the next has Corban Knight and Ben Hanowski playing energy roles with the fourth line. I’d say Granlund isn’t going anywhere and Reinhart may finish the season in Calgary as well. …
Same roster as Friday night, with 8 rookies taking a spin for the Flames, still crossing my fingers that this group of eight is better than that 1996 crew!
Where Do They Go From Here?
Flames are back at the dome to host the Kings on Monday night.