March 7th, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
Rebuilds contain three or four seasons of grind work for fans. Little going on on the ice, losses piling up, no light at the end of the tunnel, season ticket base eroding, and people getting fired.
Really all we’ve seen in year one of the Flames rebuild is Jay Feaster getting fired. The rest of the list can be ignored as the Flames continue to not only play an entertaining brand of hockey, but picking up more wins than expected.
Tonight`s game featured an AHL all star game with the Islanders in the Heat edging Bridgeport 4-3 on a three goal third period come back.
TJ Brodie was a force again tonight. In a sloppy game he was +2 and picked up an assist while playing a solid 200 foot game for the Flames.
Captain Mark Giordano had a brutal giveaway when he blindly fired the puck from the Islanders corner into the slot but that was his only zit on the night as he picked up two assists and led in every aspect of the game.
Really like both Joe Colborne and Sean Monahan`s games as well. Coming out party.
Mikael Granlund is going to be a player. He’s always around the puck, always in position, and could have scored three in this game. Ran his point streak to three games with a first period goal for Calgary. I think he’s staying.
Corban Knight continues to do well on the draws but looks a little over matched at the NHL level. He`ll be a player but perhaps not this season.
Tyler Wotherspoon impressed me in a way that Chris Breen did not in any of his starts this season. He kept it simple, was great on the walling timing the pinch, and physical in the corners. The kid looks solid.
Max Reinhart has added some poise to his game since his last incarnation in a Flames jersey. Much more fluid in moving the puck and finding seams. Could have scored in the second.
Ben Hanowski is the weakest of the group. Doesn’t stand out a whole lot in handling the puck, and made a huge gaff on a backhand pass in the second period.
Joni Ortio couldn’t be faulted for goals 2 and 3, but was way off the short side post on the Islanders first goal. Picked up an assist and made a lot of solid saves.
Monahan continues his hot hand with some good dishes, and a great goal. His give and go with TJ Galiardi was such a confident move for a 19 year old. I’m really starting to up my expectation level of the player this guy is going to be.
Joe Colborne, first two goal game of his career, both being in the right place at the right time. the first banging home a bank of the boards, the second getting a tip on the puck. Hoping he gets ten this year.
Lance Bouma is simply becoming a reincarnation of Ron Stern. So much jam, both in blocking shots, dishing hits, and doing the dirty work. Becoming a pretty important part of the Flames going forward.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Flames got some help from Roberto Luongo tonight as he shut out the Sabres in his first action in a Panther jersey. With the Flames win over the Islanders, they stay 2 points ahead of Florida and move to even with the Islanders. One would think with Calgary’s injuries and Panthers and Oilers adding goaltending one could make the case that the Flames are more likely to finish with a top three pick this season than it appeared a week ago but if the Flames continue to win that may not be the case.
The game featured the 8 rookies in the lineup at the same time, the first time that’s happened since 1996. Sportsnet put up the graphic of the 8 players in 1996; lets hope this group of eight has better luck in forging long careers! Only Jarome Iginla went on to any sort of prominence. The rest of the list was pretty unforgettable. … Brian Lawton sure loves the Flames, or … and I’m guessing this is the case, really wants to do more between periods TV for Sportsnet. Was pumping their tires all night and talking about how quickly things are going to turn around in Calgary. … Much more loosey goosey tonight, something that will probably edge Mr. Hartley to the dark side for the game tomorrow night in Vancouver. I wasn’t expecting a game of perfection but the Islanders have injuries too, played last night so I honestly thought the Flames would win this one, though I certainly wasn’t thinking that going into the third. … Mikael Backlund has cooled off but is still playing some pretty solid hockey. Loved his push in on the Islanders defender in the first. Part of the Flames problem after the 2004 lockout is that the game changed to a more individual talent game and the Flames had grinders, and power forwards. .
Too many to name! TJ Galiardi steps back in for Jiri Hudler who got hurt against Ottawa. Dennis Wideman is out, and the Flames recalled Tyler Wotherspoon to take his place. Stajan is still pacing hospital corridors, and Jones it out long term.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Super interesting game tomorrow night in Vancouver. Who’d a thunk that a line brawl would reignite the Flames season and send the Canucks into a rebuild. Crazy. Start McGrattan!