Friday, October 28, 2016

Shoot the puck!

Reblogged from Flamesjamalaya

Isn't life funny as a goaltender you can go from a minor league goalie to a Vezna goalie candidate. Welcome to the life of Flames goalie Brian Elliot. Brian could not stop a beach ball in his first starts. Suddenly, the Flames go on a two-game road trip and Brian is back to his old self. In Chicago, Brian put on a show in the third period, but that was nothing compared to what was coming. He made three or four spectacular saves and six overall. In fact, I cannot remember when the Flames had the puck. In the shootout, he refused to yield as he and Crawford put on a show for seven rounds.

To be fair, he was not the reason the Flames won in Chicago and St. Louis. The first aspect that needs desperately to improve is the powerplay. I can't put my finger on it what happened, but suddenly the Flames figured out how to play with the puck. Sam Bennet goes to the net and picks up the garbage goal. The key point there is shooting the puck and going to the net. The second goal was scored off a rebound by Shawn Monahan. Wideman scored from a terrific feed by Troy Brouwer in the game against the Blues. The main difference was the Flames were being patient with the puck and thinking there plays out. They were going back to the basics on the powerplay, taking the shots from the point and going to the net. Good things happen when you go to the net. Sometimes hockey is made too complicated; sometimes it's simply shoot the puck at the net and go get it.

Let's face it; the best players were not at their best. Gaudreau was investable for the six games. In fact, the first line was well not good. They were not alone the defense was especially with the defensive zone coverage. Brody was a mess, and Hamilton was not much better. Gio forgot how to play hockey at times making some very lazy plays. In fact, there was really one offensive line Backlund and Frolic, otherwise known as the third line. Without our best players contributing, this team is not good. When your fourth line is your best line, that does not add up to wins.

To sum it all up, the Flames have to play smarter; everyone has to play their roles. Which the bottom six have all season. The top six have to the load offensively. The defense have to responsible in their own zone; forwards have to support and come back to the defensive zone to help out. Oh yes, more importantly, shoot the puck and follow up. Make life difficult for the opposing goalies. Which the Flames did in Ohio and Missouri. Amazingly what a couple of days of winning will do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Battle of the Seventh Defenseman

Reblogged from Flamesjambalaya

The best battle in camp right looks like it could be a war. Most people had penciled in Tyler Wotherspoon. Tyler is a steady, stay-home dman; the Flames need a little more offense from him.

The next one is Brett Kulak. I love his IQ. He is a smart defenseman who seems to know where to be. I like his ability to pinch in at the game against the Jets. I would put him ahead in the race for number seven.

The last on in this race is Niklas Grossman. Nicklas is still an experienced defense. He may be the steadiest of the three. But the speed will not do him any favors; it will catch up with him.

Now the other question: Who is going to be the thirteenth? Is Brandon Bollig going to hang on to that position? I have penciled him in.

The problem is that Freddie Hamilton and Garnet Hathaway have had a fantastic camp.  Both players have been very good, using their size in their physical play. Freddie and Garnet are both faster than Bollig. Bollig is more experienced and reliable, but the two kids have far more offensive skill.  Although Bollig did have decent years in Chicago.

There is, of course, the PTO forwards, Lauri Korpikoski and Chris Higgins.  Lauri is the better of the two so far, but neither are close to the other three players.  I have been disappointed with Higgins so far in this camp.

Finally, I would bring up Gaudreau. But there is nothing new. They are nearly $2 million apart. This is getting silly. It should have been done a long time ago. Who will blink first? I am hoping Gaudreau.