The first five days of the Flames season in Adirondack have been quite "interesting" - certainly not what the front office and marketing department had scripted. A major suspension to one of the few veteran players on the roster, "releasing" the team's mascot before the first home game due to a poorly thought out introduction skit which was in awful taste, and a weekend that resulted in being outscored 11-2...
Following this list of less than desirable initial weekend outcomes, the Flames had a rare Thursday night home game hosting the Rockford Icehogs (Blackhawks).
Baertschi / Reinhart / Van Brabant
Elson / Knight / Hanowski
Ferland / Granlund / Agostino
Arnold / Tousignant / Hathaway
Stevenson / Yonkman
Cundari / Kulak
Wotherspoon / Ramage
The Flames came out strong in the first period, with Michael Ferland scoring the only goal and the team carrying the play. The penalty kill was strong and the teams' talent and speed really showed. Ferland's goal was unassisted, on a solid individual effort - but the team could have easily been up by two or three goals at the first intermission. They generated several quality scoring opportunities and put pressure down low on the the Icehogs goaltender.
The second period was a different story... After opening the period with a poor effort on the power play, the Flames struggled the entire middle stanza. The only thing that kept the game tied after the second, was the outstanding play of goaltender Brad Thiessen.
In the third period, the Flames opened the scoring early with an unassisted goal and strong individual effort by Corban Knight. Unfortunately, the Flames took some undisciplined penalties in the final ten minutes of the period - resulting in three consecutive Icehogs goals, the last one being an empty netter with less than a minute left.
The Flames were outshot 39 to 23 in the contest.
- Brad Thiessen was outstanding in his first start, keeping the team in the game during some difficult stretches.
- The team often failed to make the simple plays - getting the puck deep in the offensive zone, clearing the puck out of the defensive zone when the opportunity arose, and staying out of the penalty box with undisciplined penalties. These ultimately cost the team two points.
- The power play needs a great deal of work.
- The team clearly has speed and talent. The play tonight was much better than the weekend and against a stronger opponent - but little things haunted them.
- Some of our more talented players, specifically Sven Baertschi take portions of shifts off, and don't make the smart/simple hockey plays. Often the younger players try to do to much - which has cost them in each of the three previous games.
- I would tie the improvement, game over game to the coaching. You can see the difference a week makes. If this team can stay focused and continue to work on the little things and team system - they could be tough a few weeks from now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0kwI1yX5vk