Not the best week for the good guys as Calgary went 1-2-0 and the two loses weren’t pretty. The Flames fell to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday 4-1 and suffered a brutal loss to the Oilers Saturday night 7-5. Calgary’s lone win was a 3-0 shut out victory over the 6 win Arizona Coyotes. Mike Smith stopped all 28 shots he faced in the win, defeating the team he spent years with. The Flames lost some punch this week with Kris Versteeg going on IR. It appears to be a hip injury and according to the Flames, he’s “month to month.” Had enough? Then don’t read below because it’s not getting any better. Here’s the Week 9 Edition of 3 Things.
The Battle Of Alberta: It’s not a battle lately.
The games between the Flames and Oilers are hyped to the stratosphere and most of the time with good reason. These two have been battling since Calgary arrived in Alberta and believe it or not, Calgary holds the advantage in the win column with 128-117-19 record (yes, Edmonton has more hardware). But as Saturday night showed, it’s not a “battle” lately. Calgary showed no life until it was too late and their record against the Oilers lately is bad. So far this season the Flames are 0-2-0 against Edmonton and have been outscored 10-5 in the two losses. Calgary has shown ZERO jump in these games and it gets worse. Saturday night’s L is the Flames 6th in a row versus Edmonton and Calgary is 1-4-0 in their last 5 games at the Saddledome when playing their rivals. Prior to Connor McDavid arriving in Edmonton the Flames had won 8 out of 10, now, the Flames can’t get out of their own way. It looks like the tide is changing in this rivalry and if the Flames want to start getting competitive with Edmonton again, they need to start playing hockey for 60 minutes, not 20.
Sam Bennett: Is he coming around?
Internally here at M&G a few of us were discussing if it was time to start looking at Sam Bennett as a bust. Premature? Eh, maybe, maybe not. Bennett hasn’t helped the talk by playing worse in his second full season with the Flames last year and up until this week Bennett hadn’t done anything to deter the talk. However, this week Bennett has shown signs of life. The struggling centre notched an assist against the Maple Leafs, 2 assists in the Flames 3-0 win over the Coyotes and he lead the attempted comeback for the Flames with 2 goals in their 7-5 loss to the Oilers. That’s 5 points in one week for Bennett. You may not bat an eye at those stats, but considering he had 3 points on the ENTIRE season coming into this week, this is a good sign for the Flames and Bennett. Bennett is known for being streaky, so this is something to keep an eye on, but if you’re the Flames, you have to be excited at the week Sam Bennett had.
Dude, Where’s My Defence?: What is going on with Brodie and Hamonic?
No, you’re not reading a piece from weeks ago, it’s the same problems all over again. Travis Hamonic was brought in to bolster the Flames second defensive pairing and it hasn’t worked. Is it Brodie? Is it Hamonic? Most likely, it’s both. Brodie seemed to be shackled by Dennis Wideman over the past few seasons, but maybe Wideman wasn’t the entire problem. And Hamonic doesn’t appear to be the answer. That pairing was on the ice for multiple Oilers goals last night and the 7th goal for Edmonton went off Brodie and into the Flames net. And to think we were all making fun of Kris Russell for his gaffe on Thursday night. Brodie was a -1 twice this week (he got lucky his #s changed on Saturday) and Hamonic was the same. On the season as a whole, Hamonic is a -6 and Brodie is an atrocious -10. You hate to keep harping on things like this because there’s been no indication if it’s on ice issues or off ice issues, but these two need to be broken up if the Flames want to correct their issues on the blue line.