Minnesota Wild v Calgary Flames

First off, just so fans of the Flames and the Wild know, I’m going to take this seriously. That said, I am live-blogging a Flames/Wild game in the middle of February, so not that seriously.

Here’s why this is happening: everyday on the Backhand Shelf Podcast, Jake Goldsbie and I pick a “lock” winner. We scan the schedule and say “the Kings are going to beat Columbus” (I think I literally lost on that once this year). You get one point for correctly calling a favourite to win, which should be easy but hockey is a gambling nightmare, and two for picking an underdog. At the end of the week, whoever wins gets to assign the other guy to cover a game he normally wouldn’t watch (what we would call a “generally not-that-interesting game). In this case, Goldsbie didn’t just want me to write about Flames/Wild, he wanted a live blog.

The truth? I wasn’t that bummed about his pick. I find both teams fairly interesting. Uh oh. Puck drop. Let’s get this going! Excuse any spelling/grammar errors – this will be pretty stream-of-consciousness.

16:52: Do live-blogs go up or down? Seriously. Do I post above this or below after? Oh this is off to a terrible start.

16:05: Those white Minnesota Wild jerseys are 63,345,425,000 times better than their red Christmas tree sweaters. The Flames, on the other, need a total makeover. Or just their thirds. Yeah, their thirds would work just fine.

Random: how much of a jersey golden age was it that everyone – Isles, Oil, Flames etc – look so much better in the old digs? The late 90s, early 2000s were a mess.

 13:30: We’re calling him Who-dler, not Hud-ler? Really? I’ve been doing it wrong, apparently.



I like that idea, Pat. I will, definitely at intermission.

12:08: “Fan right or Fan wrong” is a feature that Sportsnet (or whoever) needs to absolutely bury. “Should you murder your seat-mate at intermission? Text 98787 to vote!”

09:or so: Clutterbuck just smoked Glencross. In college, Glenner (yeah, Glenner) used to absolutely destroy guys about once a game. Complete charges, but it was like 2003, and at the time people were still pro-seeing-guys-get-Scott-Stevens’d. It was the best.

05:30: Dennis Wideman has seven points (two and five), and is averaging 25 mins a night, which basically kills 11,000 pre-season jokes I made. Never fun when a potential punchline guy on a huge contract plays well and makes you look like an ass. STOP IT DENNIS.

04:44: Could really do without the confusion of Parise wearing 11 this year. I constantly think he’s Mikko Koivu.

01:34: Speaking of Koivu, that dude is so freaking good. He’s the exact type of player that you would THINK would drag his mediocre team to a ton of wins, yet here we are again, with the Wild being just…mediocre. At least they have names of interest now, so that’s a start.

1:00: A Granlund-to-Heatley pass put HEATER in a position to take His Shot. He’s as deadly as anyone taking a snapper from the slot while drifting away from the net like a QB passing back across his body, only his shot is less prone to getting picked.

0:00: Perfect, just what I was hoping for. Being assigned to watch a meh game that ends zip-zip. Should be fun!

Okay, let’s go to Center Ice surfacing during intermission:



* Welp, guess I should stop making fun of the Leafs home record after tonight.

* Oh hey, look at that, the Blue Jackets abused the Sharks 6-2 tonight, damn. Who saw that coming? Ohhhhh, wait, I did. I played ProLine tonight. So, ya know, Flames got tonight wrapped up:


Gooo Wild, etc.

* The “Guyet” Miller 67 commercial makes Jake Goldsbie (co-host on the podcast along with John Noon,which you should check out) so mad it is absolutely fantastic. And I’m with him. We swore about it so much about it on the podcast one day we decided it was best to edit it out. (Speaking of swears, you should’ve seen our text exchange after Reimer got hurt. Dude is BUMMED.)

2nd Period

Love when I get to use the “headline 2″ option in WordPress. Which I hate tonight, but that’s my battle right now, I’ll leave you out of it.

17:32: Cory Sarich is one of those NHL names that’ve been around for so long but so rarely in the spotlight I’ve completely forgotten if they’re good or not. Flames fans, in comments: yay or nay on Sarich?

17:08: I’ve shared this before, but when I roomed with Tim Jackman at 07-08 Isles camp, he said if he didn’t crack the NHL that year he wasn’t sure if he’d quit or not. He made the team.

15:30: There’s talented, and there’s effective. They aren’t not necessarily one-and-the-same. Fans love to think that the most talented players always get it done, but there’s guys like PM Bouchard on the Wild who, if you saw them alone on a sheet of ice (or in a shinny game) you’d go HOLY S***. But then you put them in an NHL game and coaches go HOLY S*** because they want him to do roughly everything differently. (As in “Why the hell would you pass that there?” “Why did you keep that there?” “WHY DON’T YOU MAKE BETTER DECISIONS YOU TALENTED B******??”

12:00: I feel like the Flames are basically the CPU in videogames. Not gonna do anything crazy, not gonna be terrible, are beatable every game if you play well, could lose if you don’t. Their powerplay is just so….”yeah, okay. I know who those players are. Won’t call them bad. Not exactly floored by them.” l…Just…CPU.

10:or so: I’d love to be like “These goalies are really makin’ life tough on these boys tonight folks, just can’t get anything by ‘em!” but I think there’s been like, a half-dozen scoring chances and one post. At least if I wanted to watch a “bad” team, I’d like to watch one whose defense is melting down so I can make fun of them. This is just good positional hockey. Which is stupid. Give me Pens/Philly round one last year. CHAOS, PLEASE.

09:14: The Wild just ran a faceoff play, won the draw, got the puck to Setoguchi who was like “...Kay guys I got it what was the next step of this plan I forget.”

07:30: Okay, I figured it out – the Calgary Flames are the University of Alaska Anchorage of NHL teams (when the WCHA was good). What that means is that they have the best of all the not great players. (Iginla is the exception, obviously.) Like…Tanguay. Kay. He’s pretty good. Not bad. Stempniak? Samesies. Stajan? Yep. Glencross? Sure, whatever. No wonder Wideman found his home there.

05:00: “Big blocker save, Irving!!” A serious question: when was the last time you saw a guy beat an unscreened goalie high-blocker? Like, never, amirite? Low blocker is a lock, especially for lefties. High glove is butter. Five hole, sure. But high blocker? Goalies should have to do push-ups for getting beat clean there, especially by righties.

03:00: Scary thought for Wild fans: watching your average team medium it’s way about the beige tonight, I’m wondering: what happens if you don’t get Parise and Suter in the off-season? How bad is this team? You know what’s scarier than THAT? What if it’s SO bad you suck for one short little measly season, get a top pick, and grab Nate McKinnon or Seth Jones or even Jonathan Drouin? Wouldn’t that have almost been better? One of those studs on a three year entry level? Damn. Oh, goal, one sec.

01:52: Kyle Brodziak scores! A real live goal in this game! Thoughts:

Kind of an unlucky bounce for Iginla, who’s just trying to jam the puck up the boards and out of the zone (only other option would’ve been to eat it), and it goes right to Setoguchi, who makes a nifty little play to get it to Brodziak. Good vision. Irving has just gone from the wall (right), to the middle (left), to Brodziak (right) so his momentum is taking him in the wrong direction when Brodziak makes a good read and cuts back to the middle. The funny thing: Wideman just kinda randomly falls when Setoguchi makes the pass, so he can’t stop Brodziak. If he just….stays up? – the Flames might get out of that one. Wild up one-spit.


So, when I first stopped playing hockey, my wife Brianna and I got a half Scottish Fold, half American Shorthair named Tyson (similar facial markings to Mike Tyson). When he was a kitten, he’d curl into my lap in front of my laptop while I’d type. Since then, the two of us have probably combined to gain 40 lbs, I’d say at a 15/25 split. Yes, I need to get to a gym. Anyway, now it’s just hilarious when he tries (and he still does) given the, um, lack of space in that area, so mostly he just watches from the floor when I type. He’s cute.


We’re big.

In the interest of fair time, his brother Jiggs (after the great Isles commentator) is a 20 lb. cute Ragdoll.


Third Period

18:30: Goal! WHOdler dunnit! Get it? Like “who dunnit,” but with ah forget it.

How on a Flames broadcast does Iggy get crucified for trying to go up the wall on a clear, yet they don’t mention Stoner’s turnover? I give WHOdler a C+ for his “What do I do what do I do what do I do oh god I’m out of options five-hole goal.” Anyway, I’ve written about how I’d like to see 2-on-1′s played before. How easy was that for Hudler?

 13:20: And that’s how you execute a 3-on-2, if you’re me, drinking beers on the bench at rec hockey. Or Stempniak in that moment. Either one.

12:12: Fun insult fact: When Suter was at Wisconsin and I was in Alaska, he used to call me a “duster” between pretty much every whistle. He was either adamant that I be aware I’m a duster, or he only has one chirp. “I may only have one chirp, but I also have 98 million dollars.” SHUT UP, IN-HEAD SUTER VOICE.

10:46: Calgary commentators are talking themselves into Leland Irving and Roman Cervenka “finally becoming more comfortable at the NHL level.” This could be true, but it sounds an awful lot like nervous “this is happening, right? You’re seeing this too?” chat. And now love for TJ Brodie – they’re big fans of guys I haven’t seen play before and haven’t really noticed tonight.

09:38: Suter gets an interference penalty – a call I normally love, and think they should call more – for occupying ice he was already occupying? He barely touched the guy, what’s he supposed to do, lay down red carpet and escort him to the puck by his arm?

07:19:A good old fashioned hockey game, both teams struggling to find the back of the net.” I have no idea what to make of this. Crap, I’m starting to over-focus on the commentary. I’m insufferable when I do this. Incidentally, I’d be up for taking a colour job, Leafs or Marlies. I’ve done it before. Gimme a shot.

06:00: Just checked on CapGeek and they don’t have it, but whatever, everyone knows these guys get paid: Curtis Glencross was among the glut of players who desperately signed before they changed the entry-level rules in the 2004 CBA. Agents were pressing to get big bucks immediately. He was a broke college kid like the rest of us, then just got a 750k signing bonus from the Ducks (I’m pretty sure it was the Ducks). Just, here ya go. Crazy.

 03:35: This game has shootout written all over it. Which of course, will deny my the $42 you can see on the above ticket, even if the Wild win said shootout. Balls.

 0:00: This game would go to overtime. I mean, not to be Debbie Downer here, it just would. If the Wild score, ICE CREAM FOR EVERYBODY (in this room)!!1!


02:30: So yeah, here’s the Wild’s excellent beat writer in the past few minutes:



00:00: Yep. OT. I’m glad that not only did I watch this game because I lost at fake gambling, but then I lost at real gambling because of it too. What a homerun. (Update: apparently SO wins count as both a tie and a win, so I did win on my ticket. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! Wait, that was a spoiler. My bad.)

The real loser here: fans of the podcast. I don’t have a whole bevy of great things to say about tonight’s contest.

Shootout time!

Jones: Meh, slick hands, but didn’t make the goalie do anything.

Parise: A;LKDJ FAJFKLDSAJKLWOWWWWWW. No speed, nasty, nasty, nasty. Just nasty. He made Irving do EVERYTHING.

Hudler: That was like Diet Parise. Still good, less calories. Though the play-by-play seemed to like it better.

Koivu: Literally the same move has worked three straight times, only it’s getting sold less everytime. Might be time to mix it up, next guy.

Tanguay: I did what he did once in a shootout in Las Vegas: have a move so set in your head that when it doesn’t work it doesn’t even come CLOSE to working.


That’s for playing along tonight folks. We’ll see you tomorrow.


First plus game so far. Wowzers.