Taylor's first NHL start ruined by Coyotes

 

Flames offence non-existent in loss

 
 
 
 
Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith makes a save on Calgary Flames forward Tim Jackman during their game Monday night at Jobing.com Arena.
 

Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith makes a save on Calgary Flames forward Tim Jackman during their game Monday night at Jobing.com Arena.

Photograph by: Paul Connors, AP

Glendale, Ariz. - It’s the kind of career that’s measured not in wins and losses, not in starts and shutouts — but in residential square footage.

Let Bob Hartley explain.

"He’ll never have a house big enough to put all his jerseys, framed, on the wall — he’ll need a castle," the Calgary Flames coach said Monday morning. "And that’s a credit to him. It would have been so easy just to throw in the towel and say, ‘I’ll never make it.’ Well, you know what? Tonight he’s making it.

"We’re all pushing for him. Those are all great stories."

And that is exactly what Danny Taylor is, nearly 27 and making his first National Hockey League start.

It is a great story.

What is not a great story, though?

Monday’s effort from the rest of the Flames. Good grief.

Sure, Taylor allowed two early-period goals — Keith Yandle at :41 of the first, Mikkel Boedker at :30 of the third — in a 4-0 loss the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.

Sure, Antoine Vermette and Raffi Torres tallied in the third period.

But beyond the earnest intentions of the fourth line — Tim Jackman, Steve Begin, Blake Comeau — the travellers packed very little counter-punch.

Coach Bob Hartley was not amused.

"It was not a team effort — we had some guys who took the option on this game," said Hartley. "They just didn’t show up. When you don’t have 20 players on a back-to-back showing up, it’s just impossible to win.

"They’re a good sound hockey club, very defensively minded. They took lots of time and space away from us, but I don’t think we put up a big fight."

Hartley didn’t mention them by name, but the high-profile first-liners — Jarome Iginla, Michael Cammalleri, Alex Tanguay — were each minus-two. That unit’s total contribution to the attack was two shots. Neither memorable.

What, in the aftermath of a loss like Monday’s, can a coach tell his squad?

"There’s no message — the game is over," said Hartley. "Obviously I talked to them. I told them exactly what I just told you."

Taylor — a well-travelled lad with only 20 minutes of experience at this level — blocked 33 pucks, including 25 of the first 26.

"He was very calm and very poised for his first start in the NHL," said Hartley. "They scored in the first minute of the game. I was anxious to see how he would respond, and I felt that he responded very well."

Because just minutes later, Taylor ably parried four shots from the Coyotes’ power-play crew. No doubt, they smelled blood in the water, but the goalie found his footing.

Not that it ultimately mattered.

"If you don’t score goals," said Hartley, "you can’t even look at what the goalie did. You don’t score, you can’t win."

Added Jackman (who recorded a game-high eight hits): "He played really well. He was solid. He seems like he’s very calm. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t reward him."

Taylor, too, stubbornly stuck to his curious rituals.

During television time-outs, the goalie takes a knee between the hash-marks and stares, unflinchingly, at the puck sitting on the faceoff dot. Like his statue-still routine during national anthems, he does not budge. The ice crew basically needs to shovel around him.

Post-game, he sat in his stall patiently awaiting reporters.

"I feel like I can play this game at the NHL level — I don’t think that’s a question," said Taylor. "It’s just a matter of being focused for 60 minutes. If I’m not in the moment for that long of a time, it doesn’t matter how good you are. You’re not going to play in this league.

"There’s a couple goals I’d like to have back. It’s just frustrating, obviously."

But no one expects Taylor to give up.

"You look at his career — he’s bounced all over the place," Hartley had noted before puck-drop. "It would have been so easy for him to just basically quit. He’s a smart man. I’m sure he could be very successful away from hockey, but that’s his passion. We grow up as kids dreaming of playing in the NHL and he chews on that dream."

C-NOTES: Giordano, for a slew-foot Sunday on Dallas LW Antoine Roussel, faces a disciplinary hearing Tuesday. Post-game, the news caught him off-guard. "I didn’t think it was much."

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scruickshank@calgaryherald.com

Follow Scott Cruickshank on Twitter/CruickshankCH

 
 
 
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Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith makes a save on Calgary Flames forward Tim Jackman during their game Monday night at Jobing.com Arena.
 

Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith makes a save on Calgary Flames forward Tim Jackman during their game Monday night at Jobing.com Arena.

Photograph by: Paul Connors, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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