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Calgary Flames

Editorial: It’s time to be done with Jonas Hiller.

Hiller had another rough outing and there was no reason for him to be in net against Buffalo whatsoever.



That’s it. It’s over. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I give you: Bob Hartley and Jonas Hiller. I’m not sure what the love affair with Jonas Hiller is, but it needs to stop. And PLEASE don’t tell me “it’s because he makes $4.5 million a season.” Stop. Please. That’s not the answer. Yes, the Flames aren’t playoff bound, but jobs are still on the line and you need to put your best players on the ice, regardless of how far out of the playoff race you are. And Jonas Hiller is NOT one of the Flames best players.

Joni Ortio should get the lions share of the starts the rest of the way with a little of Hiller and Backstrom sprinkled in to get a night off. Ortio probably isn’t ready to carry the load like Ramo was before he got hurt, but what’s the problem in trying? Ortio has had 5 starts since being recalled after Karri Ramo was injured and he’s 0-5. He’s lost 2-1 three times and lost 6-4 twice. Hiller is 4-5 in 9 starts over that same time. In those losses Hiller has given up 25 goals, while the Flames have averaged 2.4 goals in each of those starts. That’s not a very exciting number, but in all of those losses he either gave up 3 quick goals or he blew an early lead the Flames gave him.

Thursday night's collapse in Buffalo should be all the Flames needed to see of Hiller. His constant playing on his knees leaves the entire top portion of the net open and as expected, the opposition takes full advantage. Hiller is slow to react and I'm not inside his head, but you'd swear he gives up on the game once the Flames are down a goal or two. The body language is terrible and it's obvious he's been fighting the puck. What makes Thursday's loss to Buffalo even worse was the fact that the Flames had Wednesday off and could rest Ortio and start him Thursday, but nope, that didn't happen. Hartley stubbornly threw Hiller back in net and the results were predictable. Joni Ortio played his butt off in Boston Tuesday night and kept the Flames in that game from start to finish, while the rest of the team came out flat.

Ortio has been robbed 3 times of a win by stupid penalties and a lack of offense. He should be 3-2. He should be starting. He should be in net for the remainder of the season, save a day off here or there to recharge the batteries. Neither of the 3 keepers on Calgary's roster at this point are future options, but as a coach, if your goal is to win, you need to play your best players. Joni Ortio is this team's "best" option in net at this point and he needs the starts. Hiller needs to don the baseball cap and sit the pine as a backup for the rest of the season. The Flames can deal with their goalie issues over the summer, but right now #37 is their best option and it's painfully obvious. It's too bad the people making the decisions can't see what's right in front of them.

by Mark Parkinson