At least Dave was gracious enough to not mention my having a bad reaction to something I ate in Buffalo...nuff said.
Was the game that vomit-inducing? Not really. A couple of points.
The staff at the HSBC arena is incredibly friendly. They definitely make your evening better, even if it's clear you're pulling for the other team. And there were a LOT of people pulling for the other team. Flames fans of Southern Ontario, unite!
I'm worried yet not worried about our play at this point. I don't like that we've blown three late leads in a row now. There's our shootout record, sigh. It's pretty clear Iggy doesn't have his pop back yet. He's just a touch slow and a touch tentative. Sort of like the way he habitually starts his seasons. Hopefully he'll shake it off soon.
But. Buffalo is no walkover, and the game felt even for both teams to me for the longest time. Shots were even for most of the night, and so were scoring chances. There was never a point when we were out of it, or were clearly outclassed (doing dumbass things, sure, but not outclassed). And despite his inability to win shootouts, I think Kipper clearly outfought Miller today.
Did Ference know a trade was up? There were times when I can wonder whether that affected him tonight.
And ohhhhh, the Flames' green non-giant. I'm going to miss how quotable, how thoughtful, how different he was compared to most of his teammates. If this is the year we go far, I'm going to regret very much he isn't around to be part of it. We're talking a guy who gave his team a discount on his services in return for a long-term deal. We're talking a little guy who plays bigger than anyone gives him credit for.
But he'll have terrific opportunities in Boston, ones he won't get behind Regehr and Phaneuf, especially in years to come.
And Kobasew. So much potential. He's maybe one of the grittiest players we had, willing to crash and take the hit in order to finish a play. But also frustrating, since he wasn't producing to the extent that his willingness to sacrifice indicated. Hopefully his arm heals soon, and he'll be able to show Boston some l33t moves.
I see Sutter's logic in getting Stuart and Primeau. Brad Stuart used to play on the Hitmen, back in their fanastic days in the, what, mid-to-late 90s? I remember watching him back then. It's not like he'll get lost in the Saddledome. And like Kobasew, he's another player (not quite as young, duh), who never has quite been able to live up to his press. Hopefully he'll be excited enough about being back in Calgary to change that. And more to the point, Stuart and Primeau are Sutter men. They played for him back in San Jose, and were a huge part of the team.
Stuart beefs up an already impressive (on paper) Calgary defence corps - the one that should be amassing miracles but really has been quite mortal this year. Primeau - to be honest, he's not a guy I'm that familiar with - but if Sutter is willing to snag him for another of his teams, you know he'll fit in just fine.
Both are UFAs come summer - I can't imagine we'll be able to afford Stuart, in particular. So I wonder if he's really a just a rental.
With the committment Ference has made to being part of the Flames, somehow, I don't think we've seen the last of him.
Sunday, February 11, 2007