Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Playoff Preview: Go Flames Go edition

Another day and a half to go, and really, I want to get it over with, already.

Bloggers and mass media everywhere have been sacrificing sleep, coffee, and actual social lives in an attempt to predict the outcomes of the playoffs from now till mid-June sometime when the Cup actually gets hoisted.

Am I going to go over the whole league? Not really... as intriguing as some of the matchups are (who doesn't think Ottawa-Pittsburgh is going to be a fantastic series?), there's really only one team I care about.

The fantastic thing about the playoffs is, the reset button got hit Sunday night as soon as that abysmal game ended. The less said about that, the better. Though watching it with most of the rest of the Toronto-based Flames blogosphere helped salve the hurt somewhat.

And now we get to play Detroit four to seven times in a row?

My prediction Calgary in six
Honestly, I do believe we can compete with Detroit, that we can wear them out, we can batter them 'till they scream for mercy. I don't think I'm saying anything new here, but there are things we must do well in the series.

Bash and Smash: Remember when Phaneuf played in the playoffs last year? With the broken foot? He's healthy this year, and as part of Calgary's top defensive pairing, and as a guy with a rep for hitting hard and hitting often, he has got to leave a trail of red-and-white jerseys sprawled on the ice around him. It's even more important with Regehr and Warrener injured, though of course, to what degree none of us know.

There's been concern that we're not as gritty a team as say, went into the playoffs in 2004. Having McCarty or Godard line up for their five minutes a game will help with that, but we need Ritchie, Primeau, Yelle, Nilson, and Friesen to step it up. I've actually been impressed with our third and fourth lines lately, and not because they've been scoring hat tricks.

Tit for Tat: We know how disgustingly talented Detroit is. We simply have to be able to keep up with them. Goaltending is likely our best chance to do that. Hasek is a wild card in the series. Nobody knows whether he'll stay on the keel, stay healthy, or just simply stand on his head while juggling sashimi knives and octopi. This year, things are different though. It may be that Kipper doesn't have outduel Hasek.

We have to take their game back to them. Every time they come down the ice with Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Huselius has to come back the other way and work them over. As does Iggy. And Tanguay. And Langkow. It has been a pleasure to see the most offensively gifted Flames club since the glory days. And I hope they pull out all the stops for playoff time.

Zig and Zag: We have a couple of guys who are question marks, and they need to be on, on, on right now. First one is Lombardi. It's seemed to me since the trade deadline that the coaches don't really know what to do with him, which is a crying shame. This year, nothing has brough a smile to my face faster than Lombardi sprinting down the ice, deking out the goalie, and adding another SHG to his tally.

The other one is Moss. I don't really consider that he's been fully tested yet. He's seemed to have led a charmed season, where really, he hasn't made any glaring mistakes. Of course, whether he can continue this play through the playoffs remains to be seen. I want him to do well, but time will tell.

Speaking of zigging and zagging, one huge positive for the Flames has got to be the abundance of spare parts this year. Every part of the team (except debatably, in goal) is a lot deeper and a lot more talented. No more Brennan Evans this postseason! The Knights down in the AHL have some fine, fine talent, and although I wish them well in their own post-season, at least I know we've got backup.

Expect a couple more lil' blurbs over the next day or so. Dave has to chime in with whatever he wants to say, and there's a few more things I wanted to talk about.

So, a happy belated birthday to Dion Phaneuf (22?? You're making feel old, boy), screw you, Maggie the Monkey, and, Go. Flames. Go.


  1. It's very depressing to me that the only people I've seen predicting a Calgary win are Flames fans. :(

  2. Don Cherry?

    And after how his NHL career got started, I don't know that Brett Hull is, usually.

  3. I haven't paid attention to the pundit picks, just talking with people I know on various websites...everyone picks Detroit but the Calgary fans. :(

  4. That's how I prefer the team to be, really... underrated and underdogs.

  5. I'm actually glad the punditry is choosing the Wings. They almost never get it right.

  6. Maggie is the only one who unnerves me, actually. A popcorn-eating monkey.

  7. Oh Brennan Evans. I still can't believe it came down to that, and the Flames managed to reach the final. Says a lot about how good Regehr and Leopold were in '04.