Thursday, November 29, 2007

Iggy Iggy Iggy

804 games is a hell of a lot of games.

And one thing I've taken away from those is that there is always a way to stay upbeat and positive. It seems appropriate that on a milestone-setting night for Mr. Positive himself, I plug my fingers into my ears and sing "LaaaalalaladodododododooooICAN'THEARYOU" somewhat loudly, in response to all sorts of dark mutterings elsewhere, it's all good!

Yay optimism!

I don't know if there's anything more that can be said about Iggy. Go check out what we've had to say before, we've had some gooders.

It's the 804th game for Iggy, it's the first NHL game to one Tim Ramholt. Welcome to the circus, guy. Hell of a way to get tossed in.

I'm not expect too much that's amazing tonight. The extras are pretty injured, with a groin strain to Yelle, shoulder problems for Aucoin, and five golden... no, hip issues for Nolan. And there was something about Nilson and a concussion...

No matter what the Ducks have been up to (go check out Sleek's take at Battle of California), I expect Iggy not to be embarrassed, Ramholt to be hung out to dry once (well, they're not allowed to haze him anymore, right?), and Kipper to be better than last time.

Um. 3-2 for us, the Ducks will have to wait another game for a win, sorry.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Broken Face + Kool Krys Kolanos + JFJ a Mistake + Deetroyit

According to, Kurtis Foster of the Wild has a "broken face". That's perhaps one of the more bizarre injury descriptions I've seen. Maybe a bit insulting as well, at least if it were applied to Ricci or Smyth. He'll only be out 3 to 5 days, so apparently it's just a minor break in his face.

In one of these awesome 2 degrees of separation examples, Krys Kolanos has been playing a damn fine game in Quad-Cities for the baby Flames. 6 points in 6 games since he joined the team. He was my brother's friend's friend from school back in Calgary. A 1st round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, he had a decent rookie year in the NHL before injuries set him back. He attended the Flames training camp this year, and states he'd love to play for his hometown team, but was sent to Q-C -- which he promptly didn't report to, reportedly over salary issues. Sutter recently called him up, worked something out, and presto-changeo he's on an AHL contract and doing decently there. If he keeps this up, I reckon it won't be too long til he lands a contract with the big boys.

Shock and Awe: Hiring JFJ was a mistake. But a mistake the Leafs will apparently stand by until he makes a huge mistake*.

* (Huge mistake is defined as a monstrous mistake more massive than signing McCabe on his long-term, huge-salary, no-trade, no-movement contract)

Flames play Detroit tonight at the Joe. Brings back bad memories of last year's playoff run, every time we play there. My brother and I made the pilgrimage all the way to the land of Ford (which, if memory serves, was about a 40 hour drive from Toronto when you include the lineup at the border and the way time stands still in Windsor). The locals were enamored with the beauty of the new stainless steel urinal troughs they had installed at one of the two (I think there's only two!) bathrooms in the entire place.

Will Phaneuf start as LW again? No, probably not. That was pretty funny though. Nice work, Keenan.
Will the Flames win? No, probably not. Detroit's a great team right now and the Flames are wishy-washy flippy-floppy.
Will the Flames score a goal? I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict Yes. At least one. Probably with Iginla getting a point.
Will Kiprusoff have a great game? I'm thinking yes, yes he is. He did well against Detroit in the playoffs, anyway. Besides, there's no talented players on that team, right? Just some no-name Swede who probably wishes he played on a talented team like Vancouver or Phoenix.

Go Flames!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'll make this quick

So, just WHO, in all their marketing wisdom, in the Calgary Flames organization thought it would be a good idea to put a PPV game on Grey Cup Sunday?

Just wondering.

Game has started (both of 'em)... off I go.

Deep thoughts for another day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hell on Wheels

Exacerbating the team's recent problems, the Flames suffered a 10-9 loss yesterday to the kids at the Alberta Children's Hospital. How bad is it? The Flames haven't won a single one of these in my lifetime. That's a lot of sick kids. Evidence from the scene of the crime is here.

Man, when your star d-man bags a hat-trick, and you still can't win...

Fine, back to the kids we actually should be worrying about.

Chicago is the new Nashville. Like Nashville in years past, they're going to be a fast, physical team that just leaves you gasping for breath. There are some weak spots - young players can be exploited for their mistakes after all. And Khabibulin is no Vokoun. Not these days, anyways, we'll forget about the spring of 2004...

That said, there's some good things happening on the Flames. I don't pretend that the win the other day solved all our problems. However, it's nice to see Nolan developing chemistry with at least a couple of other players: Lombardi, over the weekend, and now Conroy and Nystrom. Speaking of Lombardi, the guy is playing some of the hottest hockey of his career, and that's not just due to the dimples. His play has matured tremendously over the last year or so, and he has earned that spot on the first line - provided, of course, we see him playing on it tonight.

It'll be interesting to contrast Lombardi against Chicago's kids. While they won't be conducting footraces all night long, the crazy bursts of speed coming from both ends will be a treat to watch. So hang on tight tonight. There's been some amazing changes in Chicago since the last time we played them, and if both these teams bring their A game, it'll be a gooder.

I don't think the rollercoaster is over quite yet, though I won't be complaining that we're not playing a divisional rival. There's going to be quite a few things we're going to have to see before I'm convinced we've totally turned the corner. Special teams will have to be solid, with sustained pressure whenever anybody's kicking around in the box. I'm going to have to see that third line be plausibly dangerous again. And our d-men will have to look like, well, they left the wheelchairs at the hospital. Stuff like that...

Calgary's still going to win, course. 4-3 for the good guys.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pre-Game: Colorado @ Calgary, and other stuff

So the Flames are...(whips out calculator)...about a quarter of the way through the season. Interim Report Card: D-. MG and Matt have some detailed posts to hammer down the specifics, but I'm of the opinion that basically there's nothing unfixable on this team, and they just need to learn to play their A game with more frequency, and all at the same time. And also, not suck on the special teams. Who is (are) the special teams coach(es) anyway?

Regehr is, thankfully, not seriously injured from the puck-to-the-head incident against Vancouver. Nilson's out with a concussion. Why is it that Vancouver keeps concussing our boys?

It's time to stop this slide. We need a decisive win. Not a win where the puck deflects off every possible skater in the net for a 8-7 win, but the 5-1 plastering variety. (Please?)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Some belated post-games

Not too many surprises this weekend...

The Flames played the who-are-they-now? Oilers on the weekend, generally outplaying them. It was pretty close until Kipper stole one, some guys who haven't been scoring lately managed to hit the twine, and presto! All was well with the world.

Less than 24 hours later, the Flames were in Vancouver to play the Li... sorry, the Canucks, and unsurprisingly, looked like a team playing their second game in 24 hours. Lackadaisical is probably the nicest word to describe their play. Despite coming out ahead in the shot clock, genuine scoring chances were few and far between, and that turned the game into a loss. It definitely didn't help to have Regehr and Moss gone for parts of the game (is it just me, or does Vancouver have horrible karma injury-wise?) It was a bit disappointing given that the Canucks' D is sorely lacking... well, players, at present, and a chance to capitalize on the Manitoba Moose's simplistic defensive scheme was squandered. I don't think the schedule is an adequate excuse for last night's performance - if they can't do this every so often, how legitimate a playoff team do you expect them to be?

There's just a couple of things I'd like to get out there, as well:
Rumours: Let's just get this clear, hey? If we didn't change the coaching at this point in the season last year, it's not happening this year. Take any muttering that says "Keenan," and file that next to the UFO sightings and the alien abductions. Also, I hereby pre-emptively cancel the Flames' incessant search for a #1 centreman - between Langkow, Lombardi and Conroy, we average out to a 1.352-center*, and will probably be just fine. You're jokin' if you're thinking about Jokinen. Marleau is also highly unlikely, given the Flames' cap situation.

*(Yes - I know that if you take 3 whole numbers and average them, you're going to get a x.0, x.333333, x.666666. And?)

Things I like: Oh. This is harder than I thought. Kipper had a good game Saturday? That's the goalie I remember the Flames having. Um. Lombardi's really good, as of late. He might not be ready for the toughest minutes yet, but I like his work on the PK, and well, that goal that Nolan set him up for was a beauty. Won't see a better one.

Things I would like to change: Special teams. The PK has been terrible, and that's no secret. One of the key points in yesterday's match were the powerplays (three minors which translated into two overlapping 5-on-3s, essentially) which the Flames enjoyed early in the second period. Shortly after nothing happened there, we got dinged with a penalty and Vancouver never looked back. Uh-oh.

Also, the D. They've just looked awkward this year. I'm not sure whether it's the rotating pairings, but...argh. With a D-corps so supposedly stacked, losing Regehr should not be so glaring a gap.

The big thing is the three (or has it been only two? Sadly, I'm losing count) weeks of squandering divisional games. I think I'd be ok if we lost a pile of games, as long as they were against the Eastern Conference. Remember that at the start of this stretch, the Flames were, in the eyes of many, off to a great start. Not so much anymore. And losing to divisional opponents sucks, and it just sets a bad precedent for the rest of the year.

Anyways, that's enough for now. If you want more, look to MG and Matt for much more (and much more fantastic) detailed analysis of the way things have been.

Look for another divisional tilt tomorrow... I hereby nominate Dave to do the pre-game. And it'll be amazing. Right Dave?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pre-Game: Calgary @ Edmonton

Can Calgary build together a 2-game winning streak in the face of tremendous talent of the injury-ridden suspect-even-without-injury Edmonton Oilers? I sure as hell hope so.

I'm refraining from blasting Keenan as much as I did Playfair last year, but it's getting harder to resist. I just don't know what's wrong with this team sometimes, and it's frustrating on so many levels. They display all of the components, just individually and on different nights. Kiprusoff is clearly better than what he's shown us so far this season, and I can't really explain why he's not on top of his game.

Iginla and Phaneuf are perhaps the only two players that I see consistent efforts out of. It's time for everyone else to "step it up" or "bring their A game" or other shit. Edmonton's not a very good team, but hey, neither are we right now. And Garon is playing like he actually enjoys the game. Who knows?

I do! Prediction: 4-3 Flames win, with goals from Iginla, Phaneuf, Huselius, and Lombardi.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Minny pre-game: Are We There Yet?

Game night again!

After that embarrassment Sun...

Oh, this is a Flames blog? Well...I don't want to talk about the Stampeders anyways.

Um. Not much to say...gotta win soon...Minnesota's weaker than we'll ever see them the rest of the season, what with Gaborik and Demitra out with groin injuries (matching? No, don't think about that), Backstrom having had a pseudo-groin injury over the weekend, and Walz being out.

That said, we're still going to have to take care of things on our own end. Secondary scoring, blah blah, penalty killing, yadda yadda, and something I think doesn't get emphasized enough for the Flames (but which I heard plenty of for the Stamps), which is to avoid penalties. Easier said than done, I know, but ... then we don't have to worry about the PK, right? Right?

I think that concludes today's wrap up. I don't want to dwell particularly on how we've lost the last four to division rivals, but keep that in mind for future reference. Um, that could be kind of important. Not that I'm going to lower the boom on the boys yet, but, yeah, that could be kind of important.

Look for Calgary to bounce back in a big way. 5-3 Calgary (worked for us the first game vs them...)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hemsky and Regehr

Who else is sick of the whole Regehr / Hemsky debacle in the blogosphere? I know I am.

You've all seen the hit. The observant people among us have watched it about a dozen times or more. So let's get this out of the way.

Is it suspension-worthy? No.
Why? Because it was a battle for the puck. It looks to be an unfortunate set of circumstances that ended up in a fortunate manner, with no injuries to anyone involved. It's a scenario that happens dozens of times a day in the NHL, two players jockeying for the puck as they race down the ice. In this case, Hemsky comes up from behind, gets the position on Regehr. In most cases, Regehr would simply pin Hemsky along the boards as they jam at the puck at their feet. In this case, Hemsky's skate picks the ice, throwing him off balance as they approach the boards and Regehr's attempted pin sent Hemsky flying face-first into the boards.

Yes, it looked scary. Really scary. But is there anyone here to blame? Sure. I think the boarding call on Regehr fit just fine.

I'm bored of this story. What else can we talk about? Oh! How about the Flames are sucking? I really don't know what to comment on, though. Truth be told, last week was brutally busy for me and the only thing I saw was period 3 of the Oilers game (which didn't look too bad -- but Garon isn't that good). It's time for Keenan to return the Mr. Nice Guy costume to Walmart and whip out "Iron Mike".

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pre-Game: Edmonton

Errr... Dave did say I was allowed to be lazy.

I don't have much to add to last game's pre-game. We saw a lot more of Eriksson than I feel comfortable with, though it was easily his best game for the Flames so far. Sarich's ice time was cut significantly down which I found interesting, but inexplicable. Injury?

Anyways, we need a win. It's been like a week. Go Flames!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Geez. It's been forever since we've seen the boys win... loss after frustrating loss...

Oh. This is a Flames blog? I thought we were talking about the Hitmen?

See, the big boys are nowhere near abysmal yet. It's been a depressing couple of the weeks for the Hitmen, who started the season with a hot streak, and well, have been nowhere near that good since then.

So, back to the montony of division rivalry-time. At least this isn't as bad as last year, where we played Colorado back-to-back-to-back...

The good news is, somebody has to win tonight. I like Calgary's chances a bit better than Vancouver's. We're healthier, and at least our big guns are scoring. Every so often. And our d-men have been mostly been untouched by crazy freak accidents.

There's been some fantastic discussion by MG, Kyle, and Duncan about problems with the team. I'm not going to add much to this, I'm afraid, I'm supposed to be using my computer to breed cyanobacteria...but, I will pointedly ask everybody which assistant/associate coach is supposed to be working with the boys on their PK. Ahem. Is that a canary yellow shirt I just spotted? So really, I'm disappointed but not surprised (also correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I'm off base here). But hang in there, guys! Winter is coming. Then the season actually starts ;)

Predictions? It had better not be 4-1 again, that's all I'm going to say...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pure coincedence

It's funny. Over on HLOG, we're talking a lot about superstitions, what with Halloween and all.

Then, today, we spent all class talking about a technology called Avalanche.

Not gonna read anything into it, nuh-uh.

Anyways. We're into the big two weeks of nothing but divisional rivalry. Last year, the Northwest Division was without a doubt the hardest one to play in. This year, it looks as if the balance has shifted to others. I'm thinking specifically of the Central Division, which, though consisting of a great number of inconsistent teams, are a damn bit tougher to play than in years previous (... and that is NOT because we just lost to Detroit yet again...)

Um. I honestly don't like our chances tonight, but we'll pop a couple of extra goals in there, just because Theo Fleury is doing the colour on the PPV broadcast I don't get to watch. 5-2 Calgary.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Er, yes, we ARE alive....

It's the first intermission, we're down 2-1, and yes... we have been paying attention. Datsyuk and Zetterberg, sigh, what else can you say, really? At least it's a close-ish game.

Though... it's November! Which means it's time to deliver an update for the Open Ice Fantasy Hockey League. Remember, this is the rotisserie league Dave set up at the beginning of the season.

If I don't post the standings, they'll never appear, since Dave is currently languishing at the bottom... so, without further ado, let me present the standings for the Open Ice Fantasy Hockey League, as of November 1 (not including tonight's stats, of course):

  1. The Hopelesses (MG)
  2. Woolly Brained (me!)
  3. The Pant Weasels (Dave's brother. Hey there!)
  4. Flaming C (I'm sorry, I don't actually know who you are, except your name is Paul-Marc on Yahoo. If you'd like to fill us in, go ahead...)
  5. Craig Conroys (Duncan)
  6. Completely Hammered (who else but ST?)
  7. The Pantless Pirates (DAVE!)