Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pre-game: Happy New Year! Edition

So after a fabulous, turkey-full Christmas replete with distractions, I think we're ready to get back to work here.

It's been an excellent Christmas for the Flames. They've had a chance to rest up, got to play the sad-sack Senators and the nosediving-in-slow-mo Wild, and now Edmonton's up.

Edmonton played a bit of a bad-luck game against Ottawa last night. Not only did they permit the Sens to end their really long losing streak, they also lost Pouliot and Hemsky to injury.

And the Flames? They haven't been playing perfect* hockey for weeks and have still managed to scrape by. I'm particularly encouraged that the scoring is coming mostly from guys not named Jarome, and not named Slopp^w Dion. That said, it would be nice if they could string together some goal-scoring, and get Dion out of his -11 hole. Our best players should be well, our players who play the best, and at the moment, I'm not convinced they are.

(*like that ever happens even in a really good year)

So I'm basically expecting a holly jolly good time at the 'Dome. Fireworks at 8.

Friday, December 19, 2008


So tonight, we face the Chicago Blackhawks at home. Just right out, I'm jealous of anybody who gets to go to tonight's game. And what a far cry it is from last year or the year before - if you had hockey tickets to give away, you just couldn't get anybody to even take your tix vs Chicago away (how do I know? Let's say I watched Calgary play Chicago a lot on my visits home...)

Chicago has been one of the geniune good news stories of the league this year. Can't hate on them, no I can't. (At least, not anymore). And really, the league could use more of them.

This is really going to be a good test defensively of the team. Chicago has so many guns, with arguably just the fourth line not possessing much offensive firepower. But it'll be exciting, it will be! (Provided the good folks at Sportsnet don't lull you into a false sense of fatigue).

On a closing note, I'm disappointed Minny recalled Krys Kolanos mere days after we played them. Disappointed!

Go Flames.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pregame @ St. Louis: The kids are alright edition

Wait, didn't we just play these guys?

Anyways. I was impressed by the St Louis "who are these guys?" Blues. Fantastic, young team that can easily keep up with the Calgary Langkows.

The last time I watched us play the Blues was when I attended the Flames blogosphere meetup at Schanks; surprisingly, we won that game, but it was a lopsided effort on both ends. I don't doubt we'll see the same thing again. So yeah, seatbelts, fastening, all that good stuff. You know the drill.

Now! I also want to talk about St. Louis' division rivals the Blackhawks. It's been all over the internets; I just want to point out (again!) that they very quietly made a classy classy gesture for their GM... originally it wasn't publicized but it's a big deal now.
These are the guys who should be getting the bulk of the press about their off-ice lives, not the Sean Averys of the league.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dividing Line

To the casual eye, they look like any two hockey-obsessed teenagers anywhere. There they are, suiting up for practice. And playing road hockey. Tussling a bit. And going to practice. And doing random stuff, hanging out, shooting hoops, going to the corner store.... all that sort of thing.

Except these kids aren't growing up in a random neighbourhood just anywhere, they're in Northern Ireland. That's right, Belfast, the hometown of what was temporarily the favourite team of all fans of Theoren Fleury, past and present. And one of these boys is Protestant, and one is Catholic. Let's just say they're streetproofed in ways we'll never have to be.

They were featured in a 2004 National Film Board documentary called When Hockey Came to Belfast, directed by Linda Conway. And by following the boys through their everyday lives, the documentary illustrates the transformative power of hockey (it's rough, tough, and firmly non-sectarian, not having much of a history in that part of the world).

I found almost every shot of this documentary to have something of interest, whether it's kids doing kid-things, or an image of a savage partisan mural. Conway cannily intercuts light-hearted footage of the kids playing hockey or goofing around with more serious bits, showing the grim reality of growing up in Belfast, never spending too long in either mood. It's a real eye-opener, watching two fifteen year-olds catalogue all the ways you can tell whether somebody is in the right side of town or no, or hearing their parents worry about whether their boys... and their families... will come to harm from this particular friendship.

And the message of the documentary is simple. People can get along. When you've been living in a small small world, maybe all it takes is a crazy sport from somewhere else to show you just how broad your horizons can be.

So if you have an hour free, track down this film and give it a go. Definitely a gooder.

Les Habitants Flames de jouer, en attendant les émeutes

Bonjour!  I'm so hyped for tonight's game that I could tolerate a Frenchman!  I've always been a fan of Tangs so it'll be good to see him again, even if it's on the other side.  I'm also hoping the Flames can keep this momentum we've sustained,  Boyd will be back, which is good and bad.  Good 'cause I like the guy, bad 'cause the team has something going and I'm worried this'll throw a wrench in the works of a functional and successful team.  I'm always the pessimist.

I confess to being a quasi-Habs fan, they're perhaps my second favourite team in the league and have been for quite some time.  It doesn't hurt that they've been pretty good recently, but most importantly they're a fun team to watch.  The atmosphere at the Bell Centre is amazing, it seems to pump up the players who play in the arena (on both teams) and result in a disproportionate number of good hockey games.  Or so it seems, anyway.

I'm not sure why everyone has the hate-on for Bertuzzi as a disappointment.  The man signed for 1 year at $1.95M.  I look at disappointments from the angle of salaries combined with expectations.  My expectations with Bertuzzi were fairly low given his recent years' performances, and the salary is undoubtedly low.  For what he's being paid, I'd assert that Bertuzzi is what I expected and not a "disappointment".  On the other hand, Lombardi's performance has been decidedly lacking and definitely beneath his potential.  Sadly, if I had to peg a disappointment so far this'd be Lombo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Open Ice Fantasy: Through November

Here's a quickie post, the current standings of the 2nd annual Open Ice Fantasy League. I'm getting absolutely killed by my goalies, thanks to Brodeur's injury and inconsistent backups. Killlllled.

  1. Retired Warreners (MG Kent W)
  2. Flaming C (Paul-Marc)
  3. Wasilla Meth-Heads (my brother)
  4. The Naughty Nilsons (Leanne)
  5. Steel Thunder(ST)
  6. The Pantless Pirates (me)
  7. Bancouber Pucks (Marcel)
  8. FB Craig Conroys (Duncan)
  9. screaming dobermans (WI)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


So the Sean Averys are in town tonight. What do we expect? Well, in terms of guys not playing hockey, the trash talk will be flying fast and furious (I expect "sloppy seconds" to be mentioned more than once) between all the usual suspects.

On the ice? Well, Turco has been all sorts of abysmal this year. So the key will be to just get as much on the net as we possibly can. Ideally, we get a game like we had the other night against Vancouver, where Kipper could have been replaced in net by a sack of potatoes for all the action that he saw.

Should be a gooder tonight... I'm just sad that nobody's mic'd up.