Friday, October 20, 2006

Flames +/-

Unfotunately due to the Flames awesome PPV schedule I was not able to catch the game tonight. But simply looking at the highlights I had a few thoughts to share:

1. I think that one day Phanuef will be this team's best player and leader, and at times he even plays like that now. Having said that, he is currently not the Flames best player, not even our best defenseman. Tonight Phanuef played 29 minutes while Regher only played about 21. Regher, although offensively challenge, is a horse. Phanuef, although still playing with vigour, has looked overwhelmed at times playing against other team's top defensive pairings. Even though a lot of the time difference was due to the PP, I think Dion would be more effective playing less minutes. At least for a while. On the other hand, if we're gonna lose either way, the experience he's getting is invaluable.

2. Miikka may not be looking as good as he did last year, but I'm not worried. His last October stats were underwhelming, and he went on to win the Jennings, Vezina, and was the team's unquestioned MVP. Why is Miikka a little off? I have two theories: (a) He's a 'slow' starter. I'm less inclined to believe this one because I think Miikka has already at times looked really sharp, and has been the key to every Flames victory this season (all two of them). (b) Is that the team's sloppy defensive play has Kipprusoff overthinking his positioning, trying to do too much and is psyching himself out. I think even the coolest player in the league is starting to realize how much his team relies on him, and maybe its starting to get to him a little bit. I mean, he even looked a little pissed off at that Sundin overtime winner last Saturday, and Kipper never shows emotion. When the team pulls together and plays better defensively, as they did last November, then Kipper will start to ease back into his regular self. That’s assuming of course that the team did pull together defensively last season and the reduced GAA wasn’t simply due purely to Kipper's miracle work.

3. At this point, Matthew Lombardi is giving the Flames the best individual offensive efforts. His shorthanded marker against Toronto was part luck, but it was also part persistence and effort. Include his two goal performance against Montreal and his almost break-away goal tonight and you see a trend. Lombardi has had individual 1-1 offensive victories all season by using his speed and beating defenders to the outside. He is proving that he is a natural pivot for the speedy Tanguay and is no longer a second thought in Calgary's offense, (first on team in goals, second on the team in points, leads the team in +/- at a +5). If it were up to me, Lombardi's PP time would be increased - what have we got to lose?

4. Bring back Giordano and send Zyuzin down to the farm. On TSN tonight Duthie asked Dreger 'what is wrong with the Flames defence*?' to which Dreger replied 'the defensive pairing of Zyuzin and Hamrlik is not working well*' to which my brother replied 'thats the understatement of teh century.' I agree, and I can't think of a single aspect of the game in which Zyuzin appears to have more competency than Giordano. Better yet, lets put Hamrlik on waivers and hope someone picks him up. Maybe Bobby Clarke would be willing to part with Nolan Baumgartner...

5. Come back soon Stephane...

6. Another loss. Is anyone getting a little worried yet? Even though the highlights made our effort appear better tonight, the Flames couldn't muster a victory against one of the most hapless organizations in the league. When do we get to play Philadelphia?


hockeygirl said...

I wouldn't say I'm worried quite yet. Pissed off, yes. Worried, no.

MetroGnome said...

I too would like to see Giordano back in the line-up, but perhaps at the expense of Rhett Warrener. Rhett has been looking slow for the last year or so and he's down at the 10-12 minute/game range. Girodano could fill his shoes, minute-wise, but would also bring his offensive flair.

Good looking blog...nice to see more Flames bloggers out there!

PS - I heard Phaneuf seperated Andrew Albert's shoulder last night.

hockeygirl said...

Oh Dion, you're so hot. I mean, tough. TOUGH!

Kyle said...

The Herald had an article today regarding the Flames start. Identical record right now as compared to last year.

You might say, hey, we did ok last year. I would like to actually win in the playoffs though. A repeat of last season I think would be a failure in the eyes of fans and the organization.