The most reason Flames road trip went exactly how every other road trip in the past year has gone. Manhandling the basement dwellers and folding against the difficult teams. Of course the Flames still have the potential to even this trip to .500 when they get their make up game against Colorado (whenever that will be), but it really is exasperating watching this group flourish at home and flounder on the road. Like the early part of the season, this team really needs to look within itself and figure out a way to win.
The Oilers are following their southern neighbour's consistency (of sucking on the road) by consistently playing dreadfully inconsistent. If there seems to be one thing that Oilers fans can expect, its that you never have any idea what team will show up on any given night. While it hasn't been mentioned a lot in the media, the Oilers are also dreadful away from Rexall place, winning only 6 games on the road, losing 11. Sure Smyth and Moreau are out, but this team should have enough veterans and skilled players to win a few hockey games without those two. Some players that really need to step it up in my opinion are Sykora (who was next to useless without Hemsky spoon feeding him) and Joffry Lupul, who seems to refuse to get his nose dirty. Lupul especially (whether fairly or not) is expected to be a contributor on this team, and he's simply not a very complete player right now.
Over the next couple weeks the focus of this blog will be shifting to the annual U-20 World Junior Championship. After dropping their game vs the CIS 'All Star' Squad, and now their second pre tournament exhibition game, i am a little worried about team Canada. Apparently first day in Sweden head coach Craig Hartsburg had to tear a strip off the team because of their general unpreparedness, and Pierre Maguire said the veterans in that game looked 'dopey.' This is not the attitude of a winning team.
One of three things will happen in my opinion:
(1) The team gets a wake up call from that exhibition loss, gets refocused and wins the tournamet
(2) The team has lacksadaisical attitude, experiences some early in tournament trouble, re-focuses and wins the tournament
(3) The team has a lackadaisical attitude, runs over the competition early and when they hit adversity in the elimination round they fold and are done until next year.
I for one, am hoping for option (1) or (2).
First game December 26th, 12:30 pm ET / 9:30 am PT on TSN, Canada faces host team Sweden. Carey Price will be starting for Canada in net.