Friday, December 08, 2006

Roman Rule?

Watching that Minnesota/Calgary game last night I was impressed with Calgary's tenacity. This team seems to be more able to comeback from a small defecit compared with earlier in the season. In the first period the Flames did not look good, but the second period brought several positives including Rhettro's shorthanded marker (who would've called a Rhettro goal before the game, especially a SH?). I though Iggy looked possessed, especially after he scored his 300th goal of his career (he's closing in on the recently retired Joe Niewendyk, and the immortal Theoren Fleury.)

John Garret proposed before the game that Roman Hamrlik has been the Flames best defenceman of late, and while I won't go ahead and agree with him, I will say he's played suprisingly well lately. He's been jumping up into the play more often, he's been in better position defensively and it's been showing up in his +/- and the scoreboard (in the sense his strong play is correlated to the Flames success). The other pleasant suprise about Hamrlik is that he's much less overpaid than he was earlier in the season. Given the inflationary rate of defenceman salaries, and given his ice time, Hamrlik right now is, dare I say it, being paid at a fair rate.

Why are the Flames so bad on the road? Someone was saying to me that this is either a testament to Calgary's coaching (in that when the coaching staff are able to get the desired matchups they DOMINATE) or a sad exposition of the coaching staff (in that if they don't get the exact matchups, their poor systems get exposed and they consistently lose).

Obviously there are other explanations, (like maybe the players are totally spooked about playing on the road and they're gripping their sticks), but its an interesting theory.

And what about Kiprusoff and shootouts? How can a goalie be so good during the game, and so bad at shootouts? Look, a lot of times the shots Kipper faces in the shootout are next to impossible to save, but he needs to find a way. Speaking of, Calgary's shooters need to find a way to put the puck in the net.

1 comment:

MetroGnome said...

Although the "match-ups" explanation for the Flames road woes makes intuitive sense, it's pretty hard for me to swallow. Primarily because it's the Flame's special teams that really suck on the road. PP and PK are less about matching lines and more about execution.

However, I think the Wild game was one of the better road efforts by the Flames (ridiculously reffed first period aside). Hopefully they're ready to turn the corner...