Tuesday, August 21, 2007

'The Hockey News Top 50' - Flames

Italic is my own comments, in the style made famous by Lowetide.

Jarome Iginla - 06
"The Flames were the NHL's most disappointing team, simply awful on the road, but Iginla was a warrior night in and night out. He consistently demonstrated why he is one of the league's most complete and determined performers."

I don't think there's anything more anyone could have expected out of Iginla last season. Iginla's numbers were great, but now that he has consistently competent linemates his best may be yet to come.

Miikka Kipprusoff - 13
"Last season, we anointed the Calgary goaltender the top player in the league. His response? His play slipped. That said, we believe he has the potential to challenge for the honor of best goalie."

Only the hockey news could have viewed Kipper's last season as a 'slip.' Sure statistically he had 2 less wins, and sure he had 30 or so more goals against, but he was behind a much weaker group in a team defence sort of way. In fact, many times last year I felt Kipper was steadier than the year before.

Dion Phaneuf - 17
The Calgary defender is known for his hard hitting, but did you know he has scored the same number of goals as Hall of Famer Paul Coffey did in his first two seasons?

That really is quite an unbelievable stat, and for all the static he takes for not 'developing' we need to remember he's still quite the defenceman. I'm not sure he's the 17th best player in the NHL, but I fully believe he will be 17th best (or better) sooner rather than later. We'll see this season if he adjusts his game to be a bit smarter and a bit less rambunctious. Hopefully he's just smarter.

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