Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Same Old Lames?

Here's one I can agree with, the Flames repeating as Northwest champs and ending up with the third seed.

If the Oilers can cobble a defence together out of Chewing Gum (Jan Hejda) and Twine (Marc Andre Bergeron) then they can make up that eight points that separated the Albertans last year but I think the Flames should have enough to defend their division crown, likely with another 100 point season too.

They had to give up Leopold to get Tanguay but of course the Flames' strength is on the blueline and in Tanguay they have added a guy who has been a consistent producer in the NHL. Some may wonder if he is a product of the talent that he played with on the Avs but Iggy isn't chopped liver.

Other departures - Shean Donovan, Chris Simon, Mike Leclerc. Yawn.

The big question for the Flames is the same as always - can they give Kiprusoff enough run support? Amonte showed last season that reports of his demise were not exaggerrated. Huselius added some offence but more is needed. Jeff Friesen? Not likely. After plenty of goals in the late 90s he has only scored more then 20 once in the last five seasons and with the exception of last year he played 79 or more games in each of those.

Nope. It has to come from two guys - Chuck Kobesew and Matthew Lombardi. If these guys can create offence and consistently then this team suddenly becomes very very dangerous. If they cannot then Tanguay will help and they will win the division but their season will end in a loss in the first or second round. One line teams don't win championships.

They come close.

Horseshoes and hand grenades though, right?


Anonymous said...

The Flames may challenge for top spot in the West with the Wings as they come back to the pack.

Tanguay is a very good pickup as he is one of the guys that other players make much better. He will do fine in this respect beside Iggy.

It will be interesting if Friesen replacing Donovan has the positive impact desired.

The Flames had trouble scoring last year and have wiggled it a bit to try to fix what ails them. Were they close enough that this is all it is going to take?

namflashback said...

It's almost uncanny how collectively awful the Flames were offensively.

There was the category of superstar that was supplanted by the Jarmoe lookalike.

There were the kids who were supposed to take the next step in Lombardi and Kobasew.

There were the veterans in Langkow and Amonte who just didn't provide anything.

These 3 underachievements really conspired to sink them and they were deeply exposed versus Anaheim. I watched most of those 7 games and it really was just a matter of time before Anaheim took control of it.

FF to today and I don't think we can take for granted that all 3 of those underachievements happen again. A passable 2-line offence is going to be better than last year -- and they won the division last year.

They got the better of VAN, EDM, and COL in their divisional games. Can they count on that again?

Anonymous said...

Agree that if Kobasew and Lombardi have breakout years, the Flames win the division. I think though that they will also be in the running for the Conference title.

The Blackhawks, Blues and Jackets will all be better this year. Not good, but better. Nashville and Detroit who both didn't really get any stronger this off-season shouldn't do quite as well in their own division this year.


lowetide said...

The Flames are porridge. Even with the Iginla the great and Mikka fucker in net they just don't do very many interesting things.

And I'm not an anti-Flames basher type, that D that won the Cup in 1989 might be the best 1-6D in history.

But they're tepid now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Lundmark will metamorphoze into the second coming?

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

I'm not a kneejerk Flames basher either - I do think they win this division - but they need someone to score or they go nowhere when it counts.

Tanguay will help but he, Iggy and a bunch of guys working hard probably won't get it done, much as that hard work is admirable.

Vic Ferrari said...

I think that the Flames are a good squad as well (as much as it pains me to say that). And though personally I'm a tightass when it comes to risks ... sweet baby Jesus, the new guy (what's his name?) has to let the boys play a little. I mean the Horcoff line probably gave up more odd man rushes-against in Jan-Feb than the entire Flames roster did all year. Not every risk can be a bad one, for crying out loud.

And though nobody but me cares about this stat ... the Flames hit a boatload of posts last year. Odd for a team that really didn't create a helluva lot of offensive chances. My thinking is that this sort of thing will balance out over time.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Vic - maybe last year's posts balanced out the ones from 2004?

It will be interesting to see if Playfair can make a positive impact or if he will be Wayne Cashman or Bryan Trottier and fail miserably in his long awaited chance.

If this team can score some goals then Ian is right - then might challenge for the conference.