Saturday, October 11, 2008

Good Luck To The Calgary Flames This Upcoming Season

Eric Duhatschek's article in the Globe yesterday talked about how a fast start to the season has played a part in the success of the past four Stanley Cup champions. All have started very quickly.

The old saw about two points banked in October being as important as two banked in April is very true and for Oiler fans the first month's schedule is daunting. Twelve out of fifteen on the road could put this team in a hole, shatter confidence, push them a step back after they took a step forward last spring. A dozen points or more out of those twelve road games will be a sufficient start. A start like last season may mean no playoffs, again, and the end of MacT's tenure in Edmonton. Expectations are that high.

The beginning of the season is always magnified. The Oilers disastrous power play run in the first month of the season last year would have been as ugly in January but likely not as obvious. A guy who undergoes eight games without a goal in October feels the pressure more then a guy who hits a lull in December. A team can rebound from a slow start (see Washington last season or San Jose after the Thornton trade) but slow starts lose coaches their jobs and can kill seasons dead.

Now the season has just started but a few interesting things have happened already.

By all accounts Sidney Crosby was pushed around a lot by the Ottawa Senators (huh?) when they were on their European vacation. One guy, what's his name, Jason Smith, apparently was at the heart of the issue (do you think the Sens could have used a guy like the Gator all these years they were falling short against the Leafs?) and already there is talk that the Pens are lacking guys who will go and get the puck when the other team has it. Combine their losses with the injuries to Whitney and Gonchar and the Pens may be in serious trouble.

Watched the Leafs game Thursday and it was a totally different team. They are going to lose a lot of games this year but for one night at least you could see what an injection of youthful enthusiasm can do for a team. Youth will lose you a lot of games but if you're going nowhere its really the only way to go. Toronto was faster then they have been in memory, they crashed the net with enthusiasm and hit everybody that they could. With guys like Tucker and McCabe following entitled punks like Tie Domi out of the Toronto scene one thinks that this team may finally have figured something out. Now about trading away all of those draft picks ....

Colorado's goaltending sucked hugely on Thursday night. There were a few teams who had shoddy goaltending the last couple of nights but I'd bet on Vokoun bouncing back before I would lay any money on Peter Budaj. Its going to kill the Avs, I'm telling you. And this idea that they're going to run out and pick themselves up a saviour? Who is this who is going to ride to their rescue?

And of course, your Calgary Flames. Getting waxed by a division rival who is supposed to not be able to score is not the best way to start the season. Panic has not set in and a nice game tonight will alleviate Flamers' worries but for now anyways there is some concern out there. The one thing I will give the Flames' fans is that even after that debacle there was measured response. It was far more reasoned then the response Oilers' fans had to losing a preseason game - farm out Gagner and Cogliano and Nilsson (one commenter only but holy shit the stupidity of it was mindboggling), trade the vets, cats and dogs living together and so on.

Meanwhile Canuck fans plan the parade. ;)


Doogie2K said...

Panic has not set in

You didn't listen to FAN 960 yesterday. Other than about ten minutes of Football Friday, that's all I heard about until the Hitmen game pre-show started at 6 or 6:30.

Kent W. said...

No panic from me. However, expect very loud denunciations should this grand Sutter experiment start swirling down the toilet.

Kyle said...

My only expectation for the Flames this year is that they'll compete for a playoff spot. They probably still will...

doritogrande said...

Unfortunately (and fortunately), one game does not a season make. If so, Calgary would be pushovers and Vancouver would win the freaking cup, full stop.

There's no way Iginla will be kept off the scoresheets game in and game out, even with the Bertuzzi anchor tied around his left leg. Kent W is right about the Conroy comments. Iginla's be better off protecting Lombardi on his line than trying to create offense with Conroy. At least Lombo could keep up. Phaneuf's going to have to keep his head up this year if he's going to take runs at star players in the NW division. I'd personally love to see him get lit up by the Boogeyman.

Vancouver played like world beaters last night, but by no means can we expect the scoring prowess of Burrows and Rypien to be any kind of consistent. Jesus will most assuredly keep them in many games this year and their defense is the best in the NW, possibly even the Western Conference (minus the Detroit Lidstroms) but if Demitra doesn't get it going they're going to have to rely on the aforementioned Burrows' to keep it up. Which I doubt we'll see. The thing I'm most frightened of when I watch the Nucks play; 9-Million dollars worth of cap-space left. Imagine what they could do with that.

I have doubts the Oilers are going to come out even on this hellacious road schedule to start the year. The vets aren't clicking, we don't have a single player on the 3-line playing in their proper position/situation, and the defense is a dog's breakfast of specialists. If Garon can't perform up to the level he did last season, MacT may be looking for employment as early as December.

Sorry for the essay.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver bitch slapping the Flames not once but twice has made me a bandwagon Canucks fan until the Oilers win their next cup.

Or start to play hockey that works.

Obviously this is MacTavish's last chance. Katz won't stand by and watch another gongshow season. I mean, what Oiler fan among us would?

Great blog, btw.

Black Dog said...

Eleven goals for the Canucks in two games against the Flames.

Have they opened it up? With Luongo in net I always wondered why they weren't a team that played a little looser - with that guy to cover up your mistakes playing a buttoned down style doesn't make a ton of sense.

Or are the Flames that poor defensively?

andy grabia said...

already there is talk that the Pens are lacking guys who will go and get the puck when the other team has it.

What? Miro Satan has a well-documented history of doing the dirty work in the corners. ;)

Anonymous said...

Crap. My Nucks laid an egg in Washington tonight. Now the parade is in jeopardy and we are only 3 games in.
Seriously though, this year might go down as the greatest battle of alltime for playoff spots in the NW. I havnt seen Minny play yet, but all the other teams seem to have different strengths and weaknesses. I'm truly gonna enjoy this (as long as my Nucks find a balance between games 1 and 2 and not so much 3)

ps. I'm pickin San Jose to win the cup. They are somewhat looked at as havin missed there chance. And that makes them very underrated.