Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Up In Flames: Don't Engrave The Names In Lord Stanley Just Yet

So...of course, unless you're busy scouting out the leading contestants for the Vancouver 2010 Men's Figure Skating medal round, you're probably aware the Calgary Flames landed Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold at the trade deadline. Now you know the honeymoon is officially over!

So...we don't have to start engraving the names of the Flames on the Stanley Cup just yet, but Flames faithful need not jump off the bandwagon either!

After a promising start to this 7 game road trip with 2 wins against Ottawa and Phili, the Flames have dropped 3 in a row. Last night they happened to lose to a netminder who just happens to be now only 3 wins away from surpassing St. Patrick Roy as the NHL's all-time win leader. You might've heard of him - one Marty Brodeur! Yeah - admittedly Miikka hasn't been that impressive in 2 of those losses (McElhinney getting the smackdown in the other loss), but he's been unbelievable for the past 3 to 4 months.
Of course, the Canucks are chasing the Flames for 1st in the NW division - now 8 points behind with 2 games in hand. Still...I'm not worried.

The Flames arn't the only top-performing team with 3rd quarter troubles.
- Devils lost to the lowly Islanders 7-3 this past Saturday.
- Red Wings lost Blue Jackets 8-2 the same day.
- Black Hawks lost the Avs 5-1 on Sunday.
- Bruins are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and have lost 2 in a row.
- Capitals are 4-5-1 in their last 10
*The Flames are still 6-4 in their last 10.

David Moss is back after the passing away of his grand-mother. Langer (Daymond Langkow) is back, albeit not yet 100%. Unfortunately, his other linemates, Rene Bourque (and his 20 even-strength goals!) and Bertuzzi are still out for extended periods. The injuries have finally caught up with the Flames, but they do have to fight through it and other guys have to step up. Langkow getting completely healthy will be a huge boost.

Jokinen and Leopold still have to acclimatize to their new surroundings and linemates. By the time this road trip is over, or even sooner, the Flames will be over this bump in the road. As many have said before, "the season is a marathon, not a sprint". It's definitely better to have a hiccup now, then during the playoffs!

Up In Flames will be another regular column for coverage of the Calgary Flames by The Hockey Spy. The Hockey Spy is MVN's correspondent covering the Flames in addition to the NHL in general.

The Hockey Spy


The Hockey Spy,  Mar 12, 2009, 9:30:00 PM  

Amazing comeback by the Flames - down by 2 with less than 4 minutes to go against Red Wings tonight. Lundmark 2 goals in the 3rd. Jokinen scores in shootout to win it - went with his 2 goals in the game. Unbelievably, Kipper was 1st start even after allowing 5 goals. If you watched the game, it was an easy choice though. He was spectacular during PP after PP by the Red Wings.

okaybluejays,  Mar 12, 2009, 11:47:00 PM  

Honeymoon phase over? I think it has just begun! Holy Ollie! As he gets used to the system, he is going to keep improving his game with the Flames for sure.
But can the Flames keep improving their game into the playoffs? Can they be more than just a contender, and become winners?
Tough to say. So many teams look good right now.
Maybe this upset over the Wings is the TSN turning point for Calgary, hopefully....
Lets also hope Kipper doesn't get shell shocked and fatigue during the playoffs. Flames need a backup goalie. Bring back CUJO!

The Hockey Spy,  Mar 13, 2009, 12:35:00 PM  

Good points OKBJ (hmmm...maybe not the greatest shorthand!)
If ya read the whole article, the theme is that Flames fans need not worry about the prior to last night 3-game losing streak.
I had a great feeling about last night's game.
DOn't worry about Kipper & we don't need Cujo. Obviously, not going to happen now. If Sutter & Keenan are really concerned, there might be the possibility of Manny Legace. I'd have to check, but I think if the Blues put him on re-entry waivers, The Flames could nab him. I really think Kipper is good for it - it's why we pay him the big bucks!

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