Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Flames general manager Darryl Sutter made bold moves at the NHL trade deadline in landing centre Olli Jokinen and defenceman Jordan Leopold. He was hopeful the additions would push Calgary into the elite of the Western Conference alongside the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks.
But Sutter’s splash has barely resulted in a ripple in the win column. While Jokinen has swelled his statistics with eight goals and 10 points in six games with the Flames, including a three-goal, two-assist effort in an 8-6 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre last Saturday, Calgary has only two wins in the six games since the March 4 trade deadline.
Even Flames head coach Mike Keenan was scratching his head when queried as to whether his team was ready to challenge the Wings or Sharks for the conference title when the playoffs begin next month.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
The Calgary Flames head coach pulled No.-1 netminder Miikka Kiprusoff early in the third period of last night’s 8-6 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, which should come as no surprise with the way the netminder was faring.
However, even though Kiprusoff allowed six goals on 22 shots, Keenan blamed himself for the goalie’s sub-par performance.
“He’d like to have a better game, I’m sure, but I think it was my fault for even playing him tonight because of what he had to go through and the work he had last game,” Keenan said.
“I take full credit for probably starting the wrong goaltender.”
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
As outlined in a handful of player meetings leading up to the game, the Flames not only wanted to stop a three-game slide, they knew this was their chance to prove to themselves, the Wings and the league they could skate with anybody.
The comments from the hosts following the game revolved around the relentless forecheck and aggression of the Flames, which eventually wore them down in a third that saw the road-weary visitors outshoot the Wings a stunning 17-2.
While that aggressiveness should have cost them the game, it ultimately won it for them, setting the tone for a playoff mentality that should see the even bigger, faster Flames focus on physically punishing whomever they play.
from Craig Custance’s Blog at the Sporting News,
And the final result was a statement game. Jarome Iginla wouldn’t call it that, but I will. The Red Wings offense threw everything it could at the Flames (45 shots in all) and the Flames left Joe Louis Arena with two points.
“It’s a big one,” Iginla told SportingNews.com. “We’re just trying to get ourselves going and get back momentum. A game like this, we knew before coming into it, when you’re in a little bit of a drought to be able to play the best - if you can come out with a win, it’s a huge boost.”
And don’t forget the playoff implications of a win like this.
“There’s a good chance you’re going to have to go through Detroit,” Iginla said. “This is a big game for us.”
more on the Flames shootout win over Detroit.
Wings take a 4-2 lead late into the 3rd period, Flames score 3 goals a little over 2 minutus apart to take a 5-4 lead. Wings tie it up late to force OT.
Flames win in a shootout.
Check the shots on goal and full boxscore at TSN.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
Two straight losses to clubs sitting outside the playoff picture can bring about a reaction from the fans.
The Flames can understand a bit of panic on the snowy and cold streets of Calgary these days.
In the room?
“No, not yet, anyway,” said defenceman Jim Vandermeer after yesterday’s practice in preparation for tonight’s clash with the New Jersey Devils.
“There’s definitely concern, but we still know we’re a good team. These kind of things happen. We lost a couple of guys and have to work some guys in, so I think it’s working out the kinks.
“It’ll take a bit of time, but to make it as short of a time as possible, we all have to bear down.”
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Every year this seems to happen to me: the Calgary Flames and the specter of their playoff potential draws me in. In past years, I liked the Flames from the outset, only to see them exit from postseason existence much earlier than anticipated. I felt jilted last year when they performed as a middle-tier team (14th overall, 16th defensively, 19th on the power play and 20th on the PK) and then had the San Jose Sharks unceremoniously bounce them in the first round.
This year, I kept my distance…
from Joe Haggerty of WEEI,
The 2003-04 Calgary Flames were a rags-to-riches hockey story if ever there was one.
The Flames captured the imagination of a hockey-crazed city when they dragged themselves from a last place divisional finish one season prior to a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals….
Not surprisingly, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli always admired Sutter’s handiwork and the way he crafted that particular Flames team with a mixture of big-hearted grinders and skilled skaters all willing to take an occasional walk on the hockey wild side.
“I certainly liked Daryl Sutter as a person, I liked him as a player and I like him as a GM,” said Chiarelli. “I watched him coach and build teams, and he likes players that are like him. I think those players that he liked and could play for him are also the kind of players that make good Boston Bruins players….”
from Flames Insider,
In the aftermath of yet another fruitless start by G Curtis McElhinney — a 6-1 loss in Carolina — Flames coach Mike Keenan was at his cryptic best.
Note that there’s a certain reluctance to credit/blame McElhinney or even assess him in any way.
Feel free to decipher Iron Mike’s thoughts:
* The lack of goals on behalf of McElhinney, just a coincidence? “Well, (Cam) Ward played pretty well. We had five or six great chances in the first period. If we had scored the first goal, maybe it would have made the difference….
* In terms of McElhinney, are you concerned about the mental aspect of the game, knowing that his club has trouble scoring for him? “Well, I think our team has to really tighten up defensively and wait for opportunities. We weren’t as ready as we should’ve been.
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
Olli Jokinen’s first game in Flames silks. Two goals.
Jordan Leopold’s first game back in Flames silks. One goal.
It added up to a strikingly easy 5-1 triumph over the Flyers in National Hockey League action, making Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter look like a genius in the process.
“You want to get a feel for how your linemates are playing,” said Jokinen after his morning skate’s spin with Jarome Iginla and Cammalleri. “Usually, the best thing, as a player, is to keep it simple. I think the key is not to try to make pretty plays. To get a chance to play with those two guys is pretty amazing. There’s all the elements to have a good line there, you know.
“You always get anxious when you put a new jersey on . . . but it’s more exciting than nervousness.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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