Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
Winning five of six games made yesterday’s “recovery day” all the more enjoyable before preparing for tomorrow’s date with the Dallas Stars.
More importantly, it’s how the Flames have swung their fortunes: Much improved defence.
“Having spoken out about it a little bit in the past, I’m very happy as a defenceman to see how far we’ve come in the last few games,” blueliner Robyn Regehr said after Saturday night’s 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. “I’m also very excited to see where we can go.”
Time will only tell whether the Flames ride this momentum to their goals—a Northwest Division title and a Stanley Cup.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Craig Conroy twice experienced the wrath of Patrick Roy.
On his first day on the ice as a rookie with the Montreal Canadiens, a high shot in warmup brought about a confrontation with the Hall-of-Fame goaltender…
“It was actually my very first day on the ice. Patrick was on my team for the scrimmage,” said Conroy, who was a little excited in warmup and watched his first shot at Roy get away from him.
“It kept rising and hit him in the head. He kind of stopped everything, cleared off his crease, then he came out and actually punched me in the head with his blocker.
“I thought, ‘What do I do?’ He’s Patrick Roy. I’m just nobody. I didn’t throw any punches or anything. I just kind of took it and they broke it up. I was sent down (to the AHL Fredericton Canadiens) pretty soon after that.”
more from Conroy on Roy…
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
So with both the under-achieving Flames and the disappointing Oilers set to reach the season’s quarter pole this week, the question needs to be asked: Which of Keenan and/or MacTavish will still be behind their team’s bench in January when the season hits the halfway mark?
Who gets fired first?
Keenan’s and MacTavish’s situations are far from similar, yet strangely, you could argue they are also exactly the same in a lot of areas.
Keenan is in only his second season behind the Calgary bench. MacTavish is in Year 8 in the Big E.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
The plan for the Calgary Flames was some R’n'R. The prize was taken away.
They were supposed to stay behind in San Jose for a couple of extra nights after their last outing, take the time to rest and relax, spend a day seeing the sights—Alcatraz is a cool place, Napa Valley would be fun—and then go for the annual rookie dinner, when the freshmen pick up the tab.
Instead, they returned home yesterday, given only one “recovery day” on the heels of their 6-1 beat down at the hands of the NHL-leading Sharks.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
Like the stock market, the Flames do not do autumn. Wall Street has Black Thursdays, and so do the Flames. Stocks plummet and so does the stock of the Flames. Eventually, things are expected to turn around for both (or so my broker assures me). So why should this fall be any different from the previous four seasons—when Calgary had just six wins after 15 games? They’re tied for first in the Northwest, a game above .500. They’ve had a six-game win streak.
Then why does something that sounds good feel so bad to the fans of the Flames? In large part, it’s because the Flames are not built to flirt with .500. They are—in the words of their president, their general manager and their head coach—a team built to win a Stanley Cup.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
His left eye swollen nearly shut and sporting stitches above and below, Dion Phaneuf was counting his blessings yesterday.
“It puts in perspective how important your eyes are,” he said.
“It’s not a lot of fun walking around with one eye, that’s for sure.”
Phaneuf looked worse for wear after Martin Havlat’s high stick came dangerously close to doing irreparable damage in Sunday’s clash between the Flames and Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City.
As Phaneuf closed ground to make a body check in the opening minutes, Havlat brought his stick up and hit the Flames defenceman in the face, cutting him on the cheek and eyebrow.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
It figures to be an interesting goaltending match-up Tuesday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs open their western Canadian trip in Calgary to play the Flames. Not only do the Flames’ Miikka Kiprusoff and the Leafs’ Vesa Toskala both hail from Finland, they were both groomed in the San Jose Sharks’ organization and both traded away so that Evgeni Nabokov would be that organization’s clear-cut No. 1 netminder.
Kiprusoff and Toskala are considered among the NHL’s goaltending elite, but their numbers don’t reflect that at the moment…
From Jean Lefebvre at the Herald Hockey blog,
And it hasn’t been a poor start for Iginla so much as a strange one. In 14 games, for instance, he’s had six multiple-point efforts (two of which led to a NHL first star of the week award) and six contests in which he’s been completely held off the sheet.
There’s also been the matter of linemates. Just when you think Mike Keenan has given up on teaming Iginla with Todd Bertuzzi, the coach gives the wingers another whirl as a partnership. Just when it seems Conroy is destined for permanent bottom-six duty, he gets another chance to play with Iginla (and, as was the case Thursday against Nashville, delivers a three-point performance to go with Iginla’s four-pointer).
Update 1:51pm ET: In other Calgary news, after 14 straight starts Kiprusoff is finally getting a night off.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Shortly after a first-period video tribute to his career as a Flame, Theo Fleury waved from the owners’ box to acknowledge the hearty applause. And while the gesture was an honourable one the club has made a conscious effort to do more of as it approaches its 30th anniversary, it fell short of the true honour awaiting the Little Big Man.
The next time he’s highlighted at the ‘Dome the 5-foot-6 mighty mite should be looking up—way up—to his jersey being hoisted to the rafters. His No. 14 should be retired.
Update 12:25pm ET (alanah): More on Fleury today, as he speaks about his life and addictions to Christianity.ca:
A loner for much of his life, Fleury learned to escape the pressures of fame and success by turning to his two drugs of choice: alcohol and cocaine. “There’s a lot of pressure that goes along with being a professional athlete. I grew up in a small community so when you live in a city like New York that never shuts down, it’s 24 hours of fun all the time.
He continues, “The NHL isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s not all glamour and fame – people don’t see the sacrifices your family has to make, the hotels and the bus… I owe everything to hockey, everything I have is from hockey, but there’s a heavy price to be paid for choosing that profession.”
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
Not exactly known for his tittering engagements with the press, Phaneuf is coming off a weekend during which he shouldered an hour’s worth of ice time—64:32, to be exact—in back-to-back matches in Los Angeles (29:55) and Anaheim (34:37).
After offering a few pat answers—“when you’re asked to do a little bit more, you have to be ready for that”—Phaneuf is again encouraged to let the world know how he handled that tremendous workload.
Finally, a chuckle—or, at least, a smirk—from the 23-year-old.
“I feel great,” says Phaneuf, walking out of the dressing room.
“I feel great. Thanks for asking.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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