Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is it what you expected?

What do you expect?

The Calgary Flames did not make sweeping changes! Many expected to see more changes than we made…. So what happened? I think our roster was fine…

Looking back at the start of the summer I remember thinking what can we really do? Free agency looked weak; salary cap situation limited us and what were we going to pay Ian White. I, like many, expected change. I expected us to get a top 6 forward that would change the look of the offensive core such as a Jeff Carter, Marleau or Setoguchi. But as the off season started, I kept realizing that trades like that are hard to make and need to make sense for both teams and the Flames did not have a real asset they would be willing to deal. Instead, we got Tanguay and Jokinen back and kept Ian White for another year at a reasonable price! So has the team changed enough to get a different outcome this coming season? I think so, let me explain why…

For me it’s easy- call me an optimist but this roster was not bad at the start of the off season. Our defence was good even with an off year by Bouwmeester. I think we can expect a better year out of Jay, and Ian/Gio will continue to grow into a solid 2 way d-men. Regehr and Sarich are how they are; physical stay at home d-men that provide us a lot of heart! But like most will tell you, our issues are upfront. It is no secret that we need Iginla back at his best and I believe Tanguay and (believe it or not) Stajan are key to him being productive! Jokinen will be a more selfish player and he’ll worry more about his offensive zone game than his defensive zone game, unlike last year. Trust me fans will be upset, but I believe that it’s how it will have to be for Jokinen to be the offensive force he can and will be! You will either love or hate Jokinen come 20 games into the season! But I believe his “offensive” stats will be better.

I believe if this team is going to score more goals they need to shoot the puck! Sounds simple but the power play was terrible and that was because the puck travelled the boards more instead of at the net. Like I have stated before we have 9 players who have scored 20+ goals in a season but when you try to make all those players “2 way shutdown” guys they will not be successful. Let the guys play and I agree you need to be defensively responsible, but to what extent? Clearly the chains need to be lengthened. Your top 2 lines should be defensive by creating offensive pressure and putting the puck on net; not by clogging the “neutral zone” So I guess I am calling out the coaches more than I am the players.

In the end I expect this team to challenge the Canucks for top spot in the NW division. Call me crazy but my expectations have not changed much from the start of last season.

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Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.