Sunday, December 18, 2011
SNET-CGY & FAN960
Flames will face the surging Blackhawks who have enjoyed great goaltending by Ray Emery as of late. The Flames will enter this game after grabbing one point in each of their last two road games, but are in need of a win on this quick road trip.
You can expect Kipper back in net for the Flames and we could see Backlund drawing back in unless the flu has reached him too. Moss who was anticipated to return this game will likely be out for another game and possibly more as his ankle is still bugging him.
Flames fans cringe and expect the worst when playing the highly skilled and fast Hawks; and for this game I expect no different. The Flames have played better in the last 3 weeks but have only gotten two points against inferior opponents; beating the Hawks could be that win this team needs to get on a roll. I will say although I have been more pleased with the Flames play of late; the departure of Giordano to injury could start catching up to us now. The increased shots on Kipper and some confusion in our own zone are beginning to show and must be addressed before it snowballs.
For the Flames to be successful against Chicago they must be ready to skate and play a physical game. The first line will have to perform which they have not done in their last few games besides being on the power play. It’s obvious the Flames do not have the high end talent like the Hawks but this game can be won in the trenches with hard and smart plays. Kipper will be relied on heavily and as long as you keep the traffic away from him, he can steal the game for the Flames.
This and That:
With the roster freeze to kick in next week do not expect any moves by the Flames. Although the constant array of rumors continues to circle, nothing seems imminent. Some feel the Flames could have had Kyle Turris but in my opinion Ottawa overpaid and I am glad Feaster let that ship sail by.
Also I have heard Cammalleri is being targeted by Feaster: This one kind of makes me laugh, even if he Cammalleri was available what are willing to give up? Plus what would Montreal take to even up the cap space? Again in my opinion this is just that a “wild rumor”
My advice to people aching for a serious move is: Wait until February 27th or close to that date; on that day the Flames will make a commitment as to whether they make a final push for a playoff spot or lightly sell off. Right now Feaster has to let this play out a bit, making a big splash now may be regretted come February. With many contracts expiring come July the Flames can move some bodies (Sarich, Moss, BMo, Jokinen and Stempniak) February 27th and get a return to build for the future.
Playoffs are still within reach but unless the Flames can beat some top teams like Chicago they will be once again watching from their couch!
GO FLAMES GO
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Flames vs Canucks
SNET-W & 960am
Should we be optimistic? Or is this just false hope and the team is on a “good” stretch?
Hours prior to another Canucks vs Flames puck drop I sit and wonder if this team is going to do the whole win two out of every three games like last year. We currently have captured seven out of a possible eight points in our last four games as the team rolls in to GM place. Besides the last five minutes against ironically Columbus the Flames have seemed to have bought in. Playing hard, Iginla and Bourque are alive and Sutter’s voice seems to be heard; although at times against Edmonton the gate seemed to be open into our zone.
So what is happening? Perhaps the players are finally embarrassed and feel the heat from Feaster that he is serious when he says “youth” will be injected at the expense of experience?
Acquiring Comeau at the time looked like a no brainer and so far it has turned out great. Comeau skates well and works extremely hard, although he makes the odd goofy mistake; it can be credited to his constant effort and pursuit of the puck, those mistakes I can live with.
So how about our back end? You have Giordano possibly done for the remainder of the season, if not close to the rest of the year. Three years ago we had what some argued the best top 6 d-group; but even with Gio out this group looks more engaged and eager. Brodie and Smith look like guys who have played in the NHL for 2 years and are finally breaking out. Scott Hannan has been a great addition and has been a steady rock in front of Kipper. Tough to complain about this group who seem to not have missed a beat with Giordano out, but how long will it last? I am not sure this D-group can play like this for another 3 months and get us in to the playoffs.
Although I am nervous for tonight’s game in Vancouver; I am eager to see what team we are going to see. If the players commit we could be back into last season and honestly I am not sure the final result will be any different; but we will be entertained.
Perhaps some may feel I am too optimistic or not optimistic enough but as we have learned next week could be a whole new story. Either way I am eager to see what happens next.