Monday, October 24, 2005


A road win against a good team

That's what the Flames achieved last night, in what the radio broadcasters described as the Flames' best all-around performance of the season.

Chris Simon was named 1st star: he had 2 goals, 1 assist, and ringed one so hard off the post in the 3rd that it actually stung my eardrum a bit (I was wearing earbuds). Iginla just had 1 assist, but played over 24 minutes and had enough scoring chances that he was named 3rd star.

The chatter on the radio this morning was that maybe Sean Avery should have gotten the 1st star. He got into it a bit with Iginla early in the 1st, and apparently was talking trash to Chris Simon ("time to retire, old man", etc.). Obviously both those guys had their best games of the year, mostly thanks to the intensity they had.

It's interesting: "Rough him up to get him off his game" has never been the book on Iginla; he's not afraid to battle. But I never really connected the dots and thought of it from the opposite angle: that is, opposing coaches essentially telling their players, "Don't wake him up." And that is exactly what Flames radio guy Peter Maher was claiming this morning is the wise coach's strategy against him.

Based on how I heard it on the radio, the game last night was pretty physical and intense. (Normally I'd point to the 10 penalties for each team as evidence of that, but the connection is not at all obvious at this point this season). Mutual fund salesman Perry Berezan was on the radio last week, making a very compelling point: roughly, "if you're not getting hacked a bit, how are you supposed to get mad?"

Indeed. You can point to the fact that the rules do not prohibit body contact, but if the players are all leery about touching each other, is it really plausible to argue that there can be just as much intensity in a "wide-open game"? Our friend Mr. Magoo was officiating and did what he could to enforce the new regime, but because things got a little chippy early, we had a physical, intense game. I think that's good, but I'm still open to more convincing. (As well, I repeat that I did not see the game on TV, so take this all for what it's worth).

Annnnny-hoooo, it was good to get the 2 points (and deny the Kings any). I fervently hope that Simon and Iginla's pissy moods extend through Wednesday & Thursday vs. the Ducks and Coyotes. And your daily fun trivia: that was the first points that the Flames have earned from a non-televised game (on RSN/TSN/CBC, anyway). Prior to last night, the Flames were 3-1-1 in TV games (the only reg. L being in the opener v. the Wild), and 0-4-0 in non-TV games. This is something that occurred to me while I was listening to them, on the radio, go down 2-0 in the 1st.

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